ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Bishops: democracy must be guarded

Thursday, 1 March 2018 democracy   politics   bishops   civil society   violence   human rights  

Manila (Agenzia Fides) - Filipinos should "celebrate, guard and cherish the gift of democracy", gained after overthrowing dictator Ferdinand Marcos on February 25, 1986: say the Bishops of the Philippines recalling the 32nd anniversary of the People Power Revolution that led to the removal of the general.
In a message issued for the occasion, the Bishop of Caloocan Pablo Virgilio David, vice president of the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines, remarked that "one of the gifts that we have received as a nation is freedom and democracy. And we tend to take that for granted", calling citizens to be vigilant in the face of a "creeping dictatorship in the Philippines" and "to guard our democracy and our civil liberties".
At the conclusion of the recent plenary assembly, the Philippine episcopate had already voiced its fears in the face of self-serving motives for Charter Change, while President Duterte had said that "a dictator is needed to change the country". Duterte in recent days corrected the shot, declaring to be "old and tired" and wants to reach the goal of a federalist reform of the country as soon as possible, so as to conclude his mandate in advance. The Philippine president set up a commission of 19 constitutionalists led by a former Supreme Court judge, who presented a constitutional reform proposal on the American model.
The Bishops in the recent "March for Life", on February 24th in Manila, once again focused on the bloody anti-drug crusade launched by Duterte, and on other measures such as the death penalty and the abuse of human rights in society. On that occasion, the Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle presided over a Mass urging "to treat people as gifts, not as commodities" and observing that, as Pope John XXIII said in Pacem in Terris, "peace can come only from justice, truth, love and respect". Cardinal Tagle also stressed the need for a campaign of "active non-violence" as an antidote to the culture of violence that is spread throughout the country. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 1/3/2018)