Bacolod Diocese to Duterte: ‘Listen to us’

BACOLOD. President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Joint Session of the 18th Congress at the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives on July 22, 2019. Carla N. Cañet)

THE Diocese of Bacolod, through its Social Action Center (SAC), has called on President Rodrigo Duterte to listen to opposing voices, including that of the church, as the latter delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) Monday, July 22, 2019.

SAC head Father Chris Gonzales, who spoke at the anti-Sona rally staged by various progressive groups in the province at the Bacolod City Public Plaza, said though they respect the stand of the rallyists, they are not supporting the call to oust Duterte.

Instead, they want the President to listen to them as they might have something important to say.

Gonzales said whether minority or majority, it does not matter. What’s more important is he (Duterte) should listen to opposing voices, opposing powers.

“Though the church is not perfect, it is a listening church. This is the way of the church, we try to listen to each voice because each voice matters,” he said, adding that for the Philippines to be a true democratic country, the President has to listen to the people.

The priest, on the sidelines of the rally, said they are not actually expecting to hear from the President’s Sona.

Rather, they expect him to listen to what is really the real condition of the Filipinos.

“They say the economy is improving, but for whom? Are the salaries of the workers including teachers and nurses have increased?” Gonzales asked.

Gonzales also questioned the administration for accusing some bishops of sedition. “It is unfair,” he said.

“Is expressing one’s opposing point of view a sedition?” he asked, adding that “it is the right of the person to express himself and it is the role of the church to speak out the voices of the people.”

In the last three more years of Duterte, the SAC head said they will not be threatened.

It can be recalled that the President has been hitting the church, including some of its leaders, for criticizing him.

“If one has a strong faith in God, there is no such threat that can threaten you,” he added.


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