MANILA — Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas on Thursday lauded the youth volunteers at the command center of Church-based poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), which is conducting a parallel count of the 2022 elections.
"PPCRV volunteers, hindi namin kayo puwedeng bayaran, hindi namin kayo kayang bayaran because only God can pay you," an emotional Villegas said as he faced the media.
(PPCRV volunteers, we can't pay you, we can't afford to pay you because only God can pay you.)
He said he was "touched" and "inspired" by the volunteers.
"And God knows your sacrifices. And the Lord knows everything. And the Lord knows the good hearts of these young people. They're so young, they're so heroic, they're so generous and I'm really touched and inspired," he said.
On Wednesday, many youth volunteers trooped to PPRCV for the parallel count. Some of them are not yet eligible to vote.
Villegas said that the recently held election also highlighted the need for the nation's "healing," pointing out the divisiveness among Filipinos.
"Divided talaga tayo at kailangan natin ng healing that is why we need God. Kailangan natin ng God. So itong election nagpalutang lang doon sa healing na kailangan natin," Villegas said.
(We're really divided and we need healing that is why we need God. We need a God. This election underscored the healing we needed.)
The 2022 election was seen as one of the most crucial polls in the Philippines' recent history.
During the campaign period, supporters of presidential candidates were clashing on social media, with more intensity observed between the supporters of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Leni Robredo — even at rallies.
It left deep cracks in many Filipinos' relationships, both online and offline.
Even without elections, Villegas said, the country still needs healing, adding that "until the day we die, we need the healing touch of God. We need the healing mercy of God."
Villegas also advised the next leaders of the country to serve well and embrace the marginalized.
"Magsilbi po kayo sa Diyos at pagsilbihan niyo ang Diyos sa pamamagitan ng pagmamahal sa bayan. Mahalin po ninyo ang bayan sa pamamagitan ng pagyakap sa lahat ng mahirap at pagyakap sa lahat ng bata at kabataan," he said.
(Serve God by loving your country. Love your country by embracing the poor and embracing the children and youth.)
For live election results, see ABS-CBN News Halalan results.
—with a report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News
FROM THE ARCHIVES