CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 December 2017

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The poor are the majority

MANILA (UCAN): If democracy was taken seriously, the poor of the world would get the biggest voice, as they are the majority, but in a world where money counts, their voice is inclined to get swept under the political and economic carpet.
 
Nevertheless, the urban poor of Manila put their voice into the arena with a series of protests ahead of the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) summit, which began in the city on November 13.
 
The protests criticised the international meeting for what was termed the undoubtedly anti-poor agenda it will run and raised an alarm at the inevitable profiteering of powerful countries getting involved in the reconstruction of Marawi, which was destroyed in a terrorist siege this year.
 
Close to 400,000 people were affected and an estimated one billion dollars’ worth of damage done in the five-month occupation of the only Muslim majority city in Mindanao.
 
The urban poor group, Kadamay, also protested specifically against the visit of the president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, who had been expected to attend the regional summit in Manila.
 
The chairperson of Kadamay, Gloria Arellano, described Trump as “the world’s most powerful president and a real estate magnate with a history of evicting poor citizens.”
 
Arellano said she had no doubt that the president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, would get on his knees to please Trump in order to gain concessions for big businesses in Marawi and the entire country.
 
She described the ASEAN summit as just an occasion for the Philippine government to further open up the country to plunder and interventionism.
 
Kadamay added to her list of grievances the boarding up of eyesores around Manila so that the eyes of foreign dignitaries would not be soiled with the sight of the homeless, vendors and other poor communities.

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