CEBU City, August 11, 2011?Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma held a dialogue recently with the urban poor and other marginalized sectors at Pasil Sports Complex, this city.
Urban poor leaders brought to Palma’s attention the plight of workers, tricycle drivers and families threatened by demolition.
Prior to the dialogue, Palma visited the creek side of Pasil where families are threatened of eviction.
Socrates Rota, President of Panaghugpong- Kadamay Cebu, shared during the dialogue that many urban poor communities in Cebu threatened by demolitions were not given proper relocation sites.
Jerito Pristin, whose family will be affected by the demolition, lamented that “sa panahon sa eleksyon, humot kaayo mi; sa panahon sa demolisyon, baho kaayo mi (during elections, we are praised but during demolitions, we are ridiculed).
Asking the archbishop for help, he said they have nowhere to go if their house is demolished, because they were not given a site where to relocate.
Angelie Maranga, a resident of Pasil, said that they will stay and remain in the area, if not given a proper relocation site.
Palma responded that the dialogue between the Church and the urban poor should continue to be able to see the different aspects of the problem and find a solution.
He said it is the right of those whose houses will be demolished to be given a proper relocation site.
Ritchie Gutierrez, a representative from the Tagunol Creek Side Association (TACSUPO), disclosed that their houses were “demolished without the Mayor’s order, financial assistance and proper relocation site.” He said they were evicted without given due process by the Cebu government.
For his part, Simon Baruc, Jr. of Progress said that workers who support the company’s union are “terminated and suspended without proper procedures”.
Regarding the problem of the workers, Palma said that “it’s about time for a conference of church people, business, and labor.”
Marcelino Omo, the president of PACTODA-Mandaue, an association of tricycle drivers, revealed that about 10,000 tricycle drivers from Mandaue will be out of jobs when the government will phase out the tricycles.
He also disclosed that most of the tricycle drivers were given “fake franchises” that resulted to the impounding of their vehicles, and left them without work.
Belinda Allere, chairperson of Cebu Urban Poor Women’s League, requested the archbishop to assign priests to assist each local organization.
Palma responded positively to the request since the priests are under his authority in the Church.
The archbishop assured the urban poor that their concerns will be brought for discussion during the meeting of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines this week.
Palma, who celebrated a Mass prior to the dialogue, told the faithful in his homily “to accept the reality that this is an imperfect world”, like the big waves which crashed the boat of Jesus and the twelve apostles at sea.
He said that the “Church should continue the works of Christ” even as he assured the faithful that the message of the Sunday Gospel is “Do not fear” since “God is with us”. (CBCPNews)