On the day President Duterte delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA), Novaliches Bishop Antonio R.Tobias, D.D. encouraged everyone to stay calm but unafraid as the Country continues to go through trying times during the Eucharistic Celebration held in San Antonio De Padua Parish in Batasan Hills, Q.C.
“Be calm but do not be afraid, my fellowmen. Will we allow ourselves to be intimidated?” he said in the local tongue before an assembly that spent a Vigil last July 23, 2018 for peace and justice to reign in the Country.
“The Filipino people will triumph in showing themselves and in stating, ‘We are not afraid. We are not stupid,’ ” he continued after stating that the history of the Catholic Church is founded on the blood of the martyrs.
The bishop likewise reminded the President of his election promises and advised him to listen to the real plight of the people.
“On this day, I ask that our President will listen to his surroundings, hear the cries of the people,” he aired, “because it is very important to do so for a leader, one who is a good listener to the cries of those whom he leads.”
He decried the fact that, in his war against drugs, despite big names in his Narco List, only the lowly drug user or pusher has been either apprehended or worse, killed.
Addressing the President, he reminded, “while the victims (of EJK) continue to increase, the number of people against your leadership also increase.”
The Eucharistic celebration was concelebrated with Kalookan Bishop Emeritus Deogracias S. Iniquez, Jr. D.D. It was attended by parishioners of the Diocese of Novaliches and joined by government officials, as well as, representatives of social groups lead by the Kilusang Makabayang Ekonomiya (KME), which declared the day as one of prayer and solidarity with the poor.
Bishop Iniquez issued his message before the Mass and assured the Church’s faithfulness to the mission of Christ.
“Let us celebrate this day to show that the Church is faithful to the Mission of Christ for the Kingdom of God, to honor the dignity of man and justice, especially for the poor,” he declared.
Before the Mass, there was a tolling of bells to commemorate thousands of extrajudicial killings that took place under the present administration’s war on drugs. (~Lulu Reclusado-Nario)