LIGHTS & SHADOWS
AN Assessment of the THIRD YEAR OF THE Duterte Administration THROUGH the Lens of Catholic Social Principles
JULY 2018 - JUNE 2019
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte came into office promising to change all things that ail Philippine society—poverty and inequality, corruption in government, poor infrastructure, criminality, and decades-long conflict, among many others. Now halfway through his term, the president and his administration continue to try to fulfill the campaign promises that got him elected. The Duterte administration's third year in office was replete with actions and measures that are aligned with the president's agenda, but to what extent have these been consistent with the principles of Catholic social teaching (CST) such as life and dignity of the human person, the option for the poor and vulnerable, and care for creation?
Using the principles of CST set out by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) in 1991, JJCICSI identifies the major "lights" and "shadows" among the policies and actions of the Duterte administration on its third year in seven key themes: the macro-economy, rural development, urban poverty and housing, labor and employment, children and youth, governance, and human rights and justice. We consider as "light" acts that are consistent with a particular CST principle, and therefore provide potential common ground with the Church, or as "shadow" those which may have consequences at odds with a principle, and to which public contestation may be a legitimate response.
This assessment is by no means an exhaustive review of the third year of the Duterte presidency, but it is our hope that Catholics and Catholic groups and other interested publics will use this assessment as a reference for discussion and discernment on how to engage the current government in a most constructive way.
ASSESSING PUBLIC POLICY AND PROGRAMS USING THE PRINCIPLES OF CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING
Public policy and government programs must promote development that not only fulfils the material needs of citizens, but also affirms human dignity and freedom, integrity in governance, national sovereignty, and the spiritual dimension of human beings.
Public policy and government programs must reflect the conviction that all the goods of the earth are intended to fulfill the needs of all and to be shared fairly by all. It must recognize that private property has a social dimension, and that the rights of private ownership are limited by the urgent basic needs of others for food, safe and decent housing, and livelihood.
Public policy and government programs must correct historical injustice to groups of the marginalized and must promote equality, within the context of love for one’s fellow human beings.
Public policy and government programs must be oriented toward meeting the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized in society.
Public policy and government programs must affirm human labor as the most important element of production, establish fair compensation that allows workers to raise families within a decent standard of living, protect the rights of workers to self-organization, and create opportunities for employment and livelihood with dignity.
Public policy and government programs must promote peace not as the suppression of conflict, but as the result of constructive dialogue and holistic solutions which treat conflicting parties as human beings and address the root causes of conflict.
Public policy and government programs must safeguard and conserve natural resources and promote production that does not destroy the environment.
Public policy and government programs must enable people to become “active and responsible subjects of social life,” institutionalizing mechanisms for meaningful participation at all levels of governance and protecting the civil rights and freedoms which allow such participation. Public policy and government programs must nurture the development of strong civil society organizations and institutions and protect the autonomy of civil society from the state, recognizing the principle of subsidiarity which requires that decisions be made as much as possible at the level closest to the people.