Cebu Archbishop urges Cebuanos to vote with ‘prayerful discernment’
CEBU, Philippines — Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has reminded Cebuanos to vote with “prayerful discernment” in the May 13 elections.
Palma hosted the recent launch of the Interfaith Convergence for Peace in Our Elections, which included local leaders of various Christian denominations and the Islamic communities in Cebu.
Thirty community leaders, pastors and bishops from the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, United Methodist Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines attended the event.
The Islamic community was represented by Ustadz Najeeb Razul, who is also an Islamic Mufti.
“Let our vote be a product of prayerful discernment. Whoever we choose and whatever we put in the ballot, this is what we in conscience have decided in prayer,” said Palma.
“That is why we do not come out with names because we respect every conscience. We respect everyone who makes a prayer and puts that in the ballot.”
Ustadz Najeeb Razuk said they cannot detach themselves from what is happening in society.
“The incoming elections is something we should consider very seriously. From our end, we use our pulpits in order to guide and infuse the values of Islam to our people. To awaken them, to kindle the spirit of unity among our people,” Razuk said.
“We have to be very meticulous. We have to be very pragmatic in choosing leaders, politicians because if we fail to choose and choose wrongly, it will be a disaster,” he added.
Right after joining fellow religious leaders at the Archbishop’s Palace, Palma left for Europe to meet with Catholic bishops. He will be back in the country on Sunday, the night before the May 13 elections.
In a prepared statement entitled “Let Our People’s Will Come To Light,” the group said the nation is “living in crisis.”
“In the war against drugs, lives have been lost and respect for human rights is perceived to be sacrificed. Apparently, our national patrimony and the integrity of God’s creation are secondary priorities in the drive for mega infrastructure oriented development. Despite claims of progress, poverty and hunger continue,” the group said.
“Truth and honesty have lost ground to fake news. It is likewise perceived that there is erosion in our democratic institutions with the necessary check-and-balances askew,” the group continued.
After reading the statement, the religious leaders lit candles to symbolize the light that will guide voters in choosing the candidates in the coming elections. /ee
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