Covenant between Totol, alliance of urban poor seen
NEWS RELEASE (June 29, 2012)
Weekly consultations with urban poor leaders of the South District of Cebu City are expected to result in the signing of a covenant between former DOTC Usec Aristotle ‘Totol’ Batuhan and the Urban Poor Alliance (UP ALL) that consider non-traditional ways towards development at the barangay.
Conducted at the Pagtambayayong office every Friday for several months now, the consultation follows a similar dialog with Rep. Tommy Osmeña that keep the incumbent congressman in touch with the district’s urban poor.
Considered the progressive and civil society side of Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK), the UP ALL and Pagtambayayong have established closer ties with Batuhan and his Abante Barangay Movement because of the advocacy of new politics and grassroots empowerment.
Since late last year for example, Batuhan and the Abante Barangay Movement have conducted daily supplemental feeding programs for six months in Duljo-Fatima and Alaska Mambaling. Carried out away from the eyes of the local media, the beneficiaries were poor, undernourished children selected by Barangay Nutrition Scholars of the National Nutrition Council (NNC) 7.
“Empowerment is not just politics. It starts with nurturing healthy kids and adults so they can act with initiative as part of an empowered citizens in the barangay and beyond. Thus aside from our supplemental feeding program, we are pushing our urban gardening project. This addresses health and livelihood concerns by growing vegetables,” said Batuhan.
Batuhan and the Abante Barangay Movement also conducted coastal cleaning projects in Brgy. Suba and Pasil as well as Cogon-Pardo. To celebrate World Environment Day, they went to Babag 1 to plant some 500 tree seedlings. Today, plans are afoot for the clean-up of the Guadalupe River in coordination with the Akbayan Youth and concerned barangay leaders.
“We intend to coordinate with Councilor Alvin Dizon, who is the Akbayan leader in Cebu City, so we can involve barangays in the north district,” said Joy Lodonia.
Because empowerment during the information age also mean bridging the digital divide between the rich and poor, Abante Barangay has an ICT component that involves the distribution of computer units to barangays and the conduct of an accompanying ICT information program.
The draft covenant with the Urban Poor Alliance (UP ALL) includes the passage of House legislation for “in-city relocation and shelter plans where feasible for informal settlers” and “ensure representation in local development bodies.” The consultation and covenant-signing is part of the process of drawing up Batuhan’s legislative agenda once he wins the Cebu City congressional seat.
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