As the Catholic Church marked the World Day of the Poor on Sunday, Nov. 14, Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay, Palawan Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo urged candidates in the coming national and local elections not to use the poor in their campaign.
The chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on the Laity stressed that political candidates must never take advantage of the poor and the needy in their desire to win in the elections. “Doing so is entirely unacceptable and unjust especially when politicians entice the poor with money,” he said over his Pastoral Visit On-Air program in Radio Veritas.
“Politicians must use their money to help when they provide public service and not to buy votes. Unfortunately, there are politicians who want the poor people to remain poor so that they can instrumentalize them, take advantage of their ignorance, and use them. The candidates must help the poor and not take advantage of their situation, “said Bishop Pabillo over the faith-based station.
The Church leader lamented the widespread vote buying every time there is an election in the country. “The poor are being misled by politicians who buy their votes who pretend to help,” Pabillo said.
The prelate called on the faithful to discern the true character of the candidates and to vote according to their conscience. “Take a look at their track record, if they have programs for the poor even before they filed their candidacy.
Pope Francis initiated the observance of the World Day of the Poor in 2017. This year’s theme is “The poor, you will always have with you.”