Monday, March 17, 2008

Kalbaryo ng Maralita 2008 - Statement of the Poor

March 18, 2008


Our Kalbaryo of the Urban and Rural Poor reminds all Filipinos that the sufferings of Jesus in His Passion and Death are repeated today in the poor. That is the message of the Kalbaryo. “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do unto me,” Jesus tells us in Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 25), where He is speaking of the hungry, homeless and persecuted.

The sufferings of Jesus were, as we know, scourging, crucifixion, carrying of the cross, a crown of thorns and a very painful death. Along the way he was mocked and insulted. The sufferings of the poor are: evictions, homelessness, hunger, landlessness, injustice, joblessness, lack of dignity and powerlessness. In God’s eyes they are one.

The poor will join with all who are willing to struggle to end corruption. We have more reason to do so than anyone else. In our country it is possible to trace a direct connection between the sins of the powerful and the sufferings of the poor. Corruption is the cause of hunger. The $130 million said to have gone to “commissions” and kickbacks in the ZTE/NBN affair could have doubled the food budget of our 25,000 Baseco and Parola poor families for three years.

Now they have P100/a day for food for a family of five. Barely enough to survive day to day. If they had the $130 million stolen by the corrupt they would have P200/a day for three years, which is enough for some rice, meat, fish, eggs, milk and healthy children.

We will work with all who want to share the wealth of the Philippines that God has given us among all His children and not just the powerful and well off.

We hope to unite among ourselves, urban and rural, fisherfolk, indigenous persons, and in a non-violent, democratic manner build a society of justice and prosperity for all. And in this way we hope to build the Church of the poor.

We ask for the cooperation of all groups in society who are so committed. We especially want the support of the Church and its cooperation. The Church has been our most dependable ally.

We believe there can be no solution to the country’s problems unless the poor, who are at least 50% of the population, are involved in the reform process. Can a patient be cured without his or her knowledge and cooperation?

The poor must be involved in all the phases of reform – in the planning, in the implementation and in the enjoyment of the good results of reform.

We thank everyone for coming. God bless us all.


Task Force Anti-Illegal Demolition, Urban Poor Alliance, Pambansang Ugnayan ng mga Nagkakaisang Organisasyon sa Kanayunan, Sumilao Farmers, Task Force Mapalad, Kilusang Mangingisda, KAMMMPI, Mamamayan para sa Pagpapaunlad at Pagpapanatili ng Lawa ng Laguna, Community Organization of the Philippine Enterprise Foundation, Urban Poor Associates, Community Organizers Multiversity, PHILSSA, PARRDS, R-10 Navotas Alliance, ULAP, Kabalikat-BASECO, SAPAR-South Rail, Manila Estero Informal Settlers Alliance, Samahan ng taga Estero Pasay, Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Batilyo-Navotas, Malabon Brgy. Volunteers Asso., NLU-KAAKBAY, NLU-FTA, AIWA/PMA, Women Health, Stop Laiban Dam Coalition, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Haydee Yorac Movement, PADAYON, Partido Manggagawa

Some Issues of the Poor:

Urban Poor

· No Eviction without decent relocation
· Upgrade all proclaimed areas
· Increase fund and improve administration of the Community Mortgage Program and the Social Housing Finance Corporation

Rural Poor

· Extend coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program for another 10 years
· Harmonize land rights of farmers and indigenous people’s rights of ancestral domain
· Protect municipal fishers from trawlers
· Protect subsistent fishers and increase their incomes
· Give justice to Sumilao and Hacienda Yulo farmers
· Oppose large scale mining that harms the environment or violate rights of indigenous communities.

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