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NATIONALISM and/or GLOBALIZATION* A Continuing Call for People's Struggle By Bishop Erme R. Camba Greetings I bring you greetings from the Silliman University Divinity School (SUDS)and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP). I always welcome the honor of speaking to my esteemed colleagues in the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). My affinity with many of your priests and bishops is traceable to our being comrades in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship. Personally, I take pride to be associated with the only tangible organic result of the Philippine Revolution of 1898. I salute your Church for continuing to emulate the nationalistic fervor of the Filipino People against foreign invaders. I am happy that your Church and mine have signed a Covenant of Partnership. This Covenant sealed our close historical ties which was symbolized by the act of your former Obispo Maximo the late Isabelo de los Reyes conferring the title Honorary Bishop to a former General Secretary of our Church, the late Bishop Enrique Sobrepena. We look forward that in “God’s own time” (as the Covenant puts it), our churches may come to a full Concordat. Even now who would think that a Church of the catholic tradition and one of the reformed tradition are able to sign a Covenant of Partnership looking forward for a time when we are able to really be One Church. If Vatican II did happen I believe that in God's own time we may yet resolve our basic theological differences. I hope it can happen in my lifetime. So that I can also say, even in a late hour, I, too, belong to the real nationalist Church. Mabuhay ang mga pareng makabayan na nagsisilbi sa Masang Pilipino. Mabuhay ang NPO. Mabuhay ang Iglesia Filipina Independiente. Before I'm carried away emotionally, let me turn to my address. I titled this address: "Nationalism and/or Globalization?" with a question mark. The sub-title is "A Continuing Call for People's Struggle." The "end/or" and the question mark is intended, for I would like to raise the issues which have become very prominent nowadays, a question which you and I must endeavor to answer as a mission challenge today. I am not giving a definitive answer to the question. I am only offering you my notes. Your nationalist instinct may have the key. __________________
This is an updated version of a Keynote Address originally delivered to the Assembly of the Region VII, National Priests Organization (NPO) of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, held at Guihulgnan, Negros Oriental, June 2, 1997. The article retains the format of an address to a particular audience to provide the context. Bishop Erme R. Camba is Dean of the Silliman University Divinity School and CoChair of the Ecumenical Bishops Forum. A former General Secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Bishop Camba is currently the Chair of the UCCP Commission on Church Union and Unity (UCCP-CCUU).
katarungan and kapatiran speak of "their concept of nationalism as both anticolonial and democratic. political sovereignty will be meaningless and a just and democratic society will be unattainable. a former Undersecretary of Department of Environment and Natural Resources after he heard a speech on globalization delivered by former Vice President Prof. There is much talk about globalization today that the nationalistic concern is lost. this is true." . Mrs. Certainly.Letizia Constantino endeavored to define what the Filipinos who joined the Katipunan meant when they sacrificed their lives in the Philippine Revolution against Spain and fought the mighty United States in the Philippine American War.2 Nationalism I met Dr. Liling Briones of the University of the Philippines and now Treasurer of the Philippines. who added the economic component for as he said "unless we as a people are free to chart our own economic life." It was the great nationalist. Global Ministries. Even the Churches are talking about globalization in such terms as Global Mission. She said that to our revolutionary forbears. nationalism meant "the assertion of our people's right to sovereignty and Independence." Recto defined nationalism as a banner of freedom proclaiming the national interests of the people. Claro M. to be promoted and safeguarded by themselves so that the wealth from God-given resources shall accrue to them and thus enable all our people to rise above poverty and march on to prosperity. The goal was political sovereignty or freedom from foreign control as prerequisite to the establishment of a just democratic society. contentment and dignity." Their assertion of kalayaan. Global Church. Rector. Constantino summarizes: "Nationalists believe that we Filipinos will never enjoy prosperity and dignity until we ourselves take control of our political and economic life for our own benefit. Few people speak strongly or dare talk about nationalism nowadays. The national leadership of our country have been so enamored with globalization that our continuing struggle for national sovereignty during the dark years of the Marcos Dictatorship is practically lost! In the previous Administration. Ben Malayang. Mrs. there were glowing reports of the Ramos government that we have become the new tiger of Asia. In an issue of the National Movement for Civil Liberties (NMCL) Newsletter some three years ago. Now we find that the tiger is really a cat which can only utter a very weak and timid "meow." Before we go further let us examine the historical struggle for national democracy. Ben enthusiastically reported that Liling is correct.
You can get all information you want through the internet: theology. or Princeton or Yale or San Francisco. technological advancement. a free world market. ethics. This is beneficial to all of us even in the church. With e-mail we can converse through the computer and it is even cheaper than fax. It seduces governments and peoples to believe that it will lead to democratization. the Japanese said they came to share with us the benefits of their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. a border-less world. And the old colonization have always concealed its greedy motives: the Spanish said they came to Christianize us. But the fax has also been outmoded. Long distance calls were very expensive.in other words . they have started using videophones where you can see the person you are talking with even in another part of the globe. Of course. efficiency and global access . globalization. We send fax messages. What you and I need to understand is that what we call globalization today is none other done what the Katipunan and Recto fought: colonization by the imperialist powers. As it exploits our natural and human resources. Now almost every other person uses a mobile phone that can communicate worldwide. We used to communicate by landline telephones. isn't it? . biblical studies. Knowledge is power they say. Nowadays we seldom send telegrams. Modern Technology for Progress? When I was the General Secretary of the UCCP. As students of history.progress and modernization. give comparative advantages. the American said they came to civilized us. it hides behind words like: interdependence. For globalization is contrary to our concept of nationalism. Or just download the materials you need. Now through the internet you can access knowledge from anywhere in the globe.3 Globalization I assume that as priests of a Church who belongs historically to the Philippine Revolution you have internalized what the Katipunan and Recto talked about. open equal opportunities. You can send whole pages in a few seconds. that the real objective of colonization in the past was to extract wealth from the colonized country through the exploitation of its natural and human resources. You do not need to go to Harvard Divinity School. You can order books through the internet. That certainly is progress. it took one week for a telegram to reach Mindoro from Manila. Today's globalization is no different from the past. even sermons. we know.
" I understand that Australia financed the UP study on Mining in the Philippines. not computers. Most of them receive very low wages. four million of them seeking immigrant status in various countries. persons! Issues are now raised on the ethics of tampering with the genes of the indigenous people. Certainly. Now Western Mining of Australia is reaping what they financed. the indigenous peoples. We are also talking about cloning. we have become participants in the destruction of the beautiful Creation that God has endowed us Filipinos. Have we sold our national patrimony by offering up to 26% of our land area to foreign companies? In the process. One million are documented Overseas Filipino Workers and another one million undocumented illegal workers. A large majority of them are women. Have we indirectly helped the revival of slavery in the world in the name of globalization? Or take the case of the "Mining Act of 1995 (R. But this has also brought about fragmentation of our families and the disintegration of our cultures. We are all over the world. commerce. and soon. in the displacement and suffering of the peasants. Take the case of the six million Filipinos dispersed around the world.A. 7942). especially in the North. Perhaps a time will come when the priests can just press the button and all records of a church member he does not care about is completely obliterated as if that member never existed. out comes the Baptismal Certificate by just pressing a letter on the keyboard. That study was the raw material for R. medicine. They are prospecting all over the Philippines. education. business. banking. and the commodization of women and children and indigenous culture. in the irreversible destruction of eco-systems. we have gone global. the secretary encodes all the information and after the baptism. And globalization is bringing all of these to us with the promise of the benefits of progress.4 Technology has invaded all aspects of life: communications. 7942. the fisherfolk. Modern technology is staggering to the mind. But is it really prograss? Globalization for Whom? Globalization as a process of restructuring and integrating the economies of various countries of the world into one global market results in massive labor mobility and dislocation. politics. Some of our UCCP local churches have computerized that when you apply for baptism.A. but live animals. The Church has not been spared. .
You will remember that CHED issued a Memorandum cutting social sciences courses from General Education in favor of natural sciences and technology. laid off workers. …for in the place of fertile fields of rice stalks heavy with grain are export processing zones. and the sea is dead. And so our education must conform to the bringing in of the new global culture. Never mind if most of the Filipino people see no meaning in life and find recourse in drugs. We are taught to appreciate the culture of modern technology and global economy. freedom and peace seem to have been effaced from the earth: …for in the place of verdant forests and majestic mountains are bald peaks and arid lands… all because Australian. [But] today the beauty. our minds and culture are also exploited. Canadian and American mining companies have been allowed to ravaged the forests and mountains in search of the minerals they need for their industrial development. they said: The world that came from the hand of a generous and loving God was one of beauty. Never mind the humanities. destitute youth and children…all because government has joined the merry race toward NIC-hood. Be on the watch or else before your very eyes Negros will become another Toledo (Cebu) where the rivers are dry. …for in the place of self-sufficiency and contentment are homeless families." Be on the watch when they start stripping naked our Negros mountains by open pit mining. abundance. the mountains are bald. Mono-Culture for the Citizens of the World We are told that we are citizens of the world. industrial complexes.5 How true is the statement of the Ecumenical Bishops Forum when. freedom and peace. and assembly plants… all because liberalization has handed agricultural lands on a silver platter to transnational corporations. How true indeed is the statement of Letizia Constantino that re-colonization come: "to extract wealth from the colonized country through the exploitation of natural and human resources. Never mind if Filipinos face food insecurity and eventually die of hunger. displaced peasants and indigenous peoples. sexual perversion and violence. . abundance. exploited women. during the meeting of APEC in Manila some four years ago. Education must emphasize science and technology and banking. So aside from the exploitation of our lands. Never mind if Filipinos lose nearly half of their land to these mining companies.
I warned the churches of old gods with new faces: the revival of slavery through the Overseas Contract Workers. This book is interestingly titled: Global Paradox: The Bigger the World Economy the More Powerful its Smallest Players." . and its own "sacrifice" on the alter of consumerism and individualism: the poor of the land." the financiers. global industrialization and modernization in the guise of free access to world markets of cheaper and better products.6 The advancement of technology is creating a mono-culture of uncritical mass of hyper-consumerists. Global A few years ago. Local Vs. losing the sense of family and community spirit. For the heart of globalization is profit and more profit through the free-trade ideology propagated by the mega-conglomerates. For whoever owns technology and capital governs the world. I found Naisbitt saying that countries and companies are "deconstructing into vital. and robots. the mega-malls. We must. the industrial sweatshops and high rise modern offices and executive apartments. Browsing over the content of the book. people's development. We must understand that globalization is not faceless." Hugh companies like IBM. smaller and smaller units. therefore. Philips and GM must break up "to become confederations of small. its own temples. We must learn to be steep in our perception and analysis of the situation so that we are able to identify and struggle with the victims of the new or renewed gods. a picked up in the Bangkok International Airport a 1994 edition of a book by the futurist John Naisbitt of the "Megatrends" fame. I do hope that all of us will give intense attention to socioeconomic and political analysis that can help us in our pastoral tasks. An Old God With A New Face In my Opening Talk to the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism in Brazil in November 1996. Let me just say that as ministers of the Gospel we must be critically aware of the new idolatry: the worship of the new god of globalization with its own promise of "abundant life" symbolized by the ever flowing industrial products displayed in the mega-malls. its own "theologians. cheap labor to fuel the machines of globalization in the name access to the world travels. individualists." the market economy ideologs. transfer to technology and international democratization. entrepreneurial companies if they are to survive. the super-executives and economic planners of the conglomerates. its own "high priests. be knowledgeable with what and whom we struggle against. the exploitation of natural resources in a more destructive way through technological advance. autonomous.
work feverishly for the globalization of everything . Act Universally. you are actually acting universally. Act Locally” is turned on its head." A new tribalism has set in as people want self-rule and moving towards it. It takes local people to "think tribally and act universally. But its effect is immediately felt locally. "not only informs this tremendous move to democratic self-rule but also monitors and makes transparent the character and nature of the process [and] also allow and encourages extraordinary cooperation among people. When you act locally. where people are directly affected. They won their case. So think first of yourselves. The local people in San Juan. it would be refreshing for local people to give emphasis to the local situation as the context of their prophetic action. no doubt for the same purpose of governing the lives of peoples everywhere. But that is not at all true. When you go down to Dumaguete to get the sympathy of the people of Dumaguete. . The revolution in telecommunications which help brought this about. you are working for your own barangay and town that will be affected by the mine or the cement plant. taking advantage of their dominant ownership of technology. With all the general strategies the actual struggle are in the local places where people are bound together by common needs and aspirations. companies and countries. but because they are breaking up into smaller and efficient parts…." It might be good for us to look at this so-called world phenomenon that Naisbitt is talking about. We cannot do anything about it anymore.7 The nation-state is dead. Perhaps that is the cement plant in that they planned to put up in Negros or was it the one in my home town in Albay where people continue to fight. We might yet find an ally in our struggle against the mega-conglomerates who themselves are breaking up into small units but continues to be in a confederation in order to dominate world economy.from politics to economics to culture . "not because they were subsumed by super-states. Someone has said that under the Mining Act of 1995. the situation of mining is fait accompli. For the venue to the actual struggle is where the victims are.even to the point of "deconstructing" into small units. wherever you are. Act Globally. It is now “Think Locally. Batangas rallied against the setting up of the cement plant because of its destructive effect." The pollution caused by factories and mines is a universal issue." Naisbitt says that the new mantra "Think Globally. As the world economic and political powers. It is in these smaller communities that real community is built which counteract fragmentation. But your action needs more than your local situation and people for what affects you affects other in Dumaguete and the Philippine as well. says Naisbitt. Think Tribally.
it might be worth exploring the suggestion of the Filipino members of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT). (2) build just relationship and (3) promote community. To this end.. Only from our end. When all those local efforts become connected with each other it will be like the multi-national confederation. Mabuhay ang NPO." Looking at globalization in the light of Trinitarian paradigm. we must offer an alternative model of globalization following the Christian Koinonia. the building of just relationship among all creation. these Filipino theologians propose that we promote the "values which nurture the community following the Trinitarian paradigm of a plurality in communion and a mutuality in relationship…(to build) in a community of a plurality of peoples under a common humanity and to form right relationship with one another and with earth…. the groundswell of the masses from the world. and un-peace.8 Seen from a global perspective. abundance. Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino. Positively. Maraming Salamat po sa inyong imbitasyon at pakikinig." If the trinity is our model of mission and prophetic action "the mission today should have the corresponding threefold focus: (1) respect plurality. (Luke 4:43). the people struggle to gain back "the beauty. with a goal for one humanity created by God. we are called to emulate the dreams of the Katipunan and Recto as summarizes by Letizia Constantino: "we Filipinos will never enjoy prosperity and dignity until we ourselves take control of our political and economic life for our own benefit. This is the groundswell that will make the masters of this world tremble. . Mabuhay ang Iglesia Filipina Independiente. It uses the Godgiven technology for its benefits." My plea is that when you plan to work against the Mining Act do it locally. Indeed. Concluding Words Globalization is a world phenomenon that we cannot ignore. it is the universality of people's struggle against global imperialistic designs." Under this Trinitarian paradigm. We must encourage our sisters and brothers similarly affected to do the same in their local situation. its plurality. a global community wider than the Church…where the positive meaning of globalization becomes concrete. disintegration. freedom and peace" in God's Creation. respect of each other promotes unity in diversity among nations. In the face of the globalization god. a community reflective of the Reign of God. it actually brings about fragmentation. its relationship of mutuality. and the promotion of human community where justice and peace reign. it is proposed that "our mission is to re-appropriate the three dimension of the Trinity: its unity. I offer to change the title and theme of this address from " Nationalism and/or Globalization" to “Nationalism and Globalization" with the goal of respecting plurality.. As a Christian Community who proclaims the reconciling love of God in Jesus Christ. With its claim for uniting the peoples of the world. nationalism binds a people together for the common good..
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