In observance of the Holy Week, 3,000 protester-strong mobilizations took to penitence their “sorrows” on the status of human rights in the country.
The crosses presented issues that heavily affect the urban poor areas: Extra-judicial killings and death penalty; lowering of minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 down to 9; non-movement on the issue of housing and other basic services; spread of wrong and malicious information; climate change issues being used on eviction of informal settlers; the culture of fear and the lack of respect for women’s rights; the oppression and the double-standard observance of democracy, where the poor’s space is diminishing.
The activity is dubbed as Calvary of Urban Poor Communities or Kalbaryo ng mga Maralitang Taga-Lungsod
A short play version of the Passion of Christ featuring the victims of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings was presented where the group reiterated their calls. This was followed by a mass lead by Manila Auxiliary Bishop, Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo and running priest, Fr. Robert Reyes.
Calvary Hill of the poor
In a statement shared by COM, the group expressed their distress on the slow investigation on killings perpetrated both by the police force and by vigilante assailants, were the most common victims are the poor accused as a drug offender.
“The lives of the people, particularly of the poor become the “cost” of what the government calls as peacekeeping. How many among the dead are presently under investigation? The poor people who are usually the victims cannot afford a lawyer, which is vital in achieving justice,” the statement emphasized.
This Holy Week is one of the most painful for the urban poor who lost their families.
“Democracy is real if all is given the opportunity to express their sides, not only the false information being enforced in public that stifles the right of expression of the poor,” the statement added regarding the spread of false information.
The statement also condemns disrespect on women and women’s rights.
“Even the wake of the victims of EJK are not visited and properly mourned due to fear in communities. The women suffer in the destruction of homes due to the rampant killings and the “double-standard” observation of justice among the accused drug offenders and those they call coddlers of suspects,” said the statement.
Bishop Pabillo encouraged all to observe what Jesus has done during the Lenten Season.
“We must as we preach practice compassion, love, and mercy. Let’s not be Judas Iscariot who condemned Christ, his brother, to the centurions and the Pharisees, the Sadducees. As we implement the law, let us as well promote justice and uphold human rights of each,” Bishop Pabillo said.
He added in his homily that like Christ, we experience betrayal from those who promised changes. But we must never lose hope.
“The Holy Week did not end in the death of Christ. But just like Christ, we rise with hope on Easter. Let the Holy Week bring us hope,” Bishop Pabillo said.
Each community leader and cross-bearer share a piece for the crosses they carried: for EJK to end and to stop the reinstatement of Death Penalty; to provide help and guidance instead of prison for the children in conflict with the law; to prioritize proper housing and relocation for the urban poor and fisherfolks; to uphold the human rights of the poor amid culture of discrimination; to advocate for a pro-poor climate change solutions; to respect the rights of women; and to protect the democracy and equal participation of the poor and the vulnerable.
The event has been participated by the informal settler families of National Capital Region, Rizal, and Laguna, with support from Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA
), John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJICSI), Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) and CODE-NGO also participated in the event. CPM
For more information, please contact:
Media Liaison Person
Urban Poor Associates
COM Executive Director
Photos by: PMPI/ Jerico Catalla
Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc.
Unit 204 Pacific Century Tower
1472-1476 Brgy. South Triangle, Quezon Ave. Quezon City, Philippines