Prelate: Church willing to help loiterers

Prelate: Church willing to help loiterers
By Ferdinand Patinio

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — A Catholic prelate on Thursday said the Church is always willing to help loiterers become productive in order to stop them from roaming around in communities.

“The (tambays are a) challenge to the Church. Instead of being in the streets they can be invited to the church to participate in activities that can help them in their spiritual life. There are many parishes, if not all, that hold livelihood programs,” Balanga, Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos said in a circular letter issued on July 5, entitled, “The tambays in our midst.”

Santos added that they can also provide special catechism classes for those who would like to sustain their spirituality.

“There are Catholic schools that provide adult education and skills training. The Church can embark on special catechism classes for the “tambay” who wish to be nourished spiritually,” he said.

Santos, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI), also urged the government to undertake a “build, build, build” program to help the “tambays.”

“The government should also embark on a “build, build, build” program when it comes to “tambay”. Build knowledge and character (education), build skills (for jobs), build houses,” he said.

“These three are self-explanatory and are the basic responsibilities of the State. Unless it embarks on these programs intensively, then the tambay tribe will steadily increase. We cannot move on to progress in economics and infrastructure if we just hide or detain the ‘tambay’,”Santos added.

The Bataan bishop is not convinced with the policy of the government against these people.

“Rounding up the “tambay” will not solve the problem. There will be “tambay” who will replace them in the streets who are uneducated, jobless, and homeless or who live in extremely congested dwellings. In the meantime our jails will be filled to the rafters,” he said.

“One thing should be made clear, however. Not all “tambay” are criminals; not all are lazy; not all good-for-nothing. There are out in the streets seemingly aimless because of many reasons,” he added. (PNA)


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