A humanitarian organization and its partner groups called on Filipinos to spend this year’s Holy Week by reflecting and discerning their electoral bets for the high-stakes national polls this May.
Oxfam Philippines, together with Caritas Philippines and CORA or Communities Organized for Resource Allocation, urged the public to choose aspirants who have “integrity and a proven track record in helping” those in need.
The three organizations launched their three-point priority agenda to encourage Filipinos to vote in an informed and policy-based manner.
“With less than a month left before the elections, it’s important that we really take the time to scrutinize candidates and their track records,” Oxfam Pilipinas country director Lot Felizco said.
“The Philippines has long been struggling with the problems of poverty, inequality, disasters and conflicts. With the added threats of the pandemic and climate change, there is so much at stake for this year’s elections,” she added.
Kidapawan Diocese Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines, also hoped that Filipinos “can find the time to really reflect and discern this Holy Week.”
“This will hopefully help them decide on the best leaders this country deserves,” he said.
Bagaforo also hoped that Filipinos will look at the candidates’ positions on significant issues such as climate change, gender inequality and poverty.
“It’s easy to be distracted by the popularity of some candidates but we really need to scrutinize their platforms and see if they have a comprehensive plan for the problems that will greatly affect Filipinos in the next years,” he said.
As voters discern their choices, the groups also hope that future leaders will consider their electoral agenda which highlights three main calls: Fighting for climate justice, championing gender justice, and strengthening economic recovery.
“This agenda calls for our future leaders to have clear and effective programs and policies to address the climate crisis,” said actress Antoinette Taus, who is Oxfam Pilipinas ambassador for resilience and founder of CORA.
“We call on them to have a firm stand on its global commitment in stopping global temperature rise, to adapt climate-resilient efforts in disaster management and to shift to cleaner energy,” she added.
Felizco said that Filipinos are “at a very important point” in history and that their choices “will define what our future will look like in the next six years.”
The Philippines elects its new president and vice president every six years.
“We hope that as we reflect and discern our choices in the next few days, we remember why and for whom we are voting for,” Felizco added.
“All of us deserve bold but humane leaders who will address our people’s challenges. We deserve a just and equal Philippines, and voting for the right candidates this May can be the first step towards this vision,” she continued.