Church group urges candidates to champion urban poor’s plight

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One of the destroyed households in last year's demolition in Barangay Luz (Contributed photo)

CEBU City, April 13, 2013—A church group called on political candidates to champion the plight of the urban poor amidst ongoing demolition of their homes in Cebu City’s barangay Luz.

Fr. Vicente Dayao, convenor of Cebu City’s Archdiocesan Discernment Group (ADG) on Urban Poor said electoral candidates should demonstrate that their reason for running is not for personal gain “but to serve the people especially the poor.”

“Now is the time to do something to stop demolitions and all forms of human rights violations against the marginalized sectors!” he declared.

The discernment group—composed of priests, religious, and laity—lamented the ongoing demolition of urban poor’s houses which began April 10 in Sitio Lubi, Barangay Luz.

“Why are our poor brothers and sisters in Sitio Lubi, Barangay Luz, treated not as human beings who have the right to adequate shelter? When will our hearts of stone turn into hearts of flesh which beat of love and compassion for our neighbors,  especially the homeless and powerless?” the group asked in a press statement.

At the Election Summit held in Cebu City last February 23 this year, the urban poor presented the following agenda to summit participants, which include political candidates

“No to forced eviction and demolition. Yes to urban land reform. Implement on-site development of the urban poor communities in public and private lots.”

The city government began demolition of houses in Barangay Luz middle of last year despite appeal of poor households to appropriate the lots to them “so they could pay for these lots directly to the city government.”

Expropriation of lots would have averted the knocking down of houses, but the government proceeded with the destruction of 32 households.

Dayao lamented the government’s lack of concern on the plight of the urban poor despite the group’s appeal to expropriate the lots to them.

The group is holding a prayer service for the victims of demolition on April 15, 2013, 4:15 pm at the gate of St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Barangay Luz. 

Dayao said assembly for participants will be at 4 pm at the CCTN Gate, urging concerned citizens to join and show their solidarity with the poor. (CBCPNews)

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