The Order of Carmelites in the Philippines recently participated in the United People’s State of the Nation Address (United People’s SONA), a protest organized to bring to the public arena the different issues that the current administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has not addressed.
The United People’s SONA gathers together ordinary people from all walk of life to highlight the true state of the country. These ordinary people from the different sectors, including the church, would share with the people the true situation of their sector, highlighting their call, their need, and their proposal for the president.
This is in contrast to the expected sugar-laden speech of the president that highlights the president’s priority for the year, courting both houses of Congress to enact his priority bills that would help realize his plans by the end of his term.
The brothers went with other church people through the Promotion of Church People’s Response. They braved the heavy rains, walking side by side with members of other religious congregations – sisters, brothers, clergy and lay – and with people of other faith to bring to the fore the united call to “seek to be faithful to God by participating in a collective effort to defend our seas, lands, and people.” That is to call the Duterte administration to be accountable for the widespread killings and human rights violations and the worsening economic conditions that affects our poorest citizens.
Participating in the United People’s SONA is but one of the prophetic expressions of the brothers in their journey of realizing an encounter with the living God.
Vowed to seek the face of the living God in the midst of the oppressed people of God, the brothers continue to engage with the oppressed sectors, to be in solidarity with them especially in their struggles, in their pains, in their anxieties, and in their grief. (By Br. Ritche T. Salgado, O.Carm.)
Photo: Carmelite brothers flanking Caloocan Bishop emeritus, Most Reverend Deogracias S. Iniguez, Jr., D.D. Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News/Michael Delizo and Promotion for Church People’s Response (PCPR)