‘Overhaul of govt’ begins with individual change—priest

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MANILA, Sept. 19, 2013 — An overhaul of the government system is not enough to change a nation, because more than just public accountability of officials, real change would also demand from individuals commitment to personal change and integrity, a priest said. 

“We ask for change in government, but we also need to ask and commit ourselves to the necessary change we each have to make,” said Fr. Leo Damlao, CMF, provincial superior of the Claretian congregation during his homily for the “Mass for Truth” held in San Agustin Church, September 13.

Just like in a system of many parts, he explained, to change one part like the institution of government will not be enough, or else, an “imbalance” will exist, causing the new system to fail yet again. 

“We are also challenged to look inwards and ask ourselves how we contribute to perpetuating these wrong doings. How many times have we, ordinary citizens, turned a blind eye on critical issues just because this do not affect us, or worst, because doing so would ask us to leave our comfort zones?,” Damlao,  in his homily told some 2,000 people, most of whom were members of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), gathered to call for the abolition of the pork barrel system. 

Concretely, Dalmao said, there is a need for ordinary Filipinos to take a “collective stand against abuses and corruption” by reporting abuses or corrupt practices that they may directly witness or know of. 

“There is no worst form of blindness than turning our backs from all injustices and lies committed right in front of us and still claim that we can see and even lead,” Damlao added. 

If the call to personal change goes unheeded, Damlao said, “this coming together and the gathering last August 26 and all our position papers will be recorded in history simply as one of the country’s outburst of emotions.” 

Damlao, together with the members of the religious congregations in the country, also hopes the pork barrel issue will be resolved soon. 

“We too do not know how it would end, but the situation is a reminder that as a nation, we still have many issues to be addressed. Issues that may not so be real to many of us whose lives revolve around Metro Manila,” he added. 

“We need to stand up and make a stand for truth and justice,” Damlao furthered. 

Another major multi-sectoral mobilization calling for the scrapping of the pork barrel and other discretionary funds is scheduled on September 21, anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, in Rizal Park, at 9 a.m. onwards. (Jandel Posion)

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