(Last March 9, 2006, the presentation of a Workbook on “Spirituality in the Workplace” by Ms. Isabelita S. Palanca, Professor at the University of Santo Tomas, was held at the CBCP Lanai Room. It was attended by some people from the academe, business and studentry, and members from Women’s Business Council, Bishops-Business Conference and Brotherhood of Christian Business and Professionals.)
Last January, the CBCP presented a goal on which a roadmap for the Philippine public life could be conceptualized. The CBCP said in its Pastoral Statement “what clearly emerges is the continued and urgent need for renewal on the public life of our country” through the adoption of correct moral values.
The CBCP has declared 2006 as “Social Concerns Year” under the auspices of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. One of our social concerns is the condition or circumstances of the working population, such as: the workers, the laborers in the farms, in industry, in factories, in plantations and in government offices. Included in the list are health workers, media practitioners and church workers. The welfare of the country depends on them more than on politicians.
I am happy to recognize that one has presented a workbook on “The Spirituality in the Workplace.” This has been scholarly prepared by Ms. Isabelita “Sabsy” Palanca under the guidance of a Salesian, Fr. Ely7 Santos, SDB, a Jesuit, Fr. Tony de Castro, SJ, and Dominican, Fr. Mon Merino, OP.
The vision of “Spirituality in the Workplace” is to offer an instrument for transforming workplaces as “Communities with Ethics and Governance.” Its mission is to trailblaze a movement among our workers that will renew public life through moral values. The workplaces and the workers are a very important segment of Philippine society. More than 60% of our population are workers of some sort, professional and non-professional. They too should be object and subject of social transformation in the country.
These workers are the ones supplying food in the tables of the wealthy and the governing class. These are the same workers who are in the C, D, and E classes, whose families suffer many disadvantages, from lack of food, education, social and health benefits.
The Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference on Human Development has taken interest in Ms. Palanca’s work because it believes that Catholic Social Principles must be lived and applied in the workplaces. The workers all too often suffer from human rights violations. At the same time they have to be made aware of the rights of the people they work with and work for.
We must start the education in moral values and human rights from the beginning. We advocate that Catholic schools, colleges and universities be the foremost proponents of formation in moral values and human rights. When the government takes care of the workers, the workers will take care of the country.