(Homily of Tandag Bishop Raul Dael during the mass on 8 March 2022 in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur, attended by Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan who are running for President and Vice President)
We welcome Senator Kiko Pangilinan and our Vice President Leni Robredo.
Your visit to our Diocese is something different from all the rallies that you have done in the different provinces and cities in the Philippines.
The organizers asked me to celebrate this mass together with my more than 70 members of the Presbyterium and for the first time also in this cathedral, representatives from the UCCP, Bishop Villasanta, together with the pastors and the clergy of IFI – Iglesia Filipina Independiente, some religious, parishioners and other groups.
I know you are very tired and we are inviting you to rest in God. To rest in the prayers of our people. Usually when you visit places, you have audience with the Bishop but this time we forego it because I want you to be available to the people.
Normally when we are so busy, it is our prayer life that we usually set aside. Pag busy tayo, ang una nating nakakalimutan ay magdasal. But it is very symbolic that the organizers asked for this mass. And it is very symbolic because for us Christians, the more busy we are, the more we should pray.
According to St. Augustine, a person who does not pray is like a tree without roots.
We gather here to worship God and from our worship flows everything. From our worship flows our commitment to the poor, from right worship flows our commitment for public service and that is why we are gathered here, in order to ask God to guide us. And following the vision of Pope Francis in this Synodality, we are asked to listen and this is something that is new to the Diocese of Tandag .
Am just four years old here as a bishop. But we are trying to build up a new political culture. We want to form good electorates. Electorates who will listen first to our candidates and we give that opportunity to our local officials and candidates.
For two consecutive Presbyterium meetings, we have listened to Team Hugpong and Team Gugma, and the priest in their own parishes also listen to the mayors and other candidates.
Because if we want to have a well discerned decision, we have to gather data, we have to listen to all the platform of governance of our candidates.
Madame Vice President, Senator Kiko, these people here I invited, they bring their own baon.
We are trying to build up a new generation of electorates who search for the truth, naghahanap kung ano ang totoo at hahanapin yan ng aming mga taga-Diocese sa Tandag kahit may ulan.
You know I frustrated some of the organizers because I told them on March 8 I am praying that it will rain. It will rain because the rain will test our commitment. Makikita natin kung gaano ka totoo ang ating hinahangad.
Two days ago and yesterday I walked from here to the oval. There are already a lot of people waiting for you there in the rain. I walked because I wanted to estimate the time that is need to arrive at the oval. And it is not advisable that we walk given our limited time. In the oval, please bear with the inconveniences kasi maputik doon.
But I want all candidates who will come to our province to see the kind of electorates that we have. Na handa nating pangangatawanan ang pinapaniwalaan naitn. Like Him (pointing to Christ on the cross). Kaya nagkatawang tao sya upang mapadama sa atin kung gaano niya kita kamahal.
I went to the oval first because I want to see and feel the inconveniences because I think that is what leadership is all about. We will not ask anything from people unless we are willing to go and experience how difficult life is. And that is our challenge and so Madame Vice President, Senator Kiko, hindi lahat naka-pink dito. Kaming mga pari, gusto nila kaming bigyan ng pink face mask but we maintain that the church will not be endorsing someone but we will be accompanying our people so that their choice will always be based on principles at hindi dahil sa pera.
We have here people, ang karamihan siguro dito ay bobobo sa iyo pero may marami pa rin that have not made up their minds and this is the very purpose
that you are invited here so that we will listen to you, so that we will see you.
We are not voting for a shadow, we are voting for a person, a person whom we can always see where disasters are, kung saan ang hirap nandoon na siya. Yun ang gusto naming Presidente, yun ang gusto naming pipiliin and that is why we are giving equal opportunities to all the candidates who will come here.
I am accused in my letter last Sunday that I am endorsing someone.
No, I am not endorsing someone. If Bongbong will come here and ask for the mass, I will give it to him. If Lacson will come, I will give it to him.
The church is always giving space and fairness to everyone and so my dear brothers and sisters, on this day of the election, always remember kasama natin dito ang mga Lumad. They walked 18 kilometers and we know how far that is because one time, my priests went to that place, walking for 14 kilometers. We have an old priest, where is Fr. Falcon? Monsignor Falcon can you stand up? He is 78 years old. He went to the Lumads with us.
Ang boto ni Madame Vice President is just one. Just like each one of us.
Take care of that vote. Do not sell it. Huwag mo ibenta yun. Your vote is not only your right, your vote is also your power. And by your vote, you will tell people what kind of person you are.
May the Lord continue to bless us and all our candidates and all our people now and forever, Amen.