Davao City – Davao’s leaders and common folks got the greatest lesson from the five-day visit of Pope Francis and that is not just to help to poor but to help in the struggling poor.

During the pontiff’s meeting with the youth in the University of Santo Tomas last Sunday, Pope Francis’ pass off reading his prepared speech and instead responded to children’s testimonies spontaneously.

“I am sorry I have not read the prepared remarks but reality is superior to ideas. And the reality you have is superior to the paper I have in front of me,” the Pope said pertaining to the questions posed by 12-year-old Glyzelle Palomar on why God lets the children suffer poverty and prostitution.

Sheena Duazo of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan southern Mindanao said “no idea can defeat objective reality for all ideas come from social practice. That is why he opted to respond spontaneously to the testimonials of the youth.”

“In short, Pope Francis wants us to respond to poverty, injustices, corruption, and all transgressions in a concrete manner that based on concrete realities and not on abstract ideas,” Duazo said.

Duazo cited the pork barrel system as “a clear contrast to Pope’s message in rejecting all forms of corruption which diverts the resources from the poor.”

“Until now, the [Aquino] government is defending and justifying the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program),” Duazo said.

Duazo said they took note that Pope Francis made a statement regarding the “scandalous social inequalities.”

“We are happy to know that the Pope is with us in fighting against injustice and oppression and calling for the people to change the social structure, the system, the despicable status quo,”Duazo said.

“This is not only a call to action for us all Filipinos but a warning to those who are in power such as the Aquino regime that they cannot fool the people with their empty rhetoric for realities are indisputable,” she said.

Wendelyn Momo, 27, a bookkeeper from R. Castillo said she learned so much from the visit of pope “from day 1 until he left.”

“I learned a lot from the papal visit theme of Mercy and Compassion, that we should care for the less fortunate,” Momo said.

“Secondly, I learned that inequality should end. I hope our values of giving more importance to self-interest would be changed,” she said.

Meanwhile, Episcopal Diocese of Davao Bishop Jonathan Casimina said “the pope’s simplicity reverberates in the world of sophistication.”

“His core message is embedded in the very life he lives – simple, humble, discerning, powerfully bias for the powerless in the society,” Casimina said.

The bishop added that with the Pope’s meetings with the leaders of the church it should be recognized that “faith goes beyond the four walls of the church.”

“That faith and practice are inseparable,” Casimina said.

A marketing and communications manager of a Davao hotel said that the Pope’s message of seeking wisdom from the poor and from women has a lot of impact for the country.

“Our leaders need to act on pressing issues revolving poverty and the environment to improve the lives of the devastated communities,” said Meghann Patricia Hernandez.

Hernandez said the Pope’s visit “just goes to show that we can all work as one and that nothing is impossible if we align our goals and put our efforts together for the greater good.”

Jeanette Laurel-Ampog of the advocacy group Talikala, Inc. said “the government should review its policies and programs and make an assessment whether it has served the majority of the Filipino people.” (davaotoday.com)

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