Independence means sharing, not selfishness—Cardinal Tagle
MANILA, Philippines—“What kind of independence have Filipinos practiced in the past 116 years? Has it actually been selfishness in the guise of independence?”
These were questions posed by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in a homily at the 10th anniversary of the Catholic Church-led fundraising movement Pondo ng Pinoy. The activity coincided with the 116th Philippine Independence Day on Thursday.
Tagle, celebrating the Mass at a Pondo ng Pinoy eco-friendly charcoal project site in Barangay Calzada Tipas in Taguig city, warned parishioners that “kasarinlan” (independence) often took a wrong turn toward being “makasarili”(selfish), Filipino terms both rooting from the word “sarili” (self).
“That is a misconception of independence. True independence grows through reaching out to others, to God, to society, to one’s country, and to the environment,” Tagle pointed out, in Filipino.
Pondo ng Pinoy, started by Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, encourages parishioners to save as little as 25 centavos a day, to be pooled by member dioceses to fund projects for the less fortunate. To date, the movement has funded P200 million’s worth of health, livelihood, learning and feeding programs.
In his homily, Tagle hit at three kinds of selfishness prevalent in the Philippines, starting off with “economic selfishness” oriented toward selfish accumulation instead of sharing. “The poor have nothing to eat, while the rich have too much, but they won’t share it. When the economy is like that, our growth is not inclusive. We boast of a GDP growth, but the poverty level remains,” Tagle said.
Tagle also condemned the selfishness in Filipino relations and political culture. “When you need something from another, you put them on a pedestal; when they need your votes, they love you. But if you have no use, they don’t see you,” Tagle mused.
Tagle noted that even religiosity and spirituality have been beset with selfishness. “When do we think of God? When we need something. Sometimes, even God becomes a useful tool for us,” Tagle lamented.
Tagle expressed hopes that the Pondo ng Pinoy could spearhead a Filipino culture “rooted in love of God and others.” “Saving not for oneself, but for others,” Tagle said.
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