MANILA, Philippines - Yet another prelate has voiced opposition to a party-list lawmaker's proposal to ban prayer services and religious symbols in government offices.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said he is confident many Filipinos will oppose the passage of House Bill 6330 or the Religious Freedom in Government Offices Act filed by Kabataan party list Rep. Raymond Palatino.
"There are more God-loving and God-fearing Filipinos than him (Palatino),” he said.
"Even before the Philippines existed, God was already here and God created the Philippines. Let’s just see where he (Palatino) will go after this life," he added.
Villegas said there is no such thing as separation of God and man.
“There is separation for Church and State but there is no separation of God and man. The Philippine Constitution itself invokes God Almighty,” he said.
HB 6330 seeks to ban religious activities including Masses, prayers, Christmas parties and blessings in government premises. The measure also pushes for the removal of religious symbols like the crucifix, Bible, and Koran in public offices.
Palatino earlier said displaying religious symbols and holding religious ceremonies in and around public offices could be seen as an endorsement of one particular religion.
"The religion of the minority ought to be respected, too. In a democracy, the rights of the minority should be protected also," he said.