Urban Poor Re-enacted the Meeting of the Risen Jesus and Mary
April 3, 2010
Two thousand urban poor showed up on F. Legaspi Bridge (former Javier Bridge) Manggahan Floodway, Pasig City, to watch Mary and Jesus puppets re-enacting their first meeting after the resurrection. Mary and Jesus approached each other riding rafts on Manggahan Floodway, accompanied by 50 children wearing angel costumes. With them were members of Task Force Anti-Eviction (TFAE) including Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), Urban Poor Associates (UPA), and Community Organization of the Philippine Enterprise Foundation (COPE).
This very traditional ceremony situates itself in the concrete problem faced by the residents living along the Manggahan Floodway. On December 4, 2009, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo revoked two presidential proclamations promising security of tenure to 100,000 informal settlers along Manggahan Floodway and in Taytay, Rizal through Executive Order No. 854.
This E.O 854 caused trouble to the residents because they are threatened with eviction and hundreds of them are relocated in distant settlement in Calauan, Laguna, which does not provide basic services and job opportunities.
“We strongly object to the issuance of E.O 854. We talked to all the agencies involved in the implementation of the E.O. but it seems no one is listening to our concerns. This day, through the Salubong we are showing our determination, just like the resurrection of Jesus we have high hopes that we will be saved from the looming eviction and that the government could reflect on this Lenten season to do changes favorable to the Manggahan residents,” said Vicky Morante, President of Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Kababaihan sa Floodway Inc.
“This salubong is also a form of Manggahan resident’ united prayer and a one voice, asking Jesus to spare us from losing our homes,” she added.
At 4:00 PM, urban poor cheered when children wearing angel costumes removed the black veil of Mary when she finally met with the Risen Jesus. People say they felt there are so many problems in the country that they must give time to the happy events in their faith including the resurrection of Jesus and the Salubong.
For her part, Jennilyn David, resident in Manggahan Floodway, Pasig City, said, “We are shouting no to demolition and no to distant relocation while marching to Legaspi bridge because if eviction and distant relocation will push through it is not just our homes that will be taken from us. It also poses other problems such as disenfranchisement.”
A Task Force Anti- Eviction study says that unless we stop the current eviction trend in Metro Manila the number of evicted families will dramatically rise. The number of evictions will grow until there are 59 families evicted every hour. In one day, 1,410 families will be rendered homeless and in a week there will be 9,873 evicted urban poor families. The total number of families scheduled to be evicted by the government is 404, 781. The looming evictions will not solve the issue of poverty in the country but will make the poor poorer. -30-