Press Release
January 23, 2015

Pimentel urges political leaders to heed Pope's
call for simplicity, humility and honesty

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today urged the country's elected leaders and the people themselves to heed the call of Pope Francis to live simply and in "outstanding honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good."

Pimentel said by following the Pope's call, "we will build a just nation in the service of our people, especially the least of our brethren, as we commemorate the year of the poor."

In responding positively to the Pope's challenge, Pimentel said "it behoves our political leaders to show the way by their living with honesty, integrity, and commitment to the common good."

This way, he said, "the nation's resources are channelled properly to benefit the people, especially the poor, in a culture where the human rights and dignity of everyone are cherished and respected."

"Justice is done to them whatever their station in life may be," Pimentel stressed.

He expressed hope that in the "Year of the Poor," the country's lawmakers, inspired by the theme of the Papal Visit of "Mercy and Compassion" pass more laws to benefit the common good and uplift the poor.

But Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said the common good envisioned could only be achieved when the people are prepared to share in the gargantuan effort.

In filing Senate Resolution No. 1110, Pimentel said the Pope chooses to live simply as manifested, among others, by the emblems of his office that he wears at public functions.

He said the Pope has set aside the gilded symbols of the papacy that others before him had preferred in favor of the silver pectoral cross and the silver papal ring.

Pimentel said Francis even asked Filipino organizers of his recent Pastoral visit to remove posters depicting his face along the roads of typhoon-ravaged Leyte.

Instead, he requested them to install posters with portraits of Jesus Christ in order to emphasize that the focus of the event should be God.

To underline his humility, Pimentel said the Pope rode in an ordinary car instead of a flashy one, and opened the door of the car himself during his courtesy call on President Aquino in Malacanang.

"The call of the Pope for all of us to live simply is ever more relevant as the Philippines faces the challenges of achieving inclusive growth," he said.

Pimentel noted that despite sincere efforts by the government, a significance percentage of the population continue to live in poverty and want.

The Pope, he said, recognized the role of political leaders in preserving the rich human and natural resources with which God has blessed the Philippines.

He added Francis cited their critical role in marshalling the moral resources needed to face the demands of the present and to pass on to coming generations a society of authentic justice, solidarity, and peace.

Pimentel said the Pope's message is most relevant, considering that the poverty incidence in the country based on a 2014 report by the Philippine Statistics Authority is pegged at 25 percent.

This, he said, meant some 25 million poor Filipinos of the 100 million population who are marginalized, robbed of their dignity, and stripped of their basic human rights.

Pimentel said Pope Francis is a reformer who is not afraid to shake things up in the Vatican and the rest of the Roman Catholic faith around the world.

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