THE COMING National and Local Elections is an opportunity to exercise our Catholic Christian call to social responsibility and love of country. It is happening at a time when our country confronts unprecedented crises of enormous proportions, with millions of our kababayans suffering from the health, economic, and psychological impacts of the pandemic, and the devastation of typhoon Odette. People are afraid of what the uncertain future holds. We are struggling between hope and despair, even toward the leaders we are electing three months from now.
We, the undersigned members of the National Board of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), a national network of private Catholic schools in all regions of our country, believe that our Christian values should be proclaimed vigorously in these elections. These values are at the core of our mission of teaching, research, community engagement, and spiritual formation.
We value truth, and thus we deplore the massive disinformation that is deceiving our people, especially our youth, in a way that is unparalleled in our history. We vehemently reject the candidates who run under this platform of lies and historical distortion – disseminated in social media by massively-financed trolls – particularly the brazen presentation of the Marcos dictatorship and Martial Law as benevolent regimes in our political history. We denounce candidates who exploit our people’s poverty through vote buying and intimidation.
We value justice, and thus we reject candidates who have supported the unjust acts of the current administration, particularly its drug war that has killed thousands, mostly poor and powerless, and the blatant lack of remorse and accountability from the country’s leadership. We reject candidates who supported the current administration’s policy toward China’s aggression inside Philippine territory, its rejection of the Hague ruling, and the lack of protection of Filipino fisherfolk.
We value democracy, and thus we support candidates who uphold it and the rule of law in our land. We reject candidates who undermine democracy through intolerance of critique and opposition, influence peddling in all three branches of government, perpetuation of a culture of impunity, traditional and patronage politics, and through rampant human rights violations.
We value integrity, and thus we support candidates with the following qualities: no record of corruption, proven competence in participatory governance, transparency and accountability in public service, love for the poor and their empowerment, ability to sacrifice for the sake of the common good, and readiness to fight for values of truth, social justice, and democracy. We support leaders who wield power as social responsibility and not self-entitlement, and who can connect to the spiritual in their lives, through their conscience, discernment, and faith in God.
We value our work of educating the youth, and thus we support candidates who will uphold, push, and support legislation to strengthen private education and recognize its complementarity with public education, as critical in nation building.
As educators, we humbly pursue our mission to be beacons of light – to bring the light of truth, justice, democracy, and integrity to our society, now languishing in the darkness of lies, injustice, authoritarianism, and dysfunctional leadership and governance. The May Elections is the opportunity that will break this darkness.
Ultimately, the choice is moral – leading us to take prophetic, non-neutral, even partisan positions on behalf of the Gospel values we stand for, discerned prayerfully and critically, and acted on with courage and faith. We call on our member schools, communities, and partners to unite in this great moral imperative of our times.
(A statement from members of the National Board of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, 7 Feb. 2022)