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Secretary General Speech

Dear reader(s) :

      According to the Statistics and Census Department of the Macau Special Administrative Region, economic growth rate of Macau in 2011 was 20.7%. But over the same period, property prices rose sharply, inflation rate stood high; while rich and poor disparity became more serious. Along with the economic success was heavy life pressure. Rapid social development also caused human resource shortage in industrial sectors, while relatively less competitive social service sectors experienced more stringent challenge in terms of the shortage. In 2011, the high turnover rate of nursing assistants for the elderly and rehabilitation service had caused enormous challenge to the provision.
      Through the team efforts of all staff, Caritas Macau had undertaken a series of innovative services and provisions in 2011. For example, in response to the “Elderly Home Unified Assessment and Central Referral System” launched by the Social Welfare Bureau, we had three elderly homes and one nursing centre joined the System in August. A total of 500 seats of the homes and centre had been put into the mechanism. This would help to reduce the waiting period of the elderly applicants and increase fairness.  The elderly in need of home service could be allocated sooner. However, the current funding seats for elderly home are still not sufficient to meet the service demand.
      In view of Macau moving towards an aging society, and home nursing services cannot reach a demand and supply equilibrium in short period,   I proposed a 24-hour medical nursing and rehabilitation service at a meeting with the Chief Executive of Macau S.A.R in September 2011. The proposed service was an additional service based on existing elderly service.  It would be conducted by outreaching nursing team under the concept of ”home based hospital bed” to provide nursing service to the elderly who were in need of medium or intensive nursing care. This service could help to realize Government’s “home care” policy. Subsequently, Caritas Macau has submitted to the Chief Executive of Macau a proposal on   “home nursing services”.
       Besides, Caritas Macau has successfully bided to host the “Food Bank” services sponsored by Family and Community Department of the Social Welfare Bureau. An agreement of “short-term food assistance services” was signed for a period of two years in September 2011. This service is named “Centro do Serviço de Fornecimento Temporário de Alimentos da Cáritas” to help individuals or families in need of emergent food assistance. In a short period of three months (to the end of year), the service benefited more than 2000 people. Looking ahead, besides food assistance, “Food Bank” would develop enhanced service to encourage and help the clients to become more self-reliance.
        Macau's rapid economic growth has sharply increased rental price in private housing sector. Housing problems has become an annoying issue to the grassroots. Last year, Caritas Macau received a significant rise in housing assistance enquiries. Many residents were forced to move out their rental apartment because of the highly increased rental fee. We hope the SAR Government will step up efforts to care about the housing needs of the public and introduce effective measures to help the grassroots in solving their housing problem. Authorities has stressed that, to the end of 2012, the promised ninteen thousand public units would be achieved.  We expect the allocation of public housing would be fair in future, and to be able to alleviate the plight of the grassroots.
      In  celebrating the 60th anniversary  of Caritas Macau, we have hosted the International Conference “Joining Hands to Identify New Roads for Poverty Alleviation”, and invited  experts and scholars from around the world to convene in Macau to share their practical experience and  strategies to combat poverty. The meeting received extensive media coverage. In July 2011, our beloved Fr. Louis rested in the Lord. For 60 years, Fr. Louis had been serving the most vulnerable and most in need brothers and sisters in our community, and because of his blessings, Caritas Macau has continued to develop and inherit the care and love motto.  Fr. Louis’s loving smile will live forever in our mind.
       I firmly believe that Caritas Macau; by virtue of commitment and dedication to public services, plus a spirit of “work solemnly and regardless of return”, and team work of over 800 employees in social and education service, shall be able to surmount all obstacles, and to do the work in an orderly manner.  Let’s walk together, hand-in-hand with Macau disadvantaged people!

Paul, Pun Chi Meng
August 2013