Filipino Bishops Denounce Government's Failure to Address Real Problems

Call for Transparency and End of 'Continuing Corruption and Abuse of Power'

Manila, (Zenit.org) | 1941 hits

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) criticized the administration of Filipino president Benito Aquino III, saying that they have failed in addressing the real problems plaguing the country.

The statement was released following a three day meeting which focused on corruption, unsolved and continuing crimes and poverty. In a statement released by the CBCP, the prelates stated that there is a "long litany of storms" affecting the population and the nation as a whole. The bishops also bemoaned the lack of transparency which has caused "continuing corruption and abuse of power" by government officials.

The CBCP's statement comes on the heels of what described as the government's cold treatment of the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI), which if enacted, would allow the public to scrutinize any government transactions, projects and other documents.

 "Why are they afraid to entrust the citizens with the truth of their governance?" the CBCP said the strongly worded pastoral statement released Tuesday.

"It is ironic that the government that prides itself of treading the Daang Matuwid fears the FOI because of possible discovery of wrongdoing by public officials."

The bishops also denounced the “inability and unwillingness” of public officials to take the road of social justice which resulted in failure to share the resources in the country to meet basic rights of the poor. Among the needs they described were secure jobs, decent housing, adequate medicine, ownership of lands that they till, and quality education.

“New ‘rights’ are being pushed while the most basic rights are being ignored,” said the CBCP.

The collegial body of the bishops then lamented the continuing human rights violations and unresolved cases of extrajudicial killings even almost three years of Aquino election into office. Other forms of crimes and kidnappings continue, they said, and the government “is not able or lacks the political will to prosecute the perpetrators and touch powerful people.”

Reproductive Health Bill

The bishops also denounced the recent enactment of the Reproductive Health law, and the promotion of a “culture of death and promiscuity.”

“This is due to the slavishness of our political and business leaders to follow practices in Western countries that promote, in spite of examples that we clearly see in the West, divorce, resulting in more break-up of families and the dysfunctional growth of children, contraceptives, leading to more abortions, the use of condom, aggravating HIV-AIDSinfection, and school sex education, bringing more promiscuity and teenage pregnancy,” they said.

CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma clarified that the statement was not a personal attack on President Benigno Aquino III for approving the RH law.

Admitting that they also have shortcomings and do not want to appear self-righteous, he said, “As shepherds, we feel that it is also part of our duty to voice the sentiments of the people.”

"It’s not because we want to condemn but we want that all of us will try to take a hard hit over this realities and hopefully be able to come out with solutions. We don’t want to appear like fighting anybody. Our main intention is for the good of the people."