Pandemic must not stop concern for social justice— bishop

Pandemic must not stop concern for social justice— bishop

Bishop Raul Dael of Tandag. COURTESY OF DENNIS REY ORTOJAN/DIOCESE OF TANDAG

By CBCP News

December 30, 2020

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop in the southern Philippines urged the public to be more vigilant on social issues even amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

In a recent pastoral letter, Bishop Raul Dael of Tandag said people must continue to fight for their rights and practice social justice while social distancing.

“Let us continue to be vigilant even as we struggle with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Dael said.

“Let us not allow ourselves to be complacent regarding social realities and political issues,” he said.

The bishop particularly warned of the dangers of the contentious anti-terror law, which faces legal challenges at the Supreme Court.

The Church and the people of good will, he said abhor terrorism and want a law that truly provides order, security and wellbeing of the nation.

But such counter-terrorism measure that is “vague and contrary to the Constitution,” he said, should be opposed or struck down.

“This is what we are hoping that our Justices in the Supreme Court will do,” Dael said.

“If anyone innocent becomes a victim of this Anti-Terrorism Law, the Church cannot remain a mere observer but an active witness for the pursuit of truth and justice,” he added.

Critics condemned the new law, which took effect last July 18, as a weapon to target opponents and stifle free speech.

The bishop urged the government not to regard dissenting opinions as a threat but an opportunity to find better and more integral solutions for lasting peace.

“A healthy and stable government allows dissent because dissent purifies opinion and guides leadership,” he said.

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