Church groups launch movement for ‘righteous elections’

October 2, 2021 - 9:45 AM
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Illustration by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay

With less than a year before the 2022 elections, various faith-based organizations banded together to work for a “clean, accurate, responsible and transparent” polls.

“Halalang Marangal 2022” is a coalition of more than 20 church and civic groups that are committed to ensure “righteous elections”.

Among its main activities include a campaign for voters’ registration, voters’ education and poll monitoring.

Caritas Philippines head Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo encouraged the faithful to join the movement to achieve its cause.

“We need to share the burden of managing and administering the electoral exercise with the Commission on Elections,” Bagaforo said.

“We need to help fill gaps in the entire process, help explain how automated systems work and reinforce trust and confidence now at an all time low in elections,” he said.

The electoral process, according to him, consists of several stages that citizens should understand and involve themselves with “dynamism and courage”.

He asked the laity to familiarize themselves with the process and know how each stage in the voting chain contributes to transparent and honest elections.

“We have this special responsibility in times of serious moral, economic, health, food security, livelihood and leadership crises,” Bagaforo said.

“Apathy and indifference are unforgivable and jeopardize our democracy and help perpetuate Godless values,” he said.

Aside from Caritas, the coalition is composed of the bishops’ Commissions on Indigenous Peoples and Commission on Youth; the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP); Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas; and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).

Other coalition members are the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP); De La Salle Brothers Philippines; Network for Justice and Compassion (NetJC); People Empowerment via Transformative Electoral Reforms (PETER); Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMPI); Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB); Bawat Isa Mahalaga (B1M); The Faith Initiative; and Radio Veritas846.

The national Caritas is hoping that the coming together of various groups will lead to a continuing communal discernment and action.

“We are doing this for the sake of our country and to protect the sacredness of our votes,” said Fr. Antonio Labiao, its executive secretary.

“I hope that we elect leaders whom we can rely on for real peace, justice and for life in this country,” he said.