Monday, March 29, 2010

Urban poor to challenge presidentiables in “Kalbaryo ng Maralita” tomorrow

Press Release
March 29, 2010

Militant urban poor will hold tomorrow a “Kalbaryo ng Maralita” to air their grievances about poverty, hunger, homelessness and unemployment. They will also challenge the presidentiables to present appropriate platforms to address the demands of the millions of poor and hungry Filipinos.

“We are tired of motherhood statements about ending poverty and corruption as the root of poverty. We want concrete programs that will resolve the lack of jobs, lack of food, lack of housing and lack of earnings that plague the lives of the poor. These are the heavy crosses that the poor bear daily,” said Robert Labrador, a leader of the Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP). AMP is a network of urban poor organizations in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

More than a 100 members of AMP and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) will hold the yearly tradition of a “Kalbaryo ng Maralita.” They will march tomorrow morning Palasan in Parañaque to the Baclaran Church.

“Palasan is the starting point of the Kalbaryo because it is symbolic of the sufferings of the urban poor. The residents of Palasan recently had to endure a series of violent demolitions spearheaded by the Parañaque police and private guards of the Amvel Subdivision which is owned by El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde. Palasan reflects the eviction and militarization that plagues the urban poor,” added Romy Cabugnason, a PM leader in Parañaque.

Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, asserted that “There are many more Palasans. There are millions of urban poor who survive but endure without decent housing. There are masses of Filipinos whose search for their daily bread is a matter of life and death. If their poverty will end, it will need a critical analysis that goes beyond simply blaming corruption and it will need the political will to implement redistribution of wealth and radical reforms.”

In the Kalbaryo, the Parañaque police and Amvel guards will be caricatured as Roman centurions while Velarde will be depicted as a hypocritical Pharisee. After several demolition attempts that included arson and arrests, the residents of Palasan were finally evicted and their community buried under a meter of soil.

The former community of Palasan was situated beside the Amvel Subdivision owned by Velarde who recently admitted to proposing the controversial rerouting of the C5 extension road. The Palasan residents accuse Velarde of landgrabbing and being the mastermind behind the demolition.

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