Kalbaryo protest seeks Aquino’s resignation

Mark Z. Saludes
Kalbaryo protest seeks Aquino’s resignation

Mark Z. Saludes

For urban poor groups, kalbaryo – suffering – is not only recalled during the Lenten season but defines their life under the Aquino administration

MANILA, Philippines—Kalbaryo (calvary) is the hill just right outside the walls of Jerusalem where Jesus Christ was crucified.

For centuries, the word is used to describe suffering, struggle, pain, and anguish. For  urban poor groups, kalbaryo – Christ’s suffering – is not only recalled during Lenten season but defines their life under the present administration.

Urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) together with Anakpawis Partylist staged a protest rally in Plaza Miranda and marched to Mendiola marking the first  day of the Holy Week. Kadamay cites 6 major issues under the Aquino administration that continue to burden the people.

“Landlessness, low wage, demolition of urban poor communities, massive conversion of local fishing grounds, the continuing neglect of Yolanda survivors, unabated skyrocketing of prices and basic utilities; these are the crosses that burden the ordinary masses under Aquino’s government,” said Anakpawis Partylist representative Fernado Hicap.

'WOMEN OF GOLGOTHA.' Militant urban poor group KADAMAY gather at the Plaza Miranda to act out the urban poor’s version of the Calvary.

Hicap added: “The Aquino administration is the heavy cross that burdens ordinary masses of peasants, workers, urban poor, small fisher folk and victims of deadly natural calamities. He is the epitome of what the Romans’ harsh treatment to Christ and his people; a symbol of hardship in many ways.”

He said that poor people “have no option left but to call for his resignation [as] 5 years of perdition under Aquino is enough.”

“We had enough of his lies, cover up, incompetency, negligence and corruption,” Hicap added.

Carlito Badion, KADAMAY national secretary-general said the poor can no longer bear the subservience of the Aquino administration to the dictates of foreign economic policies. Badion cited the Quezon City Central Business District (QC-CBD) as an example of Aquino’s sin to the urban poor.

“Urban poor communities are being demolished and dislocated from their work, school, and neighborhood for the benefit of local and foreign businessmen who are planning to convert these communities into a large scale business district that only wealthy people can afford to access,” said Badion.

'CHILDREN OF GOD.' Protesters cite  demolition, privatization, and prices of commodities as some of the issues that burden the poor.

According to KADAMAY, the National Housing Authority (NHA) has invested in building 49,640 housing units for evicted informal settler families. About 46, 322 or 93.3% of these units are outside Metro Manila where the poor have little access to public markets, affordable transportation cost, education, basic services, employment opportunities, and livelihood. Rappler.com

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