Tagle to Filipinos: You’re the real representatives of PH

Paterno Esmaquel II
Tagle to Filipinos: You’re the real representatives of PH
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle says it is painful when the Philippines is criticized abroad, but he finds hope in the ordinary Filipino

MANILA, Philippines – Pained by the Philippines’ bad reputation abroad, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle reminded ordinary Filipinos that they, not the Philippines’ “official representatives,” serve as the “real representatives” of our country.

Tagle’s voice was breaking, and his eyes moist, as he made impassioned gestures before an audience of around 8,000 priests, nuns, and lay Catholics at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

Dahil po sa trabaho ko, kung saan saan ako nakakapunta. Dala-dala mo ‘yung sakit kapag binabatikos ang pagiging Pilipino. ‘Bakit ganyan ang bansa ‘nyo? Bakit ganyan?’” Tagle said at the 5th Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE) on Friday, July 20.

(Because of my job, I get to visit different places. I carry the pain whenever people criticize our being Filipino. Why is your country like that? Why?)

Tagle said he often reminds overseas Filipino workers that a country has “different levels of representation.”

Merong mga official representatives, pero kayo – kayo na nakakasalamuha ng mga tao rito, kayo na nakakasalamuha sa Korea, sa Japan, sa Germany, sa Italya – kayo ang tunay na representative ng ating bansa!” Tagle said.

(We have official representatives but you – you whom people here encounter, you whom people encounter in Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy – you are the real representatives of our country!)

Ipakita ninyo through the hunger for love of country, ipakita ninyo ang ating tunay na dangal (Through hunger for love of country, show them our real integrity),” Tagle said.

“Hunger for it. Hunger for the good of the country. And show them the nobility, the nobility of the Filipino spirit,” the cardinal said. 

‘I will do my best’

Tagle then joked that unlike athletes such as Hidilyn Diaz, who was at PCNE, he doesn’t always physically hold the flag overseas, and is even mistaken for a Chinese. 

Pero kahit napapagod ako, minsan, aside from the mission, the work that I have to do for the Church, I say sa maliit kong pamamaraan, dala ko rin naman ang pangalan ng Pilipinas, and I will do my best,” he said.

(But even if I get tired, sometimes, aside from mission, the work that I have to do for the Church, I say that in my little ways, I also carry the name of the Philippines, and I will do my best.) 

Tagle often travels abroad as president of Caritas Internationalis, president of the Catholic Biblical Federation, and member of Vatican offices. Once considered a potential pope, and now a cardinal close to Pope Francis, he is also a sought-after speaker overseas.

Tagle made his remarks as the Philippines draws flak overseas.

The Philippines has been criticized around the world after more than 27,800 Filipinos have died in both vigilante-style killings and police operations since President Rodrigo Duterte launched his anti-drug campaign in 2016. 

Duterte himself has received negative international coverage for his actions such as calling Pope Francis a son of a bitch, similarly cursing at former US president Barack Obama, kissing a married OFW on the lips and onstage in South Korea, and most recently saying God is stupid. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.