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Open Letter to the Senate
for Deferment of GATT Approval

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate:

We have been informed that you are being strongly pressured to ratify the GATT before the end of this current session.

We realize how important the approval or non approval of this Treaty is to the present and future of our country.  It will impact deeply on the life of every Filipino.

Precisely because of its importance, we ask that you defer action on the Treaty until after adequate consultation of the Filipino people who are going to be affected by it.

Our people have a right not only to be informed but to express their opinon about a matter that touches us all.  The government needs to hear the people's views not only on the economic but also the moral aspects of GATT.  It is integral development we should aim at for each Filipino and all Filipinos.  We believe that the moral dimensions of GATT have not yet been adequately studied.

A more thorough discussion of the issues involved will be an exercise of true people empowerment and lead to a more enlightened citizenry and Senate action.  It  will also lend credibility to the government at a time when it badly needs a boost to its credibility.

Precipitate action will lead to much public discontent as in the case of the Expanded VAT at a time when we should all be working in unity.

We trust that you will act on this matter with the welfare of all Filipinos at heart.  Allow them to know and to tell you what is truly to their welfare before you decide.

We pray for your enlightenment and guidance by the Spirit of the Living God.

For the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines:

Bishop of Butuan
President, CBCP

November 26, 1994

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