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International Interdependence

In tackling the COVID-19 crisis as a global community and international family, one area of cooperation is fighting fake news about the pandemic and encouraging netizens to get their information from credible sources.

We have been discussing topics relevant to us during the past months in light of Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Fraternity and Social Friendship. The said document exhorts us to foster harmonious relationships with each other, as brothers and sisters.  

In particular, we have seen how the COVID crisis has greatly challenged us to give witness to this universal call to come together to address our common priorities amid our socio-economic, cultural, religious, and political differences. 

More than ever, these times have invited us to concretely ask whether or not we have responded as a united global community, a task so daunting that it even leads us to reflect if, within our own country, we have exerted enough efforts to break barriers to fight the same enemies? Our foes–not one another, but the virus, poverty, crime, corruption, abuse, and injustice.

We have seen many front liners from various sectors who have risked their lives out of a sincere desire to serve others. But it is also sad to note that there were individuals who took advantage of the sufferings of many for their gain. People in power sowed division, rather than encouraging all sectors to offer their best to solve our crises. 

We need each other, as individuals, as a nation, as an international family. Receiving aid in the form of vaccines is a blessing. Hopefully though, there have been no strings attached to this kind of welcome assistance. 

One area of cooperation we saw in this pandemic was the intensified effort to fight fake news about COVID and encourage global netizens to get their information from credible sources. An example of this initiative is the United Nations Pause Campaign which has been guiding people to verify the sources of the news that they share and to spread evidence-based data. 

Melissa Fleming, the UN’s Undersecretary-General for Global Communications, stressed, “The monumental task of tackling misinformation belongs to all of us. It is about how we can come together to drive social change, shifting behavioral norms and tapping into people’s sense of solidarity to keep each other safe.” 

In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis asks us to pray with conviction, “Come, Holy Spirit, show us your beauty, reflected in all the peoples of the earth, so that we may discover anew, that all are important and all are necessary, different faces of the one humanity that God so loves. Amen.” 

May this prayer hold true as we end 2021 and move forward to 2022.

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