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Neighborhood Solidarity And Cooperation

The residents of Bagong Silang celebrated Easter, or Christ's triumph over death, with greater joy than ever. On Easter Sunday, the residents launched the “Kapitbahayan” Program for their community. The term refers to neighborhood solidarity and cooperation and signifies the great strides the community has achieved. From a depressed, crime-infested area, Bagong Silang has risen to become a vibrant model community. From being the hangout of drug addicts and gang members, Bagong Silang now echoes with the joyful shouts of children playing on the new playground equipment, with the cheerful banter of young men exhibiting their prowess on the newly-renovated basketball court and with the camaraderie of the more adult residents.

The “Kapitbahayan” Program aims to develop a wholistic integrated community managed by and for the residents themselves. The program will benefit the 35 to 40 families living in the area designated by Ancop as a Gawad Kalinga area. Integral to the program is the creation of neighborhood committees tasked with overseeing projects for cleanliness and waste disposal, security and peace and order, and others.

The launching and blessing was officiated by Fr. Nits Adorable, C.P. and was attended by the board members of the ANCOP Foundation and the members of the CFC Council headed by Frank Padilla and Tony Meloto. The Foundation also turned over to the residents the newly-renovated basketball court and the refurbished playground for the youth and children of the area. Oca Oblefias

The Awakening

Hon. Waldo Flores, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary, was the main guest at the STMA Forum. His was an exciting sharing since he related how he was in the thick of things during the storming of Malacanang by Erap's supporters. “It was really scary”, he said, “The fury of those who stormed the gates of Malacanang was so intense.”

“In hindsight, the incident should also serve as an awakening for all of us”, he continues. Although, traces of political opportunism is evident, we must learn why the poor were so easily misled and their legitimate grievances must be heard.” According to Sec. Flores, because of this incident, the president and her cabinet decided that a solid program for poverty alleviation is to be given top priority. Because of budget constraints some government programs have to be suspended to give way to such programs but the president is hoping that a permanent program shall be in place very soon.

Sec. Flores expressed appreciation of CFC's Gawad Kalinga program, which he says is a good program for the poor. He stressed that efforts must be made by government and private groups who are deeply involved in the work with the poor, such as CFC, to explore avenues of cooperation and to learn from each other. The government, he said, must learn why programs, such as the Gawad Kalinga, have been successful and emulate them.

He also expressed approval of the work of CFC in promoting spiritual values in society and government, citing the ongoing Christian Life Program for 35 Malacanang employees. He opined that spiritual programs such as CFC's will go a long way in eradicating graft and corruption and in uplifting moral standards of government. He promised to endorse the CLP to the cabinet secretaries so that spiritual regeneration can begin in government agencies. Manny Catabas

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