10/28/2008, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Filipino bishops condemn endemic corruption in the country

by Santosh Digal
According to the president of the bishops' conference, this represents a "moral cancer" that must be eliminated through "radical reforms." The prelate calls for new "social, political, and economic" policies, in order to confront the general financial crisis.

Manila (AsiaNews) - Corruption has become a "moral and social cancer" that must be rooted out through "radical reforms" in various areas of government. This is the statement of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), according to which policies must be created that respond to the criteria of "integrity" and "support for the poor."

During a press conference held today, Angel N. Lagdameo, archbishop of Jaro and president of the CBCP, recalled the "crisis in the global markets" and the "precarious state of health" of the national economy, emphasizing that "the time has come to rebuild our country on the economic, social, and political level." "Corruption," Archbishop Lagdameo continued, "is the main cause of poverty and hunger in the Philippines. It has invaded all of the public and private institutions, and represents not only an economic and social problem, but also a moral one."

The document signed by the president of the Filipino bishops' conference was also signed by four other bishops: Oscar Cruz, bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan; Joel Baylon, bishop of Masbate; Socrates Villegas, bishop of Balanga; and Jose Sorra, bishop emeritus of Legazpi.

Archbishop Lagdameo also called upon citizens to work for the "formation of a new government" that would repudiate the "moral and social cancer" represented by "corruption," a phenomenon "that is constantly growing" in spite of the "firm condemnation expressed by the Catholic Church."

Bishop Oscar Cruz added that the level of corruption reached with the government of President Arroyo cannot be confronted only with the criteria "of human justice," because it represents a "crime that calls out to heaven for vengeance," and "must be punished as it deserves."

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