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ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – Bishop Severo Caermare and close to a hundred priests in the Diocese of Dipolog cautioned people against selling their signatures for charter change, stressing that a people’s initiative not coming from the people and without prior consultation may only end up favoring a few interests.
In a statement read in all masses in the diocese on January 14, Bishop Caermare, who also heads the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Commission on the Laity, said there have been reports of the ongoing signature gathering wherein money was offered to the voters.
Bishop Caermare and the priests gave three pieces of advice:
- The Constitution is the source of principles and established rules that are known to govern a country. In short, this is not to be easily changed.
- A people’s initiative that does not genuinely come from the people themselves nor is backed up by the real needs of the communities and the Filipino people as a whole will only favor the interests of the powerful few.
- The Constitution was built with lives and blood; if it has to be changed, should not be through deceiving the people with money, but by education and real consultation.
Bishop Caermare and his priests said there is no other better way to build our political life other than to nurture our deep outlook of justice and sense of empathy, including service for the greater good.
“Ang tinguha niini mao ang hustong pag-gamit ug malangkubon nga panabot kun unsa ang pangagamhanan (the aim of all these is the right use and holistic understanding on what is governance),” their statement said, citing Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope), the Pastoral Constitution on the Catholic Church in the Modern World. – Rappler.com