MANILA, Nov. 15, 2010â€”The countryâ€™s youngest archbishop urged government officials to provide livelihood programs to the poor instead of promoting gambling that degrade the dignity of labor.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas called on government leaders to partner with Church and NGOs to promote livelihood programs and provide family-oriented values education especially on the dignity of labor, underscoring the importance of honesty in private and social life.
â€œInstead of allowing the cheap and easy alternative of small town lottery, I invite government to sustain micro-financing programs that are already in place in many parts of Pangasinan,â€ Villegas said in a two-paged pastoral statement issued over the weekend.
In a statement titled â€œBecause We Believe, We Reject,â€ Villegas said human work has been sanctified by Jesus Christ the worker and that human labor can sanctify humankind.
â€œWe believe in the right of all human beings to leisure and recreation within the bounds of Christian Justice to pursue the common good, to promote the welfare of the poor and provide equal opportunities of advancement for all,â€ the 50 year old archbishop added.
He reiterated the Churchâ€™s teaching that an honest and justice society is possible through the grace of God and the obedience of all peoples to the Ten Commandments.
Based on these beliefs, the prelate said, they reject the â€œculture of gamblingâ€ as a means of livelihood because it is addictive and corrupts the gambler and the operator.
Corruption, he added, is not just simply about bribes and graft because it is an attitude that started as an uncorrected bad habit.
He said they all reject corruption and laziness because it is â€œagainst the values we stand for.â€
Villegas said they reject the scheme implemented by small town lottery which gives local officials and police officers percentage shares in the revenue of the lottery.
â€œThis scheme will breed greater moral evils in government service as it is unfair to the poor bettors,â€ he said, describing the scheme as â€œdeceptive.â€
The prelate said gambling is like a â€œsmall fireâ€ that has grown out of control.
â€œBecause we ignored it, this fire has now grown enough to burn our whole nation to ashes,â€ he said.
Villegas said the operation of the small town lottery added fuel to the fire.
â€œA government that promotes gambling is a morally corrupt government,â€ he further said.
Villegas said the government should humbly accept its failure to stop illegal gambling and cooperate â€œwith all people of good will, with utmost political will, to restore integrity in public life.â€
He said while they extend their hands for cooperation, â€œif they refuse our offer to help, we will fight without relent.â€ (Melo M. Acuna)