The controversy over the rounding up of hundreds of beggars, street children and homeless people, on orders of Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, and bringing them to a resort in Nasugbu, Batangas during the five-day visit of Pope Francis in the country is not doing the country any good.
Whatever reasons Soliman is articulating simply does not hold water. She is just fooling herself.
This is the first time we have heard about a staggering number of destitute families and homeless people, specifically from the cities of Pasay, Manila and Parañaque, being bused and be accommodated in a swanky place for reasons ranging from “family camping” to “familiarizing them with a room with a door and toilets”, to “so they would not be vulnerable to the influx of people coming to witness the Pope.”
Do they really have to go to a ritzy place and spend millions of pesos for family activities and orientation purposes? I say millions because aside from the government paying for the transportation, meals and accommodation, these people had to be there for the duration of the pope’s visit.
Besides Soliman should know that beggars can’t be chooser, so why of all places, in Nasugbo, Batangas, specifically in the posh Chateau Royale Resort?
And isn’t the suburbs of Pasay, Manila and Parañaque the places where the pope’s motorcade was suppose to be passing by most of the time?
What Soliman did was simply frivolous, at best and ridiculous, at worst.
But that is neither here nor there now.
What made it even more preposterous was when Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr came into the picture questioning Soliman for hiding the truth about the poor in the country, when in fact, he said, that was the purpose of Pope Francis’ visit to the country? It could be the poverty-stricken in Tacloban or they could be somewhere else.
Would like to give Marcos credit for taking Soliman to task on her stupid move, but Marcos himself should know better.
Marcos should ask her mother.
Former First Lady Imelda Marcos, notorious for ostentatious lifestyle, and who happened to be then governor of the Philippines’ National Capital Region which included Metro Manila and its suburbs in the 1970s, was herself the precursor of this activity of hiding the poor from the rich by building high walls and painting them white, especially along the route where foreign visitors had to pass during international events.