By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday gently reminded President Rodrigo Duterte to be circumspect in his public pronouncements, especially if it could offend the religious beliefs of the people.
While she was in Zamboanga City, where she was asked the question about Duterte’s “stupid God” remark, she spoke of the sensitivity of his words as the Chief Executive.
“Obligasyon ito ng lahat, pero lalong-lalo na naming mga government officials—lalong-lalo na ng Pangulo, kasi kung ano iyong kaniyang sabihin, ang epekto nito sa ating lahat,” said Robredo.
The Vice President was asked for comment on the scathing remarks against God and Catholic Church by the Chief Executive, whose Cabinet she served as housing chief.
In a June 22 speech, Duterte, who is a Catholic and leader of a country predominantly of the Catholic faith, ranted about God and cursed him over his annoyance with the concept of “original sin.”
Duterte’s remarks against God fueled public anger against him. He has been criticized by Church leaders and other religious groups.
Robredo said Duterte has the right to express his thoughts on religion and personal beliefs, but this comes with his responsibility not to offend others.
“Ako, kailangan nating paalalahanin—paalalahanan—hindi lang si Pangulong Duterte, pero iyong lahat na government officials kagaya namin, na totoo na mayroon tayong karapatang magpahayag ng saloobin natin, totoong may karapatan tayo ng sariling pananampalataya, pero lahat ng karapatan may kaakibat na obligasyon,” she said.
“At obligasyon natin na siguruhin na hindi natin ma-o-offend iyong mga sensitivities ng mga tao, hindi natin na-o-offend iyong religious beliefs ng mga tao, hindi nang-iinsulto, dahil iyon iyong obligasyon natin. At ito iyong kaakibat ng ating karapatan,” added Robredo.
The Vice President was in Zamboanga City to visit the Ayala Seafoods Corp., where she observed the process in the canning for Mega Global MFC, producer of Mega Sardines.
Aside from touring the facility, she also sat down with factory workers, vessel personnel, and wives of vessel workers—listening to their experiences and thoughts about the rising prices of commodities.
Robredo then visited Yakan Village, also in Zamboanga City, where she met the junior weavers of the tribe.
Last year, OVP’s Angat Buhay partner, BEAGIVER, provided looms and thread for 10 of these junior weavers, and they have since taken on the traditional art, producing coasters which they sell in order to buy school supplies.