As a Roman Catholic (a Christian who believes in the Holy Trinity) myself, I always keep close watch of our church leaders. Do expect me to write occasionally about them.
Today, I’m very much pleased by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) political statement about the cause of agrarian reform in the Philippines. It surely made a statement about it when it declared 2005 as the year of social concerns, but this year the emphasis was placed on agrarian reform alone. The bishops did not have intense deliberation about it when they convened mid-January this year. Perhaps, this is because of the consistent work my group has done with some influential bishops since two years ago. Having shown them the almost unknown the realities in the countryside, we feel that these somehow pricked their conscience.
Go see the list of pastoral statements of the CBCP. I’m very glad agrarian reform has been appreciated by it as forming part of the moral fiber of the Filipino society.
CBCP’s analysis of the agrarian reform kind of echoes that of the traditional left: “The law was defective in the first place, emasculated in the very beginning in a landlord dominated Congress, further watered down in its implementation. At this stage, a year before the scheduled end of the program, there is much that has not yet been done and the general situation of our farmers is still as bleak as ever.”
But what amazed me is its response to that foregone analysis: “We ask that the CARP, defective as it is, be finally completed next year as it has been targeted. And if it is not sufficiently implemented by then, the program should be further extended and funded more seriously and generously. But we asked that the law itself must be reviewed and improved.” Thank God the Bishops know what they are saying. It echoes what most civil society organizations and organized farmers have been clamoring for.