On Monday 9 May, the Philippines will hold national and local elections. Our partner the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) has called for prayer amid political violence, disinformation and fears of vote-rigging.
Already on 27 February, 60-year-old UCCP elder and local mayor Filipina Grace America was shot four times by a gunman while getting into her car after church. She survived the assassination attempt and was transferred to a hospital in Manila.
Filipina was running for re-election at the time of the shooting, and had been leading her local community in opposing the construction of the Kaliwa Dam. The mega-dam project sits on an earthquake fault and will also destroy the ancestral land of the Dumagat tribes. Filipina had received threats due to her activism about the dam.
Our partner UCCP has reported that some political parties and candidates in the Philippines have engaged in campaigns of disinformation and propaganda against their political rivals in the lead up to the election.
UCCP is working with local youth organisations in the Philippines to promote good governance. They are encouraging voters to advocate for peaceful and honest elections, and have released informational graphics to combat fake news and disinformation.
They are also mobilising people to monitor the ballots and election-related human rights abuses to protect against vote-rigging.
The Uniting Church in Australia has provided some funding for these activities.
Please use and share the below prayer in solidarity with our partners and neighbours in the Philippines.
|Prayer for the Philippines elections
[Leader:] Be with us, O Lord our God, as we pray with the peoples of the Philippines, including those overseas, in this time of elections marked by deep division, uncertainty and pain.
We pray for all public servants and electoral authorities in the Philippines, especially those who remain upright and motivated by a genuine sense of duty and respect for good governance.
We pray for those who peacefully challenge human rights violations and disinformation. Give them strength and courage to stand their ground for truth and justice. Protect their lives from those who seek to harm them when they hold firm to Your righteousness.
May the crises brought about by political differences everywhere bring about conversion and a change of heart in all.
May You teach all people to rise above personal and political loyalties, redirecting our efforts towards the common good and celebrating the gift of diversity in life.
May we be guided by your Spirit to respond with mercy and compassion for those in need, the persecuted and the most vulnerable members of our societies.
For we know that what we do for others in need, we do for You.
[All:] In the spirit of solidarity, we pray for the Filipino people as they face their forthcoming national and local elections on 9 May. We pray that the elections may be peaceful, honest, and clean. We further pray that those elected will serve the common good.
Thank you to Dr Mark Zirnsak and the Justice and International Mission cluster of the Victoria/Tasmania Synod of the UCA for providing this information and prayer.