Liberation Theology in the Philippines

Recent Titles in Religion in the Age of Transformation Persistence and Change in the Protestant Establishment Ralph E. Pyle Religion, Mobilization, and Social Action Anson Shupe and Bronislaw Misztal, editors The Politics of Religious Apostasy: The Role of Apostates in the Transformation of Religious Movements David G. Bromley, editor Sects, Cults, and Spiritual Communities: A Sociological Analysis William W. Zellner and Marc Petrowsky, editors Religion in a Changing World: Comparative Studies in Sociology Madeleine Cousineau, editor New Spirituality, Self, and Belonging: How New Agers and Neo-Pagans Talk about Themselves Jon P. Block Smith's Friends: A ''Religion Critic" Meets a Free Church Movement Lowell D. Streiher Leaving the Adventist Ministry: A Study of the Process of Exiting Peter H. Ballis The Power of Religious Publics: Staking Claims in American Society William H. Swatos, Jr. and James K. Wellman, Jr., editors Decent and in Order: Conflict, Christianity, and Polity in a Presbyterian Congregation Ronald R. Stockton Holy Saints and Fiery Preachers: The Anthropology of Protestantism in Mexico and Central America James W. Dow and Alan R. Sandstrom, editors Proclaiming Political Pluralism: Churches and Political Transitions in Africa Isaac Phiri

Liberation Theology in the Philippines
Faith in a Revolution
Kathleen M. Nadeau Foreword by John A. Larkin

Religion in the Age of Transformation Anson Shupe, Series Adviser


Westport, Connecticut London

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Nadeau, Kathleen M., 1952Liberation theology in the Philippines : faith in a revolution / Kathleen M. Nadeau ; foreword by John A. Larkin. p. cm.—(Religion in the age of transformation, ISSN 1087-2388) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-275-97198-8 (alk. paper) 1. Liberation theology—Philippines. I. Title. II. Series. BR1260.N325 2002 261.8 / 09599—dc21 00-052462 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available. Copyright © 2002 by Kathleen M. Nadeau All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, by any process or technique, without the express written consent of the publisher. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 00-052462 ISBN: 0-275-97198-8 ISSN: 1087-2388 First published in 2002 Praeger Publishers, 88 Post Road West. Westport, CT 06881 An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. Printed in the United States of America

The paper used in this book complies with the Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National Information Standards Organization (Z39.48-1984). 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Copyright Acknowledgments The author and publisher gratefully acknowledge permission to reprint, in whole or in part, revisions of the following articles by Kathleen M. Nadeau: ''Christianity and the Transformation of Philippine Lowland Life: A Critique of Rafael," Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society 21 (1993): 25-38. With Vel J. Suminguit, "A Response to Timothy Austin's 'Filipino Self-Help and Peacekeeping Strategies,'" Human Organization, Journal for the Society of Applied Anthropology 55, no. 2 (1996): 10-13. "Cebu's Basic Christian Community Movement's Alternative Plan for Sustainable Development," Kasarinlan, A Philippine Quarterly of Third World Studies 12, no. 4 and 13, no. 1 (1997): 57-64. "Ecclesial Community in Cebu," Philippine Studies 47 (1999): 77-99. "'Beyond the Dumping Ground': A Critique of the Basic Ecclesial Community Model as a Strategy for Development in an Urban Site," Human Organization, Journal for the Society of Applied Anthropology 58, no. 2 (1999): 153-160. "Asian Liberation Theology and Marxism: A Reconsideration," The Eastern Anthropologist 51, no. 3 (1998): 207-218.


Foreword by John A. Larkin Preface Acknowledgments Introduction: The People's Church PART I: ROOTS OF RESISTANCE THEOLOGY 1 Peasant Resistance and Religious Protests in Early Philippine Society: Turning Friars against the Grain 2 American Colonization (1898-1946) and Repression of Organized Movements: Continuing the Revolution PART II: LIBERATION AND DEVELOPMENT 3 Cebu's Basic Ecclesial Community Movement's Alternative Plan for Sustainable Development 4 The Illusion of "Catching-Up Development" in Cebu 5 Struggle in the Uplands: Christian Farmers in Cebu

vii ix xi xiii 1 3 17 29 31 37 45

6 Beyond the Dumping Ground: A Critique of the BEC Model as a Strategy for Development in an Urban Site 61 PART III: REVOLUTIONARY THEOLOGY AND MARXISM 73 7 Rethinking Marxism and Philippine Theology of Struggle 75



8 Conclusion: Participatory Development from the Grassroots 9 Epilogue: Human Rights for the Poor Appendix A: "My Life Experiences and Story about Smokey Mountain" by Dennis P. Constantino Appendix B: Interviews with Christian Political Detainees in Cebu Bibliography Index Photographic essay follows p. 72.

105 111 117 127

John A. Larkin

In recent years the Philippines has received international notoriety because of corruption involving two of its presidents, Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada. In each case, the scandals entailed the illegal acquisition of wealth and an immoderate and immoral lifestyle. If uninformed foreigners know anything at all about the beleaguered nation, it is most likely about "Imelda's shoes" or Estrada's payoffs from gamblers. Those with deeper knowledge of the country realize that the more damaging crimes of Marcos and Estrada concern their failure to deal with problems of grinding poverty, maldistribution of wealth, and ongoing oppression of the poor. Despite their pledges to do something for the underprivileged, neither accomplished anything of substance to ameliorate conditions for those who constitute the vast majority of the population. Presidents from Manuel L. Quezon on have vowed and failed to help the poor, but Marcos and Estrada may have made their world appreciably worse. By now poverty has become so ingrained and so widespread that probably no president alone, even if she or he possessed good intentions, could improve the situation. Self-serving local and national politicians and many members of the social and economic elite hold back change; moreover, the poor have in many cases lost hope and become immobilized in the struggle for a better life. The problems of poverty are so deeply embedded in the social fabric that major attitudinal as well as social, economic, political, and legal changes must occur to relieve the situation. It is about the issue of what must be done to alter the outlook of a nation that Kathleen Nadeau writes in this book. She calls for a transformation from the ground up in the attitude of the poor and the members of the country's leading religious and secular institutions. Here, she focuses her attention on the Basic Ecclesial Communities, a movement with roots in the liberation theology of Pope John the 23rd and Vatican II. Such communities favor poor people by providing an alternative method to structure local Philippine society and a new



way of thinking about social solidarity. She wants the nation to accept the communal spirit that motivates these religiously oriented groupings. Precedents for this spirit can also be found in some of the millennial and socialist movements of the past. In Central Luzon, for example, the ideas of a movement for sharing among the poor and between the classes appeared in the vision of Felipe Salvador (Apong Ipe) and his Santa Iglesia and the Socialist Party of Pedro Abad Santos. Since early in the Spanish period, select members of the Catholic clergy have called for better treatment of the poor and a better attitude on the part of the privileged. Kathleen Nadeau rightly asserts that only some form of communalism will provide the tools and stimulus to confront oppression from above. Communalism will, hopefully, supply the impetus to overcome the factionalism and self-serving attitudes that hobble movements and organizations seeking to promote progress and development for the poor. Such a commitment to joint action will entail new attitudes towards the individual and society. Modern notions of communal action have their roots in Marxist thought, but the Philippines has such strong heritage in Catholicism that liberation theology must also play a part in the thinking about communalism as a force for change. Social thinkers as diverse as Kerkvliet and Sison have pointed to the efficacy of Marxist thought in organizing movements, but Nadeau feels that without aid of religion and the religious at large, an enduring transformation cannot occur. Catholicism is too internalized for it to not be included in any formula for widespread acceptance. Probably she is right. In earlier times, I personally had the opportunity to observe the mission work of Father Brian Gore and other Columban priests in Southern Negros, and I was impressed by the change in the way their parishioners approached the world. So here is a book with a message of hope. Kathleen Nadeau proposes a wide postcolonial agenda that encompasses ecological as well as social and economic issues. She is knowledgeable about the dilemmas facing the poor and sincere in her commitment to finding solutions. She feels certain that, for Filipinos, religion can and must play a role if the politically weak are to have a better life. Those who have studied the country are quite aware that endemic social problems will not be solved simply with the replacement of a president by peaceful revolt or impeachment. Read this work carefully, for its subject will remain salient in discussions of the Philippines for some time to come.


These chapters give attention to understanding the secular basis for grassroots activism as embodied in Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) and the emergence of alternative models of association, political and economic practice, in a country that is experiencing a precarious process of democratization. The BECs are the context out of which emerged Liberation Theology, called Theology of Struggle in the Philippines. Also known as Basic Christian Communities, BECs are organized by nationalist intellectuals and Christian activists seeking to develop a post-capitalist society based on sustainable production modes and new social relationships. BECs with their multilevel focus on issues of class, gender, culture, and ecology provide a more sustainable development model for improving the social and economic conditions of the poor than Western-focused, top-down and local elite-initiated models. Many BECs in Cebu are attempting to develop self-reliant and ecologically sustainable neighborhoods for themselves. Organizers and participants in these communities develop and adapt their skills and ideas on the basis of newer experiences. Using creative, non-dogmatic, Marxist social analytical techniques, they trace their history back to the earliest resistance movements against the Spanish and late American colonization of the Philippines, and to the time of Jesus Christ and the early church that stood defiantly against social injustices. The site of these chapters is broadly the Philippines—in particular, the island of Cebu where I conducted fieldwork on the ecclesial community movement from January 1993 to May 1994. I made use of historical documents and materials housed at the University of San Carlos library, observed BEC activities, and interviewed officials, community organizers, and active members of the communities in which I was involved. Part I of this book opens with two chapters on how colonialism and postcolonialism in their historic and synchronic conjunctions have generated a long revolutionary tradition in the Philippines to give a deeper understanding of the material and social conditions to which BECs are responding. Part II addresses some of the most important and



competing controversies on the alternative development paradigm of the BEC model. Chapters three and four demonstrate some of the negative impacts of international and national development policies on Cebu society and the BECs. Chapters five and six document the challenges faced by two BECs in organizing participants into self-conscious communities by using the experiences of upland subsistence farmers and urban informal workers engaged in the recycling industry as my starting point to understand the broader changes. Prior to selecting these two studies, I traveled extensively around Cebu and Negros Islands visiting BECs, including those connected with the Basic Christian Community Organizer's regional head office, and chose the two Cebu locations through serendipity. I examined how the participants in these communities interpreted BEC social theory, and investigated its ideological impact on their collective action. I wanted to determine the degree to which "simple materialism," for example, "the desire to meet rising consumption expectations of capitalism" motivates people to participate in BECs, or if alternatively capitalist consumption goals are downplayed and social transformation and spiritual values are emphasized. My presentation of Cebu's underdevelopment and the BEC movement as a grassroots alternative for sustainable development has been influenced in part by Joel Kahn (1978), Ben Kerkvliet (1990), and James Scott (1985) who provided a decentered and class-based model for the study of poor people in their everyday lives. They provide a general theory of the formation of ideology to look at the complexity of class struggle and social change in peasant societies and economies that are being dominated by capitalist rationality. My approach also has been influenced by Peter Worsley's (1984, 337) theoretical distinction that class-based party politics substantially differ from new revolutionary movements whose effective affinity is with various kinds of groups that struggle against exploitation and domination. Since class and non-class forces become socially meaningful only through discursive practices in the form of classconsciousness and political mobilization, I conducted my research through the starting point of the experiences of the poor mobilized in the BECs. In Part III, I use a Marxist theoretical framework to examine the kind of ideology at work in the organized activities of the BECs. Chapter seven summarizes and compares the participatory development initiatives of the BECs with other village self-help movements emerging out of the great religious traditions of Asia. Chapter eight concludes that we can deliberately choose to build a better future by working together with all these people who struggle for social, cultural, economic, and environmental justice.


The author is grateful to her friends and colleagues, not all of whom were entirely in agreement with her perspective, who so graciously contributed to bringing this manuscript to completion. She expresses her deepest gratitude to Father Joseph Baumgartner, Father Ted Murnane, Father Max Abalos, Father Heinz Kuluke, Dr. Cherry Ouano-Arco, Dr. Resil Mojares, Dr. Linda Alburo, Professor Fiscalina Nolasio, Professor Jose Eleazar Bersales, and the University of San Carlos community. Thanks also to the Sisters of Santo Rosario Ladies Home, especially Sister Mercedes Barbasa, Sister Teresita Arado, and Mother Tofie, God rest her loving soul. Many unnamed friends in the NGO community helped to inform this manuscript, among whom Father Frank Connon and Gilda Reyes of the Redemptorist Justice and Peace Desk, Dr. Aurora Parong and co-workers past and present of Task Force Detainees, Jack Jacela and the Basic Christian CommunityCommunity Organizers, and Father Joseph Krahl of the Sacred Heart Church Clinic, God rest his generous soul, deserve special mention. She acknowledges with appreciation the gracious welcome and assistance she received from unnamed, but not forgotten, colleagues and friends at the Institute of Philippine Culture, Ateneo de Manila University, and the Third World Studies Center of the University of the Philippines Diliman campus. Dr. Felisa Uy-Etemadi of the Data Bank Office of the University of the Philippines Cebu read a draft of this text when it was in its inception that benefited greatly from her scholarly comments. In the United States, the author thanks Dr. Mark Woodward, Dr. Sally Ness, Dr. Michael Cullinane, and Dr. Ligaya Lindio-McGovern among others not mentioned but appreciated just the same, who read through various versions of this text. She thanks Lynn Zelem and Suzanne Staszak-Silva of the Greenwood Publishing Group and Dr. Anson Shupe, editor of the Religion in an Age of Transformation series, for their editorial assistance. She is most grateful to Dr. James Eder, Dr. John Chance, and Dr. Mark Woodward for their excellent mentorship. At California State University San Bernardino, the author extends special thanks to Robert Garcia and Denise Rautmann who provided outstanding



technical support at a critical juncture. She thanks her colleagues, Dr. Peter Robertshaw, Dr. Russell Barber, Dr. Frances Berdan, and Dr. James Pierson in the Department of Anthropology for their strong support and cheerful spirits. The Henry Luce Foundation and Program of Southeast Asian Studies at Arizona State University provided her with a generous research grant for fieldwork. Finally, this note of appreciation would be incomplete without acknowledging the unselfish and wholehearted contributions of her partners in the study sites who shared with this author their thoughts, laughter, and homes.

Introduction: The People's Chur
The conditions of Martial Law (1972-1986) under the Marcos regime in the Philippines made the political significance of the Catholic church more apparent. Most other major institutions—the congress, courts, political parties, labor organizations, newspapers, and public broadcasting networks—were severely repressed by the military under the Marcos dictatorship. As a result, the Catholic church emerged as the major voice for the rights of the poor and oppressed inside the nation. Church leaders referred to Vatican II (1962-1965) social teachings to promote social justice, human dignity, and the rights of the Filipino person. Prior to Vatican II, priests and missionaries in the Philippines had long spoken out against tyranny, corruption, and injustice, but the political presence of the church remained a conserving influence on the power structure. Pope Leo XIII's encyclical, Rerum Novarum (Of New Things 1891), and Pope Pius XFs Quadragesitno Anno (On the Occasion of the Fortieth Year 1931) addressed issues of social justice with regard to Europe, and these social teachings were promulgated by progressive bishops and used by reformer priests working among the laboring poor in the Philippines in the 1930s and 1950s. However, it was not until Vatican II that the social and political transformation of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines began to occur. Since Vatican II, more and more religious and lay leaders in the Philippines have been working to organize and increase the class-consciousness of the poor to improve their economic circumstances. Latin American liberation theologies and variant forms of Marxist theory influenced these social action workers who paved the way for the BEC movement. The Maryknolls initiated BECs in Davao as early as 1967. The publicized experiences of the liberation church in Latin America, mass social action such as Gandhi's peaceful protest movement in India, the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam war protests in the United States, Maoism in mainland China, and Buddhism in Burma served to confirm the struggle for poor people's rights already underway in the Philippines.



The Filipino Basic Christian Community (BCC) movement—the early forerunner of the BEC movement—was officially recognized at the MindinaoSulu Pastoral Conference (MSPC in Davao City, Mindinao in 1971 after the Conference of Latin American Bishops in Medellin, Columbia in 1968. At that time, more and more activist nuns and priests in the Philippines were helping to organize the rural and urban poor into small Christian communities. Church leaders viewed BCCs as an alternative to other People's Organizations organized with the help of the church such as the Federation of Free Farmers which had collaborated with the Marcos martial law regime in 1972 (Kroeger 1985, 123; Fabros 1988, 175). The Catholic Bishops Conference, the National Secretariat for Social Action, and the United Church of Christ (a coalition of Protestant churches) endorsed the BCC movement in 1977. Warren Kinne (1990) documents the Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral meetings from 1971 to 1983—on July 25, 1973, the Catholic Bishops Conference issued a pastoral letter "Evangelization and Development" following Pope Paul VI's encyclical Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples), which was issued in 1967. In his encyclical Pope Paul declared: Total human development does not come down to simple economic growth. It must promote the whole person and every person. We [the Holy See] do not agree to a separation between the economic and the human. To say "development" [progressio] is to be concerned as much with social progress as with economic growth (no. 14). He went on to say that "continuing development calls for bold innovations that will work profound changes" (no. 32). Encouraged bPopulorumProgressio, the bishops in their letter maintained that it was insufficient to solve Philippine social problems by merely donating goods and services to the poor as the old paternalistic approach of the institutional church had done. "Evangelization and Development" asserted that the church has one single mission: to pour out God's light and life on all the dimensions of personal and social existence and to offer her assistance to further a fuller humanism. In reaffirming Vatican II's teaching on justice and peace issues in the document entitled Gaudium et Specs (The Church in the Modern World 1965), the Philippine bishops letter stated "In its overview of development, Gaudium et Specs clearly insists upon the need for thoroughgoing structural reforms and social changes. The present critical state of affairs must be corrected for the better without delay" (532). The bishops fully recognized that the structural roots of underdevelopment of the Philippines linked to the First World and for the first time acknowledged the church's complicity in encouraging "internal colonialism" and "the collective sin of unjust and anachronistic structures." However, they did not address the immediate issue of Marcos's rule by martial law (Bolasco and Yu 1981, 104). The official position of the Filipino bishops regarding the martial law regime remained that of "critical collaboration." This policy is clearly stated in the conclusion of "Evangelization and Development." In the Philippines today, especially under the rule of martial law and the avowed aim of the government to create a "new society," our service as church, as community, must take



the form of support of all that is genuinely good in the new direction being taken. But this service of ours, as we have time and again indicated in this letter, must always be in the light of the gospel. Hence we must seriously ask, in view of recent events, whether indeed development is taking place with justice, with truth, and above all with Christian charity (545). Some bishops suggested that their colleagues, while referring to ideas derived from dependency theory and world system theory, which views colonial and post-colonial subordination as the causes of poverty, still adhered to ideas linked with unjust and anachronistic structures. Bishop Claver criticized the church for "opting for a liaison rather than coming out publicly on the recent events of the Marcos martial law dictatorship" which as Bolasco and Yu (1981, 104) pointed out would have surely triggered demonstrations (e.g., as that in which the church hierarchy helped to trigger the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue revolution when it took a strong stance against the Marcos dictatorship, especially after the assassination of Aquino). This small number of dissenting bishops opposed others siding with the martial law regime; and the repositioning soon divided the bishops into progressive, moderate, and conservative camps. 1 In 1976, sixteen bishops issued a collective statement Ut Omnes Unum Sint (That All May Be One) on the growing divisions then taking place within the church: Despite their words, the Bishops are deeply divided. And divided about the very things they speak of in the statements and pronouncements they have been issuing. But what were not too apparent to the public eye (at least until recently) were the seething contradictions between official pronouncements and the lack of support of a good number of Bishops for those pronouncements in their pastoral action. Also, the fact that episcopal statements are the result of hard and long argumentations in which ideas are accepted on an intellectual level in conference but rejected on the practical level outside of conference (quoted from Fabros 1988, 173). They traced out these divisions along the trajectories of two different ecclesiological schools of thought adhered to by the bishops themselves. Some bishops saw their primary responsibility to be preserving the church as an establishment, others, to defend and protect the church as "the people of God." The statement also claimed that some bishops and other ecclesiastical authorities had collaborated with the Marcos regime in exchange for "monetary and other patronage considerations" (Bolasco 1988, 59). These divisions notwithstanding, the bishops stood united in their pastoral letters, which were largely drawn from Vatican II social teachings. In contrast, the Major Religious Superiors took a strong stance against the Marcos dictatorship. As an international body of missionaries the Major Religious Superiors were not solely dependent on local funds for their programs. In 1973, they sponsored a study on land reform, labor, peace and order, squatters, prices, conscientization, and the church, which was circulated as a position paper throughout the Philippines (Bolasco and Yu 1981, 108). In reaction against the deteriorating local situation where brutal slayings and harassments by the Marcos military against civilians were becoming



widespread, the Major Religious Superiors with the support of the Christians for National Liberation (the largest constituent organization of the National Democratic Front, a coalition of the Left) established Task Force Detainees to document human rights abuses and to help meet the needs of political prisoners and the families of the disappeared (Clarke 1998, 161). The annual Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral meeting provided a forum for bishops to openly discuss their ideas with other clergy and lay participants involved in the BCCs. They debated about controversial issues such as the question of the degree of lay participation in the BCCs and in the organizational structure of the church. Initially, the BCC model was introduced as a way to encourage the laity to become more actively involved in the liturgy of the word, especially in remote rural barrios where there were not enough priests to perform the sacraments. The training of lay ministers was seen as a way to provide people in peripheral areas with religious instruction and communion services when priests were not available. Later some bishops stressed the importance of lay leadership and organization training programs directed at issues of social justice and liberation of the poor. This became a subject of heated debate. The bishops raised questions regarding the basic power structure of the church. Some bishops did not trust the BCC board members, because they suspected that some of them were involved with the Christians for National Liberation (Kinne 1990, 91). They were also concerned about whether the church would be able to control the BCCs. Others questioned the relinquishing of priestly roles to lay ministers. Previously, only priests could perform baptisms, marriages, and extreme unction. The handing over of these priestly functions to lay ministers in the BCCs was perceived by some members of the hierarchy as an encroachment on the power of the institutional church. However, other members stressed the ecclesiality of the BCCs that led to the new use of the term Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) in place of the word BCC. The term ecclesial derives from the root word ecclesia, which refers to the people of God as the body of the church. There was a threat of a division between a popular church and a hierarchical church. This threat ended in the closing of the Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral meetings in 1983 when the bishops met apart from the lay board. Many progressive Philippine clergy involved in the earlier Mindanao Sulu Pastoral Conference meetings were transferred to conservative parishes in the Visayas and Luzon, while conservative bishops and clergy were transferred to replace them and, in theory, their programs, a reshuffling which continued into the 1990s. In this context, many Christians critical of the martial law regime and involved in the BEC movement and its task forces for social justice were forced underground—meaning that they were under surveillance and had reason to fear for their lives. Many more joined the Christians for National Liberation, which began to align itself with the umbrella organization of the National Democratic Front in 1972. The BEC movement, nonetheless, continued to thrive throughout the Philippines and in 1991 at the Second Plenary Council held in Cebu City the BEC model was officially decreed by the church hierarchy as "the new way of



being a church." The new model was added to diocesan management networks throughout the nation but some conservative archdiocesan centers began to stress the liturgical over the liberational aspect. While there are both kinds of BECs in the Philippines, and all of them include a liturgical focus, this study concerns the origins and contemporary expressions of the theoretically integrated (social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental) and actively participatory model. NOTE 1. For a useful conceptual scheme of these divisions see Youngblood 1982; for a similar classificatory scheme with reference to Brazilian hierarchy see Antoine 1973, 99.



One of the most important contributions to the study of religious resistance and revolution in the Philippines has come about from the works of nationalist scholars. They have shown that popular revolts that have been widely studied cannot be constructively understood without considering their precolonial origins. This section examines the role of religion in revolution in terms of its broader historical connections. The first chapter reviews some of the prehispanic continuities in the selection of authentic leaders in the Philippines during the early Spanish period. It concludes that Christianity was localized not simply because it was imposed but because it was propagated by a small group of radicalized, educated friars meeting some of the indigenous criteria for effective leadership. These friars were some of the early ancestors of today's practitioners and theologians of struggle. The second chapter looks at peasant movements against exploitation and political repression under the American colonial regime, and after.

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Chapter 1

Peasant Resistance and Religiou Protests in Early Philippine Societ Turning Friars against the Gra

One of the most significant advances to the study of peasant rebellion and religious protest in the Philippines has come out of the works of nationalist scholars (Constantino 1975, Ileto 1979, and Rafael 1988). In particular, Ileto and Rafael have shown that peasant revolts that have been the object of much research cannot be analyzed in isolation from their precolonial origins. By so doing, they challenged evolutionary frameworks used to categorize different kinds of peasant protest as either belonging to primary (precolonial), archaic (postconquest), or nationalist movements. Ileto and Rafael have shown that local elites and social organizations have persisted well into colonial, and neocolonial times. Rural forms of religious protest variously construed as millenarian, messianic, revivalistic, chiliastic, syncretistic, fanatic, cultic, and so on, that marked the archaic stage have continued to present. As Ileto and Rafael suggest, these provincial outbursts need to be freshly reconsidered in the light of their broader historical connections, and from the vantage point of the lower classes. In general, peasant rebellions in the Philippines as elsewhere in Southeast Asia have been studied in terms of their disjunction from an historic past. Moral economists have argued that the penetration of capitalism into rural villages leads to widespread discord. Due to the closure of the frontier, peasants can no longer resort to earlier forms of avoidance protest by moving as a group to another area (Adas 1981). Consequently, new types of resistance develop because traditional patron-client ties and earlier patterns of reciprocity no longer structure the village economy (Scott 1973, 1985). Instrumental rationalists, on the other hand, contend that peasant uprisings do not result from violating a code of ethics that assures peasants of their basic subsistence "rights." Rather, peasants seek out political leaders, and if they deem it profitable, they will rally behind one in rebellion (Popkin 1979). While Marxists have similarly viewed agrarian conflicts as transitional phases in the history of particular social formations, they have disagreed over the issue of whether peasants are reformists, or revolutionary (Kerkvliet 1977; Ong 1987; Stoler 1985). Except for



Ileto and Rafael, however, no student of the Philippines that I am aware of has looked at the role of religion in rebellions in terms of its continuities with a precolonial past. Ileto aptly criticized a reductionist model of Philippine society that depicts it in terms of patron-client relations for being guilty of the flaw of functionalism. That is, such a model with its built-in mechanism of self-preservation does not allow for other ways of looking at, or confronting, the established order (Ileto 1979, 11-12). Instead, Ileto proposed a model based on hegemony, wherein marginal affronts to the prevailing social order can be taken into account. Looking specifically at the role of Christianity in Filipino rebellions, he posits that the Spanish missionaries taught a mystified and "other worldly" version of Christianity to indoctrinate and subdue the Filipino masses for their Spanish overlords. However, the early Filipinos (here forward read: Indios) interpreted Christianity in terms of traditional Southeast Asian cultural practices and beliefs, rather than from the Spanish perspective. It is for this reason that Filipinos early were able to articulate in the language of Christianity a means for expressing their own values, ideals, and hopes for liberation from their colonial oppressors (Ileto 1979, 15). Their folk Catholicism according to this view emerged directly out of prehispanic patterns of behavior. For example, in contrast to the intentions of the friars, local people discerned mundane meanings that were related to their daily lives from the indigenous performance of the Passion Play during Holy Week. As Ileto (1979, 20) explains, from the Spanish perspective Christ's Passion served "to discourage the Indios from enriching and educating themselves to the point where they would become a threat to colonial rule." Contrarily, from the indigenous perspective "the identification of the wealthy, the educated pharisees, and local leaders with Christ's tormentors could not fail to have radical implications in actual life." This chapter suggests further that some out of the ordinary friars used messages derived from the gospels as in the case of the Passion Play to criticize social injustices and to aim to liberate the poor from their colonial oppressors (De la Costa 1961; Fabros 1988; Schumacher 1979, 1981). These rare and exceptional friars were shaped as they helped to shape indigenous interpretations of Christianity. Some of the culprits these clerics singled out for committing atrocities against Indios were fellow members of their own clergy and class. In other words, the local people in their quest for liberation did not come to interpret the gospel messages without influence from Catholic social teachings. Ileto and Rafael have not accounted for the complexity and interlocking roots of the Indios struggle for liberation from colonial dominance. This chapter explores this issue, and looks at some of the precolonial continuities in the selection of authority figures in the Philippines during the early Spanish period. Wherein, rare and exceptional friars who successfully met some of the precolonial criteria for a qualified leader propagated Christianity. It is arranged accordingly: the general situation and class structure of the prehispanic Philippines and its subsequent transformation by the Spanish colonizers is discussed. Then the development of Christianity and the conflict of motives



debate is reviewed. Finally some precolonial structural similarities in the relationship between friars and their constituents are put forward, and some conclusions are drawn. THE PRECOLONIAL PHILIPPINE SITUATION The Philippines prior to the coming of Spain was involved in a maritime trade economy. Its communities were dispersed along estuaries of rivers and coastal shores, and each settlement was scattered to protect inhabitants from the possibility of offshore marauders. Its history was made up of a complex of local histories wherein leaders were legitimated by their followers. Chiefdoms existed in that the office of chief was ordinarily inherited and there was a redistributive economic system. But the office of chief was also achieved and the center of redistribution shifted as new leaders emerged. That is, the prehispanic history of the archipelago was intricately interlinked with the culture complex of Southeast Asia, and it engaged in tribute and trade relations with such centers as India, China, and Arabia. But each community made its own history because its inner and outer relationships were variously construed (Anderson 1972; Rafael 1988, 133-137). Kinship played an important role in the development of authority and social hierarchy on the islands (Rafael 1988, 13; Wolters 1982). Unlike in Northeast Asia (China, Korea, Japan), a large and impersonal state bureaucracy never developed in the region. Instead, there were numerous competing centers of power whose rulers strove not to colonize their neighbors but to include them in their network of kith and kin. The boundaries marking communities were constantly being redrawn as new alliances were created, histories merged, and new leaders appeared. Kinship networks, based on ambilineal descent, were traced bilaterally through male and female lines. This diminished the importance of status based on lineage connections to a single male or female ancestor. Instead, important genealogical claims were based on achieving a founding line of descent and establishing kinlike relations horizontally in the present. As Rafael (1988, 14) expressed, "genealogy thus acted as a provisional, revisable marker rather than an unassailable organizing principle of authority." There was a greater interest in extending kin and kinlike networks horizontally in space rather than vertically back in time. This emphasis on the present had an impact on how leaders emerged in prehispanic Philippine society where social relations, rather than private properties, were one's greatest resources. Leaders emerged because they had an ability to entice followers who cooperated in ritual, agricultural, commercial, and military matters. Such leaders replaced or incorporated the previous ancestral line of the community into their own by achieving the title of village ancestor. They were able to cultivate followers by engaging in exchanges with them that were mutually beneficial. They were believed to have special spiritual energy that enabled them to keep social relations within and between communities, between the earth and the cosmos, in balance. Social confusion resulting from a rupture in the network of



reciprocity and exchange, or chaos occurring in times of natural calamity, was indicative of a leader's decline at which point people moved to follow a new authority. In the region, personal power was perceived by the local people differently than in the Anglo-European and Anglo-American worldview. That is power was not an abstraction as it is in Western European social thought, rather it was an existential reality (Ileto 1979, 30-31; Anderson 1972; Wolters 1982). There were indigenous signs that indicated a powerful leader. A powerful leader was perceived to be pure "not in a moralistic sense but rather in terms of his or her ability to concentrate and diffuse power." That is, there was a "direct relation between a person's inner self and their capacity to control the environment" (Ileto 1979, 31). Also, there were apparent signs of a leader: one had "radiance" about them, one was sexually fertile, and one surrounded oneself with sacred objects and people who held unusual power so as to absorb it vicariously. Leaders wore and distributed "magic" amulets, uttered formulaic prayers, and believed that their weapons, and personages, were invulnerable in times of battle (Reid 1983, 7). Conversely, "military defeats and the diminution of a ruler's wealth and following were regarded as mere manifestations of the deteriorating state of the leaders' inner self (Ileto 1979, 31). As Rafael (1988, 14-15) suggests, however, "in the absence of a centralized bureaucracy, authority and hierarchy devolved upon the projection and recognition of the potential for engaging in dyadic, reciprocal exchanges among those within and outside the kinship network, and as politics was not centralized, the representation of this potential varied from society to society." In other words, although there were some common criteria that distinguished a leader throughout Southeast Asia, the projection and recognition of leadership was invariably a local matter. Social transformations occurred as foreign influences were translated locally, and they were specific to the conventions of a particular group. THE PREHISPANIC CLASS STRUCTURE The class structure of prehispanic Philippine society was diversified and complex even in the absence of the development of a state bureaucracy. Among the Moslem Tagalogs there were fundamentally three political classes (rulers, commoners, and slaves) (Scott 1982). Rulers were the overseers of barangay settlements (ummah, Islamic communities). They held and distributed community property and passed down final judgments in legal proceedings. Usually, datus were great warriors because their primary duty was to defend their barangays from outsiders. The office was inherited and passed down through the male line, but the power of office depended on the loyalty of both commoners and slaves who could give their allegiance to the datu of their choice. The early Tagalogs' conceptions of a datu's power were informed by the teachings of mystical Islam, which was underlain by Hindu and Shaman beliefs. They carried their religion with them from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Borneo.



Perhaps this is why the Spaniards who first encountered them considered the Tagalogs only vaguely Moslem (Rafael 1988, 106). Nonetheless, their understandings of a datus power was based on a servant-lord model which Shamanism, Hinduism, and Islam held in common. The Islamic origins of the servant-lord bond are based on the relationship between God and wo/man that can be traced to the relation between Mohammed, the perfect man, and a divine God with whom he united, and to the relation of Mohammed and his disciples. As Arberry (1970, 12) put it, "Islam recognizes no incarnate God, no savior. The matter lies between Allah and the One Lord, and every (wo)man the One Lord's creature and servant." A datu undertakes a path to the source of enlightenment (to God) by following the example of Mohammed. The journey to God embarked upon by a lord is fraught with danger that is why most wo/men become servants of a lord, for their guidance. A lord can turn on their path to the Godhead, however, and mark their descent by unleashing malevolent forces and this is why a servant's relation to their lord is always ambiguous. This ambiguity in a datu's power is also rooted in the Hindu conception of the coming of a "just king." In Hindu cosmology a cyclical order gives rise to kings and queens who sojourn to God but may fail and so they are tied to their servants indeterminately (Moertono 1968, 36, 54). The dynamics of power in the relation between a Shaman and their constituents is similarly delicate throughout Southeast Asia. To use Sally Falk Moore's (1975) expression, there is an element of uncertainty in the relationship between a lord and their followers. Tagalog commoners, or timawa, were literally free persons. They were usually prohibited from marrying into the datu class. The only possible exceptions to this rule would be during periods of instability and political realignment within a community that moved to anoint a new datu from outside the village and/or datu class in which case their family was newly fitted into the genealogy of the collective as ancestor. Many commoners were illegitimate offspring of the aristocracy, while others were formerly slaves who had earned their new status. Commoners entered into contractual relations with lords who awarded them portions of barangay land to farm and bequeath without being subject to tribute. In return, they joined their lords as partners on fishing and raiding excursions, at harvest time, and in other enterprises. The commoners could expect a generous share in their lord's bounty for exceptional performance. Their free status depended on their ability to indebt others and to avoid being indebted themselves. Finally, there was the alipin class that included two categories of slaves known as the namamahay and gigilid. Members of this class were commoners who incurred a debt, offspring who inherited the debt of their parents, and prisoners of captives of war. The namamahay were analogous to tribute payers. They acquired a right to a piece of land and were obligated to return a portion of the harvest to their masters. In addition, they worked as needed for their lord in other capacities such as building houses or serving as oarsmen on expeditions. They were often rewarded for their services, and they could use their savings to purchase their freedom.



The gigilid were members of the slave class who lived under the same roof as their lord, or in the home of a commoner to whom they were indebted. As household helpers, they were commonly treated like members of their lord's family. However, if they were captive slaves they could be treated like chattel. Typically, gigilid acquired namamahay status once married as they were given a separate house and a piece of land to work. Like the namamahay, they could work off their debts and obtain status as free persons. In practice, the precolonial class system of the Tagalogs, like those of other peoples of the Philippines, had built-in opportunities for social mobility (Scott 1982). Members of the indigenous elite gained their enhanced statuses by entering into a circle of relationships of varying degrees of reciprocity and indebtedness, wherein rulers were the last to be indebted (Rafael 1988, 13-17). Local leaders were intimately connected to their followers, and they were the ones who made sure that surplus was recirculated back into the community, even as it was exchanged in the wider spheres of the Asian maritime trade economy. Leaders generally lost the allegiance of their followers if they were unable to oversee the commonwealth, or if they betrayed public trust by exacting an inordinate portion of the wealth for themselves. The human community itself represented the greatest resource for local elites because it set into motion both the products and protective measures they needed to maintain their ascendancy. They were not protected by a large outside apparatus of state. THE FIRST SHOCK OF SPANISH CONQUEST Prior to the social, cultural, political, and economic transformation of Cebu in central Philippines into the first colonial settlement in the nation by the Spanish on May 8, 1565, Cebu was interlinked into a pan-Asian trade network. Arabs, Indians, Siamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans traded with Cebu in prehispanic times. Her position as a traditional center of trade is substantiated by the large amounts of precious porcelainware uncovered on the island (Hutterer 1977; Baumgartner 1975; Scott 1984). Echevarria (1974) traces the route of trade between Cebu and China, as far back as the T'ang and Sung dynasties in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Fox (1967, 58) notes conservatively that, although Cebu may have been one of the many coastal communities engaged in trade with the Chinese in the T'ang and Sung dynasties, it was engaged with other traders such as the Sumatrans and the Javanese in the Sri-Vijaya empire. Only during the fifteenth century did Cebu become a focal point for the Chinese traders. Mojares (1991, 288) finds that by the time the Spanish arrived in 1565, Cebu Island was so prosperous that they decided to develop it into an administrative, military, and religious hub for the Philippines. However, they quickly abandoned their plans and transferred their base of operations to Panay in 1569, and then Manila. They retracted their plans due to the rapid economic decline on the island that resulted from the lack of any real economic opportunities for Cebuanos under Spanish rule. For instance, the Spaniards were not as interested as were prehispanic Chinese traders in purchasing Cebu's total output of raw cotton but purchased only high priced specialty products such as



lampotes, and only enough to fill a single galleon which made an annual voyage between Cebu and Mexico (Baumgartner 1975,40). This change led Cebu's southern farmers to shift to cultivating Indian corn, which continues to be the main staple crop of these Cebuanos into the 1990s because it could be cultivated in soil already infertile due to its having been planted in cotton. Cebu's economy deteriorated from the development of the Manila-centered Galleon trade with China and Mexico, which effectively blocked Cebu's commerce for almost 200 years. Its economy continued to change in relation to Spain and the incipient world capitalist system. The Spanish conquistadors, administrators, and missionaries represented an unprecedented affront to the indigenous society. The colonizers came with preconceptions of paganism, conquest, and mission based on unrealistic Augustinian and Greco-Roman definitions of Barbarians, which were reminiscent of the inaccurate notions of the Chinese who also sought, although not with such arrogance and militaristic violence, to exhort tribute from these islanders. Rafael (1988, xi) argues that it was for this reason that the Filipinos sought to domesticate the shock of Spanish colonization. While the Filipinos had many previous encounters with outside powers, and were conversant with peaceful traders and aggressive marauders offering protection in return for tribute, they could hardly gauge the abrupt and arbitrary appearance of the conquistadors. Although the Muslims had penetrated the islands to such a degree that the Tagalogs in the far north had been won for that faith, and as much as Islam like colonial Christianity was an intolerant religion, it did not predispose the Filipinos for the arrival of the Spaniards. Although the precepts of Islam are fundamentally similar to those of Christianity, not the least of which is its belief in one all-powerful and merciful God, there are major differences between them. The Muslims were not able to exercise the same type of center to periphery control that Spain could at least attempt. The Muslim world system of the day was much more loose and multicentered. The Europeans only imagined that the Ottomans exercised any influence in Asia. The spread of Islam depended on the formation of many local states, not a single "World Empire" that Spain was becoming—there were no "Meccan friars." Before the colonial conquest, Filipinos were non-capitalist peasant commodity producers involved in a tribute mode of production in the maritime trade economy of Southeast Asia. Lowlanders were involved in mutually beneficial trade relations with upland hunters and gatherers and horticulturalists to obtain rare goods for home use, or trade in the wider economy. The indigenous communities had their own structure of authority that differed from that of the colonizers. Mostly traders, sea merchants, fish harvesters, cultivators, and craftspeople lived in integrated communities with production based on use value as opposed to exchange value, the latter of which marks the capitalist mode of production. Surplus was produced, but only in the sense of an excess of goods normally used for consumptions set aside for appropriation and circulation; surplus circulated on the basis of its use value (e.g., tribute) rather than exchange value (e.g., sale for profit); primary producers owned the products of their labor. The economy of the early Filipinos thus negated



capitalism, which is grounded in exchange for profit. Prehispanic Filipinos made their own histories because each community in the archipelago was organized in a different way. Spain's entry changed the indigenous social structure. They used the same strategy to colonize the Philippines that they used to colonize the New World (Phelan 1959). They preserved local leaders to convert their following. However, typical authority positions in the New World (e.g., in the Aztec civilization and the Maya kingdom) as part of a state apparatus were inherited. By contrast, Filipino leadership positions were open and contestable because they were part of autonomous communities. Leadership was inherited and enforced in precolonial Philippines, but leaders were relatively easily abandoned. The local follower leader economy waned under the new colonial economy. The Spaniards negotiated their terms of settlement predominantly through the agency of male leaders, while female leaders, who held positions of high esteem and authority in the bilateral contexts of precolonial Philippines, were displaced. The follower system in Southeast Asia differed substantially from that of Spain. Differences in gender roles were simply differences in work patterns that complimented each other to form an undifferentiated whole. Errington (1990) stresses that the early Filipino ideology of gender difference was complementary. The opposite sexes complimented each other rather than competed against each other. Reid (1983, 7) explains, "in Southeast Asia a follower system (still) is the awareness that a relation of authority of high over low exists, is accepted by the latter, and likewise the realization that high and low need each other in their striving for high standing. This relation is based on cooperation. On the other hand, the relation between equal groups (e.g., in the United States) is best described as opposition." Spanish colonial policy attempted to solidify local leadership and, in effect, transform local leaders into permanent lower level authority figures buttressed by the Crown, so long as the indigenous elite cooperated. As Rafael (1988, 13-17) put it, "the extension of Spanish colonial rule into local communities generated a new division between natives who paid tribute and natives who collected it." The indigenous elite now sanctioned by outside military force could opportunistically shift between the colonial overlords and their subjects. They could take surplus from a community and keep part of it for themselves in the form of goods or indentured service. Although local leaders were accorded land and freed from tribute and corvee labor by the Spaniards, their prior wealth and power had derived less from the land than from tribute and services collected from their followers. Such also was the case in Mexico. The Spanish government undermined this indigenous economic relation by exacting a head tax on all common Filipinos. They accomplished this through warfare and Catholic indoctrination and conversion. Subjects fled from both tax collectors and former rulers, or, when prevented from doing so, rebelled. Uprisings were endemic (De la Costa 1961; McCoy 1982; Mananzan 1987). Spanish colonizers systematically brought the indigenous peoples into encomiendas. The Filipinos' precolonial conceptual framework was fragmented



by this forced relocation process. The indigenous ideology reflected the inhabitants' particular lifestyles as small traders, horticulturalists, and hunters and gatherers. As the conquerors reduced them into fixed settlements, they had to adopt European ways of seeing and dividing the world. Filipinos had to grapple with the problem of losing their cultural identity and communalorientation due to the foreign nature of the Spanish language and its ways. They were required to perform corvee labor and pay tribute. Fabros (1988, 5) states that "dependency and indebtedness characterized this multifaceted relationship" between the Spaniards and the Filipinos. "At best it gave way to a paternalistic relationship, at worst it created an exploitative set up." This relationship would intensify when the American colonizers brought their capitalist mode of production at the turn of the century and transformed the local-instrumental overlord to peasant relationship into an instrumental impersonal relationship based on capital. Rafael (1988, x) argues that the consciousness of Filipinos was reshaped through "the dissemination of Christianity which was mediated by Spanish ideas about signification and concomitant transformation of meaning from one language to another." The Spanish who transmitted the Christian faith held in common the otherworldly and future-oriented conceptions of the bible, while their Filipino parishioners interpreted the scriptures in a contrary and presentoriented way. My own position concurs with that of Rafael in that the Spanish Crown attempted to reconstruct the foundations of Filipino social life. But, the issue of conversion cannot be so neatly defined as to permit us to declare that the motives of Filipinos were invariably at odds with those of the friars (155). The Christian religion took root in part because select friars who successfully met some of the precolonial criteria of a qualified leader spread it. This analysis deals with a period in Philippine history where there were few original sources. We now examine the roots of theology of struggle today by tracing them back to early religious clerics and lay leaders who took the side of the poor and oppressed. EARLY ROOTS OF RESISTANCE THEOLOGY Christianity took root in the Philippines not simply because it was imposed but because it was propagated by a small group of radicalized, educated priests meeting some of the indigenous criteria for effective leadership. In contrast, authoritarian friars would lose the loyalty of parishioners who would merely feign allegiance to the iron might of Spain. Early friars who worked to check the widespread abuses of the Spanish government may have received impetus from the early Christian church. The church at the time of Christ was a social movement that emerged in reaction to a co-opted local elite and a ruling Roman class, but it was no product of class conflict in a dogmatic Marxist sense. Jesus did not organize an armed resistance movement of the lower classes to overthrow and replace their rulers. However, he avidly criticized the dominant authorities of his day, especially church authorities (Troeltsch 1931, 39) and considered the struggle to be against the misuse of wealth—in particular, a



struggle against avarice and the accumulation of human and material possessions for the sake of self-aggrandizement and power. His is a message contiguous with that of many indigenous Asian religions. According to Ileto (1979), an effective leader in the precolonial Philippines exhibited an integrated sense of "loob" (inside), which made their philosophy and life transparent. They were connected to their community in such a way that the best interest of the community was reflected in them. De la Costa (1961, 20, 22, 26, 535-538) wrote of friars who earned respect by their example of selfless service to the sick and suffering of their parishes (see also Chirino 1969; Schumacher 1981; Scott 1982). These were clergyman likely to have a faithful following of believers who, in turn, incorporated Catholic notions into their own worldviews. It is not surprising, from this perspective, that Filipinos early were able to articulate in the Passion Play meanings related to their daily lives (c.f Ileto 1979). The Passion Play became a means to express their resistance to the colonial regime, given that the Spanish banned all other indigenous theater. Also, popular rituals in prehispanic Philippines, as elsewhere in Asia (e.g., Javanese puppet plays in Indonesia, and masked dancers satirizing nobles in Korea) were likely to have been theater productions based on ironic and subtle critiques of local political authorities. To extrapolate upon Levi-Strauss' (1963, 180) theory: some Catholic priests acted out the structural idea of a religious leader in the indigenous culture. That is, they fulfilled the cultural expectation of a religious leader. In Sahlin's (1981, 7) words, they were a "worldly token of a preconceived type." Like prior Tantric, Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim holy men in the Philippines, such priests (oriented by the ethos of the gospel and poverty of Christ, not mercantilism) were believed to receive their power from some higher source and were not supposed to seek monetary, material, or personal power, even though they could receive tribute to acknowledge their status. In other words, the various world religions in Asia that predate Christianity also claim to have a message that is libratory of the poor in as much as these religions and ideologies claim to be saviors of the common tao. Accordingly, voluntary poverty in Asia can be said to be a potent spiritual weapon and political stratagem in the hands of adept religious leaders to wield against the abuses and selfishness of dominant powers and authorities, and this makes an authority crisis an ever-present possibility. In contemporary terms, early friars lived and worked in a political church that was not neutral. Each individual friar himself was personally engaged on a terrain in which only the poor could decide who could liberate them. Individual representative authority figures to be legitimate, not forcefully imposed, in the eyes of local people came to be respected only "spontaneously as a manifestation of their own competence to mediate liberation" for the vanquished and poor (Pieris, 1988, 36-38). This at root is the basic contradiction in Catholic social teaching until now between egalitarian and hierarchical structures (a good case in point is the stark contrast between Benedictine and Franciscan orders, not least the founders: see, Victor Turner on Francis 1969, 140-155). On occasion, early friars were welcomed in Filipino communities (examples in De la Costa 1961; Schumacher 1981; Scott 1982; Keesler 1989, 46). During



the early colonial period, the government, typically, neglected communities in Cebu. Scott (1982, 176) and De la Costa (1961) documented cases where local people welcomed friars into their communities to ward off abuses by Spanish soldiers and landed officials and attacks from marauding offshore Southeast Asian slave raiders. The advent of a friar meant the development of a town ringed by a small fortress, although such made formerly scattered communities more vulnerable to offshore raiders. A few unusual friars sought to win converts by way of example rather than force. This was apparently the case for the student of medicinal plants, Father Padrino Chirino in Cebu as noted by De la Costa (1961). This is not to say that they succeeded. Some entered into the local scheme of things as allies in resistance. These friars, leaders, not just religious but social leaders, were the predecessors of today's theologians of struggle. Rafael emphasizes that because Spain's presence in the Philippines could only be legitimated as a function of the Crown's Christianizing mission, Filipinos were forced to orient themselves to a divine authority, an authority whose directives were emanating from Spain. Instead of situating themselves in relation to Southeast Asia and the natural world around them, Filipinos "were constrained to negotiate with and around the totalitarian economy of divine mercy" (109). That is, a prior system of relating to others in terms of mutual indebtedness and exchange was replaced by one of divine patronage tied to the bureaucracy of colonial Spain. Local autonomy was lost (145). According to Rafael, Filipinos and friars indigenized Christianity for purely economic and political reasons. The people of the Philippines looked at Christianity as a quid pro quo in terms of reciprocity and varying degrees of indebtedness (utang na loob), while the early friars used their role as priests "to consolidate their position in the hierarchy of divine commerce" (98). Rafael's interpretation of economic interest is similar to a capitalist, that is, individualist one. For him, to be economic is to be interested in individual profit more than in the welfare of the community as a whole. It is to promote one's status through a system of indebting others unto oneself. In a word, it is "opportunist" (14, 35, 143, 164). Such a definition does not fit precolonial Philippine economy. Rafael suggests that the priest used his role as Father confessor to force his parishioners into debt and further dependence upon him (99). By such means, the local workers were further goaded into obeying their Spanish overlords. While religious clergy undoubtedly served to domesticate a potentially unruly and landless labor force for Filipino and Spanish colonial officials (Troeltsch 1931, 138, 220), a rather different interpretation of confession is given by De la Costa, namely, that this sacrament could also be used to oversee Spanish and Filipino encomenderos (1961, 33-35). In fact, the early Spanish abuse of Filipino rights was so offensive to some Catholic clergy that Bishop Salazar called for a meeting of a Synod in Manila in 1581. Describing the times the Spanish bishop thundered "it was absurd that a man of low degree, merely because he immigrates to the colonies, should acquire the prerogatives of a knight and lord of vassals, doing violence and a thousand injustices to the miserable native who is unable to stand his ground against the arrogance of the Spaniard and the tyranny of his own chiefdoms" (De la Costa 1961, 33). Under



the new Synod directives, absentee encomenderos, in particular, were found guilty. Similarly, Spanish troops and other laymen who committed crimes against Filipinos were ordered to compensate their victims. The proceedings from this meeting were drawn up into a handbook for priests to use in the confessional to oversee the encomenderos and conquistadors. The directives, however, were not well received, and many offenders simply stopped going to confession. Constantino (1975, 22, 77, 78) notes that some friars accused the "encomenderos" of "exorbitant exactions and other abuses"; some governors complained that the friars had "exploited and reduced the natives to virtual slavery." But if Filipinos wished to report the misdeeds of their friars and overlords to civil authorities, they had to do so through the agency of another friar. The system was corruptible. Only rare and outstanding clerics struggled against the grain for the civil rights of parishioners. Until the latter part of the nineteenth century when select members of the Chinese Meztizo and Filipino illustrado class were for the first time admitted into the priesthood, the indigenous indios could not represent themselves in Spanish courts because they could not enter the priesthood, and this is in contrast to the Muslim and Buddhist development of indigenous religious elites. The indigenous had little parliamentary recourse other than to allow a Spanish friar to represent them. Only the late Spanish period saw Filipino males ordained into the priesthood. The first Council of Mexico (1555) forbade indios, mestizos, and mulattoes to enter the priesthood because "they resembled the descendants of Moors and persons who had been sentenced by the Inquisition as lacking in good repute which those who bear the sacerdotal character ought to have," an indictment repeated in milder form at the second Council of Mexico in 1585 (see De la Costa 1961, 233-235). While no doubt Catholic clerics willingly allowed themselves to be used by prominent Filipinos and colonial officials, some spoke out against the widespread injustices wrought by government, church, and landed aristocracy. These religious spokesmen persistently wrote and sermonized against the authorities of the church and Crown as in 1768 when the Pope at the behest of the king ordered the Jesuits to return to Spain (De la Costa 1961, 486; Schumacher 1981). Although some peasants grew attached to their priests through rituals such as processions and novenas to petition for rain, or cures that aimed to rectify worldly wrongs through other-worldly ways, the localization of Christianity occurred in relation to precolonial Southeast Asian history in a process multi-sided and complex. On the one hand, many early missionaries taught a mystified and otherworldly version of Christianity to indoctrinate and subdue the masses for their conquerors. They misled Filipinos to redress through appeal to a higher and all-knowing God rather than to social and economic conditions stemming from the inequitable relationship between the imperialists and the colonized. Both friars and collaborating local elites were accomplices in this coercive conversion that rested on tenets more of Hispanization than of Christianization (Phelan 1959, 87; De la Costa 1961, 534; Rafael 1988). However, the indigenous Filipinos interpreted Christianity in terms of traditional Southeast Asian cultural



practices and beliefs. Many articulated the language of Christianity as a means for expressing their own values, ideals, and hopes for liberation from their colonial oppressors. In effect, Filipinos developed their own version of folk Catholicism to contest and eventually transform Spanish rule. Folk Catholicism was largely an indigenous resistance to Spanish Christian colonialism. Concomitantly, select friars played a role in this Filipino resistance movement, by shaping popular ideas and opinions opposing the prevailing social order (see Gramsci 1988, 192-193). Their resistance transpired simultaneously in relation to a parishioner and indigenous follower system in the history of Southeast Asia. CONCLUSION Summing up, the premises of Christian conversion are not the same as those governing the logic of imperial Spain. Nor, does a reading of the works of De la Costa, Phelan, and Schumacher render a view of Philippine history from the side of the dominant colonial society to the exclusion of the history of the subordinate classes. For it is in between the lines, and clearly also within them, that I have found the history of the poor, the oppressed, and their defenders, the latter of whom cut across class. I agree with De la Costa, Schumacher, and Fabros that the traditional church, albeit closely identified with the state, played a role in "checking" widespread government abuse of the local people (De la Costa 1961, 534). Some friars interrogated and used the messages from the gospels to criticize social injustices and colonial oppression. Some of the culprits they singled out for blame were members of their own clergy, nation, or class. Hence, the roots of the Filipino struggle for liberation from colonial (and, neocolonial) dominance interlocked the cultures of the dominant and the subordinated Finally, the Spanish colonization (1521-1896) processes had a disintegrating effect on the indigenous political economy. The Spanish disrupted traditional values, communal practices, and social relations by instituting a new class structure that served colonial interests and that undermined the pre-existing leader-follower economy. They brought with them a feudalistic production mode that activated the development of capitalism in the Philippines. Land that was held in common was increasingly reduced to private property (Constantino 1975, 40). This instigated a process of eroding the traditional subsistence base, and created a class of landless peasants. By the nineteenth century, cashcropping (sugar plantations, tobacco estates) by expropriating Filipino labor and resources (McCoy 1993, 438) began to transform the productive base in such a way as to allow the emergence of a small national elite class of landed and entrepreneurial Filipino and Chinese Mestizo families from whom came powerful religious and political leaders. Under these divergent conditions in the relations of production, Filipino resistance theology as an integral part of the struggle for national liberation emerged.

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Chapter 2

American Colonization (1898-1946) and Repression of Organized Movements: Continuing the Revolution

Where the clergy gave their support and leadership, the masses remained faithful to the revolution (Schumacher 1981, 1). Local collective action against foreign rule was manifested in a wide variety of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century popular and religious movements that culminated in the Philippine Revolution of 1896. Led by radicalized priests like Fathers Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora (Schumacher 1981) and nationalist intellectuals like Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and Emilio Aquinaldo, the Filipino army defeated the Spanish in 1898. Although the U.S. Navy Admiral George Dewey then sailed to Manila from Japan with a small army to help the patriots take some 8,000 Spaniards held up in a garrison, his assistance was not needed (Mark Twain 1901 in Zwick 1992, 31). The reason that the United States sent the admiral and his crew in a show of support for the Filipino freedom fighters was entirely duplicitous and self-interested anyway. The U.S. government wanted to expand its foreign market and trade for its manufactured goods, and it viewed the Philippines as a strategic gateway to the Chinese markets (Schirmer and Shalom 1987, 6). Soon after the nationalist Philippine victory over Spain, the archipelago was recolonized, this time by the United States, which sought to legitimate its territorial claim by buying the islands from Spain at the signing of the Treaty in Paris. The Filipino people fiercely resisted the American onslaught and colonization was forced upon them in 1901, although fighting continued intermittently, and the nationalist struggle for independence persists. American colonization further accelerated the capitalist penetration of the Philippine political economy. The United States kept intact the landlord land ownership system that allowed American corporations to acquire large tracks of land. They developed plantations of coconuts, sugar, timber, rubber, abaca, and pineapple, and expanded mining operations of copper, gold, and chromate for U.S. industries, while landless peasants were forced to work for them at



subminimal wages. They sought to win over the Filipinos by promoting public education but they used it as a tool to propagate American export-oriented ideology and a colonial mentality (Wolff 1961, 336). They included some Filipino illustrados in their administrative bureaucracy but they did so only after they realized that they could not win the war (Cullinane 1971, 13). There was no change in the working conditions on the American colonial estates. In other words, there was not much difference between indentured and free wage labor; U.S. colonialism did not entirely transform the pre-existing feudal agricultural economy. Unlike under the Spanish, however, when the plantation system had to ensure the reproduction of its laborers basic subsistence needs, the availability of a large pool of surplus labor beyond that of a permanent work crew freed American companies and wealthy Filipino landowners from providing their workers with social security. Agribusiness did not penetrate into all areas of the country, and subsistence villages around the peripheries of the plantations were subsumed into the logic of the capitalist reproduction of the plantation economy. The infiltration by the capitalist mode of production of the Philippine economy has kept wages low, and the bargaining power of workers, weak. Mojares (1986) states "economic changes have desacralized labor and we have come a long way from the time when the exchange of goods among men (and women) was a moral transaction positively animated by economic, religious, political, and aesthetic notions" (187). McCoy (1982) described the tactics used by the American colonial and Chinese Mestizo sugar barons on Negros (an island that runs perpendicular to Cebu) to acquire their workers: "Forced expropriation of peasant farms later legitimized by legal documentation; cash purchase of small peasant farms to form a plantation; and high interest loans to peasant proprietors with default provisions requiring forfeiture of the land and years of debt bondage" (320-321). Once the land was cleared, sugar lords used similar strategies to maintain their workforce: they imported migrant laborers from Panay (e.g., dispossessed textile workers who lost their jobs when colonial entrepreneurs flooded the local market with cheap cloth produced in Britain and the American northeast, as a result of the industrial revolution) and bought off permanent migrants with cash advances and indebted them with high interest loans when they arrived. However, these tactics were not enough to keep their workers intact. Plantation owners used violence, corporal punishment, and military guards to prevent workers from escaping. Plantation owners began to ship sugar off the coast of Negros only after stevedores on the nearby island of Iloilo protested against them, and demonstrated that they could no longer be repressed. The dockworkers demanded better wages and working conditions from their employers, and were defeated only after the steam engine, which permitted the shipment of sugar from Negros, was invented. The plantation workers on Negros also organized themselves to demonstrate against their owners. Their efforts were less successful than the stevedores of Iloilo because the workforces of Negros were stratified and divided among themselves as a class by the conditions under which they labored. The



plantations of Negros were literally tightly run factories in the field. They were administered by sugar lords who hired supervisors from their workers to coerce "debt slaves who owned nothing more than their clothes and their cooking utensils" to work for them (McCoy 1982, 325). Plantation owners in Negros did not hesitate to crush emerging labor unions by using military force and infiltrating them with their henchmen. McCoy demonstrated that although the peasantry becomes stratified into classes through its relation with capitalism, it remains a single class in relation to other classes in the wider society—a society where members of the peasantry are promoted to supervise each other for a more dominant elite (320). This kind of stratification in the peasantry is one reason why Ledesma (1982, 207) suggested that peasants might benefit more if they were an integrated, rather than stratified, class because stratification in effect leads to the marginalization of segments of the peasantry. Marginalization gives rise to unemployment—a rare phenomenon in precapitalist Philippines prior to its being dominated by the capitalist mode of production. It starts a process of incomplete reproduction of peasant family households through semiproletarianization, indebtedness, or permanent migration. Under these conditions of a disintegrated peasantry, rebellions and resistance movements (e.g., Sakdalistas, Hukbalahap or People's Liberation Army) began to be formed in the 1920s (Nemenzo 1984, 4). One of the largest occurrences of tenant uprisings was the Huk rebellion in the Cagayan Valley of central Luzon, Northern Philippines, which had some of the highest tenancy rates in the country. In the next section, I discuss the suppression of this movement by the U.S. colonial and neocolonial counterinsurgency because, in general, Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) in modern Philippine society currently face the same pattern of repression. Also, the experiences of the Huk provide an historical background for understanding the present BEC movement. First, I set forth a perspective explaining the probable causes of the Huk revolt that culminated after World War II. My approach has been influenced by that of Benedict Kerkvliet (1977) who argued that it was not entirely a communist insurgence as it was depicted to be by the Americans in collusion with Filipino elites and Christian reformers. Ilocano homesteaders populated the scattered farm communities of Cagayan Valley at the turn of the century as a result of the American colonial "land reform" policy. At that time, Ilocano ancestral villages along the northern coast were becoming overcrowded and increasingly impoverished. Hence, poor Ilocanos, especially disinherited sons, were pushed from their home regions to Cagayan valley, Mindinao, and the United States in search of economic opportunities. Other landholders would sell, or mortgage, their land to send their children to urban schools in hopes of launching them into politically powerful careers. Cagayan valley was initially inhabited by the Ibanags who were the original farmers along the estuaries of the Cagayan river and the "Kalingas," from surrounding mountains and plains, who were pushed out by the American colonial regime to prepare the way for the coming of the Ilocanos (Nadeau 1980,



30). Initially, the American colonizers who, in turn, sold them again piecemeal purchased large friar estates. Then, indigenous farms and swiddens not being cultivated in Cagayan valley were taken from the Kalinga, Ibanag, and Gadang by the Ilocanos who were granted, or sold, homesteads in the area by the colonial government. In this manner, the American colonial regime helped to initiate the production of crops for cash to promote agricultural development in the valley (Takahashi 1969; Lewis 1971). However, unlike the U.S. expansion project in the American Western "frontier" that wiped out American Indian communities but did give homesteaders an opportunity for a new and brighter future, Filipino agricultural expansion followed a different "mitotic pattern, a cell-like division of old structures on new land" (Steinberg 1994, 24). That is, capitalism was articulated together with pre-capitalist relations of production and with force. The American colonial process worked directly through local landed elites and officials to promote the United States businesses' interests. The empowerment of prominent Filipino collaborators and their contingent work forces was shaped as much by colonial design as it was made in reaction to local resistance movements. It provided economic and political elite families and politicians with additional power and authority. Hence, landlords could change the terms of agreement between themselves and their peasants, and they could relinquish their pledge to provide social security to those who worked the land. In time, peasants became transformed into tenants and wageworkers who shared similar working conditions, and who began to organize to protect their own interests. Kerkvliet argued that peasant unions were formed to reestablish traditional patron-client bonds (1977, 255), but I suggest, peasants sought not to return to the past, rather, they were proceeding forward: peasants reacted in the context of capitalist relations of production by unionizing (much like socialist and communist workers in America had done) to promote their own interests in the face of their competition (property owners and connected officials). Their efforts can be seen not so much as an attempt to re-align patron-client ties as to contract better working conditions. However, unlike in the early days of unionizing in the United States—wherein laborers struggled for better working conditions from owners of property who resorted to tactics within the strictures of their culture to retaliate against or negotiate with them—in Luzon, the landed elite and connected officials were backed by a powerful American presence even as the Philippines was formally given its independence, while the peasants were struggling to create a wider support structure for themselves. Kerkvliet suggests that the working class in Manila opposed joining together with the peasants because they thought themselves to be the vanguard of the revolution rather than the peasants (1977, 265). I think the earlier lack of unity between working classes in the city and the countryside was a result of the labor divisions taking place within the ranks of the working classes who contrary to their longterm interests, competed among themselves for immediate and locally affiliated gains. After the Philippines became independent in 1946, the U.S. government



sought to ensure its economic control so as to protect its business interests, but under the new neocolonial relationship it did so indirectly. In exchange for rehabilitation aid to help rebuild the Philippines after the devastation caused by World War II, the Americans manipulated the new republic into accepting the Bell Trade Act of 1946, which gave full parity rights to U.S. citizens, businesses and corporations. This act amended in 1955 as the Laurel-Langley Agreement virtually assured U.S. control over the Philippine economy by making the Philippines a supplier of cheap raw materials and human resources for U.S. markets and a receiving ground for surplus U.S. manufactured goods (Schirmer and Shalom 1987, 90). When the Laurel-Langley Agreement expired in 1974 under the Marcos dictatorship, the United States sought to protect its economic interests mainly by an ideology of export-led growth through foreign investments. The Marcos government adopted an open-door policy for foreign investments and liberalized trade restrictions on transnational corporations in exchange for loan packages from bilateral and multilateral development agencies like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank (Broad 1988). Shortly before the martial law ruling in 1972, central Luzon was targeted by the Marcos administration to be a development showcase for the Green Revolution. The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations pioneered the Green Revolution in the Philippines. It was launched in 1960 with the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute in Manila, whose research largely benefits the interests of transnational corporations. After Marcos declared Martial Law the World Bank and International Monetary Fund increased lending to the Philippines, up $165.1 million in 1974 from an average of $30 million per year for the previous five years (Bello, Kinley, and Elinsor 1982, 24). Instead of emphasizing a more equitable distribution of land, income, and resources, the technocratic model of the Green Revolution stressed only increasing production of crops for sale in the market as a way to solve the poverty problem. The tenants of Central Luzon received government incentives, new high yield varieties of rice that produced more only if pesticides and fertilizers were used, drawn from this funding to increase their farm production. However, the cost of the new rice technology was high as compared to traditional forms. In times of bad harvests, small farmers began to mortgage, and then lose, their land to repay their loans. The high yielding rice varieties required costly chemical pesticides and petroleum-based fertilizers that depleted soil fertility and ecological diversity in agriculture. Although chemical inputs and artificial fertilizers may be good for plants, they are unhealthy for human consumption. While the Green Revolution benefited wealthy farmers, agribusiness, and large landowners who grew richer from increasing production for sale, it had a negative impact on small farmers and poor landless farmers. Wolters (1983) questioned whether martial law was able to change the pattern of politics in central Luzon, into class-based parties and organizations at the local level, as it proposed to do? He argued that in contrast to those who perceive the Philippines as a state structured along patron-client lines, such ties have changed into new types of relationships that do not fit traditional patterns.



That is, there are patron-client relations between the president and the upper class politicians, and between them and local brokers who bring in the votes, but the relations between local elite and peasants has none of the security of traditional reciprocity. Wolters states, "these new relations between politicians and the electorate are short-term, instrumental, impersonal, and based on a specific transaction if any. They are completely different from multi-faceted, dyadic relations that link landlords and tenants in the good old days" (228). The landlords tried only to outwit tenants, and to make a profit from them, while tenant farmers were still thinking in terms of a subsistence economy. In fact, patron-client relations do not form a unifying state structure in the Philippines; rather they are a structure tied into wider processes of state development. Kahn (1978) offers a similar analysis of patron-clientage in Indonesia. By the time Corazon Aquino became president in 1987, after the murder of her husband Ninoy Aquino by Marcos's military in 1983, which sparked the People's Power Revolution that overthrew the dictator, the nation was financially bankrupt. In exchange for restructuring the Philippine debt repayments, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank policies continued to exert a stranglehold over the political economy. In 1989, the Aquino government was given a $1.3 billion loan from the IMF on the condition that the liberalization (e.g., price decontrol, labor control, export-oriented development) of the economy be continued, along with privatization of government-owned industries and institutions. President Fidel Ramos (1992— 1997) added another $650 million loan from the United States to the Philippine foreign debt (A. de Guzman 1993 in Lindio-McGovern 1997, 35). The structural adjustment measures in Ramos's Medium Term Development Plan likewise reflected the economistic development policies of the IMF. The deployment of overseas contract workers as a strategy for generating foreign currency to help to repay the national debt intensified under Aquino, then Ramos, and continued through the 1990s into the twenty-first century. As of 1995, there were approximately 3.5 million Filipinos working overseas, and estimates of annual remittances from overseas workers varied anywhere from US$800 million to $2.5 billion (Law and Nadeau 1999). THE ANTI-HUK CAMPAIGN (1948-1953) AND THE LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT (1988-1994) The movement known as the Hukbo ng Bay on Laban sa Hapon or simply Huk (People's Liberation Army) that was organized by the peasants of central Luzon during World War II with the primary objective of fighting against the Japanese Army, evolved out of the earlier uprisings and acts of resistance against the unequal land owning system and repression of the U.S. colonial government. In fact, when the Americans returned to the Philippines in 1945, the Huk guerrillas had already liberated several provinces in Central Luzon from the Japanese occupying army. At the final stage of the war against the Japanese, the Huk guerillas fought along with the American forces until the Japanese were



completely defeated. But when the war was over, many Huks were arrested, forcibly disarmed, and thrown into jail by the American military police without formal charges (Agoncillo 1984, 525-526). The Americans justified their action on the ground that the Huks were not members of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East, and their leaders, as alleged by the United States military intelligence officers, were communists and socialists (Kerkvliet 1977, 145, 47). The Filipino Military Police and Civilian Guards massacred Huk members and civilians believed to be supporters of the Huk movement often with the knowledge of American military officers (Agoncillo 1984, 524, 525). Knowing that their former allies were after them, the majority of the Huks went underground waging a guerrilla war against the government, specifically against the American Counter-intelligence Corps, the Filipino Military Police, and the Civilian Guards. The Civilian Guards, composed mostly of U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East guerrillas and private guards of wealthy landlords, were under the discrete command of military commanders who provided them with guns to fight the Huks (Agoncillo 1984; Kerkvliet 1977; Pablo et al., 1988). In 1969 notorious for their human rights abuses and for acting as private armies of wealthy landlords, the Civilian Guards were transformed into the Barangay Self-Defense Unit. Marcos in 1972 replaced the Barangay SelfDefense Unit with the Integrated Civilian Home Defense Force. The Civilian Home Defense Force was responsible for many atrocities during the martial law years and it was abolished in 1986 after Marcos was ousted from power. Losing their official status, Civilian Home Defense Force members disbanded only to regroup into vigilante units. In 1987, Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) was created as part of Aquino's "total war" policy against the National Democratic Front, an umbrella organization of various underground mass organizations of the Left including the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military arm the New People's Army. Right after the creation of CAFGU, former members of the disbanded Civilian Home Defense Force units were integrated into CAFGUs. Thus CAFGU is no different from its predecessor, except its name. As many critics of CAFGU would be apt to say, "CAFGU is nothing but a new collar on the same dog." CAFGU like most vigilante groups in the Philippines were organized by the Armed Forces of the Philippines even before former President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order No. 262 for its official creation on July 25, 1987. The legality of Executive Order No. 262 is questionable because paramilitary forces were banned in the 1987 Constitution (see Sarmiento 1993, 13). In spite of this, by 1992, there were 89,000 CAFGU forces nationwide (Carranza-Paraan 1993), although this number was slightly reduced to 72,000 men in 1994 because of the pressure to disband them (U.S. State Department 1994). The majority, if not all, right-wing vigilante groups like Alsa Masa (lit. "Rise up, masses"), Nakasaka (an acronym for Nagkahiusa Alang sa Kalinaw or "United People for Peace"), and the religious cult Tadtad (lit. "Chop") were founded by military officials. As of August 1987, there were more than 200 vigilante groups nationwide, some of them were organized shortly after the end of the cease-fire between the military



and communist rebels in February 1987 (see Pablo et al, 1988). It is common knowledge in the Philippines that military commanders would simply issue orders to barrio captains to send able-bodied men including the barrio captain himself (if the captain is a man) to the military camps for CAFGU training. Barrios whose leaders failed to send representatives were labeled "communist" territory and considered "no man's land." Barrios classified, as "no man's land" are usually targets of military operations, including aerial bombings and shellings that led to destruction of properties, and mass evacuation of residents, thereby creating a phenomenon of "internal refugees" (see Villanueva 1990). In the same fashion, individuals who refused CAFGU recruitment because of other pressing needs in the family were also accused of being "communists." Vigilante groups in their recruitment of new members used similar strategies. Those who refused to join these groups were harassed, in some cases murdered (see Alo, Craige, and Kuile 1990; Segaya 1994). Thus many rural people were forced to join in the CAFGU forces or vigilante groups because of fear of being accused as "communist" supporters. There are of course individuals who voluntarily joined paramilitary forces—such as the former members of the notorious but now defunct Integrated Civilian Home Defense Force members of anticommunist religious sects like Tadtad and Ilaga (lit. "Rats"), and some jobless individuals, individuals who spend their days lingering at sari-sari stores, accumulating debt drinking rum or beer. These individuals are not respectable members of the community because, when drunk, they usually became unruly and are known to cause trouble. In fact many murders committed by paramilitary forces took place when they were drunk. Like its predecessor, CAFGU has attained notoriety in a short period of time because of numerous atrocities committed by its members against innocent civilians. For example, in May 1989, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines conducted a factfinding mission in the Diocese of Pagadian, Mindanao, to document cases of human rights abuses committed by both the rebels and military forces (see Alo, Craige, and Kuile 1990, 28-30). They documented 41 cases of murder, 6 cases of frustrated murder, 8 cases of assault, 4 cases of harassment, 4 cases of property theft and destruction, and 9 cases of forced evacuation that occurred between July 1987 and November 1989. Of the 41 cases of murder, 32% were committed by CAFGU members, 22% by the vigilante group Tadtad, 22%) by the Philippine Army and Philippine National Police, 17% by unidentified men, and 7% by the New People's Army (NPA) rebels. Thus the government forces, the people who were supposed to uphold the law, committed 76% of the murders. Two of the murder victims were Catholic priests, murdered by Philippine Army soldiers, and one Protestant pastor, murdered by a CAFGU member. CAFGU and Tadtad members committed four of the six cases of frustrated murder. Seven out of 8 cases of assault were committed by the Philippine Army and one case committed by a Tadtad member. Both the army and NPA committed harassments. The CAFGU and Tadtad members committed the cases of theft and property destruction. Of the nine cases of villagers fleeing



from their homes, the government forces and one by the rebels caused 8 cases. A dramatic example of this was the evacuation of 600 people from communities of Dimataling, Zamboanga del Sur in January 1989 after Tadtad vigilantes killed, strafed, and harassed community members. Additional refugees from nine other communities also evacuated (Church Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines 1990, 3). As of March 1993, the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates reported 553 cases of human rights violations between July 1988 and June 1992. "The cases range from illegal arrest and detention, harassment, physical assault, robbery, destruction of property, rape, extra-judicial killing, torture, massacre and burning of people witnessed by families" (quoted in Carranza-Paraan 1993, 26-27). There are numerous examples of CAFGU excesses; one that attracted the attention of mass media was the incidence in Davao, August 1989. Three CAFGU members threw two grenades into a barrio crowd during a coronation of a beauty queen, killing 10 people and wounding 57 (Manila Chronicle daily, August 22, 1989). The CAFGU members are so prone to violence that it is not uncommon to read newspaper headlines like "CAFGU Berserk," "Danger Signs from the CAFGU," or "Get Rid of CAFGU Now." The abuses committed by CAFGUs are so numerous that even the U.S. State Department made a comment in February 1990 that "A number of human rights violations by the CAFGUs have been reported and this has raised concern about the Government's ability to control the units." As of June 30, 1993, the first year of the Ramos administration, human rights violations committed by the government forces continued unabated. Based on the report of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines an NGO monitoring human rights abuses committed by the government forces, 703 persons were arrested and jailed, only 18 of them were arrested with warrants, and 46 of them were physically tortured. In addition, 57 individuals were "salvaged" (widely used term in the Philippines for extra-judicial killing), 39 were killed and 49 were wounded in 23 cases of massacres (Carranza-Paraan 1993, 1-3). The human rights situation in the Philippines is so grim that the U. S. Department in its 1994 Country Report on Human Rights stated that "Human rights abuses continued in 1994" and pointed out that CAFGU "also committed extra-judicial killings. Organized by the police and the armed forces of the Philippines to secure areas cleared of insurgents, the nonprofessional units are often inadequately trained, poorly supervised, and prone to violence." Philippine military intelligence officers and provincial commanders also have implemented and directed a propaganda campaign which publicly identifies legitimate cause-oriented organizations such as the Basic Christian Community Organizers' Office, Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace, Filipino Legal Assistance Group, and Task Force Detainees as communist fronts. As a result of this deliberate and malicious propaganda campaign, many cause-oriented non-profit organizations have fallen into financial difficulty; foreign funding agencies have withdrawn their support after receiving the fabricated reports from Philippine officials that such groups are communists. 1



For example, major funders of the ecumenical movement in Holland succumbed to pressure from the Dutch government in 1993 who received reports from the Philippine officials that the Ecumenical Justice and Peace Desk in Cebu was a communist front, thus they closed the Cebu office. Such reports are blatantly false, are part of an on-going propaganda campaign by the local government to discredit those providing support for people who are victims of human rights abuses who are mostly persecuted by the military and paramilitary units. For example, the Redemptorist, Father Rudy Romano, first director of the Cebu office, was abducted by the military and disappeared after being summarily executed in July 1985. According to Father Rudy's successor, a pastor of the United Church of Christ: The movement can be likened to a dead seed that will bear another life, for other people will continue its advocacy work. Our orientation is to be self-sufficient. There is no denying that foreign funds have helped us in our struggle for they have helped us a lot, but our struggle will go on even without the aid of foreign funds. Indeed, if we have used funds to help internal refugees already being called communists then we'd rather be called communists too. If in our act of helping the refugees we were called rebels, then we'd rather be called rebels. We would rather help victims of human rights abuses who are most persecuted by the government, especially military. Nongovernmental and non-profit organizations have played an important role in the Basic Ecclesial Community movement by providing free legal, health, and educational services and a support network for the poor, many who belong to the BECs. The way the government characterized the BEC movement is best described in General Galileo Kintanar's dissertation, "Contemporary Religious Radicalism in the Philippines," reprinted in the Quarterly National Security Review in June 1979. Kintanar (1979, 9) stated, "The most dangerous form of threat from the religious radicals was in their creation of the so-called Basic Christian Communities in rural and urban areas." He recommended that the government take "countermeasures against religious radicals through persuasive and corrective measures and to isolate them from their followers," and that it "encourage the conservative mainstream of the church hierarchy and clergy to stress the spiritual mission and to overwhelm the radicals in policymaking bodies and social action programs." In summary, the use of civilian militia is part of the U.S. colonial and neocolonial indigenous psychological warfare doctrine known as Low Intensity Conflict, which was first tested and developed in the Philippines during the Philippine American War (1899-1903) and anti-Huk campaign (1945-1953) (see especially Bello 1987; McCoy 1989). American military commanders employed Low Intensity Conflict in South Vietnam starting in 1964 through the 1970s, as part of the American war effort to destroy the clandestine presence of the enemy in villages (Andrade 1990, 3). Implemented through the Phoenix Program, more than 30,000 civilians thought to be sympathetic to the enemy were assassinated (Nelson-Pallmeyer 1989, 32). After the Vietnam debacle, Low Intensity Conflict was refined in Central America in the early 1980s, and many



of the "lessons" learned there were transferred back to the Philippines in 1987. At that time, local elites who could not resolve their differences with the newly elected Aquino administration began to support the Philippine Armed Force's counterinsurgency effort. The Philippine military headquarters in Manila and military commanders in the provinces designed new strategies, some dating back to the Huk campaign, to recruit members into the CAFGU and vigilante groups (McCoy 1989, 38). NOTES 1. For a critical discussion on the concerned foreign funding agencies see Gillies 1990, 41—42; for specific details on the local NGO community see Constantino-David (1992); Clarke (1993); and Etemadi (1993). 2. For details regarding a parallel paper, The Banzer Plan and Current Developments, then publicized in Latin America: see Cacayan and Miclat 1991, 43; similar attempts by other authoritarian regimes to silence Christian voices: see BonhoefFer's (1983) discussion of the Nazi Third Reich's attempt to silence the Confessional church, and Antoine's (1973) analysis of the Brazilian government-and conservative forces well-coordinated efforts to discredit the liberational church.

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Cebu has recently become one of the most booming growth centers in the Philippines. However, these indicators are mere gauges of economic growth, not development. Development pertains to a social and structural process of achieving ecological sustainability and human well being within a community as a whole. In Cebu, there may have been an economic boom that favors selected few businessmen but, for most Cebuanos, there was none to speak of. Studies show that the so-called "Ceboom" masks widespread environmental destruction caused by real estate developers. The Philippine plan to be a newly industrialized country by the year 2000 neglected to develop basic social services and agriculture in order to alleviate poverty in the province. An alternative to this is a broader vision for sustainable development of the Basic Ecclesial Community movement. Involving a paradigm shift, BEC aims to develop a post-capitalist society that is based on ecologically sustainable modes of production through the gradual reorganization of communities on the peripheries. Through their training programs and community organizing, the BEC movement in Cebu seeks to establish a selfsustaining economy based on local agriculture and supported by local industry. The following chapters suggest that adopting the participatory BEC model can attain truly sustainable development.

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Chapter 3

Cebu's Basic Ecclesial Community Movement's Alternative Plan for Sustainable Development
The BEC works to convert the Philippines into a Newly Evangelized Country by the year 2000. Newly Evangelized Country marks a new consciousness, a new punto de vista [world view], which echoes the significant statement of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines declaring the Philippine church as the church of the Poor (Bishop Julio Labayen 1993). Beginning with the Aquino administration in 1987, Cebu has become one of the leading growth centers of the Philippines, surpassing even Manila in the capitalization of new businesses. During the period of recovery from the dismantled Marcos dictatorship when the rest of the country openly sought debt concessions, Cebu was being referred to as an economic miracle. In 1991, she saw an avalanche of fresh capital worth $118 million, up by 300 percent from 1989. Fifty-five businesses registered a total project cost of $128.6 million with the Board of Investments. To all accounts, there was a boom in Cebu. The standard indicators—gross national product, balance of payment, number of tourists, construction, electricity consumption, and improvements in communication and transportation—measured a burst of economic growth activities. However, these are only selected indicators related to export and economic growth. These indicators are a measure of economic growth, not development. It is well known today, at least in social science discourse, that economic growth alone is not equivalent to development. Considerable evidence in fact suggests that the so-called "Ceboom" masks widespread environmental destruction caused by developers, and leads to unsustainable economic growth (Juario, Avila, and Lastimosa 1992; Mercado 1992, 1993; Ballescas 1993; Farmers Development Center 1993). Historically, the use of the word "development" in Western discourses began shortly after World War II. At that time, there was a widespread interest in modernization, which led to numerous development projects in the Third World. However, these development projects typically failed because they were often based on models of modernization derived from neoclassical economic theories



that are static (functionalist) and not applicable to the Third World. Also, they were often implemented without consulting the interdisciplinary team of specialists, anthropologists included, or the local people, themselves. These shortcomings led to the emergence of more indigenous approaches to the study of economy, culture, and society, which culminated in the late 1980s in the conceptualization of a non-essentialist mode of production bound to social relations and their historical, cultural, religious, political, ethnic, gender, ecological and environmental orientation in social formations (Nadeau 1994). Barrameda (1993), who reviewed the theoretical explications of sustainable development, said that development is a process that cannot be understood outside an already existing mind-body-society-nature totality because everything is interconnected. According to her, development refers to a social and structural process for achieving ecological sustainability and human well being within a community as a whole. It refers to the qualitative improvement of all groups and individuals in a society. In contrast, unsustainable development refers to a process of underdevelopment wherein developed countries in the First World are "condemning the rest of the world's countries to revolve around their [so-called] superior economy, whether this be from the point of view of investment capital, equipment, technicians, or through the consumer market with which the underdeveloped countries are inundated from outside" (Laurentin 1972, 44). The International Monetary Fund policy of insisting that the Philippines further open its market to Western imports in order to reschedule its debts is an example of this situation, in which riches tend to become concentrated in wealthy centers, while areas on the peripheries become impoverished because the local people are not allowed to use their resources to meet their needs first. Or to take another well-known example, most small farmers in Cebu raise chickens, pigs, goats, and other livestock which are typically not their own for sale through a middleman in the market but not for home consumption because they need the money to buy salted fish which, though less nutritious, lasts longer than a chicken which a family consumes in one sitting. Unsustainable development is produced by a process of disintegration of modes of production in a social formation in its totality. For example, the Spanish colonizers in Cebu caused the disintegration and destruction of precolonial Cebuano society in terms of its social, economical, cultural, religious, political, and ecological relationships regionally and abroad in the maritime trade economy of South and Southeast Asia (Van Leur 1955; Hutterer 1973; Mojares 1986). The present polarization between countries in the developed North and impoverished South that results from the organization and expansion of the world capitalist system encourages unsustainable development. Economic growth in Cebu's business sectors, in this instance, transforms modes of production and the organization of economic activities in the rural uplands resulting in the disorganization, and quite often dislocation, of social relationships manifested in injustices and poverty. In Cebu, there may have been an economic boom which favors a selected



few exporters and industries in the business sector but, for the majority of people living in Cebu, there was no boom. In this sense, Cebu's so-called economic boom is analogous to the regime of truth as defined by Foucault (1979) because it has no reference to, and screens from view, the reality of the majority. The Philippine 2000 technocrats and ideologues manipulate Cebu's regime of truth to promote Cebu to outside investors. They manipulated facts to screen from view the role-played by elite families in reclassifying agricultural lands into industrial areas, which, in effect, means no land reform and higher prices for their land. In short, the government's plan fails to develop basic social services for the poor. It neglects land reform and agriculture. Hence, the economy can be said to be unsustainable. An alternative plan for the sustainable development of Cebu is that offered by the BEC movement to which we now turn. The development strategy of the BEC movement entails a slow and long process of social and structural transformation that aims to transform the world capitalist system by starting with changing communities on the peripheries. It aims to develop a postcapitalist society that is based on ecologically sustainable modes of production in connection with new forms of political and social relationships. In order to achieve this aim, the BEC strategy in the Philippines involves whistle blowing and the gradual work of reorganizing local communities from their centers starting with communities on the peripheries. De la Torre (1993) refers to this development process as a process of remembering dismembered societies by remembering their communal identity and memory to pave the way for wider change, or the revolution of Philippine society in all of its (social, cultural, religious, political, economical, and environmental) aspects. The plan of the BEC movement for sustainable development finds its referents in creative Marxist theories of the environment and ecology, as well as liberation theologies (which are dialectically-dynamically derived from biblical hermeneutics, world system, dependency, and mode of production theories), not capitalist modernization and development theories, which conversely provide a basis for Philippine 2000. The BEC movement in the Philippines brings together concerns of red and green movements as defined by Raskin and Bernow (1991, 18). Hence, it involves a paradigm shift from one where economic development and environment were viewed as separate to a paradigm based on sustainable development, which includes concerns of class, development, empowerment, culture, and ecological sustainability. It is for this reason that the BEC movement specifically in Cebu, is also concentrating its nongovernmental organization workers, partners, and training programs on transforming by recreating Cebu's large agricultural sector into an ecology sector (Versola 1993, 12). In 1993, I did fieldwork in a rural mountain BEC involved with a sustainable development NGO. Team members took an interdisciplinary approach to develop organic farming techniques. They worked together with the tenant farmers in alayon (teams) resurrected by the organizers as a means to work cooperatively as a community. More particularly, the BECNGO coalition movement's alternative development plan is to transform Cebu's



economy into a self-sustaining economy based on local agriculture and supported by local industry: We are trying to make an alternative plan to develop the agricultural sector because the problem Filipinos need to solve first is the food problem. We also develop industry but industry that is dependent on local needs. For example, our farmers need tools to work with, so we make tools. What is the real hope of the Filipino? Is it only to compete with foreign industrialized countries? We think not. We cannot depend on the industrialized countries, so we will depend on the Filipinos. Our farmers are using tools that are backwards compared to modern tools because today there are no industries being developed by the government that are really concerned with developing tools for farmers. Secondly, if we want to mass produce food, for example, the fish food industry, then, that industry will be related to how to preserve fish that is more related to production for local consumption, not export. In terms of a method, we work to attain our goals through collective labor. We emphasize the communal aspect of production, not production that is dependent on individual entrepreneurs. We are trying to revive the communitarian practices of our forefathers and we choose first the poorest of the poor to work through because they are more willing to share their talents and efforts than those people coming from the higher levels of society because the better situated have their own wealth, and it is harder for them to share. In the uplands, we visit house to house because these people cannot travel to attend church activities in the town center because they are looking for food. Their attitudes are really very different from those who have—if a family is very poor they typically welcome us but if the family is a little better off and has a big house, land, and animals, their attitude is more arrogant. Finally, our method is based on the Christian principle that we really need to be saved and hear the good news. The poorest have an evangelizing power because the parish staffs are not really poor—the poor strengthen our commitment and inspire us because we witnessed their real situation. We realized that they shared their food with us even when their own family had no viands, no livestock, no land and this realization changed our organizing strategy. That is why we also bring higher ups to witness the situation of the poor by visiting their areas—these better off Christians who have a Christian mentality have something to share to set the captives free. Those well placed in the higher level of society will play a major role in claiming the good news (1993, BCC-CO island-wide supervisor). Most BEC workers are familiar with the problems of development, or development aggression, to use the colloquial expression, as a result of their ongoing organizing work in peasant and urban poor communities. Most of them work in communities which have been disorganized and environmentally damaged as a result of being further integrated into the capitalist economy, for example, by means of the Green Revolution in the 1970s and 1980s and the Philippine 2000 plan in the 1990s. Some of them work in communities (e.g., Pardo, Antique, and Tuburan on Cebu Island) that have been militarized and placed under surveillance in pursuit of the so-called development goals. For example, in 1993,1 witnessed a case of farmers who were falsely accused by the government of being communist insurgents in Tuburan, Northern Cebu. These poor uplanders were gathered together by military guards for a meeting with the mayor who announced: "Who among you wants to continue the health services in the area? Raise your hands." They all raised their hands for the camera. This actually was the photo published in the Sun Star daily newspaper on April 20,



1993, in a feature article "70 of the New People's Army in Tuburan Turn Themselves In to the Government." At least since the mid-1960s in the Philippines, many Christian social action workers have moved away from an orientation of the institutional church based on donations of goods and services to the poor (which is equivalent to the mere transfer of technology and ideas from the First World to the Third World), toward an orientation based on changing social structures democratically and indigenously through multi-disciplinary team work. The early social action workers pioneered the way for the emergence of today's BEC-Community Organizing teams whose organizing work is contextualized in the praxis of BECs, which are grounded locally and indigenously in the political struggles of the poor. Taking a sustainable approach to development, BEC workers today aim to liberate people from untenable and non-life-sustaining situations in which total integral human development becomes impossible. Many of them are engaged in a gradual process of experimentation, learning, and discovery. According to Cosmao (1985, 11), they seek to establish some of the preconditions for sustainable development. Preconditions for sustainable development are: first, the active participation and conscientization of people, specifically in rural and urban poor communities; second, the restructuring of society in its totality, which includes churches and the world capitalist system; and third, the need to conscientize people in the center (including better-off farmers in small rural communities, students, professionals, civil servants, local and international hegemonic bourgeoisie as defined by Gramsci) of society because, at present, they have access and control over the resources which gives them the economic and political clout to make sustainable development possible. Finally, although the predominant economic model and viewpoint is that Cebu is crossing the threshold of development, in another view, true development will occur only if the broader model of the BEC is adopted.

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Chapter 4

The Illusion of "Catching-dp Development" in Cebu

Not all that glitters is gold. The silhouette of high-rise buildings with golden inscriptions on their facade does not always equate development. In the euphoria of boasting Cebu's economic opulence, much has been said about enticing foreign investors and tourists. Little is told about its dwindling agriculture, abject poverty, and about the consequences of what it means for the provincial economy to be perpetually a dependent satellite to foreign markets (Mercado 1992). The illusion of "catching-up development" is based on the false belief that the only appropriate model of the affluent society is that prevailing in the North (e.g., the United States, Europe, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and the Republic of Korea). It implies that poor countries that follow the same path to industrialization and capital accumulation taken by the modern industrial societies can achieve the same level of development. Yet who would argue that even the richest nations of the world have attained a satisfactory level of development? In the United States, for example, there are grounds to say that real incomes and quality of life for ordinary people are going down steadily. Poor neighborhoods in big U.S. cities are known to be dangerous places where drugs, gangs, and violence rule. Also, there are many citizens living in seriously deprived circumstances in the developed North, while the material conditions for most citizens in the poorer countries of the South are getting increasingly worse. What does it take to convince us that catching up development approaches will not solve the poverty problem? The illusion of catching-up development is based on evolutionary, linear understandings of history. This concept in Western Europe and the United States has been mistakenly used by early anthropologists such as James Steward and Leslie White to categorize other societies and cultures according to their level of technological development. Economic specialists made theories of development as consisting of the transfer of technology from "richer" to "poorer" countries. However, their projections, based on neoclassical economic theories that are functionalist and not universally applicable, failed. Prior to the breakup of



socialism in Eastern Europe, orthodox Marxists also used the concept of catching up development to depict world history as a series of stages (primitive communist, ancient, Asiatic, feudal, capitalist, socialist, and advanced communist). Each particular historical epoch was portrayed as being dominated by a particular mode of production and evolved into a new type by revolution. But, Althusser (1970), Godelier (1972), Wolf (1982) and Roseberry (1989), among others, have argued that Marx never intended his theory to be transformed into a supra historical theory to be imposed on other people. Mechanistic interpretations of evolutionary development have been criticized by non-dogmatic Marxists for being chauvinistic and ignoring the different cultural proclivities. They have argued that the poverty of the underdeveloped countries is not a result of some lag but the direct consequence of the overdevelopment of rich industrial countries that exploit the so-called peripheries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. In terms of theoretical considerations, my own understanding of unsustainable development is greatly influenced by the work of Althusser (1970), Godelier (1972), and Wolf (1982) and their culturally specific mode of production approach, which during the 1970s and 1980s, supplanted the then prevailing substantivist and formalist paradigms for modernization. Development theorists had long debated the role of the economy in society. While formalists (Cancian 1968; Cook 1968; LeClair 1968; Schneider 1974) whose positivistic theories continue to-this-day to inform international and national development policies, held that neoclassical economic theory could be applied to noncapitalist societies, substantivists (Dalton 1968; Pearson 1968; Polanyi 1968; Sahlins 1972) maintained that such theory of the economy was a product of thinkers within the capitalist market, and thus remained largely irrelevant to understanding non-capitalist, semi-capitalist, and alternative societies and cultures. The mode of production proponents (Althusser and his students), viewing the economy afresh as a Gestalten (social, cultural, political, economic, and ecological whole), belittled the pertinence of pure formalist and substantivist paradigms. These anthropologists also overlapped with, and departed from, dependency (e.g., Frank) and world system theorists (e.g., Wallerstein) who subsumed precapitalist modes of production under the capitalist mode, as expressed by Wolpe: The appearance of capitalism—whether as the result of internal development as in Europe or external imposition as in the case of the colonies—signaled the more or less immediate and inevitable disintegration of the pre-capitalist modes of production and the subsumption of the agents of these modes under the capitalist relations of production (Wolpe 1980, 2). Marx had studied precapitalist societies in relation to the development of capitalism but he also had alluded to a pre-capitalist tendency (e.g., the Asiatic mode of production) to resist capitalism (Marx Vol. Ill, 1972, 328; Meillassoux 1972, 89). Furthermore, world system theorists reduce the relationship between pre-capitalist and capitalist modes of production to a general one-way process that largely ignores local interactions. Other Marxists examining these local



interactions stipulate that pre-capitalist modes and capitalist intersections do not always lead to capitalist relations, due to widespread resistance to the capitalist mode. While such resistance sometimes occurs within the context of the capitalist mode of production in terms of improving its very conditions, at other times it represents a direct challenge to capitalism, and calls for its replacement by another mode of production altogether. For example, Cebu's liberational BECs reflect not only a struggle for land and living conditions, but also a struggle against Western cultural imperialism. Above all, they struggle against the ideological distortions, false consciousness, and fetishisms of capitalism. A culturally specific mode of production model provides one entry point for understanding the alternative development plan of the BECs. As a non-essentialist model, a modes of production concept can look at changes occurring from all sides, be it gender, history, environment, or religion. Beyond the neoMarxist explanatory frameworks, my presentation of Cebu's underdevelopment is informed by Carol Smith's (1996, 25) argument that we must understand the particular characteristics of the state in the poorer countries of the Third World because state policies ultimately determine local development priorities and practices. While Eric Wolf (1982) and Sidney Mintz (1985) have looked at the rise of capitalism as a new social form, neither of them has examined the nature of the capitalist state. Although Clifford Geertz (1963) looked at the rise of the newly developed nation, he did so by using modernization theory, and modernization theory was challenged by the neoMarxist world system and mode of production theorists. Neither the local government nor community can be understood without understanding how they are mutually constituted. That is, ideological underpinnings of contemporary development processes must be separated out for purposes of analysis, and they need to be examined in conjunction with the role of the state and in relation to international organizations and the global interstate system. Up until the early 1980s, international organizations primarily saw Third World development as a capital-intensive investment geared toward the enhancement of the material conditions of the donor countries (e.g., the United States and Britain), not the interests of the peoples of other countries (Escobar 1995). Thus, they poured a lot of money into developing countries like the Philippines to build infrastructure like roads and bridges to speed up the flow of produce for export. The result of this huge influx of capital into the developing world was that the Third World states became incredibly indebted. Hence, today the emphasis of the international organizations like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank is on restructuring the Third World debts and grassroots development through the nongovernmental organization community. Poor states like the Philippines ordinarily are weak in comparison to those in the North, which afford most of their citizens with basic social services and wages sufficient to live on. Strong states receive ample support from taxpaying citizens. In contrast, the Philippine government cannot provide a living wage for the majority of its citizens whose taxes cannot support the state, although



remittances sent back home by overseas Filipino migrant workers (nurses, lowpaid domestic workers, construction workers, janitors, entertainers, prostitutes) help to fund the state's external debt payments. Thus, the Philippine government gains its legitimacy, power, and authority not from local constituents but from outside supervisory powers like the United States and international organizations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, who in exchange for restructuring the Philippine debt by lowering interest rates and providing a longer debt repayment schedule are allowed to intervene in planning and managing the local economy through conditions attached to the new loan package. Hence, it is the voluntary and non-profit-oriented (e.g., the Basic Christian Community organizers, sustainable development agricultural teams, mobile medical clinics, justice and peace desks, women's centers) that are expected to provide basic human services in the Philippines that under ordinary circumstances would have been the responsibility of the government. This creates an untenable situation. On the one side, international lending organizations prefer NGOs because they are cost efficient relying primarily on volunteers and financial support from First World churches and human rights organizations. On the other side, as Smith argues (1996), weak states like the Philippine state do not really appreciate NGOs. NGOs and peoples' movements like the Basic Ecclesial Communities commonly call for land reform and the sustainable use of national resources to meet local needs first before producing for outsiders, whereas the state in a complex relationship with supranational powers is pushing with military force to create the circumstances for increasing production for export and attracting multinational corporations to its shores. A close look at the poverty profile of modern Cebu, is enough to show that catching up development is a smoke screen analogous to media hype, what Baudrillard (1975) terms simulacra, that screens out from view the realities of the local majority. Cebu, the metropolitan hub of the central Philippines, has one of the highest population densities of the nation's 7000 islands, with a population of 2.6 million. Cebu City, the island's capital, has an international airport, wellsheltered harbor, and a successful export processing zone on nearby Mactan Island, which makes it an attractive site for local and international entrepreneurs. It is home to 6 universities, 39 colleges, and 1,181 private and public elementary schools, and a workforce that is generally well educated and English speaking. Supported by a strong local business community, Cebu has been given a preferential status by the national government, although support from the central government was not forthcoming until after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. Since 1987, Cebu has outcompeted Manila and the rest of the country in the capitalization of new businesses. The former Ramos administration in its Medium Term Development Plan 1993-1996 singled Cebu as "one of the leading growth centers in the South." Prepared under the supervision of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, the Ramos plan consisted of an economic track of more structural adjustments and economic liberalization policies designed to launch the Philippine economy even further into the world



capitalist market. In 1993, Cebu managed to attract 82% of the total investment in the Visayan region and about 4% of the total national investment (Remedio 1993, 2). Standard accounts all saw a burst of economic activity. However, looking at the underside of modern Cebu revealed a different picture of high poverty incidence, inequitable income distribution, low agricultural productivity, poor resource management, environmental degradation, high underemployment, and inadequate provision of basic social services, which renders economic growth unsustainable. Cebu's economic boom may have favored a select few exporters and industries, but the overwhelming majority of residents experienced no boom. Technocrats manipulate Cebu's image to sell the island to outside investors. Leading wealthy families manipulate and change land classifications as money goes to urban or rural projects. Hence, anyone genuinely interested in land reform or improving agriculture for farmers is being hampered from doing so. Thirty-eight percent of the total land area in Cebu was classified as agricultural land under the Marcos regime, but this land is being reclassified.1 Some real estate agents, for example, former governor Lito Osmena, have so over speculated that average income earners today cannot dream of owning land. For example, in 1986, farmland located in what is now the vicinity of the Ayala's Cebu Business Park commanded only a price of P400 to P500 per square meter. By 1991, Ayala successfully pre-sold all of its lots at the Cebu Business Park at the price of PI4, 000 per square meter for regular lots and PI6, 000 per square meter for accent lots (Ong-Van 1991, 3). Another example, in 1989, after the police and military forced thousands of poor peasants to flee their land, the government constructed the transcentral highway, a road network from Cebu City, crossing its mountain barangays to Balamban. Then, in 1990, prices of land skyrocketed as the Cebu government launched the selling of Cebu land and seas to tourists and foreign investors and multinational corporations. The main recipients of these investment opportunities were foreign investors, especially Japanese and Taiwanese investors, the Ayalas, Sys, Gokongweis, Gaisanos, Lhuillers, and other Chinese and Filipino elite families (Dones 1992, 15). Out of 49 enterprises registered at the Mactan Export Processing Zone only eight were Filipino owned as of 1992 {List of Zone Enterprises 1992). There were practically no unions allowed inside the Mactan Export Processing Zone. Even requests for study tours inside its premises were generally not granted. Industries move to Cebu not only because of its strategic location as a clearinghouse area and because of its large available labor pool, but because local wages of skilled laborers are kept low. For example, November 30, 1993, laborers across the nation demonstrated, threatened strikes, and asked for a 35 peso wage increase across the board in their salaries. As a result, salaries of laborers increased at an average of 25 to 27 pesos everywhere else in the nation except in Cebu where salaries were increased a mere 5 to 10 pesos, and even then a number of local businesses in Cebu applied for exemptions from this wage increase (Villamor 1993). Meanwhile, factory workers and service industry workers in Cebu, generally, are hired on a three-month contractual basis, rather



than on a permanent basis. Employers no doubt hire short-term workers to avoid paying social security and other benefits. Workers often earn less than their contracts state; yet must agree to sign as a condition of employment. Likewise contributing to Cebu's underdevelopment is tourism. Local agents tout Cebu's beautiful beaches and "hospitality girls." Many natural beaches are vanishing into tourist resorts and fishponds, which ruin coral reefs and mangroves (Juario, Avila, and Lastimosa 1992; and Broad and Cavanagh 1993, 77). There are no public beaches left on Mactan or Lapu Lapu, and there are very few public beaches left in Argao and Moaboal. The entrance fee of almost all of the beaches presently is too expensive for Filipino average income earners to use them. Cebu's natural beaches are "beach lined" into neatly partitioned resort areas. Beach lining involves blasting coral beds, bulldozing coastal beaches flat, and then partitioning them by cement sea walls which serve as catchments for privately owned resort sand beds, or beaches. Although, for example, Governor De la Cerna has been trying to implement a law that prohibits the fencing off of beach points in this manner, this law is still not enforced, and most land titles go to the low tide mark anyway. Visitors arriving from America, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, and Europe are commonly sex tourists attracted to prostitutes and mail order brides who are advertised in pen pal and erotic magazines and on the Internet (see Law 1993). In 1992 (Women's Resource Center Cebu), some 1,500 commercial sex workers were registered in Cebu City, and 2,678 in the province, not to mention unregistered commercial sex workers. The city's streets abound with poor vendors, homeless people, beggars, handicapped, mentally ill, elderly, and street children. Badjaos (sea-gypsies) who dive alongside cruise ships for coins thrown by passengers, now beg on the island's capital streets by silently dancing as if swimming to tourists and other passerbys. Between 1978 and 1980, I personally visited two Badjao communities around the port area that no longer existed in 1993. They then made their living traveling in outrigger canoes around the Visayas and Mindanao, to dive for exotic shells and pearls that were sold to jewelry manufacturers in Manila (see Neri 1979). There are an estimated 5,000 street children in Cebu City alone. They are malnourished, out of school due to a lack of funds, and vulnerable, for example, to being victimized by pedophiles, slave traders, and abusive employers. Many of them are vulnerable to becoming addicted to drugs such as glue inhalants. There is an umbrella coalition of thirteen nongovernmental organizations for street children, including one drop-in center. The drop-in center may be more accurately called a holding center because the children are merely held there after they are picked-up by the Task Force for Street Children, which is based in the same center. Children are held in this center for approximately one month, while they are awaiting placement in the other centers. There were no teachers, doctors, nurses, or psychologists on the staff of the drop-in center in 1993, although they are on call for emergency cases. This drop-in center is not a place where street children can freely drop in for a free meal, educational or recreational activities. If the children run away more than three times from this



Center or any of the other Centers, the next time the child is arrested by the Task Force for Street Children she or he is brought to the Water Front Police Station in Pier 1, where the child is imprisoned in a cell separate from the adult prisoners. The Department of Social Welfare also provides overnight shelter (a small ward with one broken bed) for women and children but not men who must sleep in the corridor. Technically, it provides shelter for only one night, though I observed, this rule is not rigidly applied. Also, its orphanage was destroyed by fire December 23, 1992. The Department of Social Welfare is undergoing devolution, meaning that it is no longer under the central government in Manila but local mayors. In 1991 the Local Government Code was implemented, which decentralized government functions and control. Local governments were made responsible for planning, funding, and budgeting their local government agencies using locally generated revenues. Under the new devolution of the government the Department of Social Welfare was placed under the jurisdiction of the provincial and municipal governments. One social worker explained, "They now even need to befriend local mayors to help the poor, and if the mayors are not welfare oriented but infrastructure oriented what happens to the people?" The social welfare department is understaffed, and its social workers are underpaid and working overtime with limited facilities. More generally, Cebu has one of the nation's highest incidences of malnutrition and poverty. Data from the Department of Health in 1992 indicated that out of 300,000 children under 7 years old weighed under the Operation Timbang Program, nearly two-thirds suffered from malnutrition. Official statistics of the Regional Development Council (Sun Star daily newspaper, March 18, 1995) showed that 47% of the region's families fell below the poverty line. The incidence of poverty increased two percentage points between 1989 and 1991 representing an increment of 3.7 poor families. The poverty threshold (defined as the minimum average above-poverty monthly income for a family of six) was estimated (1992) as P5, 831.49 ($208.27) for the National Capital Region and P5, 496.70 ($196.31) for rest of the country ($1.00 U.S. fluctuated around 28 pesos in 1994). In Cebu, the average monthly basic minimum wage for 1992 stood at P2, 640.50 ($94.30). Cebu's development boom has little room for health care. Although there are a number of private hospitals in Cebu, there are only two public hospitals (Cebu Medical Center and Vincente Sotto Memorial Medical Center), which are both constantly overcrowded, yet they do provide service to the poor. Patients alone or in collaboration with government social workers, NGOs and charitable organizations, have to provide for their own medicines and surgical supplies or go without them. Another example: although there is a pharmacy in Vincente Sotto Memorial Medical Center which supplies poor patients with injectable medicines when in stock, this stock of injectable medicines is provided to patients who are requested by a social worker to make a donation. The donations are used to help restock this pharmacy. Other medicines in the form of tablets or ointments are the responsibility of the patient, whose relatives have to find their



way to the few available NGOs and charitable organizations which specialize in providing free medicine for Cebu's poor. Cebu's public hospitals do not have fully equipped laboratories, so most patients' lab tests have to be done at other private hospitals for a fee. As one doctor described the public hospital, "All we have is a big building in which we often have to watch patients die due to a lack of medicines." In short, the illusion of development is based on the false premise that economic growth will someday trickle-down to diminish the differences in living standards between the rich and poor. What constitutes satisfactory development and how might we attain it are questions not adequately addressed in formal economic theories. As illustrated, conventional economics usually measures success by quantitative means such as a rise in the GNP but what does a rise in GNP have to do with Cebu's development? Beneath Cebu's alleged boom the economy is unsustainable and impoverished. The Philippine government neglects to promote basic social services, land reform, and agriculture to improve conditions of life for the vast majority of local people who are poor. In the face of this threat to their lives and livelihoods, many of Cebu's residents have combined their energies in BECs toward achieving a more justice-oriented and liberating development. NOTE 1. Regional Physical Framework Plan CY 1990-2020, National Economic Development Agency Region VII 1993.

Chapter 5

Struggle in the Uplands: Christian Farmers in Cebu

This chapter, first, comments on the theology of struggle behind Cebu's BEC movement, and second, examines one upland corn-farming community with a BEC. Third, it looks at some of the problems that community organizers and farmers face in realizing their goals for sustainable agricultural development. It's findings suggest that organizers and funding agencies need to be flexible enough to change their plans mid-stream to meet farmers' real perceived needs. In general, Philippine theology of struggle expressed through the agencies of BECs embraces two different ideological approaches. Those associated with the Socialist Democrats differ from those linked to the National Democrats and Popular Democrats. These liberational BECs, more political in practice than in the literature, are not only Bible sharing groups but also political groups organized under distinctly different political and ideological orientations. For example, BEC organizers with the Socialist Democrats assume that the Philippines is on the threshold of capitalism and address problems within this framework. By contrast, BEC practitioners with the National Democrats see the Philippines as semi-colonial and semi-feudal, and operate within this framework. Yet, on the ground, such political affiliations are often ill-defined. BECs are as variable as the parishes, priests, religious, and lay participants who form them. Philippine theology of struggle in the first place, is rooted in faith of a God who acts in history. As in Latin America and Africa, Asian theologians of struggle may use Marxist concepts, but they employ them in a non-dogmatic, indigenous, and contextual manner. Theology of struggle of this sort, is allegedly more of a methodology than a theology: local practitioners develop their theology by learning dialectically from the situation of the poor, by "getting in touch with the God in their history," and then Scripture. During the course of my fieldwork (1993-1994) I distinguished between liberational BECs and liturgical and developmental BECs in Cebu. A liberational BEC derives from indigenous models of social and structural change, while liturgical and



developmental BECs stem from Western and local elite models of top-down development (see Boff 1986). These three types of models overlap in an actual BEC with one being dominant. Cebu's Archdiocesan BEC office organized liturgical BECs (Bible Study groups). In contrast, the Basic Christian Community Organizer's office organized liberational BECs. Although some Bishops and priests unofficially approved it, the Basic Christian Community office did not then have the insignia of the local archbishop, although I understand that it later gained his favor. The remainder of this essay concerns one such liberational model in an upland farm community in Cebu. ETHNOGRAPHY OF AN UPLAND CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY From 1993 to 1994, I lived one-half of each week, over a one-year period, with my farmer hosts in "Kabukiran" (pseudonym). I chose this community, which is distant from the center of Cebu City, for reasons of personal safety: while some upland communities (e.g., Tuburan) were under military surveillance and subject to human rights violations carried out by military personnel under local government officials, Kabukiran was not highly militarized. Its mayor, vice mayor, monsignor, barrio captain, church leaders, and citizens appreciated my interest, although, aware of the mayor's staunch anti-communism, I avoided sensitive discussions with all except the monsignor and outside ecclesial organizers. Kabukiran had been targeted by the central government for future development; hence, the BEC organizers worked to prepare the farmers to resist agents who may attempt to eject them from their land. They coordinated with other NGOs like the Redemptorist Justice and Peace Desk and Task Force Detainees to document any human rights abuses that may occur. BEC participants also worked with the Visayan Integrated Community Assistance Program (VICAP), which provided them with free training in organic farming and sustainable agriculture. They chose VICAP because it does not use capitalist-oriented development packages, even those that offer discounted seeds and tools because it rejects packages that view agriculture fragmentally and ignore indigenous values. VICAP also declines programs that reduce local biodiversity (e.g., programs that intensify production through pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and industrial technologies) and views bio and cultural diversity as essentials of economic self-sufficiency. During seasonal activities (Easter, Lent, and Advent) the BEC assisted the parish in preparing presentations which touched on local life experiences such as issues of poverty, political suppression, the dislocation of farmers from their land, and ecology. Almost at the moment I met the BEC farmers, I decided to focus on this community because of its comprehensive program, which included activities ranging from social analysis and creative theater to health care and sustainable agricultural development. I first contextualized the BEC by looking at some geographic, socioeconomic, and historic data, collected in part by farmers and NGO organizers as part of their labor apostolate. Their data combined with my



own presents their situation from their own point of view. I analyzed these findings as an outside observer. Kabukiran is located on a mountaintop some 100 kilometers from Cebu City. With only one unpaved road leading to this barrio, travel is difficult. The road is narrow and steep; during the rainy season parts are washed out completely. One passenger jeep makes two trips daily to Kabukiran; several motorcycles are available for hire. Because they cannot afford to pay for transportation, most farmers walk to and from the town center to the public market and parish center. The farmers are mostly tenants who cultivate corn and raise chickens, goats, pigs, cows, and carabaos. Their homes are spread over hills with wide spaces between them and constructed of light materials: cogon grass or coconut leaves for roofs and bamboo (and, in some cases, hardwood lumber) for floors and walls. Only the barrio captain and three landed families have homes partially of concrete. There are 143 extended nuclear households, or 700 residents in Kabukiran, divided into three neighborhoods, each with its small chapel. In 1993, only 200 people, representing thirty-nine households, participated in BEC activities, apparently due to two factors: the main factor was that they have small children at home and were too busy caring for their farms; they simply lacked the time and freedom of movement for BEC work. Additionally, in 1987 the military and leading anti-Communist propagandists such as Jun Alcover of BYLA radio visited this barrio and others to warn the farmers not to attend the BEC because it was a "Communist front." Since that time, one paramilitary informer reports BEC activities to police and military officials and the mayor. According to a survey conducted by VICAP (1993), the average household consists of five members. Those over sixty-five years old live in separate houses adjacent to one of their married children, or with them. Male household heads and single men and women between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five often migrate to neighboring towns or Cebu City, sometimes as students, though more commonly as domestic servants, store employees, hotel employees, factory workers, truck drivers, or construction workers. Farmers over forty tend to remain in the barrio. Seventy-six percent of the farmers are tenants who cultivate an average farm of 0.78 hectares. The other twenty-four percent are owner-cultivators, with an average farm of 2.3 hectares. The most common arrangement is one-third of the harvest goes to the landowner and two-thirds of the harvest to the tenant. A few flatland tenants surrender fully one-half of their harvest. Tenants are pressured to pay landowners cash, at the rate of twenty-five centavos per harvested ear of corn. Absentee landlords (the local mayor, lawyers and other professionals) live in the town center or Cebu City, while one retired landlord resides in the barrio. Local farmers recommenced to cultivate their traditional variety of white corn in 1991 when the BEC introduced organic contour corn-farming techniques. As one woman explained, "during the 1970s and 1980s, we had cultivated a new variety of hybrid yellow corn but it attracted insects and required costly chemical inputs and [petroleum-based] fertilizers. All of the farmers now prefer traditional white corn to yellow corn because it can be stored



and used for a longer time." That same year, farmers were encouraged by organizers to work cooperatively with alayon, traditional groups of farmers who help each other in cultivation on a rotation basis. Although they once worked in alayon by hiring each other for wages, they had little incentive to increase production on their own plots due to landlords exacting an exorbitant proportion of the harvest, and a large portion of the remaining harvest in payment for debts. Thereafter, tenants depended on each other for cash income for their subsistence and increased the quantities of rice that could be circulated in the village, rather than leaving it for the landlord to claim. However, this proletarianization process only increased their poverty. They now are combining their efforts to alleviate their situation by working for each other in groups on an exchange basis, not for wages. The decision of the farmers to adopt the BEC program and maintain their livelihood in terms of use-value as opposed to an exchange-value orientation also can be seen as a form of resistance based on cultural differences. As elsewhere in Asia, South America, and Africa, Filipino peasant cultures differ from the dominant cultures of European origin regarding land, food, and the economy. Some farmers have been tenants for less than twenty years. They became tenants by mortgaging their land to other farmers or usurer-traders through a mortgage arrangement known as prenda. As Cynthia Hallare-Lara (1992, 20) explained, prenda compels farmers to surrender their land title, and in some cases tilling rights, to other farmers or usurer-traders for cash over time. They usually work the land as farm workers while it is mortgaged, which takes an average of two to five years. Such a condition occurs when farmers are deeply indebted or lack capital for production. In the case of Kabukiran, many tenant farmers became indebted during the 1970s and 1980s when they borrowed money to buy fertilizers to cultivate new high yielding varieties of corn in vogue due to the Green Revolution. These farmers could not repay the loan balances in times of drought or poor harvest, and mortgaged and subsequently lost their land due to modernization. The average yield of corn per household in Kabukiran is 210 kilograms per hectare as of 1993. According to the BEC supervisor, the integrated organic farming program of the BEC aims to increase production to 400 kilograms per hectare. Given present farm sizes, the average yield of 210 kilos per hectare cannot meet a typical family's daily subsistence. The farmers usually raise and sell poultry and livestock to purchase dried fish. In times of drought or poor harvest, their diet consists of dried fish and root crops like camote and cassava, high in carbohydrates and low in protein. Besides corn, farmers cultivate peanuts, cassava, ipil-ipil, madre de cacao, peppers, papaya, tomatoes, and bananas. Except for ipil-ipil and cassava, these crops are scarce and marginal to corn due to the dry soil conditions and lack of forest cover and water. Some farmers walk to the seashore evenings during low tide to collect and gather shell fish to supplement their family's diet. Due to the steep and bare terrain, soil erosion constantly concerns the farmers. As part of their BEC work, some have started to raise earthworms and



make organic compost from local products (manure, cacao leaves, corn cobs, and banana stems) to improve soil fertility. The topsoil, which ranges between ten to zero centimeters, is heavily mixed with rock. There are so many rocks in the cornfields that farmers often dig knee-deep in stones before they reached a viable layer of soil. They commonly borrow money from usurer-traders to raise poultry and livestock for trade or sale, and sell their produce to these traders for low prices because of their earlier loans. Farmers typically sell their poultry and livestock at a local rotating market on Saturdays, or to traders who go directly to their homes. The typical farmer's net income per month is 100 pesos ($4.00) or less, excluding his/her share of the harvest used for food. The range of the net income of corn farmers across the nation for a hectare per cropping year for crop year 1990-1991, ranged between 368 pesos and 5,000 pesos per year, as calculated by the Philippine Peasant Institute. The monthly income of the farmers in Kabukiran, not unlike that of most corn farmers in the Philippines, falls substantially below the poverty threshold level of 3,864 pesos per month or 122 pesos per day (Hallare-Lara 1992, 25, 27). Bypassing usurer-traders and creditor-landlords, which offer high-interest loans (twenty to thirty percent interest per month), BEC participants recently secured a low-interest loan through the parish monsignor in the town center. The monsignor borrowed the loan (at 1.5 percent interest per month from a Cebu Archdiocesan church foundation for the indigent) on behalf of the farmers who used it to buy cows, goats, and chickens. After about four months they were to divide the profit of the sale of the original cow, goat, or chicken between themselves and the parish. Accordingly, two-thirds of the profit went to the caretaker, one-sixth to the BEC, and one-sixth to the BEC parish fund, which serves as a revolving community fund for emergencies—for example, when a goat dies or fails to gain weight or produce offspring. This loan program enables farmers to avoid high-interest loans and other disproportionate sharing arrangements from local creditors to start their income-generating projects. Yet many BEC farmers cannot sell their chickens locally because they are branded "Communist chickens" by some non-BEC neighbors. Members continue to be (mis) labeled "Communists" due to a ten-year propaganda campaign waged presently by a local paramilitary informant, a resident landlord, and others who report to landlord-politicians in the town center. In emergencies, death or serious illness, BEC farmers must sell their produce to usurer-traders for quick cash. The primary tools of the corn farmers are a pick mattock for land preparation, and a bolo for weeding. Repairs and sharpening are done in the town center because there is no local blacksmith. Plowing is possible only in the foothills; in 1993 two farmers owned a carabao. Most upland farmers have their own handcrafted stone grinders, which they share with neighbors. Only rarely, when a harvest is large, will a farmer go to the town center for milling. Except for an elementary school with nine teachers, no other government facilities or services exist in this mountain barrio. Most are barely literate, have only an elementary school education at best, and often cannot afford to send their children to school beyond the elementary level. Although a health clinic



stood in the barrio next to the school, it was vacant in 1993: the Department of Social Welfare midwife never came. One nurse, one social worker, and one midwife are on duty daily in the clinic at the town center to serve 22,000 people. Although uplanders usually treat illnesses with home remedies, they sometimes travel to the clinic for diagnosis or referral. When hospitalization is necessary, they need a written referral, or proof of their indigent status, from town health workers to be admitted for treatment at the public hospital in Cebu City. According to the BEC volunteer health worker, most adult farmers are anemic. Children have diarrhea due to unsanitary water. Respiratory illnesses like asthma, coughs, colds, and pneumonia are common. A few children suffer such ailments as hydrocephalus and deafness; adults with leprosy live in the peripheries of Kabukiran. Many local farmers own radios. Postal services reach the barrio through the barrio captain's residence. Only one family, that of the schoolteacher whose husband works at an international hotel in Cebu City, owns a TV and stereo, having installed a generator and purchased a small TV and stereo at the end of 1993. Not even the barrio captain or the resident landlord has a TV or stereo, although one family has a Karaoke, connected to a motorcycle battery for use on special occasions such as birthdays. Light posts are set up at the periphery of Kabukiran, but there is no electricity. As one farmer explained, "Everything is political around here. We were supposed to have electricity—look, the light posts are all set up—but we didn't vote for the mayor, so the electricity was never extended to our barrio. They have ways of knowing who votes for who." Residents use kerosene to cook and to light their homes. Instead of a kerosene lamp or flashlight, they light the ends of banana palms to illuminate their way during evening walks. They bathe and obtain drinking water at natural running springs and artisan wells in the foothills, which usually dry up in the summer. COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT AND COLLECTIVE ACTION In 1986, the Redemptorist mission team (a newly ordained priest and several seminarians and lay workers) established the BEC in Kabukiran, and until 1988 lived with the uplanders, organizing the predominantly Catholic community into committees—worship committee, education committee, service committee, temporality committee, and youth committee (WESTY)—to involve the community in the liturgy. Prior to the BEC, a priest from the town visited Kabukiran to say Mass on special occasions such as barrio feast days or weddings. He brought his sacristan and choir, and the resident landlord, whose great-grandparents donated the land on which the first chapel was built in 1881, paid him, usually. According to this landlord, the chapel was constructed when eight persons carried the parish priest up the mountain with a covered hardwood chair; no road existed until 1957. The portable chair served a dual purpose: it also was a confessional box. "The priest in those days was very strict, not like the priests today. In those days, he was like a saint carried like a god to the people. When he was being carried he didn't



want to be stared at, so he peeked out of the curtain and when people stared, he closed the curtain quickly making a face," the landlord said. His wife organized the Legion of Mary during World War II, and the couple has been in charge of the chapel organization since. Only when the BEC was established did the routine operation of the chapel change: When the Redemptorists came, the priest asked us to turn the chapel over to the farmers. But, my mother and father told us not to let someone else take charge of the chapel. I'm the one who built the building. That priest is not even a priest. He has a wife. He's a Communist. He's not devoted to his career as a priest because he has a wife. (Adto na lang dito na kanya communista siya.) I don't want my special visitors mingling with those people [the tenant farmers] not using spoons. He [the priest] had the wrong idea. He would not let us serve our special guests in the chapel. Many of our guests come from as far as Cebu City. So, we told the farmers they would no longer get the chapel. We would donate another portion of the lot to build them a chapel because that is a private chapel, that's our building and lot. So, the farmers built a small chapel by the barrio captain's house but it's a failure. I would not turn over a place that has already been made sacred by a Mass. We would not have any entertainment for our guests from the town. We prefer to invite the priest and our visitors only. I'm not entertaining all those people who eat with their hands. That's why we rejected the priest's proposal, because we have visitors from the city and I will not let them squat on the floor. I will not accept that my visitors be brought to the chapel to mingle with all those people there from low classes. No, I have built the chapel and paid all the obligations of the priest. According to the Redemptorist team leader who later helped establish the BCC-CO office in Cebu City, the mission team changed its organizing strategy on arrival in Kabukiran: at their previous mission areas, where they focused on social problems by asking uncomfortable questions, they had been labeled as Communists. As he explained: So, we zeroed-in on the chapel as a point of entry to organize a BEC in Kabukiran. By zeroing-in on the chapel, we asked several questions which led to the same kinds of uncomfortable questions we asked in our earlier mission areas. For example, we asked: Who owns the land where the chapel stands? How is the chapel run? Who runs it? What happens during fiestas? The parish priest was reacting, he said when out of season we only find goats in the chapel (meaning that the chapel was hardly used at all), but later he realized that this was important. In effect, the team assessed the barrio's socio-economic, political, cultural, ecological, and historical plight through the perspective of religion. In other words, the BEC accounted for the economic infrastructure through the point of the religious-ideological and political superstructure because the farmers' collective position as a class in relation to other more dominant classes is a product of these combined forces. The team organized traditional religious activities such as a dawn rosary in which processioners stopped to call out petitions for victims of militarization. The goal was to make faith integral, not



dichotomized (a faith in which spirituality is limited to the sacristy). The team organized BECs by providing seminars in Kabukiran and five neighboring barrios—for example, daily seminars five days a week for six months, each in a different barrio. They organized the people at the chapel level into committees (WESTY). For example, when the priest arrived, a worship committee operated. For a baptism, the committee on education worked. When the chapel needed repair, the service committee worked and kept the funds. The team formed the youth committee that participated in such events as cultural presentations and theatrical social satires on religious holidays or BEC solidarity nights. In 1987, led by a resident Civilian Armed Forces Government Units (CAFGU) member, a military troop with armored tanks and guns arrived in Kabukiran. To intimidate, they nailed a dog to the parish church door. They threatened several farmers with death for participating in the BEC. At a forum they warned residents that "rebels" were starting to operate in the area, a Communist group of two women and one man going from house to house. One of the women was a Sister, and the man was a Father. They distributed a list of forty so-called "red" priests. The new monsignor from the town center who brought a dozen diocesan seminarians recorded these announcements. He had recently helped establish the BEC fellowship of priests. Some farmers stated that the BEC was performing a service for the community. The military accused the BEC of forcing farmers to join. But farmers stated that it was the military, not the BEC, who threatened them if they continued their Bible meetings. Finally, the mayor announced "there were no Communists in his barrio. The BEC was welcome as long as it provided a service for the community." But he stipulated that he would "get them if any monkey business was going on." In 1993, the mayor repeated his warning to me when he allowed me to conduct fieldwork in Kabukiran. He also cited an ordinance requiring all outsiders to register at his office. This ordinance was a cause of consternation among BEC personnel who frequently brought in church groups, student interns, and NGO personnel from Cebu City, Europe, and Japan. The next year, 1988, the mission team was called back by their religious superiors to the main seminary in Cebu City. In the words of one Redemptorist authority on the subject: They over-politicized the BEC and got us a bad name for being a provocateur and that eventually excluded us. In the eyes of the establishment, for example, the Rotary Club and the Lions Club, the Redemptorist were already considered subversive. When the poor begin to organize they are called subversive. Our own Fathers [superiors] were not being very strong about it, but our mission team read and reflected on the Bible and brought people together. They really stay in the barrios. Our lay missionaries are criticized but they really have merit. The team's leader resigned from the priesthood, and continued his work at the BCC-CO office. In 1989, community organizers from this office were assigned to Kabukiran. Four joined the staff of the monsignor in the town center; one became the province's ecclesial community supervisor.



According to the monsignor, the ecclesial community in Kabukiran seeks self-reliance, with local resources. While the BEC laity had spearheaded the movement on Leyte and Samar Islands, it was difficult for lay people to work for the BEC. In Negros, however, they worked within the hierarchy and transformed both church and hierarchy. In the late 1980s, BEC organizers in Cebu decided to use this experience to start BECs through priests. Organizers assist local (diocesan) priests in planning, conceptualizing, and training BEC participants. They stay until participants can stand on their own, and then transfer to another community. The supervisor clarified that from 1987 to 1988 the monsignor could not implement the BEC because of anti-communist propaganda: The Redemptorist mission team started the BEC program but there was lots of trouble. [Kabukiran] was placed under military surveillance. One project leader was threatened with death. Military trucks with guns were in the area. We were not able to start work. Monsignor was still at the integration level [learning about the local situation]. He was a new parish priest then. We only started our work in 1989. At that time, the BEC offered leadership seminars endorsed by the Synod of Cebu. According to parish staff, farmers from the mountain barrios were active and dedicated participants in the BEC leadership training seminars. One farmer from Kabukiran was later elected as the local Vice Mayor because he was so popular in the BEC formation team. In 1990, the BEC staff introduced WESTY committees at the parish level but the Pastoral Council (of professors, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and business professionals) would not allow farmers to chair committees. So as not to antagonize the professionals, the BEC implemented a parallel organization for the farmers, the Structure of Care, which served the same functions as WESTY. According to the BEC supervisor, "there were then so many committees that they no longer functioned." The parish staff met with the Parish Council once a month, but the agenda invariably concerned matters of finance and construction of projects, like renovating the plaza or the church. Also in 1990, the parish staff and the coordinator of an agricultural NGO conducted a preliminary socio-economic survey in the upland Kabukiran, but results were never taken seriously by the Parish Council, nor would the Council agree to meet with the Executive Board of the Structure of Care for discussions. The BEC participants reformulated their vision. They decided not to limit their work to the parish center but to facilitate organization in the mountain barrios. Their preliminary survey and experience of the Redemptorist mission in Kabukiran told them that the poor couldn't be organized through the liturgical aspect alone, because of their economic situation. They concentrated on upland socioeconomic projects. Since 1991 to present, the BEC farmers have worked with an agricultural extension NGO (VICAP) to improve their circumstances. First, the parish organizers invited VICAP to conduct a seminar on sustainable agricultural development in Kabukiran. The multidisciplinary agricultural team provided



workshops on organic farming, contour farming, reforestation, vermiculture, herbal gardening and health care, and provided some of the farmer representatives with earthworms and seedlings. The team selected topics on sustainable agricultural development; their 1990 preliminary survey had demonstrated a need for such. According to the former coordinator: The most appropriate and immediate response the BEC program had to implement, at that time, was contour farming because it offered the most effective and immediate means to control soil erosion. If the farmers did not solve the immediate problem in soil erosion, they could not expect to have food sufficiency in agriculture. There are other components of contour farming, livestock raising, tree planting, and organic compost production. We did not encourage synthetic fertilizers because it destroys the nitrogen content of the soil. But organic compost restores soil nutrients, and it is not ecologically hazardous. In 1992, the VICAP selected Kabukiran as their number one pilot area on Cebu Island. At the same time, a new coordinator brought a different strategy for implementing the BEC program. Administrators had retired the previous coordinator that same year due to his misuse of funds (e.g., he embezzled a substantial amount of money that was supposed to be used to purchase a jeep, and he sent grant proposals in VICAP's name to foreign donors without VICAP's knowledge). But, perhaps due to his retirement from office having been handled internally in private, the decision of the administrators was not understood locally and was a cause of friction between BEC members and VICAP agricultural specialists in Kabukiran. The former coordinator with the assistance of both the monsignor and BEC supervisor, the latter who actually acted on her own without consulting her head office, responded to the administrators' decision by establishing a second, competing NGO in the area— but, this newly emerging NGO was still in the planning stages and although operating, it was not an officially recognized NGO. In 1993, this group working with the BEC implemented a communal farm. As one farmer involved commented: This [communal farming] movement came into existence after we [local farmers and BEC organizers] met together as a group and reflected that it is futile to work while our individual families are hungry and dying. So, we decided to put together our goats and chickens. One tenant farmer offered his land area so that we would have a place for our animals and farms. I hope that through our united forces and binding interest that we could be an example of our barangay that some of us may open their eyes that this BEC gives us a road of freedom. In my analysis of this activity, I found the communal farmers to be supportive of each other and aware of their own circumstances. They understood that they participated in both the capitalist market system and their own subsistence economy, and that they were being further impoverished by those who controlled commercial transactions. Hence, the farmers attempted to lessen their contact with the marketplace by pooling their resources for themselves. In contrast to the acquisitive market model, the local communal model, an



extension of the BEC, was based on use-value: the everyday use of local resources in their surrounding natural environment. That same year in 1993, three BEC members who were being trained as local leaders with a BEC organizer who was being similarly trained were required to go to the neighboring mountain to collect basic demographic and household data. This is not an easy task, and in this way they are vulnerable to being used to collect data for interested third parties and to pioneer in certain areas. Also, the BEC field representatives are vulnerable to being used by bogus nongovernmental organizers to introduce them to an area. A lot of manipulation is going on beside some altruism. Local residents can gain from their relationship with BEC community organizers and NGOs who steadfastly bring innovations, funds, and connections to new social networks. They can also loose valuable time and resources by accommodating organizers who "come and go." Perhaps as one facilitator said, local leaders who learn to collect socioeconomic data by practicing on their neighbors are also learning to organize and fend for themselves against manipulation by outsiders. They are learning, for example, to analyze and to select what they need from different NGOs for their communities, rather than to see their community as a mere "pilot" area of a particular NGO in competition with other NGOs. These local leaders are also being groomed to evangelize their neighbors who are as impoverished as themselves and who are most likely to believe them first before any outside parish worker. Meanwhile, VICAP conducted a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) of Kabukiran's socio-economic conditions. According to the director, they adopted the PRA strategy "to involve the farmers as equal partners in defining local problems." Their aim was to eradicate the outmoded idea by which farmers saw themselves as beneficiaries of an agricultural program: "We are trying to erase this idea because it encourages them [the farmers] to depend on us for doleouts." The NGO also wanted "to make the farmers' alayon more participatory, to make alayon include the community by training the farmers to work collectively, in larger numbers." Another aim was to encourage farmers in their traditional precapitalist practices, such as "not counting the hours they work." As the director stated: They [the farmers] are not yet business people. We're trying to retain the attitude that they don't have to count. Their only capital is their labor and time. So, we try to encourage them to work cooperatively because one way of getting enough or producing more resources is to multiply their labor. We also do not have any alternatives because they do not have any finances. VICAP professionals met with BEC members to plan out a course of action for the coming year. They spent seventeen days over five months listing and prioritizing problems. With a nudge from the team, local farmers, composed fairly equally of men and women drew a large map locating water sources and types of farmlands, crops, and soils. They walked together with facilitators over the terrain to crosscheck the map. They also listed their local problems in order



of priority. The whole process looked impressive from my outside perspective. However, in reality it was the farmers who were teaching team members, and not the reverse. They were frustrated because the same NGO under the old director had already collected the same data by means of a rapid rural appraisal method the previous year. The farmers wanted to move on to the next step and began to complain openly at the meetings. I was told by one woman, "we already discussed our socioeconomic problems last year with the former NGO coordinator." 1 Another farmer surmised: Agricultural trainings were provided for us [between 1991 and 1992] like the techniques of composting and livestock raising. But, now VICAP has decided that those programs are not ready to be launched. So, they gave us another training in looking at the real problems of Kabukiran, and at what we want to obtain. In the beginning, the members were interesting but they urged us to walk and look around the mountains. Afterwards, they asked us the same questions again. At this point I felt bored and tired. So, I started complaining until the time of evaluation. They evaluated me. They said that I destroyed the purpose of the PRA. So, I decided to stop attending their meetings. Now almost all of us here in my sitio [neighborhood], especially my neighbors do not attend the NGO meetings or seminars. To make matters worse, the former coordinator began spreading rumors after his dismissal locally by misleading the farmers into believing that VICAP was withholding funds designated for the livestock-raising project that he had scheduled for 1993. While some farmers viewed the open forum of debate and discussion to be healthy, others simply walked away from the meetings. One male elder who left in frustration described their general discontent: At the general assembly there were seven projects presented [by the NGO staff] but only the multipurpose center won as the first project. Most of the people preferred the livestockraising project to be first [for reasons of convenience, not individualism] because livestock can be raised in our backyards and it is tied-up with our daily needs. As for myself it would be better if livestock raising were the first project because it would have encouraged the [farmer] participants. But the NGO heads indirectly manipulated the selection of projects. The reaction I obseived from my colleagues was that they felt dry, discouraged, and some of them stopped attending the meetings because the NGO heads did not launch the livestock-raising project. The problem of the multipurpose center is that there is no budget, and we have to solicit materials for this project and spend days in building it. A female leader rejoined: The NGO taught us how to reconstruct our barren land. They encouraged us to plant a variety of trees in our farm lots. They gave us earthworms to improve our soil's fertility. As a whole the NGO is good and it helps us to know about our basic problems. It helps us to know the causes of our problems such as poverty and inequality of distribution of wealth among the Filipino community. The NGO also helped us establish our integrated BEC. The problems of development in rural communities are complex, but different seemingly contradictory views often do make sense depending upon the direction from which one is looking at them.



The NGO team working with the mountain BEC has its own story as well, and it is easy to believe in their good intentions; they are sincerely and genuinely working and living with the farmers. Most important, they are working out their problems and misunderstandings. No sooner had the controversy begun than it subsided, the BEC members and VICAP literally agreed, "to let go of the past and work for a new tomorrow" (local catechist). Members of the mountain BEC who are formed in alayon meet collectively to read and reflect upon the Bible regularly—for example, on birthdays and special occasions that occur once or twice a month. These Bible sharing activities motivate, validate, and solidify the BEC community for cooperation and economic and political action. Participants view Bible sharing as a time of interaction and learning from one another's interpretations, rather than as a form of reflection and prayer (e.g., novenas and rosaries). They see Christ's faith-life experiences as an expression of their own community values and faith. The message of Christ to help one another and love one another serves to encourage families to help neighbors by working (effectively with limited resources financially) for each other without pay in an alayon. Males and females participate equally in reading Scripture; their sharings may be called genuine. There is an element of spontaneity in their reflections, absent from BECs under the guidance of religious and lay leaders in town centers. For example, one member compared the resurrection of Lazarus to the life of a caterpillar transformed into a butterfly, and so too can a farmer's life become transformed, for example, by turning the sale of a cow into land. Yet I suspect that there is an element of compulsion in the farmers' relationship with community organizers and the local church in the town center. On the one hand, the church is in the midst of transition between the old ways (fall/redemption spiritualities) and new (creation-centered) ways of being a church, the latter of which BECs are the concrete expression. The mountain farmers are now, unlike before, involved in the church. They read and share the Bible together in their homes. Their religiosity binds them together in community. The monsignor in the parish center recognizes them. On the other hand, however, their religiosity continues to utilize Spanish colonial forms of piety and preVatican II religiosity, the invocation of saints, wearing of sacred amulets, novenas for rain, grace, recovery, good health, and "good luck." They are expected to take part in many religious observances and activities, including being pulled into participation in the activities of the parish, where they now do most of the volunteer work. Besides this, they are pulled into the BEC activities organized by the facilitators. Would not a humble BEC facilitator-priest in tune with the life of the farmers reveal in his sermons that the heart of Christ, the church, is in the hearts of the parish farmers? During the rainy season, which is the time for planting corn, would not such a priest encourage the farmers to plant, rather than to solicit their labor, food, and firewood for a lavish town fiesta? Farming is a priority, more important than expensive, showy church activities and celebrations in barrios and town centers. Or, is it as one priest explained, that



town fiestas and celebrations are a time for enjoyment for farmers who are bonded together in a spirit of community during the busy period of land preparation? As he interpreted it, any reason, for example, preparing children to receive the sacrament of communion or for confirmation is reason enough to organize them into community. Is the content less important than the opportunity to keep parishioners ready to come together in community? If this is so, is not this more in keeping with an underlying framework of Christianity that is passive and hierarchical, rather than liberating and democratic? That is, isn't this more in keeping with a Christianity that is grounded in habit and routine, rather than in BECs that are aware of themselves as mobile forces for liberation and social transformation? So this chapter is brought to an end with more questions than it began. BECs are not, as some critics claim them to be, "trouble-shooters." Rather, they are steeped in theology of liberation. They are mediating and negotiating in the field. They are unabashedly making errors and learning while they are developing and changing their organizing skills and ideas on the basis of newer experiences and realities. How is it that the BEC was not promoted by the local archbishop who professed liberation theology to such an extent that he declared 1993 the official year of the BEC in Cebu? Could it be that the conservative faction of the church hierarchy attempted to co-opt this liberational movement by channeling donations to a parallel office that merely provided seminars on how to start an evangelical Bible study group? Could it be that the conservative faction tried to co-opt the liberational BEC movement to protect their own interest in the prevailing sociopolitical and economic system? What are the lessons to be learned from the human context of the BECs? Finally, although the predominant economic model and viewpoint is that Cebu is crossing the threshold of development, in another view, true development will occur only if the broader model of the BEC as envisioned by the Basic Christian Community Organizer's office is adopted. The bottom-up approach of the BEC provides a more holistic development framework than capitalist-oriented technological packages that may emphasize increasing agricultural production for the market but diminish environmental productivity. This has been illustrated here with a discussion of the Green Revolution's effects on the ecology of Kabukirin. The example given also demonstrated that there is a direct relationship between unsustainable development and the present world capitalist system. This explains, in part, why the BEC farmers are experimenting with organic farming techniques and more communally oriented forms of agricultural production. A finding relevant to practitioners is that farmers can get caught up in struggles internal to the NGO community. NGOs, in turn, often work under pressure from funders who may expect them to implement projects proposed on paper even when deemed inappropriate in practice. An implication is that today's international funding agencies need to create an inside dynamic that gives practitioners the freedom of integrity they need to focus more on meeting the real needs of the farmers than their own.



1. Readers interested in a review of Participatory Rural Appraisal and Rapid Rural Appraisal methods are referred to Chambers (1991).

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Chapter 6

Beyond the Dumping Ground: A Critique of the BEC Model as a Strategy for Development in an Urban Site

In the Philippines today the vast majority of the people live in a situation of dehumanizing poverty and insecurity. This can be seen in the deprivation of land and shelter, over-crowded urban squatters, forced mass migration, unavailability of health and sanitary facilities, malnutrition, high infant mortality rate, lack of education, starvation wages, unemployment. To these added the scandal that stems from the luxurious way of living of the wealthy few and the concentration of power in their hands (Redemptorist Mission Statement quoted in K. Caspar 1985,3). This essay looks at a community of informal workers living and working in the Cebu City dumpsite. The untenable conditions of the site work against the organizers' intention to develop a more equitable and community-oriented society. Hence, they over-emphasize income-generating strategies, instead of social transformation, because they must help meet the basic needs of the residents. Unlike rural BECs that may opt to lessen their contact with the capitalist marketplace to develop more communal agrarian modes of practice, urban BECs may not so easily meet their daily subsistence needs outside of the market economy. This hypothesis raises other questions: Are church-led and bottom-up initiatives enough without material support from the government? Is there a point at which capitalism becomes a sufficiently dominant ideology to render ineffective alternative courses of action, hence BECs become inadequate modes of intervention on behalf of the oppressed? In the following discussion, I examine the development dilemma of an organized ecclesial community located in the Cebu City dumpsite: The untenable situation in which this neighborhood is situated makes it really impossible for the BEC to develop into a self-reliant and self-sufficient community. Organizers promote the development of income-generating projects and (saving) techniques that are directed toward meeting short-term goals because they must help to meet the residents' daily needs for food, medicine, and other necessities. Residents, in turn, seem to have bought into the worldview



and values of competitive individualism and capitalist rationality. Hence, the BEC does not appear to be incorporating the holistic and integral development approach of theologies of struggle. This essay, first, situates and examines the development strategies of the BEC located in the Cebu City dumpsite. Then, it suggests that the capitalist urban society "over-determines" the situation of the scavenger community to such an extent that the BEC approach is ineffective in promoting real social, cultural, and structural change, which raises other interesting hypotheses. In contrast to some of Cebu's other BECs that are located predominantly in the rural uplands such as the one discussed in the previous chapter, and that can be said to be more successfully incorporating theologies of struggle in practice, the urban scavenger community discussed here illustrates some of the major obstacles to local equitable development. It demonstrates how a religious and political movement that is sound theoretically according to the criteria of a liberational theology that emphasizes integral and holistic development can be hindered by external forces linked to the larger capitalist structure. As well, the government's plan discussed in the previous essays for developing Cebu into a modern industrial estate and tourist resort blocks the initiative of the BEC because it fails to implement the infrastructure (e.g., social services, affordable housing in a clean and safe environment, job training, and employment) needed to sustain local development initiatives. The following case study is as self-explanatory as it is transparent: The untenable environment and living conditions of the dumpsite controverts the BECs intention to develop a self-reliant and self-sufficient community. The priest and lay workers are concentrating on the day-to-day operation of incomegenerating projects and the savings and loan cooperative because they must help to meet the immediate survival needs of the residents in a capitalist urban milieu. The residents are divided because their relationship to the capitalist structure makes them individually competitive, not community oriented. Many of them once were farmers engaged in subsistence agricultural communities before they came to the city. Some were forced by military men to move off their land to make way for the government's projects. Others migrated to the city of their own volition to search for better economic opportunities. However, they could not find decent paying jobs, or affordable housing, and turned to scavenging to survive. As part of Cebu City's working poor, the residents have introjected the worldview and values of economic rationalism and competitive individualism instead of those of solidarity, resistance, and collective organization of theologies of struggle. The fragmentation of their community is related to the residents' tenuous and insecure relationship to the dominant society. Other researchers working in scavenger communities and squatter settlements in Latin America and Manila have emphasized the notion of human agency. They suggest that people actively participate in shaping their worlds, rather than their actions being wholly dependent on capital or the intervention of the state (see Long and Long 1992, 33, in Gardner and Lewis, 1996, 59). Lloyd



(1979) referred to squatter settlements in Latin America as "slums of hope" instead of "slums of despair." He looked at how squatters worked together to obtain water, gain electricity, and roads to their settlements. In Manila, Abad (1991) too focused on the adaptive strategies of scavengers at the Smokey Mountain dumpsite, who worked hard to transform their economic and social circumstances. However, the outcome of their concerted efforts depended largely on the government's policies toward squatting. For example, the people about whom Abad wrote were evicted with only a token few being relocated by the government in 1997. As Perlman (1976) argued for the poor in Rio de Janeiro, in my own work I have found that Cebu's informal workers engaged in the recycling industry are being pushed to the margins of their society, even while they work hard to improve themselves. I first visited the Cebu site in 1979, and returned to do dissertation research in 1993. At that time, I gained entrance into the community through the kind assistance of Father Max Abalos, SVD, "Manny" Gorgonio, and other caring friends and colleagues at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City. I visited the community on a weekly basis for about twelve hours per week, for a total of about 600 hours to conduct interviews and participant observations. While I alone am responsible for the analysis and limitations expressed here, my fieldwork benefited from the constant feedback made available to me through friends both on and off the site. More of the voices of the residents need to be heard as demonstrated in the appendix in an essay by a youth leader of this community who gives testimony to the BEC as a positive force for hope. Also, so many of my findings were discovered in the course of testing my own understandings against that of individual residents and organizers that an acknowledgment of their contribution as translators and guides is in order. OVERDETERMINED INDIFFERENCE TO THE RECYCLERS' PLIGHT In the late 1970s, the Philippine government transferred the dumpsite from Pasil to its present location on White Road, some twenty kilometers south of Cebu City. Much as they had in the case of a similar site near Manila (Abad 1991, 278-280), the military had relocated Pasil residents—in this case, to a steep, barren mountainside in Consolation, twenty kilometers north, as part of a federal Slum Improvement and Resettlement Project (SIR). This resettlement, like others during the Marcos years, took place not to make better lives for citizens but to hide the filth of the slums from tourists, businesspeople, diplomats, and journalists. Slums had come to betoken government inefficiency and neglect. Slums were not to be eradicated but hidden. The new site offered former Pasil inhabitants no employment—not even basic facilities (running water, electricity, toilets)—and expected repayment for the government's construction of a few small cement foundations (Fernandez and de la Torre 1986; see Abad 1991). Not surprisingly, most of these recyclers found their way to the new White



Road location. They constructed up to fifty makeshift shelters along the seashore. They routinely scavenged through the huge mounds of trash and dove into the sea for submerged refuse and shellfish sometimes, finding sunken "treasures" of jewelry and coins. At this time, 1979,1 first accompanied a group of college-educated activists as they regularly and surreptitiously visited this community to teach "underground" literacy classes. The Marcos government considered these people no less than subversives, especially in how they were experimenting with a literacy model for "conscientization" developed by the Brazilian Paulo Freire (1973). One of these idealists later became so disillusioned with the government's repressive practices toward the poor, that she joined the New People's Army, the armed wing of the Communists, and died a heroine's death at the hands of the military. Another teacher, now in faraway political asylum, was for many years violently harassed by the military for her actively non-violent and peaceful volunteer work among the poor. In 1987 another young man who had joined a radical theater group that periodically visited the site, was arrested for organizing, though framed for a common crime that he did not commit, and was severely tortured by the Integrated National Police. He only recently (December 1997) received political amnesty by former President Ramos. Nor do I see today any real rupture in this pattern of excruciating harassment of "leftists" who work for social change outside of the hegemonic power structures of the state and church. The government has apparently discouraged such activists from mobilizing the citizens of the dumpsite and, during the tenure of my fieldwork in 1993, a paramilitary resident still reported on any such activities. When I returned in 1993, so much had changed; it was no longer possible to swim in the sea. The trash had become pervasive, the bay polluted. Even fish could no longer survive. Yet over a hundred shanties and two warehouses stood nestled in what had become the core of the site. Occupying the outer rim were some forty additional shanties. Six hundred men, women, and children earned their subsistence from scavenging. Some women worked part-time as food vendors; four managed "sari-sari" stores (small general stores) within the community. Twelve men worked for Cebu City—eleven are garbage collectors and the other operates the bulldozer in the dumpsite. The scavengers, including children, earn their livelihood by recycling reusable wares. They earn an average of 50.00 pesos to 80.00 pesos per day; some earn as much as 150.00 to 200.00 pesos daily by selling reusable goods (e.g., metal, scrap plastic, and glass) to buyers who operate on-site warehouses. The buyers sell the reusables to corporations like Philippine Steel in Manila, Philippine Steel in Iligan, and San Miguel Corporation in Cebu City or to individual buyers—for example, vendors who frequent the warehouses to buy glasses and bottles for resale in Carbon Market in Cebu City. Many of the scavengers work on credit arrangements to pay off high-interest loans. The couples that own and operate the local warehouses and the owner of the nearby piggery provide cash advances and goods (e.g., food, cigarettes, medicine, and alcohol) in exchange for work or resalables. They offer loans with 20% to 30%



interest per month. Sari-sari storeowners and food vendors allow regular customers to purchase food items and merchandise on interest free credit. The scavengers work seven days a week, fourteen hours a day. Some of them, even children, work after midnight until dawn. In December 1993, one six-year-old boy and his companions worked from 8:00 PM until dawn and returned home to rest. The boy covered himself with a piece of cardboard and went to sleep on the ground alongside a bamboo bed in front of the warehouse. Around 7:00 AM on the same morning, a bulldozer, the operator unaware of his presence, crushed him. The local newspaper reported that the boy had been sleeping under a piece of cardboard in the middle of a trash heap; the local government banned recyclers from bulldozed areas (see Sun Star daily newspaper, December 19, 1993). The city garbage is collected and dumped every day from 7:00 AM until midnight. The busiest hours for dumping are from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM, and 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The scavengers work with their immediate families. Groups arrive early to wait for the dump trucks and compete with each other to collect the available scraps once the trucks arrive. They work quickly, with their hands, collecting indiscriminately and then sort through at home. They also work individually, digging through leftovers strewn across the dumpsite long after the trucks have departed. Their only tools are a basket, steel hook, and kerosene lantern. Some customary agreements regulate the process. Scavengers can sort through the trash only within their normal work areas, and must not intrude on persons working near them. If they punch another person, and cause an injury, they are responsible for the medical bill and medicines until the injury heals. If the injured person is incapacitated, the perpetrator must provide for that person until she or he can work again. A scavenger's income exceeds that of most other unskilled laborers in Cebu—even those of construction and factory workers, who earn on average about 85.00 pesos per day (see Sun Star daily newspaper, December 19, 1993; Ballescas 1993; Bucoy 1993; Mercado 1993)—an amount, as one scavenger told me, "difficult to live on because it is payable every two weeks, instead of daily." Meanwhile, scavenging "is easier [than other types of employment] to manage because you are your own boss, and you can make your own hours. If you want to rest you have no one to be afraid of because you are working for yourself." Abad, too, has remarked how Smokey Mountain inhabitants much prefer dumpto street-scavenging in Manila; in the latter case they can be physically attacked, flogged, and publicly humiliated (1991, 272). Thus, people scavenge simply because no other jobs offer as much pay or security. Lacking all educational or referential qualifications, residents find it nearly impossible to secure work in government and private institutions, service and manufacturing industries, or even as private domestics. What of the district official charged with monitoring the area? Simply, he entertained the hope for personal riches that has marked myopic landlord officials since the years of the Spanish and American colonialists. As he put it:



This area was a large swamp before because of the river. Every time the river flooded my father and uncle would make a dike to catch sediments from the mountains, which caused the water to become more and more shallow until it could be used to grow grass for horse fodder. Later on my father converted the area into rice fields, which I later continued to fill in with soils, or convert into fishponds. However beginning in early 1979, the fish could no longer survive as a result of the garbage dump nearby, so I converted the area into a garbage dump. I also "had pity" on the scavengers squatting near the seashore, so I invited them to build their homes over the fish ponds, which were filled in with garbage in exchange for a small amount of rent. Now, I have the advantage because I won't spend any money to convert the area into land. The City government recently secured a loan of 200 million pesos from the Japanese government to buy this area and convert it into a solid waste reprocessing and recycling zone. The government has offered to buy my land, and if we cannot agree on a price, the government will appropriate 300 to 400 square meters at 1000 pesos per square meter, out of which I will receive between 37 to 70 million pesos. I'll be a millionaire. An acquaintance of this landlord had mortgaged some land to erect a "buy and sell" warehouse. Later he had converted the warehouse into a piggery and had recruited residents to construct a chapel, financed in part from donations collected by his son, a parish priest. Although residents had built the structure, the owner's name is engraved into the chapel wall for donating the chapel to the community. At first, he also assumed the presidency of the neighborhood and chapel organization, although he lost this position when the BEC was founded. Today, youths frequently borrow money from him at high interest to support their drug habits. This enterprising official also owns the local water pump and sells water to his customers. Meanwhile, even today federal technocrats use the garbage dump as a catch basin to reclaim land from the sea. With neither sanitary landfill nor leachate lining, the noxious substances and toxins seep freely into the air, ground, and water (Mercado 1993, 6-7). Before the 1991 elections, the city government acquired a loan from Japan to convert the dumpsite into a modern recycling plant, but the project "has yet to materialize." During elections, Mayor Tomas Osmena promised the scavengers low-interest loans for housing and even employment in the proposed plant, but the next year in 1992, when the local community leader visited his office with a written reminder, he denied having made the promise. It is neither the mayor nor the government but this local leader whom neighbors blamed for hoodwinking them about the plan to modernize. The upshot: according to the local Cardinal Archbishop, community organizers, and the Cebu Commission on the Urban Poor staff members, the proposed sanitary landfill and recycling project is not soon to be. Addressing the case of "Smokey Mountain," the similar dumpsite of Manila, Abad cited two chief origins of such as "the increasing concentration of land ownership in the hands of a few families and institutions" and "the uneven development of the Philippine economy" (1991, 263). Both these causes are of such magnitude that only a strong and compassionate government genuinely concerned to provide decent jobs and affordable housing for all of its citizens can control them. Indeed, one journalist visiting Smokey Mountain labeled the site "a monument



to government inefficiency and neglect" (in Abad 1991, 267-268). In her campaign for a governorship, Imelda Marcos managed to have electrical posts put up in the area, and later then American Vice-President Quayle's wife Marilyn made a private donation to sanitize and modernize the site (Abad 1991, 276), but these gestures were cosmetic. THE BASIC ECCLESIAL COMMUNITY AS A SITE OF BICKERING AND ACTIVISM In 1989, one outside missionary priest had begun the process of building a BEC on White Road, replete with a loan and consumer cooperative, scholarship program, free health clinic, and full-time lay-minister assistant. He had worked with several outside organizations (Cebu Archdiocesan Prison Apostolates, Cebu City Commission on Urban Poor, and a Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group) until December 1992, when superiors requested he return to Rome for doctoral studies (which he completed, returning to his work in Cebu in 1995). His temporary replacement, a full-time priest administrator at a local university, could not work daily for the BEC, but he did regularly hold meetings on Sundays after Mass and seminars. This change coincided with my arrival, and I found the BEC and the dumpsite community virtually synonymous: almost all residents were registered in the homeowner's association, formed in 1991 when the BEC community petitioned the government not to evict them. The high membership rate was presumably because rumor held that, once the dumpsite would be transformed into a modern reprocessing plant, only members of the association would be eligible for government-provided low-income housing and jobs, and only households actively participating in Bible-study meetings could partake of the BEC income-generating opportunities. In 1993, only women attended Bible sharing groups in White Road, which incidentally was not the case in other rural BECs that I had visited that year in Cebu. When I asked why, a male ex-member told me he had stopped participating because members were gossiping, and he did not want to be the subject. Other males echoed this view. John Burdick (1990) writing about urban BECs in Brazil, noted a similar widespread sentiment among local Catholics that these neighborhood meetings "could easily become centers of gossip" (159). Also, citizens did not want their children in the scholarship program because they did not want them to become the subjects of gossip or for the BEC to make inordinate demands on their own time. On the other hand, some parents participated in the BEC to acquire scholarships for sons or daughters. In 1993 twenty-four elementary school, fourteen high school, and two college students participated in the scholarship program. When one college student dropped out due to a lack of funds, the campus minister urged parents to transfer two students to the university where their new priest was working, and suggested that their children could apply for a university scholarship instead of the BEC tuition scholarship; the money saved would be given to pay for their clothes and other needs. However, these two students in 1993 were given only 300 pesos



($11) a month—not even enough for transportation to the university. Meanwhile, parents were expected to compensate in kind by bookkeeping, accounting, and serving in welcoming and clean-up committees for visitors. Organizers created this requirement for parents to work as an attempt to get away from the "dole-out" mentality, but at the same time, it raises other problems. Parents must sacrifice valuable earnings that could be made otherwise that day in their scavenging work. Also, scholarships cannot be so simply defined as "hand-outs" because students must earn them by doing well in school. The BEC participants appeared to be gambling on which group's incomegenerating project would be more economically successful: these Bible sharing groups were economic groups as well. Each group was given a loan to start an income-generating project—for example, soap making, paper recycling, wax making, and livestock and poultry raising projects. The livestock and poultry projects appeared unhealthy for both animals and future consumers due to the unsanitary conditions at the dumpsite. In addition, BEC participants in Bible sharing groups appeared to gossip about each other when discussing their community problems—for example, gambling, drinking, drug abuse, loan sharks, marital conflicts. This resulted in constant discord and infighting. Gamblers, drunkards, addicts, and loan sharks were prohibited from membership, but some BEC members worked for or were in charge of gambling and loan-sharking syndicates. These members were anonymously singled out for criticism by a local BEC leader who constantly alluded to their activities, while they in turn began to direct their criticisms at her because she was operating a gambling business (e.g., computer games and card games) for children in her home. She responded to these criticisms by threatening to resign from office rather than give up her business: she needed the extra income for her family. Her husband earns a salary of only 90.00 pesos (S3.50) a day working as a city garbage collector. They have nine children, including one in college under the auspices of the BEC, although the revised scholarship budget provides him only partial support. This leader also confided that she took a high-interest loan from an outside moneylender because last summer her children and husband were sick with dengue fever (transmitted from mosquitoes). Why didn't she borrow from the BEC savings and loan program? Everyone in the community was afflicted with dengue fever, and it would have been unfair if she as a leader had borrowed most of their savings and loan program, so her husband borrowed 3,000 pesos at 30%o interest per month from an outside source. They are now deep in debt and must pay 300 pesos a month for interest alone, or face harassment by the collector. Her threatened resignation burgeoned into a crisis, because BEC community organizers knew of her integrity as a leader, although they continued to insist that she give up her games. In my fieldwork I found that members of the BEC Bible sharing groups repeatedly informed on one another to the BEC priest whom more than once reprimanded the group on the dangers of gossip. He simultaneously reminded



the leaders of the rules and regulations against gambling, excessive drinking, and loan sharking, which they were supposed to enforce because "it was their organization." His lectures (by placing the total responsibility on the leaders) only resulted in more backbiting and bickering. Six non-local church groups (the University of San Carlos Basic Ecclesial Community Program, University of San Jose-Recolectos Community Outreach Program, Cebu Archdiocesan Prison Apostolates, Cebu City Commission on Urban Poor, Missionaries of Charity, a Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group, a Protestant evangelical Charismatic Prayer Group) apparently vied to influence the BEC. Facilitators fetched a steady stream of "exposurists" to highlight the conditions, but for varied reasons: the BEC brought in those attending university-sponsored training seminars in order to raise their awareness, while Charismatics invited visitors primarily, if not exclusively, to encourage monetary and material support. Semester after semester students from a university outreach program have come into the area to conduct the same surveys and training programs (e.g., mother-child care program, soap making program), until the local people have lost interest in "constantly repeating the same class." Other groups brought in witnesses just to observe. There also are fabricated organizations (fraudulent NGOs) like the David Livingston Foundation, which comes into the area once a year to gather a group of children together to take photographs of them to send to their donor agencies abroad. The BEC priest provided the following view of the BECs conundrum: The BEC [in the dumpsite] is practically liturgical, not like the other [liberational] BECs. Although it has some income-generating projects and cooperatives, it uses an approach to development based on the assumption that the causes of underdevelopment are based on a lack of capital, meaning that underdevelopment is caused because people do not have capital in the capitalist economic system. This approach is being used here now. The BEC sponsored development projects are based on the assumption that what we need is capital and technology. So the solution is to get capitalfromthe outside. So, that practically is what is going on here. But the BEC [on White Road] is not addressing the problem of the system and structures; it presupposes that the system is basically OK. In other words, the BEC in the dumpsite is not successfully incorporating theologies of struggle in practice. Other more successful liberational BECs happen to be located in Cebu's rural uplands; they seek to develop a postcapitalist society based on sustainable production modes. As defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987), sustainable development is concerned with the reorganization of production to meet the prevailing needs and conditions of the majority of local people, not only wealthy people, and for export. These ecclesial communities aim to develop selfsufficient neighborhoods in which the residents using local resources can meet local needs. They network with each other to build mutually interdependent communities. The holistic guidelines of the movement include a reciprocaleducational relationship between organizers and local people who may creatively innovate new terms of political and cultural analysis that potentially



could instigate a corresponding change in the ideology of the dominant group. However, BECs are human processes engaged in a struggle in the problems of real social life: Local people in our case study join BEC activities for reasons that are as contradictory and as complex as they are transparent. They attend Bible meetings for seemingly materialistic reasons. Active participation in Bible sharing groups by a representative family member is a prerequisite for membership in BEC income-generating projects, the scholarship program, or credit cooperative. In a sense, their participation in BEC activities can be said to be another form of scavenging for "treasure," in this instance for money. However, the BECs ongoing income-generating projects (making soap and floor wax, raising pigs and other livestock) have made a difference in the lives of its members. For example, BEC members can avail themselves of material benefits provided by their own projects such as taking out low interest loans through their credit cooperative, which makes it possible for them to by-pass local loan-sharks who offer them excessively high interest loans. In 1991, the scavengers successfully persuaded the government not to evict them from their land. Under the guidance of priests and lay organizers from a nearby university, they established a savings and loan cooperative, homeowner's association, medical clinic, numerous income-generating projects, and a scholarship program for their children. In 1993, they convinced the local government to assign a bus to transport children to a day care center at the parish center, though not without pressure from an outside community organizer and the members "en force." The government also promised to help relocate residents in a nearby location with both an option to buy their homes and guarantee of employment in the dumpsite, which was supposed to be developed into a modern recycling zone in the near future. By 1995, residents already made their first down payment for a piece of land adjacent to the dumpsite. Priests and lay organizers were instrumental in helping residents to realize their plan; they constantly called on the mayor's office and served in key negotiations for a satisfactory land deal. The BEC in theory is part of a multiple class struggle supported by an alliance involved in the Philippine human rights movement against social injustice. It potentially can engage in a situational class struggle to ensure the residents the political means to secure the products of their labor. The priest and lay facilitators are mobilizing and gathering the participants into a community. They are educating them to become aware of "the power of their numbers" as voters in a capitalist democracy, but their struggle is a long and difficult process in a country where elections are notoriously fraudulent (e.g., vote buying, ballot box stuffing) and violent (e.g., murder of political opponents). Also, in a capitalist democracy the rules of social conflict are already structured in such a way that class struggle is directed toward short-term gains and material interests, not social transformation. Like the garbage all around them, scavengers can come to see themselves as social outcasts. They are effectively cast out of their society, have no real power, and are denied access to resources. They easily may be led to believe the image



that authorities have of them. They may come to think that if they are hungry it is because they didn't work hard, or save, or vote intelligently enough to elect a person into office to represent them and their interests. The dump represents for them a rare enclave of economic opportunity. Such a circumstance before the arrival of the BEC, had come to pervade not only the exterior environment but also the mindsets of the local people. Has the BEC movement made a difference in their lives? There are no easy answers. Unlike rural BECs that may decide to meet their daily subsistence needs by developing diversified organic farming techniques and practices that require little capital input, urban BECs cannot so easily maintain themselves physically outside of the fragmented market economy. Is the ideal-typical BEC fundamentally a non-capitalist approach that can work effectively only in semi-capitalist "peasant" communities? Is social life in large metropolitan centers overdetermined by capitalism to such a degree that the BECs become inadequate modes of intervention on behalf of the oppressed? CONCLUSION The dumpsite is situated in an environment ill suited for healthy social life and in relation to a dominant society that hinders the full implementation of its program. The impoverishment of the site is structurally linked to the uneven development of the wider society and the increasing concentration of capital in the hands of Cebu's few leading families. As Cebu's leading families grow richer, more and more small farmers and fishers are being dislocated. They migrate first to town centers then to Cebu City, and if they fail to find paying jobs and housing they work informally or become homeless. Some of them turn to scavenging to survive. I have suggested that Cebu's larger problem of poverty is likely to persist until those in power begin to think in more holistic terms of meeting the basic needs of all people for affordable housing, nutritional food, clean air and water, and a safe and healthy environment. This is one of the systemic reasons why people empowerment movements like the BEC in the dumpsite are not enough to resolve the reoccurring domestic problems of poverty in environments overdetermined by capitalism; they need infrastructure and input from the government.

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Demonstration against Philippine 2000 (the government's plan to rapidly modernize the Philippines by the year 2000).

Farmers being dislodged from their land.

Tenant farmer shot by the caretaker after refusing to vacate his land.

Sister dressing her brother in the Cebu City dumpsite.

Father and apprenticing sons.

Removing any remaining recyclable goods from the trash.

Carrying in the recyclable goods.

Sorting goods in the warehouse.

Upland farmer playing a leaf harmonica at a Basic Christian Community meeting of prayer and celebration.

Organic farming: earthworm cultivation.

Upland farmers using an A-frame to contour the slopes into corn terraces.

Mass baptism.

Parish meal.

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Marxism may have failed, as much because of its rejection of religions as because of the tendency of Marxist regimes to "misinterpret Marx" in an attempt to establish totalitarian states. Or rather religion, as a transformative force establishes a connection between worldly and otherworldly justice. This ennobles religiously motivated movements such as the small Christian communities and engagedBuddhists to build communities that transcend, rather than sharpen social classes based on class, ethnicity, and gender. Until recently, there have been attempts by ruling elites to characterize village-self help movements in Asian religious traditions such as the small Filipino Christian communities as "communist" or "leftist" because they, like Marxist movements, seek to ameliorate the suffering of the poor. The collapse of Marxist regimes has made this critique increasingly untenable. Ruling elites can no longer use the charge of "godless communism" to vilify those who would challenge them from below. It is, in a sense, ironic that the collapse of Marxism has perhaps enhanced the ability of the poor, the weak and oppressed to challenge the structures of domination that have so adversely influenced their lives. Whether the political space opened by that failure of Marxism to effect basic change will allow religious movements to succeed remains to be seen. But this is clear that they will play an increasingly significant role in the discourse and praxis of development for a long time to come. The concluding chapters counter Marx's view of religion by confronting it with the contemporary emergence of the BECs and related human rights movements around South and Southeast Asia.

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Chapter 7

Rethinking Marxism and Philippine Theology of Struggle

Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and also the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed, the heart of the heartless world, just as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions (Karl Marx and Engels 1984) The whole community of believers was one in heart and mind. No one claimed any of their possessions as their own; but rather they shared all things in common (Acts of the Apostles, 4:32). The concept of religion used in relation to the BECs is not an abstract category of meaning existing at some universal level but one discursively, practically, and materially grounded. Asad (1983) explored this way of looking at religion by explaining how power constitutes the conditions that formulate religious ideology, distinctive personalities, religious discourses, practices, and knowledge (1983, 237). Asad proposed that the primary question that needs to be addressed by students of religion is not the question of religious meaning; rather it is the political question of how certain symbols become established and how they are changed. His point is that the dominant symbols and classifications accepted in society are part of the ideology of the leading classes or leading fraction of a class in a classless society, as is the case in some hunting and gathering societies. In Crick's words, "they are constructions which are imposed and pass as knowledge only because the symbolic imposition is accepted as an act of power" (1982, 303). Asad examined the history of western Christianity because it provides a rich store of documented sources from which to formulate questions for religious inquiry. Asad's theory is that the many varied denominations and assemblies that Christianity takes today are quite different from the form it took in medieval times. In those days, power was defined differently and it had different results. Religiosity worked its way through different human institutions and notions of



self that constructed, legitimated, and distributed different categories of knowledge. One of the effects of this variable distribution of power is that religion is a result, not cause, of the historical processes which shape, perpetuate, and transform it, so there can be no universal definition of religion applicable to the study of religion everywhere (1983, 238). In other words, religion needs to be investigated in all of its historical specificity that is an oftenrepeated theme in Marxist anthropology. Not surprisingly, Asad noted that there were no serious attempts to systematize a universal definition of religion until the seventeenth century precisely because the attempt was an expression of the expansion of repressive and ideological conceptions of specific relations of power and knowledge. Religion then came to be abstracted from its context and universalized with subtle and explicit force. But, in actuality the definition of religion was merely a reference to established rules and practices that were developed to screen, oversee, and authorize specific relationships of power and knowledge from a singular papal source (1983). Feuchtwang called for a Marxist theory of social practice to research religion because it is a theory from which all other forms in a society are derived in a given social and economic formation. Such an analytical technique can readily differentiate between one social and economic formation which is a distinct social totality consisting of a set of specific conditions and any other socioeconomic formation. That is, practices are repeatable, and so too are societies in all of their detailed variations. Since Marxist analysis neither seeks nor starts from the basis of some universal categories or "unities of meaning" existing at some supreme level, it can explore different sociocultural and economic systems to produce the knowledge needed to understand them in a constructive manner (Feuchtwang 1984, 67, 68). This chapter begins by looking at how liberation theology situates itself within Marxism and Catholicism, in both general and the Philippine contexts, where I examine Cebu's Basic Ecclesial Community movement. It employs a cultural mode of production perspective to examine the underlying conditions and assumptions that make subjective religious expressions like the BECs possible. To start, this approach calls into question many of the categorical assumptions born of western science. Like many of the traditional units of study in anthropology (e.g., ethnicity, kinship, and individual), supernatural categories that exist at a superhuman level are not empirically given (see Schneider 1984). For example, the official hierarchical church in Cebu established its own BEC organizing office in the face of an already on-going Basic Christian CommunityOrganizer office. In this instance, the hierarchical church asserted its position of authority and domination symbolically and materially over the earlier BEC movement by using the BEC name for its end. Before illustrating this case of a movement divided, a discussion of Marx's concept of ideology is in order. RELIGION AND IDEOLOGY The concept ideology was coined in 1769 by the French philosophers



Cabinis and Destutt de Tracy, who used it, in a literal sense, as the "science of ideas" as opposed to "metaphysics." They articulated the concept during the French Revolution, which occurred during much disillusion with religious and political leaders using an elaborate otherworldly religion to justify and legitimize their authority and power. The Revolution set in motion a movement to secularize politics by looking for a worldly basis to solve problems in a worldly way. The concept of ideology served in epistemological and linguistic theories since, until used in a pejorative sense by Marx and Engels, who employed the concept to critique ideologies used to rationalize, justify, and legitimate the Industrial Revolution still in motion at the turn of the nineteenth century (Marx and Engels [1847] 1984). Among others (e.g., Boggs, Carlsnaes, Jay, Larrain, and Williams), Bottomore (1983) pointed out that Marx and Engels were reacting critically to two divergent philosophical lines spearheaded by Feuerbach and Hegel. Unlike Feuerbach and Hegel, who did not refer religious and metaphysical distortions back to their material and discursive practices, Marx and Engels referred them back to their concrete referents. They looked specifically at the relationships between human misapprehensions and their material and discursive practices, and argued that social problems do not stem from ideological distortions but from social contradictions. In other words, subjective and objective realities indeed interpenetrate. Distortions (false consciousness as opposed to class consciousness; mystifications—e.g., cultural and social spheres considered natural and inevitable; fetishisms—e.g., merchandise and capital) are a problem—a cause of suffering—but are, in turn, caused by material conditions. Bottomore (1983, 219) alleged, "It is this relationship (between thought and material social reality) that the concept of ideology expresses by referring to a distortion of thought which stems from, and conceals, social contradictions." The concept of ideology has been employed since, primarily by Marxists to refer to distortions of thought that obscure the social contradictions in which they are founded (Bottomore 1983). Marx criticized Hegel's and Feuerbach's thesis that thought determines the course of social change. As Murphy (1971, 98) put it, Marx turned around the theoretical perspective of Hegel and Feuerbach by proposing that "history was not the history of the mind but the history of man and his institutions, begotten by labor upon nature," that is, thought does not exist apart from objective social life but works dialectically through human institutions changing them as they, in turn, change it. Marx made this point in his critique of Feuerbach: The chief defect of all materialism up to now (including Feuerbach's) is, that the object, reality, what we apprehend through our senses, is understood only in the form of the object of contemplation; but not as sensuous human activity, as practice; not subjectively. Hence in opposition to materialism the active side was developed abstractly by idealism—which of course does not know real sensuous activity as such. Feuerbach wants sensuous objects, really distinguished from objects of thought: but he does not understand human activity itself as objective activity (Marx 1972, 197).



Marx showed how human beings misapprehended their discursive practices and material conditions while thinking about them. He defined his concept of ideology from the starting point of misapprehensions: Consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence, and the existence of men is their actual life-processes. If in all ideology men and their circumstances appear upside down as in a camera obscura, this phenomena arises just as much from their historical life-processes as the inversions of objects on the retina does from their physical life-process (Marx 1972, 14). In other words, humans think about their practices and circumstances, and their thoughts spur action. In this sense, Marx used ideology to study the content and structure of the thinking of the ruling classes. He showed how these classes used ideology in such a way to persuade the other classes to provide them services. But Murphy (1971, 99) suggested, "This is not the only genesis of its [ideology's] inversions and illusions. This seems to arise in the first instance from the finite, limited, and restricted character of man's relationship to nature and to other men" (see also Marx 1972, 16-21). Bottomore points out that the word "ideology" does not appear in Marx's early writings. However, Marx alludes to it in his critique of religion and of Hegel's conception of the state, which he describes as "inversions concealing the real character of things" (Bottomore 1983, 219), alludes to ideology similar to how Machiavelli discusses the strategies of princes who used brute force and corruption to obtain their ends. In contradistinction to Hegel who proposed that the idea of a political state caused its appearance in the empirical world as an absolute universal that determined society, Marx proposed that ideas were distorted to conceal events. He also called into question Feuerbach's thesis: Although Marx agreed that religion was made by men and women and that the idea of God as creator was really an inversion of the facts, he did not agree with Feuerbach that religion was therefore an illusion, an imagined grandiose directive, but showed that religion appeared through actual material and discursive practices. Later Marx in Capital ([1867] 1972), refined his concept of ideology, concluding that the relationship between "inverted consciousness and inverted reality is mediated by a level of appearances that is constitutive of reality itself" (Bottomore 1983, 220). This level of appearances is the economic infrastructure that determines a society's logic and motion or its sphere of social and ideological relations. In a society dominated by the capitalist mode of production, for example, competition and the market constitute the level of appearances. That is, the sphere of circulation and exchange in the market generate the economic and political ideologies of the ruling classes in Western capitalist societies. However, Marx did not mean that all societies contain separate functioning parts whereby the economy becomes clearly visible, as in Western capitalist societies. Under European or American capitalism societal and economic unity manifests increasingly through bureaucratic means, whereby society becomes differentiated into discrete and functional institutions (economy, family, politics, religion, education). Hence, relations of production



are enacted and it is easy to see how the economic instance becomes the basis upon which all other spheres of social life are grounded. But in other societies, especially precapitalist societies, relations of production and the corresponding forces of production that give direction to distribution and exchange are typically manifested through interpersonal relations enmeshed and contextualized in organizations other than the economic. As in capitalist societies, however, ideology works to conceal the underlying contradictions of social life by focusing on how economic relations appear on the surface (Godelier 1972). Marx stressed that the word "ideology" works to conceal the hidden reasons why economic relations appear in diverse cultures and societies. For example, if in precapitalist societies kinship or religion dominates social life, then productive and redistributive networks are founded in kinship or religious systems, not the capitalist market system (Godelier 1972). The external forms that the relations and forces of production take themselves comprise the sphere of circulation and exchange that perpetuates ideological forms. Economic, political, legal, educational, familial, and religious ideologies interconnect in different ways and are reproduced within a total social and economic formation, ideologies which cannot be studied apart from their particular societies. Marx's conceptualization of ideology provides a wide range of entry points for inquiry. Althusser showed that he did not approach the study of ideology in abstraction but at the concrete level. By so doing, Althusser challenged scholars who would use Marx' theory dogmatically. He pointed out that previously students (Lenin, Gramsci, and Lukacs) defined the term ideology in two ways, first, to refer to the ideological superstructure of a society, and second, to refer to the political ideas of particular classes. But, Althusser (1977, 170) argued that both these ways of looking at ideology could be misappropriated by Communist hardliners to falsely refer to ideology in abstraction, without an empirical basis, and he provided the following alternative definition: Ideology is the "lived" relation between men and their world, or a reflected form of this unconscious relation, for instance a "philosophy," etc. It is distinguished from a science not by its falsity, for it can be coherent and logical (for instance, theology), but by the fact that the practico-social predominates in it over the theoretical, over knowledge. Historically, it proceeds the science that is produced by making an epistemological break with it, but it survives along side science as an essential element of every social formation including a socialist and even a communist society (Althusser 1977, 252). Althusser (1977, 169) is exceptional. He recognized "that a Theory is essential for the transformation of domains in which a Marxist theoretical practice does not yet really exist." In other words, in the study of cultures and societies outside of Marx's Capital the Marxist theoretical practice of epistemology (e.g., of the histories of science, ideology, philosophy, and art) for the most part remains unconstituted. Marxist anthropologists of other societies are not lacking, but Althusser pointed out that they did not have the



revolutionary practice of Capital behind them—that is, their practice "had to be set [sic] on correct theoretical basis so that it corresponds to a real object, not a presumed or ideological object, and so that it is a truly theoretical practice, not a technical practice [ethnocentric formulas]" (Althusser 1977, 169, 170). Althusser insisted that the theory of dialectical materialism was appropriate for drawing up the conditions of a theoretical practice. He argued: A real understanding of materialism reveals that (the researcher's) labor is not a labor of the universal, but a labor on a pre-existing universal, a labor whose aim and achievement is precisely to refuse this universal the abstractions or the temptations of "philosophy" (ideology), and to bring it back to its condition by force; to the condition of a scientifically specified universality (Althusser 1977, 183). The utilization of dialectical materialism is not a matter of applying its formula to pre-existing content; rather the method clarifies aims as it guides the researcher's analysis of a particular subject (Althusser 1977, 169, 170). Although Althusser's methodological distinction between science and ideology is still controversial in Marxist thought, he clearly distinguishes between them (see, Bottomore 1983, 223). Moreover, since the anthropologist of non-Western societies and cultures is essentially moving into uncharted territory in Marx's dialectics, the primary research instrument is not theory but the dialectically and actively engaged anthropologist. Althusser pointed out that Marx's theory was not fully developed in his youthful work when he was concerned mainly with questions of alienation in an industrializing and dehumanizing world. Although he criticized Hegel's ideas, his split from Hegel's thought was incomplete. Marx charged Hegel with the fallacy of abstraction. He argued that the egocentric individualism existing in European bureaucratic structures diametrically opposed the Hegelian notion that the bureaucracy of a modern state was a universal class whose purpose was to realize the universal interest (Jessop 1982, 4). However, Marx's basic proposition that human beings created their own history was still very similar to Hegel's fundamental thesis that the world created itself according to some universal spirit (Bottomore 1983). Later, however, Marx (1964, 1972, 1982) cut his roots from Hegelian epistemology (which Althusser would call his ideological prehistory) to develop a science of dialectical materialism (Bottomore 1983, 13-15). The mature Marx addressed the theory of social formations and their histories in all of their conceptual and structural variations. From this time on, Marx viewed history no longer as a series of stages unfolding along some linear evolutionary path but as everywhere variable and subject to tireless investigation. To his credit Althusser (1977) was one of the first Marxists who emphasized the importance of this epistemological break with Hegel. Even Boggs (1984) in his review of Gramsci's two Marxist revolutions (scientific and revolutionary) does not mention Marx's departure from Hegel. Nor does Jay (1984, 413) in his exegesis on the concept of totality in Marxist theories adequately differentiate Althusser's concept of the social whole from that of his predecessors Gramsci and Lukacs.



Jay concentrates only on Althusser's aversion to "genetic meta subjects" (collective notions of the social whole), an aversion shared by Gramsci and Lukacs, rather than on the differences in their practical theories of social change. However, Althusser argued that Gramsci and Lukacs were Hegelian Marxists precisely because they sought to recenter humankind (Humanism). In contrast, Althusser emphasized that the social whole was actually decentered, even under the ruling class of communism. Althusser was more concerned to use Marx's theory as an impetus to research new possibilities for social change and action than to use it as a political weapon in the hands of a class or a coalition of classes to forge another society along rigid communist party lines. Marx's concept of the social whole broke with Hegel's. Hegel's dialectic presupposed an original unity that emanated outward by virtue of its own negativity to realize its original unity in an ever-expanding material social world. But, as Althusser put it, Marx insisted that the simple could only exist within a complex structure of dominance: The universal existence of the simple category is never original, it only appears as the endresult of a long historical process, as the product of highly differentiated social structure; so, where reality is concerned, we are never dealing with the pure existence of simplicity, be it essence or category, but with the existence of "concretes" of complex and structured beings and processes. This is the basic principle that eternally rejects the Hegelian womb of contradiction (Althusser 1977, 197). For Althusser (1971), "ideology summons individuals as subjects" because individuals are socialized by their societies and cultures, are "called" out of an amorphous group to become a separate person distinct from others, a process which begins in childhood and continues as long as one continues to hear the "call." The "call" turns individuals into subjects by telling them ways that they can be the subjects or authors of their actions and can assume social roles even change society, and that they are dominated subjects who need to obey to occupy certain positions without complaint. According to this framework, individuals become qualified as change agents or disqualified as subjugated subjects. The term "subject" is paradoxical, containing within itself the dialectical dimension of author as change-agent and subject as a dominated client. With this, social change becomes possible because it is always possible that someone will resist subjugation by acting differently (although this can be risky, for they can be silenced in various ways and for reasons that are political). Herein, however, resides the possibility for what Gramsci has defined as counterhegemony, the awareness that there are possibilities for social life other than the dominant one, but this is a long difficult group process in which each move forward on behalf of the underclasses is met by an opposite move from the dominant classes. Althusser considers that these processes of hegemony and counter-hegemony exist simultaneously, with one dominant, neither taking center stage; these processes occur even in existing socialist societies that have come about through



revolution: societies which, also, exist in relation to other societies in a global capitalist system. In other words, dominators attempt to manipulate according to an ideology or image that they have of the dominated. But if the dominated reject the dominant ideology by asserting their own values (e.g., values of community and collective organization as opposed to values of competition and individualism) they are asserting their own alternative ideology. In Marx's model society is made up of two levels: the economic base (the productive forces and the relations of production) and the ideological superstructure (different ideologies, religious, ethical, political, legal). The metaphor of an edifice shows how the economic base finally determines the superstructure. Althusser states expressly that he does not reject Marx's metaphor but is clarifying—namely, the classical metaphor of an edifice represents only Marx's descriptive model, which is subject to change. Althusser (1971, 131) insists that it is necessary to go beyond Marx's description "to think what characterizes the essential of the existence and nature of the superstructure on the basis of reproduction." Then it becomes clear that Marx's model is not reductionist in regards to the relationship between the economic base and the superstructure. For example, the indigenous system of agriculture in the upland corn farming community of Chapter 5 has food consumption and nutrition patterns community and collectively organized, which exist in contradistinction to those of capitalist industrial societies, which are individualistically and competitively organized. Nor are the former relations of production reducible to an economic base as are the capitalist relations of production. Althusser's "ideology" cannot be conceived apart from its positive and negative relationships to a dominant mode of production (e.g., capitalist relations of production) in relation to other modes of production (e.g., indigenous systems of agriculture) in an actually existing social and economic formation (e.g., the Philippines). Marx looked at the inner connections of economic phenomena in a historic totality. The concept mode of production and the changing ways in which one mode of production interacts with other modes to achieve its dominance is constructed and deconstructed in relation to a particular society as a whole (Wolf 1982, 76). Althusser (1970, 177) explained, "The relations of production cannot be thought of in their concept while abstracting them from their superstructural conditions of existence." Relations of production, including class relations, cannot be abstracted from their concrete conditions, because certain relations of production presuppose their own political, juridical, and ideological superstructure. Relations of production are socioculturally specific, not mere reflections of an economic base. As Lukacs (1968, 50) suggests: "For only when this relation is established (the relation of society as a whole) does the consciousness of their existence that men (and women) have at any given time emerge in all its essential characteristics." Althusser defines a social and economic formation as a decentered totality made up of the forces and relations of production, the economy, superstructure, state, and ideology. Althusser sees ideology as the imaginary relationship men and women have to their conditions of existence; ideology is enmeshed and



contextualized in practices, discursive, nondiscursive, and material. Even when a person's ideas do not refer back to his or her actions, they appear so to others. In Althusser's (1971, 150) words, "ideology has no history" because particular ideologies (religious, ethical, legal, political) express class, gender, and regional positions which always pertain to particular histories. For Althusser contemporary ideology results from sustained struggle between classes with the ideology of the hegemonic class working in and over the repressive (government, administration, military, police, courts, prisons) and ideological (churches, schools, family system, laws, political system including parties, trade-unions, communications, cultural, literary, and recreational arts) apparatuses of the state (Althusser 1971, 150). Many anthropologists and social theorists have assailed Althusser for being functionalist and outdated; interested readers are referred to them (Baudrillard 1975; Williams 1977; Rapp 1978; Thompson 1978, 68; Thompson 1984, 94; Roseberry 1989; Assiter 1990; Hartsock 1991). Althusser's concept of ideological hegemony lacks an entry point for understanding the complexities of multiclass and intraclass struggles for hegemony, although he has left some hints. I have culled his theory for open-ended concepts as I have culled concepts from other related theories to use in fieldwork. I do not, however, completely agree with those who dismiss his theory. If Althusser's critics fault him for over rigidity in viewing a social formation as an economic infrastructure and a political, cultural, and ideological superstructure, Althusser's theory is anything but economistic and iconoclastic. Althusser does not eliminate men and women from his theory and he aptly, in my opinion, defends himself in his Essays in Self Criticism (1976). Moreover, he paved the way for the emergence of Cultural Marxism by studying culture in specific institutions (e.g. in European mental asylums, hospitals, and prisons); even the culture theories of critics became clearer in their debates with him. Thus, Marx tried to show that religion as ideology was a tool in the hands of leading economic and political elites to cover-up irrationalities of the system of production, and he prophesied that it would decline when men and women started to think and relate to each other clearly. He called religion the "opiate for the masses" because it masked the contradictions: sources of human sufferings, unintelligible life circumstances, and natural calamities of various kinds in social life (Marx 1972, Ch.l; 1964, 41, 42; see also, Miguez 1976, 49, 50). However, evidence also indicates that people can use religion to "see, judge, and act" on problems clearly and collectively. Pieris (1988) has written extensively about epistemological traditions in Christianity and Buddhism that have produced methods for liberating the mind of selfish desires and ideological projections—notably, monks who renounce the world to practice meditation techniques to clarify thinking (seeing) (1988). Evidence also indicates world religions have been challenged from within the context of their own faith by theologians who call for both a cultural revolution (e.g., attitudinal changes) and a structural revolution (e.g., systemic socioeconomic and ecological changes). These liberation theologians encourage



people to think clearly and confront their problems collectively as exemplified in Asian people's movements influenced by ethical liberation doctrines in Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity. One example of Asian liberation theologies surging up from below is the BEC movement in the Philippines. On the one hand, participants in this movement seek solutions to problems through community worship and Bible reflection. On the other hand, they address problems through issue analysis, collective planning, decision-making, and pressure techniques in negotiations with employers, government officials, and landlords. McCoy (1984), for example, has conducted a case study on a Filipino BEC movement that acted in accordance with Marx's criteria for a self-conscious social movement (for similar kinds of study see also De la Torre 1986; Gaspar 1990; and Cacayan and Miclat 1991). Marx stipulated that men and women who do not actively work together to solve problems practically would imagine solutions in the form of ideological distortions that conceal those contradictions. These distortions over time promote the interests of the dominant classes, unless they form the ideological basis for rebellion. For Marx, the conscious act of bringing problems into awareness through rational discussion and criticism, however, is not sufficient to solve them. It is only through persevering in solidarity that men and women reach solutions. As the BEC movement is a step in this direction, a few words are now in order. RENEWED MARXIST CURRENTS Since the breakup of the Soviet Union (1989-1991), nationalist scholars and practitioners of liberation theology publicly were debating and redefining Marxist concepts in the Philippines. Until then, the heated debates of the 1970s between theoretical Marxists in places where academic freedom prevailed were not widely publicized in the popular presses, and these debates anyway largely were suppressed in the Philippines until after the fall of Marcos dictatorship in 1986. This is one possible reason why Marxist liberation theologians had been warned then by other Catholic theologians not to confuse the poor of the Scripture with the proletariat of Marx (Galilea 1984; Ratzinger 1984 in Haight 1985; Second Plenary Council of the Philippines 1991, 97, 127). Critics warned liberation theologians against using Marxist dogma, but they have not recognized that liberation theologians have criticized dogmatic Marxist theory in their own works. Even Pope John Paul II in his seminal Laborem Exercems (On Human Work) written in 1981 criticized liberation theology because of its Marxist tendencies, although like the liberation theologians he also criticized capitalism and state technocratic socialism in his encyclical. Some inside critics (Galilea, Marins, Ratzinger) of liberation theology seem to be "lumping" various Marxist social teachings into one dogmatic strain of thought as if there were no multitude of strands in Marxism, and all of them consisted of "mechanistic models" of class struggle and revolution.



"Mechanistic" evolutionary models of modes of production (e.g., feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and communism) have long been criticized, specifically by neoMarxist scholars working in areas where, at least, academic openness prevailed prior to the break-up of the Soviet Union. These scholars have criticized such mechanistic models for being dogmatic and ethnocentric (Nadeau 1994). They have also criticized mechanistic mode of production models for omitting considerations of gender, ethnicity, ecology, and local history in all its variations, most significantly culture (e.g., Lukacs 1968; Bloch 1984; Godelier 1972; Wolf 1982). Most neoMarxists would agree with liberation theologians that preconceived totalitarian visions of the economy and society have to be abandoned because they fail to address the democratic aspirations of common people. The impact of this progressive stream of thought on the Philippines, for example, provides a partial explanation for why allies and party members of the Communist Party of the Philippines were at loggerheads in the early 1990s, over the hard line taken by Armando Liwanag in his paper "Reaffirm Our Basic Principles and Rectify Errors" (1992; Rocamora 1993a, 1993b; Pomeroy 1993; Jalandoni 1993; National Democratic Front Council 1993; Pollard 1992). Globally, neoMarxists and liberation theologians were arguing that culture, human agents, and ideology have a relative autonomy in social life and for this reason they need to be included in models of the economy, society, and social change. Among them were also neoMarxist anthropologists and historians who agreed that local interactions needed to be considered into frameworks of large scale models of the relationship between capitalists and non-capitalists, and that indigenous context and history matter (e.g., Stoler 1985; Scott 1985; McCoy 1982; Kerkvliet 1990; and Mojares 1986). NeoMarxists scholars like De la Torre, Nemenzo, and David, at least as early as the mid-1960s, made their criticisms of dogmatic leaders of the former Soviet Union and other dogmatic communist movements and regimes. They opposed those who would dogmatically apply Marx's ideas as politics, rather than as an impetus for coming up with some new and creative ideas to solve practical social problems on local ground. Marx's concepts, like any other concepts or theories, are best seen as entry points for social analysis. Take for example his concept of a mode of production, that is, at best, a nonessentialist concept. A mode of production can only be understood in terms of the particular social formation and of the other modes of production that orient it. A mode of production is therefore, open to analysis and change from any point on a wide spectrum of possibilities, for example, from the point of gender, history, environment, work or religion. It can be said that the fall of the Soviet Union has not marked the death of Marxism, rather it has opened-up a wellspring of creative possibilities. This is one explanation for why so many environmentalists, feminists, liberation theologians, and social scientists of every sort are using Marxism as a way of dialectically and democratically looking at social life. It provides one possible venue for coming up with some new terms of agreement that are open to



developing an ecologically sustainable and more humane planet earth. These newer directions in Marxist thought are especially relevant to the evolution of Philippine theology of struggle. The "People's Power" revolution opened new space for rethinking Marxism in the context of these newer experiences and realities. For example, after 1986, some communist party cadres began to question the ideological basis of the Jose Sison group's decision to boycott the elections in a series of articles published in the clandestine network of the National Democratic Front. This led to a major rift in the party between those who adhered to Sison's strategy for armed struggle and those who wanted to re-write the program to make it more inclusive of other possibly more viable strategies as they arise. Liberation theology like all theology is talk about God. It is an inductive methodology and process that discerns God in the life of the people by taking into consideration their aspirations and then looking to see what the Bible has to say about that. Liberation theology is biased for the poor and oppressed because the God of the Bible is on the side of the poor who comes down to live with them. Liberation theology does not begin through the entry point of any absolute perspective, rather it goes back to the people to think and reflect upon their experiences and realities, to better understand and identify their problems in solidarity with the people concerned. Liberation theology is "God talk" and its tools are Marxist analysis. In the words of one cadre priest, "unless you have the tools of analysis your consciousness is zero because conscientization is some sort of realization—a kind of thinking—it is a moment of ecstasy when people see the world differently. Then, they will become liberated and will identify with a class or group of people; this makes liberation theology a class struggle." In contrast the dogmatic structures of the Catholic church are closer to the structures of scientific atheism. The Catholic church and Marxist dogma are like two absolutes. Two absolutes clash, neither will give way. What they believe is what is right. But, there are no absolutes when it comes to facts. Facts are fallible and relative like morals, abortion, mortal sin, and a woman's right to her own body. Like thunder and storm, heat and cold, unless both sides understand the parameters of the debate neither will go very far in understanding each other. Both the church and party are authoritative in nature, and have messianic and eschatological visions. Both call for justice, peace, equity, land reform, and citizen participation. For the Party, the new world of a classless society will come about through class struggle, will unfold according to global historical forces when peasants and laboring classes overthrow the ruling classes by surrounding them from the countryside. For the church, the new world of promised land will result from the ongoing human struggle to build up God's kingdom on earth, men and women will discern this historical plan as it unfolds in history—when the whole nation is remodeled as a liturgical BEC. But these overlapping tendencies between the Catholic church and Marxist dogma remain at the level of structure, not content. They do not overlap in any other sense, except as they have met challenge from within by liberation theologians and neoMarxists.



The theology of struggle in the Philippines stands in a complex relationship to Marxism. It is more political in practice than in the literature. Like in Latin America and Africa, however, practicing liberation theology in the Philippines is a risky endeavor. Lives are at stake. BECs are subject to militarization and hameletting, which not coincidentally, was done to the Vietnamese farmers by the Americans during the Vietnam War period. BEC workers and members are also open to salvagings (summary executions), and BEC priests risk being censored and ostracized. BASIC ECCLESIAL COMMUNITIES Welch who scrutinized liberation theology in relation to her own work in feminist theology, looked at the literature on liberational BECs through the lens of Foucault's genealogy and archaeology of knowledge. She pointed out that liberation theologies are not merely variant strains of thought within a traditional theology, for example, progressive theologies versus conservative theologies within an overriding Catholic theology, rather they can be said to represent a new episteme of knowledge: a break from traditional theology. They are continuous with one tradition, among other traditions, within Christianity as a whole, namely, with a tradition that is critical of society and the institutional church (1985, 24, 34). Welch points out that Biblical texts and scriptures are important in theologies of liberation, but the formative basis of liberation faith is oriented in the present communities of readers who are doing the interpreting. For liberation theology like neoMarxism is not based on some abstract category of knowledge that exist at the level of the supernatural. Rather it is based in a concrete category of knowledge that exists practically and historically in the present. Liberation theology is based on a relationship between God and God's people in history. It is lived and reflected theologically as it is practiced. It is based in BECs that strategically and politically side with the poor and oppressed. Liberation theology, like neoMarxist theories, is concerned with the concrete social structure and situation of the poor. It is concerned with the consciousness that the poor have regarding their own situation, and it seeks to empower the poor by involving them in their own development process, especially in decision-making. It does not overlook the indigenous consciousness, for example, the religiosity of the poor, rather it expands upon it to enable the poor to become more aware of local possibilities for social change, some of which may entail compromising and negotiating, rather than class conflict. It enables the poor, many of whom are religious believers, to see their church's teachings in a new light by depicting a God who is not only with them, but, above all, for them. Liberation theology is informed by on-going struggles of the poor in the history of the Third World, and in this respect it is closer to neoMarxism, not orthodox Marxism.



AN OUTSIDER'S VIEW IN CEBU However, theologies of struggle in the Philippines work differently on the ground than envisioned in the theories of the community organizers who use them, and in the writings of the theologians who reflect on them, such as in the writings of De la Torre (1986), Cosmao (1985), Lovett (1986), Gaspar (1990), and Pernia (1990). For example, I did fieldwork in 1993 on two principal and opposing BEC models operating in Cebu. On one side, the Archdiocesan BEC office organized liturgical BECs. On the other side, the Basic Christian Community office organized liberational BECs. Although some bishops and priests unofficially approved of it, the Basic Christian Community office at that time did not have the insignia of the church hierarchy. The two organizing offices could be said to be similar because both were building BECs based on small, Bible-oriented groups. They differed because of their approaches to and interpretations of human and economic development. In the words of one Basic Christian Community officer: The primary target of the BCC-CO (Basic Christian Community office) is the poor masses. We speak about the problems of the poor. The local bishops have not implemented the BEC model envisioned by Second Plenary Council of the Philippines: a model that theoretically includes the same threefold (liturgical, developmental, and liberational) focus as the BCCCO's model. In reality, the bishops seldom speak about the problems of the people; they are only concerned to establish the liturgical aspect of the BEC model. The worst is that they are attacking liberational BECs for reasons that they say the Left is using them. So, presently there are still parishes [in the Visayan region] that accept us, also priests who understand us but who are not implementing the BEC program. In reality, there is an antiBCC-CO faction within the church hierarchy that started in 1988, when the Visayan bishops released an official statement denouncing the BECs [organized by the BCC-CO] for their Marxist interpretation of the Bible. In the past, BCC-CO priests were wiped out, especially in Samar and Leyte, and some went underground. How can you deny the truth? We are just afraid that the church in itself is capitalist. They [the conservative faction of the church hierarchy] don't want the resources of the church to be shared with the people, mostly with the poor, exploited and oppressed. So, all they have to do is defend their status quo. Although there were other BECs in Cebu independent of these leading offices, they resembled one or the other and could have a double-edged effect. The official archdiocesan office in Cebu City seemed to be drawing on an approach to economic and human development based more on modernization theory than on liberation theology. The approach of modernization theory differs from the more indigenous approach of liberation theology in that it assumes that capitalist rational behavior theories developed in the West can be transferred to develop other societies and cultures (Schneider 1974 and LeClair 1968). As one priest explained: The funding agency (behind the archdiocesan BEC office) was looking for an expert in the area of developing cooperatives. The Scarborough Fathers are really master builders of cooperatives; they really invested a lot of money in them. They are master builders but their cooperatives never worked because they were meant for the poor but became more of a



banking system catering to the middle classes. The director they hired was a former Scarborough priest (now married) who worked in this area and there were so many things going on. The funding agency trusted him, and like a good businessman, the man looks after himself. He excels in the management and bureaucratic side but the real question is what has he done in the field? He is more value oriented, a real functionalist, he wouldn't align with any of the left groups really. He takes a tunnel approach to reality as if (people's) values change and the whole thing changes. But, the world out there really doesn't fit this mode thinking. It is a capitalist way of thinking. His approach to building cooperatives is to go where the power is—he has a very political and judiciary nature—they control the projects. It is as if our problems are all caused by the way we think and people are like rats in a cage to be experimented with, but when will the rats ever get out? For example, the archdiocesan office seemed to promote the idea of reforming the Philippines from within by developing "good" Christian values of saving. Once this occurs they encourage saving in small credit coops, although seed money is not given since it supposedly encourages dependency, for the sake of supporting one's brothers and sisters in community, rather than for individual profit. They promoted a view of Philippine culture "as a damaged culture, as a culture poorly adapted to American culture as can be seen in the way Filipinos are paying for foreign debt and for imports." Accordingly, the solution was one of merely changing the value system of the Filipinos to promote positive values such as love of country and Filipino products. However, is not this view of Filipino society and culture a way of making Filipinos think that it is totally their own fault that they are poor? The archdiocesan BEC office in 1993 was funded generously by donations from German Catholics1 under the name of Misereor. The project director's salary was $1000 US dollars, or approximately 27,500 pesos per month, the assistant director earned 10,000 pesos per month; and the other two senior staff members received 7,000 to 8,000 pesos, monthly, as compared to the average salary of 2,500 to 3,000 pesos for full-time labor apostolate workers in Cebu.2 Also, they had two new vehicles and a substantial bank account to work with. Staff members trained leaders who, in turn, continued to develop Bible study groups located primarily in urban centers, while the Basic Christian Community Organizer's office and the Redemptorist mission teams served rural liberational BECs. The strategy of the Archdiocesan staff was to train BEC leaders from the different parish councils who would continue to develop BECs by way of giving additional seminars and forming Bible study groups. Similar in design to Catholic Bible sharing groups in the United States, the Archdiocesan BECs met weekly in small groups in members' homes, or sometimes in parish halls or classrooms, to study passages from the Bible that was to be read in the following Sunday's liturgy. They typically kept a record of attendance that was turned in to their local parish church office for forwarding to the Archdiocesan BEC office files. These BECs typically were composed of seven to eight members, mostly women. When I asked why more men were not present, invariably I was told that it is partially because of the machismo of Filipino men and the view in the Philippines that religion is only for women. However, I learned from members



that they feel that the BEC has made a difference in their lives, especially at the level of the family. For example, one member told me that since she started attending the weekly BEC Bible study group she has been able to get along better with her teenage children and her husband. Before that she used to swear and curse and say unkind things to people, but now she has more understanding regarding the failings of her husband and others. Since she changed her own attitude and behavior, her husband has also mellowed. Now, she says he comes home in the evenings and sleeps early. Members in her BEC group were discussing a well-known scripture reading in Matthew 13 when this writer visited them. The Bible reading that they were discussing concerned the parable of the poor farmer who threw his seeds on stony, thorny, dry, and fertile grounds. They compared it to their own lives and involvement in the 24 required BEC leadership training sessions, which were being conducted by one of the local leaders in their parish council. Several members said that the seeds that were planted in fertile ground were like the seeds that were planted in them by the priest who challenged them to attend all 24 BEC sessions, because they have attended these sessions even when they were very tired. In contrast, they likened the dead seed planted in thistles and thorns to those times when they have church activities to attend to, but go out to dinner or a party instead. In contrast, the "unofficial" office seemed to draw on a holistic (not only liturgical, but social, cultural, political, economic, environmental) approach to development based on recent theories in neoMarxism and liberation theology. The director and staff emphasized transforming the capitalist system by resisting its repressive structures (e.g., by preparing farmers and fishers to act together to resist developers who hope to eject them from their land in order to convert their land into an industrial and tourist zone as is happening in Cebu). In 1993, 200 liberational BECs, or 26,389 families, participated in Bible sharing groups and ecologically oriented economic projects (e.g., ecological agriculture, livestock raising, seed nurseries; BCC-CO Visayas Updates 1993). This was a minute percentage of Cebu's total population of 2,646 million, although it did not account for all other farmer organizations in the BEC network, or the unregistered BECs; also, the Basic Christian Community-Organizer's office had been labeled as a communist front, thus, it called for a certain amount of personal courage to remain faithful for the long-term. Organizers encouraged farmers to resurrect and maintain traditional Filipino values and customs geared toward sustainable agriculture. They promoted practices that historically have borne religious significance—a closeness of spirit to nature—especially when these practices made good ecological sense. Moreover, traditional practices— neighbors who farm together and organic farming with the use of natural fertilizers, medicinal and insect repellent plants—required little capital input. The Basic Christian Community Organizer's office has built up over the years, a support network of friends locally, and abroad, for example, by hosting groups of young Christian scholars and lay church workers from Europe and Japan who wish to learn about the life of BEC farmers. Unlike the Archdiocesan



BEC office, they have no vehicles and rely on public transportation. Staff members also are not highly paid; salaries range between 2,500 and 3,000 pesos per month, salaries comparable to most Philippine civil servants—for example, teachers and post office personnel. The BEC supervisors manage local parishbased pastoral workers and guide and empower workers with basic organizing skills. Supervisors, once upland parish workers, transfer their skills to parish worker-apprentices by working alongside them in the field. Because the principle behind BEC formation is participation, parish workers are trained to develop and spot potential leaders in the barrios. They promote lay participation in the local community because these pastoral workers and staff are only facilitators. As one local BEC priest expressed it, "Without the active involvement of the communities the BEC program cannot be actualized." The Basic Christian Community organizers may well have been conflict and issue-oriented in the past, as many outside commentators (e.g., the staff of the Archdiocesan BEC office) have claimed. They organized numerous teach-ins and mass demonstrations against the Marcos Martial Law regime. However, even then, they considered conflict analysis alone to be inappropriate for the Philippines, because it was too issue-oriented and insensitive to cultural nuances. Karl Gaspar says (1985, 4) that BEC views, ideologies, and strategies "closely reflect the local situation of dehumanization that comes about from impoverishment and exploitation." This situation is further aggravated by the ongoing militarization of the Philippines. I did not find conflict analysis in vogue in their upland rural communities; organizers enabled BEC members to address their own problems by listening to and guiding them. These liberational BECs also were supported by a fellowship of fifteen priests who visited regularly. BECs from all over Cebu came together for worship, reflection, and celebration. The priest fellowship, an advocacy group for the liberational BECs with the local church hierarchy, was formed in 1988 when many of the Visayan bishops and diocesan priests threatened to disband the organizers' office. As one area supervisor expressed it: At that time [1987-1988] we were so depressed because we were always under attack. We were threatened, and we have facts on that, so at that time we were in a dilemma. So we came up with a wild idea to organize a fellowship of BEC priests who could support and stand-up for us [within the hierarchy]. Also, we knew that some priests and a few of the bishops were sympathetic. We decided to convince these priests who really believed in the BEC program to form a fellowship. Finally, the liberational BEC model of the Basic Christian CommunityOrganizers, not the liturgical model of the Archdiocesan office, can be seen as an example of a global trend toward the development of grassroots alternatives to the hegemonic discourse, symbol, and economic structures of modern capitalism. They seek to establish a necessary connection between religious truths and, social and economic justice. In summary, religion is mixed up with ideology. Marx defined ideology as the corruption of reason by interest, and analyzed the false consciousness of



both the victims and creators of unjust social structures, that is, the unconscious rationalization by which both parties accept an inequitable and unjust social order as necessary because it is ordained by God, or destined by nature, or sanctioned by religion. Hence what Marx saw as operative in society was ideology as a rationalization for the status quo. But, a great oversight of Marx was his underestimation of the need for personal spiritual growth in a world of collectivism. Marx's statement that religion is the opiate of the people was insightful in that it emphasized the relationship between three core components of religion—dominance, theodicy, and soteriology. Mutual self-help movements like the BECs are, or at least hope to become, not another opiate, but rather an antibiotic for what their members clearly perceive as the social and economic pathologies of the contemporary world. NOTES 1. The author does not know why German Catholics fund BECs in Cebu, although a prestigious Catholic university established by German missionaries in Cebu may have been instrumental in establishing an early link between German Catholics and the Philippines. 2. Salary information of the Archdiocesan BEC staff is publicly available knowledge contained in their monthly report to MISEREOR.

Chapter 8

Conclusion: Participatory Developmentfrom the Grassroots

In summary, this study has examined the interrelationship of hegemonic development policies and indigenous social and economic structures on the island of Cebu. Previous chapters have placed events in Cebu in three broad perspectives. First, we have seen Cebu as a crucible, in which multiple and conflicting political influences surround the ideology and practice of development. Second, we have examined the nature and efficacy of certain local movements to promote traditional values and practices in the face of unwelcome forms of development. Third, the Cebu case has provided a valuable opportunity to explore the efficacy of broad sociopolitical and economic models when applied to a specific Third World situation. Cebu, both historically and currently, serves as an example of how colonial and neocolonial development discourses served as mechanisms of control over the non-Western world. The history of pre-modern and modern colonization under the Spanish and then the Americans, and more recently Filipino elites schooled in Western values, exhibits a metropolitan elite intervention into this arena. At the same time, the survival of indigenous practices that have existed for thousands of years attests to Cebu as a center where even today national and international influences are felt locally. In this respect—both in past and present, oppressor and oppressed—the situation in Cebu provides an instance in which the First World interpolates the Third World. Yet, this perspective regarding Cebu's history of colonization does not adequately account for the displacement and suffering endemic to such a process. But, how effective have local, bottom-up efforts to protect the indigenous life ways of Cebu proven to be? Clearly, grassroots efforts like the BECs are more effective than abstract theories. Religion as an aspect of ideology calls for examination of its historic and structural relations to indigenous social life. Otherwise, students of anthropology run the risk of losing contact with their subjects, by creating theories with no concrete relation to them. We have also examined the alternative thrust of Cebu's BECs in relation to the whole arena,



its roots and origins, of development presently occurring in the Philippines. Part 1 relates the BEC movement to the Filipino struggle for liberation from colonial and neocolonial dominance during the Spanish colonization (1565-1898), the United States colonial period (1898-1946), and subsequent domination by the Filipino elite. There is a long history in the Philippines of religious clergy and Christians who have joined the revolutionary struggle. For example, the Christians for National Liberation, which consists of an ecumenical and mass base of Christians, was established to support the revolutionary struggle against Martial Law. However, the question of armed struggle currently is at issue among members and allies of the National Democratic Front in the Philippines. Nationalist Christians and their allies have long opted for the parliamentary road to struggle and active non-violence (Part II). Theologians of struggle (e.g., De la Torre, Gaspar, Pieres) and BEC organizers agree that they are indebted to nondogmatic and creative Marxism rather than to the more dogmatic orthodox Marxism because the former provides a fresh way to analyze and redress social problems. Theologians of struggle have modified Marxist tendencies in BEC praxis because they see dogmatic Marxism as more of a hindrance than an aid to improving people's everyday lives. Meanwhile, BECs favor poor people by providing an alternate method to restructure Philippine society. This research suggests that the primary objectives of participants in this movement are instrumental not ideological, aiming, first, to improve socioeconomic and cultural circumstances in the face of poverty, and second, to defend and protect basic human rights in the face of violence from a multiplicity of government forces and real estate and development agents. On the one side, Cebu's landlords and elite officials continue to use the military and their government connections to keep poor farmers and laborers under control and surveillance. On the other side, many of the island's poor have turned to churches to redress felt wrongs. In response, local churches in the ecumenical movement have polarized into a conservative faction of religious leaders largely concerned with preserving the status quo and a justice-oriented faction of leaders directly involved in the liberational BEC movement to improve the conditions of the impoverished majority. The poor have mostly been with the institutional church, but BECs have become more or less a metaphor for the unrest of church leaders themselves. Moreover, although the local government provides financial incentives to areas where internationally tradable goods can be produced in exchange for foreign currency, it has neglected spending on social services and agriculture. This policy affected adversely both Cebu's poor and the natural environment. By contrast, the local BEC movement offers an alternative, bottom-up development strategy attractive to the poor because their way of life is under siege. Clearly my findings, as well as those of others, point to the need to look at BECs in the wider contexts in which they are grounded, to distinguish differences between them. Some BECs may innovate fresh ideas and cultural productions in praxis (e.g., engage BEC theory in practice as in the upland corn



farming community described in Chapter 5). Others are best seen as Bible sharing groups (Chapter 7). My micro-ethnographies show that there is much more on-the-ground variation between BECs than is currently acknowledged. Ideally, BECs encourage the poor to rely on their own authority and cognitional autonomy to solve their problems free of outside theories that have no concrete basis, although they do not always do so. These communities, like many small communities, are vulnerable to counterproductive tendencies such as gossip, backbiting, suspicion, and envy. Some of the BECs are subject to manipulation by conservative clerics and lay workers who may use concepts from liberation theology to assert the church's institutional authority symbolically and materially—as when the conservative hierarchy attempted to co-opt and thereby insert the local BEC movement into the hegemonic development paradigm of the Philippine government, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. Results from my fieldwork also suggest that foreign funding agencies need to become more aware of the differences between BEC models and more wary of government and church officials' assessments of them. Liturgical and developmental BECs may emphasize economic development but not social, cultural, and ecological development. By contrast, liberational BECs are more effective modelers of sustainable development with their multi-level focus on issues of class, gender, culture, and ecology. These communities aim to effect changes in people's everyday lives (better health, satisfying work, a safe environment), although they are still young and it is inappropriate to quantify and measure their accomplishments in terms like improved incomes and diets. Some liberational BECs in Cebu have partially opted out of the dominant international and local economic system to develop self-reliant and ecologically sustainable communities for themselves. These modelers of resistance are not totally dependent on the axioms of capitalism but have opted out because lack of financial resources leaves them no alternative. Organizers in these communities develop and adapt their organizing skills and ideas on the basis of fresher experiences and realities. However, liberational BECs are vulnerable to internal divisions connected to divisions between NGOs (Chapter 5), which implies that organizers need to focus more on farmers' agendas than their own. While outside observers have reported on the Philippine government's efforts to control such movements as the BECs, few have sufficiently addressed the gross violations of human rights that currently occur there. How, then, has the example of Cebu shed light on the viability of current and popular anthropological paradigms (e.g., neoMarxist theories) applied to Third World circumstances? To begin with, this study contributes to the task of conceptualizing sustainable development alternatives by documenting at first hand local communities that are developing new and innovative models. There is no single development model that can be applied cross-culturally, rather a multiplicity of experimental models exist locally. As Fabian (1983 cited in Escobar 1995) insists, it is important to look coevally at these development alternatives in



relation to the whole arena of development as it is presently occurring. A mode of production perspective helped to examine Cebu's BEC alternatives for sustainable development; such a hybrid perspective contributes significantly to ethnographical practice because it avoids some of the pitfalls of generalizing from preconceived models that do not fully account for particular on-going processes of continuity and social change. Religion does not always serve as a tool of the ruling classes or as an instrument of exploitation, as orthodox Marxist frameworks would have it. This hypothesis that religion can aim to liberate has been substantiated by way of Althusser's theory that practice needs to connect to real indigenous social structure rife with counterproductive tendencies and not to an abstract ideological object on some universal level. A social structure is not some amorphous category existing outside of the minds of the people who live within it. Rather, it exists in the cognitive structures of these same men and women. BECs are practically oriented to people aware of some of the dilemmas (poverty, dislocations, violence) that modernity can bring and who are consequently potent modelers from whom fresh ideas and cultural productions might emerge. As with the history of Cebu under the colonialists and the more modern repression of the BEC movements, the application of conventional development paradigms to the situation on the ground grossly overlooks the human suffering and displacement the situation currently promotes. More broadly, this study shares much in common with other recent inquiries along these lines and suggests possibilities for further research. In light of so much recent rejection since the break up of the Soviet Union, of Marxian concepts and arguments as rigid and "dead," it is not surprising that some authors (Hart 1989; Aguilar 1989; Turton 1989; and White 1989) have criticized the use of Marxist mode-of-production studies in Southeast Asia as outmoded. In particular, Hart and Aguilar have criticized studies that address the relationship between capitalist and pre-capitalist relations of production for their preoccupation with rigid categorization rather than with facts. They conclude that studies which focus on the relationship between modes of production and collective social movements as forms of resistance against hegemonic development policies in Southeast Asian societies are no longer relevant to changes taking place both locally and in the larger world (Hart 1989, 1; Aguilar 1989, ad passim). Aguilar pronounces studies of modes of production guilty of a teleological assumption about the end result of capitalism (1989, 41, 47, passim). He contends that these studies in the Philippines are still laden with a rigid ethnocentric model (1989, 47). Similarly, Hart criticizes modes of production studies in Thailand "for having generally been far more concerned with what is, and is not, capitalist (and/or functional to it) than with understanding the dynamic processes at work in particular settings" (1989, 1). Both Hart and Aguilar call for more flexible theories and concepts which study real people in specific nation states that have their own unique histories and structures of economic and political power (Aguilar 1989, Hart 1989; supported by Turton 1989 and White 1989). These chapters began from a standpoint different from those of Hart or



Aguilar in regards to their appraisal of prevailing trends in modes of production studies in Southeast Asia. In particular, studies concerned with determining the type of mode of production in noncapitalist and semicapitalist societies are generally not only open to considering local specificity and difference but can place these considerations into the contexts of broader international tendencies and influences. My work shows that studies dealing with issues of modes of production can constructively address dynamic issues of the modes of production. They are open to debate, and can be used by other scholars to obtain a picture of the larger developments taking place within the field. Studies of modes of production are equal to the task of looking at economic and social changes occurring in real-life communities with their own unique configurations and cultures resulting from interactions taking place both locally and beyond. In fact, many Southeast Asian scholars engaged in the articulation of modes of production disputes have engaged these issues and improved their studies accordingly (e.g., McCoy 1982; Wolf 1982; Scott 1985; Stoler 1985; and Ong 1987). It is not that Aguilar and Hart are incorrect in their call for more local studies to account for the element of human agency in processes of political and social change at the regional and national level, but that they fail to see the importance of looking at social relationships against the backdrop of the different modes of production which orient them. Indeed, a modified rendition of a mode of production method provided this researcher an entry point to understand the case studies side by side with the (under) development of Cebu. From such a perspective, the BEC in the dumpsite community was analyzed not in terms of some amorphous "culture of poverty" theory or some rural-to-urban/backward-to-modern continuum, but was investigated in relation to the dominant urban system (or the processes of proletarianization and separation of peasants from their land) and the surrounding superordinate culture of the metropolis. More studies are needed on the emerging non-capitalist mode of production in many of Cebu's farm communities with its emphasis on use value, not exchange value with its drive for profit and quantitative rationality in which the farmers attempt to keep resources under communal, not market, control. The farmers in the case of the BEC in the upland corn-farming community are renovating traditional cultural practices (e.g., collective farming practices, organic farming techniques, and the planting of traditional crops) to counteract some of the effects of the Green Revolution (e.g., decreasing soil fertility, increasing dependence on the market, increasing indebtedness, and semi-proletarianization). They also are part of a larger farmer ecology movement against poverty, exploitation, and the capitalization of nature on the island. Moreover, this study suggests new research possibilities. Although I went to the Philippines with notions about the BEC movement, my findings proved my study plan to be irrelevant. I found it necessary to substantially redefine the liberational BECs from the ground of fieldwork and theory because members of these communities had been violently translated as leftists, to be rooted out by people at the top of the local government (e.g., see McCoy 1982; Youngblood



1990; Putzel 1992). Future researchers might take this study as a point of departure to investigate liberational BECs as socioeconomic experiments in the Philippines and encourage them by including them in political strategies for sustainable development. My findings also suggest that other social and religious movements that resemble the BEC movement need to be carefully examined. South and Southeast Asia currently are seeing numerous religious movements similar to the BEC movement in the Philippines. Some Buddhist monks in Thailand, for example, are involved in ecology and development activities that coincide with an emphasis on Buddhism's this-world teachings (Lakanavichian 1994). Such is also the case for some Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka (Pieris 1988). Islamic intellectuals are similarly contextualizing Koranic teachings in today's Indonesia (Woodward 1993). Cultural tolerance, religious pluralism, and the practical concern for equity and social justice are synthesized into a unifying theme in these movements that seek to develop peripheral communities into self-reliant communities of interpretation and action. These movements typically lack substantial financial resources and are hesitant to impose top-down development schemes. To constructively understand them, such movements need to be studied specifically in relation to the wider societies in which they are grounded. The various Asian religious movements that resemble the BEC movement have emerged in reaction to a type of development ideology associated with authoritarian state technocratic socialism and capitalist technocracy. I have argued that this type of development ideology is also present in the Filipino Christian churches, which reflect the conflicts of the West. But the justiceoriented and environmentally concerned side of these Christian churches represented in the BEC coalition are closer to the more indigenous Asian religions than to Christian fundamentalism when viewed from the theological standpoint that creation is an open process for which we share responsibility for the future (Lovett 1986; Pieres 1988; Gosling 1990). According to Pieres (1988, 32) the anti-religious roots of capitalism and authoritarian state technocratic socialism hinder advocates of these ideologies from seeing into the (religious) depths of human nature. Hence, an Asian method of development and liberation relies on tools of social analysis in conjunction with psychological introspection suited to integral (social, cultural, political, economic, ecological) Asian traditions. Not coincidentally, this is the method used by liberational BEC practitioners in the Philippines. Both Buddhists and Christians adhering to this method reject the class mores of feudal societies and capitalist societies in favor of the communitarian mores of the democratic socialist experiments in Asia. Some Thai Buddhist monks, for example, have long been involved in ecology and development activities. By the 1970s, some of them were already being labeled Communist insurgents for their reforestation and agricultural-development work, by government officials and other leading elites with an interest in local logging and associated industries. Pongsak, the abbot of Wat Palad near Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, is one



example of such a monk who has continued to work with villagers to reforest and irrigate rapidly desertifying land in the face of obstacles such as police raids (Brown 1992, Ch. 8). Many Thai Buddhist monks who engage in social work originally come from poor rural families. They avail themselves of a monastic education to obtain degrees at large urban Buddhist universities. As part of their degree program, they are expected to participate in development projects in rural communities. Some of these projects were financed in the 1970s and 1980s by the Thai government, in an effort to help counter insurgency efforts along the Kampuchean and Laos borders and to provide alternatives to opium production in the north. But many monks remained in the villages long after graduation, because they became increasingly immersed in the social, cultural, political, economic, environmental, and ecological aspects of sustainable rural development (Gosling 1990, 105; Brown 1992, Ch. 8). Similarly, some Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka have participated in a village self-help movement referred to as the Sarvodaya. This Gandhi-inspired development movement provides an indigenous alternative to the top-down development program of the local government. Since 1958, the Sarvodaya movement has grown from a small group of pioneers working alongside the outcast poor to a people's self-help movement that by 1992 included over 4000 towns and villages operating programs for health, education, agriculture, and local industry. Its program emphasizes the full range of human well-being: the needs of the whole person must be met, needs that include satisfying work, harmonious relationships, a safe and beautiful environment, a life of the mind and spirit, and food, clothing, and shelter. The economic aspect of development cannot be separated from social, cultural, political, and ecological aspects of development. Capitalist and technocratic socialist models of development that solely emphasize production and exchange of goods are inadequate models when looked at from the Sarvodaya perspective (Ariyaratne and Macy 1992). Finally, the alternative perspectives of village self-help movements in Thailand and Sri Lanka correspond to the liberational BEC perspective in the Philippines. Some of the conjunctural possibilities for the investigation of such alternatives from an anthropological perspective have been cited, while, Cultural Marxist and mode-of-production frameworks provide room for alternative researches that can guide social policy. For this reason, church workers involved in social justice and sustainable ecology movements, like Cebu's liberational BEC movement and village self-help movements in Thailand and Sri Lanka, have found it useful to employ selective NeoMarxist concepts in their analyses. They have selectively combined schools of thought in a distinctively indigenous fashion. The liberational BEC movement is an instance of this kind of new social movement that is grounded in theory and practice.

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Chapter 9

Epilogue: Human Rights for the Poor

Since its inception, the United Nations has worked to develop a comprehensive set of international rights through a varied set of conventions: for example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1951), the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the United Nations International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (1976), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979), the United Nations' Declaration of the Right of People's to Peace (1984), United Nations' Declaration on the Right to Development (1986), and the African (Banju) Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (1986).1 During this time period, three generations of human rights have come into being (Van Ness 1999). The first generation is civil and political rights intended to protect the individual from the state. These rights are rooted in the individualistic traditions of Western Europe and North America. The second generation of rights are economic, social, and cultural rights that reflect the priorities of socialist countries and Marxist philosophical traditions, that seek to address the problems of the poor (starvation, illiteracy, disease) and that have the objective to improve their material standard of living. The third generation of rights refers to collectivist rights and responds to the local priorities and realities of formerly colonized countries and their emphasis on the right to selfdetermination (e.g., Cuba) and development (e.g., the Philippines). Of particular importance to macro-economic development are (1) the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (1966), and (2) International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (1976). By 1995, 127 states ratified the covenant of civil and political rights, and 129 nations ratified the covenant for economic, social, and cultural rights. The Philippine government ratified both covenants: the covenant on civil and political rights, which was signed December 19, 1966, ratified, February 28, 1986, and implemented on



January 23, 1987; and, the covenant on economic, social, and cultural rights, which was signed December 19, 1966, ratified, May 17, 1974, and took effect on January 3, 1976. Although the Philippines has signed and ratified these covenants, it has failed to incorporate them into national policy and practice. We have seen in previous chapters how the Philippine state has violated the rights of its own citizens, especially poor citizens. This chapter looks at the issue of development aggression and the corresponding response of people's movements and the nongovernmental organizations that support them in their call for a new alternative, sustainable development paradigm. Development aggression can be defined as the process of displacing people from their land and homes to make way for development schemes that are being imposed from above without consent or public debate. It is contrary to the 1986 United Nations Declaration of the Right to Development which "recognizes that development is a comprehensive economic, social, cultural, and political process, which aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting there from."1 In its malignant form, development aggression can be characterized as a political process wherein police and military forces work in cooperation with local governments to dislodge thousands of poor farmers from their land, while depriving the urban poor of homes and jobs, all under the banner of development. In it's benign, and arguably less destructive form, development aggression co-opts local symbols, gives them new meaning, and implants inappropriate macro-economic technology (e.g., genetic seeds that disappear). For example, sustainable development agriculture once referred to organic farming but now refers to agro-capitalist industrial complexes too. Even the concept of traditional Asian values has been used to prop up authoritarian dictatorships; Marcos used Filipino values (e.g., respect for elders and authority figures) as a pretext for declaring martial law. There are many more examples. Either way, malignant or benign, aggressive development is in violation of international human rights conventions such as the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which states that "all peoples have a right to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development." An example of development aggression on a macro-level is the United States interventions into the internal operations of other nation states as, among other examples, in the case of the illicit and covert activities of the CIA abroad. This is violative of the Helsinki Agreement (1975) that states, "Participating states will refrain from intervention, direct or indirect, individual or collective, in the internal or external affairs falling within the domestic jurisdiction of another participating state, regardless of their mutual relations."3 Countering development aggression are grassroots peoples' organizations supported by non-government organizations and organic intellectuals who are researching and reporting on human-and environmental rights violations that occur as a result of inappropriate development schemes. Inappropriate



development can be defined as a globalizing economic and political process coming from outside, that severely damages a community's culture, social organization, and environment. An example would be a community (e.g., Pardo, Antique, and Tuburan in Cebu) placed under military surveillance to allow the government free reign in pursuit of its so-called development. By contrast, appropriate development can be defined in accordance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights as a process for achieving ecological sustainability and human well being within a community as a whole. It refers to a holistic (social, cultural, political, and economic) process that leads to the qualitative improvement of all individuals and groups in a society.4 Social justice and environmental movements that concern issues of class, gender, culture, indigenous knowledge systems, and literacy provide a model for appropriate development. They share a common perspective that is critical of top-down development and counterpoise bottom-up alternatives that boldly identify the interdependent relationship between culture and nature. These communities work to effect changes in people's lives (better health, satisfying work, a safe environment), although they are still young and it is inappropriate to quantify and measure their accomplishments in terms like improved incomes and diets. They are grounded on the idea of the growing economic disparity between the rich and poor and the absence of real economic and political power. These kinds of movements grounded in real social life are indicative of an international trend toward the development of social and cultural alternatives to the hegemonic discourses, symbols, and economic structures of modern capitalism (and authoritarian bureaucratic socialism). Subsequent chapters have shown that poor people's movements for social and environmental rights reflect not only a struggle for better living conditions, but also a deep-rooted resistance against global cultural imperialism. These movements (e.g., the Basic Ecclesial Communities) resist the ideological distortions, false consciousness, and fetishisms of world capitalism. It is for this reason that they concentrate their training programs not only on increasing people's awareness about their basic rights and on providing support for those whose fundamental rights have been violated, but also on raising people's consciousness about the inequitable origins of their social and economic circumstances as a way to move them to act as a class-focused movement on their own behalf. Their training programs, at the same time, aim to develop sustainable farming techniques in agriculture (Versola 1993, 12). This was illustrated in Chapter five in the case of uplanders who worked to transform Philippine society by first transforming their own community into a more cooperative economy. Sustainable development movements like organized farmer movements intersect with indigenous struggles for the right of tribal societies to live in their natural habitats. Tribal communities, for example the Higaonon tribe of Mindanao, largely seek to protect their environments from being irreparably damaged by the influx of unwanted forms of development such as mining operations and logging concessions that pollute and denude forested areas.



Tribal people are cultural bearers of indigenous knowledge systems that offer important models for sustainable forestry and agro-forestry practices. The 1993 United Nations Vienna Declaration recognizes the "inherent dignity and the unique contribution of indigenous peoples to the development and plurality of society and strongly reaffirms the commitment of the international community to their economic, social, and cultural well-being and their enjoyment of the fruits of sustainable development. States should ensure the full and free participation of indigenous people in all aspects of society, in particular in matters of concern to them." 5 In the Philippines, social justice workers and sustainable development practitioners have turned away from an orientation based on merely transferring technology and services to the poor, toward an orientation based on changing social structures democratically from within. They are steeped in the political struggles of indigenous peoples and the poor. Their goals are, first, to involve the people in their own decision-making processes, second, to restructure society; and third, to infiltrate, cultivate and influence allies, who are wellplaced, because they have access to and control over key resources which gives them the political and economic clout to make greater social transformation possible. In conclusion, Filipino justice movements work in ways that are meaningful to real people's lives. They are part of a worldwide trend that opposes poverty, exploitation, and the capitalization of nature. Since the United Nations' attempts to protect economic, social, and cultural rights compete with matters of sovereignty, these movements provide one venue for an alternative forum for human rights to emerge. Instead of labeling them communists, or divesting them of their land to make way for inappropriate development schemes, like golf courses which are absurd in an agricultural land where water would be better spent to irrigate rice fields and farms, why not, as a matter of domestic and international policy, financially support local initiatives already in place? NOTES Paper presented at the American Anthropology Association annual meeting in San Francisco, November 15-19, 2000. l.The content of these conventions can be found in The Human Rights Reader, edited by Micheline R. Ishay and published by Routledge Press in 1997. 2. In Ishay 1997,469. 3. In Ishay 1997,433. 4. In Ishay 1997,452. 5. In Ishay 1997,485.

Appendix A:

"My Life Experiences and Story about Smokey Mountain"
Dennis P. Constantino

Since I was a child I have experienced this extreme poverty together with my family. I can say extreme because if we didn't work—I mean, if we didn't go out to the garbage in order to scavenge or dig up some waste or junk materials such as empty cans, empty bottles, plastic, iron, aluminum, and other materials we found in the garbage to sell to the junk dealer or buyer of scrap materials— we did not have anything to satisfy our everyday needs such as food to eat, etc., because how are we going to buy food if we have no income? Almost all of the people who live here in Smokey Mountain [Cebu City dumpsite] depend on the garbage for their way of life. Maybe this is our livelihood because we have no choice in searching for some other job that is better than a scavenger. They really don't want to leave this kind of work because, according to them, "Working in the garbage is quite easy to manage and not difficult to do. You have no boss. You have your freedom to work, or not. You can stop working, or rest, when you're tired. You have no supervisor to be afraid of because you are working for yourself." These are the common and basic reasons why some people continue to work as scavengers, rather than finding alternative ways to make a living or creating innovative techniques so that they can have a convenient and comfortable life. Their concept about their work is so fundamental; they always look at the advantages of their work regardless of its disadvantages. Almost all of the people here have no plan for the future, what is important for them is today, never mind tomorrow. If they have money from selling their waste materials, they spend it so savagely by drinking, gambling, and so on, without giving any importance to the money they have wasted, that is, the capital of their own efforts of working in the garbage day and night. In the daytime they suffer from the extreme heat of the sun; their skin burns. They also suffer from the very thick and dirty wind dust in the garbage field. They also experience sleeplessness from working so hard, and they suffer from the cold weather at night. They never think this way. Sometimes, because they are



working so hard in the garbage they become sick. I tried to ask some people here and some parents why they are spending their money so abusively by spending it not in a right way and on nonsense things, instead of saving it so that they have something to use for tomorrow and so that they can sustain their children's needs? Unfortunately, they talked back to me and said, "Why should I worry and who am I to give them advice? In the first place, I am not a member of their family, and in the second place, I am not a relative. So, whatever happens to them is their own risk." Lastly they say, "Mind your own business kid!" So, I stopped asking them questions and am trying to keep quiet because they have a concrete point. But as a member of a society you must be concerned about what is happening in your environment, especially in the society in which you are involved. Some people here have no concern about the educational affairs of their children. They don't even give any parental guidance to their children. They don't mind whether their children are going to school or not. They don't give any encouragement to their children so that the child will have enthusiasm to go to school and study well. But, they are the ones who give discouragement to their own child and they tell their children as long as you know how to read and write that is enough. They also poisoned the minds of their children saying "why should you go to school instead of working in the garbage, you can't earn money by going to school, while if you are working in the garbage you are earning money. Nobody becomes rich by going to school, you are only wasting your time, efforts, and, most of all, money." This is common to people who live here, they don't give any importance and value to education. Sometimes, I have to pity them, not because they are an object of poverty because I also am one of them and suffer from this kind of situation, but because of their poor insight and concept about the meaning of life. The idea that comes out of their mind about the meaning of life is so very shallow. They seem to be hopeless, and don't think about the consequences of all the things that they have done. They are frivolous in doing something for their society as I have said, they are only interested in their own satisfaction and by doing things that they desire, they act so selfishly. I'm also thinking, what will happen when their children grow up and start to realize what life really is all about and what their duties and responsibilities are toward their own self, fellow human beings, society, and most of all, God? Maybe once they know this, I am 100% sure that they will blame their parents and say "what kind of parents are you, so irresponsible that you allowed us to atrophy, become idle and uninterested in the good things of life?" I have observed that even when the parents see their children gambling, drinking, doing indecent acts, and taking bad medicine or drugs, they don't give any advice or guidance, and they don't discipline their children who commit bad acts. In other words, they tolerate the faults of their children. So it happens that when their children grow up and become young adults they still continue their bad habits because they inherit their attitude from their parents. This young adult becomes a bad boy or girl that we can view in general as a cancer of the society



(including their parents as the root cause). Sometimes I can say that people (mentioned above) no longer have any financial problem because I have my consciousness in this life and this area, I always notice them (old persons, parents, youths, adults) drinking and gambling, everyday, and almost all the youth are involved with drugs. That is why I am analyzing how I can get out of this abstruse and crazy society so that I am not able to witness these social diseases, it can really infect me and get me irritated with them. In this situation, the life of the people here becomes conflicted because of troubles, arguing, gossips, adultery, robbery, defamation, and sometimes slayings are inevitable. Maybe they lack patience and cannot psychologically control their reactions because of the way the system causes them to treat each other, and because almost all of them are uneducated and illiterate? But, since the BEC and the SVD priests came here, especially Father Heinz, Father Max Abalos, and the charismatic groups, I have noticed and observed that some changes have occurred. The people who participate in the BEC and charismatic group have minimized their vices. So I am very thankful to God that He sent these people as an instrument in order to take this people out of the dark and put them back in the light with the Lord. As for myself, how do I look at these people who help us, I look at them as a lamp or like a torch that gives light to the people in Smokey Mountain who lived their whole lives almost in the dark. Through the help of these people, I can see a big behavior change in the people of Smokey Mountain. Although I cannot say that they have totally changed, I am certain that little by little they will make it better than ever. Talking about the life of the youth here, as I have said, almost all of them are drug dependent. We can say that they are "living in a drug world." But, some youth are not involved in drugs. For me to deal with this situation of the young adults is really difficult because of their different characteristics. As [the democratically elected] president of the youth sector for the last 3 years, I do my best in order to convince and inform them that drugs and other vices are really bad for our health and that you really gain nothing from using drugs; your only benefit from using drugs is that you become insane, ill, or else die! But since the young adults here are hardheaded, they don't listen to me and say "who am I to give them advice? I am not their parent, and even their parents don't give them annoying advice! I am not worthy to counsel them and I have no right to control their lives! Finally, they say that I act like an authoritarian dictator!" It is really hard for me to change them but I don't feel disappointed anyway because I am trying my best to facilitate them in a righteous manner. As for how I responded, I said "I asked for a little favor that you may listen to me, even give me a tiny bit of your attention, so that I can explain it all to you deeply. I am not dictating, I am only guiding and helping you so please listen to me as your president, as your friend, please." At this time, they listened but unfortunately I could not really get their loyalty, another youth replied, "It is easy to bring a horse to the bank of a river but you cannot force that horse to drink from that river." Just like them! They actually referred to that saying!



They are the horse and I am the horseman. As an answer to this saying I replied in this way, "Yes, obviously, maybe at that time the horse is not thirsty, but time will come when thirstiness is felt by the horse, the horse itself will drink the water from the river without your consent." Furthermore, I added, "If you are invited by someone to eat or if you are in your home and it is mealtime, are you going to eat if you are not hungry? But, when you are in great hunger even if it is not mealtime you will look for food to satisfy your hunger." Even though they seemed to be stupid, I was able to enlighten the minds of some of the young adults but others remained stubborn. As for myself, I was very happy if I noticed someone changing their disgusting life into a new life open to change. The happiness that I felt when somebody really changed cannot be defined by money. Some of these youths are not close friends of mine but I also have special and best friends here who do not have vices and bad habits. Actually, some of my best friends are former drug addicts who totally changed their lives. Many times I felt so angry and hurt after a general meeting for the young adults was held because, even though I called and asked everyone to come, no one showed up. Even when some attended the meetings only few participated, while most were physically present but mentally absent because they neither reacted nor responded but just sat there like dummies. Before holding a meeting I called them 3 to 4 days in advance to let them know that the meeting was coming. I really felt hurt if only a few attended, especially if it was a general meeting. I was led to believe that all of the youth would attend when a general meeting was called but sad to say that my expectation was like myth. How a leader can be held back from making progress in his society without the cooperation of his officers and members. Thus, only two or three officers attended every meeting and, as it turned out, they became dissatisfied with this kind of conference. Accidentally and unexpectedly one day almost all of the youth were asking for a meeting! I was amazed at their enthusiasm. I started to think why are they forcing me to hold a general meeting when in the past they rejected me and refused to attend my meetings? I guessed why! Because our fiesta was coming up, they forced me to hold a meeting so that we could have a disco party during our fiesta days. It came to my mind that this is a golden opportunity to communicate with them formally. During our meeting, I told them candidly that even if they are sometimes so stupid and viscous; please try to eliminate your bad habits gradually so that your lives will not be ruined. In this meeting, we discussed our activities for the coming fiesta, for example, financial funding for the games, the banquet, the Mass, decoration of the chapel, the disco, and so on. But, I had a good idea to use this meeting as an opportunity to talk about how to get rid of drugs in our community. However, as soon as I talked about that subject I noticed that some of them began to lose interest. Still I continued to talk so that this meeting could include something important and they could become erudite on the subject. I continued without interruption because it was the only opportunity I would have to gather the majority of them together and



speak to them as a group. I made a short speech in preparation for this meeting that mainly dealt with subject of what is important in the life of the youth because the youth are the great hope of our nation. I began the speech in this way: Youth is a wonderful thing: it is so full of anguish and magic and we never come to know it as it is, until it has gone from us forever. It is the thing we cannot bear to lose, it is the thing whose passing we watch with infinite sorrow and regrets, it is the thing in whose loss we must lament forever, and it is the thing whose loss we really welcome with a sad and secret joy, the thing we would never willingly re-live again could it be restored to us by any magic. Why is this? The reason is that the strange and bitter miracle of life is nowhere else so evident as in our youth, and what is the essence of that strange and bitter miracle of life which we feel so poignantly, so utterly with such a bitter pain and joy, when we are young? It is this, that being rich, we are so poor, that being mighty, we can yet have nothing, and that seeing, breathing, smelling, tasting all around us impossible wealth and glory of this earth, feeling with an intolerable certitude that the whole structure of the enchanted life, the most fortunate, wealthy, good, and happy life than any man has ever known—is ours at once, immediately and forever, the moment that we choose to take a step, or stretch a hand, or say words, we yet know that we can really keep hold, take, and possess forever— nothing. All passes; nothing lasts; the moment that we put our hand upon it melts away like smoke, is gone forever, and the feeling of greed or guilt is torturing us again; we see then what war is and what our lives must come to. Young men (and women) like us are so strong, so mad, so certain, and so lost. We hurl the great shoulder of our strength forever against imaginary obstacles; we are like the waves whose power explodes in lost mid-oceans under timeless skies; we want all, feel the thirst and power for everything, and finally get nothing. In the end, we are destroyed by our own strength, devoured by our own hunger, impoverished by our own wealth. Thoughtless of money or the accumulations of material possessions, we are, nonetheless defeated in the end by our own greed. And that is the reason why, when youth is gone, every one of us will look back upon that period of our life with infinite sorrow and regret. It is the bitter sorrow and regret of a man who knows once he had a great treasure and got nothing from it, of a man who knows that he had strength enough for everything and never used it. Are we going to spend our life hopeless, aimless, and doing nothing good? So if you don't want to have a sorrowful and regretful life when you grow old just prepare for today, make some changes, don't allow that in the end you are blamed by your own conscience. If that happens you are just like a farmer, an idle farmer, who allows his land to become sterile, and in result, he suffered great famine. But, all my efforts and voice seemed to be useless. I thought that they were listening and understanding what I said during the meeting but afterwards it was like nothing happened, they all went back to their usual habits. So on reflection I thought, if there is a meeting they use this kind of a style that, what you hear, what you see, what you say, what you know, when you go just leave it here. The



meeting in this way had no function at all; in this case they offended me, and I felt really hurt. Now I am trying to let go of my responsibilities as a leader, I just leave them alone and offer them no advice. Sometimes I wonder why they elected me as their leader? They accepted none of my ideas, advice, or proposals. I governed them in a proper way and manner but their responses were negative; there is an inequality of communication or negative balance of communication between them and myself. What is the root cause of this phenomenal situation? It is really hard for me to cure the problems, how can I do it solely? Since I started studying in high school and this college, I really managed it very well. Even though there are lots of problems and barriers I try to adjust. Everytime I go to school, I always had a shortage of allowance but for me this cannot bother my desire to study. I realized that it was not good for me especially when I am studying because how can I study very well if I am always feeling hungry? How can I concentrate on my studies if my head always is visited by a headache due to not eating regular meals? I eat my meal in the morning, but sometimes I couldn't even eat then because I am always in a hurry. I always go to school rushing from my house because when traveling by jeep (public transportation) you almost always have to wait 1 to 1 Vi hours before yo can ride. That is why I am always coming in late to my early morning class. When I go home, it is the same thing all over again; I have to wait about 1 to 1XA hours to get a ride because the jeepneys are always full of passengers so I have to wait for an available jeep. Usually I arrive home about 10 PM, my last class ends at 7:30 PM. By that time, I am very hungry and feel physical and mental fatigue, and that is why after eating I feel sleepy. Then, I fall asleep instead of studying, and that is why now I have to decide whether to quit my studies, or not. But because I am always thinking about my family, I cannot have any fixed decision. I realize that I must sacrifice so that I can have a brighter future and I can help my family and other people. My experience of poverty can help me a lot; it can challenge me to struggle in this lifeless world. How can I own and hold the victory of my life without any sacrifice, how can a soldier have victory if he doesn't fight. That's it, I am a soldier who is struggling and fighting in this world to become victorious. For, yes, I accept that. I am not strong enough but I have my dreams and I have strong determination to make it. My situation now, can help me a lot to define the meaning of life and to define what is the taste of the world. I thank God for what I am now because of the experiences in my life I feel more than a man. I feel that I am different from other people because of the experiences I encountered. Talking about material wealth like money, yes I have nothing, but I am full of love and spiritual wealth that none of the money can buy.

Appendix B:

Interviews with Christian Political Detainees in Cebu

I have interviewed at length fifteen political detainees whose dates of arrest range from 1987 to March of 1993; most are church workers in the BEC movement. Some of them are languishing in congested, unsanitary, and unsafe jails around Cebu in the company of fellow detainees; others are in the company of dangerous criminals. These detainees, including Christian students and innocent farmers, represent only a small number of political detainees locally and nationally. Each detainee has his or her story repeated and multiplied in many variations in the stories of other detainees. Each story or "voice" is not isolated: the stories reflect a wider pattern of political detention and torture. I excerpt here two anonymous political detainees' stories of illegal arrest and torture, echoing other political detainee's stories, though no two stories are the same. My first interview is with a 33 year-old man (as of 1993); he was 27 at the time of his arrest. He was formerly an active volunteer in the BEC movement as a liturgical lay worker (Eucharistic minister and Bible leader), member of the choir, member of a young adult prayer group (PRAYER), and worker for the Community Based Health Program (the health care arm of the BEC movement). I was with PRAYER for 4 years. During this period of service I was suspected of being a subversive, so after 3 years I quit as a liturgical lay worker to work full-time with PRAYER. During my 4 years of service with PRAYER, I also performed in cultural shows during mass actions [e.g., during strikes, pickets, and demonstrations], and during my free time from working with PRAYER I also did odd jobs for survival [to make a living]. I worked part-time in a rattan factory from 1986 to 1987. In 1987, there was a labor strike; while the strike was going on work was paralyzed. So, the management began sending the furniture outside to contract workers, instead. It was during that time that I was arrested. There was a shooting during the incident. An alleged triggerman ran toward the factory where the workers were staging their strike. So, the military searched all the houses in the vicinity of the factory. I had taken a rest after lunch, and it so happened that some



military elements searched the area, and they went into the house where I was resting. They searched the house, and they found nothing, no firearms. They had no search warrant and no arrest warrant. It was an arbitrary form of search and arrest. I was arrested around 3:00 PM March 1987. I was brought to the Integrated National Police headquarters at Mandawe City Hall building. I was interrogated and during the interrogation, I was beaten. They used pliers on my toes and my toenails were pulled to force me to admit to the allegation. Since they got nothing, no information about the shooting incident from me, around 7:00 PM I was hogtied and herded aboard a red car with tinted glass to Ramos Police Station, Cebu City. In this police station, they applied the Water Cure. I was made to lie on my back on a bench, and they poured water on my face—my eyes were blind folded—they poured water in my nostrils. So, while I was being tortured, I was handcuffed and lying on my back on the bench. They sat on my legs during the time when they were pouring water in my nostrils. I was gasping for breath. I felt like my lungs were bursting. So, while they were pouring water on my face, sitting on my knees, the police also hit me with an Ml6 rifle on various parts of my body with the butt of the gun. I fell off the bench three times during the beating and Water Cure. I fell three times on the floor. Since they got no information from me, they took off my blindfold, and they took my wristwatch and wallet with cash. After taking off my blindfold, they gave me a glass of spirit wine (cane spirit), and forced me to drink it. It was already 1:00 AM when we left Ramos Police Station. So, we left the station and proceeded to the Philippine Constabulary headquarters on Gorordo Avenue in Cebu City. They conducted a powder-bum test on me. The results were negative. I was blindfolded again when we left Ramos Police Station. During the powder-bum test, a policeman of the criminal investigation service told me that if the test had been positive I'd be summarily executed. Afterwards, we proceeded to the headquarters of the Regular Security Unit along Jones Avenue. I was blindfolded again, and I underwent interrogation again. I was beaten, boxed, and struck with the butt of an Ml6 rifle. Then, they inserted a wire in my mouth and it was some sort of electrocution. I was then placed in Solitary Confinement for 4 days, and I was not given any food. My relatives, friends, and family did not know about my plight then. After 4 days, I was blindfolded again and brought on a police operation to hunt for my alleged comrades. Since their operation was negative (they got nothing from me), they brought me back to the headquarters of the regional security unit. After one hour, we passed by Osmena Military Camp headquarters, and General Abenina asked for my custody. But the arresting team, or arresting officer [Col. Nicolas Kiamko] who is the present administrator of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology refused him. Then, I was remanded to Cebu Rehabilitation Detention Center, Cebu City. On August 21, 1982,1 was transferred to Mandawe City jail. My first court hearing was not held until 1987, and has continued to present [1994]. I was framed-up, there is no other suspect being apprehended with regard to the shooting incident. The shooting victim was a police patrolman. There is no evidence, and the result of the powder test was negative. So, the military looked for other crimes to frame me up as a subversive. Technical sergeant Ramon Mondares was shot to death, and the military accused me of being a suspect. The trial is dragging because there was a witness but this witness is afraid to come out in the open because she is frequently harassed by the military. She saw the triggerman but since she was harassed she cannot come out in the open. In connection with my case, one of my relatives found one witness who is an elderly woman. But she [the witness] is constantly being threatened by the military that told her that if she ever testifies, one of her family members would be liquidated or killed. So, one of this woman's sons who is also a factory worker was shot to death. So, this is the reason why she



wouldn't dare testify in court. In 1991, my relative and two other friends went to Tuburan in order to get some other witnesses for me. As soon as they arrived in Tuburan, the police questioned them as to what they were doing there, and when they told the police their purpose the three elders (two women and one man) were harassed. The old man was threatened with summary execution. The lawyer handling my case before was put under surveillance by the military and harassed. My former lawyer was Attorney Alfonso Surigao, who was killed in June of 1988 by a Vigilante allegedly on order of a military official (case of a political detainee in Cebu, personal interview 1993). My second interview is with a Basic Christian Community organizer active in the movement since 1977; he was arrested when he was 20 years old and detained for three years. Here is his story: I worked for the Basic Christian Community (BCC) movement in my home parish from 1977 to 1980 between the ages of twenty and twenty-three. I was a core member and founder of our BCC chapter. I became involved after a theology student from the University of San Carlos told me about the BCC. We began by organizing a BCC in our sitio [neighborhood] then moved from sitio to sitio to start new chapters. We saw a need for a youth organization and organized the Young Christian Community. We also helped a friend to organize a peasant organization called United Farmers Organization. In 1978, we coordinated our actions with the Sisters of Good Shepherd from the Banawa convent. In 1979, the BCC movement was blooming but some people were saying that it was a subversive organization because at that time we changed the gospel to dramatize the real life experiences of the people living in our parish (e.g., vendors and fishing folks). We changed the Pastoral Council, which originally came from the higher sectors of our community to make it reflective of the poorer sectors of Guadalupe. So the people told me, "Oh! You are very subversive!" and the military also suspected that I was a subversive. So, they blacklisted me. So, that is why I evacuated [ran] to Alegria parish where I worked closely with the priest. After that, the military tailed me to Alegria. I escaped to Tuburan to hide from the military. That was in 1987, in our place many people were shot dead. In 1987,1 went to Turburan to hide and to see firsthand the situation of farmers living in the hinterlands. When we arrived, military operations were already in the area. So, they made me sit on the grass. The military looked at my ID. I gave them my wallet. When they looked at my ID they said, "You are long wanted, and your name is there in our records." They boxed me, punched me, put a pistol in my mouth. I'm shocked and they are punching me. At 7:00 PM, after they had taken me to the Tuburan jail without a warrant of arrest, they brought me to the Toledo 347 PC Company and began a tactical interrogation. During the tatactical interrogation one of them continuously punched me until they undressed me and made me lay flat on a stone slab hitting my body and fingers with the butt of the gun. At the time, my wife and relatives knew about my capture. They went to Tuburan to the Police but the military denied that I had been captured. One time I heard one of their voices and the military denying that I was there. So I climbed to a small window and stretched my hand out through the window. My wife saw my arm and said "He's there" but the guard warned my wife that I was incommunicado. After that they brought me to the Toledo for two weeks of tactical interrogation and at the same time torture, two weeks of continuous torture. Electric wires were plugged into an outlet and clipped to my organ [penis]; it was very painful. After that the military forced me to talk, saying, "Where are your other companions? I know that you are a district leader and



communist member of the Marxist party." I said, no, I do not admit that. The interrogators continued, "You go to Guadalupe to organize the people there." So, the people of Guadalupe did not inform them that I am a bad person, I imagined. One time at 12:00 midnight, they blindfolded me and brought me to a silent place saying "You cooperate" and they pointed a 45 pistol at my head—"Who are your companions? Who are you?" I am a BCC organizer in Guadalupe, I went into hiding because the military wanted to kill me. I learned so because a military man warned me, "You better go into hiding because Viscom [Visayan Command Forces] wants to kill you." Many times the military wanted me to admit that I was a communist but I denied it saying that I know nothing about that. They said, "Do you want to die like Father Romano?" No, sir, I have a family. "Do you know him?" No, I heard his name but we never met. "I know that you are a church organizer." No, sir. They called out the names of all the progressive priests and nuns. I denied knowing any of them and that is why my torture lasted for two weeks. During the last week, the National Bureau of Intelligence officer who targeted me told me that he believed me and said that I was a strong person and that he respected me. Then he went on to say, "I know that you are a communist." I said, I don't know sir. "I will give you one last chance to cooperate: I'll give you and your family a house and lot." No, sir. There was one condition attached to his offer: they would give me a house and lot in exchange for information. I said, I work as an organizer. We wake up the people by letting them know what their rights are. The military officer said, "What is the purpose of the BCC?" The BCC is a religious movement but we also focus on the social, cultural, political, and economic aspects of community development work. "That is why you are a subversive." No, sir—Jesus Christ was here and that was Jesus Christ's mission so I follow Jesus Christ. No, sir, I didn't. In detention in 1987, I begged for some help from my first priest and he helped me to make a certification. The priest now is at Santo Rosario Church. At that time, I always accompanied him to Chapel and helped him to prepare the Mass schedule. I also served as the choir organizer. So during my detention, he together with the priest at Alegria and a Good Shepherd sister made a certification that I worked with them for some years and even that I was put on the Order of Battle. But, in Alegria my work was limited because I was wanted at that time. The military said, "Why were you hiding when we found you?" Because you have threatened my life, my close military friend told me that the military intelligence had a plan to kill me, I have a family and two kids wherever I go, the family goes with me, it's hard. My family, and my wife's grandmother visited me in jail once a week. Now as I reflect back on my story I feel proud because even if my life had many difficulties until now I have walked the road related to my old work. I serve the people, particularly now that I am working with political detainees. I survived in the face of threats to my life. For me, my family is the most difficult test. I am very proud to be a Filipino. It is better to struggle even to die for the cause of the Filipino people than not to do so. Jesus Christ was here and had many sufferings, he was even crucified. When I think of that I become very strong. I spent three years in the Cebu detention center. It is cold there in the evenings, and on sunny days it is very hot because the jail has large walls painted white and the sun reflects off the walls. When I was there I helped to organize the political prisoners to help each other. We also went to the common criminals who together with us went to the jail warden to ask that every prisoner be provided with a private sleeping space, especially the married prisoners. So, we made partitions between bed spaces. The food during my time was very difficult to eat. We had rice once every meal, a vegetable side dish in the morning with coffee and powdered milk. At lunch, we had one slice of meat, very hard meat, sometimes



the meat and vegetables smelled rancid. In the late afternoon, we had one dried fish each and water. Our principle problem was food. Our privilege was to struggle for the rights of the prisoners. There was Open House once a week and my family and relatives visited. During the tactical interrogation before I was put in detention, I went through two straight weeks of torture. In the morning, the military would come to my jail cell and pick me up to go with them. I was blindfolded until sunset. At 7 PM, I was very tired and would fall asleep but at 10 PM they would ransack my cell shooting with an Armalite gun. I'd be shocked and they would be coming in saying "I have questions for you." I was tired; they would point an electric fan at me from 7 PM to 5 AM. I'd be tied, blindfolded, undressed, and they always asked me questions; they wanted to get some information from me but I didn't respond. The electric fan was very irritating. My head ached from 7 PM to 5 AM. What I kept thinking was that I am strong. They gave me the Water Cure treatment called the balloon treatment. They filled the balloon with water and always boxed me in the forehead. At first there was no aching but after thirty minutes my head ached, after one hour my head was very painful. I had such an ache in my head. They always interrogated me. They made me undress and inserted small needles in my penis; it was very painful. For me the military is very Satanic that is why whenever I remember my experience I realize so strongly that the military is not really a military for the people. Rather, it is an instrument of the rich, the landlords and high sectors of the society. That is my feeling now. My story is the jewel of my life. But, now whenever I see the arresting officer he says, "How are you?" and I reply, I am fine! Sir, I am with Task Force Detainees of the Philippines. The military may be OK sometimes but in my heart I know that they are grubby. There was a time when they put me through many kinds of tortures. I can't remember them all at once, which is why I am telling you in pieces. The first time that they tortured me they put me out in a small room. The officers were drunk, they got me and pointed an Ml6 at me, they put on a silencer—"Do you want to die, what is your name, where do you come from?" Pow! They punched me and told me to undress so I undressed. Also, the Cafgu (Civilian Home Defense Unit) in Toledo tortured me. There were 18 or 20 of them who helped to box me. One day I didn't eat because my larynx [vocal cord] was swollen with irritation; it was very large. The military tortured me but the worst torturer was the military intelligence officer. I had to try to constantly remember to balance the situation and where they were taking me; I had a terrible headache. I had a constant headache and my urine was always red like blood until they transferred me to the detention center. I told myself that it was the effect of torture. The right side of my body was aching especially my head. In detention, I requested a medical exam but it is very expensive. The doctor told me that I could have an x-ray but that it would cost me 5000 pesos. So, I couldn't do anything because I have a wife and children to take care of and no money. Since my release, I still sometimes have aches and pains. When they first captured me they used a gun and pointed the barrel into my chest, stomach, and body; it was very painful. After two days, there were marks on my body and chest; I had one rib displaced. They tied my hands behind my back from 7 PM to 5 AM the next day. When they untied my hands it was very painful. I was tortured for two weeks straight; they got permanent. They always made me go to the detention cell every night blindfolded at 2 AM. At dawn, the only thing I could do was to make myself determined saying to myself, I am willing to die. I admit if they killed me, I was willing to die. I did not cooperate, didn't give in because I wasn't afraid of whatever they did even if they killed me. Jesus Christ was not afraid. I am a man, I serve the people, and for me my work is the jewel of my life. Now I am very proud of my experience even when I am very old my children will say papa is pro-people minded for the workers and peasants. This is why my daughter is named Prol. The military asked me "What is the name



of your daughter?" My two daughters names are Prol and Sica; Prol for proletariat and Sica for the slogan of the BCC: Social Investigation and Class Analysis. Even though my wife and I were still very young, we had a family.


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African Charter on Peoples' Rights (1986), 101 Alayon (mutual-self help), 33, 48, 55 alipin (slave), 7 Althusser, Louis, 38, 79-83, 96. See also mode of production approach ambilineal descent, 5 American colonization (1901-1946), 17-20 anti-Huk campaign (1945-1953), 22 Aquino, Corazon, 22-23, 27, 31 Aquino, Ninoy, xvi, 22 Archdiocesan BEC Office, 46, 88-92 authority figures: indigenous selection of, 4-7, 12; Spanish selection of, 10 Badjaos (sea gypsies), 42 barangay (settlements), 6 Basic Christian Community. See Basic Ecclesial Community Basic Christian Community Organizers' Office (BCC-CO), 25, 52, 58, 90 Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC): development model of, 33, 35; farm program of, 48; history of, v-xvii. See also Cebu City dumpsite Bell Trade Act (1946), 21

Buddhism, and social work, 98-99; epistemology of, 83 capitalist state, 39 Catholic Bishops Conference, xv Catholicism, folk, 4 Cebu: Chinese trade with, 8; economic growth of, 32, 41; modem city of, 40; poverty profile of, 40-44; Spanish colonization of, 8-11; uplands of, 46 Cebu City dumpsite, 61 Christianity, colonial, 9 Christians for National Liberation (CNL), xvii, 94 Civilian Armed Forces Government Units (CAFGU), 23-27, 52 Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), 23, 85 conflict of motives debate, 4 Constantino, Renalto, 14 Council of Mexico (1555), 14 counterhegemony, 81 Country Report on Human Rights (1994), 25 datus (social and religious leaders). See authority figures

128 Department of Social Welfare, 43 development, 31-32, 37-38, 44. See also sustainable development dialectical materialism, 80 disintegrated peasantry, 15 Ecumenical Justice and Peace Desk, 26 Federation of Free Farmers, xv formalists, 38 Free Legal Assistance Group, 25 Galleon Trade, 9 gigilid (household slave). See alipin Green Revolution 21, 34; hybrid yellow com, 47 Guadium et Specs (The Church of the Modem World [1965]), xv hegemony, definition of, 4 Helsinki Agreement, 102 Hukbalahap (People's Liberation Army), 19,22 ideology: American colonial, 18, 21; definition of, 76-79, 81 Ileto, Reynaldo, 4, 12 Indios (indigenous Filipinos), 4 instrumental rationalists, 3 intellectual elite, 15 International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, 101 International Monetary Fund (IMF), 22, 39 International Rice Research Institute, 21 Laborem Exercems (On Human Work [1981]), 84 Latin American Bishops Conference (1968), xv Laurel-Langley Agreement (1955), 21 leader-follower economy, 12, 14; disintegration of, 15 Liberation Theology, 45, 84, 86-88

INDEX Local Government Code, 43 Low Intensity Conflict: propaganda campaign, 49, 52; psychological warfare doctrine, 22-27 Luzon, central, 19-22 Mactan Export Processing Zone, 41 Major Religious Superiors, xvi maritime trade economy, precolonial, 5 Martial Law (1972-1986), xiii, 21 Marxism: agrarian theory of, 3; environmental theory of, 33 Maryknoll missionaries, xiii Medium Term Development Plan, 22, 40. See also Philippine 2000 Plan. Mindanao Sulu Pastoral Conference (1971-1983), xv-xvii mode of production approach, 38, 85, 97. See also Althusser, Louis moral economists, 3. See also substantivists namamahay (tribute payers), 7 National Democratic Front (NDF), xvii National Secretariate for Social Action, xv Negros, 18 New Peoples Army (NPA), 24. See also Hukbalahap Operation Timbang Program: malnutrition study, 43 overseas contract workers, 22 paramilitary, 23-25 Participatory Rural Appraisal, 55 Passion Play, indigenous performance of, 4, 12 patron-clientage, 20-21 peasant rebellions, 2 People's Liberation Army. See Hukbalahap Peoples' Power Revolution, xvii, 22 Philippine American War (1899-1903), 17 Philippine Independence (1946), 20

INDEX Philippine Peasant Institute, 49 Philippine Revolution (1896), 19 Philippine 2000 Plan, 34. See also Medium Term Development Plan Phoenix Program, 26 plantation system, capitalist penetration of, 11, 17-20 popular church, xvii Popular Democrats, 45 Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples [1967]), xv prenda (mortgage arrangement), 48 prostitution, and tourism, 42 Quadragesimo Anno (On the Occasion of the Fortieth Year [1931]), xiii Rafael, Vincente, 4, 11-13 Ramos, Fidel, (1992-1997), 22 recycling industry workers, informal, 64 Redemptorist Mission Team, 50 Rerum Novarum (Of New Things [1891]), xiii Romano, Rudy, 26 Sarvodaya (village self-help movement), 99 Second Plenary Council, xvii simulacra, media hype, 40 Slum Improvement and Resettlement Project, 63 Smith, Carol, 39 Smokey Mountain (Manila dumpsite), 65,66 socialism, technocratic, 98 Socialist Democrats, 45 Spanish colonization (1521-1896), 15 Sri-Vijaya empire, 8 street children, 42 Structure of Care, 53 substantivists, 38. See also moral economists sustainable development: definitions of, 32, 35, 69; organic farming, 33, 47,48,58 Synod in Manila (1581), 13

129 Tagalogs, prehispanic society of, 6-8 tao, commoners, 12 Task Force Detainees, xvii Theology of Struggle, 45, 88. See also Liberation Theology timawa (free persons), 7 tribute mode of production, 9 United Church of Christ, xv, 26 United Nations Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide (1951), 101 United Nations' Declaration on the Right to Development (1986), 102 United Nations' Declaration on the Right of People to Peace (1984), 101 United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), 101 United Nations Vienna Declaration (1993), 104 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 101 usurer-traders, 49, 64 Ut Omnes Unum Sint (That All May Be One[ 1976]), xvi utang na hob (indebtedness), 13 Vatican II (1962-1965), xiii Visayan Integrated Community Assistance Program (VICAP), 46, 54 Westy committees: worship, education, service, temporality, youth, 50, 53 World Bank. See International Monetary Fund World Commission on Environment and Development, 69

About the Author KATHLEEN M. NADEAU is an assistant professor and applied anthropology coordinator at California State University in San Bernardino. She earned her Ph.D. in anthropology at Arizona State University.