Tag Archives: Bishops

[Press Release] Bishops agree to higher wages for workers – CWS

In a press conference of the Church People-Workers’ Solidarity held yesterday Sept. 13, at the Mariner’s Court in Cebu, President of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and members of Catholic heirarchy agreed that the workers need higher wages to cope with the increasing cost of living.

Among the panelists were bishops from the Catholic Church namely incoming CBCP President Archbishop Jose Palma, outgoing CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, and Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza as well as Protestant Bishop and NCCP President Nathanael Lazaro. Convenors of CWS from the labor side were also present namely Daisy Arago of Center for Trade Union and Human Rights and CWS Spokesperson Gary Martinez.

Bishop Nathanael Lazaro of the NCCP, a group of 10 Protestant Churches in the country said that workers are due to workers as the current wage levels in different regions are insufficient to provide for the needs of a family of three, much more a family of five.

In Manila, minimum wage is only P426 compared to the P988 cost of living. In Cebu, minimum wage is will be P305 starting September 22 from P285 after the regional wage board approved of a P20 wage increase for Central Visayas.

When asked to react on this wage hike in Cebu, outgoing CBCP President Archbishop Lagdameo noted that while giving an increase is a good start, the increase should not “end there.” He explained that workers’ needs are changing and increasing everyday so giving P20 wage hikes should not be the end of the story.

President of Veco Employees Union and convenor of CWS, Casmero Mahilum, on the other hand, said that the P20-increase is an insult to the workers especially because wage hikes are implemented only once a year as prescribed by law and as approved by the regional wage board. “While our wage can only increase once a year, prices of commodities are continuously increasing. A P20-increase for one year is really not enough,” Mahilum said.

More workers issues

CWS Convenor and Auxiliary Bishop Alminza enumerated a number of workers issues that should be addressed. Other than the issue of wage, the list of workers’ concerns are contractualization and security of tenure. He said that the conference workshops which will be held today among the participants of the National Conference will aid in drafting an action plan that will be submitted to the CBCP and to dioceses.

“Listening to one another”

Incoming CBCP President Archbishop Palma in his keynote address to the delegates of the CWS hours before the press conference urged the delegates to listen to one another as the “Church considers it its task to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work.” In the panel, he said that “with the goodness of the heart,” he believes that people can sit down to talk about their issues and that a dialogue between businesses and workers can result to something good.

In relation to the Church’s role in bridging the workers, government and businesses, Bishop Lazaro pointed out that the Church need to do this in a “creative manner” so that the government, businesses and workers can talk to one another.  He added that the involvement of the Church in these social issues is only proper and imperative as the Church “places a high regard for achieving social justice.”

Reference: Roxanne Omega Doron, Media Liaison, CWS, cws.cebu@yahoo.com, churchpeople.workers.solidarity@gmail.com,  09217862022

[In the news] Fr. Joaquin Bernas writes ‘talking points’ on RH Bill | Sun.Star

Fr. Joaquin Bernas writes ‘talking points’ on RH Bill | Sun.Star.

MANILA — Catholic bishops expressed willingness to sit down and meet with noted constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas after he announced his position on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill, a Church official said.

Monsignor Juanito Figura, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the bishops are interested to hear Bernas’s “talking points” on House Bill 4244, which is currently debated in Congress.

In an opinion piece for the Philippine Daily Inquirer last May 23, Bernas said neither the government nor the Church has the right to stop people from practicing responsible parenthood whichever way they prefer.

“Public money is neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Muslim or what have you and may be appropriated by Congress for the public good without violating the Constitution,” he said.

The long-time dean of the Ateneo de Manila University Law School also acknowledged that the bill in its present form needs amendment, and he is willing “to contribute to its improvement.”

Consistent to Catholic Church teachings, Bernas expressed his opposition to sex education in public schools “without the consent of parents” and support for the provision that strengthens the illegality of abortion.

Quoting the Compendium on the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church, he said that the government’s responsibility is to interpret the good of everyone and “not only according to the guidelines of the majority.”

However, what drew impassioned criticism from many anti-RH bill advocates and even Church officials is Bernas’s dismay at priests who say supporting the measure is a serious sin and called them as “irresponsible.”

“I have been called a Judas by a high-ranking cleric, I am considered a heretic in a wealthy barangay where some members have urged that I should leave the Church (which is insane),” Bernas lamented, whose article spawned 8,335 Facebook “recommends” and 1,729 shares as of press time.

In the end, Figura believes that as a priest, Bernas is still “pro-life and he is towards the anti-RH bill side.”

Meanwhile, a non government organization has called on the voting public to “learn its lesson” in the next elections and withdraw support from politicians who proposed measures that restrict access to contraceptives.

According to EnGende-Rights, these legislators include Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ralph Recto and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Reps. Roilo Golez (Paranaque), Pablo Garcia (Cebu), Rufus Rodirguez (Cagayan de Oro) and Amado Bagatsing (Manila).

“Those who believe in respecting, promoting, and upholding the rights of women should use their power as citizens to vote for people who will uphold the rights of women. Women are the ones who bear the brunt of the delayed passage of the RH (reproductive health) law and any restriction on their access to the full range of contraceptive methods,” lawyer Clara Rita Padilla, Executive Director of EnGendeRights, said in a press statement.

On Monday, the Senate bills providing for the safety and protection of the unborn will be heard in the Committees on Youth, Women and Family Relations, Constitutional Amendments, and Revision of Codes and Laws.

Last week, the anti-choice bill of Rep. Bagatsing was heard in the House Committee on Revision of Laws with Golez, Garcia, and Rodriguez supporting it. (Virgil Lopez and Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)