Filipino Nailed to Cross as Protest of Squatters' Plight FWD

Tom Boland (
Fri, 10 Apr 1998 12:07:19 -0700 (PDT)


Wednesday, April 8, 1998; 7:24 p.m. EDT

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- A Philippine slum dweller had himself nailed to
a cross for 20 minutes Wednesday to protest what he said was the
government's failure to resettle squatters evicted from public land.

Mario Galvez, 45, wearing a crown of barbed wire which cut his forehead,
winced as four-inch rusty nails were pounded through his palms and feet
into a wooden cross near the presidential palace.

``I want God to soften the hearts of government officials,'' he said.

He said he was one of thousands of squatters evicted from government
property in suburban Quezon City for a railway project.

Cross nailings have been an annual Easter event in the Philippines for
years, but most are held on Good Friday and use stainless steel nails
cleansed with alcohol.

Thousands of visitors head to Central Luzon, north of Manila, each year to
witness the rituals, which have turned into a festivity with vendors
selling commemorative T-shirts, beer, liquor and snacks.

This Friday, at least 15 men and a woman plan to be nailed onto crosses in
the reenactment of Jesus' death. The woman, a 56-year-old faith healer
named Amparo Santos who has undergone 11 previous nailings, reportedly
plans to remain on the cross for more than two hours.

In most cases, participants remain on the crosses for only several minutes.

The Roman Catholic hierarchy officially frowns on the rituals in Asia's
only predominately Catholic country. But the events are so popular that the
Church makes little effort to discourage them.


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