MANILA, Dec. 7, 2010â€” An ecumenical organization has joined the outrage against last weekâ€™s violent dispersal by local authorities of protesting â€œkuligligâ€ drivers, which resulted into the injury of some rallyists.
Convenors of the Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF) said the way Manila authorities handled the Dec. 2 protest was â€œbrutalâ€ for drivers who â€œwere simply earning their living the honest way.â€
The kuliglig (motorized sidecar) drivers were opposing the execution of a local ordinance that would lead to their phase out.
â€œWhile we, the Bishops, understand the motive the City Government to regulate the operation of â€œkuligligsâ€ like all other vehicles plying the city, we donâ€™t understand the necessity of inflicting harm on the drivers and destroying their vehicles,â€ they said in a statement.
The statement was signed by Protestant Bishop Elmer Bocolon, EBF executive secretary, and Catholic Bishop Deogracias IÃ±iguez, and Methodist Bishop Solito Toquero, both co-chairpersons of the organization.
The prelates also said there is no sense in the advice given them to remove the â€œengineâ€ from their vehicle because some of them, as shown on television, had no legs with which to pedal their machine.
â€œThese â€œkuligligsâ€ are proving helpful to the riding public, for otherwise they will not be patronized,â€ they said.
â€œThese drivers are also residents of the city to whom the government has responsibility and concern, especially because they belong to the marginalized and less privileged members of society.â€
The bishops said they are hoping the government will find â€œcreative wayâ€ of helping the kuliglig drivers â€œin a manner that will be beneficial to the city, the kuliglig drivers and the riding public.â€ (CBCPNews)