Cardinal Jaime Sin said Wednesday that the Philippines is still suffering from an economic, social and moral crisis, and he called on his 54 million countrymen to undertake “a spiritual revolution” to purge themselves of the materialism and greed that became a way of life under President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Cardinal Sin, the Roman Catholic primate of the Philippines, spoke to a group of wealthy businessmen and professionals at a suburban country club. He said the Filipino people had solved only their political crisis in driving Marcos from power on Feb. 25.
“We solved the political dilemma in just four days,” he said, “but the other problems of the nation are just as serious, and I am afraid they cannot be solved in just four days.
“Twenty years of Marcosian misrule made us more materialistic. Money became the ruling yardstick, and we measured success only in terms of how much wealth a person accumulated. In our obsession to learn the price of everything, we forgot to appreciate the value of everything. Corruption became a way of life.”
Urges Narrowing Gap
Only through radical change, through adopting the values of “faith, hope and love,” Sin said, can Filipinos narrow the gap between rich and poor and restore an economy that benefits the people rather than a handful of “capitalist cronies.”
The cardinal’s comments were made at a luncheon “to honor the heroes of the February revolution” at the club where President Corazon Aquino was inaugurated on Feb. 25. Sin shared the honors with Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, chief of staff, who led the military rebellion.
Enrile warned that “the revolution is not yet over. We may have won the battle, but the war is still going on, and it is our duty--our responsibility--to see to it that the revolution is finished.”
Later he said this means that Filipinos must now unite behind the cause of economic and social recovery by making deep personal sacrifices.
“If we do not,” he said, “the consequences will be difficult to imagine.”
Ramos said that massive government development programs are needed throughout the country to combat a Communist rebellion that claims 15 lives a day.
Ramos and others being honored as heroes agreed that beyond ridding the nation of Marcos the revolt united for the first time in decades the military and the powerful Catholic Church, which represents at least 85% of all Filipinos.
The appearance of the two military men with Cardinal Sin at the head table was a rare sight in a nation where the church and government have long been at odds over the insurgency and many political issues.
Before Marcos was deposed, many Catholic priests in rural provinces were sympathetic and even supportive of the Communist New People’s Army, and Marcos frequently attacked priests for aiding the Communist revolution, accusing them of being Communists themselves.