Hard pill to swal­low

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

T IS ob­vi­ous Pres­i­dent Duterte does not have fa­cil­ity with words. His mind revs up so fast his mouth can­not keep up with it and words are of­ten left hang­ing on his lips when he launches an­other sen­tence. But he makes up for it with clar­ity of pur­pose and the will to achieve it.

In his lat­est State of the Na­tion Ad­dress (Sona) he was at times frus­tra­tion per­son­i­fied but at other times political will in­car­nate, his face and body clearly show­ing a man steely de­ter­mined to pur­sue to the end what he had set out to do when he took of­fice.

Lodged be­tween the two sides of the Duterte coin are the rea­sons for the frus­tra­tions that now drive him to pur­sue even more re­lent­lessly his dream of, in his words, a com­fort­able life for all Filipinos.

With­out in any way be­ing face­tious with a worn-out phrase, he called us to our face our own worst en­emy. Politi­cians, pub­lic of­fi­cials and govern­ment bu­reau­crats are in­cor­ri­gi­bly self­ish and cor­rupt. Yet small peo­ple, the vic­tims, refuse to call out the for­mer’s cor­rup­tion to save their own hides. Pa­tri­o­tism or loy­alty to the big­ger com­mu­nity of the Filipino na­tion is sim­ply an un­known quan­tity in this coun­try.

The same in-be­tween things are the very un-rea­sons for the Catholic Bish­ops Con­fer­ence of the Philip­pines (CBCP) to cel­e­brate 500 years of Chris­tian­ity in 2021. I’ve said it be­fore and I’m say­ing it again, what is the Philip­pine Catholic Church proud of hav­ing ac­com­plished all these years?

Yes, the num­ber of Catholics has grown but the epi­demic pro­por­tion of cor­rup­tion among pub­lic of­fi­cials and of the ap­a­thy of vic­tims (85 per­cent of whom are Catholics) is grim ev­i­dence of the Catholic Church’s mis­er­able fail­ure to preach Christ’s mes­sage of love, jus­tice and peace to Filipinos.

Many, prob­a­bly most, of the cor­rupt, greedy, and in­com­pe­tent pub­lic of­fi­cials or bu­reau­crats, of the landown­ers or em­ploy­ers who refuse to give their ten­ants and work­ers liv­ing wages are pre­sum­ably Church-go­ing and Church-sup­port­ing Catholics. That makes us a bunch of hyp­ocrites. The Pres­i­dent is right to ask what God we are wor­ship­ing.

Duterte at least ended his speech by own­ing the ac­count­abil­ity for what he has not done or has done wrongly for the coun­try. But what can one man do? So, is there any chance Catholic bish­ops and clergy will own up to the ac­count­abil­ity for what they have not done or have done wrongly for Chris­tian­ity in this coun­try?

It is a hard pill to swal­low. Yet it is my firm be­lief that un­til Catholic bish­ops and clergy swal­lowed the ac­count­abil­ity for the cor­rup­tion of Catholic pub­lic of­fi­cials/ bu­reau­crats and for the ap­a­thy of their vic­tims this proudly Chris­tian coun­try will re­main shame­lessly unchris­tian to its cit­i­zens.

The Pres­i­dent is right. We are our own worst en­emy.*

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