After Pope Francis

By Harvey S. Keh

Posted at Jan 19 2015 08:07 PM | Updated as of Jan 20 2015 04:07 AM

For many Filipinos, the highly successful visit of Pope Francis was a renewal of faith experience that once again reminded all of us about our role as a predominantly Catholic country in Asia.

During his brief stay in our country, Pope Francis continued to encourage every Filipino to become a shining light in the lives of others, most especially the poor and powerless in our society. He called for us to be one with him in defeating social structures that promote poverty, corruption and injustice in our country.

Now, the challenge is how can we concretely respond in our own small way to this call by the charismatic leader of the Roman Catholic Church. I asked some people from different sectors of our society about this and here are there responses:

From Presidential Adviser for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Sec. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan:

“We can proactively respond to his call by ensuring that government programs and funding are put to good use with full transparency and accountability with the end in view of raising incomes especially amongst our farmers and fisherfolk where poverty levels are most glaring. It is injustice when those who feed us cannot even feed themselves and their families.”

From Jess Lorenzo of SEAOIL Foundation:

“As leaders, we need to see the potential of the Filipino faith and passion. But in order to do so, we need to constantly exercise compassion – a genuine love for the poor. This is a constant challenge to our leaders.”

From Noel Cabangon, singer and songwriter:

“We have to continue to fight social injustice and fight for reforms that will change the structures that perpetuate poverty in our country.”

From Dr. Adrian Rabe, M.D. of Kaya Natin! Movement:

“We can heed it by becoming more discerning in the upcoming elections, asking our candidates for concrete policies and programs to achieve social justice.”

From Director Josefina Dela Cruz, Postmaster General and CEO of PhilPost:

“We need to help create an environment that will allow the poor opportunities to improve their lives through programs that will give them access to education, healthcare and livelihood.”

From Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio, Chairman, Kaya Natin! Movement:

“We can be a light to the poor and powerless by empathizing with them: feel their struggles, dreams, joys and pains. This is possible only by sharing time with them, listening to them, laughing and crying with them.

- by dreaming with them, evoking from them initiatives for a better life, deepening their self esteem and confidence

- by offering options and opportunities for them like scholarships, livelihood openings and job placements

- by praying and discerning with them. For most of them prayer is a powerful way of connection to the Source of life and life's blessings.”

From Marisa Lerias, Executive Director, League of Municipalities of the Philippines:

“It will be good to live simple lives. I think it would entail keeping our needs to a minimum. Nowadays, people confuse “wants” and “needs” that is why happiness and contentment are difficult to attain. We should also be like children in manifesting our faith in the Lord. This would mean believing that despite all challenges in life, there is a God whose love is far greater that that. We should learn to keep Christ alive in our hearts and put our full trust in Him.”

From Councilor Amie Malabag-Hernandez of Nagcarlan, Laguna:

“I still believe and follow this Chinese proverb – Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Our poor must learn to alleviate their status through hard work and perseverance. It is by being a guiding light that we can show them the way of no longer being poor and powerless.”

From Atty. Arnel Casanova, President, Bases Conversion Development Authority:

“We can be a light in our nation by shedding our sense of entitlement and privilege and be a servant to all, to be compassionate to every one, to have hope and to live with nothing but love."

From Mark Ruiz, President, Hapinoy and Microventures Philippines:

“We are all God’s children. If we really believe in this, then we must treat the poor with dignity and as equals. Believing in this also means unlocking opportunities to partner and work together. For me, this is the key in social entrepreneurship – partnering with the poor to create prosperity for all. Let’s build a rising tide that lifts all boats.

Comments are welcome at [email protected]

Harvey S. Keh is the Executive Director of the Institute for Governance and Strategic Partnerships and the Acts of Hope for the Nation (AHON) Foundation.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.