Political education and
electoral reform campaign launched by the Diocese of Naval
By LANIE PITAO-TUPAZ (PIA Biliran)
NAVAL, Biliran – The Diocese
of Naval under the religious leadership of the Most Reverend Filomeno G. Bactol
launched the political education and electoral reform campaign yesterday at the
Cathedral Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in preparation for the coming
national and local elections in May, this year.
To instill in the minds of our
people the sanctity of the ballot, the political education and electoral reform
campaign carries the theme “Balota ko Sagrado” with an entailing slogan “No to
Vote-Buying, No to Vote-Selling”.
The launching which started
with a mass and a parade around the town of Naval was attended by the members of
the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) and other religious organizations of the
Diocese of Naval, and students from the Cathedral School of La Naval.
For those in attendance to
hear opinions other than local religious leaders, Fr. Jose Cecilio J. Magadia
“Fr. Jojo” to his close friends, SJ, from Manila was invited to talk on selected
topics as guiding principles in the electoral processes.
The topics discussed by Fr.
Jojo were on “Ang Pagtulun-an sa Simbahan Mahitungod sa Politika, Cha-Cha, ug
Eleksyon” and “Balota Ko Sagrado: No To Vote-Buying, No To Vote-Selling”.
After the discussion of the
selected topics, the participants asked their questions during the open forum.
Since Fr. Jojo is not from the
province of Biliran and is not familiar with the political atmosphere of the
province, his answers were purely based on the neutral ground.
When asked if the church can
assure non-engagement of its faithful particularly its laymen from vote-buying
and vote selling, Fr. Jojo gave no assurance.
He said that the church cannot
monitor the activities of its faithful and laymen on election day but rather the
church can assure to minimize their participation in vote-buying and
vote-selling by massive voters’ education campaign.
He said that the church must
not endorse any political party or candidate. It has to let its people vote
through their conscience.
Priests who engage themselves
in partisan politics should be suspended from their ministry, Fr. Jojo added.
To enlighten the parishioners
and its people, a pastoral letter from the Diocese of Naval was handed to the
parish priests from 14 parishes of the diocese.
The Diocese of Naval is
composed of the parishes of Naval; Almeria; Kawayan; Culaba; Caibiran;
Cabucgayan; Biliran; Maripipi; Leyte, Leyte; Calubian; San Isidro; Tabango;
Lucsoon in the municipality of Naval; and Villalon in the municipality of Calubian.