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Vigilant collaboration with new government Philippine bishops say

MANILA (Agencies): Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Philippines (CBCP), issued a post-election statement saying that the Church promises “vigilant collaboration” with winning candidates.

Titled, Get up now, let us go! the statement was issued on May 9, hours before Grace Poe—then running a distant third in the polls—became the first presidential hopeful to concede defeat to presumptive president, Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor of Davao City. 

Liberal Party candidate, Mar Roxas, conceded on the afternoon of May 10, wishing the Duterte success. 

The CBCP statement said, “The greatest promise the Church can offer any government is vigilant collaboration and that offer we make now. We will urge our people to work with the government for the good of all and we shall continue to be vigilant so that every so often we may speak out to teach and to prophesy, to admonish and to correct—for this is our vocation.” 

It reminded winners that “God’s hand is to be recognised in the events of history. Credit then, your victory, neither to fame nor popularity but to God who calls you to service and to care for the weakest and the most distressed in our midst,” using the example of children lacking care, exploited women and the marginalised indigenous people.

The statement said, “To those who have been voted to office, we assure them of our prayers, principally for wisdom, that they may discern God’s will for his people and courageously do as he bids.”

The statement from the bishops conference reminded the other candidates that they are more than the positions they ran for. 

“To those who did not succeed, you, as persons, as sons and daughters of God, are infinitely so much more than the positions after which you aspired. Rather than becoming despondent and discouraged, you should challenge yourselves—It is for you to discover your paths, in faith and in docility to God’s spirit,” it said.

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