EDITOR'S NOTE

IMPACT
ISSN 0300-4155 / Asian Magazine for Human
Transformation Through Education, Social Advocacy and
Evangelization / P.O. Box 2481, 1099 Manila, Philippines
©
Copyright 1974 by Social Impact Foundation, Inc.
Published monthly by
AREOPAGUS
COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
Editor
PEDRO QUITORIO III
Associate Editor
NIRVA'ANA DELACRUZ
Staff Writers
CHARLES AVILA
EULY BELIZAR
ROY CIMAGALA
ROY LAGARDE
LOPE ROBREDILLO
Sales & Advertising Supervisor
GLORIA FERNANDO
Circulation Manager
MERCEDITA JUANITE
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RONALYN REGINO

Cover Photo By
CBCP NEWS
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email us at: impactmagazine2012@gmail.com

2

CHANGE is coming. It has indeed. Weeks before the assumption into
office of the new president, the most indicative of change were the summary killings of suspected drug traffickers which were always justified
with the trite “resisting arrest” or “has engaged in a gunfight”. One wonders, though, why the exiting Aquino administration did not lift a finger
to make any investigation or prevent the onslaught of hired killers since
the yellow were still in charge until the takeover of the new government.
Except for the human rights commission and the leadership of Catholic
bishops, nobody seemed to have questioned the killing spree—until now.
In fact, the popular sentiment—emoticon now or “moodthingy”—was that
of satisfaction. One has just to check and read comments in social media
to get people’s reaction first hand. Has the Filipino culture now changed,
too, and degenerated to become one that smacks of the primitive and the
barbaric? Or have we just become too tired of the rhetoric of past administrations that always end up blatantly inutile in addressing the drug
menace and the rising criminality?
Talking about the barbaric, which at first blush seems to be a thing
of the past and therefore may only be a hyperbole, it might interest us
to know that in the cyberworld one of the most sought-after videos are
the beheadings of Isis hostages that were posted in Al-Qaeda and similar
websites. The beheading of James Foley, for instance, in August of 2014
was watched by 1.2 million people in Britain; the number swells in global
statistics. In May of that year, the beheading of Nick Berge registered
second only to American Idol in search engines throughout the world.
God forbid this is not the stuff that makes us numb as we watch on TV and
in daily news more and more people who fall on their splattered blood.
The drug problem has grown so big and so monstrous that only a monster response can solve it, so goes one school of thought. In the Philippines the illegal drug trade has reportedly influenced political governance
in much the same fashion as, say, Columbia and other Latin American
countries where narco politics is most prevalent. The drug cartel that in this
country is even supervised by those inside a national penitentiary and protected by those in highest echelons in government and in the national police
is perhaps the biggest scourge the Philippines ever had; it has ruined millions
of lives during the last two decades. One can only think of narco politics as
the only plausible reason why not one post-martial administration ever dared
to sincerely address this horrible menace.
Ours is not, of course, to condone the killing spree of suspected drug
pushers, because no matter how monstrous the situation may be, no
means will ever justify the end. There will always be a thousand and one
ways to nip the drug trade. Strengthening and reforming law enforcement and the justice system should be a more permanent solution. When
these two systems are weak, killing drug traffickers is mere palliative—the
drug scourge will be back in no time, perhaps even earlier than a presidential term.
Our cover story, “Elitist politics and economics: the real Aquino legacy”
is a reiteration of a collective study and research of Ibon Foundation.
Read on.

IMPACT

JUNE 2016

CONTENTS
27 |

The Right to Life

16 |

The Elitist Politics and Economics:
The Real Aquino Legacy

Editorial

Cover story

quote
in
the act
"We are not against modernization. But
modernization to the detriment of the poor is
not progress at all. We say no to the closure
of Fabella Hospital."
Dexter Toledo, a Franciscan priest who is staunchly
against the impending closure of Dr. Jose Fabella
Memorial Hospital, a 65-year old maternity care
facility in Manila; the past Aquino administration
has included the hospital in its Public Private
Partnership (PPP) scheme that will reduce it from
a 400-bed capacity to a mere 50-bed section of
the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City.

"Illegal recruitment is a heinous crime which
deserve nothing but serious prosecution and
severe punishment."
Articles

4

|

Pastoral Appeal to Our Law Enforcers

6

|

The 'Hijacking' of the Coco Levy Funds

9

|

Vietnam Model

11

|

Helping the New President Fight Crime

13

|

Putting Religion on Money

14

|

News Features

21

|

Unity in Social Justice

23

|

Statements

26

|

From the Blogs

28

|

Features

31

|

Asia News

Ruperto Santos, bishop of the Diocese of Balanga
in Bataan and chair of the CBCP Commission on
Migrants and Itinerant People; on the move to
pressure the government to put an end to the
exploitative practices of fly-by-night recruitment
agencies that are accused of illegal recruitment
and human trafficking.

“To kill a suspect outright, no matter how
much surveillance work may have been
antecedently been done on the suspect, is not
morally justified."
Socrates Villegas, archbishop of LingayenDagupan and president of the Catholic Bishops’
Conference of the Philippines; on the recent spate
of killing of suspected drug pushers that smacks
of vigilantism.

"Children in conflict with the law should not
be treated like ordinary criminals because they
are ‘victims who should be helped’."
Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the
CBCP Commission on Prison Pastoral Care; on
the issue reducing the age that a person could be
prosecuted as an adult from 15 to 12 years old due
to the perceived escalation in youth crime.

"It is so hard to accept that gambling will be
used to help the poor."
Oscar Cruz, archbishop emeritus of LingayenDagupan who heads a non-government
organization that crusades against gambling;
while thumbs up with the Duterte plan to stop
online gambling, Cruz is not comfortable with
the idea that the government should fish from
gambling revenues in order to help the poor.

ARTICLES

PASTORAL APPEAL
to our law enforcers
Appeal to Reason and Humanity
Seek peace and pursue it (Ps.34:14)

4

IMPACT

JUNE 2016

ARTICLES

BROTHERS and sisters enforcers of the law:
Peace be with you!
We commend you, our law enforcers, on your
new-found earnestness in enforcing the law
and in apprehending malefactors, but we are
disturbed by an increasing number of reports
that suspected drug-peddlers, pushers and
others about whom reports of criminal activity
have been received, have been shot, supposedly
because they resist arrest.
It is equally disturbing that vigilantism seems
to be on the rise. Media has carried reports
of bodies, apparently of homicide or murder
victims, showing up on whom placards announcing their supposed crimes are writ large!
Appeal to Humanity in Us
As your bishops, we offer the following
guidelines:
1. One can “shoot to kill” solely on the ground
of legitimate self-defense or the defense of
others. Law and jurisprudence have sufficiently
spelled out the elements of self-defense, and for
purposes of Catholic morality, it is neces-sary to
emphasize that you, as law enforcers, can “shoot
to kill” only first, when there is unjust provocation; second, when there is a real, not only
conjectural, threat to your life or to the lives and
safety of others; third, when there is due proportion between the threat posed and your own use
of a firearm aimed at the threatening subject.
2. To kill a suspect outright, no matter how
much surveillance work may have antecedently
been done on the suspect, is not morally justified. Suspicion is never the moral equivalent of
certainty, and punishment may be inflicted only
on the ground of certainty.
3. When the arrest of a suspect is attempted,
and the suspect endeavors to flee or to escape
from the scene, every attempt by non-lethal
means should be made to stop the suspect from
fleeing and if shot at, every attempt should be
made to spare the fleeing suspect from death,
unless the escape of such a victim clearly and
immediately puts others in harm’s way.
4. It is never morally permissible to receive
reward money to kill another. When bountyhunting takes the form of seeking out suspects
of crime, killing them, then presenting proof of
the death of the object of the hunt to the offeror
of the reward, one is hardly any different from

a mercenary, a gun-for-hire, no matter that the
object of one’s manhunt should be a suspected
offender.
5. It is the moral duty of every Catholic, every
Christian, in fact, to re-port all forms of vigilantism of which they have personal knowledge. For
greater reason is it a duty to keep away from any
participation and any form of cooperation with
vigilantes and vigilante movements.
We Must Fight Criminality But…
The impunity with which offenders of the law
carry on with their crim-inal activity also points
out flaws in our criminal justice system but
remem-bering that the community is as much
a pillar of this system as are all other components, members of the Community — Christians
especially — should not be too quick to point accusing fingers at law-enforcers, prosecutors and
judges. We must all ask ourselves whether or not
by our silence, our indiffe-rence, or worse, our
acts, we may have contributed to the proliferation of crime and the increase in criminal activity.
We understand the difficulties that lawenforcers face, the daily risk to life and limb, but
not only civil society but also the Church counts
on them for the flourishing of a society where all
enjoy the blessings of a regime under laws that
are just and institutions that are fair.
We beg our prosecutors and judges to remain
firm in their consecration to justice, for there
can be no greater insult to the Creator than to
use the gifts of intelligence, discernment and
one’s success at legal studies for ends contrary
to builds the Body of Christ and contributes
the building of the King-dom of God. “To all
to whom much has been given, much will be
expected.”
Do Not Set God Aside
God never gave up on us. We have no right
giving up on ourselves or on our brothers and
sisters. Jesus came to restore the harmony of
Paradise. Let no one ever raise his hand against
his brother or sister, for the blood that is shed
— even if it be the blood of one we suspect of
crime — cries to heaven for justice!
From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines, Intramuros, Manila, June 20, 2016
+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
President, CBCP

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 6

5

ARTICLES

The 'hijacking' of the coco levy funds
By Charles Avila
A RECENT gathering of regional leaders belonging to the Confederation
of Co-conut Farmers’ Organizations
of the Philippines (CCFOP) asked
President Duterte to veer away from
the criminal habit of the previous
administration regarding the disposal
of coco levy funds. What the Aquino
regime did in October 5, 2012 was unabashed criminal hi-jacking of P56.4
Billion of coco levy funds into the
general funds, according to Ka Charlie
Avila of CCFOP. He said that the new
government should really look into
this in-depth.
The Supreme Court had ordered a
month earlier that the net dividend
earnings and redemption proceeds
from the farmers’ investments in San
Miguel Cor-poration shall be deposited with the Land Bank of the Philippines or the Development Bank of
the Philippines or the United Coconut
Planters Bank as an Escrow Account
in the name of “PCGG in trust for CIIF
14 Holding Companies” (GR 178193,
Sept. 4, 2012). “CIIF” refers to “Coconut Industry Investment Funds.”
Instead of following the Supreme
Court Order, the Aquino government
caused the transfer of the San Miguel
Corporation checks away from any of
the aforementioned three banks’ trust
departments to the Bureau of Treasury
(BTr). The instruction so audaciously
countermanding the SC order was
signed by An-dres D. Bautista, then
PCGG Chairman. For what reason—
only his informal boss, the Finance
Secretary and he knew. Later developments would give more than a hint.
A second hi-jacking of coco levy
money into the general funds occurred on April 30, 2015. It was noted
that at that time some of the coco levy
funds were: with BTr –P56.4Billion;
with UCPB – P14.2Billion for a Subto-

6

IMPACT

JUNE 2016

ARTICLES

tal of P70.6Billion and with earnings
would come up to a Grand Total in
Cash of P74.3 Billion. Deputy Treasurer Christine L. Sanchez confirmed
the amounts with BTr and so did the
UCPB with theirs.
After the Confederation of Coconut
Farmers’ Organizations of the Philippines announced that they would
seek help from the Supreme Court
to halt the implementation of two
Aquino Executive Orders dealing with
the privatization of coco levy funds
and assets, PCGG Bautista rushed
an order to UCPB with particular
reference to the latter’s Trust Banking
Group “to release, transfer and deposit to the Bureau of the Treasury all
monies pertaining to SMC dividends
and all interests, income, profits, and
earnings derived therefrom” emphasizing “prompt action” on the matter
because they had a “limited period
of time,” obviously due to the high
probability of the Court’s granting

the farmers’ Petition for a Restraining Order—which, in fact, happened.
Thus, government again succeeded
against the farmers in a second hi-jack
operation.
What later events or developments
gave more than a hint of a reason for
the hi-jack operations? For one, as of
September 2015, the budget deficit—which indi-cates more revenues
spent than earned—stood at P25.5
billion, below the P283.7-billion target
for the year. This was reported in the
major dailies on No-vember 27, 2015.
Broken down, revenues collected by
the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
accounted for 11.28 percent of the
economy. The goal for that year was
pegged at 12 percent. The Bureau of
Customs, meanwhile, recorded a tax
effort of 2.82 percent, still lower than
its 3.1-percent target for the year. A
government, such as the previous
regime, which could resist anything
but temptation, and had very little

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 6

sensitivity to the rule-of-law, looked
in the direction of the coco levy funds
and—bingo! The problem was “solved.”
There certainly was more than enough
funds to cover up a mere P25.5 Billion
deficit. But, sad to say, the funds
representing the blood, sweat and
tears of the coconut farmers would
now no longer be with the government-for-farmers’ special world (CIIF’s
14 Holding Companies) but with
the government’s larger universe or
general fund (the BTr or Bureau of the
Treasury): the farmers’ capital became
most vulnerable to misuse, abuse and
outright magical diversion—which is
most probably what happened.
In fact, in the immediate, should
not the new government direct COA
or the Commission on Audit to audit
the funds that were transferred to
the Bureau of Treasury? Should it
not hold accountable the government
officials involved in the illegal transfer
of the P56.4-billion coco levy funds to

7

ARTICLES

This was the farmers’
big problem with the
past administration—a
government that could
not understand or accept
the precise nature of the
coconut levy funds. The
precise nature of the
ownership of these funds
is not absolute ownership
but its very opposite,
namely, trust ownership.

8

the BTr and the additional P14.2billion and P7.6-billion earnings
thereafter? In the very least, the
new government should direct the
PCGG to release in various national
newspapers the complete list of
coco levy assets and the updated
statements from BTr of the hijacked
coco levy funds.
This was the farmers’ big problem
with the past administration—a government that could not understand
or accept the precise nature of the
coconut levy funds. The precise
nature of the ownership of these
funds is not absolute ownership
but its very opposite, namely, trust
ownership.
Given their origins and alleged purposes, the funds must be regarded as
public trust funds: “public,” not private,
because they were the result of taxation; “trust” ownership not absolute
ownership because they were levied
for certain purposes and could not be
disposed of in any which way except
for the attainment of those ends or
purposes. The rush to privatization
of coco levy assets by the previous
government expressed in Aquino’s
Executive Orders 179 and 180 was
fortunately stopped in its tracks by the
Supreme Court. The new government
may appreciate this fact that if there
are any funds left it is because the
farmers did what they had to do—assail and restrain the illegal, unconstitutional, immoral and anti-farmer Aquino
E.O.s. With the help of some senators
they likewise prevented the passage of
draft bills in the legislature that were
essentially mere clones of the assailed
executive orders.
Secondly, amplifying on the first,
the precise nature of the ownership of these funds is therefore
one of “dual ownership”—not
single absolute ownership. They
do not have one owner but two.
The government that collected
the funds “owns” them as trustee.
The government is merely “trust”
owner. The real beneficial owners
IMPACT

JUNE 2016

or “Trustors” are all the coconut
farmers whose class and no other
were specially taxed by the State for
certain purposes.
In truth, only the recognition of
the dual “ownership” of the funds
can guarantee that the funds will be
utilized according to its purposes—
the development of the coconut
industry to the benefit of all the
coconut farmers.
Hence, the national coconut
farmers’ organizations have all said
there is a great need to constitute
by law the coconut levy funds and
assets more explicitly into a Coconut Industry Trust Fund (CITF), and
provide, also by law, the administrative structure that will manage the
trust funds and ensure that its use
will develop the coconut industry
to the benefit of coconut farmers.
That structure should not be a mere
committee but a Corporation to
be called the Philippine Coconut
Farmers Welfare and Industry
Development Corporation (the
“Corporation” or “PHILCO-FARM”).
The two essential features
characterizing the levy funds and
assets (“public” and “trust”) are best
ascertained and guaranteed through
the establishment of such a Corporation, namely one that is both
government-controlled and participated in by the elected representatives of all the coconut farmers.
A public trust fund of the magnitude of the coconut levy funds
and assets will surely need not a
mere committee, which is what the
previous government wanted, but
a full-fledged government-owned
corporation that has the requisite
characteristics of stability, flexibility,
autonomy, transparency, accountability and therefore the capacity
for good and effective governance.
A mere committee can never exhibit
the properties of such a corporation but can easily be subject to
the politics and vagaries of partisan
desire and approval.

ARTICLES

Vietnam Model
By Bernardo M. Villegas
THERE are two priority areas in economic
development for the next President:
infrastructures and agricultural productivity. To learn some lessons from an
emerging market in the ASEAN, the next
President should make a state visit to
Vietnam as early as possible in his term.
We can learn some valuable lessons
from what can now be considered our
non-identical twin (as Thailand was in the
1980s but which country left us far behind by the end of the last century). The
populations and resource endowments
of Vietnam and the Philippines are quite
similar. Unfortunately for the Philippines,
Vietnam has been much more successful
in reducing poverty than we. Its poverty
incidence is only 17% compared to our
25%. How did this happen?
The main answer can be found in Vietnam’s focus on agricultural productivity.
The story is well told by the leading
agribusiness economist of the Philippines, Dr. Rolando Dy who is Executive
Director of the Center for Food and
Agribusiness of the University of Asia
and the Pacific and a very active member
of the Agribusiness Committee of the
Management Association of the Philippines. In an article written for the Food
and Agribusiness Monitor, he described
in detail the success story of Vietnam in
poverty reduction through agricultural
development.
Dr. Dy starts by enumerating the five
“stars” of Vietnam agriculture. These
are the products that earn over US$1
billion annually in exports: rice, natural
rubber, cashews, shrimps and catfish. In
contrast, the Philippines has only one:
coconut. The success story of Vietnam
is illustrated in the life of a farmer in
the province of Tra Vinh, one of those
redeemed from absolute poverty in less
than two decades. That farmer told
an interviewer that her family used to
harvest only one crop a year. Thanks to

the appropriate state intervention, her
family now grows more crops with the
availability of more varieties and canals
for irrigation.
The greatest success over the last ten
years was in coffee. In less than a decade,
Vietnam has become the largest coffee
exporter in the world, surpassing Brazil.
In a recent visit to the countryside in
Vietnam, Dr. Dy learned that the average
coffee yield in a village called Daklak was
two kilograms per tree per year versus 1.6
kg. per tree for the whole of Vietnam. To
our shame, the average yield of coffee
farms in the Philippines is a measly 0.4 kg
per tree. One of the major reasons for
Vietnam’s high productivity is the support
given by the Government to research
and development. In Daklak, there is the
Western Highlands Research Center for
Agriculture and Forestry. The Center
has 50 researchers on coffee alone. Its
new coffee clones will yield 3 to 5 kg per
tree in farmers’ fields. Not content with
its already outstanding accomplishment,
Vietnam has released a strategic plan for
coffee production up to the year 2020 and
a vision to 2030, under which total area
for coffee growing will be maintained at
500,000 hectares by 2020 with an output
of 2,400 kg per hectare, and 479,000
hectares with an output of 2,500 kg per
hectare by 2030.
As regards rice (which we regularly
import from Vietnam), Vietnam ranks second in world export in 2012 after India.
Thanks to the abundant supply of water
from the Mekong River and good research and extension services, Vietnam is
able to achieve an average of 5.5 tons per
hectares. As Dr. Dy and other agricultural
experts in the Philippine have pointed
out, Vietnam will always have a competitive advantage of growing rice over the
Philippines because of almost unlimited
supply of water from their ocean-like rivers. We have to identify other high-value
crops in which abundant water is not a
major factor for high productivity. These
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 6

In less than a decade,
Vietnam has become
the largest coffee
exporter in the world,
surpassing Brazil.

9

ARTICLES

Integrity—while
a necessary
condition for
leading an
organization—is
not sufficient
for getting
things done.
Professional
and managerial
competence is a
must.
Farmers protesting for land reform in Manila. ROY LAGARDE

can be found in the other “stars” in
Vietnamese agribusiness: natural rubber, cashews, shrimps and catfish.
In 2012, Vietnam became the third
largest exporter of natural rubber
after Thailand and Indonesia, earning US$2.8 billion. The small rubber
farmers’ yield is 50 percent more
than their Filipino counterparts. In
the same year, Vietnam harvested
nearly 290,000 tons of cashew nuts
from over 330,000 hectares. Of
the total figure, some 223,000 tons
worth about US$1,500 million were
exported. Fruit and vegetable exports
were projected to reach US$1,000
million in 2013. In fish farming,
Vietnam excels in pangasius catfish
(dory fish in our supermarkets).
The processing of this fish involves
150,000 rural workers in the Mekong
Delta. Exports of this very popular
fish hit over 600,000 tons valued at
$1,800 million in 2011. Meanwhile,
shrimp exports reached US$2,400 million in 2011. Despite the outbreak of
certain diseases, exports of black tiger
shrimps were maintained through
expert management of the fish farms.

10

Vietnam is a model for increasing
agricultural productivity despite
continuing corruption and a great
amount of red tape and bureaucracy.
Dr. Eliseo Ponce, a noted Filipino
research and extension consultant
for many years in the Mekong region
that includes Vietnam, aptly summarized the situation: “The agricultural
bureaucracy is not perfect like any
other human institution. I heard some
people talk about corruption at the
very high level and inefficiency in
interfaces among government agencies. But the bureaucracy works.” He
then gives some insights that will be
very useful to the next Secretary of
Agriculture. Even if is impossible to
root out corruption and bureaucratic
red tape completely in the next six
years, what is important is policy
consistency at all levels.
In Vietnam, agricultural extension
is very much decentralized under the
provincial government. The national
government provides policy directions;
the local government implements.
The agriculture research system under
the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
IMPACT

JUNE 2016

Development is well-organized with
highly trained staff and modern laboratories. The regulatory system of the
country is well structured; it consists of
a group of agencies under the Ministry,
avoiding conflict of interest. I hope that
it is not too much to ask that the next
President of the Philippines should
appoint a Secretary of Agriculture
who not only has had a long exposure
to agricultural practice but also is
an excellent manager of people and
resources. We should avoid appointing
politicians like the plague.
Integrity—while a necessary condition for leading an organization—is
not sufficient for getting things done.
Professional and managerial competence is a must. Come to think of it, Dr.
Rolando Dy would make a very good
Secretary of Agriculture. If he or his
wife strongly objects, then we will ask
him to name three or four other colleagues of his in agribusiness who can
help the next President address one
of the two most important challenges
in the next six years. (For comments,
my email address is bernardo.villegas@
uap.asia.)

ARTICLES

Helping the New President Fight Crime

By Fr. Shay Cullen, MSSC
THERE is a wise saying, “Be careful
of what you promise. People might
believe it.”
By June 30, the Philippines will have
sworn in a new president, Rodrigo
Duterte- famous for his somewhat
exaggerated style of speaking and for
making election promises to eradicate
crime and corruption in three to six
months after his inauguration.
He could still make a strong impact
to reduce crime and start to fulfill his
promises with smart lawful executive
orders and legislation and by stopping
death squad and vigilante killings. He
can stop officials paying bonuses to
rogue police for killing mere suspects.
That’s a license to violate human
rights and kill with impunity. It’s
not worthy of a great people as the
Filipinos who have suffered from weak

and corrupt leadership in the past.
Those who understand how deep
are the roots of crime and corruption in the Philippines will know that
the well-meaning candidate, now
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte made
promises as the basis of his presidency
that are almost impossible to fulfill. But
the impossible may still be possible.
Many people have taken the
promises seriously and they will be
expecting results. We have to help the
new president succeed in fighting corruption and criminality within the law.
The killing of suspects is not the way.
That will bring down international
condemnation and shame and the
Philippines will be the pariah of the
civilized world. The Secretary General
of the United Nations has spoken
against Philippine death squads killing
journalists already. If the vigilantes
have their way, the presidency will
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 6

be gravely affected and branded as
a killer regime and violator of human
rights. Filipinos will lose respect
wherever they are in the world. That
must not happen. We must help the
president succeed by implementing
the strict rule of law.
Disciplined, no-nonsense, no compromise with evil and corrupt officials
is the way. Civil society has to report
abuse and corruption without fear and
expose it so the president can remedy
it. Civil society can help him to meet
those goals in a right and lawful way.
The Philippines has excellent penal
colonies on remote islands where the
convicted prisoners work to support
themselves and the colony. That is
where the drug dealers, rapists, child
abusers and corrupt officials should
be sent to fulfill a just sentence.
President-elect Duterte could have
spectacular success in fighting crime

11

NEWS FEATURES

Civil society has
to report abuse
and corruption
without fear
and expose it so
the president
can remedy it.
Civil society
can help him
to meet those
goals in a right
and lawful way.
by using the legal pen rather than the
gun.
Reintroducing the death penalty, if
the congress will pass it, will do nothing to deter crime especially white
collar crimes and banking crimes, the
heinous crimes of the one percent
who own seventy percent of the
country. The strict implementation of
just laws is the way.
The corrupt officials in government
and business have to be investigated,
charged and brought to trial. Corruption drives hundreds of thousands of
children on to the streets in horrendous poverty and misery and without
social welfare.
Hanging a few drug dealers or child
rapists will not deter a child rapist or
foreign sex tourist.
When a young girl, a victim of
rape by her biological father and had
testified in court against him, saw the
news about the reintroduction of the
death penalty, she said: “Please ask
the President not to do it. My family
will blame me for killing our father, I
can never go home.”
For sure, the hoped-for anti-crime
action of President Duterte will be a
big success if he will order the cancel-

12

lation of government licenses and
permits of sex bars, brothels, karaoke
joints and sex hotels.
These are proven fronts for prostitution and sex and drug abuse centers
for children and young girls in debt
bondage. Drugs are always there to
make the girls submissive and docile
for the rough foreign rapists.
That executive order or new law
would be world news and a great anticrime move with huge positive results.
The sex tourists will pull up their pants
and flee and family and eco-tourism
arrivals will double.
President Duterte would score a
very visible nation-wide, anti-crime
success in one stroke of the pen
and save thousands of young girls
and minors from a hateful life of sex
slavery and human trafficking. But to
pull the trigger will bring abomination
on the nation and make us look worse
than the criminals that are killed by
death squads.
Now if the new president really
wants to show crime-fighting success,
he can immediately strike a blow at
the heart of the cyber-crime child
abuse online. He only has to get the
police and the National TelecommuniIMPACT

JUNE 2016

cations Commission to implement the
2009 anti-child-pornography law and
make the Internet service providers
(ISPs) obey it.
The National Telecommunications
Commission (NTC) has apparently
sold out to the interests of the ISPs
owned by the big telecommunications companies and do not implement the law. The anti-child porn
law of 2009 says the ISPs must block
child pornography on the Internet.
The images of children being sexually
abused pass through their servers.
This failure by the telecommunications companies to obey the law is a
serious crime.
President Elect Duterte can strike
another success by simply ordering the existing law be obeyed and
changing all the people at the NTC
with his non-bribe taking, non-corrupt
people. It will immediately remove
millions of gigabytes of child porn data
from the ISP servers and open up the
broadband to faster Internet connection for all.
The children who we all must
protect and heal will be safer and live
in a better, cleaner world. (shaycullen@gmail.com)

NEWS FEATURES

Putting religion on money
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE have to learn how to blend these
two elements. We cannot be simplistic
and put them always in conflict. Yes,
there are dangers to avoid. But we
have to distinguish the good from
the evil involved in the use of money.
Otherwise, we might throw the baby
out with the bath water.
It’s true that the Gospel warns us
to serve only one master. We cannot serve both God and Mammon,
the false idol of material wealth that
exercises bad influence on us. (cfr. Mt
6,24)
But this indication is not an outright
condemnation of money. We always
need money, since we are not angels.
We are simply asked to avoid the
extreme of considering money as
our God, and the other extreme of
regarding money as intrinsically evil.
We have to be careful with money
because, as St. Paul warned, ‘love for
money is the root of all kinds of evil.”
(1 Tim 6,10)
Christ himself had to use some
money. When asked if he also had to
pay taxes, he told Peter, after alluding
that strictly speaking he should be
exempted from it, to go to the shore
to get money from a fish to pay the
taxes. (cfr. Mt 17,27)
Money has to be used with a growing sensibility to its moral dimensions.
It has to fit our true human dignity. It
has to be related to our conscience,
and ultimately to religion. It has to
serve both God and man. It can be a
wonderful tool for our material and
spiritual growth.
In other words, money should not
just be used following exclusively
practical and economic criteria. We
also have to consider higher, spiritual values, since we are not purely
economic creatures, but are persons

and children of God.
There’s no doubt that money contributes to human progress. Imagine
a world without money! We’d hardly
advance from the Stone Age. And with
population growing and the economy
stagnant, there’s nothing much to
expect other than chaos.
From my Economics 101 class, I
learned that money has to circulate as
fast as possible to generate economic
activity, and thus affect more people
and hopefully produce more satisfaction.
But obviously this is not only a matter of speed. There has to be proper
direction, since as St. Augustine once
said, no matter how fast one runs, if
he is off-track, he will never reach the
finish line.
We need to find the proper blend.
It’s a continuing task requiring us to
pray, study, observe, consult, and decide. It’s not easy, and never a perfect
activity. We often can’t see the forest
for its trees. It thrives more on trial
and error. And so we have to be
flexible also.
I remember that before I got
ordained—this was in Rome—I was
asked to buy a new pair of shoes. So
I went around to look for the one I
liked. When I finally found the pair,
I asked the saleslady if those shoes
would last long.
She stared at me, as if I was a
Martian. Then she asked me, “But why
would you like the shoes to last long?”
That question stunned me. I’ve
always been taught to buy things that
can last even as long as a lifetime. But
that remark led me to thinking more
deeply. Of course, if everyone would
buy shoes only once in a rare while,
how would the shoe industry fare?
I concluded that the lady had a
very valid point. But I had to study
things more comprehensively. I had to

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 6

Money has to be
used with a growing
sensibility to its moral
dimensions. It has to fit
our true human dignity.
It has to be related to
our conscience, and
ultimately to religion.
integrate it with the requirements of
temperance and Christian poverty.
When I was in high school, I hardly
bought anything. I always thought I
had everything that I needed, since I
was told not to create needs. I got this
trait from my parents who were very
Spartan.
My younger sister, however, would
remind me it was time to change my
wardrobe, or would introduce me to
products like skin lotions and colognes, and the new styles around.
I was afraid I would fall into consumerism and materialism which I thought
would elude my sister’s understanding.
But since I did not see these anomalies
in her, I followed part of her suggestions. I concluded I exaggerated my
fears.
Now I realize she was helping the
economy, aside from making me look
kind of good. She had more common
sense, was more down-to-earth, while
I tended to be cocooned with my
books.
With all the recently discovered ugly
schemes and scams in our complicated
economic environment today, there’s
a crying need to hone this skill of
properly blending money and religion.

13

NEWS FEATURES

Church alarmed over vigilante killings
THE Catholic Church raised
alarm bells over the recent spate
of vigilante-style murders in the
country.
The bishops said it is “disturbing”
that vigilantism is on the rise, as
they expressed disapproval of bounties for criminals.
While commending the authorities in their strong anti-crime
crusade, the bishops said they are
alarmed over the increasing number
of suspected drug pushers being
killed in an alleged shootout.
As of press time, at least 58 drugrelated killings across the country
have already been reported since
the May-9 elections.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas,
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines president, said one can
“shoot to kill” solely on the ground
of legitimate self-defense or the
defense of others.
But “to kill a suspect outright,
no matter how much surveillance
work may have antecedently been
done on the suspect, is not morally
justified,” said Villegas.

“Suspicion is never the moral
equivalent of certainty, and punishment may be inflicted only on the
ground of certainty,” he said.
Bounty system
The bishops also frowned at the
bounty system, saying it is prone to
abuse and might cause vigilantism in
the country.
“It is never morally permissible
to receive reward money to kill
another,” Villegas said.
The CBCP head also said that it
is the moral duty of every Christian
to report all forms of vigilantism of
which they have personal knowledge.
“For greater reason is it a duty to
keep away from any participation
and any form of cooperation with
vigilantes and vigilante movements,”
he added.
The bishops emphasized the
need for concerted efforts in the
fight against crime but stressed that
these should be done lawfully.
“We understand the difficulties
that law-enforcers face, the daily

risk to life and limb, but not only
civil society but also the Church
counts on them for the flourishing
of a society where all enjoy the
blessings of a regime under laws
that are just and institutions that are
fair,” Villegas said.
Culture of death
As more suspected drug dealers
were gunned down, many dioceses
also issued an oratio imperata or
mandatory prayer for the country's
newly elected leaders.
The special prayer was recited
during Masses for nine consecutive
days before the country’s newly
elected leaders assume their posts
on June 30.
The prayer asks God to bless the
new leaders “with true reverence for
human life and unyielding opposition to the culture of death.”
The oratio imperata, which is in
accordance with the proposal of
the CBCP, also calls for humility,
integrity, courage and "spirit of
heroic sacrifice" from the country's
next leaders. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)

Bishop urges stronger fight against illegal recruitment
A CATHOLIC bishop called on the
government to do more in putting
an end to the exploitative practices
of the fly-by-night recruitment
agencies.
Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the CBCP Commission on
Migrants and Itinerant People, said
authorities must exert all efforts to
end the problem.
“Those illegal recruitment agencies should be closed, properties
sequestered and money should
be returned as reparations to the
victims,” Santos said on June 22.
And instead of reinstating capital

14

punishment, the bishop wants
lifelong detention for convicts of
illegal recruitment.
The church official said efforts
must be made to stop illegal recruitment but death penalty should
never be an option.
“Illegal recruitment is a heinous
crime which deserve nothing but
serious prosecution and severe
punishment. This entails life imprisonment, to the utmost of reclusion
perpetua,” Santos said.
The bishop said illegal recruitment is the “most cruel and brutal
act a man can do to his fellow man” OFWs arriving at NAIA.

IMPACT

JUNE 2016

NEWS FEATURES

because “it violates human dignity
and exploits human rights.”
“One’s life is in danger of death
and destruction,” said Santos. “Also
his family suffers separation and
agonizes for the uncertainty of its
illegally recruited family member.”
He also lamented that victims
of illegal recruitment and human
trafficking are taken not as human

beings but as “a tool for profit” or
considered as “commodities.”
Labor and Employment Secretary
Rosalinda Baldoz has clarified
reports that she is pushing for the
inclusion of illegal recruitment
among crimes punishable by death.
“I am pro-life and I remain so. I am
not pushing for the death penalty
because I firmly believe even the

most-hardened criminal should be
given a chance to change his ways
and get back to his family and community to lead a transformed life,”
she said.
But Baldoz believes “strong
remedial measures” must be implemented to complement preventive efforts against the problem.
(CBCPNews)

Reducing food waste could help solve hunger — Tagle
CARDINAL Luis Antonio Tagle of
Manila has called on world leaders
to look at the issue of food loss
differently, not just by technical
solution but from a response that
comes from a vision of human
development.
In an address to the UN’s Food
and Agriculture Organization in
Rome, the president of Caritas
Internationalis said that “food loss”
is the “consequence” of a system
centered on the market, instead of
the human person.
“If we want that food systems
ensure the right to adequate food
for everyone, including the most
disadvantaged ones, this requires
sound policies and effective
measures to prevent food losses,”
Tagle said.
“The problem of food loss is
clearly a systemic problem, the
consequence of food systems not
centered around the human person,
but rather around the market,” he
said.
The Church’s international
humanitarian agency said up to
third or 1.3 billion tons of all food
is spoiled before it is consumed by
people every year.
Food is lost or wasted throughout
the supply chain, from initial production to when it reaches people’s
homes and creating a “massive
impact” on poor families who rely
directly on agriculture for their food.

Decrying the
huge amount of
food that is harvested but never
consumed, the
cardinal stressed
the need for a “new
way to frame the
problem”.
“If we want
that food systems
ensure the right
to adequate food
for everyone,
Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle
delivers his address before the UN Food and Agriculture Orgaincluding the most
nization in Rome, Italy, May 30, 2016. FAO/Alessandra Benedetti
disadvantaged
ones, this requires
sound policies and
food losses from numerous crops
effective measures to prevent food
impacted small farmers.
losses,” Tagle said.
“Caritas addresses food loss not
“The fruits of the earth are to
only by providing technical solubenefit everyone. This requires to
tion. Rather the response comes
adopt a social perspective which
from a vision of human developtakes into account the fundamental
ment that is integral, societal and
rights of the poor and the underecological.”
privileged,” he said.
He also reiterated the Church’s
He also suggested that world
ongoing commitment to tackling
leaders could learn from the experifood waste and loss, as he cited
ence of Catholic charities, sharing
Pope Francis’ encylical Laudato Si
how Caritas have worked with the
and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s
most vulnerable and marginalized to Caritas in Veritate.
reduce food loss.
“Adopting only technical remedies
He was referring to the “Farm for
to food loss equals to forgetting the
Maine” programme in the US which
human person, separating “what is
distributes food straight from the
in reality interconnected and” maskfield to needy people.
ing ‘the true and deepest problems
Tagle also cited a 2014 study by
of the global system,’” said Tagle.
Caritas Malawi which showed how
(Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 6

15

ELITIST POLITIC

THE REAL AQ

President Benigno Aquino III speaks during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Small
and Medium Enterprises (SME) Summit 2015 at the Green Sun – Arts/Creative Hub in Makati City,
November 17, 2015. JOSEPH VIDAL/MALACAÑANG PHOTO BUREAU

16

IMPACT

MAY 2016

COVER
STORY

CS AND ECONOMICS:

QUINO LEGACY
By Ibon Foundation

TOWARDS the end of its six years in office, the
Aquino government boasted its legacy of inclusive growth. Indeed for its neoliberal thrusts the
Aquino administration may have achieved certain
economic outcomes. But for the Filipino people,
an unprecedented jobs crisis, using public funds
to guarantee private profits, an even wider gap
between rich and poor and economic subservience to foreign dictates highlight Aquino’s brand
of governance and economics. This is what the
past administration has left behind and passed on
to the next presidency.
Aquino, poster-child of neoliberalism
Throughout President Benigno Simeon
Aquino’s term, the Philippines has time and again
been hailed as one of Asia’s fastest growing
economies. The 5.9% average growth rate in
the past five years is undeniably strong-looking
compared to past administrations’, notwithstanding slowdown in the beginning of 2014.
Foreign direct investments (FDI) in the country,
which are believed to deliver employment and
growth, have risen through the years under
Aquino: US$2.0 billion in 2011, US$3.2 billion
in 2012, US$3.7 billion in 2013, US$5.7 billion
in 2014, and US$5.7 billion in 2015. Official
employment figures indicate an increase from
93.6% in April 2015 to 93.9% to April 2016.
Government also recently reported having lifted
1 million poor Filipinos from poverty.
These so-called achievements build up the
image of the Philippines as the poster-child
of neoliberal economics where the role of the
free market in the control and use of resources,
utilities and industries are given prominence.
International financial institutions and credit
agencies have periodically commended the
Philippine economy’s stability amid global currents. Recently, NICE Investor Services raised
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 5

17

COVER
STORY

Activists march during the Labor Day protest rally in Manila. ROY LAGARDE

the country’s investment grade from BBB- to
BBB based on improved transparency, expanded
infrastructure and social overhead capitals in the
form of public private partnerships (PPPs). During
the last Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC), high-level meetings held in the Philippines in November 2015, the Philippines was
regarded among others as a model in disaster risk
reduction, promoting micro, small and medium
enterprises, maximizing the blue economy and
human capital development.

to just 638,000 in 2015. There has also been a
543,000 addition to the number of unemployed
Filipinos in the same period, showing that there
are now more temporary, low-paying and insecure jobs in the business-biased economy. Moreover, 63% of the total employed are non-regular,
agency-hired, informal sector, or unpaid family
workers. Wages have also been very insufficient:
the P481 National Capital Region minimum wage,
which is the highest across all regions, make less
than half of the P1,093 family living wage or the
amount needed by a family of six for subsistence.
Aquino vetoed proposed increases in nurses’
salaries and the elderly’s pensions.
Despite almost P300 billion being spent on
conditional cash transfers or the Pamilyang
Pantawid Pilipino program (4Ps) from 2011-2016,
the number of Filipinos in extreme poverty remains
unchanged at 27 million as of the first half of 2015.
More than 2 of 3 Filipinos live on just P125 or less
per day which has become more difficult with the
increasing cost of basic goods and services from
food to transportation, education and health.
The Aquino administration continued a sham
land reform program that further fortified large
landowners’ landholdings, converted agricultural
land to commercial purposes including big and
foreign corporate plantations and financialized

Not felt by the people
The people’s worsening conditions however
belie the Aquino government’s claims of inclusive
growth. Growth mostly happened in sectors with
heavy oligarch and foreign company investments
such as the real estate, construction, business
process outsourcing, and financial intermediation sectors. Farmers and workers could have
benefited from growth in the production sectors
but these have shrunk further under the Aquino
administration, with agriculture’s share in the
economy down to 9% and with manufacturing
still on about the same level as it was decades
ago, as of early 2016.
Even if FDI increased and employment grew,
jobs creation has fallen from 1.1 million in 2011

18

IMPACT

MAY 2016

utilities such as power and water remained
espensive if not unaffordable and delivered in
questionable quality to Filipinos.

Despite almost P300
billion being spent on
conditional cash transfers
or the Pamilyang Pantawid
Pilipino program (4Ps)
from 2011-2016, the
number of Filipinos in
extreme poverty remains
unchanged at 27 million as
of the first half of 2015.

Benefited the rich
At the end of Aquino’s term, majority of the
Filipino people remain at the margins of apparent growth and international acclaim for the
Philippines’ purportedly sound economics and
governance. It is clear who benefited from the
hyped improvements: under Aquino the net
worth of the 40 richest Filipinos grew from 14%
of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 to
24% in 2015. The gross revenue of the top 100
corporations also rose from 59% of the GDP in
2010 to 69% in 2014. That the net income of the
25 richest Filipinos ($44.1 billion) is equivalent to
the combined income of the country’s poorest 76
million Filipinos marks shows the grossly inequitable distribution of the nation’s wealth.
The Aquino government’s policies favored businesses over people’s welfare. The centerpiece
PPP program for instance has allowed the private
sector to profit immensely from people’s money
even in public utilities and social services such as
education, health and housing. Presidential uncle
Eduardo Cojuangco’s San Miguel Corporation has
bagged P149 billion-worth PPP contracts. Twelve
projects worth P217 billion have been awarded
to only a number of the country’s biggest business names aside from Cojuangco: Ayala, Pangilinan group, and Sy. The 2015 and 2016 national
budgets allocated P53 and 66 billion, respectively
to PPPs involving these oligarchs. Various sectors
oppose these projects such as the MRT-7 construction and the Quezon City Business District
that stand to displace farmers and urban poor
settlers from their homes and livelihood.
Beholden to foreign dictates
Like its predecessors, the Aquino government’s
economic policy was largely defined by foreign
interests such as the US government and international financial institutions such as the World
Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank
(ADB). Of all the policy recommendations of US
Agency for International Development (USAID)funded The Arangkada Philippines Project (TAPP),
75% or 471 have begun or have been completed
in 2015. The WB also used US$1 billion in
development policy loans from 2006-2014 to
push privatization in the health, education and
power sectors and increase value added tax (VAT)
and other taxes, among others.

land distribution. This has further entrenched tillers’
landlessness and poverty and ruined any prospects
for food security. Aquino’s defiance of the Supreme
Court decision to distribute the Cojuangco-Aquinoowned Hacienda Luisita to farmers remains the
stark example of land non-distribution under the
past administration. It also upheld a plunderous
and destructive mining policy and merely sought
greater government shares from mining revenues
while more big local and foreign companies coveted
resource-rich land. Worse, the Aquino administration did not heed calls to pull out abusive government troops from indigenous peoples’ and farmers’
communities such as those in Mindanao in spite of
popular clamor.
Under Aquino, social services and utilities
were further commodified instead of delivering the people’s basic needs. Because low-cost
housing is a component of real-estate business,
it remains unaffordable to many homeless
Filipinos. Instead of strengthening the public
school system to make education accessible to
all, the Aquino administration allocated billions
to private education and pushed K-to-12 to
train cheap labor for the global market while
allowing thousands of private schools to increase
tuition. That PhilHealth coverage has reportedly
grown to 93 million Filipinos does not guarantee
to wipe out the huge out-of-pocket expenses
shelled out even by indigent patients. Despite
protests, Aquino allowed public hospitals like the
Philippine Orthopedic Hospital and the Fabella
Hospital, patients of which were mostly indigent,
to be closed down. Meanwhile, privatized public

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 5

19

COVER
STORY

Caritas Philippines chairman Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona and leaders of other faith-based groups and civil society organizations ask President
Rodrigo Duterte to adopt its development and ecological agenda for the poor during a press conference in Manila, June 15, 2016. NASSA PHOTO

The country has not benefited from free trade
agreements (FTAs) such as the Japan Philippine
Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and
especially not from the World Trade Organization (WTO). The latter has inflicted damage on
the country’s economy, particularly eroding the
agriculture and industry sectors. Yet, the Aquino
administration actively pursued FTAs that seek
to further liberalize trade and investment, willing
to abide by foreign countries’ impositions at the
expense of public interest. It has actively sought
the US-dominated Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) agreement and started formal talks for
the European Union-Philippines (EU-PH) FTA.
Through the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN), it is also involved in the Chinadominated Regional Comprehensive Economic
Partnership (RCEP).
Not only once under the Aquino administration has easing restrictions to foreign ownership
of strategic industries and sectors by altering
Constitutional provisions been pushed. FTA especially TPP proponents have also recommended
Charter change, described by nationalists as an
affront to Philippine sovereignty.

The Aquino
government’s
policies
favored
businesses
over people’s
welfare.

Way forward?
Notwithstanding the anomalies and notoriety
of Philippine automated elections, the results
of the 2016 national polls reflected the Filipino
people’s rejection of the Aquino administration’s
elitism and pro-business policies. Evidences of
bureaucrat capitalism through the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) and disbursement
acceleration program (DAP), heightened human
rights violations with a copied anti-insurgency

20

IMPACT

MAY 2016

program, neglect of overseas Filipino workers’
rights, undermining labor rights, selective prosecution of allegedly corrupt officials and allowing
US imperialist aggression in legalizing a gravely
lopsided defense agreement add to Aquino’s long
list of offenses against the Filipino people, and for
which he should be held accountable.
It is important to note that the newly-seated
Duterte administration in its Ten-point Economic
Agenda lists as priorities easing foreign restrictions, gearing human capital development to meet
private sector needs, making PPPs play a key role
in driving growth and promoting rural tourism.
In these stipulations resonate the past regime’s
unpopular measures. Yet, the list mentions plans
that may suggest possible pro-people inclinations
such as increasing rural productivity, making
taxation more progressive by easing the burden
on lower-income brackets, beefing-up social
protection to be more effective in protecting the
people against economic shocks, and directing
science and technology as well as the creative arts
towards self-sustaining, inclusive development.
The Duterte administration, whose electoral
victory is attributed to the President-elect’s
strong pro-people pronouncements, is challenged
to do the opposite of what the Aquino government had done. Still, the neoliberal framework
prevails. Big local and global corporate and
political interests are intact and doing business as
usual. On the other hand, strong public support for the resumption of peace negotiations
which will tackle socio-economic reforms, and
the people’s continued assertion of their rights,
remains the constant force that will create the
momentum for any genuine change.

NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES WEBSITE

Unity in Social Justice

By Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J.
AS a young Jesuit, I was part of the
first quarter storm. Our groups were
left of center, while many of our
friends and the Philippine youth were
moving left of us towards the newly
formed Kabataan Makabayan. That
phenomenon pushed me to study
Marxism--first with a my professors
at Ateneo de Manila University, then
in Munich, Germany and in Innsbruck,
Austria.
My viewpoint was less from the
communist political leaders who
followed Marx--Stalin, Lenin, Mao-and more from the philosophers who
influenced Marx: especially Hegel and
Feuerbach.
Viewed from the logic of Georg
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and the
left-wing Hegelian influence of

Ludwig Feuerbach, I learned that the
dialectical materialism of Marx was at
bottom still an idealism, that Marxian
“materialism” was a rejection of the
Hegelian transcendent Idea unfolding itself dialectically in nature and
recovering itself in absolute Spirit.
In Marx, humanity, species being,
unfolds itself dialectically in nature
and recovers itself in communism.
The dialectic was a dialogue between
species being and nature, in which
through history species being being is
negated in its selfishness, preserved in
its humanity and uplifted into communism. Only the untranslatable German
verb, Aufhebung, allows expression of
negation, preservation and upliftment
simultaneously.
We cannot go through all this now.
But the necessity of the revolution
which would necessarily bring about
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 56

the communist redemption was also
but an ideal necessity that plays
with the German word for necessity-Notwendigkeit. “Not” is extreme
need, and “Wenden” is “to turn”. So
the necessity (Not-Wendigkeit) of the
revolution and eventually of the communist state was an ideal overcoming
of extreme human need.
What was material in Marx’s dialectical materialism is that all originates
and ends with humanity, species being, negating tendencies to be selfish
or private, preserving its fundamental
human identity, but necessarily
achieving “species being”--individual
being for the human species, for all in
the human species--in communism.
The communist state is not achieved
through objective evolutionistic
historical laws imposing themselves
on history, but by individual man

21

ARTICLES

achieving himself in his free historical
action in selflessly relating to all in
communist society.
While the Christian or the theist
disagrees necessarily with the Marxist
or Marxianist in his rejection of transcendence (anything beyond time and
space) and God, the Christian shares
with the followers of Marx a rejection
of all that which privatizes the human
being utterly, isolates him or her from
his or her fellow human beings, and
creates a society of exclusion, marginalization and human misery.
Recently, we know that while Marx
rejected the capitalist economy with
its alienation of the worker from himself, his product and his species being,
Pope Francis rejects an economy that
thrives on unbridled consumption,
the profit motive, and environmental
destruction. While Marx rejects the
“fetishism of the commodity”, the
Pope rejects economies which worship money! While Marx says, “The
philosophies of the world have too
long interpreted the world, it is now
time to change it!”, the Pope calls for
real action to transform the world.
Ultimately it is a call for a world where
the human being is respected, social
justice rules and each person serves
the common good. From this viewpoint there is a strong resemblance to
the Marxian species being.
Meanwhile, we have a Constitution
that has been described as a social
justice Constitution. Sec. 1. Art XIII of
this Constitution states: “The Congress shall give highest priority to the
enactment of measures that protect
and enhance the right of all the people
to human dignity, reduce social,
economic and political inequalities,
and remove cultural inequalities by
equitably diffusing wealth and political
power for the common good.
“To this end, the State shall regulate
the acquisition, ownership, use, and
disposition of property and its increments.” The key parts of this section
include labor, agratian and natural
resources reform, urban reform and

22

housing, health, women, the role and
rights of people’s organizations, and
human rights.
Meanwhile, Sec. 1, Art XIV states:
“The State shall protect the right of
all citizens to quality education at
all levels, and shall take appropriate
steps to make such education accessible to all.”
Our problem is: as the Constitution is actually implemented, being
interpreted often through jurisprudence not based on a social justice
Constitution, it is more the interests
of an humanly alienative economy
that are pushed rather than social
justice. The spectre of poverty haunts
the land, believing the claim of human
dignity for all. Wealth and political
power for the common good continue
to be concentrated in a few lords of
land, capital, production and culture,
thwarting the Constitutional mandate
to reduce social, economic political
and cultural inequalities.
I am an older Jesuit today. An
estimated 120,000 lives have been
lost in an armed struggle whose finality is blurred by ideological upheavals,
fatigue, and disillusionment, but
whose necessity (Notwendigkeit)
persists. If today the CPP-NPA-NDF
with its Marxian ideological roots talks
peace with other Filipinos influenced
by the faith in a compassionate God
or with elective representatives of
government under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, I suggest that
what binds them together more than
anything that separates them is a
common concern for social justice.
Peace is achieved not in giving up
social justice, but in achieving it.
Peace cannot be achieved if the social injustice that tears peace apart is
not overcome. Social justice cannot be
achieved if the armed struggle does
not seriously dent the exploitative
interests of the ruling elite, backed up
so often by the armed forces of the
nation. But social justice is a possibility under a President passionate about
the poor.
IMPACT

JUNE 2016

“The State shall protect
the right of all citizens
to quality education at
all levels, and shall take
appropriate steps to
make such education
accessible to all.”

A Duterte government serious
about social justice allies logically with
revolutionaries and citizens and worshippers passionate for social justice-be they from the CPP-NPA-NDF, civil
society, or from radical believers in
a compassionate God; what must be
changed is not the Constitution that
mandates change, nor the religious
belief that supports change, but the
established elite powerfully protecting its self interest, supported and
entrenched by a global elite; what
must be changed is the large number
of complacent Filipino citizens more
worried about propriety than social
justice. They are happier with leadership that is prim and proper than with
leadership that curses the darkness
and follows the inner light.
(This is lifted from the blog of Fr.
Joel Tabora, S.J., https://taborasj.
wordpres.com, posted June 6, 2016;
this was originally contributed to
Pakighinabi, "When Blue Meets Red"
on the GPH-NDFF Peace Process. )

STATEMENTS

Address of Pope Francis to the World Food Program Staff
Given at the Vatican on June 13, 2016

I AM happy to be able to meet you in
this simple and familiar setting, typical
of the style with which you carry out
your work in the service of so many
of our brothers and sisters. In you,
they see reflected that face of today’s
world that is concerned for solidarity
and mutual assistance. My thoughts
also turn to your many colleagues
throughout the world who cooperate
with the World Food Program. I thank
all of you for your warm and friendly
welcome.
The Executive Director has told me
of the important work which you do
with great competence, generosity
and no small sacrifice, often in situations that are challenging and insecure
as a result of natural or human causes.
The breadth and gravity of the problems addressed by the World Food
Program demands your steady enthusiasm, unstinting commitment and
constant readiness to serve. Together
with continuing professional formation, great sensitivity and intuition,
you are called to have a deep sense of
compassion, without which everything
else would lack real effectiveness and
meaning.
The WFP has entrusted you with
a lofty mission. The success of that
mission depends in no small part
on your ability not to get bogged
down in bureaucratic details, but
to bring initiative, imagination and
professionalism to your daily work,
as you seek new and effective
ways to eliminate the malnutrition
and hunger suffered by so many
people throughout the world. They
are pleading for our attention and
concern. That is why it is important
not to get weighed down by dossiers
but to see, behind each of those
papers, a real person with a real and
often painful story. The secret is to

see behind every dossier a human
face in need of assistance. Hearing
the cry of the poor will help you
to avoid viewing each case in cold
bureaucratic terms. We can never
do enough to eliminate so terrible a
phenomenon as hunger.
Hunger is one of the major threats
to peace in our world. It is a threat
that we cannot be content merely
to deplore or to study academically.
It has to be decisively faced and
urgently resolved. Each of us, within
his or her own area of responsibility, must do everything possible to
bring about a definitive solution to
this human tragedy, which degrades
and shortens the lives of so many
of our brothers and sisters. When it
comes to helping those are starving,
none can be exempted or think they
are excused because the problem is
too big, or one that does not affect
them.
Development – human, social,
technical and economic—is the
essential way to ensure that each
person, family, community and people
can meet its basic needs. This means
that our work is not in the service of
some abstract idea or the defense of
some theoretical dignity, but aimed
at protecting the life of each human being. In the poorest and most
depressed areas, this means providing
food in the case of emergencies, but
also enabling access to funding and
technical resources, employment and
microcredit, and in this way ensuring
that the local population increases
its ability to respond to unexpected
crises.
Here I am not referring simply to
material matters. What is needed
above all else is a moral commitment that makes it possible for me
to feel responsibility for the person

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 6

beside me, as well as for the overall
goal of the program as a whole. You
are called to advance and protect
this commitment through a service
that might appear at first glance to
be exclusively technical in nature.
Instead, what you are achieving are
actions that call for a great moral
strength, because they help build up
the common good in each country
and in the entire international community.
In the face of so many challenges
and crises, it might appear that
the future of humanity will simply
involve facing ever new and interrelated problems and threats, unpredictable both in their extent and in
their complexity. This is something
you know quite well from your
own experience. But it should not
dishearten us. Encourage and help
one another to avoid the temptation
of discouragement or indifference.
More importantly, believe firmly
that your daily efforts are helping to
give our world a human face and to
make it into a place whose cardinal
points are compassion, solidarity,
mutual assistance and gratuity.
The greater your generosity, your
tenacity and your faith, the more will
multilateral forms of cooperation
be able to devise suitable solutions
to these troubling problems. The
more they will succeed in expanding
shortsighted and selfish visions, in
opening new paths to hope, a just
human development, sustainability
and efforts to close the gap of unjust
economic inequalities, which so
greatly harm the most vulnerable
members of our human family.
Upon each of you and your families,
and upon your contributions to the
World Food Program, I invoke God’s
abundant blessings.

23

STATEMENTS

Fifty percent of children with
HIV/AIDS die before 2nd birthday
(Address of Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
to the UN, to the UN’s High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS; June 11, 2016)
Mr. President,
After years of shocking narratives
on the loss of health and life among
men, women and children living with
HIV, my delegation is pleased with
the progress detailed in the Secretary
General’s Report “On the Fast-Track
to End the AIDS Epidemic.” It is
indeed heartening to set strategic
goals and benchmarks with a view
to ending this disease, and to do
so within the more comprehensive
framework of the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development. My delegation, however, urges the international
community to pay equal attention
to the cautionary note raised in the
same Report, namely, that “AIDS is
far from over […] despite remarkable progress,” and “if we accept the
status quo unchanged, the epidemic
will rebound in several low- and
middle-income countries.”
In this regard, Catholic-inspired
organizations often report the persistent
obstacles posed by lack of access to
early diagnosis and treatment; by lack of
appropriate, affordable, and accessible
“child-friendly” formulations and dosages
of medications for pediatric use; by
changes in funding priorities imposed by
donor governments and agencies resulting in disruptions of services for those
who do not live in the so-called HIV
“hot spots”; by frequent stock-outs of
medicines and diagnostic equipment and
supplies; by interruptions of treatment,
especially of women and young people
who are subjected to stigma, discrimination and physical and emotional abuse
as a result of their HIV status. While

24

global goals and targets will be essentially moving forward, they must be
anchored in reality, integrating the very
real concerns that respective countries
have in considering the holistic wellbeing of their people. Discrimination and
stigmatization can never be an excuse
to exclude or leave anyone behind.
Every effort must be made to distinguish
between policies that discriminate and
stigmatize and those that are put in
place to discourage risk-taking behaviors
and encourage responsible and healthy
relationships, especially among youth.
While access to prevention, treatment
and health care services must be guaranteed to all, they will never be enough
by themselves to end HIV transmission
and AIDS. We must continue to address
their root causes and promote healthy
lifestyles.
The obstacles to eradicating the
spread of HIV/AIDS give ample
evidence of the fact that in different
parts of the world, especially in many
regions of Africa, health care is still a
privilege of the few who can afford
it. As Pope Francis has said, access
to health care, treatment, and medicines remains a dream for too many.
Health-related issues, such as HIV/
AIDS and related infections, require
urgent political attention, above
and beyond all other commercial or
political interests. The international
community must find the will, the
technical expertise, the resources and
the methods that provide access to
diagnosis and treatment for all, and
not simply for a privileged few, for
“there is no human life that is more
sacred than another, as there is no
IMPACT

JUNE 2016

human life that is qualitatively more
significant than another.”
Presently, as many as fifty percent
of HIV-positive children die before
their second birthday, because they
do not have access to the necessary
diagnosis, treatment and medication.
In fact, the majority of HIV-positive
children are not diagnosed until they
are four years of age. Taking up these
concerns, the Holy See recently
convened two meetings in the Vatican
with the executive-level leaders of
companies that manufacture pharmaceuticals and diagnostic equipment,
in order to plan a timelier and more
appropriate response to children
living with HIV and tuberculosis.
These business leaders, together with
representatives of specialized multilateral organizations, governments,
religious and other non-governmental
organizations, agreed that providing
affordable, appropriate, and accessible
HIV medicines and diagnostic tools for
pediatric use everywhere is an urgent
global goal, thus committing themselves to overcoming the obstacles
and accelerating access to diagnosis,
treatment and medication for children
living with HIV/AIDS. The Holy See
and all the institutions of the Catholic
Church are motivated more than ever
to consider the plight of children living
with HIV. Together let us muster the
will, continue to sharpen the technical
expertise already available and find
the resources necessary to provide
access to diagnosis, care and treatment, not only for a privileged few,
but for all.
Thank you, Mr. President.

STATEMENTS

As a loving mother

Apostolic Letter issued "Motu Proprio" by the Supreme Pontiff Francis
THE Church loves all her children like
a loving mother, but cares for all and
protects with a special affection those
who are smallest and defenseless.
This is the duty that Christ himself
entrusted to the entire Christian community as a whole. Aware of this, the
Church is especially vigilant in protecting children and vulnerable adults.
This duty of care and protection
devolves upon the whole Church, yet it
is especially through her Pastors that it
must be exercised. Therefore diocesan
Bishops, Eparchs and those who have
the responsibility for a Particular
Church must pay vigilant attention
to protecting the weakest of those
entrusted to her care.
Canon Law already provides for the
possibility of removal from ecclesiastical office “for grave reasons”. This pertains to diocesan Bishops and Eparchs
as well, and those who are by law equal
to them (cf. can. 193 § 1 CIC; can.
975 § 1 CCEO). With this Letter my
intention is to underline that among
the aforesaid “grave reasons” is the
negligence of a Bishop in the exercise
of his office, and in particular in relation to cases of sexual abuse inflicted
on minors and vulnerable adults, as
stated in the Motu ProprioSacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela promulgated
by St John Paul II and amended by my
beloved Predecessor, Benedict XVI. In
such cases the following procedure is
to be observed:
Article 1
1. The diocesan Bishop or Eparch,
or one who even holds a temporary
title and is responsible for a Particular
Church, or other community of faithful
that is its legal equivalent, according to
can. 368 CIC or can. 313 CCEO, can be
legitimately removed from this office if
he has through negligence committed

or through omission facilitated acts
that have caused grave harm to others,
either to physical persons or to the
community as a whole. The harm may
be physical, moral, spiritual or through
the use of patrimony.
2. The diocesan Bishop or Eparch
can only be removed if he is objectively lacking in a very grave manner
the diligence that his pastoral office
demands of him, even without serious
moral fault on his part.
3. In the case of the abuse of minors
and vulnerable adults it is enough that
the lack of diligence be grave.
4. The Major Superiors of Religious
Institutes and Societies of Apostolic
Life of Pontifical Right are equivalent
to diocesan Bishops and Eparchs.
Article 2
1. In all cases in which there is foundational proof of what is contained in
the previous article, the competent
Congregation of the Roman Curia can
open an inquiry into the case, informing the subject involved and giving the
accused the possibility of providing
documentation and testimony.
2. The Bishop will be given the possibility to defend himself, something
he can do by the means provided for
by law. All stages of the inquiry will be
communicated and he will always be
given the possibility of meeting with
the Superiors of the Congregation.
This meeting will be proposed by the
appropriate dicastery even should the
Bishop himself take no initiative.
3. In view of the arguments
presented by the Bishop, the Congregation may decide to open a
supplementary investigation.
Article 3
1. Before making a decision, the
Congregation may meet, when approVOLUME 50 • NUMBER 6

priate, with other Bishops or Eparchs
belonging to the same Bishops’ Conference or Synod of Bishops of the sui
iuris Church as the Bishop or Eparch in
question, with the purpose of discussing the said case.
2. The Congregation will adopt its
determination when gathered in an
Ordinary Session.
Article 4
Whenever the removal of a Bishop
is held to be opportune, the Congregation, depending on the circumstances
of the case, will establish whether:
1. to issue, and in the briefest
possible amount of time, a decree of
removal;
2. to fraternally exhort the Bishop to
present his letter of resignation within
a period of fifteen days. If the Bishop
does not give his response within this
period of time the Congregation can
proceed to issue the decree of removal.
Article 5
The decision of the Congregation
as stated in articles 3–4 must be
submitted for the specific approval
of the Roman Pontiff, who before
making a definitive decision will take
counsel with a special College of Jurists
designated for this purpose.
Everything that I have deliberated
in this Apostolic Letter given Motu
Proprio must be observed in all its
parts, notwithstanding anything to
the contrary, even if it be worthy of
particular mention, and I hereby set
forth that it be published in the official
records of Acta Apostolicae Sedis and
promulgated in the daily edition of
L’Osservatore Romano, and enter into
force on 5 September 2016.
Vatican, 4 June 2016
Francis P.P.

25

FROM THE BLOGS

Labor and capital
THE mere fact that man has a right to live
together with all those dependent on him
for food, shelter and clothing, so is it too
that he has the right to work as an elementary consequence of his won right to life
plus those dependent on him. So it is said
that those who are able in mind and body
yet do not want to work, let them also not
also eat. And so it is that to work is considered both a right and an obligation for ablebodied men in particular. Let it be clearly
stated however that it is man who is the
purpose of work, viz., “Work is for man,” not
“Man is for work.” And so it is that work is
eventually for the good of the worker, for
the benefit of his family, and eventually for
the welfare of society. At his juncture, it is
good to take note of and to remember the
following principles that bring to fore the
proper nature and import of human labor
and material capital:
1. The right relationship between labor
and capital finds its proper expression
when workers have some kind of a participative role in the management and profit of
capital. In other words, labor may not be
left to the mercy of capital whose profit

precisely comes from the sweat of labor.
So it should not be “Capital vs. Labor” nor
“Labor vs. Capital”. When such is the case,
both become losers as time experience
readily prove. Labor and capital are not enemies but companions. The more unity and
harmony bind them, the better they both
become in terms of profit for capital and
earning for labor--along the significance
and implications of the well-known saying
“Together we stand, together we fall.”
2. The same proper, friendly and collaborative relationship become even more
pronounced when workers are in fact given
their reasonable advisory input in the management of capital--considering that they
work not only for the stability but also for
the continuous growth of capital. So it is
that the closer capital and labor are, the
more harmony there is between them. the
more they establish some kind of a joint
venture--and the more they earn together
and become a real asset to one another.
The opposite is sad and pitiful whereas then
labor and capital eventually become both
losers So it is that the so-called “Strike” on
the part of labor is in the last analysis, the

loss of both capital and labor themselves.
3. The truly fair and equitable relationship between labor and capital brings about
the propriety and desirability of such a
noble and inspiring practice when workers
bring home their “Family Wage” that funds
the needs even of their domestic communities. In other words, both capital and labor
in effect become beneficiaries through
some kind of a “Joint Venture” . In other
words, while it is true that the said wage –
that benefits not only the worker personally
but also the members of his or her family
as a unit--is neither commonly known nor
practiced, it is not hard to see its bilateral
beneficial impact on both capital and labor.
With the observance of the truly inspired
and inspiring “Family Wage”, the worker
becomes more energized and dedicated
to his work while capital likewise becomes
more benefited by inspired workers. While
the said qualified wage is either not well
appreciated or altogether ignored in this
Country, there is no reason why is reality
should not be more and more studied and
subsequently observed.
www.ovc.blogspot.com

Biotechnology
IN recent years, pressing questions have
been raised with regard to the use of new
forms of biotechnology in the areas of
agriculture, animal farming, medicine and
environmental protection. The new possibilities offered by current biological and
biogenetic techniques are source of hope
and enthusiasm on one hand, and of alarm
and hostility on the other.
Scientific studies, researches and experiments about life have been long on-going
in the world- specially in the countries of
the “First World” or certain nations in the
world that are considered wealthy and
therefore can afford and do engage in advanced biotechnological ventures. This is
understandable and praiseworthy at the
same time whereas life as such is the most
precious reality in the world.
It has to be immediately added however
that in addition to man, there are other living creatures that should be cared for in the
plant kingdom as well as in the animal kingdom--through biotechnology. And needless

26

to say, the environment plays a key role not
only in protecting but also in enhancing life
as such. So is it that biotechnology becomes
an ally in promoting life--human life specially--without destroying the environment.
To make plants grow better and more,
to have animals breed more and keep their
health, to develop medicines to cure human
sickness--these are considered as some key
agenda of biotechnology. So is it that to
find out and do away with what contradicts
the said basic agenda is necessarily included
in the needed and proper biotechnological
studies. And preserving the integrity of the
environment is definitely included therein.
So it is that biological studies and biogenic techniques are imperative in the
promotion of life on one hand, and on the
neutralization of whatever disfavors its
safety on the other hand. It then becomes
a big ambiguity if said studies and techniques cause harm to the environment, the
wholeness of which is definitely pro-life.
Otherwise, such scientific ventures would

IMPACT

JUNE 2016

be pro-death instead.
When properly undertaken, carefully applied and prudently propagated, the safe and
beneficial findings of biotechnology gives
humanity the fond hope of better health
which is followed by longer life. And this
blessing is not only for the humanity of today
but also for the men, women and children of
tomorrow. Known, proven and propagated
as such, biological findings and biogenetic
conclusions bring hope and security to man
now and in the times yet to come.
Otherwise, when applied biotechnology
could in effect harm the environment which
is equal to hurting man, instead of bringing
hope, it then becomes a cause for alarm. This
perception is not merely imagination but a reality in today’s world. And this in effect spells
“Danger” to the world, to humanity as a whole.
In this case, it is certainly not enough for those
responsible for such a disastrous consequence
to but say “Sorry!” The guardians of pro-environment law should then do their job.
www.ovc.blogspot.com

EDITORIAL

BLADIMER USI

The right
to life

WRONG doing and right punishment
make the standard pairing required of
a civilized and orderly society. This
reality is already a basic principle, a
common practice, a proper observance even but in a domestic community—otherwise the children therein
grow to be irresponsible, uncivilized
and even dangerous to others. So it
is said that inflicting punishment is
irrelevant to a hermit who thinks and
acts alone, who lives and dies alone.
But the moment man lives and acts as
a social being, in peace he is for going
good and in trouble he is when doing
evil—along the principle of “Rewards
and Punishment”. The basic principle
however remains that inhumanity of
man to man basically unmakes the
human person himself.
In order to protect the common
good, the lawful public authority must
exercise the right and the duty to
inflict punishments according to the
seriousness of the crimes committed
– except that of killing the offender.
Otherwise, the killer is just as bad as
the one killed. While it is true that
love is responded to by love, it is big

malady when killing is countered by
another killing. There are a hundred
and one ways of punishing a killer—or
any criminal for that matter. Killing
him downright however is precisely
the end to all punishments. More.
The one who kills a killer, becomes a
killer himself. This can be anything
but right and just. So it is that the
saying “Kapag buhay ang inutang,
buhay rin ang kabayaran,” Can eventually be considered as the maxim of a
dangerous circle of downright killers.
And so it is that the promotion and
observance of just legislations is a
postulate of truth, a premise of justice
and a mandate of peace. The imposition of just penalties for violation
of just laws is the dictate of reason,
the rule of logic, the conclusion of
common sense. The finality of these
principles are the protection, the
promotion, and maintenance of the
common good – not exactly that of
killing all law violators. Punishment
does not serve merely the purpose
of defending the public order and
guaranteeing the safety of persons.
It becomes as well an instrument for
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 6

the correction of the offender – not
exactly his killing.
So it is that the imposition of just
penalties upon the violators of just
laws that are proper according to Natural Law and just according to Positive
Law is the standard way of preserving or restoring public order. Such
penal sanctions furthermore serve to
vindicate the innocent and hopefully to
correct the offenders—not exactly kill
the latter. Human life is the premise
of all human prerogatives. So it is that
the right to life is the anchorage as
well of all other human rights. Without
life, what is there to speak about, to
defend, to care for?
The question is that why do killers,
murderers, assassins and their kind are
happily around and enjoying life? The
answer is because of a blatant contradiction of an unjust justice system.
This is the core of the malady, the
centerpiece of injustice. So it is that
the saying “Justice delayed is justice
denied,” is but mere tautology. The
delay of justice is downright injustice.
This is when law causes disorder,
when injustice becomes in order.

27

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MERALCO FACEBOOK PAGE

Repeal EPIRA: PH power rates double in 15 years–IBON

RESEARCH group IBON said that
fifteen years of the Electric Power
Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) has only
strengthened corporations’ monopoly
of the Philippine power industry, and
burdened consumers with high power
rates. The group, a member of the
POWER alliance, said that EPIRA must
be repealed.
EPIRA or Republic Act (RA) 9136
was enacted in 2001, leading to the
massive privatization and deregulation
of the country’s power sector. Despite
government touting EPIRA as the
answer to the country’s power and
financial troubles, residential power
rates have escalated by 99% from Php
4.87/kwh in 2000 to Php 9.68/kwh in
2015. According to reports, Philippine
power rates are among the highest in
Asia and fifth in the world.
EPIRA has only fortified private
power monopolies, giving them the

28

reins of the industry and allowing
them to rake in super profits at the
expense of consumers. IBON said that
as of 2014, private corporations controlled 93.4% of the country’s gross
power generation. Three groups—San
Miguel Corporation, the Aboitiz group
and the Lopez group—dominate the
Luzon grid, accounting for nearly 60%
of installed capacity.
The top ten power corporations
had combined gross revenues worth
Php524 billion also in 2014. The Manila
Electric Corporation (Meralco) alone
accounted for 50% or Php261 billion of
this, said the group. In 2013, the Energy
Regulatory Commission (ERC) meanwhile declared that there was ‘market
abuse’ among the 13 power participants
in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market
(WESM) that led to a spike in prices due
to speculation.
The WESM was created by EPIRA
IMPACT

JUNE 2016

to supposedly foster competition
and ensure better pricing that would
reduce power rates overtime. But
under conditions of monopoly control
and lack of government regulation,
the WESM is useless and a few big
corporations are able to artificially
manipulate and increase power prices.
Meralco was compelled to halt
rate hikes after pressure coming from
consumer advocates resulted in a
Supreme Court Temporary Restraining Order, IBON said, but automatic
adjustments such as that for generation cost upped rates nevertheless.
The group called on the incoming
administration to halt EPIRA and keep
its promise of beginning to transform
the energy sector into one that truly
fuels households and national development and does not burden Filipino
power consumers with excessive bills.
(Ibon News)

FEATURES

Brexit referendum win another sign of
neoliberal policies failure
RESEARCH group IBON said the
prevailing vote for Brexit is the latest
political affirmation that neoliberal
globalization-driven integration like
the European Union (EU) is failing. The
Philippines will have an advantage if
the incoming Duterte administration
appreciates this as the latest sign of
the major emerging countercurrent to
reckless neoliberalism.
There was a referendum on whether
the United Kingdom (UK) should
remain or leave the EU on June 23.
Brexit, the term coined for “British exit
from the EU”, won by a 52 to 48 percent margin. However, this was only a
referendum vote and it is still unclear
when and how the UK will officially
exit the EU. There are already calls
and a petition for a second referendum to be held. Post-exit policies also
remain unclear.
The Brexit win is a political consequence of bad economics, said
IBON. Because of the very neoliberal
globalization policies it staunchly
implemented and advanced, the EU
economy and Europeans are struggling to recover from the global
economic crisis. This has led to
growing skepticism among the British
on its EU membership, and fears that
this will eventually bring down the UK
economy.
The groups also stated that UK
economic growth now is slower than
in 1973 when it joined the European
Economic Community, which eventually became the EU. According to
official UK statistics, growth is much
lower from 7.1% in the first quarter
of 1973 to 2.1% in the first quarter of
2016.
The declining UK economy has
led to increasing joblessness, low
wages and is creating an underclass

Elizabeth Tower, which houses the Big Ben bell, in London. ART ACAYAN

of poor, said IBON. The country’s
unemployment rate rose from
3.9% in the first quarter of 1973
to 5.1% in the first quarter of
2016. Despite improved employment rates in recent years, wage
growth has also slowed meaning an
increase in low-paying jobs. Bank
of England data showed that wage
growth fell from 3.3% in May 2015
to 1.9% in February 2016. Meanwhile, latest data shows overall UK
poverty incidence rose from 15.9%
of the population to 16.8%, the
12th highest among EU membercountries. Austerity measures and
severe cuts in public spending have
been used to stave off the worsening effects of the economic crisis.
But these have fueled dissatisfac-

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 6

tion with the UK’s leadership and
direction, which has now been
expressed through the spontaneous Brexit movement.
IBON also noted that an actual
Brexit creates the possibility of
more independent and perhaps
even protective economic policies
in Britain. This may even eventually spread further if the exit
stance spreads to other European
countries like France, Spain, Italy,
Greece, and others.
This can serve as a cue for the
Philippines. The country’s neoliberal
economic policies should be adjusted
accordingly away from neoliberalism
towards greater economic nationalism
and more pro-Filipino and democratic
measures, said the group. (Ibon News)

29

CATHOLIC INITIATIVE FOR ENLIGHTENED MOVIE APPRECIATION

DIRECTION: ANDRE STATON;
CAST: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks,
Hayden Rolence, Ed O’Neill,
Diane Keaton;
STORY: Andrew Staton;
SCREENPLAY: Andrew Staton,
Victoria Strouse;
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Jeremy Lasky;
EDITING: Axel Geddes;
MUSIC: Thomas Newman;
PRODUCERS: Lindsey Collins;
GENRE: Animation;
LOCATION: Under the ocean;
DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Picture;
RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes
TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: 3.5
MORAL ASSESSMENT: 4
CINEMA Rating: VA (Viewers of All Ages)

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JUNE 2016

ONE year after the first movie, Dory (DeGeneres) lives peacefully with Nemo (Rolence),
Marlin (Brooks) until her memories are triggered by a lecture about migration. She begins
to have a burning desire to find her parents
and convinces Nemo and reluctant Marlin to
accompany her to the Jewel of Morro Bay in
California. As expected, the trio has a near
death encounter which leaves Marlin blaming
Dory and Dory getting lost. Fortunately, she is
captured by volunteers of the Marine Life Institute and brought to the Quarantine Section.
She meets a 7-legged chameleon-like octopus
named Hank who bribes her into giving up her
tag so he can be transported to a permanent
aquarium in Cleveland in exchange for him
helping her get to the Open Ocean exhibit.
Along the way, Dory meets her childhood whale
shark friend Destiny and Bailey, an echolocator
whale. Meanwhile, Marlin and Nemo have their
own adventure as they encounter more sea
creatures who are all too willing to help them.
Finding Dory is a lot of fun especially with
DeGeneres skillful voice performance that
is both calculated and raw. She hits each
comical moment, matches the energy of the
action-packed scenes and makes the drama
believable and relatable. O’Neill’s Hank grows
in you and most likely would star in the next
sequel. The rest of the characters are bland
and boring. Story develops with less imagination and overrated melodrama. There are
too many unnecessary characters and scenes
that were merely included just to add more
comical moments. Just because they were executed gracefully does not exactly justify their
presence. But because Disney has already
mastered this genre and undeniably creates an
enjoyable film for young and old alike regardless of its shortcomings.
Finding Dory reaffirms the value of family
from beginning to end. Family in the film transcends blood relations and embraces anyone
who shares the same love and care regardless of species. Family in the film also means
sacrifice—learning to leave one’s comfort zone
and letting go of personal gain and objectives
for the sake of the other person most in need.
Family is a symbol of hope and courage. You
just need to “keep swimming” because at the
end of the day, you know that they will always
be there waiting to lend a hand and be one’s
support and cheerleader. Finding Dory is a film
for all ages and one of the better weekend family bonding moments.

ASIA BRIEFING

SRI LANKA. Cardinal warns against
sketchy 'Sunday Mass' ad
The Catholic faithful shouldn’t’t believe a
misleading newspaper ad that says Sunday
Masses are being held in a hotel room in
the city of Colombo, the Archbishop of
Colombo has said. The ad appeared on the
first page of the late City Edition of the Daily
Mirror June 9. It was titled “Celebrating
Women in Ministry” and said there was a
Mass every Sunday in the Cinnamon Grand
Hotel. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo
warned about the ad in a letter to his parish
priests, saying it “has nothing to do with the
Catholic Church” and “is not in any way to
be canonically considered equivalent to the
Sunday Mass celebrated by the Church.”He
emphasized that Mass is “celebrated only
by a priest duly ordained to that ministry
by a bishop of the Catholic Church.”(CNA)
IRAQ. Patriarch calls for tolerance, forgiveness to fight terrorism
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako,
on the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, called
for tolerance and forgiveness to fight extremism, hatred and terrorism. Speaking
at a prayer service July 7 in the Karrada
section of Baghdad for the victims of the
July 3 bombing that killed more than 290
people and wounded 200, the patriarch
emphasized that "there is a spiritual, moral,
and patriotic side for our prayer.” "In such a
tragedy, we are joining millions of Muslims
in praying for the affected families, that
God may have mercy on the victims and
bless the wounded with a speedy recovery,"
Sako said. The patriarch said terrorism had
nothing to do with religion, "but may be
linked to political games that allow killing of
Muslims, Christians, Mandaeans and Yezidis
as 'infidels,'" the patriarch said. (CNS)
PALESTINE. Without electricity, Gaza
invests in solar panels
The energy crisis that has long held Gaza,
Palestine and other areas of the Middle East
in its grip could be alleviated through the use
of solar energy. The idea is to install solar
panels on the roofs of at least 10 thousand
homes in the Gaza Strip to counter the lack
of local power stations. This has meant that
due to the Israeli blockade and outdated
electric system currently in use, the Palestinian enclave can barely provide a few hours of
power a day to its 1.9 million inhabitants.52
year-old Palestinian cattle farmer Nahed
Abou is one of the biggest supporters of the

initiative. Lack of a stable power supply has
severely curtailed his business, in addition
to the wars—the main culprit in the deaths
of his animals. (Asianews)
N. KOREA. For Kim Jong-un, US sanctions
are an open declaration of war
For North Korean leader Kim Jong-un,
new US new sanctions on North Korea are
an "open declaration of war”. For the first
time, Washington has taken steps targeting Kim directly, accusing him of human
rights abuses and violations. Pyongyang
has warned that it will close all diplomatic
channels with the US unless the blacklisting is revoked.US economic and diplomatic
sanctions and blacklisting the North Korean
dictator follow an investigation by the US
Treasury Department. Congress recently
passed a law that gives the department the
power to sanction Pyongyang. The Treasury
Department estimates that between 80,000
and 120,000 prisoners are being held in
North Korean prison camps where torture,
executions, and persecution are routine.
(Asianews)
MYANMAR. End of "brutal repression"
vs Rohingya sought
The European Parliament has urged Myanmar to end its "brutal repression" and "systematic persecution" against the country's
Rohingya Muslim minority. In a resolution
adopted yesterday, European lawmakers
expressed "deep concern" about the fate
of the stateless ethno-religious group,
which they say is "one of the world's most
persecuted minorities”. The parliament
notes that Myanmar must "as a matter of
urgency ensure free and unimpeded access"
for the United Nations and rights groups
in Rakhine State, where some 120,000
Rohingya remain in more than 80 internal
displacement camp. (Asianews)
BANGLADESH. Death threats for Christian and Hindu traders
Christians and Hindus owners of shops,
restaurants, hotels and other businesses are
being threatened with death if they do not
comply with a list of eight Islamic rules. The
death threats, contained in a leaflet, were
delivered to dealers by members of the Islamic Khalafot Mojahidin Bangladesh (Ikmb),
an Islamist group banned in Bangladesh.
Following the intimidation and attack in
the Dhaka coffee shop, non-Muslim traders
are now living in fear, but said they are not

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 6

going to surrender. Albert Prodip Baperi, a
Catholic who manages the Sino-Thai Yean
Tun restaurant, told AsiaNews: "I will die, but
I will not comply with the militants rules”.
The Catholic said: "A stranger handed me
this flyer and then moved away from our
counter. We reported the incident to the
local police station.” (Asianews)
NEPAL. 8 communist politicians arrested
for human trafficking
Eight Nepali lawmakers have been charged
in connection with a human trafficking case.
The eight, who are members of the country’s
Maoist party, are accused of providing eight
people with fake papers to travel to Spain
as their personal assistants. This included
a request for diplomatic passports for such
“assistants”, Nepal’s Foreign Ministry said.
When the Spanish Embassy in Delhi (India)
checked the travel documents it found irregularities. “The documents did not match,”
said Jagat Man Shrestha, a senior police
officer. For now, “the investigation is to
continue.”At least one lawmaker acknowledged what happened. “My personal aide is
a different person and the documents were
managed in the name of another person to
go to Spain,” she said. However, the others
denied responsibility, saying they did not
know why the victims were connected to
them. (Asianews)
VIETNAM. Police attack again Thien An
monastery in Hue
Vietnamese authorities have attacked again
the Catholic monastery of Thien An (Hue
Province, central Vietnam), which has been
targeted for land grabs in the past few years.
On 26 June, police raided the religious
community as the monks were building a
path from the main building to the garden.
The following day the abbot Nguyen Van
Duc sent a petition to protest to the local
People's Committee, which is located in the
Archdiocese of Hue, to the European Commission in Vietnam, and to the US Embassy
in Hanoi, denouncing the illegal land grab
and the disrespectful attitude taken by
Communist agents. The monastery has been
the victim of government harassment since
1998, when Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen
Cong Tan signed the expropriation order to
seize land next to the monastery. A priest,
who requested anonymity, alleged that the
government acted illegally by issuing two
orders at the same time—one to appropriate
the land and the other to evict those who
live on it. (Asianews)

31

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