Baguio Urban Poor Group Marks 25th Year

By ALDWIN QUITASOL
Northern Dispatch

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — The Metro Baguio-wide alliance for the urban poor, Organisasyon dagiti Nakukurapay nga Umili ti Syudad-Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Ornus-Kadamay), celebrated last week its 25 years of organizing among the city’s urban poor.

Geraldine Cacho, chair emeritus of Ornus-Kadamay, said they started from six community associations and people’s organizations: The Sinakde-an ti San Vicente, Nakukurapay nga Umili ti West Quirino Hill, Bontoc Village Community Association, Bontoc Village Women’s Organization, Maligcong Village Community Association and Maligcong Village Women Organization. They started organizing 25 years ago to struggle against rampant demolition of urban poor homes in this city, 246 kms. north of Manila.

“From six founding member-organizations, Ornus’ membership grew and its area expanded not only in Baguio but also in the whole Blist area,” Cacho said in Ilocano.

Ornus-Kadamay continues to exist as a result of the painstaking work of members and organizers for 25 years, Cacho told Nordis. She added that due to the alliance’s organizing work, communities have been empowered and many mass leaders have emerged.

Through education and propaganda work such as cultural presentations, skits and plays by urban poor youth and students, the alliance has also demonstrated the real plight of the people to wider audiences, Cacho said.

Their socio-economic work, according to Cacho, managed to implement small yet helpful infrastructure projects such as the concreting of pavements and basketball courts.

Cacho traced to the persistence of Ornus-Kadamay the formation of Advocates of the Urban Poor among groups of professionals, individuals and personalities supportive of the struggle of the urban poor.

Cacho concluded that throughout its 25 years in existence, the alliance has pushed forward the struggle of the urban poor for land and housing and has gained victories. “Significant victories included having the rights of the actual occupants who had developed the areas recognized, and the relatively peaceful settlement of land issues in Pinget-Tapaw where people had built their houses, Cacho said.

The celebration also honored past Ornus members and leaders who contributed to the urban poor movement. They paid tribute to the alliance’s members and leaders who had given up their life for the cause of urban poor.

Ornus was founded May 24, 1984. (Posted by Bulatlat.com)

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