In his message for the New Year, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, called on the faithful to hope and work for change.
“The change that we all dream will not come abruptly nor quickly,” he said. “Let us all work for it.”
The prelate urged Filipinos not only to focus their attention on the coronavirus and its various strains but also on the “climate emergency,” which he said “is still upon us.”
Bishop Pabillo said that while the pandemic is a major challenge for everyone, concern for the environment and social justice should not be placed on the back burner.
“Human rights should also not be set aside,” he said. “There cannot be a better future if human rights and human life are not respected and valued,” added the prelate.
He said there are more reasons to hope now that COVID-19 vaccines are being developed, but he siad it is “unfortunate” that government officials were vaccinated “surreptitiously and without undergoing the transparent process.”
Bishop Pabillo said it “does not bode of a good beginning.”
Media reports earlier said the government was already able to acquire vaccines that were administered on President Rodrigo Duterte’s security personnel.
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national coordinator of Caritas Philippines, said the move was “irresponsible” and a “breach of regulatory process.”
Bishop Pabillo, however, said that everyone should “hold on to hope as we enter the new year.”
He said there should be “hope for a cure to the virus that is transparent and equitable, hope for a no-nonsense response to the climate emergency that is upon us, hope for respect to human rights and human life for everyone.”
He said another glimmer of hope are the growing calls for solidarity and cooperation, adding that the global health crisis is calling for “greater solidarity and fraternity” among all peoples “rather than competition that leaves the vulnerable behind.”