By Daniel Franklin E. Pilario, CM

"Dumating na tayo sa punto na taumbayan na po ang magdi-desisyon, hindi na po ang gobyerno, kung anong mangyayari sa ating sariling buhay at lipunan." [The time has come for the people, no longer the government, to decide on what to do with their own lives and society.] (Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque in an act of resignation and surrender in the government fight for COVID pandemic, July 6, 2020).

From experience, the people of Payatas already knew that in the end the government will abandon its duty to the people. After all the election promises, the people will be left to fend for themselves. It has always been like this from the trash slide in 2000 to the COVID crisis.

This is not to absolve the Duterte government of its responsibility. One day, it has to account for its acts at the people's tribunal.

But for now, the people take their own future into their own hands. They have decided on two things:

(1) to take care of their vulnerable members, like the elderly, the sick, the PWDs and continue to supply them with rice and milk weekly, and;

(2) to work and produce food for themselves. To wait for the "ayuda" that does not actually come is senseless. If they do come, fine. If they don't, we need to survive on our own and plan as if the government does not exist.

Despite the community quarantine, the women leaders met every Sunday afternoon to plan how to distribute the food packs to each family; and later, to chart what else they want to do to survive beyond relief operation. During the weekday, they meet with their people and see what works on the ground.

The pictures I share here is part of an ongoing project all over the Ina ng Lupang Pangako Parish in Payatas. Where there are available lots, we see the community working together every morning in urban gardening, composting and planting. Where there is none, resourcefulness leads them to recycle plastic containers and hang them in walls or narrow alleys. Anything that works in order to survive is welcome. #VincentHelps supports their efforts and wish them well.

The Church of the Poor in PCP II means that the poor become "agents of their own liberation" and "subjects of their own history"; that they are not only “evangelized but become evangelizers themselves".

If you have seeds, hand tools, garden pots, used farm implements, other materials and useful technological resources for organic farming, and you want to be of help, please contact us.

Thanks to those who helped us in this endeavor. We are deeply grateful. #VincentHelps

Daniel Franklin E. Pilario, CM
St. Vincent School of Theology
Adamson University