RESTORING INTEGRITY, ALLEVIATING POVERTY
It is not difficult to see that our two biggest problems in the country right now are dehumanizing poverty and unabated graft and corruption in government. In fact, our President-elect focused his campaign platform on bringing a lasting solution to the problem of poverty and corruption. For indeed, in the last few years, the spread of corruption and the deepening of the poverty level became so evident.
Now that we are at the dawn of a new beginning for our nation, with hopes high and patriotic fervor at its best, we your Catholic pastors in Pangasinan, La Union and Nueva Ecija comprising the Ecclesiastical Metropolitan Province of Lingayen Dagupan make a unified stand to oppose the plan to open a casino in Urdaneta City and San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija.
Gambling and integrity of character are opposites. Gambling and poverty have been twins for a very long time. If it is not legally possible to close all casinos immediately, we plead with the government not to open new ones. Opening another casino will open more doors for corruption and pave the way for the impoverishment of the families of the gamblers. Where the casinos operate now, we see the ill effects on the socio moral fiber of the citizenry—the rise of criminality, the spread of prostitution and the shameless corruption of those engaged in the business.
The long way to the recovery of our lost national pride begins with the restoration of moral values. Gambling and upright moral values cannot flourish side by side. Gambling breeds indolence and laziness. Gambling destroys families and corrupts people. At the end of the day, even winners in gambling games become poorer and end up addicted to this malady.
We are ready to help the government fight corruption and find a lasting solution to poverty. We have livelihood programs and micro financing projects initiated by former President Cory and now flourishing in many parts of Luzon. We do not only offer protest. We offer viable practical moral alternatives. We appeal to the government to aggressively fight corruption and diminish poverty. One of the first steps the government must take is to stop the opening of more casinos. The right step is values education for the children and livelihood opportunities for the poor. Opening another casino-- in Urdaneta and San Leonardo or in any other place-- is a step deviating from our vision.
From the Archbishop’s House, Dagupan City, June 14, 2010
Sgd. +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
Sgd. + RENATO P. MAYUGBA
Auxiliary Bishop of Lingayen Dagupan
Sgd. +MARLO M. PERALTA
Bishop of Alaminos
Sgd. +JACINTO A. JOSE
Bishop of Urdaneta
Sgd. +MYLO HUBERT C. VERGARA
Bishop of San Jose de Nueva Ecija
Sgd. +ARTEMIO L. RILLERA, SVD
Bishop of San Fernando La Union
Sgd. +SOFRONIO A BANCUD, SSS
Bishop of Cabanatuan
The Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan
(Central Pangasinan, Philippines)