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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  21 April  2015  

'It’s either heaven or hell for Philippines in 2016 polls’

The Philippines can be heaven- or hell-bound, depending on how Filipinos cast their votes in 2016.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas made this statement as he urged Filipino voters to make prayer and discernment the prerequisites in choosing their candidates.

“Make your vote a product of your prayer and discernment…Remember, your vote can bring heaven to the Philippines. Your vote can also bring hell to the Philippines,” Villegas said in a video presentation during Thursday’s launch of “One Good Vote”, the education campaign of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

“Think of what Jesus would do…If Jesus will vote, how will he vote? Make sure your vote comes from God, a product of your prayer and discernment,” he said.

The PPCRV programme aims to help Filipinos choose the right leaders and combat vote-buying and vote-selling.

“Let us stop the culture of vote-buying. But it’s not enough that we avoid or stop vote-buying. Let’s also make one good vote. One good vote means one intelligent vote, one discerned vote,” he said.

Villegas also urged prospective candidates in the 2016 elections to join the “tipanan” or gathering in every ecclesiastical territory, which is one of the features of the One Good Vote Programme.

The tipanan may include the creation of covenants or agreements among the candidates for peaceful elections.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle also urged Filipinos planning to run in next year’s elections not to take advantage of the “vulnerable” sector in society just to get elected.

“I appeal to all, especially the candidates: Let us not take advantage of the vulnerable, including the poor and destitute—those who almost have nothing in life. It’s like violating or trampling on one’s dignity when you capitalize on the need of somebody in order to manipulate emotionally, spiritually,” Tagle said, referring to the culture of vote-buying and -selling rampant among the poor.

Tagle also appealed to Filipino voters to choose the country’s next leaders according to their conscience.

“We should vote according to our conscience. This is the most sacred part of our being because we believe that through our conscience, we are able to hear the voice of God. That is why voting based on our conscience is a sacred act,” Tagle said.

Meanwhile, PPCRV chair Henrietta de Villa said the One Good Vote drive aims to pave the way for a “clean, honest and peaceful” 2016 national elections.

The former ambassador to the Holy See expressed hope that the campaign will lead to the eradication of rampant vote-buying in the country, which has perennially polluted the national political arena down to the smallest barangay.

“It is specialised. It is people-driven. It is community-conscience based,” De Villa said at the campaign’s launch.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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