‘Serve the people,’ Manila archbishop tells President Marcos, other elected officials

“You have been given the opportunity to seek the good not only of some individuals or particular groups but of the Philippine society as a whole”

Cardinal Jose Advincula, archbishop of Manila, urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and other newly-elected leaders of the Philippines who were sworn to office on Thursday, June 30, to “serve the people” with integrity.

“You have been given the opportunity to seek the good not only of some individuals or particular groups but of the Philippine society as a whole,” said the prelate during Mass attended by Marcos and other government officials on Friday, July 1.

Cardinal Advincula expressed hope that Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte and other government leaders will follow the example of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who served the poor with humility.

“May you be leaders who give life to our people, especially the needy and disadvantaged,” said the Manila archbishop in his homily at the National Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel inside the Malacañang palace compound.

“Guided by truth, urged by charity, and passionate for justice and peace, may you spend yourselves in the service of common good,” said the cardinal during the Thanksgiving Mass.

“May we also be leaders with depth and grounding – depth gained by listening to God and grounding gained by listening to the people, by being in touch with the lives of ordinary Filipinos,” Cardinal Advincula added.

Among those who concelebrated Mass were Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, archbishop emeritus of Cotabato, and priests from the Archdiocese of Manila.

Cardinal Advincula also called on the Filipino people to pray for the country’s leaders and for unity for the development of the country.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. hands the ciborium to Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila during the Thanksgiving Mass at the presidential palace on July 1, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Father Mico Dellera via Radio Veritas 846)

Mga kababayan, sa diwa ng bayanihan, sama-sama nating mahalin at paglingkuran ang ating bayan (My countrymen, in the spirit of cooperation, let us together love and serve the country),” said the prelate.

Ipagdasal natin ang ating mga lider; tangkilikin natin ang kanilang mga mahuhusay at mabubuting hangarin at hakbangin (Let us pray for our leaders; let us patronize their good intentions and initiatives),” he said.

Kailangan nila ang panalangin at pakikipagtulungan natin upang magbunga ang mga pagpupunyagi nila para sa ikabubuti nating lahat (They need our prayers and cooperation so that their efforts for the good of all will bear fruits),” added Cardinal Advincula.

Other Catholic Church have earlier urged Marcos to address issues that affect poor Filipinos after he assumed the highest office of the land on Thursday, June 30.

“May you always seek God’s guidance as you work for the common good of the Filipino people, especially those who are struggling every day to meet the needs of their families,” said Archbishop Marlo Peralta of Nueva Segovia.

In a message broadcast on Church-run Radio Veritas 846, the prelate said that “with sincerity and good will, I pray that you’ll succeed in your presidency.”

“I pray that you’re always aware that majority of the Filipino people are poor and they look up you to uplift their lives,” said the prelate. “Please, Mr. President, do not fail them,” he added.

Archbishop Charles Brown, papal nuncio to the Philippines, said the international community “harbor(s) the same hopes” for Marcos’s presidency and for the country.

Incoming Philippine President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Junior (left) and outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte (right) salute during Marcos’ inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace grounds in Manila on June 30, 2022. (Photo by Francis R. Malasig, EPA / Pool)

“We pledge our cooperation and collaboration with your administration in achieving the success of your mandate,” said Archbishop Brown, representative of Pope Francis in the country, during the vin de honor at the presidential palace following the inauguration rites.

“There are certainly challenges as there are for every administration, but Mr. President you bring to the office of the presidency an extensive experience of many years in governmental service and your call for unity has resonated deeply and widely with the Filipino people,” the papal nuncio told Marcos.

“For these reasons you begin your term as president with a strong note of hope and confidence in the future. May God bless that future and make it fruitful for the good of the nation,” added the prelate.

Bishop Alberto Uy of Tagbilaran, meanwhile, urged all newly elected officials in the country to follow the example of Jesus, the good shepherd.

He wished that the country’s new leaders have total commitments that “cannot be half baked or else they will lose their sheep,” adding that they should be “ready to sacrifice … to be selfless, to set aside personal interest.”

The bishop said they should have “a sincere advocacy” to stop corruption and “to begin a new culture of honest and transparent governance.”

In a statement, Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic bishops’ conference, urged the incoming administration to address pressing issues affecting Filipinos, such as the alleviation of poverty especially in the countryside.

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, head of Caritas Philippines, also said the government has to push through with the village elections this year as “suspending the polls would reflect how our national political leaders undermine the importance of barangay level politics.”

“It is not right for the government to suppress electoral processes,” he said.

New Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (left) takes oath as president of the Philippines as his wife Louise (center) and son Joseph (right) look on, during the inauguration ceremony at the National Museum in Manila on June 30, 2022. (Photo by Ted Aljibe / AFP)

Marcos, 64, was sworn into office on Thursday, June 30, completing a decades-long effort to restore the Marcos family back to the country’s highest office.

He won last month’s elections by a landslide, securing the biggest victory since his father and namesake was ousted by a popular revolt in 1986.

He succeeded the hugely popular Rodrigo Duterte, who gained international infamy for his deadly drug war and has threatened to kill suspected dealers after he leaves office.

In the last act of reviving the family brand, Marcos Jr. took the oath in a public ceremony at the National Museum in Manila in front of hundreds of diplomats, dignitaries, and supporters.

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