Lacson, Sotto vow to protect Pinoys' religious freedoms

Published March 12, 2022, 5:24 PM

by Mario Casayuran

No Filipino should be made to feel inferior just because he chose to follow different religious precepts.

This was emphasized Saturday, March 12 by Partido Reporma standard-bearer Senator Panfilo ‘’Ping’’ Lacson and running mate Senate President Vicente ‘’Tito’’ Sotto III in their town hall meeting held at a multi-purpose hall in Porac, Pampanga where they vowed to push for spiritual and academic freedoms in the country.

Presidential aspirant and Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson during a campaign sortie in Lucena City. (Photo by Partido Reporma)

Lacson and Sotto said they would ensure that Christians, Muslims, and all Filipinos belonging to other religious organizations would benefit from their leadership.

Lacson issued this statement as he acknowledged that even to this day, some people who chose to worship Allah are treated as minorities in their respective communities, especially the Filipinos who are living outside of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“Ang programa namin pagka kami ay nanalo, ‘yung sa national budget, ‘yung reform, na kung saan lalagyan ng pondo ang mga local government unit… Wala nang distinction ‘yon—mapa-Muslim man kayo, o mapa-Kristiyano man kayo, o ano man ang inyong relihiyon—walang distinction kasi member na kayo ng community (Our program once we emerge victorious is on the national budget, the reforms, where all local government units will be provided sufficient funding… There will be no distinction—whether you’re a Muslim, Christian, whatever religious affiliation—there will be no distinction because you are considered members of a community),’’ the presidential candidate said.

Lacson was referring to his flagship Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) agenda, which would institute equitable distribution of public funds among local government units (LGUs) nationwide to spur a more inclusive social and economic progress for all.

Sotto expressed the same commitment in their dialogue with the residents of Castillejos, Zambales, which they visited last Friday.

He said under their administration, acts of religious and even academic discrimination would not be tolerated.

“Sa amin, makakasiguro po kayo na matingkad sa amin ang religious freedom, educational freedom (Under our watch, you can rest assured that religious freedom, educational freedom will be vibrant). Hindi namin po hinahayaang magalaw ‘yan (We are not going to let that be violated or infringed upon). And if we are announcing our programs such as livelihood, that is meant for all, regardless of religion,’’ Sotto added.

Both Lacson and Sotto are practicing Catholics but have developed religious tolerance throughout their public service careers.

Organizers of their campaign sorties often ensure Muslims are represented in their town hall meetings during their visits to different provinces.