An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines stressed this following reports 400 people were spirited off to a Batangas resort during Pope Francis’ visit.
CBCP Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs executive secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano also noted these poor families are now back in the streets after their outing.
“Can’t the government show enough sincerity by giving them permanent dwelling places and livelihood projects? They are not even supposed to be trained to live like they have because in truth what they need to know is simply how to have,” he said in an article posted on the CBCP news site.
Last week, Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary Corazon Soliman admitted before a Senate hearing the during the pope’s visit.
Secillano said that while the government can hide street-dwellers from the Pope, it cannot hide the reality of poverty.
The Pope was in the Philippines last Jan. 15 to 19. During this time, the DSWD spirited off several poor families to a Batangas resort.
Even if those gathered underwent a “family camping workshop,” the priest asked if they really need to do it in a posh resort.
“(I)f the intention is for these poor families to be trained on how to live like those who are not deprived of basic necessities and of simple pleasures in life, is the government giving them enough opportunities to reach that status? And for how long are they going to train the poor for that purpose?” he said.
Also, he said it would be more believable if the government simply said the poor families risked being crushed by the millions who would occupy the streets where they lived.
“The poor have cooperated but the government hasn’t paid them yet. In the end, the poor are again exploited. Sadly, it’s the government that did them in,” he said. — Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News