Organization of Baguio urban poor groups sought

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The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance creating an urban poor association in every barangay and a federation of urban associations in the city to act as their mother organization.

City legislators stated that every barangay, with the assistance of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), shall endeavor to identify residents or households who qualify as being or belonging to the urban poor sector and shall organize said residents into an urban poor association of their respective barangays.

Likewise, after organizing their respective barangay urban poor associations and having elected a president among themselves, the urban poor association presidents shall again organize themselves into a citywide federation of urban poor associations of the city of which an overall president shall preside over and act as representative of the whole group.

Under the proposed ordinance, the functions of the barangay urban associations shall elect among themselves a president who will represent them in the federation of urban poor associations in the city and shall likewise elect other officers; venue for members to voice out their problems to their officers; inventory the skills and capabilities, as well as the qualifications and competencies of its members, and perform other functions for the betterment of the lives of its members.

On the other hand, the federation of the urban poor associations shall elect among themselves an overall president and likewise other officers and collate and discuss among themselves the major problems the different barangay associations face and shall endeavor to bring said concerns to the local legislative body or the appropriate offices to resolve.

According to the council, the City Mayor and the Chairperson of the Committee on Social Services, Women and Urban Poor shall serve as Chairperson and Co-Chairperson of the federation of urban poor associations of the city.

The council pointed out there is an urgent need for the city government to give a clear definition of what an urban poor is for the same to qualify residents who may fall into the said sectoral class.

Among the marginalized sectors of the society such as senior citizens, women, children, persons with disabilities, and even indigenous peoples, it is the urban poor that seems to be the most challenging to alleviate simply because it generally encompasses all classes of people, such they may belong to one type of marginalized sector, and be an urban poor at the same time.

With the age-old Aesop precept of ‘in union, there is strength,’  the council asserted that progress in society beings with the association of individuals who share a common tribute which is poverty, but who are willing to work together towards a common goal which is to enrich their lives of a better future.

By officially organizing the urban poor into barangay associations, the body claimed that the local government may be able to address the problems and concerns of the marginalized sector in a collective manner and thereby provide the appropriate assistance they need and the benefits they deserve. By Dexter A. See