Kabataan Partylist’s bill-A A +A
Saturday, June 23, 2012
I CAN describe the bill filed by Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino in one word: crazy. I think this guy deserves a lecture on religion by his parents and by church officials. He embraces Roman Catholic teachings but acts like an atheist. Or is Kabataan Partylist, which was founded by militant organizations to advance the interest of the youth, a believer in a god-less ideology?
Palatino filed House Bill 6330 or “An Act Empowering Heads of Offices and Departments to Strictly Implement the Constitutional Provisions on Religious freedom in Government Offices,” which seeks to ban ecumenical prayers and religious ceremonies and the display of religious icons inside government offices. (Editor’s Note: Kabataan Partylist has announced yesterday it is withdrawing the bill)
Palatino explained that the Philippine Constitution clearly states that government should not unduly favor one religion over another. He said House Bill 6330 merely empowers government agency heads to ensure neutrality inside government offices.
“There should be no religious icons, symbols and ceremonies in government offices. We recognize that we have more than one religion in the Philippines. Those Filipinos who go to government offices are not there to affirm their spiritual beliefs but to transact with government,” Palatino explained.
He said that his move was in response to numerous complaints he received from government employees who are “forced” to attend mass or other religious activities by their superiors even during office hours. He criticized employees of some government offices that do not transact business during lunch break because they are hearing mass.
If the bill becomes law, government agencies and local government units can no longer hold masses during anniversaries and other special occasions in their offices. This includes Malacañang and Congress. Even the holding of ecumenical masses involving different religions will be banned. Hinanggaw man ni, uy.
Palatino should revisit Section 5, Article 3 (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution, which states: No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religion test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.
On the display of icons inside government offices, I think this is suppression of one's right to express one’s beliefs. Our relationship with God is personal. Isn't it religious freedom if we allow a department head or an employee to display an icon in his office or table?
Wala man na manghilabot nang imahen diha, nganong initan man na sa uban? Maayo gani butangan og rebulto sa santos ang mga opisina nga kusog ang kurapsiyon sama sa Bureau of Customs aron magpanagana sila sa paghimo og binuang kay naay santos nagtaw-aw.
I am a Roman Catholic and, as of this time, I have no intention of transferring to another religion. I am ashamed, however, to claim that I am a devout Catholic because I seldom attend masses. But I usually drop by the church to say some prayers. My relationship with God is personal and I can pray anytime and anywhere if I wish too.
In our dySS Super Radyo announcer's booth and in my office there are images of the Sto. Niño. Before going onboard in my early morning radio program and before leaving the office, I pray to Him and ask for His divine guidance and protection. Had I been employed in government, I would still have done the same as an exercise of my religious freedom.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 23, 2012.