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Monday, December 31, 2012


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Mensajes frases de Año Nuevo 2013

Is Jose Rizal a national hero?

By Sara Soliven De Guzman 
The Philippine Star 

I truly believe that our government must set the record straight and inform all of us the truth that Jose Rizal has never been proclaimed a national hero. Administrations have come and gone and up to this day, they have neglected the educational value of teaching our youth and our people the historical and cultural facts about our country. No wonder we are a confused lot.

Our country has been conditioned to look up to Jose Rizal whose execution by the Spaniards on December 30, 1896 was commemorated yesterday. In school, we are required to read his great novels: Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. In fact, others have even memorized his farewell address to the country: Mi Ultimo Adios. And because of this, we have forgotten and neglected the other unsung heroes who have fought and died for our country.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that Rizal is a hero in our hearts and minds but according to the publication of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, aside from the Philippine flag, the anthem, the coat-of-arms and other heraldic devices, the Philippines has only five national symbols declared by law.
One: Narra was declared the national tree by Governor General Frank Murphy during the Commonwealth Era in 1934 through Proclamation No. 652. The name narra is actually a Hispanic corruption of the native term naga, which is how the tree should be called and after which Naga City was named. This tree is valued for its wood which is used in making furniture and houses. Its leaves and bark are used in traditional medicines by several ethnic groups in the country.
Two: Sampaguita was declared the national flower also at the same time as narra by Governor General Frank Murphy in 1934 through the same proclamation. This flower is also known as Arabian Jasmine in English. It is a small shrub or vine that bears small, sweet-smelling, white flowers used in making perfumes and tea in other parts of the world. Sampaguita flowers are made into garlands and leis and are used to welcome visitors and as offering to religious icons. The sampaguita symbolizes purity, simplicity, humility and strength.
Three: The Philippine Eagle, formerly known as the monkey-eating eagle was proclaimed the national bird by President Fidel V. Ramos in 1995 through Proclamation No. 615. He said that the eagle’s uniqueness, strength, power, and love for freedom exemplify the Filipino people. This bird is endemic in the forests of the country. However, it has become endangered for extinction because its habitat is increasingly being destroyed.
Four: The South Sea Pearl was declared the national gem also by President Ramos on October 15, 1996 through Proclamation No. 905. The pearl is a distinctive part of our socio-economic and cultural tradition and the local pearl industry as among the world’s leading pearl producers. As a matter of fact, we have produced the world’s largest pearl, known as the Pearl of Allah or as the Pearl of Lao Tze.
Five: Arnis was declared as the national sport and martial arts in 2009 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through Republic Act 9850. This is played by using two sticks, usually made of yantok or kamagong, as weapons or extensions of the arms. Arnis began even before the Spaniards came and is also called eskrima, kali and garrote. In other Philippine dialects it is called pananandata in Tagalog,; pagkalikali in Ibanag; kabaraon and kalirongan in Pangasinan; and didja in Ilocano.
Aside from Jose Rizal, there are other Philippine icons (or things) that are commonly mistaken for national symbols which are taught in schools, written in many textbooks and are present in the net or social media: like the anahaw as national leaf, cariñosa or tinikling as national dance, carabao as national animal for land, bangus as national fish, mango as national fruit, barong tagalog and baro’t saya as national costume, lechon as national dish, nipa hut as national house, maya as national bird, bakya as national footwear, sipa as national game and would you believe — Juan de la Cruz as representation of the Filipino people.
These are all cultural icons and cannot be called national symbols because they have no official status and have not been established by law.
As a matter of fact, research shows that there is no Filipino historical figure who has been officially declared as a national hero through law or executive order. What we have are laws and proclamations honoring Filipino heroes. It was only on November 15, 1995, that the Technical Committee of the National Heroes Committee created through Executive Order No. 5 by then President Fidel V. Ramos, recommended nine Filipino historical figures to be National Heroes: Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino and Gabriela Silang. I learned that this is still a pending issue because up to now no action has been taken on these recommendations. Susmariosep! I hope that the National Historical Commission can persuade the President to do something about this.
The Philippines has always been in search of its identity. We have a beautiful country with loving and very likeable people. We have a distinct heritage and a very colorful culture. It is time we straighten up our historical data in order to strengthen our national identity before we get lost in the greater depths of humanity.
As we usher in the New Year we bring with us a renewal of spirit and hope. Let us clear out the cobwebs in our lives and start anew. It is never too late as we are given the chance to do so every New Year.
I’d like to end this column with a quote from William Arthur Ward, a dedicated scholar, author, editor, pastor and teacher: “Another fresh new year is here. Another year to live! To banish worry, doubt, and fear, to love and laugh and give! This bright new year is given me. To live each day with zest. To daily grow and try to be my highest and my best! I have the opportunity once more to right some wrongs. To pray for peace, to plant a tree. And sing more joyful songs!”
Happy New Year!


I do not expect to be believed simply because it is I who am saying this; there are many people who do not listen to reason, but will listen only to those who wear the cassock or have gray hair or no teeth; but while it is true that the aged should be venerated, because of their travails and experience, yet the life I have lived, consecrated to the happiness of the people, adds some years, though not many of my age. I do not pretend to be looked upon as an idol or fetish and to be believed and listened to with the eyes closed, the head bowed, and the arms crossed over the breast; what I ask of all is to reflect on what I tell him, think it over and shift it carefully through the sieve of reasons.

FIRST of all. That the tyranny of some is possible only through cowardice and negligence on the part of others.

SECOND. What makes one contemptible is lack of dignity and abject fear of him who holds one in contempt.

THIRD. Ignorance is servitude, because as a man thinks, so he is; a man who does not think for himself and allowed himself to be guided by the thought of another is like the beast led by a halter.

FOURTH. He who loves his independence must first aid his fellowman, because he who refuses protection to others will find himself without it; the isolated rib in the buri is easily broken, but not so the broom made of the ribs of the palm bound together.

FIFTH. If the Filipina will not change her mode of being, let her rear no more children, let her merely give birth to them. She must cease to be the mistress of the home, otherwise she will unconsciously betray husband, child, native land, and all.

SIXTH. All men are born equal, naked, without bonds. God did not create man to be a slave; nor did he endow him with intelligence to have him hoodwinked, or adorn him with reason to have him deceived by others. It is not fatuous to refuse to worship one's equal, to cultivate one's intellect, and to make use of reason in all things. Fatuous is he who makes a god of him, who makes brutes of others, and who strives to submit to his whims all that is reasonable and just.

SEVENTH. Consider well what kind of religion they are teaching you. See whether it is the will of God or according to the teachings of Christ that the poor be succored and those who suffer alleviated. Consider what they preaching to you, the object of the sermon, what is behind the masses, novenas, rosaries, scapularies, images, miracles, candles, belts, etc. etc; which they daily keep before your minds; ears and eyes; jostling, shouting, and coaxing; investigate whence they came and whiter they go and then compare that religion with the pure religion of Christ and see whether the pretended observance of the life of Christ does not remind you of the fat milch cow or the fattened pig, which is encouraged to grow fat nor through love of the animal, but for grossly mercenary motives.

Let us, therefore, reflect; let us consider our situation and see how we stand. May these poorly written lines aid you in your good purpose and help you to pursue the plan you have initiated. "May your profit be greater than the capital invested;" and I shall gladly accept the usual reward of all who dare tell your people the truth. May your desire to educate yourself be crowned with success; may you in the garden of learning gather not bitter, but choice fruit, looking well before you eat because on the surface of the globe all is deceit, and the enemy sows weeds in your seedling plot.

All this is the ardent desire of your compatriot.


Health issues of 2012


‘Researchers are beginning to think Alzheimer’s could be Type 3 diabetes, since it is marked by brain insulin resistance and corresponding inflammation.’
THIS year, the world happily welcomed the lucky date 12-12-12. Never again will it occur within our lifetime, not within a thousand years. Also, as our iPhone 5 non-Mayan calendar had predicted, the world did not come to an end on 12-21-12. And since we, including the perplexed survivalists, are all still here on this good earth and able to witness the year 2012 coming to a close, let us review some of the top health issues of the past 12 challenging months.

Soft drinks: very harmful
Those who consume any type of soft drinks (cola or uncola, diet or regular, caffeine-free or not), especially children, are prone to develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions (obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack). As I have emphasized in my health book, Let’s Stop “Killing” Our Children, soft drinks, which I call “liquid candies,” are most unhealthy for everyone, especially for the kids. A study at the University of Miami/Columbia University showed that “the risk of heart attack and stroke was 43 percent greater among those who drank diet soda at least once a day.” Even the non-diet soft drinks, as we stated above, are harmful. Lately, a study showed that drinking soft drinks increases the risk for, and aggravates, osteoarthritis, especially of the knees.

West Nile Virus Infection
There were more than 235 deaths among the total of 5,207 West Nile Virus infection, as of November 20, 2012, in the entire United States. Fifty one percent of them were neuroinvasive (meningitis and encephalitis). Other countries, like the Philippines, also had their share of this viral infection. 

Meningitis outbreak from steroid shots
Fungal meningitis that killed two dozen persons, who had steroid shots, was determined to be caused by contaminated injectable steroid prepared by the Massachusetts pharmacy compounder, the New England Compounding Center (NECC) near Boston. The company and its principal are facing criminal charges and multiple law suits from families of those victims, who got the shot for back pains and other non-serious illnesses.

E. Coli in Organic Spinach
E. Coli, germs found in human feces, were detected in Organic Spinach and Spring Mix blend salad produced by State Garden of Chelsea, Massachusetts, which caused multiple outbreaks in the USA. This was confirmed by DNA “fingerprinting” of E. Coli bacteria by the US Food and Drug Administration in the period between October 18th to November 3rd. Of the 24 victims, two had hemolytic uremic kidney failure. No deaths reported. August-September 2012 also witnessed the alarming cantaloupe contamination in the USA, which led to Listeriosis that sickened 55 and killed eight people in 14 States, who developed encephalitis and meningitis. The contaminated cantaloupes were traced to the Jensen Farm’s Rocky Ford brand from a Denver area store and from equipment and cantaloupes at the Jensen packing plant.

Green coffee? Or tea?
Now competing with the popular health drink, Green Tea, is Green Coffee, which, the manufacturers claim, has Chlorogenic Acid, supposedly good for weight and blood sugar control. This acid is reduced greatly when coffee beans are roasted, according to these companies. I cannot find genuine scientific studies to confirm any of these claims. In the meantime, I will stick to my black coffee and green or red raspberry teas, and Bluetooth.

Carbs/Sugar and Brain Damage
A Mayo Clinic study showed that “seniors who consume lots of carbohydrates and sugars are at increased risk (1.5 to 1.9 times higher) for mild cognitive impairment, which includes problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment,” early signs of Alzheimer’s, compared to those with the lowest intake of carbs and sugars.

A new experimental drug, bapineuzumab (Pfizer and J&J), is unable to cure Alzheimer’s but shows promise in slowing down the amyloid plaque formation among these patients, “before the brain is actually damaged and memory loss has occurred.” Lily has a similar drug, called solanezumab. More clinical investigations are ongoing.

Orchid Award for RP
The prestigious international Orchid Award was bestowed upon the Philippines, “for excluding the National Tobacco Administration from the official delegation to the 5th Conference of Parties (COPS) to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which opened in Korea last month. Prior to this, the Philippines had been perceived to be staunch supporter of the tobacco industry. It’s about time for us to start being a healthier nation and help stop the senseless deaths from tobacco-related illnesses.

Coconut oil is saturated fat!
The Mayo Clinic listed coconut oil, along with red meats, palm oil, and dairy products as “major sources of saturated fats.” The following are some of the items loaded with killer trans-fats: deep-fried fast foods, bakery products, packaged snack foods, margarines and crackers. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-salt, mainly fish, occasional lean meat, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fruits, a diet good for the cardiovascular system to lessen the risk for heart attack and stroke. And cancer too!

Diabetes can be reversed
Great news: diabetes can be reversed! The recommendations for everyone and especially for those with borderline blood sugar level (pre-diabetics) are a low-carbohydrate, low cholesterol diet of low glycemic index foods, high-fiber, plant-based, vegetables, beans, some whole grains, nuts, some fruits, and fish and chicken breasts, instead of red meat. Daily exercise that makes you sweat, like brisk walking, biking, swimming, for half an hour, 7 days a week, is essential. And so with weight control. This strategy has effectively reversed countless diabetes and has saved millions around the globe. All without medications. Just discipline and resolve.

Alzheimer’s: Type 3 diabetes?
As most people know, there are two types of diabetes, 1 and 2. But researchers are beginning to think Alzheimer’s could be Type 3 diabetes, since it is “marked by brain insulin resistance and corresponding inflammation,” according to a study at Rhode Island Hospital published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The insulin resistance prevents proper lipid metabolism, which results in lipid build-up in the brain, leading brain cell damage and dementia.

Red Meats and Cancer
Studies have shown that eating red meats (pork, beef, etc) and processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, hamburgers, etc) increases the risk for colorectal cancer, and barbequed red meats, especially with charcoal-burned parts of it, the risk for pancreatic cancer. The saturated fats in these meats raised blood cholesterol and the risk for heart attack anmd stroke. Even the death rate from all other diseases in general is higher among those who eat red meats regularly, compared to those who eat fish, vegetables, nuts, and fruits.

May my “prediction” that your new year will be filled with love, good health, peace, and prosperity come true!
For an inspiring gift, please visit philipSchua.com
Email: scalpelpen@gmail.com

Sunday, December 30, 2012


(Dedicated to the Knights of Rizal)

By Poch Suzara, a High School Expelled Student
            On Dec. 30TH, 1896 I defy anyone who believes JOSE RIZAL, the first  humanist the Philippines has ever produced, executed by the Catholic church authority, that he retracted and died not sober, but drunk with religious lies.

           And why do I say RIZAL was a great humanist? What else do you call a man who was committed to the application of reason and science and to solving human problems of the here and the now?

           What else do you call a man who deplored efforts to denigrate human intelligence, who did not seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and who did not look outside nature for salvation? A man, indeed, who wanted to leave this world one day a better place than he found it?

            What else do you call a man who valued scientific discoveries that have contributed to the betterment of human existence? Who was concerned with securing justice and fairness by eliminating discrimination and intolerance and  exploitation in society?

            What else do you call a man who attempted to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity and who worked for the spread of common human decency?

            What else do you call a man who believed in developing his creative talents to the fullest constituted the greatest happiness in life here and now?

            What else do you call a man who believed in the cultivation of moral excellence, respected the rights of others, believe in human integrity, and was open to critical and rational way of thinking?

            What else do you call man who was concerned with the moral education of children? Who wanted to nourish in them the passion for reason, love, and compassion?

            What else do you call a man who rejected the theologies of despair, the ideologies of violence, and the sacraments of mediocrity?

             And finally, what do you call a man who believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in place of dogma, truth instead of sacred lies, joy rather than guilt and sin, tolerance in place of fear, love instead of hate, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith?

            JOSE RIZAL, - the nation’s chief hero, - indeed, believed in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that anyone is capable of as a human being, He was the greatest of Filipino humanists. And he died sober, not drunk with lies.
            To JOSE RIZAL, whenever you are, I have the greatest love for you as a fellow human being, and I have the highest respect and admiration for you as a Filipino.

Rizal and the broken dawn


‘How will the Philippines, now more than 100 years into Rizal’s predicted future, endure? Hopefully, the fundamentals are sound.’
FROM the speech of the optimistic Sandoval on the future of the Philippines:
“Spain is now breaking the eastern sky for her beloved Philippines, and the times are changing, as I positively know, faster than we imagine. This government, which, according to you, is vacillating and weak, should be strengthened by our confidence, that we may make it see that it is the custodian of our hopes. Let us remind it by our conduct (should it ever forget itself, which I do not believe can happen) that we have faith in its good intentions and that it should be guided by no other standard than justice and the welfare of all the governed.”
Such breath-taking naiveté negated by another declamation, this time from Simoun to Basilio:
“What will you be in the future? A people without character, a nation without liberty – everything you have will be borrowed, even your very defects! You beg for Hispanization, and do not pale with shame when they deny it you! And even if they should grant it to you, what then – what have you gained? At best, a country of pronunciamentos, a land of civil wars, a republic of the greedy and the malcontents…”
All characters and their missives are from Jose Rizal and his second published novel, “The Reign of Greed” (El Filibusterismo). Pessimists, realists, optimists and the apathetic – all found in Rizal’s political fiction as well as in 21st century Philippines. Who will prevail?
Then there’s the superstitious. “The meal ended, and while the tea and coffee were being served, both old and young scattered about in different groups. Some took the chessmen, others the cards, while the girls, curious about the future, chose to put questions to a Wheel of Fortune.”
And the sublime. “But you must think of other and greater things; the future lies open before you, while for me it is already passing behind; your love is just awakening, while mine is dying; fire burns in your blood, while the chill is creeping into mine. Yet you weep and cannot sacrifice the present for the future, useful as it may be alike to yourself and to your country.”
The trivial co-exists with the solemn, thus, Ibarra’s father contrasts the inanities of the present with the sacrifices of the past in order to permit the abundance of the future, castigating the protagonist in the process. This time the citations are from Rizal’s first published full-length fiction of 19th century society, “The Social Cancer” (Noli Me Tangere).
Rizal’s prognostications are more direct and pointed in his non-fiction works, particularly the landmark essays carried in La Solidaridad magazine. “The native is, moreover, very fond of peace and prefers a humble present to a brilliant future. Let the various Filipinos still holding office speak in this matter; they are the most unshaken conservatives.”
This is an excerpt from “The Philippines A Century Hence” wherein Rizal famously expressed that a people’s destiny can be foretold by opening the book of its past. After establishing the impermanence of alien brutalization of the Malay race, the essayist predicted the independence of the Pearl of the Orient plus the sustainability of that independence against post-Hispanic invaders.
Rizal proved true. After Spain, the United States of America colonized the novelist’s homeland, and later still, the Empire of Japan killed one million souls in the Philippines during World War Two.
The coming of the Americans and the Japanese were occasioned by factors endemic to these expansionist societies’ imperialist evolution. But the choice of the Philippines as a colony was also governed by the Rizalian Archipelago’s strategic features. More so with the shifting balance of power among the rival imperialisms. This was palpable at the times of confrontations and recorded by the participants. Pedro Alejandro Paterno in his May 31, 1898 open letter to his “Beloved Brethren” (the Filipinos) offered a choice: “Under Spain our future is clear, and with all certainty we shall be free and rule. Under the Americans our future is cloudy; we shall certainly be sold and lose our unity; some provinces will become English, others German, others French, others Russian or Chinese.”
A similar assessment was made by a non-Filipino 14 years later: “At present, the Philippines are a potential apple of discord thrown into the Balance of Power in the Pacific. The present policy of indefinite retention by us, with undeclared intention, leaves everybody guessing, including ourselves. Now is the accepted time, while the horizon of the future is absolutely cloudless, to ask Japan to sign a treaty agreeing not to annex the Philippine Islands after we give them their independence. By her answer she will show her hand.” [James H. Blount. The American Occupation of the Philippines, 1898-1912. NY: The Knickerbocker Press, 1912]
This precarious weighing of the scales continues to bedevil the Philippines, and not to forget, Rizal identified half a dozen potential invaders of his native land. The US retains its status as the world’s only superpower, while Japan is still Earth’s third-largest economy. And now, the risen East Asian hegemon, which was on Rizal’s watch-list, is the second-largest economy.
The apocalypse purportedly heralded in the Mayan Long Count is a bust, but Armageddon is embedded in the Biblical Book of Revelations. Palestine is an unending chain of historical explosives, the Arab-Israeli conflict is the mother of all flashpoints, but the Indo-Pakistani Partition, the East Asian territorial rows and the game of Chinese checkers in the East Seas are all tinderboxes. How will the Philippines, now more than 100 years into Rizal’s predicted future, endure?
Hopefully, the fundamentals are sound. “The Filipino has many excellent qualities which go far to make amends for his shortcomings. He is patient and forbearing in the extreme, remarkably sober, plodding, anxious only about providing for his immediate wants, and seldom feels ‘the canker of ambitious thoughts.’ In his person and his dwelling he may serve as a pattern of cleanliness to all other races in the tropical East. He has little thought beyond the morrow, and therefore never racks his brains about events of the far future in the political world, the world to come, or any other sphere…” [John Foreman. The Philippine Islands: A Political, Geographical, Ethnographical, Social and Commercial History of the Philippine Archipelago. London: T. Fisher Unwin, MCMVI]
Otherwise: penyakit itu tiada akan semboh, siapa akan tahu? {If that disease is not to be cured, then who can tell?}

Saturday, December 29, 2012

On the Death Anniversary of Jose Rizal (Dec. 30, 1896)

By Poch  Suzara

I said it before, I say it again: one can learn much about the real Jose Rizal not only by studying his writings; but more so by getting to know his real enemy - his killer, still here in control of Filipino minds and hearts via sin and guilt as taught to us in their schools, colleges, and universities. 

Look how, with much love and affection and joy, we celebrate birth anniversary of Jesus Christ who was not even Catholic; while we commemorate the death anniversary of Jose Rizal as if he was just another one of those good, good for nothing Catholic. This is the same Rizal who had great hopes for our country to one day be a free and a democratic republic? If Rizal was a penitent catholic who "retracted" why still have him executed in public? Or if executed why was Rizal not granted a proper Catholic burial?

Indeed, it was the Catholic Church who had Jose Rizal arrested, incarcerated, and executed and then spread lies about him with a "retraction" story; in brief, that he died not as a heretic, but died as a penitent Catholic. Such retraction lie is still told about Jose Rizal in every school, colleges and universities - more than a thousand of them such as La Salle, Ateneo, San Beda, UST, Assumption college, Miriam college, Letran, etc. etc. etc. - own, operated, and managed by the Catholic church in this poor  country of ours. Indeed, millions of Filipinos have been educated to believe that God does not only provide, but that his son Jesus down here on earth as he is heaven up there is our one and only savior! 

My Dear Jose Rizal, wherever you are, we know you did not write only for your generation, but for the future generation of Filipinos.  I am one writer today of that future generation. I should wish you to know that none of our teachers in school, professors in college; columnists in newspapers; lawyers and judges in court; generals in the army, navy, and air force; barangay captains; city councilors; mayors, governors, congressmen, senators;  and presidents of our republic; not to mention even our famous athletes in the boxing arena; including your own Knights of Rizal - have ever had the guts or the gumption to admit publicly what I am declaring to everyone in our country today: I have far more love, respect, and admiration for you - Jose Rizal - as you were a heretic than I have for Jesus Christ, our so-called savior - who was not even a Catholic. 

            India had a Mahatma Gandhi; China, Sun Yet Sen; Vietnam, Ho Chi Mingh; Cuba, Jose Marti; France, Voltaire; Africa, Nelson Mandela, England, Bertrand Russell; Germany, Friedrich Nietzche; America, Tom Pain, Robert G. Ingersoll, Carl Sagan, Einstein; In the Philippines, we still have a Jewish fellow - Jesus Christ - Catholic Savior of corruption as a way of life in the Philippines.

            Indeed, there are far more statues, photos, figures monuments, sculptures, models, effigies,  paintings, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ existing in our country than there is of Jose Rizal - our national hero.
            I asked: what kind of men needed to see Rizal dead, discarded and forgotten? Were they men of reason, science, and philosophy? Were they avid readers, critical thinkers, or scientific investigators? Were they men at home with civilized humanity? No! On the contrary, Rizal's enemies were the perpetrators of blind faith: - the superstitious primitives, the sanctimonious hypocrites, and those indeed who are selfish, greedy, corrupt, stupid, and insane. This was more than a hundred years ago. But it is still here well-established, in full control of our formative years as boys and girls in Catholic schools. 

           Sir, you were publicly executed because you had every hope to spread the freedom of honest thought; and the freedom not only OF religion, but the freedom FROM religion in our country. 

           As for the Knights of Rizal - shame, shame, shame on you: gutless, thoughtless, and worthless knights that you all have turned out to be! You who call yourselves “Knights of Rizal.” I have yet to see you standing up and speaking out loud and clear about  the greatness of our national hero. Instead, you readily protect and defend the wealth, power, and glory of the Catholic Church; instead of protecting and defending our Jose Rizal who wrote: "I would like the Filipino people to become worthy, noble, and honorable. . . make study a thing of love and joy . . . the schoolroom should not be a place of sorrows but a scene of intellectual refreshment."
          My dear Jose Rizal, wherever you are - thank you for bringing enlightenment into the hearts and minds of Filipinos in our country. Sadly, only the few of us Filipino heretics recognize and acknowledge how you have proved yourself to be the greatest Filipino humanist/thinker who fought for common Filipino decency in our country. Like you, in your century, we Filipinos in this century, have yet to stand up against the same evil otherwise more known as Catholic church and its teachings - which, for the most part, have been  keeping us poor Filipinos spiritually aimless as a people and morally thoughtless as a nation.

Friday, December 28, 2012

To Make or Break

By Jose Ma. Montelibano

There are two star performers for 2012. They are President Benigno Aquino III and the Filipino as a people. The combination or relationship of the two carried over a momentum that began in 2011 when the government blocked the attempted, post-haste exit of former Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. By coincidence or synchronicity, a major shift began with that process. It was a rite of passage for both P-Noy and justice. Political will stood up, head over shoulders, and put to rest forever, except in the eyes of the totally blinded by hate. prejudice or commercial politics, the doubt whether P-Noy recognizes his legacy, his destiny, and has the strength of character to match these.

Clearing the way for the exit of Gloria was then Chief Justice Rene Corona and the power he wielded in the Supreme Court. But a President, supported bravely by his Justice Secretary, prevented an airport departure that the Supreme Court had tried to facilitate. Instead of wilting before a seeming legal orchestration that involved the highest Tribunal of the land, P-Noy stood his ground and kept Gloria Arroyo from leaving. Taking off from the determined posture of the President, the leadership of Congress boldly initiated the impeachment of Chief Justice Rene Corona.

From the onset of that political drama, with Gloria prevented from leaving and then being detained on charges of election fraud and plunder, with the impeachment by Congress of CJ Rene Corona, the Filipino people overwhelmingly supported the moves of the Aquino administration. From the first survey onwards, from 2011 to the final impeachment by the Senate of CJ Rene Corona, the Filipino people kept giving their stamp of approval to the government – consistently at positive 70 – 80% level.

Almost lost in the dynamics of a political and legal controversy was an optimism that was born, a hopeful perspective that reform was not only being attempted but could actually succeed. It seemed driven by a fatalistic stubbornness of a President who gambled his political capital in a move that was his own, a decision to push for the removal by impeachment of a Chief Justice that his official family was quietly not in favor of. One decision was all it took for the economic prospects of the country to suddenly find favor from the global financial community. By the 3rd quarter of 2011, the ratings of the Philippines, actual and prospective, took a sudden and strong turn for the better.

2011 ended with Gloria Arroyo in detention, CJ Rene Corona impeached by Congress but defiant and sure of being cleared by the Senate, and the deadly Typhoon Sendong dropping tons of rain in Mindanao that cause horrible landslides and floods. It would seem on the surface that the Aquino administration was in crisis, that the Filipino people were in crisis. What was not as obvious was that the tide had turned, that the President, the government and the people were not going into crisis but out of it. Yes, the destruction caused by Sendong was massive, the response of government was massive, too, More than that, the response of the Filipino people, locally and abroad, was inspiring in generosity and moral support to the desperation of the typhoon victims.

2012 moved in so quickly, so intensely, because of Sendong and the impeachment trial of CJ Rene Corona. Government tried its best to contain the sense of helplessness and hopelessness of the typhoon-hit areas, mainly Iligan City and Cagayan De Oro. Donations poured in and volunteers brought not just relief goods but a sense of solidarity. In the calamity, Filipinos again banded together in spirit and work. And private companies like San Miguel Corporation, SM, BDO, Shell and Berjaya delivered instant promises like government to break the atmosphere of despair. By most accounts, these companies delivered their promises even where some government agencies and LGUs may not have delivered as well.

Rene Corona did not get away with it, not with his unexplained wealth, not with his favoring the president who gave him his midnight appointment. The Senate affirmed his impeachment and removed him from office.

Gloria Arroyo did not get away with it. She is still unable to leave the country and in detention.

The positive financial ratings and economic prospects did, indeed, come true and continue their momentum, driving the economy of the Philippines to perform outstandingly, the only country in the world that not only hit its target but surpassed it. A Filipino reached sainthood in Pedro Calungsod, and another Filipino bishop, Luis Antonio Tagle, was consecrated a Cardinal by the Pope. The controversial RH Bill was passed. The Sin Tax was signed into law.

Against all the achievements, though, another and a more destructive typhoon, Pablo, struck several provinces in Mindanao, the most unlikely and the never-hit-by-typhoon areas like Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental. It was Sendong all over again in terms of destruction, and will cause more deaths once the hundreds still missing will be declared dead. But, as a year ago, the outpouring of sympathy and support has been inspiring. Even as I write this, volunteers continue their relief work.

Then, we have China and the Scarborough Shoal issue. It is a delicate one, one where too many personalities and commentaries have only worsened the situation. I would not like to speculate at this time where this is going except to say solidarity among Filipinos can show China that diplomacy is a better option than bullying.

2013 is just around a very short corner. It is riding on the achievements and challenges of 2012 and will prove to be more than interesting, especially with elections this coming May. There is that powerful momentum that reform has generated; we should not lose it. There, too, is a pattern of death and destruction in natural calamities; we should break it.

Never in our remembered history have we gone so close to achieving a societal renewal as today. We are a free people, but heavily constrained by a historical poverty and a level of hunger that we have not given much collective caring and effort to dismantle.

Tomorrow is ours to make or break.

Happy New Year!

P-Noy KOs the CBCP

By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 

It was a season of knockouts or KOs, as termed in boxing. First, was the devastating knockout of Manny Pacquiao in the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez. Then this was followed by the 3rd round knockout win of Nonito Donaire over Jorge Arce, as if redeeming national pride that was lost when Manny Pacquiao took an early and unauthorized nap in the ring.

But the biggest knockout victory must be that of President Benigno S. Aquino III (P-Noy) last December 17 when both houses of Congress passed the contentious RH (Reproductive Health) bill with comfortable margins — 133 to 79 in the House of Representatives with 7 abstentions and 13 to 8 in the Senate, with two senators absent. No doubt, P-Noy’s timely certification of the RH bill as urgent created the political momentum that formed the favorable final vote.

Like a great military tactician, P-Noy issued the certification as urgent at the 11th hour. It was like Marshall Gebhard Blucher’s last minute arrival at Waterloo that destroyed the poise and fighting spirit of Napoleon’s Grand Armee. P-Noy made sure first that victory was attainable before he was to use his most powerful weapon. The Bishops never knew what hit them.

Likened to a boxing match, this tussle between P-Noy and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the repository of the medieval, narrow and superstitious mindset that has haunted the Roman Catholic Church for ages, is a long fight that threatened to extend all the way to the final round. To some medieval-minded Church leaders, it matters not if you’re right, but if you so happen to violate their edict, which they presume to be the will of God, you’re declared a heretic and then burned at the stake.

The classic example of the false pride and narrow-mindedness of those Church leaders is the persecution of Galileo, one of the finest minds the human race had produced. Galileo was persecuted because he correctly concluded that the earth is not fixed but that it revolves. The narrow minded Church leaders were stuck in their Old Testament Psalm 105:5 ‑ The earth is firmly fixed; it shall not be moved. In the end, the Catholic leaders only managed to convince future generations that their narrow-mindedness is firmly fixed. Many pro RH bill advocates saw them that way.

Most Filipinos see P-Noy as one of the trustworthy presidents that we’ve ever had, and he even has performance to back that up. P-Noy cleaned the Aegean stables of corruption left by the unlamented Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime. Now going into the 3rd year of his administration, there has been no scandals linking P-Noy or the people closest to him. From being seen for decades as the sick man of Asia, we are now the talk of international investors as one of the countries to invest in. Our 2012 GDP is expected to hit 6.5%.

Nearing midway into his term, P-Noy remains one of the most popular presidents, except to some of the Bishops and Cardinals of the Catholic Church. It was bad enough that many of those self-righteous Bishops were recipients of obvious bribes from GMA. They should have had the good sense to improve their image by supporting one of the cleanest presidents that we ever had. Like their medieval progenitors, they commit the sin of pride — one of the most abominable in the eyes of God. New Testament: “The exalted shall be humbled and the humble shall be exalted.” Last December 17, at the Congress and the Senate, the exalted were humbled.

I sent P-Noy a congratulatory text message late night of December 17: “Bravo P-Noy! Your certification got the RH bill through the Bishops’ blockade. You’re a paradox on the use of power — how to win without appearing to be trying!”

P-Noy replied: “Very soft sell and low key. Always conscious not to look at the other side as the enemy but a probable partner to improve our people’s lot in life.”

The irony of this situation is that it was the political power — P-Noy — that opted to take the soft and, in a manner of speaking, the humble way. Some of our Bishops, notably Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Batangas and Bishop Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo, couldn’t hide the froth that formed in their mouths ever since the RH bill became an issue. If these Bishops could physically do it — they’d send fire and brimstone pouring upon P-Noy and then they’ll say it’s the wrath of God.

We Filipinos should be extremely proud to have such a wise and good-hearted president. He’s our man of the hour — able to reach across the aisle in order to forge a common cause for the improvement of our people and country. In the case of the RH bill, P-Noy and the bill’s chief advocate, Representative Edcel Lagman, came from opposing factions. But they found common cause in the RH bill for the welfare of our people. Neither was Senate sponsor Senator Pia Cayetano from the president’s Liberal Party but she and P-Noy found common cause for the welfare of our people.

* * *

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

Chair Wrecker e-mail and website: macesposo@yahoo.com and www.chairwrecker.com

Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig

This is in answer to your query as to what we can do so that Filipinos abroad will not perpetually be raising funds to help people whose farms and homes are devastated by supertyphoons. I was stranded in Hoboken, NJ during supertyphoon Sandy for three days, and it was not easy using candles and eating left-overs. How much more terrible would be the misery of those visited by Pablo in Mindanao.

Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig is an environmental group of young performers from Smokey Mountain. They have been designated by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines as Ambassadors for Peace and Environment for what they are doing to help mitigate climate change and prevent disastrous floods. The profile of Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig is attached for further details. Apart from raising environmental consciousness of people around the world through their songs and dances, and showcasing the riches of Filipino culture, the children from the former garbage dump are engaged in concrete activities to mitigate the dire effects of global warming. 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through a stewardship agreement, has given 135 hectares to the group to reforest the denuded area. Pictures show the young people from Smokey Mountain as they climbed up Mt. Ayaas in Montalban to plant trees, together with 400 soldiers and their relatives, and in a boodle fight with them afterwards. There is a picture of the area in the mountain burned to the ground, including the few thousand trees the kids have planted because of charcoal-making and kaingin farming at the other side (privately owned property). At the foot of the mountain, called Mt. Ayaas where the area is situated, is the Puray River which connects to Marikina River. The rainwater from the area helped flood vast areas during Typhoon Ondoy and the recent Habagat. If the area is not reforested, there will be more devastation to come, like that shown in the last two pictures.

Aside from being burned during the kaingin period in the area, most of the seedlings we brought suffered trauma and the mortality rate was very high. If we put up a seedling nursery, the saplings will already be acclimatized and will not suffer trauma when brought up the mountain (a hike of an hour and a half from the main road) by the volunteer reforesters. We will do intercropping of root crops between the planted tress to ensure biodiversity and sustainability through our "Climate Change and Food Security" program, and also to supply naturally-grown products to special children and their parents. We are starting to train the Dumagats, the indigenous people living in the area, to use Smart's Infoboard to facilitate the marketing of naturally grown products in the area by the Dumagats. They have already started to sell their produce in Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish where I am currently assigned. As soon as the firewall and the seedling nursery are in place, we will invite students and youth from the parishes to plant trees in Mt. Ayaas. We will also do intercropping and plant root crops between the seedlings for food security. The Dumagats of Montalban recently received their certificate of ancestral domain title for 19,000 hectares and we have been meeting with their chieftains to help them increase production of organic products and reforest the sloping parts of their territory through the Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration method. These projects are under the umbrella of "Climate Change and Food Security" of the UN.

Hundreds of young people from Japan and Taiwan have visited the Children of Mother Earth and helped plant trees in Mt. Ayaas. We hope to put up an inn or hostel at the bottom of the mountain because there is a waterfall there. It will be a Dumagat village, using their indigenous type of houses, with the members of the tribe taking care of the management of the restaurant and acting as guides for tourists wishing to plant more trees and trek up the mountains of Sierra Madre. Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig also send themselves to school and 300 other young people from Smokey Mountain and among the Dumagats of Mt. Ayaas and help in the feeding program for 500 Day Care pupils in Smokey Mountain through the funds they raise from their environmental concerts.

I came back last month from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janiero last June. I had several discussions with our partners regarding the mitigation of climate change through reforestation. World Vision would like to partner with us using their Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration method which had reforested several million hectares in Africa.

We are busy now in fixing the boundaries between the watershed and the alienable and disposable land beside the area DENR has allotted to Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig. We would also like to create a firewall bamboo trees 20 meters wide across the whole length of the area as soon as the boundaries have been fixed. 

Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig have been invited to come to the Bay Area by the Christian Laymen Church of Oakland to raise consciousness about the real danger of the human race perishing from the face of the earth due to its greed and stupidity, and invite every person of good will to help them plant millions of trees in the mountains around Metromanila.

Merry Christmas! God's peace and blessings this Yuletide season!

Yours in the Stewardship of Creation and Care for the Earth,

Fr. Benigno P. Beltran, SVD
Executive Director
Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Few Thoughts on the Problems of the Philippines

It is no shame to admit failure.  What is shameful is to accept failure.  When it comes to a country suffering “in extremis” as the Philippines is, failure cannot be an acceptable option.  Your “building Rome” metaphor is a false one because what is happening in the Philippines is much more a “tearing down” of almost everything that was valuable and worthwhile.  Post-war Philippines was but a shadow of per-war Philippines.  Today’s Philippines is a monstrous caricature of a nation determined to cannibalize on itself as it systematically destroys every aspect and symbol of the underlying spirit behind the Filipino people, via structures that encourage poverty and mendicancy.

For hundreds of years, beginning with the Spanish and continuing with the Americans and into the present, administration after administration have continued to fail the Filipino people because of their consistent and persistent “preferential option for the rich and powerful”.  The poor like yourself were seldom ever allowed to rise to any position of power and authority.  The poor have had almost no representation in government EVER.  It’s an absurd system where poor pedicab drivers are represented in government by super-rich Mikey Arroyo.  Therein lies your failure.  Your inability to expand representation for the poor in government.

It simply isn’t possible to believe that among that great mass of people, that there isn’t one Filipino who cannot be like Lula of Brazil… uneducated and illiterate until his adulthood but with sufficient power of natural intellect to rise to the top and lead that nation to greatness.  From the ranks of labor at that.  Greatness from the bottom.  No Benedictine school.  No law degree.  No Harvard PhD.  Lula had none of this.  But he had his intellect, his heart and his soul in the right place all the time.

The Philippine political system simply will not allow this concept of “intelligence and empowerment from below” in its determination to protect the terrible oligarchs who have ruled the nation almost since time immemorial.  Let us not apply our intellect to excuses for our failures.  Let us all look at those failures straight in the eye and promise ourselves to rise and do the right things for the people.  Let us look at recreating symbols of pride around which a beaten-down people can rally around.  Icons of pride that can provide a sense of hope and belonging to millions of hopeless poor.

Symbols are important as they are representations of who we think we are.  They are rallying points for crucial actions.  Every rebirth has always had its symbols.  The Philippines needs a rebirth so it need new and powerful symbols about who we are.  Our own symbols.  Not those symbols given to us by our colonizers.  We need symbols and icons that the poor can embrace as representing them.

Eduardo Gimenez

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

LISTEN TO JOSE RIZAL - revolutionize our minds and hearts

Listen to our own Jose Rizal - arrested, jailed, and publicly executed for writing a book that shook the foundation of Christianity in the Philippines. He stressed the worth of the Filipino. He emphasized the fact that human dignity is a person’s worth, that which makes him stand above all other creatures. 

In his exchange of ideas on human rights and freedom with Fr. Pablo Pastells, Rizal said: “Man’s dignity is precious to him. He carries within him a feeling of importance, a regard for his value and worth. When man ceases to value his dignity as a human being, he ceases to be a man. He forgets that nothing, indeed, is more excellent than humanity. . . Deprive a man of his dignity, and you not only deprive him of his moral stamina, but you also render him useless even to those who want to make use of him. . . Man in his self-respect; take it away from him and he becomes a corpse."

There is, indeed, something feeble, if not despicable, about a Filipino who cannot live his life unless sustained by the belief in deadly superstitions. Such as - one need not bother with poverty, disease, and population growth because God will provide. Or, that "blessed are those who are poor in spirit. They shall inherit the kingdom of God in heaven." 

It is time for us Filipinos to revolutionize our minds and hearts. And be more receptive to the values of science and scientific way of thinking, and technology. Such values should help us extricate ourselves out of poverty by generating our intellectual growth as a people, and development as a civilized and matured nation. It is also time to realize that we have been educated to only be amenable to more of the same blind faith in the Christian way of life. It has, indeed, turned out to be our worst enemy: faith kills the mind before other diseases kill the body. Faith is just another sacred word we have been taught to believe to justify a lazy mentality, to rationalize our lack of creativity, if not to maintain and to support the ways of our sick society. So deeply rooted in the teachings of Christianity.

Poch Suzara

Friday, December 21, 2012

CJ Sereno fires court psychologists

With the leak of Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno’s psychiatric evaluation that showed she not only obtained a very low grade of 4, which should have disqualified her from the position of SC Chief Justice, but also that her psychiatric test results said that  Sereno  “projects a happy mood but has depressive markers, too,” apart from her “strong tendency to make decisions based on current mood, thus outcome is highly subjective and self-righteous.”
Even as the leaked reports saw print in the newspapers, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) did not deny the results.
The psychiatric and psychological results on Sereno’s test showed that  Sereno is “dramatic and emotional, she appears energetic and all smiles and agreeable, but with religious preoccupation in almost all significant aspects of her life.
“She projects a happy mood but has depressive markers too. There is a strong tendency to make decisions based on current mood thus, outcome is highly subjective and self-righteous.”
It was during her first time as CJ in the flag ceremony that she claimed that it was God who had anointed her to become the Chief Justice.
             The statement was made fun of by Filipinos.
It must have been one of her mood swings that also caused Sereno to fire the court psychologists days before Christmas, despite her claims of religiosity, of her charitable and forgiving soul, none of these traits appear to back up her claims, after she terminated the employment of court psychologists,  the Tribune learned yesterday. 
A source privy to the matter said the psychometricians were ordered fired by the head magistrate following last August’s controversy over a leakage of the results of Sereno’s psychological evaluation when Sereno applied for the chief justice position.
Sereno who now chairs the JBC, earlier tasked the collegial body to remove the psychological tests to applicants to posts in the judiciary, although this was reportedly junked by the members of the JBC.
Sereno has been trying to hide the fact that she had obtained a grade of 4, out of 5, 1 being the highest and 5 failing.
A Grade of 1 is considered as Excellent, a Grade of 2 is Very Satisfactory, a Grade of 3 is Satisfactory, a Grade of 4 is Not Satisfactory and a Grade of 5 is Very Unsatisfactory.
Under the JBC rules, obtaining a grade of 4 automatically disqualifes her for the position.
President Aquino knew of the low grade obtained by Sereno, but still chose her to be his Chief Justice, with too many senior justices bypassed.
Sereno, at the time of her aspiring for the top judicial post, was just a junior associate justice.
The JBC bent its own rules, and placed her in the shortlist.
One leaked report said that a court insider lamented that JBC is becoming a “puppet” of Malacañang because of the inclusion of candidates who almost flunked the psychological test in its shortlist.
The newspaper report quoted the court insider as saying: “I cannot understand JBC right now. It is very clear that if an ordinary lawyer, judge or justice applying for promotion got a grade of four in their psychiatric test, they will not be recommended. But in this case, the ones applying want the chief justice position and the Council still managed to vote for those who got low marks in their psychiatric tests. That is a dangerous precedent.”
After the leak on her psychiatric and psychological test was made public, Sereno continues to fight for the removal of the psuchiatric test for applicants to the judiciary.
The JBC Office of Policy and Development Research said in a memorandum issued in October that the “psychiatric evaluation” has “become the bottleneck” in the processing of JBC applications and that it has not been an “effective screening tool in weeding out undesirable candidates” in the judiciary.
Sereno and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, got a low score of 4 in the test.
Last August, a leaked copy of Sereno’s psychological report found her emotional and mental state  and her depressive moods, which make for questionable decisions from her.
Section 1, Rule 6 of the JBC Rules states: “Good physical health and sound mental/psychological and emotional condition of the applicant play a critical role in his capacity and capability to perform the delicate task of administering justice.”
The JBC has four outsourced psychiatrists who conduct the psychometric and psychological tests.
Instead of replying to the charges of her mental and emotional instability, Sereno imposed a so called “dignified silence” by letting the rulings speak for themselves, which policy does not seem to work well for her, as more and more information is being leaked out, such as the  
In the case of Sereno, the report said that she keeps a smiling face to project that she is happy.
Apparenly, she was not happy with the leak that she fired four court psychologists, perhaps suspecting that they had caused the leak.
Not only is she not able to lead the high court, as the senior justices do not seem to hold her up in their esteem.
Just recently, Sereno came up with a falsified resolution claiming that the en banc had already approved the reopening and relaunching of the Regional Trial Court Administrator Office (RCAO) in the Visayas, but was challegened by Senior Justice Teresita De Castro, who, in a memo, pointed out that there was never any approval of the reopening of the RCAO, among other illegal actions made by Sereno.
The en banc ordred the fake resolution revoked, as Sereno, even as CJ, has no power to unilaterally issue any resolutions without the en banc’s approval.
Meanwhile,  the Supreme Court has amended a resolution drafted by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors regarding the filing of certificates of candidacy of IBP officers who will run for public office in the May 13, 2013 elections.
In an en banc ruling, the SC amended the said IBP resolution.
The SC resolved that “the IBP officers, local and national, who will run for elective office will be deemed resigned from the date of the start of the official campaign period, and not from the date of filing of [CoCs.]”
The joint resolution was adopted due to the advance filing of CoC on Oct.1-5, 2012, or more than seven months from the May 13, 2013 local and national elections due to the implementation of the Automated Election Law.
“Whereas, under the previous manual election system, the filing of [CoC] was usually done close to the start of the 45-day campaign period for local elective offices or 90 days for national elective offices[,]” the IBP resolution said.
The SC cited the recent case of Penera vs. Comelec wherein the SC ruled that any person who files his CoC “shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period, and not upon the filing of such [CoC].”
“[W]hile the Omnibus Election Code provides for automatic resignation of appointive government officials upon filing of [CoC], this rule, however, may not strictly apply to IBP officers, not being government officials,” the SC said.
The SC resolution, signed by Clerk of Court . Enriqueta E. Vidal, added that the advance resignations of IBP officers due to advance filing of CoC—and long before the start of the campaign period—would unduly prejudice the IBP and concerned officers seeking elective posts.             With PNA. 

Not the end of the world as we know it

December 19, 2012
The passage of Senate Bill No. 2865 and House Bill House Bill No. 4244 is not something the Philippine Roman Catholic body, both the Church and its people, should be afraid of. It is not “doomsday” nor “Armageddon” nor the day when evil triumphed over good, as what some hard-core and traditional Catholic thinkers in the country are trying to paint.
The Philippine Roman Catholic leadership’s bragging rights of being the last bastion of Catholicism in Asia is losing its value in Vatican’s powers of corridors. How our Catholic bishops have bragged for ages that the Philippines has maintained Catholic beliefs to guide the country’s political, socio-economic, moral and cultural behavior due to the strong leadership of the local Catholic bishops – that brag has worked until now.
[Photo courtesy AsiaOne.com.]

Look at our movies, our literature, our celebration, or how government leaders are held hostage by the so-called “Catholic vote”. Look at how our bishops managed to put down governments twice through a peaceful revolution. This performance helped the Philippine Catholic leadership become an “apple of the eye” by the Vatican. The pope visited us twice if that is not some sort of a “favor”.
But the back drop of this “resume” by our local Catholic leadership are realities of morality that continue to hound the predominantly Catholic Filipino society. Divorce, abortion and incest in high-walled residences of rich Filipinos remain largely unreported while we make “telenovelas” out of divorce, abortion and incest cases in poor families that local news networks find it so valuable to put in their headlines. I will talk about “tabloidism” by local news networks next time. It is a question of morality when priests and bishops receive favors from local politicians, organizations with un-Catholic advocacies and moneyed-people and it also becomes a question of morality when these “partnerships-by-convenience” are accepted by society.
Point of the story is, we became this cute and cuddly little “baby” of Vatican with an unchanged and spoiled “lampin” for so long. Now, we could no longer hide this “moral stench” in the “lampin”; the stench that we have been trying to ignore for a long time is stinking.
The passage of Senate Bill No. 2865 and House Bill House Bill No. 4244 is a call to the Philippine Roman Catholic body to pay “attention” to its main mission. This is to ensure that the morality of the Filipino society is guided by true Catholic teachings.
The Philippine Roman Catholic body has had its hands too busy with too many pre-occupations that it has ignored its main mission. It tried meddling with politics, business, government policies, health policies, industry regulations and even foreign affairs while losing focus of its true mission.
A politician can remain a politician with its morality intact and sound. A miner, or a mining company, can do the same, do its job and abide by the rules of morality. A Filipino can support the RH bill with its morality intact. We don’t need a Philippine Catholic Church who will be too busy teaching us how to run our government, how to run and regulate our industries, or how to implement state policies.
Because who will make sure that we have our moralities intact and that we continue to be guided by teachings of morality? Well, they are busy fighting politicians, joining elections and toppling down governments, busy arguing with legislators, busy playing regulators to the mining industry, and busy doing business.
In the meantime, the “lampin” remains unwashed and unattended.
What’s the next stench coming out?
Yes, legalization of divorce in the country?