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  • » 05/31/2006, 00.00


    Card. Rosales: "New South Rail must not destroy lives of the poor"

    To construct the railway tracks from Caloocan to Los Banos, the government has displaced thousands of very poor residents. The archbishop of Manila has written to vice-president De Castro in their defence.

    Manila (AsiaNews) – It is "sad and unjust" that those paying the highest price for a railway "should be the poor of the area" constrained "through force and threats" to knock down their homes and to leave, said Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales. The archbishop of Manila wrote a strongly worded letter to Noli de Castro, vice-president of the Philippines about the construction of a new railway track in the south and especially about the clearing of people out of the area.

    "Poor people living along the railroad tracks from Caloocan to Los Baños have come to me several times to ask my help with their relocation problems. I met with them and government officials last March and made suggestions based on children's education, family income, and distant relocation," the cardinal told the politician.

    "People have since reported to me that not much progress has been made in these matters, except that the government in San Antonio, Makati was more open to appeal cases. It is clear the situation in the relocation area of Cabuyao is seriously poor. I attach a summary of a study made for the Diocese of Malolos in the north and for our own use. Note that hunger has doubled since people were relocated; the water is not potable without boiling; there is still no light; family incomes have fallen. Lastly, it is unlikely there will be classes for 4,000 children in the relocation area in June.

    "Distant relocation is the prime cause of much of these problems. If people were relocated near their work and schools, for example, family income would not suffer so much and the children could continue in their own schools with the help perhaps of some school bus service.

    "It is also sad to hear that poor people are encouraged by the government to move to the relocation area even when it is not ready. People have told me they have been threatened that they will not get a spot in the relocation area if they don't volunteer to demolish their houses and move out at once. It is illegal to threaten people thus.

    "Therefore, I am asking you as representative of the government to first assure housing, water, electric and school facilities before setting definite date for all evictions. This will allow the government to complete the unfinished tasks in the Cabuyao relocation site and to look more closely for in-city relocation sites."

    The cardinal then suggested: "NGOs and people's groups with whom we work have found close some land in the Taguig/Bicutan area that would be ideal. Obviously there are objections to use such valuable land for relocation of our poor. We have to look again at our priorities. Do they reflect the Christian social teaching? Some data on these Taguig/Bicutan sites are attached.

    "We hope we can work with you in the future in improving conditions in the relocation area and in finding alternate in-city relocation. We are grateful for the explanations that have been given, but it is not right that the poor bear the major burden of a railroad that will benefit everyone in the society. This letter will be brought to your office by the people with whom I have talked. I hope you can meet with them."

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    See also

    13/06/2014 PHILIPPINES
    Ten years on, cardinal Rosales urges Filipinos to support programme for poor
    In a message, sent for the charity's anniversary, card Rosales said Pondo ng Pinoy "is not about me. It is about helping the poor. Just because I am already retired, it does not mean that people should stop helping. We should always help our neighbor those who are in need. God just used me an instrument for this".

    04/12/2006 PHILIPPINES
    “Charity and prayer for Advent”, says Cardinal Rosales
    The archbishop of Manila tells Filipino Catholics that Christmas should not be experienced as a commercial festivity. It is instead a time to prepare one’s heart and conscience for the arrival of the Messiah.

    07/04/2009 PHILIPPINES
    True heartfelt charity rather than a “stimulus package” is needed, says Manila cardinal
    In his Palm Sunday message, Card Gaudencio Rosales tells the faithful that in times of economic crisis even a “simple donation” can be the sign of a true desire for change. Since 1975 Caritas Manila promotes Easter initiative in favour of the needy.

    24/02/2006 PHILIPPINES
    National state of emergency proclaimed

    President Arroyo has ordered the arrest of several officials of the Armed Forces who are "seeking to destroy democracy in the country"" and she has stationed armed troops to defend the presidential palace. Cardinal Rosales: "The population should remain calm. In the eyes of God, humility and a desire for unity are what count."

    20/12/2007 PHILIPPINES
    Cardinal Rosales: give Sumilao’s farmers back their lands immediately
    A company took 144 hectares of land for building. But the farmers set out on protest march to Manila lasting over two months, and they have been camped outside the Agricultural Commission for weeks. The Church throws its’ weight behind the protest. Now Arroyo has ordered that the land be restored.

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