A national parish-based political but non-partisan lay movement that works assiduously for Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful, and Peaceful elections.
PPCRV was born from that joyful shock of recognition that we the laity mattered. That we mattered very much. That was in the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines – PCP II – in 20 January to 17 February 1991. Such gatherings of the Catholic Church hierarchy were previously participated in only by the ordained. But PCP II was different. It invited lay participants, some 145 women and men from various demographic realities. In PCP II we heard, we saw, we touched the truth that we are co-responsible for the mission of the Church, of making the Kingdom of God present in our here and now. Bringing heaven on earth especialy for the poor, marginalized and forgotten. That comprising 99.99% of the baptized, the saving work of Christ will not move forward if we the laity don’t move. Another situational reality foisted on us was politics. The way politics is practiced in the Philippines was a major stumbling block to the renewal of Christian life. Not only that, but also to the transformation of society which was sliding into a dismal state of corruption.
Our hearts were burning within us with our newfound dignity. So we rushed out from PCP II raring to bring about change. His Eminence Jaime L. Cardinal Sin ever alert to the breath of the Spirit and Haydee Yorac feisty advocate of democracy, elections and peace provided us with the direction and challenge to plunge into politics by way of the forth coming 1992 synchronized national and local elections, the first after the departure of the dictatorship.
And so PPCRV came to be. None of us were politicians. None of us owned corporations or huge bank accounts. None of us were celebrities. But we had faith, faith on fire that if God is with us, who and what can be against us! Riding high on that belief helped PPCRV tremendously in overcoming challenges of Comelec accreditation, funds, materials, and other such logistics… struggles from without. The Church infrastructure proved to be the fastest and most efficient way of cascading programs and mobilizing volunteers. It still is. At times the labyrinth of Church commissions and interlocking functions, not to mention variances in leadership would be a furnace test for collaboration and communion … fears from within. Struggles and fears which rendered the dying and rising rhythm of Christian life more pronounced, more felt for PPCRV. But during such testing, courage and imagination emerged from PPCRV’s faith base. It was the courage to take in the dying rhythm without surrendering to defeat; the imagination to make full use of the rising rhythm to accelerate our mission.
One such acceleration I am very proud and infinitely grateful for is our PPCRV ARMM Coalition: a veritable breakthrough of dialogue, faith, and fraternal love. Indeed, it was an inter-faith solidarity of purpose. Some seeds for this Coalition were planted in 2004. As in the parable, these fell on rocky ground and did not take root. But we persisted. Finally, through the grace of the merciful God, PPCRV forged a partnership with sixteen Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations and the Darul Ifta in 2006. This partnership weathered good times and bad, election after election in the troubled landscape of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. These were the times that saw Christian volunteers side by side with Muslim volunteers no longer as partners only, but as brothers and sisters who without reservations embraced the care of the elections as a family endeavor.
Another reason for thanks are the thousands and thousands of volunteers who come marching in every election time. Volunteerism has become a PPCRV icon. Many of the PPCRV volunteers come from unproclaimed lives, from the ranks of ordinary people. Many are the poor. And lately so many from the young. In common is the desire for a space to be involved in elections in a non-partisan way. They simply want to serve without any expectations for recompense nor demands of ideology. For the volunteer to be able to serve is an utterance of one’s human dignity. During elections these volunteers proclaim in every polling precinct the good news that love of God and country is inseparable and a foundational base of democracy.
PPCRV, a child of the Church, the first concrete laity response to the call for renewal of PCP II continues to find strength from the parish, its base of service. Like its Mother the Church, PPCRV is open to every volunteer, believer or non-believer for as long as the volunteer is non-partisan, non-violent and adheres to democracy. PPCRV carries on its mission in every diocese as a Community of Disciples that is a Church of the Poor and for the Poor. The center of gravity of its service, from the beginning till now, is tilted towards the poor and the youth. Voters from these sectors are the most vulnerable to exploitation and repression of their absolute right to suffrage. Commitment to them in our election journey is drinking from our own wells.
Unconditional love attracts. Selfless service beckons. Though we are without money, those with material plenitude and special skills generously provide for PPCRV’s election needs so that we are never found wanting in resources. Names of these wonderful people whose edifying compliance of their corporate social responsibility and the demands of charity abound in my heart. And PPCRV’s proffered gift to them is a lifetime of prayer, prayer, prayer.
The PPCRV history is rich. Twenty-five years of seeking and working with patient endurance for CHAMP Elections – Clean Honest Accurate Meaningful Peaceful. Our vision. For PPCRV CHAMP is CHRIST. The God of love. The God of Justice. The God of Peace. Our mission.
Amb. Henrietta “Tita” de Villa National Chairperson PPCRV 1991-2016