A Church-based movement and Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, launched on Monday, March 28, what they described as “40 days of prayer and discernment” for the coming elections.
An initiative of Dilaab Foundation and Caritas Philippines, the campaign will take place from March 30 until election day on May 9.
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national chairman of Caritas Philippines, said the initiative aims to highlight that “it is very important that we put God in the center of political exercise.”
“We invite you to discern and put God at the center of your decision-making especially this coming elections,” said Bishop Bagaforo during the “i Vote God” online press briefing.
Father Victor Carmelo Diola, founder of Dilaab, estimated that up to eight of 10 voters have not yet decided who to vote.
He said the lack of guidance for the electorate has contributed to the high levels of indecision.
The need for guidance is what pushed the Church group to launch “i Vote God,” a nonpartisan campaign to help people decide who to vote.
Father Diola said the choices voters make are still personality-based and dependent on external influence like surveys, name-recall, peer pressure, among others.
The priest emphasized the need for a “culture of change” for voters.
The campaign also includes the five-point “LASER” test, which asks voters to judge their chosen candidates according to their “lifestyle, accomplishments, source of support, election conduct and reputation in the community.”
In a pastoral statement released on March 27, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines encouraged dioceses to apply the “LASER” method in their communities.
Father Antonio Labiao, Caritas’ executive secretary, said they hope to reach out to more people in 40 days and guide them to make a good choice.
“The important thing here is that our voters will know exactly who the candidates are so that they won’t just vote because they were asked to vote or were influenced by social media,” he said.
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