Catholic bishops in the Philippines called on the Filipino people to “fight indifference” especially during this year’s elections season.
“Let us participate and express ourselves in a just, respectful and peaceful manner,” read a pastoral letter issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on March 27.
“Let us especially be concerned for the welfare of our people and country,” said the Church leaders in the statement released ahead of the May 9, 2022, national elections.
The bishops noted that some “have always been mere spectators – unconcerned until they are personally affected.”
“Where, then, is the love and care for our neighbor?” said the prelates in the statement signed by Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, president of the bishops’ conference.
“Let us contribute by fulfilling our responsibilities. We cannot build the future without being involved. Let us not leave this task to others. We need to actively participate in this endeavor,” said the bishops.
They urged the Filipino people to “gradually transform our political culture.”
“If we maintain a negative view of politics and belittle our efforts, then we shall not reap positive results. Let us not gamble on our future,” said the bishops.
They then appealed to all the candidates, the political parties and supporters, the civil society and elections watchdogs to “bond together to ensure that the election is ‘Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful.’”
The bishops urged the voters to be always “on guard against the suspicious and dubious,” referring to those who spread lies, hatred, and those who manipulate people for their own personal gain.
They warned against those who take advantage of the poverty and vulnerability of the Filipinos “to acquire votes.”
“May we not forget: the welfare of all is everybody’s responsibility … Can we afford to be indifferent while our freedom and our future are at stake?” read the bishops’ statement.
“Each vote is important, so important that it is sought, bought or even stolen,” they said.
“When we sell our vote, we lose our voice and our decision. It is like giving up our freedom and our future,” said the Church leaders.
“Let us uphold and not compromise our moral principles in the task of political engagement and nation-building. Let us follow our conscience, striving to maintain an informed and correct conscience,” they said.