The "rule" for Catholics in the Philippines can be found here.
the idea is for the rich to know how the poor live.
It is basic in any human law that one cannot oblige anyone to observe something which is not possible or even inhuman to follow. The two forms of penances, fasting and abstinence, are more realistically applied to the moneyed, able, powerful, and privileged. Consequently, the materially poor like our fellow Filipinos living in shanties or under the bridges, the very sick like those who are bedridden and immobile, the maids and houseboys and other laborers who have to work more than nine hours a day, employees whose jobs require them to be attentive like policemen and security guards, doctors and nurses on duty, and the like, must be exempted. Jesus is not certainly a sadist to require these kind of persons to be mortified more than what they already undergo in most of their every day lives.
most Americans don't quite understand this, or where the Pope is coming from (he sounds socialist, but his remarks are actually about crony capitalism and corruption. I mean, Romero wasn't killed because he was a "communist" or even liberation theology, but because he opposed the rich families who owned everything, take more than their share of the profits while paying a pittance, and rigging elections.) This is the reason we sometimes see priests, election officials, and reporters shot here).
Try running a clean business here, and you will be underpriced by those who cheat (in our case, competing with organic rice grown with chemicals applied on the sly). And of course, all the rules against GM and chemicals means didly squat when a small "gift" lets you import/smuggle in these things to sell as locally grown "pure" food or rice or medicine.