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A Lenten Message

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Everyone Especially the Government Should Be Concerned With the Welfare of the Poor...
We, the bishops and clergy of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group are one with Pope Benedict XVI in his Lenten message to be “concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works” (Heb 10:24).

This Lenten Season, the Holy Father invites us to reflect on the heart of Christian life which is charity. “Being concerned” means being responsible for our brothers and sisters and not being indifferent to their plight. The true followers of Christ hold the griefs and sufferings of the poor as their own (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 1).

In the context of the Philippine society, we witness the miserable situation of a sizeable number of our people who are hungry, jobless and homeless. The unabated oil price increases result to the skyrocketing price of basic commodities, which in turn, add a heavier burden to our already suffering people.

Pope Benedict XVI also exhorted in his Lenten message that we must not remain silent before evil.
With the resurrection of Jesus Christ, He conquered sin, death and the law. His resurrection spells hope and total salvation, the salvation of the whole person.

A challenging implication of this is that God chose to partner with us in his project of salvation. Since salvation is both a gift and a task, we have to struggle untiringly for the salvation of all.

In this light, we echo Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation in Caritas in Veritate that governments must safeguard and value the human person who is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life (cf. Caritas in Veritate, 25).
Independent research institutions, however, have recently reported that oil companies have overpriced the pump price of oil by 8%-43%. In addition, the government is said to have benefited from the unregulated oil price increases as it earned revenues of P48 billion pesos annually or a total of P239.6 B in the last five years due to the 12% VAT on oil.

We thus call on the Aquino Government to manifest that it is indeed concerned with the well-being of the Filipino people by taking steps to alleviate their sufferings such as: regulating the oil industry so that oil companies will be stopped from overpricing the price of oil; removing the VAT on oil; and instituting price control over basic commodities.

May Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection inspire all of us to work for a transformed world: a new heaven and a new earth where there is no more hunger, injustice, oil price hike, exorbitant taxes, skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, graft and corruption, unfair labor practice, land monopoly, profit-orientedness and insatiable greed; where all people enjoy the fullness of life, truth, justice and genuine peace.
As Christ lives,

BISHOP GERARDO ALMINAZA, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro/ Head Convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG)

by Visayas Clergy Discernment Group




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