[Statement] What one Government gives, another Government takes away

What one Government gives, another Government takes away

(Statement of Bishops and Priests of the National Clergy Discernment Group and the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group on the Barangay Luz, Cebu City Demolition)
October 17, 2012

Demolition in Barangay Luz, Cebu City Photo by Visayan Clergy Discernment Group

“To do all we can with what strength we have, however, is the task which keeps the good servant of Jesus Christ always at work: ‘The love of Christ urges us on’ (2 Cor 5:14)” [Deus caritas est, 35].

With these words of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, we, bishops and priests of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group and the National Clergy Discernment Group, give our full support to the legitimate and just cause of the families of 32 households facing demolition in Barangay Luz, Cebu City who are heirs of land given to them in the 1950’s by the government of President Magsaysay through Proclamation 394 on March 15, 1957. The barangay was then named by the people after his wife Luz Banzon Magsaysay.

More than 50 years later, another government takes away their land, through some technicality, as decided by the Supreme Court.

The Cebu City Council refuses to act on the Executive’s proposal for on-site relocation. The reason – the Council is dominated by the opposing political party. The usual trapo politicking results in more suffering for the people.

The judge who implemented the Supreme Court decision is now in a bind. The first nine families whose houses got demolished and he got evicted are told that their designated relocation lots are in fact already owned by other families. So, the evicted families are left to live under tents next to their own inherited land – ironic!

We hear them crying out, like Jesus on the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46) and we respond with collective voice in asking the Supreme Court to order the RTC of Cebu to postpone further demolitions until all the requirements of relocation are adequately in place; preferably that the heirs hold on to the land given to them by President Ramon Magsaysay.

Secondly, the bishops and priests of the NCDG urge the Executive and Legislative branches of the Cebu City LGU to lay aside partisan politics, and serve the people.

May the day won’t come that we would have to ask the Lord: “…When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we would not help you?” And may we would not have to hear the Lord reply: “I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting” (Mt. 25:44-46).

SIGNED BY 86 PRIESTS FROM DIFFERENT DIOCESES IN THE COUNTRY AND SUBMITTED TO THE SUPREME COURT ON OCTOBER 17, 2012.

In behalf of the NCDG and VCDG,

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D. (SGD).
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro
Tel. No. (033) 3291625

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