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Urban Poor To Celebrate “Kalbaryo” with Cardinal Rosales
31 March 2009. In observance of the Lenten season, some 3,000 urban poor people from all over Metro Manila will march on April 1 towards Quiapo Church.
The urban poor are celebrating their 23rd “Kalbaryo ng Maralitang Tagalungsod” with the theme “Time for Change”.
Mass with Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales and other priests and bishops will be held in the Quiapo Church at 3:00 PM.
The passion and resurrection will be re-enacted in song and dance, directed by Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA). All the dancers and singers are urban poor people.
Michael Sta. Rosa, who will be Jesus in the march, has been practicing for several days in preparation for his role.
The 26-year-old Sta. Rosa will ride on a horse from Liwasang Bonifacio to Plaza Miranda.
He is worried about the horse he is going to ride in the Palaspas reenactment, the story about the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion. “Wala pang practice. Ngayon pa lang ako sasakay ng kabayo. Ngayon lang magiging Kristo,” Sta. Rosa explained.
Sta. Rosa said he used to watch “Senakulo” in the past but he finds the “Kalbaryo” unusual because the verses talk about urban poor issues in addition to the Senakulo verses.
He said it’s okay and he is happy that he was chosen to play the role although he also feels uneasy as he commits mistakes. “Ayos lang, happy. Masyadong kinakabahan. Minsan nagkakamali sa pagbigkas.”
Sta. Rosa will read the Charter of the Urban Poor which contains the issues the poor think must be agreed upon with the government and civil society: policies on evictions, for example, land tenure security, basic services for all, decent houses, jobs and food.
The Charter was composed by hundreds of community leaders, with the help of several NGOs, such as, Urban Poor Associates (UPA), Community Organizers Multiversity (COM) and Community Organization of the Philippine Enterprise (COPE).
The Kalbaryo of the Urban Poor started in 1987. Over the years it has taken place in different places: in Leveriza; on top of the old Smokey Mountain; in the Cabuyao relocation area; in urban poor areas along the Pasig River; but most often in Mendiola.
According to Alicia Murphy, UPA field coordinator, “Kalbaryo” started due to the looming problems of urban poverty. “Ang problema kasi ng maralita ay mukhang di nababago. At lalong lumalala, napakadaming mga demolisyon etc. So kailangang I-highlight yung kanilang mga karaingan. Lalong-lalo na napakapangit kasi ng public image ng maralitang tagalungsod, minsan hindi naiinatindihan ng madla kaya kahit na meron ng ginagawang pang-aabuso sa kanila, violation of human rights, hindi naiintindihan ng publiko.”
“Kaya ang ginawa, siguro kailangang magsama-sama ang mga maralita para ipahayag kung ano ang kanilang kalagayan at kung ano ang kanilang mga pinapangarap sa buhay. Yung pinaka pangarap nila ay magkaroon ng kahit isang munting tahanan na mabubuhay ng marangal ang kanilang pamilya. At saka rin para magkaroon ng pagbabago yung imahe nila, na hindi sila yung pampabigat sa pamahalaan, na sila ay kuta ng mga magnanakaw, na wala silang silbi, mga ganoon. Dahil sila ay nagsisikap na maging mabuting tao. Karamihan sa kanila ay ganyan,” Ms. Murphy added.
The Kalbaryo has tried to show that God has a “preferential” love of the poor and also that the sufferings of Jesus Christ in his passion and death are repeated in the sufferings of the urban poor. Also, that Jesus’ resurrection is repeated in an initial way in the actions of the poor to organize themselves and seek non violent democratic solutions to their problems, such as forced evictions, hunger, joblessness, substandard housing, over-expensive water and light, poor schools, criminality, corruption and violence.
“Karamihan, halos lahat naman ng mga nasa urban poor areas ay mga Kristiyano lahat iyan. At naniniwala sila sa kapangyarihan ng Panginoon na matulungan sila. Ang kanila ngang mungkahi ay ikino-connect nila ang paghihirap nila sa paghihirap ni Kristo. Na habang sila ay inaapi, habang sila ay hindi naiintindihan, kasama nila si Kristo na naghihirap. Habang walang pagbabago sa mundo, walang pagbabago lalong lalo na sa mga dukha, patuloy na pinahihirapan natin si Kristo,” Ms. Murphy explained.