WE ARE NOT TRULY FREE
IFI Statement Independence Day Commemoration
June 12, 2018
A free man is a complete man, dignified, honorable, of lofty sentiments, attended by all his rights and by his unavoidable duties as well…”- Gregorio Aglipay, 1903
As we commemorate the Philippine Independence Day we enjoin all our faithful and the Filipino people to continually reflect upon our situation as a nation in the light of our faith in a liberating God. Do the realities today affirm that we are truly free as a people? Or is it otherwise? Pondering deeply upon the words of Gregorio Aglipay in 1903 saying that, “A free man is a complete man, dignified, honorable, of lofty sentiments, attended by all his rights and by his unavoidable duties as well”, we as a Church cannot deny the fact that today, under this present tyrannical rule our freedom is mocked, our rights are trampled upon and our dignity as a nation is scorned. No, we are not truly free.
We are not truly free because as the day of this year’s Independence Day commemoration was approaching the unabated spate of extra-judicial killings continue. The killing of a lady lawyer on June 04, the killing of a community press publisher on June 07 and the killing of a Catholic priest on June 10.
We are not truly free because the powers of the judiciary, the legislative and the executive are all wielded by just one person.
We are not truly free because the dominion of the United States lingers in our country and China domination loiters in our territories in the west Philippine sea but our government do nothing but lip service.
We are not truly free because our own government continue to unreasonably perpetuate the imposition martial law in Mindanao and poses to put the whole nation under military rule even as people’s rights are already unabashedly curtailed.
We are not truly free because the sounds of weeping are repeatedly heard in the streets and in the countryside. Wail of mothers whose children’s lives are ruthlessly snatched for mere suspicion as drug personalities or insurgents. Cries of distress that are deafeningly loud but goes unheard.
Most of all, we are not truly free because our people have not achieved economic liberty. Because peasants plant but cannot eat their fruit. Because workers build houses but cannot inhabit them. They labor in vain.
There is no reason therefore to celebrate. Instead let us strive to be faithful to our God who thru Christ has set us free and commanded us to stand firm and never submit again to a yoke of slavery (Gal 5:1). Let us continue to live out the nationalist and democratic heritage of our people, and join hands with all peace-seeking, marginalized and struggling Filipino people.
(SGD) THE RIGHT REVD JOEL O. PORLARES (SGD) THE MOST REVD RHEE M. TIMBANG
General Secretary Obispo Maximo
June 12, 2018 | Centennial House, Las Pinas City