A Case Study on Christian Political Engagement

A Case Study on Christian Political Engagement

In 2004, our country witnessed for the first time Evangelical and Born-again Christians becoming vocal and intensely involved in the political scene. More Evangelical Christians were engaged in partisan politics as they supported the first Christian candidate running for the highest office in the land. This was unprecedented because the person running for presidency happens to be a pastor and founder of one of the largest church in the Philippines, boasting of more than 2 million members all over the archipelago. And in the recent election season of 2010, Evangelical Christians has once again stepped into the limelight and further intensified their involvement. And for the second time, the same pastor runs for presidency. This time however, many Evangelicals opted for voter’s education while others remained to be partisan.

Given this background, this case study seeks to highlight Christian political engagement in a certain rural area of the country and showcase the impact of their engagement to the wider community. The study also presents the impact of the trainings conducted by the ISACC (Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture) advocacy team for good governance on the churches who participated in the series of seminars held in 2009 and early 2010. Also presented in the study is the process of how these Churches developed their understanding of political engagement and how they practically applied a Christian framework for their engagement.

The case study will focus on the municipality of Buenavista in the province of Marinduque. Marinduque is an Island composed of 6 municpialities, in which Buenavista is one of the largest. The Municipality of Buenavista is comprised of 15 baranggays, with each baranggay having an Evangelical church presence. The Association of pastors and Christian leaders in Buenavista is known as BCLEF (Buenavista Christian Leaders Ecumenical Fellowship). BCLEF was formally organized in December 2008.

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CASE STUDY 5 – THE GAINS OF DECENTRALISATION IN PAMPA BAY

CASE STUDY 5 – THE GAINS OF DECENTRALISATION IN PAMPA BAY

Pampa Bay became independent in 1950. In spite of its wealth of human, material and natural resources, after 15 years of parliamentary democracy fraught with poor leadership, economic mismanagement and ethnic conflict the men in uniform staged a coup and took over power.

After about 25 years of military rule also laden with several challenges of bad leadership, ethnicity, corruption and lack of respect for human rights, Pampa returned to democratic rule in 1990. To accelerate integration, growth and development - and in particular to increase citizens sense of belonging and ownership of government policies and programmes – the government developed a Poverty Reduction Strategy. It also embarked on a process of devolving decision-making power and fiscal resources to newly established local governments. This, the government believed, will bring the government nearer to the people and it will also give the people in the cities and grassroots a greater opportunity to hold leaders accountable.

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CASE STUDY 2 – HELP FOR ALL: RECORDS OF ACCOUNTS IN COUNTRY OFFICE

CASE STUDY 2 – HELP FOR ALL: RECORDS OF ACCOUNTS IN COUNTRY OFFICE

“I work with an international Christian NGO called Help for All (HfA).

I had travelled to one of our Country Programme in June 2007. One of our funds was fully spent although my calculations showed this should not be so. A check revealed six payments of exactly the same amount, for the same contract. We found that a locally employed Christian accountant had developed a system to present invoices and have cheques signed that he would then cash for himself. He had escaped discovery for six years. He had grown rich and had many friends. He paid hefty tithes and offerings in the local church. He repaid some money he had taken, but sadly after more losses were discovered he committed suicide!

His fellow nationals (members of staff) thought his misdeeds had been reported by their most senior local colleague and were intensely angry with that colleague. Group loyalty was felt more strongly than their obligation to protect institutional funds and more important Christian integrity. I boasted that I had detected the fraud, and helped rebuild relationships when I said at his funeral that I had liked and admired our accountant and appreciated his efforts to make good the losses, and that at the end all of us will need forgiveness. But I learnt the moral strength of personal loyalty within a group possibly exacerbated because group members thought of themselves as “poor” nationals dealing with expatriates from a rich country.”

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CASE STUDY 1 – ACCOUNTABILITY – MADANAGA’S CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

CASE STUDY 1 – ACCOUNTABILITY – MADANAGA’S CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

In 1999 civil servants in the Civil Service Commission adopted a vision statement for the country’s civil service seeking:

A World-Class Civil Service, transparent and fair in all its transactions, responding with integrity to the wishes of the people, and giving effective service to the people and their elected Government.

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