STREET ROUNDS – Pope Francis has chosen the motto miserando atque eligendo, meaning lowly but chosen.
This is the statement of health and community based organizations today who are joining the entire nation in celebrating the arrival of Pope Francis in the Philippines by holding activities with the People’s Committee to Welcome the Pope or People’s Welcome.
With much anticipation, the organizations and individuals under the banner of Network Opposed to Privatization (NOP) of Public Hospitals and Health Care Services express their warm welcome to Pope Francis and hope to “air the truth on the plight of majority of Filipinos particularly on their health situation.”
NOP observed that Pope Francis’ true purpose for the Philippines has been shrouded continuously by so many restrictions by the government. The real people he came for: the poor, the victims of a rotten system, the masses, will be shoved in the sidelines.
“We wish that Pope Francis can hear our plea but it seems only the 42,000 armed forces deployed will face us. Our hands will touch only the thousands of new cemented barricades placed on the streets. Our letters would be scrutinized by the event organizers first before any (if any) will reach Pope Francis’ hands,” the group said.
NOP noted important realities that the Pope may miss if he is not “truthfully” briefed about the poverty and neglect that the struggling majority of Filipino people experience day to day.
Thousands of Yolanda survivors who dwell in appalling bunk houses and harsh living conditions, the underpaid hospital workers that work 18-hour shifts and have no benefits, the state-neglect on equipment and medicines in public hospitals that cater to the poorest in the country, that the Philippine Orthopedic Center will be transformed into new hospital for private businesses, the dozens of other public hospitals that are threatened to be turned by the government into private centers in the name of corporate interest under the Public Private Partnership (PPP), and the voices of the several community health workers that serve the underprivileged, purged by state agents on false accounts.
“Together with other groups welcoming Pope Francis, NOP humbly ask for his intercession for the welfare of the sick, the poor and the oppressed and his blessing for our continuing struggle for free, comprehensive health care for the people under a just and humane society”, the group concluded.
– Dr. Darby Santiago
editor’s note: The opinion of the writer does not reflect the stand of Medical Observer