CBCP-ECMI’s message for the 34th National Migrants’ Sunday
In these difficult and trying times of COVID-19, we are experiencing the harshness of life. Many of our OFWs are forced to come back home with no security of a better life. Yet, they are still luckier than those who return home in caskets or urns, or those whose remains could not be repatriated.
At home, lately, we have come to know the meaning of LSIs – locally stranded individuals, stranded in the places where they were when the quarantine was declared. There were many construction workers from Visayas and Mindanao who were left to fend for themselves; students who could not go home to their families, and many others who could not return to their loved ones.
This pandemic has displaced many others, especially those whose jobs were in the service industry – public transportation drivers, restaurant and salon workers, those in the entertainment industry, etc. There are those who have no more work to go back to, their companies having folded up or closed. These are displaced workers, and they have families to take care and feed. It has also displaced the economy. It has made life doubly hard, and the end is not yet in sight.
This must have been the insecurity of Mary and Joseph who were forced to flee from their own country with the baby Jesus in order to protect him. We know that we have to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate displaced migrants, especially in these trying times. This pandemic has also become an equalizer; everybody is affected by it. Nevertheless, even if we claim that all of us feel its effects, we are still capacitated to be in solidarity with those most in need, and not to discriminate nor isolate our victim brothers and sisters.
COVID-19 is no reason to forget the displaced migrants. This is the message of the mystery of the Incarnation: God became one like us so we can become like him. Let us share our hope with our displaced migrant workers and those displaced by COVID-19. This is the time when we need each other the most.
Bishop Narciso Abellana, MSC
Diocese of Romblon
Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People
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