ASIAN MAGAZINE FOR HUMAN TRANSFORMATION

AUGUST 2016
VOL. 50 NO. 08

Is Isthere
there food
Food
in theDuterte
Duterte
in the
Revolution?
Revolution?

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
Design Artist
RONALYN REGINO

Cover Photo By
ROY LAGARDE
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Face of Jesus Convent and Center, 1111 R. Hidalgo
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email us at: impactmagazine2012@gmail.com

2

KILLINGS or the relentless and brutal war on drugs by the Duterte
administration is the most precarious policy statement this new
government has launched, literally hanging like the sword of
Damocles not only over the heads of drug dealers and users but even
of suspected ones, which could be anybody.
Ironically, this government that is supposed to protect its citizenry,
irrespective whether they are law-abiding or otherwise, is fast
becoming a mass murderer of its very own people—at least, the way
it is seen and portrayed by international media the likes of CNN,
Aljazeera and BBC which are reputable. Seemingly not bothered
neither by law nor mores, this government has a one-track mind
to deliver Duterte’s election campaign promise to rid this country
of illegal drugs in three to six months. The local Philippine Daily
Inquirer came up with a “The Kill List” that chronicles since early
July the people that are killed presumably by the police, by contract
hit men or by the mercenaries from the dark underbelly of the drug
world.
Saying in effect that the government does not sanction extrajudicial
killings, police chief Ronald dela Rosa clarified during a recent
Senate hearing that “We are not butchers!” He justified that those
killed by the police are suspects that resisted arrest by engaging in
a gun battle. But a lady contract killer interviewed on video by BBC
said that she was hired by “Our boss, the police officer.” Of course,
Duterte himself has been blatant in saying during press conferences
that he has given shoot-on-sight order to the police.
The United States has expressed concerns over the extrajudicial
killings of drug suspects in the country. Two United Nations human
rights experts called on the Philippines to halt extrajudicial killings.
The UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callmard,
said that President Duterte has ordered the police a “license to kill”.
Reacting like a Duterte should, the Punisher bad-mouthed the UN
and wished that a separatist group of nations be formed with China
at the helm.
Will killing most if not all those involved with illegal drugs solve
the drug menace in the Philippines? The experience of other
countries such as Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela says otherwise.
Obliterating drug traders and users from the face of the earth—
granting that such is ever possible—is merely palliative. Such raw
solutions will never be sustainable because the drug problem is
deeply rooted in economics and in moral or cultural values. When
the lucrative business of drugs bumps into a country with values
that are susceptible to drug use then the drug problem proliferates.
The drug scourge maybe diminished with the indiscriminate use of
guns but only for a brief lull. Sooner than later it will bounce back
even harder if the economic and cultural landscape in the country
is still the same.
Our cover story for this issue is penned by our staff writer Charles
Avila. How we wish that the aggressive war on drugs may also be
harnessed in the agricultural backburner of the country. Is there
food in the Duterte Revolution? Read on.

IMPACT

AUGUST 2016

CONTENTS
29 |

Editorial

16

Is there food in the Duterte Revolution?

|

Activity not passivity

quote in
the act

Cover story

"If you are in the rural area, some people
take drugs in order to forget the miseries
of life. The first thing is really to make
our people empowered by giving them a
chance to live a quality life."
Arturo Bastes, bishop of the Diocese of Sorsogon;
called for a more concentrated efforts to alleviate
poverty instead of just killing suspected drug
traffickers and users as a means to end the drug
trade; he believes poverty has much to do with the
massive spread of illegal drugs.

Articles

6

|

Duterte administration and poverty reduction

9

|

The Green Platfom, the positive force for change

11

|

The transgender agenda: Forcing us to lie

21

|

Summary killings and human rights

26

|

Religious values are not politically incorrect

13

|

News Features

23

|

Statements

28

|

From the Blogs

30

|

Entertainment

31

|

Asia News

"These harmful and dangerous affiliations
lead to dangerous and fatal consequences.
Our OFWs should avoid anything or
anyone that sows destruction and death."
Ruperto Santos, bishop of the Diocese of Balanga
and Chair of the CBCP Commission on Migrants and
Itinerant People; on the issue of OFWs joining ISIS
after a Filipino woman was arrested in Kuwait over
allegiance to the Jihadist group.

"We know that the living wage is about
One Thousand per day, our minimum
wage now is only Php 491… hopefully our
minimum wage now will not be regionalized
but implemented all over the country."
Broderick Pabillo, Manila auxiliary bishop and
chair of the CBCP Commission on the Laity; It is
not enough just to give 14th month pay to nongovernment rank and file employees as provided
by Senate Bill No. 2, it’s more just to legislate a
realistic minimum wage for all, he argues.

"We are all sinners, we have our own
weakness but we’re all given the change to
transform and be forgiven—an opportunity
that those killed were denied of."
Atillano Fajardo, a Vincentian missionary who
heads the public affairs ministry of the Archdiocese
of Manila; on backing the Senate investigation
over the spate of alleged extrajudicial killings that
became prevalent during the Duterte administration.

FEATURE ARTICLE

Of drugs and
fullness of life
A Pastoral Letter of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro issued on August
4, 2016, Feast of St. John Mary Vianney, Universal Patron of all Pastors

Fr. Arnold Abelardo addresses a group of drug addicts that will go through the PNP’s rehabilitation program known as the "House of Hope" Reformatory Center in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, Aug. 24, 2016. VINCENT GO

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IMPACT

AUGUST 2016

FEATURE ARTICLE

TO: the clergy, religious and
laity and all men and women of
good will
The current problem
concerning drugs cannot escape
anyone’s attention. The problem
with drugs has reached the level
of a calamity and an emergency
situation. It is systemic, having its
roots in poverty, woundedness,
greed and abuse of power. It has
become a plague afflicting the
whole society. The drugs issue
is not only about individual
users and pushers but also
about families and communities
affected by this pervasive
problem. It cuts across all strata
of society from the poorest to the
wealthiest and most powerful.
If there is a positive side to the
current war on drugs, it is the fact
that thousands have surrendered
and hundreds more arrested and
put to jail. The problem with the
latter is that our jails have become
extremely congested since they
were built for a limited number
of detainees only; but now the
number has been multiplied many
times over. This poses a lot of risks
and dangers.
In Cagayan de Oro alone
there are already at least 4,000
responders who, after presenting
themselves to the police station,
return to their homes with the
promise not to engage in drug
use or drug-dealing again. They
have yet to be classified according
to the extent of their addiction –
i.e., those who need residential
rehabilitation or communitybased intervention. Many of these
responders are baptized Catholics
and people from other faiths and
religious denominations who
may be suffering from all sorts of
psychological, moral, spiritual and
financial difficulties.
As a Church we cannot remain
indifferent to this reality. Pastoral

charity urges us to concretize the
challenge of this Extraordinary
Jubilee of Mercy. Communities of
faith are called to become “islands
of mercy” and “field hospitals,” in
the words of Pope Francis. Thus,
we have initiated the coming
together of various stakeholders
to assess the current situation and
look into possible responses to
the drugs crisis. In as much as
the problem is systemic, we want
to address it communally and
systematically.
On the part of the Archdiocese,
we have declared a Jubilee of
Mercy for drug responders and
collaborators. Availing of the
Season of Grace we also take
this opportunity to launch our
program involving activities
towards immediate and long-term
rehabilitation and intervention.
This will take place on August 22
at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
in Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City.
The activities include: Recollection
(9 am – 12 nn), Penitential
Service and Confessions (1 – 4
pm), Procession to San Agustin
Cathedral entering through
the Door of Mercy (4:30), and
Eucharistic Celebration (5:30 pm).
I am asking all pastors in the
Archdiocese to open available
facilities such as churches and
parish halls for communitybased recovery programs. I also
enjoin all ministries, religious
organizations and lay ecclesial
movements to be actively involved
in these collaborative efforts to
accompany responders/recoverers,
together with government
agencies, NGOs and private
institutions.
The church with her charism
in moral and spiritual matters can
be a safe oasis for silence, prayer,
reflection and sharing through
retreats and recollections. For the
Catholic responders, the church
possesses the great treasure in the

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

We are opposed to any
form of extrajudicial
killings as a means of
addressing the issue of
drug use. We cannot
solve a crime by
committing another
crime.
Sacrament of Reconciliation which
they can avail of. We are deeply
aware that behind the problem
of drugs is the inner longing
for authentic tranquility which
according to St. Augustine can only
be found in God: “You have made
us for yourself, O Lord, and our
heart is restless until it rests in
Thee.”
We want to be proclaimers of
the gospel of Jesus who said, “I
have come that you may have life
and have life to the full.” Thus,
while we commit ourselves
positively to these tasks, we
uncompromisingly uphold the
sanctity and dignity of human life.
We are opposed to any form of
extrajudicial killings as a means
of addressing the issue of drug
use. We cannot solve a crime by
committing another crime.
As St. Paul says, we conquer
evil by doing good. This was
the path chosen by St. Monica in
accompanying her wayward son,
Augustine. If not for her relentless
faith and compassion, we would
not have a St. Augustine today.
Our steadfast journeying with
and care for the wayward on the
road to recovery is the same path
that leads all of us to holiness and
fullness of life.
+ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, S.J.
Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro

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ARTICLES

Duterte administration
and poverty reduction
By Bernardo M. Villegas
ONE of the benefits of a President
coming from the island of Mindanao will
be the greater probability that poverty
reduction will be given the highest
priority by the Duterte Administration.
Whereas the national average of poverty
incidence is about 25 percent, in many
regions of Mindanao (especially the
Muslim Mindanao areas), poverty
incidence can be as high as 60 percent.
There is enough evidence that decades
of neglect by imperial Manila have led to
the impoverishment of this potentially
rich island that is well endowed with
natural resources.
From the early pronouncements of
President Rody Duterte, even before
he was elected, we can expect his
Government to break the cycle of poverty
and economic isolation, not only of
Mindanao, but in all the rural areas of the
Philippines, where 75 percent of the very
poor reside, by investing in countryside
infrastructures, rural education, health
and access to basic utilities, especially
potable water and electricity. At the
core of the fight against poverty in
the Duterte Administration will be a
shift form dole-outs to empowerment,
so that through private initiatives the
Filipino people can take responsibility for
their community’s development. After
all, this is the rationale for President
Duterte’s preference for a federal form of
government.
From pronouncements of the key
members of the Cabinet, especially those
constituting the economic cluster, I
foresee the following areas of priorities:
1. Promote modern agribusiness
technologies and practices: There will
be emphasis on the cultivation and
production of high-value crops through
natural farming for local consumption.

6

IMPACT

The Davao model will be replicated
in other regions of Mindanao and
throughout the whole Archipelago.
This will lead to the expansion of local
employment and income opportunities,
while reducing wastage by shortening
the logistics and travel time of
agricultural produce from farm to
market. Private investments through
build-operate-transfer (BOT) or similar
schemes will be encouraged to build
cold storage, public markets, and similar
support infrastructures to expand rural
economic activities.
2. Operationalize the concept of
“business islands” by transforming
certain locations as regional growth
centers along the lines of special
administrative regions similar to Hong
Kong. With fiscal transparency and
efficiency, these locations are envisioned
as magnets for investments to disperse
and broaden economic activities away
from the National Capital Region. The
low hanging fruit is the Clark area. I
find it strange that some people are still
talking about an international airport
along Manila Bay. Making Clark as the
premier international port is a no brainer.
3. Refocus and wind down the
activities of the Department of Agrarian
Reform (DAR). Very early in the
campaign trail, President Duterte was
already expressing his disappointment
with the failed land reform programs
of the past. Contrary to the noise being
heard from the new Secretary of the
Department of Agrarian Reform, it is
expected that President Duterte will focus
on making the more than four million
farmer beneficiaries of CARP finally
earn a living by endowing them with
farm-to-market roads, irrigation systems,
post-harvest facilities and the agricultural
extension services that were long denied
them by previous Administrations. From
AUGUST 2016

ARTICLES

A homeless man sleeps on a pavement in Quiapo district in the City of Manila where the homeless population is reportedly one of the highest in the
world. ROY LAGARDE

his great familiarity with the success
stories of high-value crops in Mindanao,
President Duterte is expected to move on
from overemphasizing land ownership
and land fragmentation and focus instead
on farm productivity and modernization
He would rather see our farms populated
by prosperous farmers who will till the
land, rather than impoverished landed
poor that the failed agrarian reform
programs of the past have inflicted on
Philippine society. We shall see more
consolidation of land through farmers’

cooperatives or nucleus estate systems
along the lines of Malaysian palm oil
plantations.
4. Make education relevant and
reward our teachers. We should review
our curricular offerings, in view of
the transition to K to 12, to make our
education relevant to the needs of an
agro-industrializing society. This would
require a greater focus on science and
technology, while strengthening the
foundation of our education offerings
based on values, virtues, civics, and

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

7

ARTICLES

Scavengers collect recyclable waste materials from a dump in the district of Tondo in Manila. ROY LAGARDE

ethics. To attract the best talents into
education, teachers will be rewarded
with higher pay (in tandem with the
military personnel). To sustain their
continuing relevance, teachers will
be supported in their never ending
formation and studies, making sure that
their career progression will be based on
merits.
5. Refocus the Conditional Cash
Transfer Program as a bridge towards
self-reliance. Although this Program
will continue to be an emergency
solution to assist poor families to meet
their immediate needs of survival, the
cash transfers should be an occasion
for the beneficiaries to gain skills while
receiving benefits to improve their
employability or income prospects.
Especially critical is to continue tying
the cash transfers to assuring that the
children of the poor will not drop out
from formal schooling at the basic
education levels. The Government will

8

IMPACT

partner with private foundations that are
improving the quality of basic education
in the rural areas.
It is heartening to learn that the Budget
Secretary is willing to increase the
fiscal deficit with the view of allocating
more Government expenditures to
rural infrastructures and improving
the quality of the services to the poor
in the rural areas. I am sure that the
Secretary of Education will make basic
education a most potent tool for poverty
eradication. It is time that we make use
of our good international credit standing
to bring down our much vaunted
economic progress to the poorest of the
poor. I have no doubts that with the
above priorities, there will be the much
desired “trickle down” in the next six
years. Inclusive growth will not just be
a motherhood statement but a happy
reality at last.
(For comments, my email address is
bernardo.villega@uap.asia)

.

AUGUST 2016

ARTICLES

The Green Platform,
the positive force for change
By Fr. Shay Cullen
A FRIEND of mine wrote a dedication
to his latest publication, a book titled
“Living the Green Platform.” In the
dedication, he said, “Continue to find joy
in your life and bring joy to others. You
are truly Good News for the suffering
poor.”
He is one of the most positive and
affirming persons I have ever met. And it
is from this belief in the goodness that is
in everyone and the capacity of everyone
to be positive, self- affirming and
affirming of others that he has developed
a basic philosophy of positive living
which he names “The Green Platform.”
This is taking a dedicated, positive
view of life even amid hardship, loss
and setbacks in life as opposed to taking
a negative self-defeating position. The
contrast he makes is with the opposite,
the negative “Red Platform” where many
people unfortunately stand. That is an
attitude to life we are challenged to
leave and transfer to the positive “Green
Platform.”
Declan Coyle is a brilliant and inspiring
public speaker. He sees positivity almost
everywhere and calls on everyone he
comes in contact with to step away from
a Red Platform of negativity that has
a defeatist attitude and a loss of selfconfidence and self-worth to a conscious
effort to have a positive view of one’ self
and life itself.
It’s a very real challenge to live out
his affirming statement for me to find
joy in life when our team at the Preda
Foundation in the Philippines is faced
with so many social and personal
problems of the neglected, abused
children and the poor.
In the challenging situation where
children as young as ten are routinely
and casually imprisoned behind bars

in dreadful circumstances and many
children are trafficked into the sex
industry and many more are sexually
assaulted, it’s natural to feel at times
hopeless. But he is right- we can find
hope and joy and happiness in the lives of
the positive people and events around us.
After rescue, affirmation, therapy
and freedom in a family of friends,
the children change to a positive
self-affirming way of understanding
themselves and base their good choices
on this.
In the training program, we follow
the Green Platform and teach the
children who see themselves as victims
of brutality and abuse to throw out the
negative feelings of hatred and anger and
have emotional relief and then choose to
embrace the positive values that we show
them that they have within themselves.
This is transforming. It brings a
great sense of inner freedom and
confidence that one can face the world
and its challenges. This is what I learn
from Declan- think and act positively
especially when the negative aspects of
the world challenge us.
When others fail us, we need to choose
to take a positive attitude or we fail
others and ourselves. We can choose our
response. We can take responsibility for
ourselves.
That is where we need to be strong,
determined and have a positive
approach and avoid falling into despair
and blaming ourselves or others for
everything that goes wrong. We have
to accept responsibility for our own
decisions. We need to choose wisely.
In our work it is the children who
recover that bring us joy and hope. I
cannot forget one of the many abused
children, call her Mae Anne. At eleven
years old, her parents separated. She
was continually sexually abused by her

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

9

ARTICLES

Girls pray at a shelter for abused women and children in Tacloban City. ROY LAGARDE FOR GOETHE-INSTITUT PHILIPPINEN

father and was taken from place to place
when neighbors became suspicious of the
relationship. Mae Anne was totally in his
power and control. She was submissive
and subdued. she was defeated and lived
in fear.
At 14, she was made pregnant by
her father and gave birth in a local
government hospital. Yet no one
challenged the father when he signed
a document of live birth to say he was
the father of the baby by his 14-year-old
daughter. And yet, there were people of
concern in the village when she returned
with a baby.
They contacted the Preda child rescue
team and the team immediately got Mae
Anne and her baby to the safety and
caring staff at the Preda Home for Girls.
Her father was arrested and is in jail and
on trial.
Today a year later, with help
and support, therapy, affirmation,
encouragement inspiration, typical of
the Green Platform, the young teenage
mother and the child are well and she has
a positive, hopeful attitude for the future.
Her recovery has brought us joy, too.

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IMPACT

We need hope and determination
and never to allow a setback, human
mistakes, misunderstandings to stand in
the way. As Declan writes in the preface
of his latest book “Living the Green
Platform,” the Green Platform is an inner
place where we consciously choose all
that is positive, uplifting, creative joyful,
inspiring, compassionate and generous.
It’s where we generate positive energy
and choose actions that bring joy to
others.
Declan Coyle’s excellent life changing
books “The Green Platform” and “Living
the Green Platform by Declan Coyle are
available from ballpointpress1@gmail.com.
As Declan says, the power to choose
how to respond to a given situation
is at the heart of the Green Platform.
We can choose our response. What
makes us truly human is the power
to choose, free will, and the power
of reason to direct that choice with
wisdom. This power is what will
empower each and every one of us
and transform our lives.

.

(For comments: shaycullen@gmail.com)
AUGUST 2016

ARTICLES

The transgender agenda:
Forcing us to lie

Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community join a pride parade in Manila, June 25, 2016. VINCENT GO

By Dale O’Leary
THE USA is in the midst of what
has been called the “bathroom
wars”; however, access to
bathrooms and locker rooms of
the opposite sex for the so-called
transgendered is only a means
to an end. The real objective can
be discerned from ACLU’s press

release supporting U.S. Department
of Education’s demand that the
Palatine High School in Illinois
(and by extension all schools
receiving federal funds) allow a
boy, who wants to be accepted as a
girl, unrestricted access to the girls’
locker room.
The transgendered and their
supporters claim that people are
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

merely assigned a sex at birth,
their gender identity (how they
feel) may or may not match their
assigned sex. The goal is to force
everyone to accept that gender
identity should take precedence
over the biological reality of sexual
identity and men who claim to
be women should be treated as
though they were women.

11

ARTICLES

The ACLU complained that the
school district challenged their
“client’s identity as a girl,” which
is true because their client is
not a girl, but a boy. According
to the ACLU, all “she wants to
be accepted for who she is.” The
problem is that he wants to be
accepted for who he is not. Their
client claims that not allowing
him to change with the girls
stigmatizes him, “making me feel
like I was not a normal person.”
The simple answer is that it is not
normal for a male to want to be
accepted as female.
The Bruce Jenner celebrity blitz
and the battle over bathrooms,
have brought the issue of gender to
the fore and people are wondering
how we got to the point where
boys who think they are girls can
use the girls’ locker room. What
happened to common sense?
Unfortunately, many people
thought that gender was just
a synonym for sex, and could
be substituted for it without
causing any harm. However, for
activists on the far left, sex and
gender are not the same. Sex is
biologically determined. Gender
is socially constructed and does
not have to correspond to sex.
There are two sexes –male and
female, but an unlimited number
of genders. Once identity is
divorced from reality, chaos
ensues, fantasy rules.
The Obama administration is
determined to force everyone to
accept the demands of transgender
activists. Girls would have to
pretend that they are comfortable
with a boy who wants to be a
girl using the girls’ locker room,
because if girls complain or show
any sign of disapproval, they will
be judged guilty of “transphobic
discrimination”. Everyone would
have to accept that wanting to be
the other sex or believing that one
can become the other sex is just

12

normal diversity, when in fact it is
a symptom of disordered thinking.
Even if a person doesn’t believe
that people can change their sex,
he would have to pretend they do
and call what is obviously a male
a woman. The media has accepted
this demand. using feminine
pronouns for Bruce Jenner, who in
spite of all the make-up, surgery,
clothes and fancy photographers is
still male.
Transgendered persons point to
the psychological suffering they
endure because people don’t accept
them. Their suffering is real. They
are engaged in a comprehensive
denial of reality. Such a denial
is hard to sustain as they must
continually shut out the truth. The
transgendered delight in “passing”
– being accepted as the opposite
sex in public. It hurts to be told
that even if they can pass they are
not and can never truly be the
other sex.
The government does not have
the right to force a citizen to say
something he knows is a lie or to
be silent in the face of evil. The
people have a right to freedom of
speech, which includes the right to
speak the truth, even if the truth
hurts another person’s feelings.
So-called “hate speech” rules are
unacceptable because they allow
one group to veto the speech of
another.
Some may argue that this is
just about words, but as G. K.
Chesterton said, words “are
the only thing worth fighting
about.” Careless use of language
caused this mess and needs to be
remedied, first by never saying
gender when you mean sex.
The school under attack tried to
accommodate the boy who wanted
to be a girl. This was a mistake.
They should have told the parents
that their son is a boy and must
use the boys’ facilities. If this is
not possible, he needs counseling.
IMPACT

AUGUST 2016

Halfway accommodation won’t
work; the Department of Education
demands total capitulation. The
defenders of the reality of sex
difference should learn from this
mistake. They cannot compromise
the truth. They should not force
the other students to accept the
lie that gender trumps sex, just
to avoid hurting a troubled boy’s
feelings.
The LGBTQ activists and their
ACLU lawyers are not tolerant
liberals who respect other people’s
rights. They are pushing a type
of political correctness which is
a manifestation of a totalitarian,
Marxist-influenced ideology.
Theodore Dalrymple, an expert on
totalitarian societies explains how
activists triumph:
In my study of communist
societies, I came to the conclusion
that the purpose of communist
propaganda was not to persuade
or convince, nor to inform, but
to humiliate; and therefore, the
less it corresponded to reality the
better. When people are forced to
remain silent when they are being
told the most obvious lies, or even
worse when they are forced to
repeat the lies themselves, they
lose once and for all their sense of
probity. To assent to obvious lies
is to co-operate with evil, and in
some small way to become evil
oneself. One's standing to resist
anything is thus eroded, and even
destroyed.
The girls forced to accept a boy
in their private space are being
targeted for just this kind of
humiliation. This is about much
more than bathrooms.

.

(Dale O’Leary is a US writer with a
special interest in psychosexual issues
and is the author of two books: One
Man, One Woman and The Gender
Agenda: Redefining Equality. She blogs
at What Does the Research Really Say?
This piece is sourced from MercatorNet)

NEWS FEATURES

Church officials back Senate
probe on summary killings
MANILA— Church officials give Senator
Leila de Lima a pat on the back for leading
a Senate investigation into the spate of
extrajudicial killings in the country.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick
Pabillo and Fr. Atillano Fajardo of Manila
archdiocese’s Public Affairs Ministry urged
De Lima to pursue the probe and to not be
deterred by Duterte’s tirade against her.
“I hope the probe would really be true
and the senators be not cowed. I admire the
determination of De Lima,” said Pabillo on
Aug. 26.
Personal attacks
He asked all the concerned agencies to
cooperate in the Senate hearings in order
to put a stop to the growing number of
summary executions.
“These are crimes that plague our
country. Let fear not prevent people from
cooperating,” said the prelate, who also
chairs the bishops’ Commission on the Laity.
Fajardo also assured De Lima of his
prayers and said the senator should remain
strong despite Duterte’s personal attacks
against her.
“What she’s doing is not easy. She should
not be discouraged because what she is
fighting for [is] the country,” he said.
“We are all sinners, we have our own
weaknesses but we’re all given the chance to
transform and be forgiven—an opportunity that
those killed were denied of,” added Fajardo.
More thorough investigation
De Lima is set to lead a Senate inquiry into
the spate of drug-related killings under the
Duterte administration on Aug. 22 and 23.
The Council of the Laity of the Philippines
(CLP), the bishops’ implementing arm in
promoting initiatives and national programs
of the laity, has earlier urged the authorities
to investigate the summary killings.
“We call on them as well to investigate
with care, prudence, and diligence all recent
killings as a result of police operations or
those committed by vigilante groups,” added
the group. (CBCPNews)

Rodolfo Diamante of the bishops' Commission on Prison Pastoral Care holds a
copy of the Church's sourcebook on death penalty and restorative justice during
a book launch at the CBCP headquarters in Manila, Aug. 15, 2016. ROY LAGARDE

CBCP office launches death
penalty sourcebook
MANILA— The bishops’ prison ministry has released a book
on capital punishment and restorative justice to help push its
stand against death penalty.
“Affirm an option for life” is an 88-page sourcebook on
basic information, issues, and standpoints pertinent to death
penalty as well as to “justice that heals.”
Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the bishops’
Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said the book aims to
“educate the public” about the death penalty.
“We are once more challenged to intensify once more our
educational campaign on the issue of life,” he said.
“There is a movement going on to revive the death penalty
and we think that this book could help explain why the
revival of death penalty shouldn’t continue.”
The book was launched before a concelebrated Mass held at
the CBCP chapel in Intramuros, Manila on Aug. 15.
Initially, the CBCP office printed 3,000 copies that will be
distributed to the Office of the President, to lawmakers from
both houses of Congress, and to the public.
This is the second time the Church released a book on
the death penalty. The first one was published in 1996 when
a law was passed prescribing death by lethal injection for
offenders convicted of heinous crimes.
Diamante is hopeful the book, which also features various
pronouncements of Pope Francis for better treatment of
prisoners, would help fight the “culture of killing” in the country.
He also challenged those involved in prison ministry to
help bring the campaign against death penalty to the local
level “by holding forums or summit for life.” (Ysabel Hidalgo/
CBCPNews)
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

13

NEWS FEATURES

Church group ‘optimistic’
about peacetalks with Reds

OFWs warned vs
joining Islamic State

Negotiating teams tackle several issues in the first round of talks, August 24, 2016. OPAPP

MANILA— A network of Church and labor groups is
“optimistic” that the talks between the government and the
National Democratic Front will be productive under the
Duterte administration.
The Church People-Workers Solidarity (CWS) said it
supports the efforts to finally address the roots of the ongoing
civil war by going back to the negotiating table.
“CWS is convinced that it is only by addressing the roots
of the armed conflict in the country and by engaging in
principled dialogue that peace can be achieved,” said Fr. Rudy
Abao, CWS convenor.
“We hope that through the resumption of the formal peace
talks, social justice and the need for fundamental socio-economic
reforms will finally be tackled,” he said.
Abao also said they support initiatives to address the roots
of the ongoing civil war and the promise to release political
prisoners, including NDF consultants “as a confidence building
measure” for the peace talks.
The CWS also urged the administration to immediately
disband paramilitary groups “which continue to sow terror”
among Lumad communities in Mindanao.
“We call on all peace-loving Filipinos to continually pray
and tirelessly work for peace by supporting these new
initiatives toward peace by the administration,” he added.
The government and the NDF panels resumed the formal
peace negotiations in Norway on Aug. 20 to 27. (CBCPNews)

14

IMPACT

AUGUST 2016

MANILA— A Catholic bishop has warned
the faithful against being radicalized into
violent extremism after a Filipino woman
was arrested in Kuwait over alleged
allegiance to jihadist group ISIS.
Bishop Ruperto Santos particularly urged
overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) not to
be lured by ISIS, adding that people from
a wide range of backgrounds are being
recruited.
“We call on our OFWs not to be taken in
by ideologies that sow violence and hatred,”
Santos, who chairs the bishops’ Commission
on Migrants and Itinerant People, said Aug.
12.
“These harmful and dangerous affiliations
lead to dangerous and fatal consequences.
Our OFWs should avoid anything or anyone
that sows destruction and death,” he said.
The prelate of Balanga in Bataan requested
the faithful to continue praying for OFWs
to be safe from harm.
The Filipino, who works as a house
maid, was reportedly detained while being
investigated by Kuwaiti authorities.
The prelate also urged the Philippine
government to provide the needed legal
assistance for the Filipino woman accused
of planning an ISIS attack.
“Our government should exert all efforts
to verify this report and determine her
situation, lend her assistance, and provide
legal representation,” he added.
“We, in the Commission, sincerely hope
that we can obtain credible information,
especially for her family,” the bishop also
said. (Kevin Cariño / CBCPNews)

NEWS FEATURES

No to 14th month pay,
yes to minimum wage
– bishop
MANILA— Manila Auxiliary
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, head of
the Catholic Bishops’ Conference
of the Philippines – Episcopal
Commission on the Laity (CBCPECL), gave a thumbs down to
Senate Bill no. 2, filed by Senator
Tito Sotto, while demanding the
implementation of the minimum
wage rate and the abolishment of
regionalized salaries.
In his statements, the prelate
believes the said bill, which entitles
non-government rank and file
employees to receive 14th month
pay once passed, will only benefit
some while ignoring the true need
for salary increase.
“The first thing we should do is
at least implement the minimum
wage. Execute minimum wage and
then walk towards living wage. That
(bill), only few will benefit if a 14th
month pay will be given while not
everyone is receiving a minimum
salary,” explained the prelate.
In an interview over Veritas, Pabillo
noted that instead of prioritizing
Sotto’s bill, the government must first
eradicate regionalization that causes
unfair wage rates across regions and
then to implement the minimum
wage rate in the country to meet the
living wage.
“We know that the living wage
is about one thousand per day, our
minimum [wage] now is only Php
491 … and hopefully, our minimum
wage now will not be regionalized
but be implemented all over the
country,” he added.
According to the research group
IBON Foundation, the living wage
now is at least Php 1088 per month
exclusive of education and hospital
emergency expenses, clearly not
enough to meet the daily needs of
a family. (Kevin Cariño/CBCPNews)

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Caritas Philippines executive secretary, joins a "climate walk" in Manila to
call on the government to address climate change, October 4, 2015. FILE PHOTO

CBCP exec lauds CHR probe on
carbon producers
MANILA— An official from the
social action arm of the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP) has lauded
the move of the Philippines’
Commission on Human Rights
(CHR) to act on the petition filed
against 47 of the world’s largest
producers of oil, gas, and cement
for allegations of human rights
violations resulting from climate
change.
National Secretariat for
Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas
Philippines executive secretary Fr.
Edwin Gariguez, who was among
those who filed the petition last
year, said the latest development
is a step closer to the call for
climate justice.
“We do hope that perpetrators
of climate change be held
accountable for their actions.
We also pray that the CHR
recommend to policymakers
effective accountability
mechanisms that victims of
climate change can easily access,”
said the priest.
The CHR recently ordered the
so-called “carbon producers”
to respond within 45 days to
the complaint accusing them of
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

violating people’s rights to “life,
food, water, sanitation, adequate
housing, and self-determination.”
These include companies which
have branches and subsidiaries in
the country, namely: ExxonMobil,
Chevron, Total, Royal Dutch Shell,
BHP Billiton, BP, Anglo American,
Lafarge, Holcim and Taiheiyo
Cement Corporation.
The CHR is expected to start
its full investigation in October
after a response from the said
companies. The companies will be
ordered as well to attend public
hearings but only those with
offices in the Philippines can be
compelled by the CHR to appear.
According to the 2016 Climate
Change Vulnerability Index, the
Philippines ranked 13 among the
countries “extremely” vulnerable
to climate change.
“The Philippines, being
an archipelago, is prone to
climate-induced disasters. The
catastrophic effects of super
typhoon Yolanda in our country
could attest to this vulnerability,”
explained the Goldman
environmental prize awardee.
(NASSA/Caritas Philippines/
CBCPNews)

15

COVER
STORY

Is there food in the
Duterte Revolution?
By Charles Avila

journalist, a former Mayor of his town and
former Governor of his province, Emmanuel
“Manny” Piňol.

THE Duterte Revolution is on, no doubt
about it. The big noise now is in the area of
illegal drugs. Did Digong read the famous
lines two score and seven years ago that
“a revolution is not a picnic” nor is it as
civil and polite as “writing an essay” or
academically debating an issue? He did not
have to. By a native instinctual savvy he
may have always known that a revolution is
a strong, decisive violent act that turns an
existing order upside down. A revolution is
often violent because it feels that it knows
where it is going and is rushing there—
setting aside niceties like legal procedures in
the interests of effectivity.
A revolutionis “not a dinner party or
painting a picture, or doing embroidery,”
said Mao Zedong.“It cannot be so refined,
so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind,
courteous, re-strained and magnanimous. A
revolution is an act of violence” by which an
old order is toppled and a new one installed.
A revolution is for “people” and its targets
are “enemies of the people.” The two, in
this view, are not the same: the former are
“humans” while the latter are not; the two
simply are not the same. Down through
history in many parts of the world, once
this threshold of thinking and feeling was
reached by enough number of true believers,
one could only expect a dramatic rise in the
number of the dead and the murdered and a
collective violent impatience to usher in the
“new” dispensation.
Can this revolutionary decisiveness and
intensity find application then beyond
the drugs scene? Will it be felt in food
and agriculture, in labor and social justice
issues? In the care of the envi-ronment the
appointment of Ms. Gina Lopez is more
than symbolic. In agriculture and food a
close friend of the President has been taken
on board to lead the way—a farmer and a

16

Irrigation
Piňol hit the ground running with his
views on irrigation. He knows just how
important water is for agriculture. As
governor, Piñol helped push the MalitubogMaridagao irrigation project in Cotabato
area. He knows that the probability of being
nonpoor for farmers increases when they
till irrigated land. Farmers who till irrigated
lands are thrice more likely to be nonpoor
than those who till non-irrigated lands.
As it is, 30% of all rice lands produce
60% of total domestic rice production. The
remaining 70% of rice lands produce only
40% of total national rice production. The
30% are irrigated and the 70% are not.
Therefore, quite simply, if we increased the
number of irrigated farms ASAP, we would
easily become exporters instead of remaining
importers of rice.
But, of course, irrigation costs. The Duterte
Revolutionary approach then would be
to make it free for rice farmers. The Free
Irrigation Program became part of the
Duterte campaign and Sec. Piñol hastened
to implement it as soon as it was announced
he would head Agriculture. And who would
oppose such a scheme? Who? The National
Irrigation Administration, no less.
NIA, which is a government-owned and
controlled corporation (GOCC), collects
P1.8 billion to P2 billion in irrigation fees
annually—60 percent of which it uses for
employees’ salaries and allowances, with the
rest going for operations and maintenance of
existing irrigation systems na-tionwide. At
the same time its mandate is very clear—to
provide irrigation to produce food for the
people. Thus Piňol instructed NIA’s top guys
to think out of the box—to design a strategy
for free irrigation by next year. The stealthy
IMPACT

AUGUST 2016

»

A farmer harvests rice, Philippines’ main crop. ROY LAGARDE

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

17

“debate,” not all smiles, continued all the
way to the bank—to the Congressional
Appropriations Committee.
There Sec. Piñol saw again what he called
a “sinister attempt to derail” the Duterte
Revolution in Agriculture. He discovered
during the Dept. of Agriculture Budget
hearing on Aug. 25th that “the additional
P4-B intended to cover the Irrigation Service
Fees was not included in the NIA budget
for 2017.” What he did was to “immediately
manifest during the hearing my position as
Agriculture Secretary that Free Irrigation is
a commitment of President Duterte to the
Filipino farmers and that it must be fulfilled.
Luckily for the Filipino farmers, all of the
Congressmen present during the hearing—
administration, opposition and even the party
list representatives—were all supportive of
the Free Irrigation advocacy of the President."
“Roma locuta,” it used to be said, “causa
finita.” [“Rome has spoken, end of debate.]
In a revo-lutionary situation, even without
a revolutionary government, once the leader
has spoken, give way to the revolutionary
line. It is not a question of following
something arbitrary.
In his case Sec. Piñol explained: “I proposed
that the NIA charter be amended to bring
it back to its old status as a service agency
rather than a government corporation. This
proposal is support-ed by several house and
senate bills but since it would still take some
time before the amendment could be made,
I proposed that an additional P4-B should
be added to the NIA budget to cover the ISF
collections for 2017.” NIA did not cooperate
with him in making the proposal but in the
end the latter had his way. The PNoy holdovers had to give way. There will be free
irrigation for farmers by 2017 but corporate
farms will have to pay.

»

COVER
STORY

A farmer harvests crops in a rice field in Alabat Island, Quezon province. JP ACUÑA

importer today of mainly rice, beef, corn,
pork, dressed chicken, wheat, soybean oil,
milk and cream and a whole lot more one
sees on the table. These imports amount to
some US$ 9.632-billion annually whereas
our exports of mainly coconut oil, banana,
tuna, and pineapple amount to only US$
6.546-billion for a trade deficit of US$3.085billion.
It is well-known that when Presidents
brag about the country’s economic growth
the agriculture sector is the grim downer.
For instance, it registered a negative 4.4%
in the first quarter of this year 2016 when
total growth was almost 5%. Should we not
blame such ugly performance on El Nino
and La Nina, the two brats of drought and
heavy rains that keep Philippine agriculture
down? Yes, why not? Sec Manny could accept
that but not without having first noted “the
ne-glect and misdirection by previous leaders
who also made very ill-advised investments
and im-plemented poorly-planned projects
in the past.”
Indeed it is very instructive to scan Sec.
Piñol's reports. Let’s consider a few: over
P2-B worth of farm implements, including
very expensive rice and corn harvesters, were

Hunger and a closer look at some of the
neglect and shortcomings
Over the past two decades hunger is a
fact of life for more than 40% of people in
this paradisic Philippine archipelago. The
situation is not getting any better. We are far
from reaching the zero hunger goal of any
social revolution worth its name.
From food net exporter in times past the
Philippines has become a net agricultural

18

IMPACT

AUGUST 2016

kept in the DA re-gional compounds all over
the country, undistributed simply because
of would-be recipi-ents’incapacity to put
up the 15% cash equity needed so that the
equipment could be released to them.
And, Piňol says, “add to that the modern
rice processing centers which are not
operational until today simply because the
farmer beneficiaries do not have the money
to connect the facility to a power line.”
A third case, costly infrastructures that
remain non-functional such as the P800-M
Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center and 20
other similar trading centers all over the
country costing the gov-ernment billions of
pesos.
Another item: hundreds of millions of
pesos wasted in the purchase of livestock
from other coun-tries—goats, sheep, and
cattle both for meat and dairy—which were
grossly overpriced. “Worse,” Sec Manny says,
“they were passed off as materials for genetic
improvement when, in truth, many of the
goats were of very poor quality and mostly
crossbreds.”
Fifth, the Agricultural Training Institute
(ATI), supposedly the farming knowledge
improvement arm of the DA, was “spending
its money on non-essential projects like the
making of candies instead of focusing on the
technology transfer and training of farmers
in modern rice and corn farming, vegetable
production and fisheries. With a budget of
about P1.6-B, the ATI was a dis-mal failure
and hardly contributed to the upgrading
of the skills of the farmers and the fisher
folk, an important factor in attaining greater
productivity.”
Sixth, the Dept. of Agriculture virtually
abandoned the high-value crops sector. It is
only now that something is being done as in
the programmed establishment of a regional
laboratory in Da-vao City for plant and
animal diseases, and soil and water analysis.
Seventh, the fisheries sector hardly
received any support from the Dept. of
Agriculture. Fishpond operators could not
even get production loans from government
banks. Only the big fishpond and fish cages
operators who had the money to finance
their business survived and developed. Today,
Sec. Piñol is rushing fiberglass fishing boats
to as many fisher folk as he can reach.

Sec. Piñol lamented: “I could list down
many more shortcomings by government
which ultimate-ly led to the spiraling
downfall of the agriculture and fisheries
sector if only to emphasize what needs to be
done to reverse the downtrend. I am learning
from their mistakes and hopefully, with
proper planning and consultation, we will be
able to reverse the situation.What needs to
be done is to really focus on the President’s
commitment: Available and Affordable Food
for the Filipino People.”
Agrarian credit
To attain that goal, Sec. Piñol realizes that
there will be a need for timely agrarian
credit. He has set aside the availability of
Php 15,000 per farm per hectare per season
for hybrid seeds and aq-uaculture on a nonbank basis.
Households who have access to credit
are more likely to be nonpoor. The odds of
a household being nonpoor are .72 points
higher when the household has access to
credit.
The timely supply of credit at reasonable
interest rates is a vital measure in food
production.
In the past, our small farmers depended on
their former landowners for credit. Today,
because we haven’t really implemented the
support service aspect of agrarian reform
effectively, the ma-jority of farmers depend
on usurers for rural credit. They do so
because usurers know the para-mount
importance of timely loans for agriculture.
“Five-six” operations which are so rampant
continually attest to the almost total
irrelevance of our banking system as far as
the majority of small farmers are concerned.
Government support funds should not be
coursed through traditional banks which
have defined the small farmers as frankly
“unbankable” or they will hardly make a dent
in the improvement of the farmers’ lot. This
is the classic case of the end being frustrated
by inappropriate means.
For one thing, in the name of avoiding the
dreaded word “dole-out”, government often
ends up transmuting support funds into
well-nigh impossible loans: that take so long
in approval, that cannot be released on time,
that scare away small farmers who cannot

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

19

effectively tackle the seemingly interminable
paperwork.
Hence the incredible continuing scandal of
Filipino farmers waiting for Indian creditors
who fly from thousands of miles away and
arrive in their barangays at bicycle speed
to release farmers’ loans on time even at
usurious rates (“five-six”).
And not quite underscored enough these
days is the fact that more than 80% of cash
costs in-curred by the small rice farmer go to
chemical fertilizers that deplete the organic
matter of his soil and make him more
dependent, in a manner worse than drug
addiction, on more and more of the same
chemical fertilizers that cause an increase in
production but even more so in production
costs. Farmers can’t help concluding that alltoo-often working so hard and spending so
much may not be worth it at all. Hence, our
massive importations and food insecurity.
In the Philippines, particularly, the rice
producer, for instance, is also the rice
consumer and of-ten may not be able to
make up his feelings about importation of
cheaper rice… not knowing how to bring
down the cost of production that surely
affects product pricing.
But if small farmers are sincerely assisted
to have good framework conditions
arising from small farms consolidation
such as affordable credits, good seeds and
other agricultural inputs friendly to the
environment, and access to marketing
facilities their yields per hectare may even
be much higher than the yields in super-bigsized modern agriculture. The UN-FAO has
had many studies attesting to this.

»

COVER
STORY

File photo shows women farmers from Bukidnon, Davao Oriental, Negros Island
and Batangas march to Malacañang while carrying squash on their head to
press the then Aquino administration to pursue the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Program with reforms. ROY LAGARDE

• Office of the President - Presidential
Action Center
• Philippine Commission on Women
• Philippine Coconut Authority
• Presidential Commission on the Urban
Poor
• Technical Education Skills Development
Authority
The 12 agencies are tasked to evaluate
existing poverty reduction programs and
formulate pro-jects that seek to reduce
poverty and improve the lives of the most
venerable sectors of the socie-ty.
"They shall conduct consultations
with LGUs for the proper allocation of
resources and program implementation
and recommend courses of action for the
government to adopt to achieve a sus-tainable
system of meeting the needs of the people,
while ensuring resiliency for vulnerable
communities," the EO states.
Thus aside from Secretary Piňol, Secretary
Evasco will supervise the Duterte social
revolution-ary agenda. Between the two of
them the movement pace is quite uneven, so
far. So many ap-pointments of key officials
have yet to be made, so many programs yet
to be started. Do they know what they are
doing? If so, we bid them good luck with
their “festina lente”—like the ever victorious
Julius Caesar of old they are, indeed,
hurrying slowly. Or is it merely the noise in
the drug scene which is too loud?

Who will conduct the agrarian revolution?
Under EO 1, the Cabinet secretary—a post
currently held by Secretary Jun Evasco—will
super-vise the following agencies:
• Cooperative Development Authority
• Housing and Urban Development
Coordinating Council
• National Anti-Poverty Commission
• National Commission on Indigenous
Peoples
• National Commission on Muslim
Filipinos
• National Food Authority
• National Youth Commission

20

.

IMPACT

AUGUST 2016

ARTICLES

»

Summary killings and human rights

By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THE Cebu clergy had their monthly
recollection the other day. The invited
guest speaker, both a lawyer and journalist,
among other things, was one known for
her advocacy in human rights. We were
given a drill on human rights, rule of law,
due process and other related topics, all of
them as some kind of reaction to the rise
of extra-judicial killings (EJK) that we are
hearing about these days.
From where I sat, I noticed that the
priests were especially attentive, except
of course for a few. There will always be

Bystanders encircle
Jennelyn Olaires
and her husband
Michael Siaron, who
was shot dead by
an unidentified gunman and left with
a cardboard sign
with a message “I’m
a pusher” along a
street in Manila, July
23, 2016. VINCENT GO

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

exceptions, but this time, I noticed more
rapt attention. The archbishop was around,
together with the two auxiliary bishops.
There were also all ears.
I was happy to note that the talk
presented the nuances of human rights
as articulated by institutions like the UN
and, of course, our constitution, and other
personalities of some standing. Since the
speaker was a lawyer and not a theologian,
there was hardly any theological
explanation beyond the fact that human
rights spring from man’s being the image
and likeness of God.
The reaction of the priests in general was

21

ARTICLES

People are not praying
anymore. They are
simply guided by their
emotions and instincts
and some questionable
ideologies. There’s a lot
of doctrinal ignorance
and confusion, and
religious indifference.

mainly that of grave concern, since it cannot
be denied that the drug problem we have
is a first-class crisis. Recent developments
have lifted the lid on this crisis whose scary
dimensions are getting far worse than what
are generally suspected.
Somehow priests get to know more
details about this crisis because they
preside over funerals of drug-related
deaths in their parishes, they get to receive
information from their parishioners, they
hear confessions and they also are sought
for some pieces of advice from people. They
are near the frontline.
They have mixed feelings about this
issue. While they are somehow happy
with the current campaign against people
involved in drugs, they are also alarmed
at the rise of these extra-judicial killings
whose perpetrators we cannot be sure of—
whether they are done by some vigilantes,
or the police, or drug people themselves in
their own internecine conflicts.
What comes to my mind is that this
development we are having at this time,
provoked by the ascendance of our new
president, has good aspects as well as poses
new challenges that we have to tackle.
Definitely, the drug problem has to be
tackled head-on before it gets any worse.
As it is now, it is really ugly. But we need
to further develop our systems—police,
judicial, penal, medical, political, economic,
social, etc.—to cope with this highly
complex problem.
Let’s hope that our lawmakers can craft
better laws that are more effective in
blending our need to get the culprits as
well as our need for respect of human
rights, rule of law and due process.
We obviously cannot remain at the
current state of our laws that are now
found to be ineffective or lacking
in something necessary. We have to
understand that our human laws need to
evolve without abandoning their essential
purpose. They need to be updated to adapt
to current situations.
A more appropriate system of checks and
balances among the different branches and
agencies of our government should be put
in place.
This should be a serious affair that should

22

not be trivialized by too much politicking
and grandstanding. Let’s hope that we
can choose lawmakers and public officials
who are competent to carry out their
responsibility.
As to the clergy, a great challenge
befalls us. But before we start thinking of
building rehab centers and the like, we
should intensify our spiritual and pastoral
ministry. We have to keep the priority of
Mary over Martha. While the state and civil
society aim at making people responsible
citizens, we in the Church have to focus on
encouraging people to be saints.
As one saint once said, today’s crises are
basically a crisis of saints. People are not
praying anymore. They are simply guided
by their emotions and instincts and some
questionable ideologies. There’s a lot of
doctrinal ignorance and confusion, and
religious indifference.
Today’s drug problem is just a result of
many previous crises that have not been
effectively resolved: corruption, deceit,
infidelity, lack of temperance, etc. There is
little authentic spiritual life in many people.
If these basic problems in people’s
spiritual life are made to persist, then we
can expect graver crises after the one on
drugs. In other countries, this is what we
observe. They are now into terrorism and
massacres and mindless rampage.
Everyone has to be involved, but I
imagine that the clergy has to focus more
on strengthening the spiritual and moral
lives of people. These aspects are basic and
indispensable.

.

IMPACT

AUGUST 2016

STATEMENTS

AMRSP
statement on
extrajudicial
killings

this problem, if it remains unchecked, leads to a
culture of impunity.
As religious and consecrated persons, we
believe that the wheels of justice should take
their course following the proper procedure and
operate within the bounds of the law.
We demand that the concerned government
agencies continue apprehending those involved in
drug trafficking but avoiding extrajudicial killings,
and pursue and apprehend vigilantes who carry
out such illegal actions.
As men and women of consecrated life, we
commit ourselves to the following:
1. For our communities, parishes, apostolates
and educational institutions to study, reflect on
and act on these unabated killings.
2. To care for the violated, the orphaned and
the widowed through counseling, sharing and
integration with Gospel values.
3. To stand with people of other faiths and
other beliefs in the inviolability and sacredness
of life. In the Year of Mercy, let our humanity and
compassion reach those who are the least and the
powerless.
4. To recognize that the drug problem is a
complex and deeply-emotional issue that needs to
be addressed holistically, with great understanding
and compassion for both victim and perpetrator
for we are all dehumanized by this culture of
death.
5. To recognize and support the need for
reforms in the criminal justice system and the
need for rehabilitation for drug dependents. We
need to weed out the corrupt in our security
forces as well as in the prosecution service as well
as the judiciary. The drug menace is an intricate
web of corruption and patronage that feeds on the
insatiable desire of people for profit.
6. To hold Masses and prayer vigils for peace
and justice in the affected communities.
7. For the bells to toll at a designated hour
in solidarity with the poor and in upholding the
sacredness of life.
Pope Francis has repeatedly urged the leaders of
the Church to go to the frontiers: “A Church which
‘goes forth’ is a Church whose doors are open.”
Through this pastoral statement, we heed the
Pope’s word and move to the peripheries.
Given in Quezon City, at the OFM Provincial
House on August 17, 2016.

WE, the members of the Association of
Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines,
acknowledge our active role in being a visible force
and a prophetic voice, in participating in social life,
in working for the common good. This was a role
taken by the Lord Jesus himself when he quoted
the prophet Isaiah as he began his ministry: “The
Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has
anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He
has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and
recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed
go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the
Lord” (Luke 4:18–19).
It is this role that we exercise when we look
around at what has been happening in our
country in these past two months: we have seen
a consistent surge in the number of extrajudicial
killings, now about a thousand, and counting.
Most of these deaths are related to the problem of
illegal drugs—alleged drug pushers or users being
put to death in the name of vigilante “justice,” but
all these bereft of warrant of arrest or proof of
guilt.
In the midst of this alarming situation, as a group
of religious and consecrated persons, we make our
stand.
We express our full support for the
government’s serious crusade against the problem
of illegal drugs in our country. We admire the
leadership that the President has taken in this
campaign and the determination of the people
under him in working to rid our society of such
menace.
Nevertheless, we are alarmed at the continued
extrajudicial killings, which seem to go unchecked,
without trial or investigation.
We are alarmed at the silence of the
government, groups, and majority of the people in
the face of these killings. Ubi boni tacent malum
prosperat. Evil prospers where good men are
silent. Is this lack of public outcry a tacit approval
of what is happening? Is it fear that prevents
people from speaking out? Whatever the reason,

Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM
Sr. Regina Kuizon, RGS
AMRSP Co-Chairpersons
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

23

STATEMENTS

Students light candles as they call for an end to extrajudicial killings around the country in the wake
of war on drugs campaign by President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday evening, Aug. 31 outside the
Dominican-run Colegio de San Juan De Letran in Intramuros, Manila. ROY LAGARDE

Echoing the Cry
WE are deeply saddened
and totally alarmed by the
many reports of killings of
suspected criminals and
drug offenders. The arbitrary
killings of more than 100
suspected offenders done by
the police and unidentified
people, violate their right to
be presumed innocent until
proven guilty, right to due
process and right to fair trial.
And most of the victims are
of the lower strata of the
society—the least and the
weak. The silence engulfing
the phenomenon shows
the tacit approval of the
citizenry.
Once more the body
of Christ is pierced by
these reckless and wanton
disregard for the sanctity of
life. A culture of violence and
death threatens to engulf
us all. This is not the way of

24

Christ. We have strayed from
the path of love, tolerance
and peace.
As Franciscans, we
cannot be complicit or
silent on these assaults to
human rights and human
dignity. We would like to
voice out our opposition
to these daily killings. In
our 1987 Constitution, a
Filipino is endowed with
fundamental, political, civil,
social, economic, and cultural
rights and is entitled to the
protection of the law. The
Constitution’s Bill of Rights
states that: “No Filipino
shall be held to answer for a
criminal offense without due
process of law.” And that “In
all criminal prosecutions, the
accused shall be presumed
innocent until the contrary is
proved, and shall enjoy the
right to be heard by himself
IMPACT

and counsel, to be informed
of the nature and cause of
the accusation against him.”
Everyone is entitled to the
right to life and its protection
by the State. No one has
the right to take life unjustly.
Thus we advocate addressing
the drug menace within our
legal framework and the
principles of human dignity—
not through vigilantism. We
support the campaign against
illegal drugs in the country.
But we denounce the sins
of injustice and violence
perpetrated against the least,
the powerless and the weak.
We stress fortifying our
institutions and educating
people of their democratic
rights in the fight against
crime, drug addiction and
corruption. A drug-free society
basically relies on its educated
and empowered citizenry.
AUGUST 2016

As Christians, it is our
fundamental ethical, moral,
and religious duty to
promote and support human
life and human dignity. St.
Francis of Assisi sees every
human person as the image
and likeness of God. This
policy of extra-judicial killing
is very far from the spirit of
the liberating Gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ. It is an
obstacle to the realization
of the God’s kingdom. Our
faith tells us to treat the
vulnerable segments of
our society with mercy and
compassion. It is our mission
to promote justice and to
critique policies/structures
that are unjust (see PCP-II,
248). We uphold the value
of love, brotherhood and
peaceful solidarity (John Paul
II, To the People of Tondo,
Feb. 18, 1981, no. 7).

STATEMENTS

Activists lie on the ground outside the Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City to protest the rampant summary executions in the country, Aug. 31, 2016. MARIA TAN

LAIKO Statement on Extrajudicial Killings
WE are now facing an
important reality in our life
as a nation in the matter of
extrajudicial killings. Reports
and statistics may vary
from different sources but
this issue has reached an
alarming proportion.
To some people, these
killings have become
acceptable since they argue
that if these criminals are
not eliminated, they will
continue to kill our people
through drugs. They opined
that the next generation
of Filipinos faces serious
challenges in the future if
extreme measures are not
undertaken. However, even
the intention is good; the
end does not justify the
means.
With the increasing
reports of unsolved
extrajudicial killings, cases

of mistaken identity, stories
of people killed under
questionable circumstances
– we may ask the question:
How many more lives,
whether guilty or innocent
be killed before we are
convinced that there is
something terribly wrong
with what is happening
in our country right now?
As Christians who believe
in the value of human life,
we cannot continue being
passive and indifferent
amidst these spate of
killings.
Two concerns come to
mind:
1. The increasing culture
of violence where our
people become desensitized
to the fact that killing are
a deterrent to criminals
and this will help solve our

problem of drugs and bring
it under control.
2. The matter of due
process which may give
rise to the nation becoming
a police state. While we
want to give our police
much needed support,
abuses are always a reality.
We don’t want to give
authorities that much
power to live by the gun in
the name of law and order.
And when law enforcers
make mistakes, innocent
lives are endangered.
We need to observe all
constitutional means as to
the right to life.
We call on our national
leaders, both the executive
and the police to observe
due process in the discharge
of their responsibilities in
dealing with criminality

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

in general and the drug
problem in particular.
We call on them as well
to investigate with care,
prudence and diligence all
recent killings as a result of
police operations or those
committed by vigilante
groups.
We pray that all peaceloving Filipinos will stand
for life and for us all to
do what we can that evil
and lawlessness will not
prevail.
“… I have set before you
life and death, the blessing
and the curse. Choose life,
then, that you and your
descendants may live”
(Deuteronomy 30:19)
For the Laiko Board,
ZENAIDA F. CAPISTRANO
President
August 12, 2016

25

ARTICLES

Religious values
are not politically
incorrect

President Rodrigo Duterte. CBCPNEWS

26

IMPACT

AUGUST 2016

By Fr. Jerome R. Secillano, MPA
BY cursing some bishops and
calling the Church the most
hypocritical institution, President
Duterte has virtually stripped
the Philippine Catholic Church
of the “political power” it once
had, especially in the subsequent
years following the first EDSA
revolution. It came as no surprise
that majority of the Filipinos are
appreciative of what the President
did, even if the comments are
downright disrespectful and
rude towards an institution that
ought to command deference and
reverence. Filipinos are fed up
with the Church’s “interference”
in the public sphere. And the fact
that the President commands a
high degree of approval from a
populace that has grown tired
of the status quo in our society,
his comments are, unfortunately,
almost always believable if not
admirable.
In a statement, Archbishop
Socrates Villegas, the president of
the Catholic Bishops’ Conference
of the Philippines (CBCP), said
“the Church is not an enemy of
the government”. The Church, in
many instances, may differ from
how the government does things,
but it should not in any way be
considered adversarial towards
a popular President. It is simply
playing the role of conscience
in a society that has seemingly
embraced the absence of the
rule of law, disregard for basic
human rights, dearth of morality
and decency, and a lack of
rationality in the formulation and
implementation of public policies.
The Church in the public sphere
should not be a cause for alarm
and harm. What should alarm the
Filipinos are the growing number
of dead people executed without
the benefit of due process and
the passage of impending bills

ARTICLES

(death penalty, same-sex union,
and divorce) that are expected to
destroy the moral fiber of a society
that used to put more premium
on religious values like respect for
life and basic human rights, strong
families, social justice, equality,
and human solidarity more than
the secular principles advanced
by the men and women in our
government.
While the debate as to whether
the Church should or should
not be allowed to participate in
the public sphere rages among
scholars, Filipinos were cheering
on Duterte while the latter was
lambasting the institution for
its supposed hypocrisy. Such a
reaction is a strong rebuke against
the Church and a vehement
expression that religion for the
most part should remain a private
and domestic matter strictly
separated from the public world
of politics. The privatizing of faith
and the marginalizing of religion,
sadly, leads to a diminution of the
Church’s significance in societal life.
Interestingly, Jurgen Habermas,a
secular and agnostic thinker
widely recognized as one of the
world's leading intellectuals,
and who has written extensively
on the public sphere and
communicative rationality,
believes that “religion has a lot of
important things to contribute and
to offer in the public sphere.”
Habermas' reading of religion
essentially belies the collective
reaction of Duterte’s supporters
who, I presume, must have
reacted exasperatedly based on an
idiotic understanding of what the
Church and the public sphere are
all about.
For Habermas, the public
sphere is a body of “private
persons” assembled to discuss
matters of “public concern”
or “common interest.” It is to
be characterized by rational

critical discourse and wide
participation, despite inequality
and differences among
contributors. In essence, the
public sphere is to be thought
of as the articulation and
engagement with the ideas and
thinking of civil society. With
this rational and scientific
treatise, must the Church,
then, not be allowed a place in
the public sphere, including
politics?
Hannah Arendt, a German
born American political theorist,
provides a fascinating insight
in what politics is about. She
says, “Politics is founded on a
human condition of plurality”.
In her view, it is not enough
to have a collection of private
individuals voting separately and
anonymously according to their
private opinions. Rather, these
individuals must be able to see
and talk to one another in public,
to meet in a public-political
space, so that their differences as
well as their commonalities can
emerge and become the subject of
democratic debate.
In an era of pluralism, we
should expect different and
multi-faceted ideas and principles
to emerge. A working democracy
is best exemplified by a deep
respect for what others have to
say and to offer. The President
of the Philippines may be very
popular and enjoys a high degree
of acceptance, but popularity and
acceptance should not lead us to
believe that he has the monopoly
of everything that should be good
for the country.
The Church, after all, is not
asking the people to believe in
one God and three Divine Persons,
nor is it commanding everyone to
accept the “original sinlessness”
of the Blessed Virgin Mary; all it
is asking is for them to listen to
its policy views, and to respect

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

its right to participate in public
debate without its religion and
ministers being impugned. I guess
this is not too much to ask in a
democracy.
Some would strongly argue
for the separation of Church
and State. But the Church is not
advocating that its ministers
become lords of the State as they
are servants of the Church; to be
government legislators as they are
implementers of God’s laws; nor
judges in civil courts as they are
counsellors of lost souls. There
is no need to overemphasize this
doctrine as the Church knows its
boundaries. At any rate, those who
wrongly use this separation to
shut the Church out of the public
sphere merely seek to redefine our
cultural and religious character as
a predominantly Catholic nation
and they express hostility towards
religion as a legitimate source of
political ideas.
Noah Webster, who served in
government and was the first
to publish the first American
dictionary in 1828 using Bible
verses as definitions, believed
there is no false dichotomy
between personal faith and
public service. He said, “The
moral principles and precepts
contained in the Scriptures
ought to form the basis of
our constitution and laws. All
miseries and evils which men
suffer proceed directly from
their despising or neglecting the
precepts contained in the Bible.”
It seems that arrogance is the
trademark of the strong. When
the Roman Empire was falling, its
ruthless Emperors and arrogant
politicians could do nothing to
save it. But fortuitously, Rome was
not entirely obliterated. It, in fact,
retains some amount of relevance
to this day and it is simply because
of one enduring institution, the
Roman Catholic Church.

.

27

FROM THE BLOGS

Temporal goods of the Church

I

n accord with Natural Law, pursuant to sound
reason and consequent ethical norms—with
or without the sanction of Positive Law as
may be provided by Civil Law according to a
given Constitution provision or otherwise—the
Church which is now more than 2000 years
old and counting, has the inherent right to
own and administer temporal goods for the
needs of her apostolic works, the demands of
funding social services and the grant of fitting
support not only to her ordained ministers but
also to lay workers in different ecclesiastical
endeavors.
The government through different ways and
means, can deny this right, render it futile and
inutile even through either pursuant legislation
or through the imposition of Martial Law of one
kind or another. But the aforesaid right remains
and eventually continues to be exercised after
a sound and sane government takes over. This
is the standing truth as proven by time and
affirmed by history: Governments come and
go. Government officials live and die. But the
Church goes on and on existing, evangelizing
and serving—until time there is none to
look back at or forward. Whereas time has a
beginning, so an ending it also has.
It is good to take note of the following
universal Ecclesiastical Law specifically in
conjunction with temporal goods officially
owned by the Church the world over: First,
they are not in any way personally owned
by any Churchman such that this could then
have the personal option to dispose of them
according to his personal option. Second,
they are in fact owned by a given ecclesiastical
jurisdiction such as a Diocese or Archdiocese—
or their territorial equivalents as provided by
Church Law. Third, they are then administered
or managed by the one after another
incumbent Bishop or Archbishop of the place.
Fourth, the Bishop or Archbishop exercises his
management faculty with the intervention of
the Financial Council and/or the Council of
Priests plus lay professionals. Fifth, the said
management faculty is regulated by Universal
or Particular Church Laws strictly in accord
with the said three-fold finality inherent to
the Temporal Goods of the Church. Sixth, the

28

A Catholic bishop prepares for a Mass inside the sacristy of a parish church in
Cavite. ROY LAGARDE

IMPACT

Diocese or Archdiocese remains obliged to pay
income taxes to the government for any and all
taxable incomes it may have. Seventh, the outgoing Bishop or Archbishop is strictly obliged and
held fully responsible in giving an accounting of
and entrusting the Temporal Goods of the Diocese
or Archdiocese to his Successor.
The Church has no army, has no weaponry, has
no prisons, no brute power, no secular authority.
But She has a Divine Founder, a spiritual strength,
an eternal mission. This is why so many
governments, so many political authorities, so
many secular forces tried and are still trying and
hoping to subjugate, neutralize, if not altogether
get rid of the Church. But history is the witness
that while all such quasi-omnipotent entities
and individuals are gone and done away with,
while one government after another appear
and disappears, the Church remains in her
evangelizing existence and apostolic service.
Those committed to fight the Church come and
go. Those dedicated to get rid of the Church
undergo birth, death, and decay. But the Church
stands and evangelizes, lives and serves from her
Foundation Day until the end of time. There
were—and there still are—supposedly allknowing and almighty individuals who fought
Church doctrine, who did everything to subjugate
her if not even get rid of her altogether. They
lived and died, were buried and dust they become.
But the Church simply continues to live, to teach,
to serve one century after another.
www.ovc.blogspot.com
AUGUST 2016

EDITORIAL

Activity not passivity

I

n one of his significant and
memorable addresses to the
young people from all the
continents of the earth on the
occasion of the much-renowned
“World Youth Day” recently held
in Poland—wherefrom the world
known and much-revered Pope
John Paul II was born and whose
pastoral activity historically
changed the socio-political face of
his own country—Pope Francis
expressly and clearly challenged
the youth of the world to assume
an active role in the socio-political
plight of their respective nations.
No. He was not fomenting
activism but denouncing passivism.
Reason: The youth are the heirs of
their respective countries and they
may not but be concerned with its
present socio-political affairs that
cannot but eventually bring about
its curse or blessing, its malady or
well-being in the years to come.
So it was that Pope Francis
himself proclaimed and
promoted the known “Principle
of Participation”: What is the
connotation—significance,

implication,
consequence—
of the said
principle? Such
is the fundamental
feature and concrete
premise of democracy
in action. And when the said
reality is not merely set aside
but actually denied, such is a
marked demonstrative element of
dictatorship, authoritarianism and
the like. And from the start of
human history to the present times,
such dictatorial or authoritarian
denial of the “Principle of
Participation” is the eventual cause
of social unrest, violence, deaths
very well included. Needless to
say, said principle has a special
significance and relevance to the
Philippines during these perceived
uncertain times.
The truth is that the “Principle of
Participation” is but a consequence
of the “Principle of Subsidiarity”.
One without the other is falsity.
In other words, the very fact
that subsidiarity means not only
allowing but also urging the
able members of society to do
what they can do for their own
good as well as the welfare of
their country, and furthermore
means that the public authorities
concerned should not bar no less
that their sovereign constituents to
intervene, to promote and sustain
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

their own public welfare, their
own common good. Otherwise,
a dictatorial regime comes to fore
and the citizens—the active young
people well included—have no
reasonable and laudable option but
to have it done away with.
In other words, the characteristic
implication of subsidiarity is
participation, which is essentially
expressed in a series of moves
through which the young and
their elders, either as individuals
or in association with other
groupings, decidedly move and
act to regain what is their right, to
re-establish what is true and just,
what is right and proper for their
own selves and their country as a
whole. These are no longer the
times when people can justify the
well-known censurable position
of the infamous “Three Monkeys”:
One sees nothing. The other hears
nothing. The third says nothing.
So it is that all three of them do
nothing!
Such are the significance
and implication of the papal
call to the youth for Activity
not Passivity particularly in
conjunction with the social
concerns and political matters in
their respective countries. This
is markedly dissonant with the
posture of indifference, the option
for quietism, the preference for
passivity.

29

ENTERTAINMENT

CATHOLIC
INITIATIVE FOR
ENLIGHTENED
MOVIE
APPRECIATION

DIRECTOR: Timur Bekmambetov

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Marco Beltrami

LEAD CAST: Jack Huston, Tobby Kebbel,

GENRE: Drama, Action

★★★★☆

Morgan Freeman, Rodrigo Santoro,
SCREENWRITER: Keith Clarke; John Ridley
PRODUCER: Mark Burnett; Sean Daniel
EDITOR: Dody Dorn, Richard Francis-Bruce
Bob Murawski

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Pliver Wood

MORAL ASSESSMENT

DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Pics,

★★★★☆

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
FILMING LOCATIONS: USA, Italy
RUNNING TIME: 150 minutes

CINEMA RATING: PG 13

Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) is falsely
accused of treason by his adopted
brother, Messala Severus (Tobby Kebbel)
who had since leaving home been
appointed by Pontius Pilate as an officer
in the Roman army. Stripped of his
rank and dignity, and separated from
wife Esther (Nazanin Boniadi) and his
family, Judah is forced to hard labor at
sea in a Roman warship. After five years
of enslavement, he is washed ashore
and rescued by Sheikh Ilderim (Morgan
Freeman). Pleading with Ilderim to take
him with him to Jerusalem, Ben Hur
wins the favor of the wealthy sheikh
by proving himself as an expert at the
treatment of horses. Ben Hur soon
agrees to Ilderim’s scheme to have him
race chariots in the circus against the
reigning champion, Messala. Offering
a hefty wager in exchange for Ben
Hur’s freedom, Ilderim persuades

30

Pilate to accept Ben Hur in the races.
Seeking revenge, Ben Hur instead finds
redemption.
Ben Hur is one proof that a compelling
story can be the foundation of a
marvelous film. A re-imagining of Lew
Wallace’s 1880 novel “Ben Hur: A Tale of
the Christ”, the 2016 film is helmed by
Timur Bekmambetov who found in the
script an “incredibly meaningful story,
impressing with not just sensational
action but with line-up of amazing life-like
characters and deep thinking, with
emotions and actions that are relatable
and have a modern, universal resonance.”
The smartly chosen cast and their superb
performances provide the spine for the
realism of the film, enhanced by spot-on
cinematography an dialogue, fabulous
production sets, costumes (clothes of
biblical times with a 21st century twist),
sound effects, music, and CGI that
IMPACT

AUGUST 2016

TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT

MTRCB RATING: PG

portrays history without the histrionic
outbursts of computer driven action
movies.
Ben Hur teaches without preaching,
and respects the intelligence of the
viewer. Noteworthy is the subtle
interweaving of Ben Hur’s journey and
the mission of Jesus—two parallel threads
that pull the pieces together towards
a logical and satisfying resolution of a
fraternal conflict. Ben Hur is more than
just a story of chariot racing. Families can
relate to the characters, for it is a story
about brothers, about family, about love
and hate in equal parts and the unique
conflict the mixture spawns. It reminds
families of how our loved ones disappoint
us, how badly we treat the ones we
love, how often the call for forgiveness
falls on our deaf ears, and how freedom
may be won through forgiveness and
compassion. A must-see.

ASIA BRIEFING

■ MONGOLIA. Country ordains first native priest

at San Vicente and Father Duenas Memorial
Catholic schools. (CNA)

On Aug. 28, Mongolia witnessed the
ordination of its first indigenous priest, Fr.
Joseph Enkh Baatar, a 29-year-old man who
represents the first fruits of 24 years of
missionary work in the east Asian country.
Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, the prefect of
Ulaanbaatar, ordained Joseph Enkh Baatar a
priest at an Aug. 28 Mass at St. Peter and Paul
Cathedral in the Mongolian capital.The first
modern mission to Mongolia was established
in 1922 and was entrusted to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But
under a communist government influenced
by the Soviet Union, religious expression
was soon thereafter suppressed.Bishop Padillawas one of the first three missionaries
allowed into Mongolia in 1992, after the fall
of communism. He became superior of the
mission in Mongolia, and was instrumental
in helping to discern Fr. Baatar's vocation.
(Antonio Anup Gonsalves/CNA)

■ PAKISTAN. Archdiocese of Lahore gets
a record five new priests

■ INDIA. Archbishop Cheenath dies at 81
Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, who lived
through one of the worst Christian persecutions in modern India and spent the remainder
of his life fighting for justice for those who
suffered in the Kandhamal massacre, died
Sunday at the age of 81.Cheenath had been
Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar from
1985 to 2011. He passed away Aug. 14
at Holy Spirit Hospital in Mumbai, after a
battle with colon cancer. His death followed
the successful outcome of a legal battle he
brought forward to gain an increase in relief
to the victims of the 2008 attack against the
Christian community in the Indian district of
Kandhamal. (CNA)
■ Guam priest admits guilt amid ongoing
abuse scandal
A priest in Guam has admitted to abusing
around 20 children, a revelation that comes
amid an ongoing investigation into abuse accusations surrounding the local archbishop.
Accusations against Fr. Louis Brouillard, 95,
were made during a public hearing last week
to lift Guam’s statute of limitations on child
abuse. The accusations were raised by a man
who lives in Hawaii and said he was sent to
a Catholic school in Guam, where he was
abused twice, including by Fr. Brouillard in the
1950s.The priest served in Guam between
the 1940s-1970s, during which he taught

The Archdiocese of Lahore has made a
record of ordinations. Yesterday in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, the ordination
ceremony for five deacons took place in the
presence of hundreds of faithful and the relatives of the new priests. Lahore Archbishop
Sebastian Shah said that the group of priests
is the largest since 1994. "So far we had only
had one or two priests (a year). Five priests
are really a record.” This year, a total of 21
priestly ordinations took place in Pakistan,
three next October in the Archdiocese of
Karachi.Fr Joseph Louis, a former executive
secretary of Caritas Lahore, believes that
the rise of terrorism since the attacks on 11
September 2001 in the US "increased local
vocations.” (Asianews)
■ VIETNAM. Gov’t speeds up approval of
new religious law
The Vietnamese government is speeding the approval process of its new law on
religions and beliefs, which has been sharply
criticized by the country’s religious leaders
since April 2015.Overshadowed by the 12th
Communist Party Congress last January and
the election of the new National Assembly
in May, the draft has taken centre stage
again in mid-August with the government
pledging to have it adopted this year. The
Patriotic Front, an organization linked to
the Communist Party, met on 17 August to
discuss ‘expert opinions on the draft law on
beliefs and religions’.The meeting resulted in
a new version of the law, which has not been
made public for now. (Asianews)
■ TAIWAN. Taipei in favour of talks between China, Vatican
“Taipei and the Holy See are diplomatic
allies connected by the same values, sharing a consensus on many aspects, including
religious freedom, democracy, human rights
and humanitarian aid,” said Deputy Minister
of Foreign Affairs Wu Chih-chung at a forum
on the island’s democratic development. Wu
also noted that, due to its mission to promote
human rights and religious freedom, the
Vatican is supposed to engage in dialogue
with China, something that Taiwan is not only
not opposed to, but also thinks is positive.
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

After Mao Zedong seized power, Taiwan
has led a parallel life from mainland China.
Until the 1970s, it was recognized by the
international community as the legitimate
seat of the Chinese government, albeit in
exile, but the rapprochement between Beijing
and Washington changed things. Since then
Taipei has had to struggle to maintain diplomatic relations with other countries, whose
number has steadily dropped. (Asianews)
■ LAOS. Cost of living up by 30 per cent,
but wages stay the same
The cost of living in Laos has been rising
this year despite a stagnant minimum wage,
making it difficult for many low-income
people to afford staple foods and other daily
necessities.In the capital Vientiane, food
prices have increased by an average of 30
per cent since last October, said a senior
official in the Lao Ministry of Industry and
Commerce, who declined to be named. A
kilogram of sticky rice, a daily dietary staple,
has shot up to .50 from .05.Many Laotians are
not surprised about the rising prices because
they say the Communist government has not
been able to control them. (Asianews)
■ MYANMAR. Peace confab ‘inclusive of
minority ethnic groups’
A long series of conflicts between the
army and ethnic minority groups living in
the country are among the issues to be addressed after half a century of military rule
in Myanmar. "It is very important that the
new government promotes lasting peace
with these groups", says Cardinal Charles
Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon. "The
government is trying to solve the situation,
but the building of peace will take time".
Authentic peace "is built only by including all
stakeholders involved and not by excluding
them from the upcoming peace conference
in Myanmar", he continued, urging everyone to "reiterate their willingness to work
for reconciliation”."Leaders, armed groups,
political parties: all have a moral obligation
to pursue a path of peace", notes Cardinal
Bo, urging to also involve organizations
that have not signed the truce in the highly
anticipated event of the "Panglong Conference of the XXI century" to be held on 31
August. The Conference will have the theme
of peace talks that the government led by the
League for Democracy (NLD) is organizing
with the army and all ethnic groups who for
years fought for autonomy. (Agenzia Fides)

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