Pope Francis has restored the dignity of the urban poor--Kadamay
"We could not ask for more from Pope Francis as he has restored the dignity of the urban poor who in years have been a subject of disgust and condemnation by the government and a significant portion of the middle and upper class, as we battle for our basic human rights in protests, labor strikes and in street barricades against demolition of their homes," said Gloria Arellano, national chairperson of Kalipunan ng Damyanag Mahihihrap (Kadamay).
The group said they have found a very powerful ally from one of the most conservative institution which is the Catholic church in the person of Pope Francis, in pursuing its aspiration to end poverty in the country and for a truly democratic society.
"We are really astounded every time we hear from the Pope concerns that we and other activist groups have been saying all the time, and which may have fallen to the deaf ears of the government and of the general public--about poverty, inequalities, social justice, corruption, and issues as concrete as employment and deprivation of social services,"
From a Papal speech that he is supposed to deliver in his visit to Yolanda-stricken province of Leyte today, the Pope "asks that the poor throughout this country be treated fairly – that their dignity be respected, that political and economic policies be just and inclusive, that opportunities for employment and education be developed, and that obstacles to the delivery of social services be removed."
Kadamay hopes that the Papal messages will be discerned by those whom these are addressed to, including President Aquino. "It's now up to the public officials, especially our national leaders, the church people and the Filipino Catholic heed all his teachings," Arellano said.
"May his words about the poor penetrate into the hearts of those who in the past have been critical of the urban poor and our struggle--from the politicians, the businessmen, including some media practitioners and some portion of the general public," she added.
The urban poor leader also remarked that after the Papal visit, the urban poor sector will be more vigilant in claiming for their rights from the Aquino administration, and will be more critical of those Catholics who will not live with the teachings of the Pope Francis.
“We are expecting that after the Papal visit, the church will be our closest partner in pursuing for decent employment, a national minimum wage and significant wage increase for all Filipino laborers. And church bells will ring to alert communities to unify against threat of demolition, as we expect the Aquino administration to as anti-poor and brutal as it has used to be,” Arellano said.
In his homily tomorrow, when he addresses possibly the biggest crowd to gather in the history of the country, may he hint for the ouster of President Aquino who in his almost five years of (dis)service has treated the urban poor as garbage and dirt that needs to be shoo away.
As Pope reiterated in his undelivered speech, that "Our treatment of the poor is the criterion on which each of us will be judged (cf. Mt 25:40, 45)," Kadamay said President Aquino is the most anti-poor president in the history of the country, and that the Filipino Catholics will no longer be happy being ruled by a person shall live in hell in his afterlife.