“Aside from spiritual guidance and inspiration, the Pope’s visit provides the Filipino people a stark reminder of Pres. Aquino’s insincerity and arrogance, especially during times of crisis and calamity.”
This was the statement of Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez on the fourth day of the Papal Visit in the Philippines.
In his homily in Tacloban, Pope Francis said that when he saw the devastation of supertyphoon Yolanda, his first wish was to be with the Filipino people. “In times of grave calamity and devastation, this is what is expected from a leader. Our people expected comfort and commiseration from the President and received none.”
“We cannot recall a time when the President has been anything but defensive, arrogant and unrepentant. Instead of taking accountability for his government’s corruption and anti-poor policies, he is always ready to either blame others or point the finger at his critics. His shameful speech in Malacanang attests to the fact that he has no mercy and compassion for poor Filipinos. We sincerely pray that the Pope’s visit presents this contrast, and urges the Filipino people to continue to work for genuine change and social justice,” Martinez said.
He said that Filipino communities and overseas Filipino workers abroad will be staging “Thank you, Pope Francis” activities as the Holy Father is set to celebrate his final mass in Luneta.
“We appreciate the Pope’s sincere concern for poor Filipinos, his stance against corruption and social inequalities, his respect for human dignity and human rights, and his honest and heartfelt advocacy for Filipino migrants and families.” ###
Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International today slammed Pres. Benigno Aquino’s seemingly “doomsday” statement on the upcoming Papal visit.
In Aquino’s message to the public on the arrival of Pope Francis, dated January 12, he called on the public “to exercise utmost discipline…cooperate with authorities…remain vigilant, take all precautions necessary…keep calm; do not push; do not run.”
“It is as if instead of a joyous affair, the President and Malacanang are expecting chaos to ensue. This is not a very welcoming message to the Pope and it sends a message to the international community that the Filipino people are nothing but an unruly bunch,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
Martinez said that Aquino may also be pre-empting expected activities appealing to the Pope to heed the cries of the poor and oppressed Filipino people against wrongdoings in government.
“Aquino knows too well that the Papal visit will once again bring the Philippines under international scrutiny. He cannot have the Pope, a staunch advocate against corruption and greed, denouncing transgressions in his government. With this statement, Aquino may well be attempting to prevent international humiliation by passing off well-meaning welcomers as nothing but rowdy, undisciplined hooligans.”
Martinez said Aquino “is nothing like the Pope who is much-loved by the Filipino people”.
“Unlike the anti-poor Aquino, Pope Francis has high regard for the masses. He is humble enough to listen to the cries and pleas of the people and to speak on their behalf. He is open to dialogue and gives primacy to the interests of the poor and oppressed. This is why Aquino is loath to have him see the sentiments and real conditions of the Filipino people under his presidency.”
Migrante International is part of the multisectoral People’s Committee to Welcome the Pope (People’s Welcome) which will holding series of activities in time for the Papal visit on January 15-18, 2015. ###