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Home Tinig Migrante The People’s Calvary, Ang Kalbaryo ng Mamamayan

The People’s Calvary, Ang Kalbaryo ng Mamamayan

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The People’s Calvary, Ang Kalbaryo ng Mamamayan

The Passion of Christ is the short final period before the death of Jesus and is observed by the Christian world during the Holy Week. The Passion (also described as the Suffering) of Christ includes Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, which is followed by his arrest, his torture, crucifixion, and death. And the Passion of Jesus ends with his Resurrection.

The Passion of Christ has been compared to the suffering of the Filipino people burdened and oppressed by national ills, hence the People’s Calvary. The Filipino people’s suffering is marked by increasing poverty, joblessness, landlessness, social  injustice, extra-judicial killings, severe lack of basic social services, forced migration, and the ever widening gap between the elite and the masses. On top of that is a government bent on selling the Philippines — our land, our waters, our resources underneath our land and seas, our patrimony, and sovereignty, and even our working men and women to jobs overseas.

The largest alliance of urban poor organizations in the Philippines, the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY), has done the Kalbaryo ng Mamamayan every year and aptly describes it thus: “the poor as the modern-day Christ, who carried the cross of poverty, injustice, and oppression” and that the struggles of the poor under the Marcos Jr government are “reflective of the sacrifices and passion of Christ, who was executed on the cross for his movement of liberation that threatened the Roman colonial reign and its local oligarchic reign in Jerusalem.”

The people know their Scriptures. The story of Jesus is alive, his message of liberation carries relevance and social meaning for the suffering poor of our modern times.

A appeal for social justice, the Kalbaryo ng Mamamayan during Holy Week draws attention to the plight of the Filipino people. As in the time of Jesus, it is a procession of the people that terrifies and alarms the government, its police, and state forces. The State is chilled to the bone by the message of liberation. (Photo Credit: KADAMAY)

KADAMAY National Secretary General Mimi Doringo, in last year’s Kalbaryo ng Mamamayan expressed it very well: “Ginagawa rin ng gobyerno sa mahihirap ang ginawa ng mga Romano kay Hesus na nagpalaganap ng Mabuting Balita, tumulong at nagmalasakit sa mahihirap, at nanawagan ng kalayaan mula sa pang-aapi ng mga makapangyarihan ngunit pinarusahan at pinatay. Ito rin ang ginagawa ng gobyerno sa maralita ngayon sa anyo ng pagkakait ng nakabubuhay na sahod, katiyakan sa kabuhayan at paninirahan, at pagpapalaganap ng lagim sa pamamagitan ng red-tagging at militarisasyon ng mga maralitang komunidad.” (The government also does to the poor what the Romans did to Jesus who spread the Good News, who helped and cared for the poor, and called for freedom from oppression by the powerful, but was punished and killed. The current government is doing the same for the poor today when it denies us a living wage, the security of livelihood and housing, and terrorizes the urban poor with its red-tagging and militarization of poor communities.”)

The Kalbaryo ng Mamamayan during the Holy Week is a call for social justice and highlights the plight of the Filipino people. It is a people’s procession that terrifies and alarms the government and its police and state forces, just like during Jesus’ time. The message of liberation sends shivers down the spine of the State.

KADAMAY  knows and lives the suffering and the systemic oppression of the poor that continues to weigh down this cross that they bear daily.  And so it raises its voice just like Jesus did. The current government does not like opposition to the Marcos Chacha (charter change) because it not only exposes the Chacha as selling the country to 100 percent foreign ownership and control, but it also perpetuates political dynasties and the unhampered entry and access of US troops and facilities in Philippine territory. “Samantalang milyon-milyong Pilipino ang walang katiyakan sa paninirahan at ‘di na makabayad ng pagkain, tubig, at kuryente” (all these while millions of Filipinos have no or insecure housing and are unable to pay for food, water, and electricity), said KADAMAY.

Despite the vicious red-tagging and vilification by Philippine government and  state forces, KADAMAY remains committed to its fight for the rights and welfare of the Filipino poor and calls on the government to prioritize the needs of the many over the interests of the few.

Reflecting on the passion of Christ this Holy Week is the thought that passion does not only refer to suffering or enduring suffering which Jesus did. I believe it also means a willingness to suffer, to fight for what you love, just like Jesus did.

And this is what KADAMAY and the People’s Calvary, the Kalbaryo ng Mamamayan is also about – the willingness to suffer, to fight for what you love, which is to love and serve the people. ###