‘Reach out to all Affiliations’

Manila, Philippines --- Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma has urged candidates and voters in his archdiocese to be "pan-partisan" in the May 13 midterm polls.

This simply means that voters, and even candidates, must exercise pan-partisanship, which means "reaching out to all political affiliations."

In his pastoral letter, the 70-year-old prelate said to be pan-partisan also means (1) to be against vote selling and vote buying; (2) against political dynasties; and (3) to care for the environment.

Earlier, the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro had launched the "Our Votes are Not for Sale" campaign, which Ledesma said is "a direct call to all traditional politicians (trapos) against the practice of rampant vote-buying."

"More profoundly, vote-buying as well as vote-selling are offenses against the dignity of the voter himself who 'exchanges' his reasoning and freedom for a fleeting sum of money," he said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.

As to the issue of political dynasties, Ledesma has this to say: "As monopolies in business, monopolies in politics limit the entry that can bring in new ideas and better services. political dynasties breed corruption and ineptitude," he said.

"A related advocacy is the campaign against pork barrel allocations - which impels political dynasties to expand to control the largesse of public funds." added Ledesma.

When it comes to the issue of the care and conservation of the environment, the prelate urged everyone not to forget the lessons of Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong), which devastated the city on December 16, 2011.

"Typhoon Sendong has taught us the bitter lessons from the wanton degradation of our watershed areas surrounding Cagayan de Oro River and other tributaries. The continued bleeding of Iponan River from hydraulic flush mining also has to be stopped. The rehabilitation and protection of our environment should be a pan-partisan concern of all candidates for public office," said Ledesma.

Aside from being pan-partisan, the prelate also reminded voters to "choose candidates with the five C's - that they be men and women of Character, Conscience, Competence, Compassion, and Commitment" as well as candidates who are "maka-Diyos, maka-Tao, maka-Buhay, maka-Bayan, and maka-Kalikasan."

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