Change is justice the majority yearns for
Despite various technical glitches in the recent elections, the overwhelming number of votes gathered by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte displays conclusively the majority’s disappointment with the present Aquino administration. The people are longing for real change—more explicitly, change that addresses the longstanding fundamental problems of Philippine society.
The majority has clearly chosen the road from where presumptive President-elect Duterte’s “change is coming.” Yes, the Filipino people deserve a leader that will effect change based on social justice.
While we commend Mayor Duterte’s call for unity after the last elections, we would also like to remind him that at the heart of such unity is the welfare of the majority of our people. The incoming administration should continue to consult different sectors, especially the farmers and workers, in crafting its economic agenda.
The unity must not cause the public to doubt that the coming change is for the benefit of ordinary Filipinos who have seen change only in the interchanging faces of the trapo holding power but not in the policies and programs of government. We are wary that the old, elite class and neoliberal policies will continue to rule the country’s political and economic landscapes.
We welcome the exchanges between presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and political consultant to the National Democratic Front Jose Maria Sison, on the possibility of the resumption of peace talks soon after he assumes office. We are also optimistic about a similar positive development in the peace negotiation with our Moro brothers and sisters. We affirm that brotherly dialogue is a step toward addressing the root cause of armed conflicts, and such will surely benefit the majority. We encourage both parties to respect previously signed, bilateral agreements as well as to engage in confidence-building measures such as the release of political prisoners and the full implementation of security and immunity guarantees for those involved in the talks.
As believers, we stand by our faith and call on presumptive President-elect Duterte to render justice for the majority of the Filipino people. We support demands for him to willfully act to (1) make President Aquino and his cohorts accountable for their many acts of negligence that caused the death and suffering of many Filipinos; (2) implement an economic program that will build national industry and ensure agricultural development; (3) increase wages so that Filipinos can live decently; (4) implement policies that protect the rights of workers; (5) distribute land among tillers and enhance food production; and (6) respect the sociopolitical and cultural rights of every citizen.
The coming days will be a Kairos moment for the Filipino people, to remain steadfast in our call for social justice, and this will be as well an opportune time for Duterte to effect the change he pledged to the Filipino people. Now is the time for Duterte to demonstrate “TaMa”— which stands for tapang, or the courage to stand for the poor and marginalized; and for malasakit, or the ability to share and sacrifice to promote the general welfare and defend the rights of the
Promotion of Church People’s Response,
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