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After "expect a punch" comment, Pope highlights Philippines corruption


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After "expect a punch" comment, Pope highlights Philippines corruption

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The Pope has called on the Philippines government to do more to tackle corruption.

The pontiff is in the majority Catholic country after a visit to Sri Lanka.

He met the President, Benigno Aquino, who has been in office since 2010, but has struggled to meet promises of more transparency and good governance.

    

Pope Francis: “It is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good.”

On his flight to the Philippines the Pope sparked controversy over comments about the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. He said freedom of expression had its limits and it was “normal” to “expect a punch” if you insult someone’s parent, for example.

But in the Philippines the controversy is over the lack of help for the poor.

People have demonstrated, calling on the Pope to visit the “real Philippines” and see for himself the scale of poverty.

Vencer Crisostomo, head of the NGO Anakbayan, spoke to reporters.

“They have prohibited the poor from actually meeting the Pope,” he said. “They have put up barricades and this is ironic because this Pope is the pope of the poor. A Pope that broke the barricade, that broke the barriers.”

A quarter of the population in the Philippines, which is 80 percent Catholic, are officially recorded as living below the poverty line.

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