“The Church and the world look to the young people for new light, new love, a new commitment to meeting the great needs of humanity” (Pope John Paul II, Arrival Speech, January 12, 1995).

And to the youth of our country the Holy Father expressly addressed: “Young people in the Philippines, the modern world needs a new kind of young person: it needs men and women who are capable of self discipline, capable of committing themselves to the highest levels, ready to change radically the false values which have enslaved so many young people and adults” (UST Address, January 13, 1995).

To this challenge of the Holy Father the young people generously and publicly responded towards a new Christian way of nation building. And we, your Pastors in the faith, cannot afford to be challenged less. We must support our young people live their new found vision and inspiration for a better Philippines. We cannot let them down.

We see in this challenge a special relevance to our conduct in the coming elections.

We also recognize and appreciate the words of the Holy Father: “The Church and the political community work on different levels and are mutually independent, but they serve the same human beings (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 76). In that service there is ample room for dialogue, cooperation and mutual support” (Arrival Speech).

We take cognizance of the positive steps already taken hitherto by agencies like the COMELEC whose present credibility deserves our recognition and respect. Accordingly, we your Bishops, call on members of Congress to act decisively to make the dreams of our youth and of all the Filipino people come true through honest and credible elections this year.

We therefore urge the following:

the urgent and immediate passage by Congress of the bill on electoral reforms;
the urgent and early appointment by the President of a COMELEC Chairman and other members of the Commission who are equally credible.
Similarly, allow us to remind you, our beloved Faithful, of our previous appeals, namely:

that in your exercise of suffrage you be guided by Christian principles by voting for candidates who are specifically PRO-GOD, PRO-LIFE and PRO-FAMILY;
that as in our joint efforts at clean and honest elections in the past, we organize ourselves anew and support an effective coordination among the citizens arm of COMELEC, like PPCRV, VOTECARE, NAMFREL and others.
In this regard we highly commend the efforts particularly of the young people who in the past volunteered to protect and safeguard the sanctity of the ballot. We exhort them to continue doing so.

As a manifestation of our firm resolve to respond to the Holy Father’s expectations of us as a “phenomenon” and of our Filipino Youth to whom the future has been entrusted, we commit ourselves to make this electoral process clean, honest and credible.

May the Holy Spirit guide us and may the blessed Mother protect our country!