Anda di halaman 1dari 32

Is there Food

in the Duterte
ISSN 0300-4155 / Asian
Magazine for Human Trans-
formation Through Educa-
tion, Social Advocacy and
Evangelization / P.O. Box
2481, 1099 Manila, Philip-
pines Copyright 1974 by So-
cial Impact Foundation, Inc.
THE Malacaang Press Corps (MPC) issued a statement of late
Published monthly by addressed to the Governments Communications Secretary
AREOPAGUS who accused them of misreporting the Presidents talk on
COMMUNICATIONS, INC. martial law. We take exception to the statement of Presidential
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, accusing the media of
misreporting President Rodrigo Dutertes statement about Martial
Law, the MPC said in a statement.
Associate Editor The media that merely paraphrased the presidents remark
ROY LAGARDE was hurt. We are disturbed and appalled by the propensity of
the officials of this administration to blame the media whenever
Staff Writers inflammatory statements of the President stir controversy or draw
CHARLES AVILA flak. The misinterpretation or misreporting that the media was
EULY BELIZAR accused of by the Presidents apologists is consequential because
ROY CIMAGALA it pierces right into fiber that journalism is made of, which is the
LOPE ROBREDILLO truthespecially now that the manufacture and proliferation of
fake news has become a lucrative industry and a propaganda
Sales & Advertising
Supervisor machine.
GLORIA FERNANDO But how more consequential could it be when interpreting
becomes the business of those who have been empowered to use
Circulation Manager a gun. How would, for instance, a police force interpret a war on
MERCEDITA JUANITE drugs if not literally killing those in drugs? The president has been
talking without lit up about killing drug traffickers and users who
Design Artist are mostly poor because they have become worse than slaves.
RON REGINO Earlier on he has been saying that the fish in Manila Bay will grow
fat because they will be feed with dead bodies. By the looks of it,
Cover Photo by
the police have taken this as policy statements that gave them an
umbrella power to hack to death anybody they want. Columnist
Editorial Office: Areopagus Randy David puts it curtly when he wrote that the war on drugs
Communications, Holy Face has normalized abduction and the raiding of home, and has made
of Jesus Convent and Center, killing an everyday thing.
1111 R. Hidalgo St., Quiapo, The big problem with the presidents statement is that there are
Manila Tel (632) 404-2182 instances he backtracks thus leading people to conclude that his
Telefax (632) 404-1612 Visit facts are not verified and his sources not foolproof. This makes
our website at www.impact- the list in the order of battle, those targeted for liquidation, very For inquiries, indiscriminate and unstable. But what if his analysis and perspective
comments, and contributions, where his decisions are based are wrong? History will bear that
email us at: impactmaga- never has killing thousands of people been right no matter how noble the cause.
On the side, the country will have to bear with a leader entrusted
with over 100 million lives but is not in the habit of accepting

criticisms. He prowls like a roaring lion ready to attack anybody who

brandishes an opposing opinion. In this worldview, martial rule is a
logical upshot. The change that everybody has been groaning for
is becoming very uncertain now. No matter how one interprets it,
these are uneasy times.
This issue opens with the pastoral letter on amending the
constitution issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the
Philippines during their January Plenary Assembly. Our cover story,
Morally revisiting the mining issue, is written by our staff writer
Charles Avila. It posits that mining is not purely an economic or legal
issue. It is primarily an environmental issue that has devastating
consequences, and, as such, must be governed and justified within
the context of environmental ethics. Read on.


28 | Mater et magistra 14 | What we need is not only
change but conversion
16 | Morally revisiting the
mining issue 23 | News Features
4 | Amending the Constitution 25 | Statements
8 | Criminals at 9 years old 29 | From the blogs
10 | Employability: Indication 31 | Asia briefing
of education success?
13 | Light in the midst of darkeness


"We need mercy
but we are afraid to
give mercy. Instead
of mercy there is
terror, death penalty,
"To speak out for the poor is not just revenge. Why?"

a decision to open ones mouth, but a Socrates Villegas, archbishop of

Lingayen-Dagupan and president

decision to listen to them." of the Catholic Bishops Confer-

ence of the Philippines; during
Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Manila and head of the bishops laity com- his homily at the University of the
mission; in his talk at the 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy. Santo Tomas for the WACOM4.

"What kind of police force

do we have that they could not
catch the killers of 4000 people?"
Teodoro Bacani, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Novaliches; in his talk delivered in Santo Tomas Batangas during the 4th World Apostolic
Congress on Mercy.

"Churchmen are not perfect. "Fake news and trolls are not mercy. They
Nevertheless, they are
supposed to proclaim what
are lies. Bullying and internet bashing are not
is right and proper even if mercy. They are offensive and violent."
they themselves fall short of Ruperto Santos, bishop of the Diocese of Balanga in Bataan; during this talk on the last
day of the 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy.
what they teach."
Ramon Arguelles, archbishop of the Archdiocese
of Lipa; in his talk delivered at the 4th World
Apostolic Congress on Mercy.


DEAR Catholic Faithful
We write this pastoral letter to you with an eye to
our celebration of the 500th year of the coming of
Christianity to our shores. By 2021 the Christian
faith shall have arrived in our shores for half a
millennium already. For a long time we have been
the only Asian country with a Christian majority.
And even today we can thankfully say that we
are the Asian country with the biggest Christian
population. As we prepare for this great milestone
in our history, it is but right that we examine how
deeply we have lived up to our Christian name.
During the 33rd International Eucharistic
Congress held in Manila in 1937, our faith was
described in the official hymn of the Congress in
this way:

La fe de Filipinas
Es como el sol ardiente,
Como la roca firme
Inmensa como el mar.
La iniquidad no puede
Ser de estas islas duena.

The faith of the Philippines

Is like the blazing sun,
Is strong as a rock,
Immense like the sea.
Iniquity cannot lord
It over these islands.

More recently, we your bishops discerned

that the top pastoral priority for the Church in
the Philippines is integral faith formation. (cf.
Behold I Make All Things New, 2001). While
acknowledging that the faith of our people

Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto addresses

the members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines at
the opening of their 114th plenary assembly at the Pope Pius XII Center in
Manila, January 28, 2017. ROY LAGARDE

is simple and strong, we nevertheless to bear witness to Christ by our lives, our
lamented the ignorance of our people words and by our actions which reflect and
regarding the truths of our faith, and the convey the love and mercy of Christ, the
lack of coherence between the faith we face of the Fathers mercy. The Second
profess and our personal and societal Vatican Council has gone to the extent
lives. (cf. Live Christ, Share Christ, 2012). of warning: The Christian who neglects
We also expressed our considered opinion his temporal duties neglects his duties
that the way politics as it was presently towards his neighbor and even God and
practiced in our country is perhaps the We are jeopardizes his eternal salvation (Pastoral
single greatest obstacle to our integral today indeed Constitution on the Church in the Modern
development as a nation. (cf. Pastoral experiencing World, no. 43).
Exhortation on Philippine Politics, 1997) change, but Hence we call on you, to participate in
But the corruption of our politics cannot be it is highly the political processes of our country,
isolated from corruption in our economic questionable and today, especially in the process of
life, in our culture, and in the practice of whether this amending our 1987 Constitution. The
our religion itself. change is for process of amending the Constitution
The bitter fruit of all these is widespread the better or should not be left to politicians or to those
poverty, violence and a cultural for the worse. who either by election or appointment
degeneration whose end result is the will be tasked to draft the amendments.
absence of genuine peace. For the Constitution is not only a piece
No wonder people have been longing of paper, even though some who would
and clamoring for change. We are today disregard its provisions may claim that it
indeed experiencing change, but it is is only that. The Constitution is the single
highly questionable whether this change is most important document of our country.
for the better or for the worse. The Filipino people are the author of this
One of the major steps proposed to document. Those who are tasked to draft
bring about change for the better is the it or to amend it are not its authors but
amendment of our 1987 Constitution. This the instruments of the sovereign Filipino
is a major step which poses a challenge to people. It becomes the Constitution or a
every Filipino citizen, and hence, to every valid amendment only upon approval by
Filipino Catholic. the people.
We write to you not to endorse or But while the peoples approval of the
disapprove moves to amend the 1987 Constitution or amendments thereof
Constitution but to offer pastoral guidance is our final act of owning it, we must be
on whatever decision that may be taken on vigilant and watch over, and even suggest
this matter. ideas and formulations that enter into the
Our Lord Jesus Christ called his followers Constitution. We have to make sure that
the salt of the earth and the light of the the resulting document embodies our
world. (Mt. 5:13-14). He made it clear rights, our ideals, our aspirations, and our
that his disciples should not abandon the dreams (Commissioner Jose Nolledo).
world to its own devices. While they did We want to tell you that the CBCP
not belong to the world, and should not supported the ratification of the 1987
conform themselves to this age (Roman Constitution, while acknowledging its
12:2), the followers of Christ were being imperfections. The bishops collectively
sent into the world to penetrate it with the said then, We have come to the
values of the Gospel, so that the Kingdom conclusion that the provisions of the new
of God might come to the world and draft Constitution are consistent with
transform it. The Second Plenary Council the teaching of the Gospel. They added,
of the Philippines (1991) set as one of the We believe that this new Constitution
purposes of the new evangelization the will provide firm basis for governance, a
transformation of society in which all clear direction for national renewal and
Catholics are called to be involved. Every development, and a covenant towards
Christian is commissioned by the Lord peace. (Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, CBCP
Jesus not only to profess the Christian faith President, A Covenant Towards Peace:
but to make it bear on our world which A Pastoral Letter on the Ratification of
needs sorely the light of Christ. Every the 1986 Constitution of the Philippines,
Catholic and all of us together, are called November 21, 1986).

We urge you to get involved in the advocate to be made absolute (Art. III, Sec.
process of amending the Constitution so 19, no. 1).
that all its provisions will be consistent We cannot cite here all the provisions
with the Gospel, and the gains of the that we should be vigilant about. There is
1987 Constitution will be preserved and the big issue of federalism which we must
enhanced, instead of being removed. all study. The clamor by many for it stems
We urge you in a very special way to from the dissatisfaction of many people
be vigilant that our Constitution will with the lack of equitable distribution of
continue to assert that Sovereignty benefits, power and financial resources in
resides in the people and all government our present unitary system. Do we need to
authority emanates from them (Art. change from our present unitary system to
II, sec. 1). Let us continue to insist that a federal system of government? Or will it
Public office is a public trust. All public suffice to introduce amendments and laws
officers must at all times be accountable which will make the present unitary system
to the people, serve them with utmost responsive to the needs of disadvantaged
responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and regions?
efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, Keep in mind that the drafting of a
and lead modest lives (Art. XI, sec. 1). Constitution and amendments to it should
Let us not allow any public official to act concern all of us. And our overriding
as if he is the master of the people, for a concern should be that the provisions of
person is elected or appointed to public the Constitution and all amendments to
office to be a servant of the people. be incorporated should be consistent with
Let us make sure that the Constitution the Gospel and promote the common
continues to uphold this fundamental good. Such concern is our right and duty
principle: The State values the dignity of as Filipinos as well as followers of Jesus
every human person and guarantees full Christ who wants for us all peace and life
respect for human rights (Art. II, Sec. 11). in abundance.
Let us ensure that provisions of our Bill Let us not fail our country. Even more
of Rights are preserved, especially Art. importantly, let us not fail our Lord Jesus
III, Sec. 1: No person shall be deprived Christ. We, your pastors, on our part
of life, liberty, or property without due commit ourselves to the huge task of
process of law, nor shall any person be helping our people know our Constitution
denied the equal protection of the laws. and the faith issues connected with it.
Let us especially safeguard the 1987 Let us, by our active involvement in the
Constitutions declaration that The State political life of our country and in the work
shall equally protect the life of the mother of amending our Constitution prepare a
and the unborn from conception (Art. II, people who do honor by their personal
Sec. 12). And let us continue to maintain and societal livings to the Lord and to
the safeguards against dictatorial martial our Christian faith, come 2021, the 500th
rule that our present constitution contains year of the coming of the Christian faith
(Art. VIII, Sec. 18). and of the holy Mass to our shores. Let us
The gains enshrined in Article XV, on above all remember that no change in our
The Family, as well as the State Policy Constitution will help us if we do not have
which says, The State recognizes the a change of heart, soul and behavior.
sanctity of family life and shall protect May Mary, the Mother of Jesus, intercede
and strengthen the family as a basic for her people who call themselves,
autonomous social institution (Art. II, pueblo amante de Maria (a people in love
Sec. 12) should be safeguarded by us, as with Mary).
also the provision which mandates that
upon request of the parents or guardians, For the Catholic Bishops Conference of
optional religious instruction to children the Philippines, January 30, 2017.
in the public schools must be provided
by teachers designated by the religious +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
authorities of the religion to which the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
children or wards belong (Art. XIV, Sec. President, Catholic Bishops Conference of
3, no. 3). Likewise very important is the the Philippines
prohibition of the death penalty, which we

Criminals at 9 years old?

Fr. Shay Cullen

ANDRES is just one10-year old to amend the law and to lower

child and he has lived on the the minimum age of criminal
streets of Metro Manila most liability of the Filipino children
of his life like thousands of from 15 years of age to nine
other street children. They are years of age. They think that the
abandoned, work as scavengers, child is allowed to go without
market boys or girls and are any intervention to help them
vulnerable to sexual and physical know right from wrong. The law
abuse by adults. They are directs that there be help given
uneducated and without family or and intervention for children in
social welfare, care and protection. conflict with the law. This lowering
They are completely vulnerable of the age of criminal liability is
to the influence of those who can detrimental to children it should
give them food or money. not be changed.
Andres was a survivor. He The child shall be subjected to
worked as a scavenger collecting a community-based intervention
plastic bottles and other junks program supervised by the local
to sell in order to buy enough social welfare and development
food for the day but it was never officer, unless the best interest of
enough. He only knew he had to the child requires the referral of
get food and anything he did to the child to a youth care facility or
survive was the right thing for Bahay Pag-asa managed by LGUs
him to do. He didnt get enough or licensed and/or accredited
scraps one day and he saw a cell NGOs monitored by the DSWD.
phone on a vendors tray at the The law and millions of Filipinos
market and he took it. He sold it and around the world say, No,
and bought food. Andres like most Andres and thousands like him are
children didnt know if it was right not criminals and must be helped.
or wrong. The moral or legal issue They and wise legislators believe
was not a reality for him. He was that the survival of life is the
just hungry. He was arrested by greatest human need and hunger
the barangay tanod and charged must be satisfied. Besides the work as drug couriers and should
with theft. Was he a criminal? Philippine law RA 9344 is benign, be treated as criminals and the
There is a majority of Filipinos compassionate and enlightened law be changed so nine year olds
who say, No he is not. The and it takes into consideration that can be arrested. The supporters
Philippine Congress on two a child, especially under the age of of such a position should present
previous occasions said he is 15, that has little schooling, lives solid research showing substantial
not. There are now voices of on the streets and is always hungry figures of children being used
the police and local district cannot be held liable for adult acts in this way. But even if it were
officials who blame the children that are considered adult crime. so then the child would not
as young as nine years of age as The fact that police are understand that he or she was
notorious criminals and they say complaining that criminal gangs doing something wrong. The
the children should be treated as are taking advantage of children power and influence of an adult in
criminals. They are persuading because they cannot be held liable ascendency over the child is very
congressional representatives for crimes claim that the children strong. The child cannot act with



children, including any person

who abuses his/her authority over
the child or who, with abuse of
confidence, takes advantage of the
vulnerabilities of the child and
shall induce, threaten or instigate
the commission of the crime.
That is putting the burden on
law enforcers to apprehend and
charge the adults who use children
and instigate and teach them to
participate in illegal actions. The
tabloid media has constantly
played up the plight of the street
children who have to survive
alone or in groups. They present
them as animal-like criminals and
sometimes demonize the children.
But the desperate hungry and
abandoned children are trying
to meet their human needs to
survive in a cruel neglectful
society around them. They have
been neglected, abused oppressed
and jailed. Some of the Bahay Pag-
asa youth centers are in fact jails
in most respects and the children
are in fact being punished. They
provide little or no education or
assistance to give the children no
chance at a better life. Soon the
cells will fill-up with nine year
olds and suffer physical and sexual
abuse in the jails if the law is
What an added disgrace to the
Philippines to criminalize the
innocent children. Remembering
the words of Jesus of Nazareth
when asked who was the most
important in the world. He placed
a child before the crowd and said
The greatest in the Kingdom of
free will and full knowledge and for that intervention. In a court Heaven is the one who humbles
without that there is no crime. ruling applying the RA 9344 the himself and becomes like this
They have been coerced. judge had the following to say. child. Whoever welcomes one
The adult drug traffickers are the R.A. No. 10630 addresses the such child as this welcomes
criminals, not the small children. concerns and criticisms of the law me. (Matt.18; 3 -5) These are
The children are innocent victims by amending certain provisions of somber thoughts for those
of abuse by the adults. The adult R.A. No. 9344. One amendment who would treat the child as a
suspects ought to be arrested introduced by R.A. No. 10630 is criminal at nine years old. Let
and charged with child abuse. the imposition of the maximum your opposition be known by the
The testimony of the child will period prescribed by law for the chairperson of the Congressional
be sufficient to convict the adult crime committed on any person, Committee on Justice Rep.
criminal using the child. The who in the commission of a Reynaldo Umali through his
child can be taken into care and crime, makes use, takes advantage Twitter account https://twitter.
protection and the law provides of, or profits from the use of com/reyumali


Employability: Indication of education success?

By Bernardo M. Villegas

IN a recent conference attended has as much freedom as possible backgrounds. What made them
by Human Resource Managers of to pursue the goods of education, employable is clearly not the
the IT-BPO industry, a question culture, and health for the benefit professional specialization they
was posed to me: Is employability of herself and others. had in the university. What
an indication of education success? Employability may be one of made them employable were
What came immediately to my the favorable results of quality the traits that they could have
mind was the definition given education but it should not be acquired in the non-specialized
by one of the greatest Filipino the primary goal of education. courses required in their
educators of the last century who The reverse is also true: there respective curricula, such as
taught thousands of students in are factors that make individuals English, Literature, Mathematics,
the Metro Manila area in such employable other than quality History. Social Sciences, and
schools as the University of Sto. formal education. In various road other general education subjects
Tomas, Assumption Convent, shows in which I participated that sharpened their analytical
De La Salle College, St. Josephs in which top executives from thinking, communication skills
College, Sta. Isabel and many the BPO-IT sector presented and interpersonal relations. As
others. The late Dr. Ariston the competitive advantage a business school professor, I
Estrada Sr. always insisted that of the Philippines in their am always amused that the ones
education is preparing a human booming industry, the following who excel in MBA and executive
being for what he or she must be were usually cited as the main education programs are not those
and do on earth so that he can attractions of Filipino human with undergraduate degrees in
attain his or her eternal goal in resources: Proficiency in English business administration, but
the life hereafter. It is quite clear and other languages; affinity with those who are physicists, mining
that this definition does not take Western culture; customer service engineers, civil engineers,
a utilitarian view of education. orientation; highly trainable; mathematicians, etc.
Even without bringing in the after cost effective; and high level of The main point I want to
life, no one will disagree with commitment and loyalty. Some stress here is that the success of
the famous French economist of these qualities may indeed education (at all levels) should
Thomas Piketty, the author of be cultivated in the formal not be primarily measured by
the best seller Capital in the educational system. It is equally employability but by the quality
Twenty First Century. He wrote: obvious, however, that many of of human beings we are turning
The main purpose of the health the traits are products of child out. Are they first and foremost
sector is not to provide other rearing practices in the Filipino good citizens? Will they be good
sectors with workers in good family; influences of Western parents? If they do get employed,
health. By the same token, the media; on-the-job training will they be able to rise to the top
main purpose of the educational practices; and unique features of of their respective organizations?
sector is not to prepare students Filipino culture. This does not mean, however, that
to take up an occupation in some Except for the very specialized I am not concerned with a serious
other sector of the economy. In profession of medicine, problem in our educational
all human societies, health and employability is not directly system: the mismatch between
education have an intrinsic value: related to the university education the skills being produced and
the ability to enjoy years of good of most Filipino knowledge the demand of the market place.
health, like the ability to acquire workers. This is obvious from This is very obvious from the
knowledge and culture, is one the fact that in the BPO sector, facts that I cited: that many of
of the fundamental purposes especially in the voice-oriented, those who work in the IT-BPO
of civilization. We are free to one can find nurses, engineers, industry are underemployed if
imagine an ideal society in which accountants, lawyers, physical one considers what they took
all other tasks are almost totally therapists and others with up in their respective university
automated and each individual the most diverse educational studies: nurses, physical therapists.



lawyers, accountants, even allow us to follow the former private industry should take a
engineers working as call center European system of distinguishing pro-active role in developing
agents. between technical institutes and attractive courses that can be
The transition in our basic universities. Most of our high incorporated into the Grades 11
education curriculum to K to 12 school graduates should be going and 12 curricula that could lead
is fortunately a move in the right to TESDA-type schools that will to immediate employability. I
direction to address the skills prepare them for the types of understand that the IT-BPO sector
mismatch. It is my hope that the skills that are in great demand in is leading the way in this regard.
additional expense they will incur our present stage of economic I am glad to know of initiatives
to send their children to Grade 11 development. I know for a like those of the Ayalas and the
and 12 will finally convince many fact that so many construction PHINMA group that are actively
parents that to be a plumber, projects have been unduly delayed investing in technical educational
electrician, mason, mechanic, because of the scarcity of masons, programs that directly meet the
carpenter can be as dignified electricians and plumbers. manpower needs of the business
and as (or more) economically The feudalistic mindset of sector. Another sector that is in
rewarding as to be an accountant, Filipinos, making many of great need of technically trained
lawyer, economist, etc. The them look down at blue collar workers is that of agriculture. The
K to 12 program will finally work, can now be changed if average age of a Filipino farmer is


close to 60. We have to train more technological environment. commitment and loyalty, I must
farm entrepreneurs, not university In my personal experience, I point out that very few universities
graduates from Los Banos. At the regretted that the accounting consciously include values or
macro level, there is evidence that specialization that I took in my character formation in their
Filipinos who have progressed undergraduate years forced me educational efforts. They assume
to college earn more than those to devote hundreds of hours to that character training should be
with only a high school diploma learn bookkeeping techniques, limited to the basic education
and those who have reached high accounting principles, provisions years of the youth. Considering
school earn more than those on commercial law, etc. which some very bad examples in moral
who drop out after grade school. I could have learned faster in behavior that we get from some
These are findings of the leading industry. I could have devoted of our leaders and from cultures
specialist on the economics of all those hours to reading more of other countries (especially
education, Dr. Edita Tan of the books on the classics, learning through social networks), I
University of the Philippines. about music and the arts, etc. To would also recommend that
At the micro level, however, we remedy the lack of liberal arts IT-BPO enterprises turn to Values
still have to ask the question what training of numerous people who Education specialists to craft
type of post-secondary education work for the IT-BPO sector (as in-house programs that reinforce
will address the manpower was the case in the last century the human virtues and values that
needs of industry. As a life-time with the thousands of accounting are the foundation of customer
educator, I can say that industry graduates), the leading enterprises service orientation (unselfishness
should insist that the most in this industry would do well to and generosity) and high level of
important task of universities offer in-company programs on commitment and loyalty.
is to teach their students how the Humanities for the employees It is never too late to help
to think, how to communicate they expect to progress to higher human beings in the lifetime
effectively in English and other levels of management. effort to nurture the cardinal
languages, and how to relate the In the 1960s, I joined a group virtues of fortitude, temperance,
different human disciplines to one of professors from different justice and prudencelong
another. This would require every universities to offer an in-house discovered as essential for
quality university to give great Humanities program for the harmonious living by the Greek
importance to the Humanities accountants and auditors of SGV, philosophers Socrates, Plato
which include History, Philosophy, the leading accounting firm then. and Aristotle. Since there are
the Fine Arts, Literature, I must attest to the fact that those more than one million workers
Mathematics, the Physical who were in the Program rose (and counting) in this industry,
Sciences and the Social Sciences. to CEO positions in many of the it would also be a great service
Whatever the specialization, these Philippine and multinational to Philippine society if these
liberal arts subjects are crucial to enterprises over the last forty Filipino citizensmost of them
preparing professionals who can years. Having been working millennialsare helped to
rise to the top of their respective closely with the IT-BPO sector develop the human virtues and
fields and can be the innovators over the last ten years at least, I values that they can bring to other
that are direly needed by a can say that the greatest challenge sectors of the economy and most
middle-income economy aspiring to the industry today is to produce importantly to their respective
to rise to First World status. Over the middle-management staff families. I consider this effort of
and above the subjects that will be needed to supervise tens of values education among the more
covered in Grade 11 and 12 (Senior thousands of workers. Although than one million workers in the
High School or Junior College), a long-term solution is to make IT-BPO industry as the Number
universities must still expose their sure that all of our universities One item in the Corporate Social
students to the Humanities at are giving great importance to Responsibility (CSR) agenda of IT-
the college level (as all the world a liberal arts foundation in any BPO enterprises. For comments,
class educational institutions professional program, a more my email address is bernardo.
like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, immediate solution is to offer in-
Cambridge, Oxford, etc. do). house programs in the liberal arts
The private business sector to their existing employees.
must warn universities not As regards two of the qualities
to clutter their curricula with identified as part of the
very specialized subjects which competitive advantage of Filipino
are better learned on the job, workers, i.e. customer service
especially in a fast-changing orientation and high level of



Light in the midst of darkness

By Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD

I NOTICE many Facebook friends many who have dulled conscience

changing their profile picture. or no conscience at allapproving
Actually, there is no picture or and applauding whats going on.
image at all, just black or total On the other hand, there is a
darkness. What does it express? growing number who are speaking
For some it could just be an out and protesting against the
expression of protest. It could be heros burial of a corrupt dictator
an expression of grief, a sense of and the killings. Meanwhile, the
hopelessness and despair. It does bigger problems such as poverty
symbolize our present situation and corruption continue and are
the darkness that we once again not being seriously addressed. An
find ourselves in. Indeed, we are economic crisis is not farfetched.
living in another dark period of We are indeed amidst darkness. Is
our country when evil appears to there hope?
reign. I know how it feels to celebrate
Every day as we watch TV a bleak Christmas in the midst of
and read the newspapers we are a seemingly hopeless situation. Children and relatives hold photos of victims of
confronted with gruesome news During the early years of extrajudicial killings during a procession held a
and images of those killed martial law, I spent Christmas before a Mass at the Our Lady of Victory Chapel
mostly poorby the death squads in prisonon hunger strike in Malabon City, February 2, 2017. ROY LAGARDE
and police. More than 7,000 killed with other political detainees to
in six months. The president is protest the maltreatment that we This is what the light of Christ
promising more deaths while received from the minions of the symbolizes. The God who never
absolving the police of murder. dictator. In December 1985, two abandoned His people in the past
He threatened to kill human months before EDSA, our family will not abandon us now. Evil will
rights advocates and lawyers. And was in grief after my mother not reign forever and ever. This
theres congress trying to railroad was killed by a gang composed too will pass. As Marys songthe
a bill that will restore the death of PC (Philippine Constabulary) Magnificatassures us: The proud
penalty. The senate has come up soldiers. A few months earlier, and the mighty will be deposed
with a report denying the reality my Redemptorist confrereFr. from their thrones. I firmly
of extrajudicial killings and the Rudy Romanowas abducted believe that a time will come when
existence of death squads. by military intelligence agents decent Filipinos with awakened
With a judiciary and legislative and made to disappear. Around conscience will overcome their
branches that seems to be the same time, a pastoral worker fear and rise to the occasion. I
controlled and bullied by the that we have trained was killed by have witnessed miraculous events
executive branch, the system of a paramilitary unit - the CHDF. in the past, I expect another one
check and balance is disappearing. During that dark period there soon. It may not be the same
So if the trend continues, we seemed no end in sight for the as the previous ones but it will
can expect the casualties in the reign of evil. once again the demonstrate the
so-called war on drugs to exceed Looking back and remembering triumph of light over darkness. I
70,000 by the end of six years the subsequent events, I can say hope my FB friends will change
when Dutertes term ends. He said that in the darkest moment there their profile picture with a
he would be happy to kill 3 million is always light. After two EDSA lighted candlethe Christmas
addicts following the example people power events I no longer candle. This is the Good News of
of his idolAdolf Hitler. We see doubt. In a seemingly hopeless Christmasthe triumph of light
a deeply divided societywith situation, there is always hope. over darkness, of good over evil.


What we need is not only change but conversion

By Fr. Emmanuel Mijares

President Rodrigo Duterte presides over the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LE-DAC) Meeting at the State Dining Room in
Malacaan Palace, January 30, 2017. MALACAANG PHOTO

WHEN Hitler ran for elections he won and later waged war, only But then, as we know, it was too
before the Second World War few were able to manifest their late to stop Hitler. The change
for presidency in Germany, what conscientious dissent even when was not for the better but for the
brought him to power were also the final solution was placed worst. Realization came late. The
votes of many Catholics. They into motion. Many Catholics after math of the second world war
were made to believe, through his were silent or perhaps could not placed Germany in devas-tation
rhetorics, that there will be a new even believe what was unfolding. and chaos. What came later is
Germany. What was needed was Public dissent meant death if not history.
change, he exhorted. And when persecution. In our democratic country, what



was the cry during the last election and his way of governance. In deaf ears to the cry of the victims.
was change. Change is coming other words, understanding those Conversion means looking at
and indeed it came, but it turned who fell into the trap of Dutertan each other eye to eye towards
to be a change for the worst, rhetorics and has realized he/she forgiveness and understanding
many did not expect: a moral has been Duterted, instead of real-izing that all of us could fall
devastation characterized by judging them harshly. into a political blindness and an
publicly enticing to kill, indecent Without conversion, our inclination to a wrong notion
words and senate hearings and country will always fall to a trap of power not as service but
an explicit desire, on the part into a kind of dialectics of political domination.
of the president, to kill three exclusion of the opposing party;. Internal conversion is difficult
million addicts, as if the good of Non-conversion is not to open but its important to have the
the country depends on killing towards a cooperation through interior light to go ahead for
without regard to any rules for a respectful consideration and a real change for the better.
engagement. He declares even inclusion of what is good in the Vindictiveness could cloud
to teach God how to do justice. It other side of the fence. What judgments and may be unfruitful
is devastating even for Filipinos conversion connotes is that since it could lead to more
abroad who excitedly voted for outright exclusion or rejection of violence.
Duterte. Many sensible ones a political agenda only because it Conversion means that we
regretted, though some are really is morally evil. With conversion, share together, red or yellow,
fanatics and perhaps those who it is possible to support what is civilian or the military, masa or
have ideological agendas continue morally right even if it is from an elit-ist the responsibility for the
to remain in a sinking boat. adversary political party and shun amelioration of our nation based
Reality check: sixteen million what is morally wrong even it of truth, peace, justice and respect
pro Duterte voters are not the comes from ones own party. for human life beyond blind
majority of us Filipinos. The The experience of EDSA I and allegiance to partisan politics and
major-ity of Filipinos did not vote II was quite partisan and it even political greed for power.
for Duterte though some remain drew some political borders Conversion means to joyfully
spectators. Due to this change for ex-cluding one from the other, work together hand in hand for
the worse, some of them end up like pro-masa and pro-elitist the true values that makes us
with an unwelcoming attitude tantamount to out-group and live as a dignified nation and as
to those who have been disap- out-group exclusivist mentality. brothers and sisters having the
pointed by this promise of change. These previous peaceful same God, whoever one may call
Attitudes could range from blame revolutions have not solved our Him, Allah, Yahweh or Buddha.
like merisi or just a sigh of relief po-litical problem since it fell We need conversion now
saying that finally these blinded into this dialectical pit of partisan before its too late. We dont need
followers of Duterte were able political integral exclusion of one another Auschwitz. Our beautiful
to come to their senses, to just a and the other. Before an EDSA III islands could become seven
simple sigh, a buntonghininga. could start, we need conversion thousand killing islands of three
Yet we have seen as a nation if we dont like to become our millions murdered because the
this notorious kind of change worst violent enemy and divide highest official of the land has an
unfolding in front of our very eyes irreparably our nation. We need addiction to kill to preserve his
and ears. We cry with one sobbing to shun violence at all costs and power.
voice: this is not a kind of change bring the revolution inside our Finally, conversion means
that was expected. hearts and minds to let it evolve to have faith that could move
Enough is enough. Change into a revolution of love, mercy mountains, and to hope that
has indeed come but we need and compassion not only towards this na-tion could always rise
is not this kind of change. We the victims is this drug war but again because we truly love our
need a kind of conversion now. also towards the victim-izers. motherland. Conversion is the
Conversion is first of all something All of us need conversion and real force beneath true change.
internal not external. It means mercy because all of us have done Then we can all rightfully say:
an internal conversion from our something wrong by commis-sion Change is coming, otherwise all
exclusive mentality towards a or by a glaring omission caused of us will go down the drain and
more inclusive one: to welcome by our indifference and apathy. Satan will continue laughing.
those who have realized that Conversion means listen-ing to
perhaps they have voted for the the internal voice of conscience
wrong president. All of us make vis-a-vis the loud voice against
mistakes including our president EJK instead of hav-ing apathetic



Mining is not purely
an economic or
merely a legal issue.
It is primarily an envi-
ronmental issue and
as such, must be gov-
erned and justified
within the context of
environmental ethics.

By Charles Avila

Most highly mineralized country

The Philippines is a part of Earth that is so
incredibly rich in gold, silver, copper, nickel, chrome
and zinc that there is now a consensus among
governments and industry in the valuation of the
mineral wealth within the territorial limits of the
country at more than a trillion dollars worth, at least.
In fact, you will now hear from more and more
sources how our country has more than seven billion
metric tons (BMT) of metallic mineral reserves and
51 BMT of non-metallic deposits with values ten
times our GDP and 17 times our external debt. The
Philippines has the fifth largest mineral resources in
the world.

50 NUMBER 12
51 NUMBER 1 17 17

It is then understandable how regulate investors, which Secretary of the State so that it can have
tempting it was for past cash- Gina is now attempting. Cant the wherewithal to become an
strapped administrations to the State make sure that foreign effective and responsible steward
give in with very little fight to, participation in the critical of the national patrimony:
say, the International Monetary stages of minerals extraction and amend the Mining Act to include
Funds structural adjustment processing be in accord with a the crucial provision of the
program, and fully liberalize the defined program for technology government's pre-tax share of the
mining industry, as the Philippine transfer and constitutionally cash flow generated by a mining
government did in 1995, allowing correct equity shares? project.
100% foreign-owned mining It is time we open our eyes to
corporations control over our the fact that often we are fried A pre-tax share representing the
mineral land in exchange for in our own grease. What triggers national patrimony
how much? Well, yes, how much the activity of foreign funders In most countries around the
that remains a big, big question and investors are the licenses world where there is mining this
mark. It may be more accurate to and permits and certificates pre-tax share representing the
ask, how little? here, necessary reminders that national patrimony averages
We can, indeed, quite easily the resource is here. The power a hefty 38.15% (Chile 15.00% ,
grant that in mining there is to allow the production of new Bolivia 27.06% ,Venezuela 32.82%
room for foreign investments wealth is here. Indeed, Filipino , Peru 36.52%, United States
room. It is crazy to give them financiers can do as well if not 36.61%, Mexico 37.21%, Botswana
the whole house. Let us welcome a better job if backed up by the 40.10%, Brazil 40.85%, Argentina
the Philippines becoming at sovereign state. 46.13%, Canada 46.71%, Guyana
long last a strong state that can Here is a concrete proposal to 48.16%, Australia 50.60%--and the
rigorously screen and strictly strengthen the financial capacity Philippines? 0%. ) ! Since it is a


fact that the Phiippines has for output of the minerals. Section of civilizations from first
many decades now been idolizing 84 reiterates essentially the same (agricultural) to second (industrial)
the Australian model of mining, thing. From an ethical standpoint, to third (information) wave of
with an Australian propagandist prescinding from any changing social formations. Industries
so strongly on our ground that Supreme Court decisions, the need minerals to support the
he was even awarded Filipino law does not make sense when production and flow of basic
citizenship a few years back, then one looks at the provision on goods and services. How fortunate
we might as well be consistent and the state ownership of mineral should our country have been,
follow the Australian example of a resources, because, in effect, the given the mineral resources vital
50.60% pre-tax share. government concedes to the for industrialization!
At the present time, the foreign corporation practically for The problem, however, has
Mining Act is blind on how the free its beneficial ownership over been again the fact that the
State - which has the exclusive the mineral resources. State and the Filipino people
duty to explore, develop and In essence, and in contrast, did not really own and control
utilize natural resources - would the moral view understands mining as a crucial part of basic
participate in the profits of service stewardship properly and asserts: industry. In no other sector
contracts such as financial and mining projects that cannot than in mining is the Philippine
technical assistance agreements absorb the environmental and state exposed to be unarguably
with mining contractors. The social costs of modern mining weak till Secretary Lopez came
law also does not guarantee should not be allowed to proceed. supported by the incumbent
that the government will Secretary Gina, you are doing fine President (for how much longer,
receive an equitable share on as far as the interests of the nation though, still remains to be seen)
the mining contractor's profit. and the people are concerned. with no one truly responsible
The government's share in the We welcome the radical review on the government side, no one
mining deals only includes taxes, that has been embarked on based liable. The organs of government
duties, and other fees paid by the on the following questions: is the were captured instruments of
contractors. The payment of these current utilization of our mineral the mining companies, as former
fees does not immediately benefit endowment designed to serve Secretary Heherson Alvarez
the Philippines as the contractors the basic needs of our people discovered in his time, when he
are given the privilege of first fully who live and work in a backward suddenly found himself out of a
recovering their pre-operating and agricultural mode of production? job because of the mining lobby.
property expenses before paying Is it geared to addressing the Because of this, we could never
their financial obligations to the need of our national economy really have hoped that mineral
government, not to mention the to making a successful leap to production and development
aggressive grant of tax holidays to becoming a strong industrial state? would serve the modernization of
foreign investors in mining, which Or isnt our mineral advantage agriculture and the launching of
does not make sense at all since being used again to develop rural industrialization with all that
mining is that kind of investment underdevelopment in our land? this could have entailed in terms
which is neither market-seeking Isnt it a fact that for too long a of food security and economic
nor efficiency-seeking so much as time our mineral resources were self-reliance, generally.
clear asset-seeking. extracted purely for the benefit of In sum, the Philippine State
imperialism or the developed and the Filipino people have been
A give-away country nations economies and for the rather remiss in their stewardship
The Philippines has become super-profitable advancement of a of the national patrimony.
such a give-away country one few mining companies?
wonders why anyone should even So, at the outset the question Understanding stewardship
respect it as sovereign at all. The should be articulated correctly: Stewardship understood in
State and the Filipino people have shouldnt we only allow the this way means primarily the
been so remiss in their duty as development of our mineral preservation and conservation
stewards. Section 80 of its Mining resources for our own use - rather of nature. However, it does not
Act expressly states that the excise than mainly for money-making by in any way preclude the creative
tax on mineral products shall a few in the world market? transformation of nature,
constitute the "total government No one, including our moral represented by human ingenuity
share in a mineral production- leaders, should be or can be and technology. In performing
sharing agreement," which under against mining per se. Mining this task, however, human beings
the Tax Code is only two percent has been an important part must recognize that they can only
of the market value of the gross in the historical development proceed within a certain limit and


that the resources with which they the environment and in doing
must work are not necessarily so have kept the people in the
inexhaustible. dark. While sustainable mining
Thus, stewardship--to the looks good on paper, the industry
chagrin of many businessmen- has a way to go before it can be
-is not a license for doing just considered even remotely green
about anything or for trying How real and true and effective
out anything just because it is is a Norwegian Companys claim
possible. Rather it entails more of adopting green mining in its
than anything else, restraint and Mindoro operation?
responsibility in the use of this Lastly, consider another
worlds resources. No matter how proposed amendment to
human beings may progress in the Mining Law - such that
science, freedom, and power, the government must have a
they should not dare abuse this representation in the board of
responsibility and in the process directors (even as a non-voting
contradict their own human Member) in all mining companies
nature with the consequence of operating in the Philippines in
destroying themselves and their order to safeguard the data and
environment. information filed as a basis for
Nature is to be creatively taxes and royalty payments to the
transformed but not to be government.
relentlessly exploited. The slogan The case of the Rapu-Rapu
should be, Need not Greed. We Mining operation became public
will not encourage people to be knowledge when it was discovered
simply driven by the desire to that the Australian-owned mining
satisfy wants and wantonly engage firm violated Environmental
in research and experimentation Laws. The tailings in the gold
without taking into consideration mine spilled-out into the adjacent
risks and negative consequences. river, causing tremendous damage
Who will foot the bill for to the environment and to fish
researches and applications in & fowl in the area. Tragically,
the area of footprint reduction, it caused damage to human life
innovations in waste management, in the surrounding community
mine closure and rehabilitation, because of the poisoning caused
and ecosystem risk management? by the highly toxic nature of the
At this juncture in our history, tailings. was the fact that there was no
we ask: is enviro-friendly Among a number of violations effective control and monitoring
mining even possible and can which the Rapu-Rapu Fact Finding mechanism by government
we be convinced? Is "sustainable Commission found was something in place. It also showed that
mining" not an oxymoron? Even which stood out as a serious operations monitoring by
with the best of intentions, is it economic flaw. The Commission representatives of government on
possible for mining to ever really audited the amount of tons ore the lower levels were ineffective
be sustainable? Can a company milled (as reported in its books (and even prone to graft and
extract millions of tons of rock and to the government) against corruption).
from the Earth and still manage the shipping documents presented The point here is that
to be a friend of the environment? by the shipping companies. Government must establish
And is it good enough to "contain" The discrepancy was in the basic and workable controls to
mining's toxic by-products neighborhood of 50% more make sure that its share from
indefinitely, as current green shipment than what was declared the incomes (via taxes) and fees
mining companies do? and reported in its books and (via proposed Royalty payments)
Another problem with the whole to the government. Would not from mining companies are
sustainable mining debate has to the Government take for every reported and paid properly and
do with secrecy in reporting toxic ton-ore-milled also be slashed into fairly. Placing a Government-
mining waste. Mining companies half? Representative into the Board
have not been accurately reporting One of the reasons why this of Directors of these companies
the amounts being dumped into violation had gone unchecked would help ensure proper


reporting of revenues and the Rapu was only the latest, and the risks to health and livelihood, and
correct payment of taxes and Marinduque tragedy is all but massive environmental damage
royalty fees. forgotten. Aggrieved parties have and the loss of mining resources
Meantime, the Catholic Bishops had to go to the United States to to giant foreign companies. They
Conference of the Philippines file their cases of complaint there. added that mining rights granted
keeps reiterating its concern not Putting it very clearly, the CBCP through the "National Policy
against mining per se but against reiterated its demand for the Agenda on Revitalizing Mining in
mining as it is practiced in our government to repeal Republic the Philippines" have encroached
country. Act 1942 known as the Philippine into 17 "important" biodiversity
Our experiences of Mining Act of 1995, recall all areas, 35 national conservation
environmental tragedies and approved mining concessions priority areas and 32 national
incidents with the mining and cancel pending applications, integrated protected areas.
transnational corporations belie claiming that the mining act The bishops have cited Caraga,
all assurances of sustainable destroys life. Secretary Gina is a mining area listed by the
and responsible mining that the coming close to this even more government's statistics office,
government is claiming, the radical stance of moral leaders. whose four provinces are among
bishops have said time and again. The bishops said that the the 40 poorest of the 79 Philippine
They lamented the rising figure guaranteed economic benefits provinces, and the Bicol and
of mining affected communities, of mining by transnational Cordillera regions, where some
human rights violations and corporations are outweighed by provinces are among the 20
economic depravations. Rapu- dislocation of communities, the poorest.

1 21

The Mining Act of 1995 allowed individuals and social sectors if human-made and manipulated
100-percent foreign investment in and when those human activities landscape. The biology of natural
mining operations in the country we refer to were essentially wrong, systems simply does not function
despite a constitutional cap of they ultimately and inevitably subject to our rules, economies,
60-40 equity in favor of Filipino would have to bring worse and decisions. In other words,
investors. In January 2004, the problems and deeper crises, for it is we who exist within and are
Supreme Court declared the act truth is one: the truth of science, subject to the natural setting.
unconstitutional, but it reversed the truth of economics and the The natural world does not exist
that decision in December truth of ecology are one many- within and is not subject to human
that year when it took up the sided, non-conflictual truth. artifice.
government's counter-petition. For instance, a certain way of A given mining operation,
As early as February 1998, the exploiting some mineral resources therefore, will have to be viewed
Philippine bishops' conference could bring irreparable, and by people and the State according
issued "A Statement of Concern therefore irreversible, damage to to this perspective and first be
on the Mining Act of 1995." They the environment. Any damage to evaluated as either ethically right
called for the repeal of the 1995 the environment in this way can or wrong, good or bad, before
Act and for the government to in turn bring irreparable harm it could even be considered
rescind all mining concessions it and injury to human health. legal or illegal, before it can be
granted to foreigners. The dramatic example of the judged economically profitable
Now they are reiterating those Minamata disease in Japan took or non-profitable, before it can
appeals and calling religious years and years to establish, before be tested as socially acceptable
leaders to "unite and strengthen" effects could be linked to original or not. Without a full respect for
local people, especially indigenous causes beyond reasonable doubt. the principles of geo-ethics, the
communities, in fighting to stop In our own country today, after exploitation of mineral resources
the government's 24 priority Marinduque and Rapu-Rapu, can be very dangerous indeed.
mining projects. the question necessarily pops From the very outset, then,
More and more sectors have up: What is the right thing to the objective of any country that
assured the bishops of their do? Undoubtedly this is, quite seeks to derive any good from
support at all levels of this properly, an ethical question - the mining industry should be
struggle. whether or not it is recognized as to ensure that mining is done
The bishops' statement specifies such. the right way. Only such a view
the Rapu-Rapu operations, the Another fact is the non- stands to reason, which posits that
Hydrometallurgical Processing renewability and non- mining is not purely an economic
Plant project in Palawan, the inexhaustibility of mineral nor merely a legal issue. It is
Didipio gold and copper project resources. Once they are depleted, primarily an environmental issue
in Nueva Vizcaya, and the San there is no way that they can be and as such, must be governed
Antonio copper project in replaced or restored. We know, as and justified within the context
Marinduque. They also singled many scientists have pointed out, of environmental ethics or what
out the Tampakan copper and that the essential resources upon is now called geo-ethics. In fact,
gold project in South Cotabato, which our global progress depends underlying any mining law and
and the Canatuan gold project in are not inherently and exclusively the economics that appertain to
Zamboanga del Norte. created by human ingenuity and it should be a solid geo-ethical
technology. On the contrary, the foundation - a foundation of rules
Back to the moral basics essential resources upon which for the use of mineral resources,
In the course of economic global progress depends are which are designed to protect
development and growth, many inherently natural in origin so that people against environmental
human acts can be either right resources are fundamentally in catastrophes.
or wrong relative to their effects limited supply. All Presidents, including PRRD,
on the house of life we call the Putting it another way: our easily vow transparency in
environment. Human acts are technological systems and we governance. The Faith-inspired
rarely value-free or ethically humans exist within and are movement to regard mining in
neutral. They are always either subject to the rules and processes the context of environmental
right or wrong. And when they of the ecosystems of the natural concerns is getting stronger by the
are wrong no matter what great world. It is not the other way day. It is time to agree on a new
profits they had brought to some around. We are a part of and not synthesis, towards a stable, healthy
corporations, or revenues to some apart from the natural world. and prosperous Philippines: that
states, and prosperity to some Nature does not exist within a all may be one.


Govt told: Target Bishop nixes ban on OFW

syndicates, not children deployment to Kuwait
MANILA The Labor
department should
reconsider its plan to
ban the deployment
of Filipino domestic
helpers to Kuwait due
to reports of abuses by
employers, a Catholic
bishop said.
Bishop Ruperto
Santos of Balanga
said the government
should instead make
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President.
good on its promise to
MANILA The Catholic hierarchy is opposing provide alternative or
a proposed measure lowering the minimum age permanent jobs to all
of criminal responsibility, saying the government Filipinos so that they
Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, CBCP-
should crack down on syndicates and not minors. will not be forced to ECMI chairman. ANALYN PERUCHO
The bishops said reducing the minimum age of work abroad.
criminal liability will not curb the use of children 15 Temporarily
years or below in criminal activities. banning works in Kuwait is not the answer, it will
CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas just create difficulties to our people, said Santos,
said the government should instead go after the who chairs the CBCPs Commission for the
syndicates who exploit vulnerable children. Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People,
The fact that criminal elements make use of on June 29.
youngsters up to fifteen years old to commit crimes The bishop also called on the government to
is no argument against the present benevolent make sure the needs of overseas Filipino workers
provisions of the law, but about the resoluteness of (OFWs) are given proper attention.
criminals in using even the young for their purposes, We have to accompany and always assist
Villegas said in a press statement on Jan. 30. our OFWs there, be always available to them
The sins and failings of the young and immature and attend to their needs-legal, economic and
should not mar the possibilities of ones future or spiritual, he added.
stand forever in the name of an honorable and noble He also said that the Churchs migrants
reputation that can, in later years, be very well built, ministry is also doing its best to help the OFWs.
he said. In Kuwait we have three Catholic Churches:
President Rodrigo Duterte is considering reducing Holy Family, St. Theresa and Our Lady of Arabia,
the age a person could be prosecuted as an adult Santos said.
from 15 to nine years old due to the perceived Last Jan. 29, Filipina domestic helper Jakatia
escalation in youth crime. Pawa was executed for the murder of her
The bishops called on the Duterte administration employers daughter in 2007.
and its allies in Congress to rethink their stance on Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they are
lowering the age of criminal responsibility. exerting all efforts to save another OFW death
Villegas said the bishops believe that provisions convict Elpidio Lano who was found guilty by a
of the Juvenile Delinquency Act of 2006 remain Kuwaiti court of killing Filipino Nilo Macaranas
adequate in addressing criminal activities of the in 2014. (CBCPNews)
The purpose of the law is laudable; its present
provisions, beneficial, the CBCP added.
The correct response, we believe, is vigilance on
the part of parents and stiffer penalties for those who
exploit the young in the perpetration of crime, he
also said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

1 23

Catholics urged: Speak Lack of public outcry vs killings shows

out against killings dichotomy in faith, Quevedo says
MANILA A Catholic bishop demanded MANILA Cardinal delivered a talk to the
forceful denunciations of drug-related Orlando Quevedo of thousands of WACOM
killings in the Philippines from the Cotabato said the lack delegates in attendance
countrys Church leaders and from the of public outcry against emphasizing the lack of
faithful. extrajudicial killings communion among people
Speaking at the 4th Apostolic Congress on is a symptom of the today.
Mercy in Manila on Jan. 18, Manila Auxiliary dichotomy of faith and He said this is evident to
Bishop Broderick Pabillo said Christians life in many people. many peoples indifference
should not be reined in by fear when In press conference at to the killings as a result of
confronting the crisis that has claimed more the sidelines of the ongoing the governments war on
than 6,000 lives over the past six months. World Apostolic Congress drugs.
Six thousand killed. That means more on Mercy on Jan. 17, he He also cited issues such
than 30,000 people directly affected, said there is corruption as terrorism, kidnapping,
orphaned of their father, their brother, their and killings in the country drug wars, ethnic wars
sons and daughters, their husbands. These because they do not and even conflict between
thousands are deeply traumatized and even practice their faith. religions.
now made more poor, he said. Our faith is one level and Let us open our eyes to
At the same time, he told more than the other level is daily life. issues where there is lack
5,000 bishops, priests, and lay people They do not jive, Quevedo of communion, he said. It
from different countries gathered for the said. One priest said we are is especially (true) now that
Congress that to speak out for the poor saints on Sundays but devils the Holy Spirit is urgently
is not just opening ones mouth but also the rest of the week. calling the whole Church to
listening and being available to them. Dichotomy is split level be a Communion.
If we are true to our call to be Church of Christianity. I think the The cardinal also clarified
the Poor, we cannot as Church keep silent approval of many despite some observations that
on these issues, said Pabillo, who formerly the extrajudicial killings is a the Church is supposedly
chaired the Churchs National Secretariat symptom of that split-level silent about the increasing
for Social Action, and Peace (Nassa). spirituality, he said. number of drug-related
I know that people tag me as activist The cardinal admitted killings.
bishop for speaking out often, but I am not that he admires President The silence is media
speaking out for myself but for the poor and Rodrigo Dutertes perceived. I think we should
voiceless. determination to end think of the Church as
For me, it is not an insult to be tagged criminality in the country. not bishops only. There
and identified with the poor and the Those are good intentions, are bishops, priests, and
oppressed. It is what I am supposed to be, to he said. lay people. Let the people
be a follower of Christ, added the prelate. But the killings of do the action, we give the
Currently the chairman of the CBCPs suspected drug offenders moral action, he said.
Commission on the Laity, the bishop and other lawbreakers According to him, there
will also be leading a Walk for Life in without providing them due was a deliberate choice on
Manila on Feb. 18 to demonstrate their process of law, he added, is the issue for the bishops to
condemnation of the wave of extrajudicial simply wrong. give moral guidance and for
killings. Some may have been the people to act.
Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas President even framed by political Therefore, when we wish
Zenaida Capistrano said it is about time opponents. What do you say action its not on the part of
lay people express their opposition to the about that? said Quevedo. the bishop to go to rallies
thousands of unexplained killings. We are a country where but encouragement of the
We, the Filipino Catholic lay faithful our faith is a dichotomy. people to make decisive
signify our protest against all forms of We believe but we do not informed actions regarding
threats to human life and dignity that practice our faith, he said. issues, Quevedo said. (Roy
are coming from the economic, social, The cardinal earlier Lagarde/CBCPNews)
and political structures and authorities,
Capistrano said. (CBCPNews)


An invitation to reflect, pray and act

My dear sisters and brothers in and upright judicial and penal
Jesus Christ, system assures the victims
Peace be with you! Once and society of protection and
again the issue of capital renewal. There is real danger
punishment or the death penalty that the death penalty might be
has surfaced in our country. applied to an innocent person.
Through the centuries there We need to reform institutions
have existed differing opinions so they would safeguard justice
on the authority of the state to while preventing the spread of a
administer the death penalty culture of violence. Penalties are
for heinous crimes. In these not imposed for vengeance but
past years many nations have for the correction of offenders
abandoned the use of the and the good of society. A culture
death penalty, including the of violence dehumanizes. A
Philippines. They try instead to culture of justice, integrity, and
find other means to suppress hope heals.
crimes while giving offenders 3. As Christians we believe
the chance to reform. I would that human life is Gods gift.
like to share some reasons why Every human being is created
recent Catholic teaching opposes in Gods image and likeness.
the death penalty. I invite you Every human being is saved by
to study and reflect on them as Jesus Christ. This is the reason
guides for prayer and action. for forgiveness, hope and
1. Studies worldwide show salvation. This is the reason why
that the death penalty has not an ethic of life, a culture of life,
lessened violent crimes. The is inconsistent with abortion,
threat of punishment by death euthanasia, human trafficking,
has not reduced criminality. mutilation, and violence against
The best approach is to address innocent and vulnerable persons.
positively and comprehensively Before God the source of life, we
the roots of crime of which are humble. We cannot pretend
offenders have probably been to be gods.
victims themselves: the loss I offer these thoughts for your
of moral values, injustice, serene study and prayer. If you
inequality, poverty, lack of share these convictions, you
access to food, education, jobs should make them known to
and housing, proliferation of your elected representatives. I
weapons, drugs, pornography, commend you, our Archdiocese,
loss of respect for sexuality, and and our beloved country to God
many others. The death penalty who sent Jesus to the world not
has not reduced crime because it to condemn the world but so
does not solve criminality from that the world might be saved
its roots. To help solve these through him ( John 3:17). We rely
roots of criminality, the Church on the prayers and protection of
and the state need to protect Our Mother Mary, our life, our
and strengthen the basic unit of sweetness, and our hope.
society, which is the family.
2. There is a danger that the +LUIS ANTONIO G. CARDINAL
death penalty might legitimize TAGLE
the use of violence to deal with Archbishop of Manila
very wrongdoing. We affirm 2 February 2017, Feast of the
that victims of crimes need Presentation of the Lord in the
justice and healing. An honest Temple

1 25

Statement on death penalty

THE Gospel of the Lord Jesus is when we decry murder, we cannot

the Gospel of Life. It is this Gospel ourselves participate in murder, no
we must preach. It is this Gospel matter that it may be accompanied
that we must uphold. We therefore by the trappings of judicial and legal
unequivocally oppose proposals process. Throughout the world, the
and moves to return the death trend against the death penalty is
penalty into the Philippine legal unmistakable, and international
system. We took a considerable covenants, one of which the
stride in the defense of life when we Philippines is party to, obligate us
repealed the Heinous Crimes Act not to impose the death penalty. We
that provided for the death penalty urge the government to champion
in what were considered heinous life for all!
crimes. We regret that there are
strident efforts to restore the death For the Catholic Bishops
penalty. Though the crime be Conference of the Philippines,
heinous, no person is ever beyond
redemption, and we have no right +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
ever giving up on any person. When Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
we condemn violence, we cannot President CBCP
ourselves be its perpetrators, and January 30, 2017


Statement on the age of

criminal liability

THE Catholic Bishops youngsters up to fifteen years

Conference of the Philippines old to commit crimes is no
implores Congress of the argument against the present
Philippines to keep intact the benevolent provisions of the
Juvenile Justice and Welfare law but about the resoluteness
Act, especially regarding the of criminals in using even the
age of criminal liability. We young for their purposes. The
are therefore opposed to correct response, we believe,
lowering the age of criminal is vigilance on the part of
liability. The purpose of the parents and stiffer penalties
law is laudable, its present for those who exploit the
provisions, beneficial. The young in the perpetration of
sins and failings of the young crime.
and immature should not
mar the possibilities of ones For the Catholic Bishops
future or stand forever in the Conference of the Philippines,
name of an honorable and +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
noble reputation that can, Archbishop of Lingayen-
in later years, be very well Dagupan
built. The fact that criminal President CBCP
elements make use of January 30, 2017

1 27

Culture of death
BECOMING more often noted and the Culture of Death. So it is that
lamented upon, the Culture of Death the carrying of guns and bullets,
in the country is becoming a day having hand grenades and keeping
and night fact, an already common bayonetshaving anything and
and expected phenomenon. So it everything deadlyhave become a
is that instead of the preservation cultural heritage thereat. No wonder
and enhancement of life, it is the then that even foreign terrorists
nonchalance day-and-night killings bearing this or that name, fighting
that the Filipinosyoung and old under this or that banner, have
are progressively witnessing, seeing already become part of the Mindanao
or hearing about and wherefore killing forces.
probably even considering it but as a The so-called war against drugs
matter of course. When life is done that has become synonymous
away with as a matter of course, this with day-and-night extra-judicial
is the premise, the basis, the output killings, has become promotional
of the Culture of Death. of the Culture of Death. The fact
When the killing of people is met that certain drugs are legitimately
with nonchalance or even glee and prohibited by lawtheir
delight, when getting rid of human manufacture and distribution, their
lives becomes normal, when getting sale and useremains in accord with
rid of human persons is looked upon reason. But to nonchalantly kill those
as something customarythis is therein involved is not merely doing
when death becomes a constitutive away with prohibited drugs but in
element of culture. Among other effect doing away as well with a good
things, this means thatstrange number of people.
enoughkilling becomes a part So it is that the now proposed
of living. So it is that the Culture Death Penalty Law is but a poignant
of Death is a gross contradiction expression of the Culture of Death.
of social life, a blatant negation of To penalize those who manufacture,
civilization. When life is done away sell and/or use prohibited drugs
with, what is left to attend to, to care is morally acceptable and legally
for, to promote and defend? tenable. Reason: Their production,
Terrorism does not simply business and/or consumption
promote but even affirms the Culture effectively boost criminality and
of Death. The more people are generate criminals. Penalize them,
killed, the better. The more lives are yes. But kill them, no. Otherwise,
taken away, the merrier the killers those killing them likewise become
become. Preserving and enhancing killers themselves.
lives are irrelevant. Defending and So it is not asked: What do Filipinos
promoting lives are nonsensical. prefer to be identified with: The
So it is that the more guns and Culture of Death or the Culture of
ammunitions there are, the better Life which is synonymous with the
for terrorism. So it is that the more preservation and promotion, the
mortal are the cannons, the tanks and enhancement and affirmation of the
planes, the merrier are the terrorists. life of every man, woman and child?
The warring and killing fields If even killing oneself by suicide is
in certain parts of Mindanao long abominable, how could killing others
since existent and mortal, promote be laudable?



Mater et magistra

THE Church is a Mother Mater common good, affirms what That the Church as a Mother
and Teacher Magistra to the promotes their social welfare. and a Teacher is some two
people, to the world. A mother Whether those concerned thousand years oldand counting.
loves and cares for her children. especially those in leadership This is a good reminder, a
A teacher makes her children positions want to listen or not, solid reality. Devious and
think and learn. So it is that even that is their call, that is their odious individuals, vicious and
in the secular world, a mother option. The Church nevertheless despicable persons, callous and
loves her children while a teacher as a Mother will continue to love thus insensitive powerful public
makes them learn. But having people and to wherefore insist on officials came to the world and
the Church as both a Mother and what will bring about and sustain are eventually gone. The Church
a Teacher to humanity, caring their common welfare. True however remains and stays as a
for people from birth to death mothers do not stop loving and matter of course. Up to now after
and making them learn what is caring for their children. more than two thousand years
true, right and justthis gives the That the Church as a Teacher and still counting, the Church
Church a big composite obligation is wherefore required to teach is up and about mothering and
to people the world over to know people, to tell them what is right or teaching people from one century
the truth, to live in righteousness, wrong, what is good or evil, what to another. Until when? Only God
to observe justice. is virtuous or vicious. And again, knows!
She is a Mater and Magistra those concernedparticularly It is good to remind people
whereas this is what Her Founder those in tenure of public not to curse, neither to lambaste
wants and intends Her to be. Such authoritywant to act accordingly nor step down on the Church.
a plain yet profound truth, such or not, that is their responsibility, No onethis means absolutely
a simple yet signal reality bring that is their decision. The Church no onecan bring the Church
to fore some timely and relevant however as a Teacher will go on down, can make her disappear
reminders that are good to know, teaching people, telling them what and be gone. There were those
to keep in mind and heart: should be done or avoided. What who tried. Yet while to dust they
That the Church as a Mother is should be banned or promoted. return wherefrom they came, the
thus duty-bound to love people, Real teachers do not get tired Church is up and about from the
to do what is good for them, to making their students know what is time She came to be as Mater et
propose what brings about their true or false. Magistra.


JAZZ enthusiast and down and out

pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and
Mia (Emma Stone), a barista with
dreams of becoming an actress,
first meet in an awkward road
rage situation while stuck in Los
Angeles highway traffic jam. Their
paths cross again when Mias car is
towed: walking home she drops by
a bar and finds Sebastian playing
Christmas carols on the piano. Their
third meeting is at a party Mia
attends, where Sebastian is on the
keyboard of the live band. It seems
like destiny after three encounters.
Sebastian then takes Mia to a jazz
bar where he discloses his ambition
to have his own jazz bar; Mia
reciprocates by sharing her dreams
of becoming an actress.
Because La La Land is supposedly
a musical rom-com drama, the
boy-meets-girl plot flows into a
boy-dances-with-girl number on the
moonlit night they meet. First they
fight, then they flirt, then they fall in
love. Then they live together. But
will the director pursue the affair
to its logical and box-office friendly
conclusion? The chemistry between
Gosling and Stone is obviousthis
being their third pairing (after Crazy,
Stupid Love and Gangster Squad)
and the story of love and ambition
in Hollywood is deftly presented,
and yetthere is something amiss,
something artificial about the
movie that stands in the way of
total enjoyment. Maybe whats
distracting is the fact that Stone
and Gosling are neither singers nor
dancersthey were just trained for
their roles for a few months, and
it shows. (Stone nailed it, though, JORDAN HOROWITZ, MARC PLAT TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: 3.5
in the emotional audition scene EDITOR: TOM CROSS MORAL ASSESSMENT: 3
Families would benefit from GENRE: ROMANTIC MUSICAL COMEDY
discussions with the young on how
love impacts ones ambitions, and
how ambition challenges ones
commitment to permanence
in relationships. The situation is
universal although the setting is emotional costs of working overseas two here about the industry behind
glittery Los Angeles (LA, thus La away from loved ones. Young the scenes and the realities of
La Land), something relatable to people with hopes of entering sacrificing ones passion and art on
Filipinos familiar with the socio- showbiz will also learn a thing or the altar of expediency.



VIETNAM. Bishops launch Year of the Islamist coalition Tehreek-i-Labaik Church, although a minority, is very ac-
the Family vs divorce, marriage crisis Ya Rasool Allah. (CNA) tive through Catholic schools, Caritas,
and other institutions, he said. We also
To meet the challenges of moder- JAPAN. Samurai martyr beatified have Catholic hospitals in Jordan, so our
nity and rebuild Vietnams increasingly presence in the health and social and
fractured social fabric, the Vietnamese A 17th century Catholic Samurai and educational sectors is strong. (Hannah
Church has decided to dedicate the martyr was beatified during a Mass in Brockhaus/CNA)
year of 2017 to the family, the basic Osaka, Japan on Feb. 7. Cardinal Angelo
unit on which the country is founded. Amato, Prefect of the Vaticans Congre- JERUSALEM. 'We must never be-
To reach this goal, Vietnams bishops gation for the Causes of Saints, presided come accustomed' to the Holy Land
decided to focus on future families, over the Beatification Mass of Justo occupation
providing seminars and courses for Takayama Ukon, who was declared a
couples preparing for marriage and martyr by Pope Francis in January last The 50 year-long of occupation of the
family life. According to official data year. Takayama Ukon was born in 1552 West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza by
for 2016, there are over 60,000 divorce in Japan during the time when Jesuit Israel must be at the attention of every
cases in Vietnam each year, a growing missionaries were being introduced Christian and demands resolution, the
trend, experts warn. One source of great within the country. Takayama's position chair of the Holy Land Coordination
concern is that the problem is not lim- in Japanese society as daimyo (a feudal said. Our Coordination has called for
ited to cities and larger urban centers, lord) allowed him many benefits, such justice and peace every year since 1998,
but also affects rural areas. (Asianews) as owning grand estates and raising yet the suffering continues. So this call
vast armies. As a Catholic, Takayama must get louder. As Bishops we implore
CAMBODIA. A Christian "model" of used his power to support and protect Christians in our home countries to
the family proposed the short-lived missionary expansion recognize our own responsibility for
within Japan, influencing the conver- prayer, awareness and action, Bishop
Msgr Olivier Schmitthaeusler, apos- sion of thousands of Japanese. (CNA) Declan Lang of Clifton, chair of the
tolic vicar of Phnom Penh, released a Holy Land Coordination, wrote in a
letter on Epiphany, laying out a three- PHILIPPINES. Bishops stand firm Jan. 19 statement. The statement was
year plan for the family aimed at find- against death penalty signed by another 11 bishops, including
ing a model to propose to Cambodia, Bishop Oscar Cant of Las Cruces. The
a country whose culture was destroyed Violence against violence? It wont communique marked the conclusion
by civil war and the Khmer Rouge re- solve anything, the countrys Catholic of an annual week-long pilgrimage to
gime, leaving young people without bishops have warned. In a statement, the Holy Land by the group, made up
values based on religion and tradition the prelates said that the death pen- of bishops from Europe, North America,
but rather informed by consumerism alty is no different from the crime it and South Africa. The Holy Land Coordi-
and selfishness and a quest for personal punishes. Thats why it is regrettable, nation is encouraged in its work by the
happiness. For him, the three-year jour- CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Holy See as it supports the local Church
ney devoted to the family requires an Villegas said, that there are strident in Palestine and Israel. (CNA)
analysis of the current situation of the efforts to restore the capital punish-
Cambodian family and the problems ment in the country. When we con- EGYPT. Cathedral restored after
that it encounters, starting with the demn violence, we cannot ourselves December bombing
quest for a model. (Asianews) be its perpetrators, and when we decry
murder, we cannot ourselves partici- The Egyptian army corps of engi-
PAKISTAN. Mass arrests halt rally pate in murder, no matter that it may neers has completed the restoration
backing blasphemy law be accompanied by the trappings of of Saint Mark's Coptic Cathedral in
judicial and legal process, he said. Cairo, where a terrorist attack last
Supporters of Pakistans strict blas- (CBCPNews) month left 27 dead. In a statement
phemy law attempted to march in La- published on their Facebook page, the
hore on Wednesday, but were thwarted JORDAN. Bishop says the Christian Egyptian Army reported that the areas
when police made more than 150 influence is still strong of the church damaged by the attack
arrests. The nation's blasphemy laws were quickly repaired by direct order
impose strict punishment on those who Jerusalem Bishop William Shomali, of President Abdel Fattah Sisi so that
desecrate the Quran or who defame or newly appointed to the Latin Patri- Coptic Christians could celebrate the
insult Muhammad. The Jan. 4 demon- archate of Jordan, says that although feast of Christmas there. The Coptic
strations would have fallen on the sixth Christians are a very small minority in Cathedral of Saint Mark, located in
anniversary of the 2011 assassination Jordan, through the Catholic schools, the Al Abasiya neighborhood, was
of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, a hospitals and charities their presence damaged Dec. 11 by a suicide bomb-
prominent advocate of changing the is strongly felt in the communities. ing. The target of the attack was the
strict blasphemy law. He was killed by Although Christians are a very small Saint Peter and Saint Paul chapel, an
his own security guard, Mumtaz Qadri, minority in the area they only make annex to the cathedral, where Mass
for his stance on the law. Protesters from up about two percent of the overall was being celebrated at the time. ISIS
several religious parties had planned population, he said their social status claimed responsibility for the attack.
the march in the capital of Punjab and presence, relatively speaking, has a The majority of the dead and injured
province. The arrested were members of much stronger influence. The Catholic were women and children. (CNA)

1 31