Catholic prelates happy with President Duterte’s SONA

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

Catholic prelates are happy with the first State-of-Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, particularly when the latter stated that, “there should not be a separation between God and state.”


“I’m happy that he stressed the truth that we can’t separate God from the state. We should never lose our focus on God. Hopefully good changes will come,” said Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco.

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes opined that based on the speech, the Chief Executive is open to the church and its teachings.

“It seems that the President is now open to the church and its teachings,” he said.

Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos noted that the speech “is inspiring and encouraging. The President is magnanimous and forgiving, he did not resort to finger pointing and sins of the past.”

The Catholic bishop added, “He pointed out realistic situations and offered concrete actions” as well as concerns over the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“In particular, I’m grateful to the President for his compassion and concern to our OFWs, as he plan a single building to assist and attend to their needs. Thank you, Mr. President, please continue to protect the well-being of our OFWs,” said the chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI).

On the other hand, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo noted that failure to mention the death penalty was a good sign.

“It’s a good sign that he did not mention death penalty. I hope it is intentional on his part. If he is serious in not taking God away, he should also follow the commandments of God, especially thou shall not kill,” he said.

Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said, “It was a very good SONA. Just and lasting peace by 2022! How? Good governance towards common good, especially for the poor, oppressed, exploited, marginalized, fast delivery of basic social services. No separation of God and State. Inclusive economy. Participatory democracy. Respect for human rights, human dignity, promotion of social justice. Healthy and balanced ecology. People empowerment of poor and lumads. Peace and industrial development, Freedom of Information, unilateral ceasefire effective immediately, etc.”

Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad noted that the Chief Executive clearly wants peace in the country when he announced the unilateral ceasefire with some rebel groups.

“President Duterte wants peace in our country as all of us aspire to attain. The president is sincere and I hope the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) would also do the same. We welcome this,” he added. (PNA)

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