“IN THE CBCP`s Pastoral Exhortation in 1997: Philippine Politics`, these questions were asked: `How do we go about changing the way politics is done in the Philippines so that instead of being a stumbling block, it will positively contribute to integral development, including the spiritual growth of our people? How do we renew politics so that it becomes a channel for our peoples` wellbeing and growth in the life of grace? How do we ensure that the truths about faith and politics… do not remain unattainable ideals but they become a reality?” (Chito R. Gavino III. “Further Pricking of Conscience”, 2022)
In 1997, CBCP was very concerned with Constitutional Change. However, in 1999, CBCP rejected the moves to amend the Philippine constitution as “these were perceived to be based on self-serving motives”. Today, CBCP is still against amending the unresponsive and inadequate 1987 Constitution due to fear of change! CBCP favors the status quo that breeds stagnation. Where`s its Christ-like passion and boldness? Comfort and complacency seem to be the rule now. How ironic! How sad.
We have a very sick Philippines Society. Our people and country are deeply mired in fourteen (14) traps and two (2) omissions. The following are our questions to our 2022 Presidential candidates about our current dilemma:
Q1: How do you intend to heal our sick society trap?
Q2: How will you address the spiritual/morality trap?
Q3: How will you address the health trap?
Q4: How will you address the environmental trap?
Q5: How will you address the longest insurgency trap?
Q6: How will you address the demographic trap?
Q7: How will you address the poverty trap?
Q8: How will you address the economic trap?
Q9: How will you address the debt trap?
Q10: How will you address the political trap?
Q11: How will you address the crime, illegal drugs and violence trap?
Q12: How will you address the graft and corruption trap?
Q13: How will you address the bulging and inefficient bureaucratic trap?
Q14: How will you address the education trap?
Q15: What is your Vision for the Philippines?
Q16: What is your Mission for our country?
We hope that these questions will also be raised during virtual presidential debates. COMELEC should launch voter education. Media “Talk Show” hosts must likewise ask these questions.
We hope and pray for inspirational, healer and unifier Servant-Transformative political leaders with vision, integrity. Competence, compassion and commitment will be elected in the 2022 elections most especially in choosing our president. Our elected political leaders must govern our nation as “worthy representatives of God”. This is the litmus test for their action.
Our Christian churches must be pro-active, not only vigilant, in every election in the country because, per CBCP then, “Philippine politics – the way it is practiced – has been most harmful to us as a people ”. Political reform in the Philippines, undoubtedly, is imperative for us to move forward.
Politics has its spiritual and ethical dimensions. Based on this truth, five bases for the Catholic Church’s mission were proposed namely:
“1. The Gospel and the Kingdom of God call for the Church*s involvement in politics.
- The Church’s Mission of Integral Salvation involves the temporal sphere.
- Salvation is from personal and social sin, including sin in the political sphere.
- The Church has an option for the poor in the field of politics.
- The way of the Church is the human person who is affected by politics.”
There is no such thing as absolute separation of the Church and the State in the Philippines. The true measure of a Church`s accomplishments is how she fights the inhumane, unjust and oppressive structure/systems in our society. At these challenging times, passion and boldness are expected of our Church, per Pope Francis. Activism, not being merely vigilant, of Christian churches is the call of the times. They should be Christ-like as “Peaceful revolutionaries”.
On the other hand, our Church must lead the way of “lighting a fire under” the 2022 presidential bets to exercise Servant – Transformational leadership if elected. Elected officials are expects to work for the common good. Their mission is to do God’s work on earth.
To our politicians, we recommend this “Politician`s Prayer”:
“Lord God, help me to carry out my duties as a politician. This is indeed a big responsibility. The road ahead to follow the path of truth, honesty and integrity is rugged and dangerous. There is always danger at every turn and corner falling into the evil system of graft and corruption and succumbing to the temptation of always wanting to remain in power. Let me not end up just looking after my public image and neglecting the weightier matter that is public service. Be with me, Lord, and guide me so that even in my principles and to serve the public interest above my own. I pray for my country and my fellow citizens. Give us the true spirit of nationalism that we may work together for the common good and the progress of our nation for peace, justice and solidarity. Amen.”
May I humbly suggest that both Houses of Congress adopt this “Prayer” to be said at the start of their respective sessions. This suggestion also goes for the Executive Branch of our government.
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