10/06/2008, 00.00
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Catholic Church comes out against corruption

by Santosh Digal
Widespread graft and corruption in public administration and government reach top in the world. Bishops urge the faithful to uphold “Christian values” and promote “morality, integrity and honesty” for the good of the country.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Filipino Church leaders have called on Catholics to uproot the country’s widespread culture of corruption and be more active in fighting graft and corruption, especially in the public administration and the government, where it has become institutionalised. It urges them to fight for and practice good governance. The warning came last week during a three-day convention in Iloilo, southern Philippines, which attracted 500 lay people from 86 dioceses.

Graft and corruption remains one of the most pressing problems of the country, said Mgr Angel Lagdameo, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and archbishop of Jaro.

According to a World Bank report the Philippines from top to bottom are the most corrupt country in East Asia.

For Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes, who chairs the CBCP's Episcopal Commission on the Laity, lay people can help minimise if not eradicate corruption through “spiritual education” and “integrity and morality” in both private and public life.

“The challenge to all government officials in all levels of governance is to live the faith," said Reyes. “They must show that they are led by Christian values and that they are working for the good of the country.”

Kickbacks to government officials and politicians in public projects should stop. “There must be a change in mindset,” the prelate said.

In view of this the Council of the Laity of the Philippines has thrown its support for Pampanga Eddie Panlilio against a recall campaign to oust him from office.

The national organisation of lay people said they are supporting Panlilio's campaign to “promote integrity and honesty in government.”

Panlilio, who last year he received the Filipino of the Year Award by the Inquirer newspaper, is under attack from his adversaries who want him out because of his fight against corruption.

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