On The Violent Demolition at the Silverio Compound

“Innocent people have become victims of violence, and some of them have even been killed.  But now I command you to do what is right and see that justice is done.  Rescue everyone who has suffered from injustice.”  Jeremiah 22:3
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Will it be a never-ending story of violent demolitions in urban centers with each demolition  more violent than the first?
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The National Council of Churches in the Philippines deplores the violent demolition of urban poor settlers in Silverio Compound, Paranaque City. The death of a young person, injury to many, the arrest of others and the disruption of the fragile economic and social base of the 23,000 residents there cannot be  collateral damages for planned commercial and development projects.  It is a grave injustice.
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“Those who have less in life should have more in law” is reduced to a mere slogan when the legal system and civil authority turn a blind eye to social justice in favor of those who have more and still crave for more.  Many of us are quick to point out the illegal status of the urban poor without an iota of concern for systematic landgrabbing by those greedy for more profit.  Many are quick to condone the demolition of urban poor communities without so much expressing the same degree of concern that the  state  is failing in its responsibility to address the issues that spawn urban poor communities.
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Poverty stare us in the eye in the faces of urban poor and none can be more repulsive than violently displacing them to some resettlement without securing their other equally essential livelihood concerns.  Demolishing their dwellings, breaking up their communities and displacing them is an indictment of a social order without a vision for the long term and of a civil authority that pays lip service to social welfare in favor of corporate business interest.  We urge local and national governments to uphold the rights and dignity of its citizens, rich and poor.  We urge these units to ensure that social  justice is not seriously compromised in its development agenda.  The urban poor are citizens of this republic, too and like anyone else they long for secure dwellings, just compensation, and the enjoyment of God’s bounty in this country.
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We commend the role of NGOs and faith-based organizations in responding to the plight of urban poor especially those who have  been displaced by demolitions.  We are in supplication to the general public to respond to the Christian call for a more just and compassionate society.  None can be more basic in our common life than to express love of God by loving our neighbors.  To love God and our neighbors is neither a slogan nor an option.  It is a command.

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The Most Reverend Ephraim S. Fajutagana
Chairperson

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Rev. Rex R.B. Reyes, Jr.
General Secretary