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Saturday, 17 January 2015

Militants laud Pope’s love for poor

From the Website of CBCP

Militants laud Pope’s love for poor

MANILA, Jan. 17, 2015—A local militant group has joined the rest of the country in supporting the head of the world’s more than a billion Catholics, praising him for his “compassion for the poor and downtrodden,” especially as detailed in his “Joy of the Gospel” (Evangeli Gaudium).

The Holy Father rides a Volkswagen Touran from the Apostolic Nunciature along Taft Avenue to Malacañan for his official welcome rites, Jan. 16, 2015. (Photo: Johann Mangussad)
In an official statement, Renato M. Reyes, Jr., secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), expresses appreciation for the deep concern Pope Francis has shown to the Filipino people, especially survivors of Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), most of whom have not yet fully recovered over a year after the disaster.

“We value his compassion for the poor and downtrodden peasants, indigenous peoples, women and youth,” he shares.

“We take comfort in his support for human rights and social justice. We welcome the fact that he is striving to establish the Church of the Poor and encouraging the youth to change the status quo,” he adds.

According to Reyes, Bayan agrees with the Holy Father’s critique of the oppressive and exploitative global economic system that continues to put profits above people, describing it as an “economy of exclusion and inequality”.

“We hope that during his visit, the Pope will come to know the real situation of the Filipino people. Our country remains economically backward and underdeveloped, with poverty, unemployment, hunger and migration on the rise. Human rights violations persist, in the form of militarization, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances, similar to those that took place in Latin America. Social services are being privatized, and our natural resources plundered by foreign corporations,” he explains.

“Corruption is deeply rooted in our political system, with the President defending and promoting the pork barrel system and other forms lump-sum discretionary spending. Accountability is low. Impunity is the norm,” he adds.

Quoting Pope Francis, Reyes states “until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence.”

“There is armed conflict in our country because the past governments have failed to address social inequality, feudal exploitation and lack of sovereignty,” he adds.

Reyes defends the Argentine pontiff, whose views often earned him the tag “Communist” and “pauperist” from critics, pointing out that what he preaches is rooted in the Gospel.
“Let the Pope know the real situation of our country. Let not the security arrangements prevent the poor from welcoming the Pope and let not the barricades and barriers prevent the Pope from knowing the plight of the poor,” he declares.

“The Filipino people are struggling for genuine freedom and democracy, for peace based on justice. We are struggling daily against corruption and corporate greed and for a better future. We warmly embrace the solidarity of the Pope and wish him a safe arrival, he adds.

The Holy Father will be having two more major events scheduled tomorrow, Jan. 18: an Encounter with the Youth at the University of the Sto. Tomas and a papal Mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, Manila. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)


Pope Francis experiences mini ‘Yolanda’

TACLOBAN City, Leyte, Jan. 17, 2015—Pope Francis on Saturday got a taste of what super typhoon Yolanda must have been like with tropical cyclone Amang sending non-stop rains and strong wind to Tacloban City, which hosted the Holy Father’s papal Mass earlier today.
According to PAGASA’s 11:00 a.m. weather update, tropical storm Amang (international name: Mekkhala), packed maximum sustained winds of 100 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 130 kph.

The Holy Father’s trip to Leyte was compressed to four hours because of tropical cyclone “Amang”, raising Signal No. 2 over Tacloban City. (Photo: Analyn Perucho)People in Tacloban line the roads to greet the Holy Father during his trip to Leyte, which was compressed to four hours because of tropical cyclone “Amang”. Signal No. 2 is raised over Tacloban City, Jan. 17, 2015. (Photo: Analyn Perucho)
With the storm moving closer to Eastern Samar, papal visit organizers were forced to compress the Holy Father’s trip to a short but sweet four hours.

After his arrival at the Palo Cathedral at around 12:20pm, the Holy Father announced he was advised to travel back to Manila as early as 1:00 p.m., a lot earlier than the original 5:00 p.m. departure from Leyte.
“I would like to tell you about something that displeases me. The plan today was for the plane to leave at 5:00 p.m., but there is a second-grade storm that is around us and the pilots have insisted that we leave at 1:00 p.m.,” the Pope said, as translated on his behalf by official priest-interpreter, Msgr. Mark Gerald Miles.

‘Truly saddened’

The Pontiff apologized to the people of Leyte, noting that his hurried visit to the province was something that “truly saddened” him.

“So I apologize to you all. I am sad about this, truly saddened, because I have something prepared, especially for you. But let us leave everything in the hands of Our Lady because I have to go now,” he said.

The Holy Father arrived at the Tacloban airport before 9:00 a.m., where he relayed a strong message of hope to rain-drenched Taclobanons and other Visayans during the Mass at the Tacloban Airport.

Super typhoon Yolanda battered Central Philippines in 2013, leaving approximately 6,300 people dead; 2,000 others still missing; and nearly four million people homeless. Yolanda was said to be the “most powerful” storm that hit the country in 2013.

Two requests

The Holy Father then asked two things from the crowd. First is for them to pray from him as he performs his duties as the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
Second, he jokingly asked to crowd to “be quiet” in response to their warm and loud welcome for his coming.

Before he left, officials of the Palo Cathedral gave him a figure of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion, made from the debris of the church when it was ravaged by typhoon Yolanda.

Pope Francis, in return, blessed and gave the Cathedral a mosaic of La Madonna Del Populo.

Pope Francis left Leyte at around 1:00 p.m. onboard his Philippine Airlines flight. He will be travelling back to the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City. (Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCP News)

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