“Huwag Magnakaw” campaign goes beyond ‘bribery-free elections’

The seventh commandment states, “Thou shall not steal.” This is the tagline of the Huwag Kang Magnakaw movement which sought to end the ‘culture of corruption’ in the Philippines specifically including vote buying in the coming 2016 polls.

Launched by leaders of the Catholic Church, the movement challenges every Filipino to work together in eliminating the bad habit of corruption and replacing it with honesty as core virtue.

The campaign which is a serious call for ‘cultural transformation’ has extended its coverage to include the upcoming elections which is expected to be a major event of corruption where candidates will persuade the voters to sell their votes.

With the campaign, the Church envisions not only a worry-free environment where people need not worry about their possessions getting stolen but as an assurance to all taxpayers that their hard-earned money will go to the provision of social services instead of politicians’ pockets.

In a press conference held recently at Arzobispado de Manila Friday, ‘Huwag Kang Magnakaw‘s lead convenor and Archdiocese of Manila Public Affairs head Fr. Atillano Fajardo urges voters to express their support by wearing white shirts emblazoned with the words “Huwag Kang Magnakaw” in black regularly before the polls, and especially during the election day.

Fajardo said anyone may come up with their personalized shirt as long as it is white and has the message “Huwag Kang Magnakaw” printed or written on it.

As one of its strategies, Radio Veritas will work on a 24/7 scheme to broadcast reports from those on the ground about the people who will pay and those who will accept money.

“We will confront evil by the light of the media,” he said as he added that it will be a difficult task, but it will serve as an effective way to promote transparency.

People’s vigilance will further be heightened by soliciting mass support not only during the campaign period and during the elections but even during post-elections when the winning candidates assume their positions.

Radio Veritas president and Caritas Manila executive director Fr. Anton Pascual disclosed that the Church leaders plan a seven-year period for the campaign, the number from the seventh commandment, which continues with a “national processing of the experience” of the elections.

Believing that politics is still a noble vocation, Pascual said defining the art and skill of public servants is expected to work for the common good of the majority.

The primary targets of the convenors  include the academe and government offices as the new breeding ground for honesty.

Meanwhile, the Church calls on the different sectors of society to unite with them and contribute their own strategies towards cultural transformation via retreats, concerts, art affairs, and other undertakings that will directly involved the community especially the youth and the grassroots level.

The Church leaders were one in saying that integrity, or doing the right thing even though no one was looking, was not part of the Filipinos’ mindset. Thus, the need to inculcate the virtue is much needed especially during these days when vices of all kinds have soared high to unacceptable level.

To intensify the movement, the Church envisions to bring the campaign closer to the people which aptly means involving a home-based strategy.

CBCP Permanent Council on Public Affairs chairman Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick enumerated other forms of stealing prevalent in the Philippines to include the monopoly of the wealthy over the land; the destruction of the environment and the resulting thievery of resources from the next generations; and the lavish lifestyles which can only be attained by depriving the poor.

The Church leaders, however, cleared that that they are not taking sides but  they simply advocating for “an honest, truthful, authentic elections and leadership in government.”

For politicians who will be taking advantage of the campaign mainly for personal advantage, the Church leaders said the movement will not support any candidate but anyone who would like to join are welcome as long as they genuinely believe in the campaign.

By the end of the fifth year from the start of the campaign in 2014, the Church leaders said they wanted to see Filipinos wearing all the Ten Commandments on their shirts to serve as forceful warning in times of temptation.