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Caritas Philippines urges Filipinos to be critical consumers of information

Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the Filipino public to be more critical about the information received especially through social media and to ensure its veracity.
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo. (Photo: Supplied)

Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the Filipino public to be more critical about the information received especially through social media and to ensure its veracity.

During the commemoration of the 36th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution on February 25 and in the face of blatant historical revisionism, Caritas Philippines national director Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo reminded the lay faithful that as responsible citizens, “it is our social duty to guard the truth. It is our moral responsibility to ensure that truth prevails over false news and stories.” 

In a town hall meeting with the Social Action Network, Professor Jonathan Ong of the University of Massachusetts explicitly mentioned the proliferation of fake news as of May 9 national and local elections draw near.

“The architects of networked disinformation will stop at nothing to spread what seems to be innocent or humorous messaging or pop culture messages, but in reality, carries political contents which are untrue,” he said.

“This may be a delayed reaction from us, but it’s never too late to stop the spread of lies,” says Father Antonio Labiao, Caritas Philippines executive secretary.

“We are using all our available resources, and we are strengthening our partnership with like-minded organizations to counter these initiatives. The Church has always espoused for truth. We will not stop now,” he adds.

According to Msgr. Meliton Oso, director of Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center, “I witnessed how Martial Law demeaned our democracy. I witnessed how we struggle to defend human rights. I walked the streets of EDSA shouting against tyranny and oppression. So, no one has the right to change that part of our history for me, just because one is so greedy of political power.”

Over 90% of Filipinos with access to the internet use social media, and 87% of this trust information is found on social media more than mainstream media despite the difficulty of fact-checking.

“The lessons of Martial Law and of EDSA People Power Revolution speak of one thing: how we Filipinos have bravely and collectively stood for the truth, for the common good, and for justice. Let those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of our democracy and freedom be celebrated by us doing what is just and right today. We can start by reclaiming that strong sense of national history and pass it to the next generations. Let us pass on them the good and the truth,” stressed Bishop Bagaforo.

Caritas Philippines was created by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in 1966 as a response to the call of the Universal Church for renewal and social transformation.

Caritas Philippines is the humanitarian, development, and advocacy arm of the CBCP, under the direction and supervision of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action-Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP).

Aside from being the secretariat to 85 diocesan social action centers in the country, it represents the Philippines in Caritas Internationalis – a confederation of 165 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations present in 201 countries around the world. 

 

Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.