Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to address issues that affect poor Filipinos as he assumes the highest office of the land on Thursday, June 30.
“May you always seek God’s guidance as you work for the common good of the Filipino people, especially those who are struggling every day to meet the needs of their families,” said Archbishop Marlo Peralta of Nueva Segovia.
In a message broadcast on Church-run Radio Veritas 846, the prelate said that “with sincerity and good will, I pray that you’ll succeed in your presidency.”
“I pray that you’re always aware that majority of the Filipino people are poor and they look up you to uplift their lives,” said the prelate. “Please, Mr. President, do not fail them,” he added.
Archbishop Charles Brown, papal nuncio to the Philippines, said the international community “harbor(s) the same hopes” for Marcos Jr.’s presidency and for the country.
“We pledge our cooperation and collaboration with your administration in achieving the success of your mandate,” said Archbishop Brown, representative of Pope Francis in the country, during the vin de honor at the presidential palace following the inauguration rites.
“There are certainly challenges as there are for every administration, but Mr. President you bring to the office of the presidency an extensive experience of many years in governmental service and your call for unity has resonated deeply and widely with the Filipino people,” the papal nuncio told Marcos Jr.
“For these reasons you begin your term as president with a strong note of hope and confidence in the future. May God bless that future and make it fruitful for the good of the nation,” added the prelate.
Bishop Alberto Uy of Tagbilaran, meanwhile, urged all newly elected officials in the country to follow the example of Jesus, the good shepherd.
He wished that the country’s new leaders have total commitments that “cannot be half baked or else they will lose their sheep,” adding that they should be “ready to sacrifice … to be selfless, to set aside personal interest.”
The bishop said they should have “a sincere advocacy” to stop corruption and “to begin a new culture of honest and transparent governance.”
In a statement, Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic bishops’ conference, urged the incoming administration to address pressing issues affecting Filipinos, such as the alleviation of poverty especially in the countryside.
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, head of Caritas Philippines, also said the government has to push through with the village elections this year as “suspending the polls would reflect how our national political leaders undermine the importance of barangay level politics.”
“It is not right for the government to suppress electoral processes,” he said.
Marcos Jr. was sworn into office on Thursday, June 30, completing a decades-long effort to restore the Marcos family back to the country’s highest office.
Marcos Jr., 64, won last month’s elections by a landslide, securing the biggest victory since his father and namesake was ousted by a popular revolt in 1986.
He succeeds the hugely popular Rodrigo Duterte, who gained international infamy for his deadly drug war and has threatened to kill suspected dealers after he leaves office.
In the last act of reviving the family brand, Marcos Jr. took the oath in a public ceremony at the National Museum in Manila in front of hundreds of diplomats, dignitaries, and supporters.