Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Senate urges political leaders to heed Pope’s call for simple living

MANILA-The Senate has adopted a resolution urging political leaders to heed the call of the Pope to live simply and in “outstanding honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good.”

            Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who introduced Resolution 1110, said the Pope’s call for all to live simply is relevant since the Philippines faces the challenges of achieving inclusive growth, which despite the sincere efforts of the government today, still eludes a significant percentage of our population who continue to live in poverty and want.

Senate President Franklin Drilon also said that the Filipinos need and deserve leaders who will make true of the Pope’s assertion that public governance is one of the highest forms of charity: “Public service is not about power or control, it is about uplifting our people from poverty and hopelessness.”  

            Pimentel cited a 2014 report from the Philippine Statistics Authority which showed poverty incidence at 25 percent since 2003.

In a population of 100 million people, that would translate into some 25 million poor Filipinos who are marginalized, robbed of their dignity and stripped of their basic human rights, according to Pimentel.

He said Pope Francis also challenged everyone, at all levels of society, “to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor.”

            “The year 2015 has been declared by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) as the Year of the Poor, to respond positively to the papal challenge for us to live simply, it behoves our political leaders to show the way by their living with honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good so that our nation’s resources are channelled properly to benefit the people, especially the poor, in a culture where the human rights and dignity of everyone are cherished and respected, and justice is done to them whatever their station in life may be,” Pimentel said.

            Meanwhile, the Senate also adopted Resolution 1044, expressing its full support to the review of peacekeeping operations and special political missions conducted by the United Nations in the light of changes in the geopolitical landscape and risks faced by UN international missions.

            Sen. Loren Legarda, who introduced the resolution, said that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had announced last year the creation of a high Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations which will review issues such as the changing nature of conflict, evolving mandates, peace building challenges, managerial and administrative arrangements, planning, partnerships, human rights and protection of civilians, uniformed capabilities for peacekeeping operations, among others.

         Senate President Drilon said that the upper chamber will support any initiative by the UN to reassess its protocols on its peace-keeping operations, given that the Philippines has long been consistently involved in the international organization’s human development and peacekeeping programs.    

            “This comprehensive assessment is both relevant and timely given the challenges experienced by Philippine peacekeepers during the conduct of its missions at Golan Heights in Syria in August 2014 when they were forced to defend themselves against Syrian rebels and reposition to avoid further harm,” Legarda said, adding:

            “Being a founding member state of the UN and in keeping with its obligations to the international community, the Philippines has at various times deployed peacekeepers to war-torn areas like Korea, Congo, Afghanistan, Burundi, Cambodia, Iraq, Nepal and Sudan. We therefore express our support to the UN’s review of peacekeeping operations and special political missions.”

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