MANILA, March 2, 2013—Emphasizing the importance of electing into office people of integrity who espouse Christian values, two religious movements teamed up and launched a campaign for voters to choose candidates wisely and put value on their votes.
The Dilaab Movement together with the Couples for Christ (CFC) launched the “I Vote Good” campaign intended to encourage voters to rethink the value of their vote and to recognize that every individual vote matters.
The campaign was launched during an organized Discernment-Recollection for Election Stakeholders and Candidates held in Cebu City last February 15.
“Choosing to vote good means carefully evaluating each candidate, doing deeper than just name recall or a catchy election jingle; it is also voting according to one’s values and conscience and choosing to vote for God,” the organizers said.
Around 500 participants who are regular voters from the sectors of youth, students, clergy, religious, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Cebu Citizens’ Involvement and Maturation in People Empowerment and Liberation (CCIMPEL) and various Catholic lay organizations came to attend. Provincial and municipal candidates in Cebu also joined the discernment-recollection.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, main speaker of the discernment-recollection, gave a talk stressing on the significance of true listening in a leader.
Tagle explained that empathy is the mark of the truest and deepest form of listening.
“When a person listens with empathy, that person is able to enter the world of the other person and hear what is really being said, what is really needed from within the world of the other person,” Tagle said.
He challenged everyone to examine their personal motives for listening.
His talk highlighted several other issues around a central point of listening with empathy where he recognized a true versus a false shepherd and presented a challenging model to aspire to, in the form of Jesus Christ the true shepherd.
“A true shepherd enters through the main gate, without stealth or devious intent toward the flock. A true leader is open and transparent to his people suppressing any dishonest intentions. A true shepherd knows his flock. A true leader understands the needs of his people, spoken and unspoken. A true shepherd is not a ‘hired’ one. A true leader serves, not because of the money, but with a purpose beyond the money,” Tagle stressed.
He also emphasized in his talk the relevance of God’s guidance in leading people.
“Human shepherd or leaders are shapers of culture. Thus, the values that guide their leadership need to be guided from a higher place. It is important that a person must discern from the many voices that whisper advice in their ears, the voice of God. This then empowers them to implement what God intends for His people,” he added.
He furthered by citing three main points; we are all called to be shepherds and corporately we shepherd our country, listen for the Word of God and purified in our listening capacity, and finally, listening with empathy can be dangerous, it may open up new worlds but you will be creative and fired up with a sense of mission.
Meanwhile, Fr. Carmelo Diola, Dilaab’s overall coordinating steward emphasized on the theme of “listening with empathy” with a talk on pastoral accompaniment, the call of the times.
Diola highlighted the importance of tuning in to God’s voice and explained that the ability to tune-in is not immediate.
“There is a learning curve that we all must go through to eventually get a clear reception. Getting this in place is key to our being able to choose good over evil, learning to distinguish the murky grey areas of good, “apparent good”, the lesser evil and all else in-between both. The election process itself presents one of the greatest challenges to our ability to make this choice for good,” Diola said.
“Current election practices tend to nurture graft and corruption rather than the true needs of the Filipino people. But in this gloom, a conscience bloc is slowly emerging. This is a small but growing bloc that places number 1 importance on the quality of ‘God-fearing when describing the ideal candidate. It is not the number 1 quality that will get a candidate voted into office, yes, but offers a way for people to begin changing their current election mindsets,” he added.
He introduced the LASER test or Lifestyle, Action, Supporters, Election Conduct and Reputation, a tool for listening for both candidates and voters which is a way of discerning or listening to one’s thoughts, feelings, and motivation for entering public service and having an honest and clean election.
Diola invited the participants to answer the LASER test as the first step in starting an honest, interactive conversation with the voters and all other election stakeholders.
Participants also signed a covenant pledging to participate honestly and cleanly in the coming electoral process. (Jandel Posion)