Manila (Agenzia Fides) - Philippine Bishops have told Catholics of the country to select competent candidates who will work for the welfare of people and the interest of the country in the forthcoming May 9 general and local elections.
"Let us seek those candidates who prioritize Life and Dignity of the Human Person; protect the Family, Community, and encourage Participation; defend Rights and fulfill Responsibilities; demonstrate preferential option for the Poor and Vulnerable; uphold the Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers; work for Solidarity; and care for God's Creation", says in a pastoral letter dated March 27, Msgr. Pablo Virgilio S. David, Bishop of Kalookan, President of the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
According to the Bishop, the country needs "competent leaders and lawmakers with sincere intentions to serve the welfare of our communities, that is, municipalities, cities, provinces and the whole country". The 2022 election is of great importance. It is the time when we choose the people whom we entrust to both our lives and future, wrote the Bishop. All those who are seeking elected positions in the local and national elections are to show "love for the country". "We must improve the lives of our people, especially the poor and the vulnerable. This is the primary responsibility of a public servant", the Bishop underlined. "The election is not only for the candidates and the voters. All of us, whatever our status in life, will surely be affected by the results of the election. Each vote is important, so important that it is sought, bought or even stolen. Our vote is our voice and decision. When we sell our vote, we lose our voice and our decision. It is like giving up our freedom and our future", the statement reads.
All people "should be reminded that taking advantage of the poverty and vulnerability of people to acquire votes or advance one’s selfish gain is a serious offense against God", he reiterated. "Let's not forget: the welfare of all is everybody’s responsibility. All of us, whether voters or not, have an important role to play. All of us have something to contribute to the welfare of our nation".
The President of the CBCP said " Let us identify the candidates who put the welfare of the nation above their interests" and recalled that "our commitment and concern for others do not end with the election". It is important to follow our conscience, striving to maintain it "informed and correct". The Bishop continued: "While there may be a lot of hindrances and challenges in ensuring the welfare of our country, may we not allow ourselves to be overcome by any fear or threat. May we not be paralyzed by evil nor by our failures. Upholding the good is a fight against evil. Let us not give up the search for truth and our concern for the common good".
He then called to be vigilant and call out "those who use violence, money and power, or other forms of cheating; those who spread lies and hatred; those who manipulate people for their interests; and those who take advantage of the weak and vulnerable". After reiterating "We all want a fair election", he invited us to continue praying and doing good to others, urging Catholics to participate in the vote and fight indifference, as "we cannot build the future without being involved". After exhorting to "gradually transform our political culture", the Bishops appealed to all candidates, their parties and supporters, all civil and ecclesial institutions, the media and brothers and sisters of other faiths, to be united to ensure that the election is safe, honest, accurate and peaceful.
"Transformation of the way we do politics requires a change of heart, attitude and priorities. This is also the invitation of Lent: conversion and reconciliation with God", concluded the Bishop. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 30/3/2022)