The Catholic Church in the Philippines will introduce three novel programs to mark the quincentennial of the arrival of Christianity in the country this year.
Among the projects are a scholarship program for young people, a dedicated campaign for the care of the environment, and active participation in next year’s national elections
“The scholarship program targets poor and slow-learners from across the country to improve their chances of having better lives after school,” said Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo, chairman of the social action secretariat of the bishops’ conference.
He said the implementation of a national plan to implement the teachings of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato si’, aims to encourage the faithful to commit themselves to ecological justice.
The bishop said the Catholic church will enhance its campaign for environmental justice toward the preservation of ecology.
The third program, which will be launched soon, is the Church’s active involvement in the national elections in 2022.
“We will participate to enhance the conduct of honest and peaceful elections,” said Bishop Bagaforo, adding that the Church should be “in the public square and discuss the moral and social issues affecting the country.”
The prelate said the Church should promote good governance and pursue a program on “education for the culture of peace,” which is an important part of the formation of the Catholic faithful.
“The (Catholic) bishops will also be interested in a post-election scenario and will monitor the activities of those who will be elected,” said Bishop Bagaforo.
He said dioceses are expected to provide necessary information through statements, especially when it comes to human rights abuses including the killings of indigenous people.