Is there Food

in the Duterte
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
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COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
Editor
PEDRO QUITORIO III
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NIRVA'ANA DELACRUZ
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2

IT'S almost three years now since the worst nightmare has befallen
on the Philippines. Super Typhoon Yolanda, internationally codenamed Haiyan, was the strongest typhoon in memory that brought
incomparable devastation to the whole of the Visayas, especially
Eastern Visayas. The government has recorded over 6,000 casualties,
which, according to ground sources, could even go to nearly 15,000
had the government not stopped the count for reasons, that,
according to some, was characteristic of the white-washing stance of
the Aquino administration.
The destruction brought about by Yolanda was unbearable
enough. But the wanton neglect, corruption and the politization
by the government in both the relief and rehabilitation work made
it doubly so. The government has received millions of dollars in
donation from foreign governments and aid institutions for the
victims of typhoon Yolanda. Until now those donations have not
all been put to good use. It was good that aid agencies both local
and international came to the rescue. These aid agencies projected
that in three years rehabilitation work in Yolanda areas would be
concluded. Until today rehabilitation is not yet complete and many
of these agencies are continuing the rehabilitation work.
Responding to the clamor of typhoon victims and nongovernment organizations, such as Kusog sang Pumuluyo of
Iloilo, the current Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has
recently submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte a report on the
irregularities in government aid for Yolanda victims. In said report,
Taguiwalo indicated that around 200,000 people from Regions 6
and 8 have not received any assistance from the government. "The
money has gone to the people but these are cases of irregularities or
non-compliance… The exclusion of emergency shelter assistance is
widespread,” she said in a press briefing.
Traces of devastation in victim areas such as in Tacloban City can
hardly be seen three years after, with the rise of new infrastructures
and business opportunities. At the surface, this city even looks better
now than it was before Yolanda. But deep in the hearts of every
survivor, the pain etched by the catastrophe remains inconsolable.
It will take a long time for the scars to finally settle. These scars will
remain a mute witness of government's neglect, lies, cover-up and
politicking especially for those who, three years after, are still lodged
in temporary shelters and those thousands who have never benefitted
any government aid until today. For the nth time, typhoon survivors
always felt nauseated whenever they hear then President Benigno
Simeon Aquino talking about how best his administration has
prepared and addressed the Yolanda crisis when ground realities tell
otherwise. Nauseating, too, were the repeated dumping of truckloads
of expired relief commodities amidst typhoon victims who were
in the throes of hunger and want. There were instances also when
national TV would report of several tons of relief commodities that
were left to rot in warehouses, as if the government's welfare agency
has failed to appreciate the sense of urgency in times of disasters. Ire
still takes over when a teary-eyed looks back at a catastrophe made
worse by a catastrophic kind of governance.
Dedicated to the 29th Prison Awareness Week, Mr. Rodolfo
Diamante pens the cover story of this issue, "Death penalty is justice
that kills and not justice that heals." Read on.

IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

CONTENTS
29 |

Editorial

16

The death penalty is justice that kills and not justice that heals

|

The poverty factor in the drug menace

Cover story

quote in
the act
"There were lies and inconsistencies in the
whole tragic affair. Even the role of the
USA needs to be clarified."
Ramon Arguelles, archbishop of Lipa; on the issue
of the proposed reopening of the investigation of the
Mamasapano encounter after Philippine President
Rodrigo Duterte hinted that he may order a new
probe of the bloody January 2015 carnage that
claimed 60 lives including 44 police commandos.

"We seek healing justice, not revenge,
because only justice heals. Revenge
wounds all the more."

Articles

4

|

Letters to President Rodrigo Duterte

6

|

Transforming education for a just peace

10

|

Catching up in ASEAN agriculture

20

|

Keeping the integrity of education

21

|

The success of fair trade and organic mangoes

13

|

News Features

22

|

Statements

28

|

From the Blogs

30

|

Entertainment

31

|

Asia News

Luis Antonio Tagle, cardinal archbishop of Manila;
at the launching of the parish-based rehabilitation
program for drug dependents dubbed "Sanlakbay
para sa Pagbabagong Buhay," which will provide
psycho-spiritual support to drug surrenderees.

"Religion becomes a source of
discrimination when it is used and abused
to define national identity and unity."
Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy
See to the United Nations; in his recent address
to the UN General Assembly on the promotions and
protection of human rights where he pointed out that
"religious communities themselves are not immune
to the temptation to violate the freedom of religion
and belief of others."

"We cannot achieve a just and peaceful
society through illegal, immoral and
fundamentally evil means."
Social Action Network, a network of Catholic
Church's social action workers; in a recent statement
calling for an overhaul of the judicial system in the
Philippines in order to deliver speedy justice in the
face of increasing summary killings of suspected
criminals along the government's sanctioned war on
drugs.

"We are deeply concerned that this
alarming insensitivity could lead to a
deadening of conscience and the dawning
of a culture of death."
Gerardo Alminaza, Patricio Bauzon, Julito Cortes,
bishops of San Carlos, Dumaguete and Kabankalan,
respectively; in a joint statement that decried over
the seeming neglect of the Duterte administration to
address the summary killings that accompanied its
campaign against the proliferation of illegal drugs.

FEATURE ARTICLE

October 17, 2016
HON. RODRIGO ROA
DUTERTE
President, Republic of the
Philippines
Malacañang Palace, Manila
A Plea for Mercy and
Compassion for the prisoners
on the occasion of the
Observance of National
Correctional Consciousness
Week and the 29TH Prison
Awareness Week Celebration
on October 24-30, 2016 and
the Jubilee of Prisoners on
November 6
Dear President Duterte:
Peaceful and Joyful greetings
from the CBCP-ECPPC
family!
In observance of the 29th
Prison Awareness Week from
October 24-30, 2016, the
CBCP-ECPPC has chosen
the theme “Lord, Help Us
To Seek and Save The Lost”.
This theme is in based on the
Gospel reading on October 30
and the church’s observance
of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
This observance coincides with
the government’s declaration
of the National Correctional
Consciousness Week every last
week of October.
In this celebration the
commission urges the faithful
to follow Jesus who has
preferential option for the
needy, the weak and the poor.
Our Chaplains and
Volunteers in Prison Service
nationwide will hold various
activities in their respective
mission area to mark this
event and to make this theme
a reality.
The CBCP- Episcopal
Commission on Prison
Pastoral Care wishes to use
this occasion to appeal to
your good self, the case of

4

the prisoners in our seven (7)
national prisons under the
Bureau of Corrections.
The prisoners have spent
several years in our jails
and prisons. They and their
families have been enduring
the effect of incarceration
for several years especially
those who have been sick and
are presently confined at the
hospital.
More than this problem, the
prisoners are longing to be
free. They have sought our
help on this matter.
We understand that the
Board of Pardons and Parole
had already done some vetting
on the case of these prisoners
and had forwarded to your
good office the their records
and that after careful study
they have recommended
the granting of Executive
clemency to these prisoners
In this regard, we would like
to appeal to His Excellency
to grant their plea for
EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY.
Their release will be a
humanitarian act on the
part of the office of the
President especially during
the celebration of the 29th
Prison Awareness Week which
coincides with the observance
of National Correctional
Consciousness Week from
October 24-30, 2016 and
the Jubilee of Prisoners on
November 5-6, 2016.
Indeed, every person
deserves a second chance. You
have the power to let them be
free again and be with their
families. Praying for mercy
and compassion, I remain,
Very truly years in the
Incarcerated Christ,
+LEOPOLDO S. TUMULAK,
MA, DD
Chairman
IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

In time for the c
PRISON
the CBCP-Episco

through its
T
President of Repub

1. EX
T
2. NO
THE P
A 50 BI

celebration of the 29TH
N AWARENESS WEEK,
opal Commission on Prison
Pastoral Care,
s chair, Bishop Leopoldo
Tumulak, has written the
blic of the Philippines to
appeal for two things:

XECUTIVE CLEMENCY
TO SOME PRISONERS;
OT TO PROCEED WITH
PLAN TO CONSTRUCT
ILLION MEGA PRISON.

FEATURE ARTICLE

October 17, 2016
Honorable
RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE
President, Republic of the
Philippines
Malacanang Palace, Manila
Dear President Duterte,
Greetings from the Lord of
Mercy and Compassion!
The CBCP-ECPPC will lead
the church in the observance
of the 29th Prison Awareness
Week from October 24-30,
2016. This coincides with the
government’s celebration of
the National Correctional
Consciousness Week. The
theme of the celebration is
“Lord, help us to seed and save
the lost”. This is based on the
Gospel reading on October 30
and the church’s observance of
the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The CBCP-ECPPC wishes to
remind the faithful to follow
Jesus’ example of ministering
to God’s Anawim—the needy,
the weak and the poor specially
the members of the prison
community. His Holiness Pope
Francis has demonstrated this
in his papacy. Wherever, Pope
Francis goes, he offers hope
to inmates telling them “that
confinement is not the same
thing as exclusion. Meeting
with inmates and their
families, the pontiff implores
us to remember prisoners,
who are part of his global
mission to tend to the poor,
forgotten and neglected
The CBCP- Episcopal
Commission on Prison
Pastoral Care wishes to use this
occasion to appeal once more
to your good self, to reconsider
the plan to build a Php 50.2
billion mega prison.
The CBCP Episcopal
Commission on Prison

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 10

Pastoral Care (ECPPC)
believes that there are other
much practical solutions to
decongest and modernize the
national penitentiary.
There is the inexpensive and
economical way of transferring
excess prison population to
penal establishments in the
country side.
A couple of years ago, the
Department of Justice directed
the Bureau of Corrections to
formulate a plan to transfer
excess prison population to
other penal establishments.
DOJ then required prison
administration to expand,
by building additional
dormitories in the facilities
to accommodate those to be
transferred.
DOJ was on the right track
previously when it moved
towards the direction of
mass transfer of prisoners to
penal establishments in the
countryside. We appeal that
your office revisit this plan and
study it.
“Moreover, there is the law
on GCTA (Good Conduct
Time Allowance) which the
previous administration
approved last May 2013. If
applied in accordance with the
spirit of the law our jails and
prisons will be dramatically
decongested.
The CBCP-ECPPC therefore
appeals to the President not to
waste 50 billion pesos of the
taxpayers’ money for a facility.
May the Lord of Mercy and
Compassion bless you and
guide you towards effecting
real change in our correctional
system.
Very truly yours,
+BISHOP LEOPOLDO S.
TUMULAK, D.D.
Chairman

5

ARTICLES

Transforming education for a just peace
By Archbishop Antonio J.
Ledesma, SJ
RECENT events this September
2016 highlighted some of the
lights and shadows surrounding
the country’s quest for a “just
and lasting peace.” The Sept.
2 terrorist bombing of a night
market in Davao City ( just outside
the downtown campus of Ateneo
de Davao University) remains
unsolved. On Sept. 14, a 15-year
old student stabbed to death his
teacher inside the classroom of
a public high school in Cagayan
de Oro City. And on Sept. 20, a
peasant leader advocating for land
reform was killed point blank by a
security guard in Busuanga Island.
On the other hand, on Sept. 19
in Davao, several Christian and
Muslim religious leaders gathered
together to celebrate the 20th
anniversary of the Bishops-Ulama
Conference (BUC).
Reaffirming
their aspiration to pursue peace in
Mindanao, the body chose as their
theme for the coming Mindanao
Week of Peace in November a
common challenge: “Respect and
Protect Life.” On the following
days, Sept. 20-22, the Philippine
Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP)
held an ecumenical religious
leaders’ summit on the resumption
of peace negotiations between the
GRP and NDFP panels. The panel
members from both government
and National Democratic Front
expressed their optimistic views
that a peace agreement could
be forged, starting with the
declaration of a unilateral ceasefire
from both sides.
Within this context of senseless
killings on the one hand and
measured efforts at peace-building
on the other, educators and
school communities have to ask
themselves the question of how
to engage in a transformative

6

education for a just peace and how
to widen the peace constituency that
includes all of us as stakeholders.
Over the past two decades in
Mindanao, together with many
other peace advocates, I have
been engaged in giving seminars
on a Culture of Peace. In general,
a Culture of Just Peace is a way
of life. It is based on respect and
protection of every person’s
human dignity—regardless of race,
religion, class, etc. Six dimensions
are covered together with their
operative values, like the spokes of
a wheel. (See Fig. 1)
Personal and family integrity
“Peace of the heart is the heart of
peace,” St. John Paul II has remarked.
Peace starts with personal values
of honesty, discipline, simplicity,
etc. These are nurtured within
the family values of unity, fidelity,
love of parents and children, etc.
On the other hand, integrity or
IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

wholeness of the person and the
family can be eroded by various
forms of addictions, such as drug
use, alcoholism, pornography and
gambling.
In Cagayan de Oro over the
past months, in order to address
the issue of drug addiction, the
archdiocese has formed with
government agencies and many
civil society organizations a multisectoral “Coalition for a DrugFree Society.” It has articulated its
vision for a healthy, productive and
drug-free Northern Mindanao by
2022. The coalition has organized
three task forces to focus on drug
awareness,
rehabilitation
and
community support. It has also
coined its battle cry: “Tsada kung
walay droga!”
The
challenges
to
family
integrity, as enumerated by Pope
Francis’
pastoral
exhortation,
Amoris Laetitia, are manifold:
decent housing, adequate health

ARTICLES

care,
dignified
employment,
unmarried couples, street children,
migration,
human
trafficking,
domestic violence, and “orphans
of living parent” (AL 44-51).
While
taking
these
tragic
situations into account, the Holy
Father also outlines crucial features
for the integrity and spirituality
of family life (AL, 314-324): (1)
a spirituality of supernatural
communion – imbued with the
presence of God as well as family
love “made up of thousands of
small but real gestures”; (2) a family
gathered in prayer in the light of
Easter – during moments of pain
and difficulty as well as moments
of joy and celebration sharing in
the full life of the resurrection;
(3) a spirituality of exclusive and
free love, reflecting God’s own
faithfulness; (4) a spirituality of
responsible parenthood that is prolife, for natural family planning,
and
includes
formation
of
conscience; and (5) a spirituality of
care and consolation that embraces
all family life as a ”shepherding in
mercy.”
Human rights and socialjustice
“If you want peace, work for
justice.” And working for justice
can be equated with the promotion
of human rights that are regarded
as
universal,
inviolable,
and
inalienable. The United Nations’
Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (1948) as well as Saint John
XXIII’s encyclical, Pacem in Terris
(1963), have articulated these
rights, such as the right to life, to
education, to freedom of religion,
freedom of speech and assembly,
the right to vote, etc.
But going beyond these civil and
political rights, the framers of the
1987 Philippine Constitution have
also focused on social and economic
rights to address the glaring
inequalities in Philippine Society,
brought about by centuries of
colonial rule and feudal structures.
Thus, Article XIII, Section 1 of the

1987 Philippine Constitution states:
“The Congress shall give highest
priority to the enactment of
measures that protect and enhance
the right of all people to human
dignity, reduce social, economic,
and political inequalities, and
remove cultural inequities by
equitably diffusing wealth and
political power for the common
good… To this end, the State
shall regulate the acquisition,
ownership, use, and disposition of
property and its increments.”
Atty. Christian Monsod, one
of the constitutional delegates,
stresses that this Social Justice
provision is at the heart and
soul of the Constitution.
The
provision underpins the need
for asset reform – such as the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Program, the Fisheries Code, the
Indigenous People’s Rights Act,
and urban land reform. Without
the
vigorous
implementation
of these social justice measures,
Philippine society has remained
mired in glaring inequalities.
Earlier Philippine Constitutions
had already expressed similar
perspectives on Social Justice such
as: “justice to the common tao”
(1935 Constitution), and “social
justice to ensure the dignity,
welfare and security of all the
people” (1973 Constitution). But
perhaps, it was President Ramon
Magsaysay’s credo that described
the meaning of Social Justice most
forcefully: “He who has less in life
should have more in law.”
Poverty eradication
The goal of Social Justice is the
Common Good. Defined as “the
sum total of social conditions
which allow people . . . to reach
their ends,” the Common Good
includes the good of all people and
of the whole person. Its attainment
is the responsibility of everyone,
but especially of the state (CSDC,
164-170).
The
United
Nations
has

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 10

mentioned Poverty Eradication
as the first of its Sustainable
Development Goals over the next
decades. For Pope Francis, the
scandal of mass poverty has to be
addressed. Mr. Alfredo Mapano,
a political prisoner released on
bail in Cagayan de Oro to join the
GRP-NDFP peace talks in Oslo, has
repeatedly stated that poverty is
the root cause for rebellion.
Thus the Philippine economy
has to ensure integral human
development for all and provide
for the basic needs for food,
shelter, health, education, etc. The
Comprehensive Agreement on
Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER)
of the National Democratic Front
of the Philippines has become
one of the central issues in the
ongoing peace talks. It includes
calls for genuine land reform and
nationalist industrialization.
Almost ten years ago, the
Catholic bishops sponsored the
Second National Rural Congress
(2007-08). Through a series of
consultations at the diocesan, subregional, regional, and national
levels, the Congress enabled the
voices of the rural poor to be
heard in dialogue with church
leaders. Five basic sectors in the
rural landscape expressed their
concerns: (1) small farmers and
landless workers advocating for
a genuine agrarian reform with
support services; (2) fisher folk
for access to municipal waters;
(3) indigenous people for their
ancestral domain claims; (4) rural
women for basic social services;
and (5) rural youth and their needs
for educational opportunities.
The growth of cities and the
spread of urban poverty are
also major challenges for local
governments today—such as the
need for mass housing, livelihood
and employment, and creation of
social enterprises. Pope Francis
has summarized the challenge of
poverty eradication: “Today we
also have to say ‘thou shall not’

7

ARTICLES

Priests and nuns join a "climate walk" in Manila to demand strong and fair international action to address climate change, Oct. 4, 2015. NASSA PHOTO

to an economy of exclusion and
inequality. Such an economy kills”
(EG, 53).
Intercultural understanding and
solidarity
The Christian-Muslim conflict
in Mindanao has lasted for almost
half a century now, but its roots
date back to the beginnings of
Islam and Spanish colonization of
the Philippines. There can be no
peace in the world without peace
among world religions.
In Mindanao, peace advocates
have worked for intercultural
understanding among Christian,
Muslim and indigenous people
communities.
In schools and
communities, inter-religious as
well as intra-religious dialogue
has been recommended to instill
appreciation of other cultures and
religions and to counter biases,
prejudices, and discrimination
against minorities.
In 2010, the Bishops-Ulama

8

Conference
commissioned
Konsult Mindanaw, an island-wide
series of consultations among
Catholics, Muslims, Lumads, and
Protestants about their views and
recommendations for a just and
lasting peace among the peoples of
Mindanao. Entitled “Visions, Voices
and Values: People’s Platform for
Peace in Mindanao,” the study
summarized the participants’ call
for peace in Mindanao under six
S’s:
Sincerity among warring groups
with transparency and good will to
enter into a peace agreement;
Security in terms of control of
firearms and an interim ceasefire;
Sensitivity for respect and
appreciation of different cultures,
religions, and history of the
peoples of Mindanao;
Solidarity in the sharing of one
homeland in Mindanao;
Spirituality in living according
to our religious values and the
realization that both Islam and
IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

Christianity are religions of peace;
and
Sustainability realizing the need
for a basic law to institutionalize
the gains of the peace process in
Mindanao.
Earlier in 2007, 138 Muslim
religious leaders addressed an open
letter to Pope Benedict XVI and
other Christian religious leaders
of the world, entitled “A Common
Word between Us and You.” The
Muslim religious leaders stressed
what was common with Christians
and “most essential to our faith and
practice”: the two commandments
of love of God and neighbor.
Cessation of hostilities and
disarmament
For peace negotiations and
conflict resolution to be carried
out and concluded, cessation
of hostilities needs to be put in
place.
Acts of violence against
persons and property and the
proliferation of firearms need to

ARTICLES

be controlled. During the previous
Aquino administration, the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front and the
government’s
military
forces
observed an effective ceasefire
agreement that was broken only
by the uncoordinated moves of
some special forces resulting in
the Mamasapano firefight.
In
the current negotiations between
the GRP and NDFP panels, the
declaration of a ceasefire from
both sides augurs well for peace
talks to continue.
Last April 2016, a Pax Christi
International Conference issued
“An Appeal to the Catholic Church
to Re-Commit to the Centrality
of Gospel Nonviolence.”
In a
world beset by myriad forces of
individual and structural violence,
the statement focused on Jesus’
exemplary witnessing to active
nonviolence during his public
ministry.
The statement also
issued a call to integrate Gospel
nonviolence explicitly in the
life and work of the Church’s
parishes, schools, universities, and
seminaries; to promote nonviolent
strategies such as restorative
justice, trauma healing, conflict
transformation and peace building
strategies; and no longer to
subscribe to a “just war theory” that
had been too often used to endorse
rather than prevent war.
On their part, the PEPP
participants expressed their full
support for the ongoing peace
negotiations in Oslo between
government and NDFP panels,
including the declaration of a
ceasefire by both sides.
PEPP
itself comprises five federations of
religious leaders: National Council
of Churches of the Philippines
(NCCP);
Catholic
Bishops’
Conference of the Philippines
(CBCP); Philippine Council of
Evangelical
Churches
(PCEC);
Association of Major Religious
Superiors of the Philippines
(AMRSP); and Ecumenical Bishops’
Forum (EBF).

Care for the earth
Environmental protection and
climate change issues are among
the most recent concerns for
peace builders.
The protection
of watershed areas has become
imperative, particularly in the light
of the severe flooding brought
about by Typhoon Ondoy in
Marikina in 2008 and Typhoon
Sendong in Cagayan de Oro in
2011. Campaigns against illegal
logging, irresponsible mining and
air pollution gain greater urgency
in the light of Climate Change
consequences.
On its part, the Catholic Church
has a tradition of social teachings
on stewardship of creation, recently
amplified by papal documents.
Five major themes can be outlined:
The environment is God’s gift to
everyone. Nature’s design of love
and truth mirror God’s presence in
the world.
The environment is a collective
good destined for all. All beings
are interconnected in the cosmos.
We have to protect the value of
biodiversity, particularly in our
forests.
Human
beings
exercise
a
responsible
stewardship
over
nature.
As stewards, we are
caretakers, not absolute owners,
of
the
environment.
The
covenant between Yahweh and
Noah, signified by the rainbow,
includes non-destruction of the
environment (Gen 9).

Projects for integral human
development
need
to
be
characterized by solidarity and
inter-generational justice.
The
rights of succeeding generations
to benefit from the world’s natural
resources have to be safeguarded.
The Church has a responsibility
towards creation and integral
human development.
Human
ecology
and
environmental
ecology are intertwined. Respect
for human dignity and the over –
all moral tenor of society should be
safeguarded. Pope Francis urges us
all to “hear the cry of the poor and
the cry of the earth.”
These six dimensions then
are some of the challenges for
promoting a Culture of Just Peace
in our schools and parishes.
Developing a spirituality with the
operative values of compassion,
social justice and stewardship,
engaging in active nonviolence, and
practicing dialogue as the language
of peace-making takes time and
patience. Sharing the mercy of
God and working for forgiveness
and reconciliation are integral
to working towards a just peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers.

There can be
no peace in the
world There
without
can be
no peace
in the
peace
among
world without
peace among
world world
religions.
religions.
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 10

(Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma,
SJ, of Cagayan de Oro originally
delivered this piece as Keynote
Address
at
the
Catholic
Educational Association of the
Philippines National Convention,
28 September 2016, Lahug City)

9

ARTICLES

Catching up in ASEAN agriculture

ISAGANI SERRANO | PART OF THE IMAGE COLLECTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL RICE RESEARCH INSTITUTE

By Bernardo M. Villegas
AGRICULTURE
Secretary
Emmanuel Piñol is facing a
great challenge in the next six
years as the Philippines faces
more intense competition in the
field of agriculture within the
ASEAN Economic Community.
Because of decades of neglect and
unenlightened policies (e.g. the
obsession with rice sufficiency),
the Philippines lags way behind
some of its ASEAN neighbors
in agricultural productivity and
exports. No other economist has
analyzed the roots of the failure
of Philippine agriculture better
than Dr. Rolando Dy, Executive
Director of the Center for Food
and Agribusiness of the University
of Asia and the Pacific (one of his
most read books is From the Roots
to the Fruits:
the Business of
Agribusiness, University of Asia and
the Pacific with FIDEI Foundation).

10

Since he came back from a stint
in the World Bank in the 1980s,
Dr. Dy has done his best to advice
one Secretary of Agriculture after
another. His advice was not always
heeded. I hope this time around
with Secretary Piñol there will be
more positive results.
As an economist, Dr. Dy always
starts with hard evidence. In an
article that appeared in Food and
Agribusiness Monitor of UA&P
last April 2016, he lamented the
poor performance of Philippine
agriculture exports over several
decades. In 2013, the Philippines
exported only $6.1 billion of
agricultural products, compared
with $38.9 billion of Indonesia,
$37.9 billion of Thailand, $27.8
billion of Malaysia and $17 billion
of Vietnam. In 1980, these five
agricultural economies in the
ASEAN had similar agricultural
exports: the Philippines had $2.1
billion, Malaysia $4.1 billion,
IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

Thailand $3.7 billion, Indonesia
$2.9 billion and Vietnam a measly
$0.9 billion. Over 33 years,
Philippine agricultural exports
posted the slowest growth of 3.2
percent annually as compared to
Malaysia’s 5.9 percent, Thailand’s
7.2 percent, Indonesia’s 8.0 percent
and
Vietnam’s
16.3
percent.
For crops and livestocks, the
Philippines registered a growth
of 2.5 times, Indonesia 12.7 times,
Malaysia 6.8 times, Thailand 9.2
times and Vietnam 102 times.
Strongly supporting the recent
statement of NEDA Director
General Ernesto Pernia about the
need to devote more resources
and attention to our “blue
economy,” Dr. Dy presented very
disappointing data on our seafood
and aqua exports. Between 1980
and 2013, Vietnam multiplied
its
“blue
economy”
exports
over 630 times to $6.9 billion,
Thailand by 19.7 times to $7.1

ARTICLES

billion and Indonesia 19.1 times
to $4.0 billion. Philippine exports
(tuna, carrageenan, and shrimps)
multiplied only 8.4 times during
the same period. Malaysia was at
the bottom at 6.3 times. Reflecting
a neglect of the blue economy is
the fact that the seafood export of
the Philippines is only 30 percent
that of Indonesia even if it has the
second longest coastline (36,000
kilometers) in the tropics after
Indonesia (55,000 kilometers).
One possible explanation for
this lack of performance of the
Philippines in agricultural and
aquacultural exports is that all
governments
had
inadvisably
focused on rice sufficiency, leaving
very little resources for product
diversification.
It would be wise for the present
leadership in the Department
of Agriculture to consider the
following strategies suggested by
Dr. Dy:
• Invest in productivity. This
includes productivity in crops,
livestock and aquaculture. Most
of our lands, except for a few like
banana, pineapple, hybrid rice,
and genetically modified corn,
have yet to achieve ASEAN levels
of productivity.
Among other
policies, this accent on productivity
would require less emphasis on
land fragmentation and greater
efforts to consolidate small holders
through such systems as the
nucleus estate of Malaysia and
cooperatives as in Taiwan.
• Diversify production. The
strongest candidates are coconut
intercropping, second cropping
of rice lands, and aquaculture.
Coconut occupies the largest
farmlands and hosts one of the
largest poverty groups.
Given
better infrastructures, coconuts
can be intercropped with cacao,
coffee, papaya and other fruit
trees. A robust agri-manufacturing
which creates stable non-farm
jobs requires a diversified base of
products.
• Shift unproductive lands

and fishponds to other products.
Upland corn and cogon lands
can be shifted to tree crops and
fruit trees. Crop choice must be
based on market demand and
profitability.
Improving
the
productivity
of our agricultural sector is
without doubt one of the ways
of achieving inclusive growth.
Two of five rural folks (small
farmers, subsistence fisher folks,
and landless farm workers) live
in poverty compared to one out
of eight urban folks. The causes
of rural poverty are well known:
low investment which leads to low
productivity; lack of non-farm/offfarm jobs; inadequate physical and
knowledge infrastructures; and
poor governance.
Expectations
are
high
that
the
Duterte
Administration will address these
problems with greater political
will. It is providential that our
new President and the Secretary
of Agriculture are both from the
island of Mindanao which shows
the greatest promise of improved
agricultural productivity and crop
diversification.
How did our ASEAN peers
achieve
higher
productivity
improvements
in
agriculture
and thus reduce their poverty
incidence more successfully than
the Philippines? An article by Marie
Annette G. Dacul, Agribusiness
Specialist of the Center for Food
and Agribusiness, proffered some
answers, thus giving some very
important suggestions to the
Duterte
Administration
about
agricultural development in the
next six years.
The key success factors for
each country were identified. For
Indonesia, the leading products
were oil palm, rubber, coffee,
cacao, and shrimp. Key factors
were foreign direct investments,
nucleus-smallholders
program,
crop diversification and availability
of
long-term
financing.
For
Malaysia, which concentrated on
oil palm and rubber, key factors
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 10

were foreign direct investments,
effective
government
land
agencies such as the Federal
Land
Development
Authority
(FELDA) and the Federal Land
Consolidation and Rehabilitation
Authority
(FELCRA)
and
availability of long-term financing.
In fact, FELDA was so successful
in helping reduce poverty among
small holders while at the same
time achieving high profitability
that when it issued an IPO several
years ago, it raised the largest ever
capital in stock market history and
had its record broken only a few
years later by Alibaba of China. The
nucleus-small holders program
which Malaysia transferred to
Indonesia was largely responsible
for reducing the poverty line of
Malaysia to zero or near zero, the
lowest in Southeast Asia and in the
world.
For Thailand, the leading export
crops were rice, rubber, cassava,
pineapple
and
shrimp.
The
key factors were infrastructure
development
(farm-to-market
roads,
irrigation,
post-harvest
facilities),
crop
diversification,
and research and development.
What is notable is that the Thais
learned a significant portion of
their
agricultural
technology
from research institutes in the
University of the Philippines
School of Agriculture in Los
Banos, Laguna. The good rural
infrastructure of Thailand also
contributed significantly to the
growth of tourism. Vietnam was
the latecomer that made up for
lost time by efficiently mobilizing
state resources in helping farmers
achieve rapid productivity gains in
such crops as rice, coffee, rubber,
cashew, pepper and catfish. In
less than five years of excellent
government support, Vietnam
became the largest exporter of
coffee in the world, surpassing
Brazil.
The key factors were
sustained
productivity
drive,
crops diversification and adaptive
research.

11

ARTICLES

ISAGANI SERRANO | PART OF THE
IMAGE COLLECTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL RICE RESEARCH INSTITUTE

The factors that were common
to these four ASEAN countries
that outclassed the Philippines in
agricultural and rural development
were a) clear, consistent policies;
b)
responsive
research
and
development; c) quality rural
infrastructure; d) an inclusive
strategy; and f) sound resource
allocation. Since poverty in the
Southeast Asian region is primarily
a rural phenomenon, it is no
surprise that the relative success
in agricultural development of
these four nations compared to
the Philippines led to their having
a much lower poverty incidence
than the Philippines.
Poverty
line in Malaysia is close to zero,
Thailand is 8 percent, Indonesia
is 12 percent and Vietnam is 15
per cent.
The Philippines has

12

a 25 percent poverty line.
To
probe further the correlation
between certain policy variables
and poverty reduction, Ms Dapul
did a multiple regression analysis
with eight explanatory variables/
determinants of poverty. These
were Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) per capita, agricultural total
factor productivity, regulatory
quality, government effectiveness,
foreign
direct
investments,
agriculture contribution to GDP,
services contribution to GDP
and manufacturing contribution
to GDP.
The results of the
correlation analysis showed that
there is moderate to high negative
correlation between poverty and all
the determinants except for GDP
per capita growth and agriculture
contribution to GDP.
The significant variables in
reducing poverty were agricultural
total factor productivity, regulatory
quality, government effectiveness,
services contribution to GDP
and manufacturing contribution
to GDP. To determine the best
regression results from different
combinations of variables that
contribute to poverty reduction,
stepwise regression, specifically
forward stepwise selection, was
used. By adding one by one the
determinants to the regression
of poverty, the best results were
obtained with the following factors:
foreign direct investments, services
sector contribution, government
effectiveness
and
agricultural
productivity. These four factors
are then the biggest contributors
to poverty reduction for the four
countries studied.
In simpler language, poverty
can be reduced with higher FDI
inflows since these will allow for
the adoption of more advanced
technology and know-how, as
has been amply demonstrated
in the banana and pineapple
industries in Mindanao. FDI in
agriculture translates to higher
productivity. At the same time,
IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

sectoral contributions to GDP
have a positive impact on poverty
eradication.
This is especially
true with growth in laborintensive industries.
Likewise,
the jobs in the services sector
provide employment outside the
agricultural sector, thus increasing
rural incomes. Meanwhile, when
there is better governance, poverty
is lessened because of better use of
resources and more timely project
execution. Lastly, increases in
agricultural productivity translates
to higher incomes which can lead
to a reduction in poverty.
It is heartening to note that
the Duterte Administration is
strongly committed to removing
the many restrictions to FDIs that
still remain in our laws and the
Constitution itself.
Thanks to
policies left in place by the previous
Administration, the contributions
of manufacturing and services
to GDP are on the upswing. A
manufacturing renaissance has
begun.
IT-enabled
services,
retailing, logistics and educational
institutions are moving to regions
outside the National Capital
Region. With the elimination of
the pork barrel system and greater
political will in executing the
numerous infrastructure projects
left undone by the previous
Administration, we can realistically
expect better use of resources and
more effective project execution.
It would not be too much to ask
the Duterte Administration to
bring down poverty incidence to 15
percent by 2022. Over the longer
term, the Philippines can expect to
transition from a middle-income
economy to a First World country
as long as we do not do anything
foolish to lose our greatest treasure:
a young, growing and Englishspeaking population.
(For comments, my email
address is bernardo.villegas@uap.
asia.)

NEWS FEATURES

Duterte urged
to free old, sick
prisoners
MANILA— Catholic bishops are calling
on President Rodrigo Duterte to grant
clemency to old and sick prisoners.
In a letter sent to Duterte Oct. 17, the
bishops’ prison ministry said many prisoners
are longing to be free and have sought the
Church’s help.
Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak, who chairs
the Episcopal Commission on Prison
Pastoral Care, said elderly inmates and their
families have been enduring the effect of
incarceration for several years, especially the
sick ones.
“Therefore, we would like to appeal to His
Excellency to grant their plea for executive
clemency,” said the prelate.
The appeal for “compassionate release”
of deserving prisoners was made ahead
of the Church’s Prison Awareness Week,
which coincides with National Correctional
Consciousness Week on Oct. 24 to 30.
The Church will also celebrate the Jubilee
of Prisoners from Nov. 5 to 6.
The Board of Pardons and Parole has
already recommended the release of
hundreds of inmates, many of them
with ages ranging from 75 to 90 in seven
national prisons under the Bureau of
Corrections.
Tumulak, who also heads the Military
Ordinariate of the Philippines, also
urged Duterte to stop the government’s
construction of a Php50-billion mega
prison project.
The plan aims to transfer the National
Bilibid Prison from Muntinlupa City to Laur,
Nueva Ecija to decongest and modernize
the national penitentiary.
The prelate said there are more “practical
solutions” to decongest NBP like for
example, transferring the excess prison
population to penal establishments in the
countryside.
“We appeal that your office revisit this plan
and study it,” said Tumulak, further asking
Duterte “not to waste 50 billion pesos of
the taxpayers’ money for a facility.” (Roy
Lagarde/CBCPNews)

Church network seeks justice
system overhaul amid killings
MANILA— The Catholic
Church’s social action workers
are calling for an overhaul of
the judicial system to deliver
speedy justice to victims,
particularly in the light of
an intensive government
crackdown on illegal activities.
The lay, religious, and clergy
members of the Social Action
Network (SAN) said there may
be factors that are causing
dysfunctions in the fight
against crime in the country.
They said the “very alarming”
spate of summary executions
could be an expression of
“mistrust in our corrupted
criminal justice system.”
“Impunity encourages
disgruntled citizens to resort to
criminality. Let there be overhaul
of the Philippine criminal justice
system to ensure the right of
every Filipino to fair trial and
security,” they said.
The network composed of
diocesan social action centers
organized in 86 dioceses
expressed concern over the
quick succession of drugrelated killings in the light of
the Duterte administration’s
anti-drug war campaign.
They said summary killings
of suspected criminals, which
are “morally unacceptable”, will
deliver neither justice nor the
security people seek and is a
violation of human rights and
of the rule of law.
More so, according to them,
if the killings include innocent
civilians.
“We cannot achieve a
just and peaceful society
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 08

through illegal, immoral, and
fundamentally evil means,”
they stressed.
What the country needs,
they said, are efforts that
would enhance investigations,
ensure suspects are
prosecuted in fair trials, and
protect victims and witnesses
from threats and intimidations.
The social action workers
lauded President Rodrigo
Duterte’s political will to fight

We cannot
achieve a just and
peaceful society
through illegal,
immoral, and
fundamentally
evil means
crime, adding they will support
government agencies for the
care and rehabilitation of drug
dependents.
However, they said Duterte’s
claim of protecting the people,
especially the poor becomes
merely lip service if summary
killings continue.
“We call upon President
Duterte to put a stop to
extrajudicial violence,” they
said. “Every suspect should
be given a chance to defend
themselves in court and
ultimately, change their ways.”
“Respect of the dignity of life
should always be a priority in
any administration,” they said.
(Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

13

NEWS FEATURES

Bishop: ‘Give suspects,
cops a chance’
TACLOBAN City— Neither
suspected drug personalities nor
cops involved in Oplan Tokhang
deserve condemnation, said
Naval Bishop Filomeno Bactol.
“We have to give them chance
to the people that are caught,
being apprehended, and a
chance for the people that are
doing the apprehension,” said
the prelate, who has long sent his
retirement request to the Vatican.
“It would be good if the people
[apprehended] will be given the
chance to say something but [it
is a] fact that when they (people
being apprehended) pull the gun,
the police officers are also trying
to defend themselves,” he said.
No outright condemnation
He believes that although
a suspect may quite possibly
be guilty, they should not be
condemned outright in the same
way cops who end up killing
people in the course of lawful
police operations do not deserve
condemnation.
“I base (my stand) on what I
heard the President (Duterte)
was saying (to the police force),
‘Ayaw kamo pagpa-una’ (Don’t let
others beat you to the draw). In
other words, they have to defend
themselves,” stressed Bactol.
According to the Philippine
National Police’s July 1 to 13, 2016
data, 135 persons were killed,
about 10 persons daily on average,
and 1,844 arrested or about 141
persons daily. 60,393 alleged
drug users and 5,914 alleged drug
pushers were apprehended, while
43,026 houses were “visited” by
local and village officials to “target
and flush out suspects,” according
to the Philippine Center for
Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).

14

Possible vendetta
In those operations,
2,906 sachets of shabu or
methamphetamine hydrochloride,
230 kilos of shabu, 1,094 grams
of shabu, 26 packs of shabu, 57
sachets of marijuana, 42 marijuana
leaves, 33 marijuana rolls, 10
marijuana plants, and 1 Ecstasy
tablet were seized, amounting to
Php 146,345 as estimated by the
Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB),
revealed the PCIJ report.
Bactol expressed doubts that
all of the killings were done by
the government at the same
time expressing strong dissent
against summary executions.
“For all we know, there are
other factors like vendetta,” he
said, mentioning the possibility of
reprisals by rival drug syndicates.
Oplan Tokhang in Biliran
In Biliran, the turnout of
government’s campaign to
crackdown on drug addiction or
Oplan Tokhang is not alarming.
“We do not have as many
as anywhere but there must
be some (accomplishments),”
disclosed Bactol, hoping that a
drug rehabilitation center like
the one in the Masbate Diocese
be established in Biliran.
The prelate, a steadfast Marian
devotee, said that if given a choice,
he would want no fatalities during
Oplan Tokhang but considering
the reality of the killings, all the
faithful can do is to pray.
“If possible there will be no
killing, but since killing could not
be avoided, all we could do is
pray, but then we are not in the
shoes of those people who are
under stress, under pressure,” he
said. (Eileen Ballesteros / CBCP
News)
IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

Caritas marks global
hand washing day in
Yolanda-hit areas
MANILA— Caritas Philippines marked
the Global Handwashing Day on Oct.
15, an annual advocacy day to foster
the practice of handwashing with
soap and highlight good hygiene.
This year, the campaign saw
hundreds of children in various
communities ravaged by typhoon
Yolanda in 2013 simultaneously
washing their hands.
Held together with the Caritas’
local counterparts, the activities
held in schools and day care centers
include lectures on proper hand
washing, turnover of hand washing
facilities, distribution of hygiene kits,
and educational film showing.
“This early, we want to teach
children the importance proper hand
washing so they can become hygiene
champions and educate other
children as well in their community,”
said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Caritas
Philippines executive secretary.
He added that the hygiene
promotion activities will also prevent
diarrheal diseases in children, and
raise awareness about the benefits of
proper hygiene.
Those who joined the celebration
are the dioceses currently
implementing the Church’s Yolanda
rehabilitation program.
These include the social action
centers and the relief and rehabilitation
units from the archdioceses of Cebu,
Palo, Iloilo, Capiz, and the dioceses of
Calbayog, Borongan, Palawan, Antique
and Aklan.
The Diocese of Sorsogon, which is
implementing together with Caritas
an early recovery project for survivors
of Typhoon Nona, also joined the
event.
Caritas Philippines is locally
known as the National Secretariat
for Social Action, the humanitarian
and advocacy arm of the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines. (CBCPNews)

NEWS FEATURES

PH mission campaign Catholics pray for peace as Indiaongoing in Germany Pakistan tension continues
MANILA– The social action arm of the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP) will share its experience
on evangelizing poor communities that were
previously affected by Typhoon Yolanda
during the ongoing World Mission Sunday
Campaign from Sept. 28 to Oct. 23 in
Germany.
National Secretariat for Social Action
(NASSA)/Caritas Philippines executive
secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez is currently
in Germany with 15 more Filipino priests
and nuns to share in the different dioceses
in Germany about how it pursued
evangelization in poor communities,
particularly during the course of its on-going
three-year Typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation
program.
“We noted that the resiliency of the
Filipinos is really rooted on their faith. And
we need to support the spiritual needs of
the people to be able to really recover from
the aftermath of such destruction,” said the
priest.
Missio Aachen, which supported NASSA/
Caritas Philippines in the rehabilitation
and repair of the damaged chapels and
churches in the provinces of Leyte, Eastern
Samar, Western Samar and Palawan
following the onslaught of Super Typhoon
Yolanda in 2013, organized World Mission
Sunday Campaign 2016.
Focusing this year on the church family
ministry in the Philippines, World Mission
Sunday in Germany was highlighted by
the opening of the holy Mass led by two
cardinals from the Philippines, Cardinal
Luis Antonio Tagle and Cardinal Orlando
Quevedo.
NASSA/Caritas Philippines is currently
on its third year of implementing
#REACHPhilippines, the Catholic Church’s
largest rehabilitation program for Typhoon
Yolanda survivors in nine provinces worst-hit
by the typhoon.
The office also represents the country to
Caritas Internationalis, a 165-member global
Catholic charity worldwide based in the
Vatican, which is currently being headed by
its first Asian president Manila Archbishop
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. (CBCPNews)

NEW DELHI, India— As tensions
have continued to build
between India and Pakistan
over Kashmir, Catholics have
prayed for peace while the
political discourse has turned
increasingly sour.
“Our beloved country is
going through extraordinary
challenges, especially on its
borders,” said Cardinal Baselois
Cleemis, president of the Indian
Catholic bishops’ conference
in a statement issued to all 168
diocese as he set aside Oct. 16
as a day of prayer for the nation.
Border tensions began more
than a month ago and India
and Pakistan have continued to
exchange military action and
diplomatic sanctions.
Relations between the two
worsened after an attack on
Sept. 18 on the Indian side of
disputed Kashmir which killed
19 Indian soldiers, according to
India. They claimed Pakistan
aided the Islamic terrorists who
carried out the attack.
Although Pakistan denied
this, India responded on Sept.
29 with surgical strikes against
reported terrorist camps on the
Pakistan side of Kashmir.
At a prayer service, Church
leaders including Bishop Jacob
Barnabas of Gurgaon and
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas,
secretary general of the Indian
Catholic bishops’ conference
prayed that leaders of both the
nations be guided by wisdom
and a genuine interest for their
people’s welfare.
“India is a role model across
the world for its unity in
diversity,” said Bishop Barnabas.
“Despite diverse languages,
cultures and food, there is a
sense of one nation and people
feel proud to be Indian,” he

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 10

said.
Bishop Barnabas said
that India has always been
“considered as a land of peace
by other nations so it is our duty
and responsibility to carry that
forward.” He wanted Catholics
to become messengers of
peace.
Bishop Mascarenhas said
Catholics pray for the nation
and its leaders every day during
Mass, especially on Sundays. “It
is a symbolic gesture to unite
ourselves to pray for the country
faced as it is with problems and
challenges,” he said.
Father Soosai Sebastian, vicar
general of Delhi archdiocese
said many nations are “buying
expensive weapons even
when people are dying of
hunger.” He urged people to
organize peace meetings and
discussions to speak about the
need for peace rather than war
and vengeance.
In a program on Oct. 16,
Catholics took a pledge to work
for peace and recited a prayer.
They pledged to reject violence
and work to build a peaceful
solution in society, reject
discrimination and stand in
support of oppressed people.
Both India and Pakistan lay
claim to Kashmir since the
partition of the subcontinent in
1947. Pakistan and India have
fought at least three major wars
over the region.
The Indian government
considers Jammu and Kashmir
an integral part of India and
accuses its neighbor Pakistan
of supporting Muslim groups
causing unrest in the region.
Pakistan has denied this but
says they will assist Kashmiri
Muslims in their struggle for
self-determination. (UCAN)

15

COVER
STORY

the death pe

is justice that kills
and not justice
By Rodolfo Delos Santos Diamante

16

THE death penalty issue is undoubtedly
an emotional issue that divides people of
whatever persuasions.
For sometime the worldwide trend for
abolition is a welcome development. Of the
194 countries and areas in the world, about 123
are considered abolitionists (76 are completely
abolitionists, 11 are abolitionists for ordinary
crimes and 36 are de facto abolitionists).
About 71 retained the death penalty. Twenty
of these countries are in ASIA.
Before death penalty was abolished in 2006,
there were about 1141 death row prisoners
of which 1111 were male confined in five
congested dormitories and 30 female. Despite
the exclusion of minor (18 years and below)
and the elderly (70 and above) in meting out
the death penalty, there were about 20 minors
and 11 old people at the death row.
Most of the death row prisoners were
convicted of rape (46%), 24 % were convicted
of murder, 12% for kidnap for ransom, 12 for
qualified robbery, 4%for drug related cases
and others for qualified bribery, graft and
corruption and parricide.
There were about 46 crimes punishable by
death. Twenty-one of these crimes, the death
penalty were mandatory and 24 of these
crimes the death penalty may be imposed.
Most of the death row prisoners at that time
belong to the underprivileged sector of the
Philippine society- almost 1/5 are absolutely
poor. Majority are unschooled and unlettered
having reached only the elementary

A March 1998 file
photos shows prison
ministry
wo r ke r s
and human rights
advocates holding
a picket outside the
Supreme Court to call
for the abolition of the
death penalty. The
Philippines abolished
the capital punishment
in June 2006 when
then President Gloria
Arroyo signed Republic
Act No. 9346, the Act
Abolishing the Death
Penalty, which spared
the lives of more
than 1,200 death row
convicts. FILE PHOTO

IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

enalty

e that heals

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 10

17

COVER
STORY

18

education. One third worked in the
agricultural sector- the sector that accounts
for the most of the country. Most of the death
row prisoners had no means to employ the
services of the private counsel and instead
avail of the governments’ free legal services
through the Public Attorney’s Office.
Death row prisoners will tell you that waiting
to die, especially in those last hours, is a slow
torture. Many say that waiting to die is a little
different than actually dying. The isolation,
loneliness, boredom, numbing tension and
fear combined with a loss of hope, have been
labelled as the “death row syndrome”
The moment these prisoners are sentenced
to death, their lives virtually end. From then
on, the death row prisoners wait in limbo,
praying for miracles. The reality of this waiting
place is difficult to grasp. It is not a ward in
a hospital where the sick wait to die. People
here wait to be taken out of their cells and
killed.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines- Episcopal Commission on Prison
Pastoral Care has been at the forefront of the
campaign against capital punishment.
• We view the abolition of the death penalty

Protesters hold
placards during a
rally against the
death penalty in
Manila on March
18, 1998. Ten years
after the capital
punishment
was abolished,
President Rodrigo
Duterte is seeking
its return as a
means to boost his
administration's
campaign against
crimes. FILE PHOTO

IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

as a step towards a practical recognition of the
dignity of every human being created into the
image and likeness of God.
• We believe that the cry for retribution need
not entail the killing of the person. While
the killing may satisfy vindictive desires,
such satisfaction cannot be the objective
of humane and Christian approach to
punishment.
From the Christian point of view, Christ
words about the forgiveness of injuries and
above all his own example in the cross call not
for vindictive punishment, but rather for more
humane and humanizing responses to evil
doing.
We cannot argue that we should do to
the criminal what he did to his victim. For
certainly, we would not justify inflicting torture
and maiming of limbs of a person who has
criminally tortured and maimed another.
Death used as retribution for sin
concentrates all punishment on the person
executed. It kills in the conviction that the
convicted criminal it totally responsible for the
heinous crime he committed. Yet, this is not
the case. Many criminals commit their crimes
as victims of unpunished crimes of others.

Duterte told: Stop
‘false hope’ over death
penalty fix
HE Catholic Church’s prison ministry urged President
Rodrigo Duterte and his allies in Congress to stop giving
Filipinos “false hope” that death penalty will solve crimes.
Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the bishops’
Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said the
move to reinstate death penalty will never be an effective
deterrent to crime.
He said the re-imposition of capital punishment will be
an “affront” to human dignity and called the government to
avoid “quick fix solution” to crimes.
“We appeal to the President and our lawmakers not to
resort to a quick fix solution to the problem of criminality
and stop giving us false hope that we will be safe and
secure by putting people to death,” he said.
The prison ministry on October 17 marked the annual
observance of the World Day Against the Death Penalty
with a Mass held at the CBCP chapel in Intramuros, Manila.
Diamante said the activity was aimed to underscore
the Church’s firm commitment against executions in the
country.
Death penalty, according to him, is the “easy way out”
of addressing the “complex and pervasive” problems of
criminality.
“It is no more the answer for violent crime than abortion
is the answer for unplanned pregnancies. Death is never the
answer,” stressed Diamante.
He also said capital punishment and the unabated
killings going on are a “travesty for efficiency in fighting
criminality” and, therefore, “an effective tool for politicking.”
Astute politicians, he said, will carry the cause of death
for the convicted not because they believe in it as an
appropriate national policy but because it is a popular
cause.
“And yet the popular is not necessarily correct,” Diamante
added.
He said there is no doubt the country is plagued by
criminality of all forms and magnitude, and the Church
acknowledges the depth and sincerity of many people’s
concern about the problem.
“However, as Christians, we are called to uphold and
proclaim a set of moral principles and social teachings at
the heart of which is the knowledge that the human person
is central, the clearest reflection of God among us,” he said.
“Human life is inherently precious and those who commit
crimes do not give up their human dignity,” Diamante said.
President Duterte is seeking the restoration of the death
penalty in his war against illegal drugs and other crimes.
(CBCPNews)
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 09

The person who kills under the influence of
drugs is the victim of unpunished pusher; the
hired killer is victim of his poverty and the
person who hires him. This does not deny the
criminals, responsibility for his crime, for which
he has to be rightly punished. It denies his sole
responsibility.
• The Church is mandated to work for
Justice that Heals and not Justice that
Kills. We should develop a philosophy of
punishment that will move from punishment
to reconciliation; from vengeance to healing
of victims and offenders; from alienation and
harshness to community wholeness or shalom;
from negativity and destructiveness to healing
and forgiveness and mercy. This is the justice
that restores the human dignity.
• The death penalty is against the Church
commitment to protect and enhance life
from conception and to its natural end. “The
right to life is the most basic and fundamental
right and the condition for all other personal
rights. The human being is entitled to such
right, in every phase of development from
conception until natural death and in every
condition, whether healthy or sick, whole or
handicapped, rich or poor”.
• The death penalty is biased against the
poor. The criminal justice system is perceived
to be like a spider web that is able to catch
only the small fry. The rich literally can get
away with murder. Moreover, because of the
imperfect system there is always the possibility
of the innocence will be executed.
Instead of the death penalty, the CBCPECPPC proposes the following:
1. The relentless pursuits of the direct attack
on poverty, especially abject destitution that is
a fertile breeding ground for criminality.
2. A well coordinated effort to combat
the causes of crime such as injustices, drug
addiction, gang culture and the culture of
violence
3. Reform of the criminal justice system.
4. Elimination of the atmosphere of violence
and culture of death.
We believe that the aforementioned
proposals will go a longer way than imposing
the death penalty toward making a society
safe for every human being.
(Rodolfo Delos Santos Diamante is the
Executive Secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal
Commission on Prison Pastoral Care)

19

ARTICLES

Keeping the integrity of education
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
REMEMBER that some years
ago, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
sounded off the alarm that the
way education was being done in
the West, it would seem that the
essence of education was getting
lost.
In our case, when we talk about
some problems in education, we
refer more to lack of classrooms
and the need to attune and synch
our educational programs such
that they solve our headaches in
poverty and literacy.
Thanks to God, our difficulty is
mainly in that level which, I admit,
is already big, urgent and really
crying for immediate solutions
and relief. Still, if compared to
those of the West, our worries are
mere chicken feed.
Our predicament is more in the
material dimension of life. That of
the West is already undermining
the more important spiritual
dimension of life. Many times I
have seen people, materially poor
but full of faith in God, who cope
better in life than those materially
rich but with weak faith.
We are, of course, a unity of body
and spiritual soul. They cannot be
separated in life. Only in death, and
in a temporary way, since Christian
faith teaches us that both body and
soul reunite at the end of time.
Our education, for sure, has to
take care of the needs of both our
constitutive elements of body and
soul, but always giving special
attention to those of the soul. We
may have to make the proper
priorities in tackling these needs
of our education, but it’s not right
to put them in conflict with each
other.
Just the same, we should not be
complacent with our apparent luck.
We need to give serious attention to

20

the root causes of the educational
crisis that the Pope Emeritus talked
about, because even in our country
we can see traces and symptoms of
these Western anomalies emerging
and developing.
The Pope Emeritus pointed a
finger at two culprits responsible
for the emergency situation in the
educational system in the West.
These are, first, the false notion
of human autonomy that confines
us to ourselves, and, second, the
spreading mentalities of relativism
and skepticism.These things may
sound abstruse to many, but
I’m afraid they now need to be
understood by as many people as
possible, since these factors affect
all of us. We may have to explain
a little about these disturbing
phenomena so we can get a handle
on the situation.
The first cause mentioned by the
Pope Emeritus, which is about a false
idea on human autonomy, refers to
the exaggerated understanding of
our freedom and autonomy such
that we think education is simply
our development purely by and for
ourselves.
We make ourselves the be-all and
end-all of everything. We think
we are not meant for something
greater than ourselves now. We
make ourselves our own God.
Everything else is just used for our
self-development.
This attitude is basically wrong
since we by nature and as persons
need to be in relation with others
and ultimately with God. In short,
we become more human and
better persons the more we relate
ourselves to God and the others.
Sad to say, the educational thrust
in many places in the world today,
including ours, appears to go in
this direction of being selfish and
of tending to self-absorption,
detached from the immediate and
IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

Many times I have seen
people, materially poor
but full of faith in God,
who cope better in life
than those materially
rich but with weak faith.
ultimate sources of our life and our
wisdom.
This first cause of the education
crisis, as the Pope Emeritus warned
us, leads to the second which are the
dangerous attitudes of relativism
and skepticism. With faith ignored,
divine revelation blocked and the
understanding of human nature
twisted, we now create our own
world devoid of absolute truths.
Everything is now held relative
to whatever criteria we may want
to consider as our truths and
values. This will lead to skepticism
and a host of kindred anomalies.
In the end, what would rule will
just be the law of pragmatism and
eventually the law of the jungle, of
brute force, etc.
These considerations of the
Pope Emeritus, I believe, should
not be taken lightly, thinking that
they are not quite relevant to
our present condition. They are
always relevant. And the sooner
we include these warnings into our
educational system, making the
necessary adjustments, the better
for us.
We should not regard these
caveats as something abstract.
They have direct impact on our
lives and on our society. We have
to overcome that tendency to
get stuck with the material and
temporal purpose of education
and give priority attention to
its spiritual and supernatural
objective.

ARTICLES

The success of fair trade and organic mangoes
By Fr. Shay Cullen
WHEN I arrived at the market place
in a town of Zambales Province
with the Preda Fair Trade team,
I was to meet the women tribal
leaders of the Aeta community
from the mountains. We found
them at the back of the market and
they were very disappointed and
angry. We sat in the shade of a tree
to hear their story of commercial
exploitation and traders cheating.
They told me their men had spent
two days climbing the mango trees
and harvesting the mango fruits,
both carabao and pico variety, and
they had carried them in sacks to
the town to sell them. The selling
price of the mango retail by the
town’s traders was 35 pesos a kilo
but the Aeta had only been offered
5 pesos a kilo. This would not be
enough to earn them money to
buy a few kilos of rice. They said
it was unjust and unfair they were
being cheated by a corrupt trading
system. This favored the rich and
exploited the poor.
This is one of the very reasons
that poor farmers remain poor
and why indigenous tribal people
of the Philippines and elsewhere
are among the poorest of the poor.
They can survive on their ancestral
lands by growing a variety of
vegetables, raising chickens and
goats but when they need medicine,
school supplies for their children
to go to school or to buy clothes
and household items, they come
up short of cash. Their products
are not given the right and true
value. They have no one to protest
to or appeal the rigged system.
The sale of their agriculture
products is their only hope of
earning an income. But they are
frequently cheated and exploited.
They have to borrow money from
the commercial traders in the
markets and that is another reason

they have to accept a very low
price for their banana, coconut and
mangos products.
Many a scholarly paper and
institution research work on the
roots of poverty overlooks the
social and trade injustice factor in
the lives of hundreds of thousands
of small farmers. The rich
dominate the trade and can dictate
the buying price of the products.
This was the problem that we
were determined to solve and to do
it through Fair Trade and making
the products organically certified.
We worked with the indigenous
Aeta farmers and held meetings
and seminars on fair trade criteria
and the organic standards. It turned
out that the little trading company
we set up was able to find an export
market among the World Shops
and in supermarkets that paid a
fair price for the products and this
we passed on to the farmers.
Instead of just five pesos a kilo,
we offered to buy their pico and
carabao mangos at a much higher
price a kilo. The farmers were
elated at this high price and they
all agreed to follow the criteria
of being fair in their lives. They
attended seminars and training in
organic methods and standards.
They learned how important it
is to respect the rights of women
and children. Although the Aeta
women are fairly empowered and
several are elders or chieftains of
their small groups in the remote
mountain villages. The training
is also to improve hygiene and
sanitation in the villages and send
their children to school and never
to make them work other than help
around the house and farm.
The project brings additional
help in providing thousands
of
mango
saplings,
coconut
seedlings, cacao and coffee plants
to the farmers to strengthen their
historical and legitimate claims on
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 10

their ancestral lands and provide
more and a variety of crops for
future income. They received
hand pumps for their villages and
in one village a water system with
a holding tank and distribution
pipes was built.
The organic training over a
three year period was the most
challenging of all. The Aeta farmers
live in the remote mountains
and while there are no chemical
used, there is strict monitoring.
They could not afford chemicals
or pesticides but they had their
natural fertilization methods for
their crops already. What was
challenging was training leaders
to monitor and make regular
inspections of the mountain range
to be sure all the organic criteria
were being implemented and to
document everything.
These simple yet wise and
intelligent farmers knew and
loved their environment upon
which their survival depended.
They could easily understand
that the forest has to be guarded
and protected. Finally, they were
ready for the visit of the local and
international organic inspectors.
They came and spent a few
days visiting the area at random,
looking to see the mango growing
areas were clean of any chemicals
or unacceptable farming methods.
They inspected the reams of
documents prepared and finally
they left.
A few months later and after
much payment for fees, travel
payments and expenses of the
inspectors, the area was declared
to be organic. It was and is a great
achievement. Now we have to see
that it stays that way. We hope the
climate change will not damage
the flowering of the trees and the
farmers will have a good harvest
and earn higher prices for their
organic fair traded mangos.

21

STATEMENTS

A million roses for the world
Filipinos at prayer for nation
September 20 until December 23, 2016
A NATION at prayer is a nation at peace.
We are now a nation wounded and torn
by socio-cultural and political issues, divided
by opposing, bickering, quarreling and even
hating factions. We must stop the hate. We
must stop the lies.
We cannot remain this way. We must
reverse the tide of hate and confusion and fill
the air again with words of peace, truth and
love. Let us resist the culture of terror and fear
with the balm of prayer and mercy.
We have forgotten to pray. We have
neglected to pray. We have been too busy
with ourselves building our towers of Babel.
Let us pray for the whole nation. Let us pray
as a united nation.
Together with various lay groups in the
Church in particular the Catholic Educational
Association of the Philippines, Live Christ
Share Christ Movement, Aid to the Church in
Need, Couples for Christ FFL, Family Rosary
Crusade, Mother Butler Mission Guilds,
the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines launch the campaign called A
MILLION ROSES FOR THE WORLD, Filipinos
at Prayer for the Nation.
Starting September 20, 2016, the Day of
Interreligious Prayer of Peace proclaimed by
Pope Francis in Assisi, until December 23, 2016,
we as a nation are requested to pray the five
mysteries of the rosary daily. Every province
in the Philippines will be prayed for everyday
during the rosary campaign time frame.
The dates assigned for each province
will posted daily in the Facebook page “A
Million Roses for the World: Filipinos at Prayer
for the Nation”. We wish every province to
experience the joy of being prayed for by the
rest of the country.
I encourage most specially our children
in our Catholic schools to participate in this
prayer campaign assisted by their school
teachers and administrators. The prayers of
children are music to God’s ears.
I encourage parents to recover the Filipino
pious tradition of family rosary at home
especially at this time. The healing of the nation

22

IMPACT

CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas speaks during the launching of the "A Million Roses for the World" campaign at the Colegio de San
Juan de Letran chapel in Intramuros, Manila, Sept. 20, 2016. ROY LAGARDE

begins at home. As we restore family prayer, let
us bring back the joy of the family meal.
I encourage the convents of religious men
and women, our parishes and barangay
communities to include the various provinces
of the nation when they pray the rosary from
September 20 to December 23.
Let us not allow the darkness to swallow
us. Let us pierce the darkness of hate, lies and
division with the light of truth and love. God
is Truth. God is love. God is peace.
If my people, upon whom my name has
been pronounced, humble themselves and
pray, and seek my face and turn from their
evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and
pardon their sins and heal their land. (2
Chronicles 7:14).
Onward Christian soldiers! Let us be
warriors of prayer using the beads of the
rosary as our only weapon! Padre Pio said
“The rosary is the weapon for these times!”
From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines, September 19, 2016
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
the Philippines
OCTOBER 2016

STATEMENTS

Joint pastoral statement of the four dioceses
of Negros Island on extrajudicial killings
“Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.”
(Our Lady of the Rosary to Lucia at Fatima, October 13, 1917)
WE, the Bishops of Bacolod, Dumaguete, and
San Carlos, and the Diocesan Administrator
of Kabankalan, are deeply saddened
and greatly disturbed by the following
happenings in our country today:
• The ever-increasing spate of extrajudicial
killings in connection with the anti-drug
campaign.
• The inadequate action on the part of
government to check the extrajudicial
killings and to bring their perpetrators to
justice.
• The incendiary statements of the
administration which tend to encourage the
killing of drug addicts.
• Most of all, the seeming apathy and
indifference of the general public in the face
of these extrajudicial killings. We are deeply
concerned that this alarming insensitivity
could lead to a deadening of conscience and
the dawning of a culture of death.
While we commend the government for its
political will and determination in addressing
the terrible drug menace that has long
plagued our country, we strongly urge that
this be done within the bounds of law and
with full respect for human rights, for we
believe that:
• Man is created in God’s image and
redeemed by the blood of his Son, Jesus
Christ. Hence, human life is sacred.
• As God is the author of life, he alone has
power over life.
• “The commandment, ‘You shall not kill’,
has absolute value and applies both to the
innocent and the guilty… It must not be
forgotten that the inviolable and God-given
right to life also belongs to the criminal.”
(Pope Francis)
• God does not take any pleasure in the
death of the wicked but wishes that they
rather turn from their ways and live. (cf.
Ezekiel 18:23)

Echoing therefore the stand of the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, we
strongly condemn these extrajudicial killings.
At the same time, as pastors of our flock,
we commit ourselves and our dioceses:
• To pray constantly that our country may
be effectively rid of the drug menace, but in a
manner that is just and lawful.
• To intensify our work of evangelization
particularly in the area of forming
consciences and promoting the culture of
life, starting in our families.
• To offer our cooperation and collaboration
with government in the work of drug
prevention and rehabilitation.
On this Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy
Rosary, we entrust our county, our leaders
and our people to her maternal care and
protection. As she grieved at the foot of the
cross and courageously witnessed the unjust
execution of her own Son, she never gave up
hope in His power to conquer death. Like her,
we too hold the same hope, for she herself
assures us through her message to Lucia, “I
am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always
to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going
to end, and the soldiers will soon return to
their homes.”
MOST REV. GERARDO A. ALMINAZA, DD
Bishop of San Carlos
MOST REV. PATRICIO A. BUZON, SDB, DD
Bishop of Bacolod
MOST REV. JULITO B. CORTES, DD
Bishop of Dumaguete
VERY REV. ROLANDO G. NUEVA
Administrator of Kabankalan
October 7, 2016
Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 09

23

STATEMENTS

Respect the
dignity of life
WE, the lay, religious and clergy
members of the Social Action
Network (SAN) of the Catholic
Bishops Conference of the
Philippines, comprising the 86 Arch/
Diocesan Social Action Centers
throughout the country, are alarmed
by the spate of killings of thousands
of suspected criminals in the war
waged against illegal drugs and
criminality. We strongly call for
respect of the dignity of life. Thou
shall not kill.
As Christians and members of
SAN, we have the moral and social
responsibility to defend life against
uncivilized killings of suspected drug
users, pushers and traffickers in the
war against illegal drugs. More so, if
the killings include innocent civilians,
they are deprived of their right to
life, liberty, personal security, public
hearing and due process.
The drug problem must be
solved. It destroys both human
life and family. It also brings harm
to the fabric of our society. It is a
complex problem, an obstacle to
justice, peace, development, and
common good. We express our
full support for President Duterte’s
goal in eradicating illegal drugs
and criminality in the country,
and applaud his political will and
determination towards the goal.
However, the President’s
pronouncements which imply
support for extrajudicial killings
and disregard for due process are
deplorable. Killing of suspected
drug traffickers without due process,
even in the name of a just cause, is
morally unacceptable. It is a violation
of human rights and the rule of
law. “The end does not justify the
means.” We cannot achieve a just
and peaceful society through illegal,

24

immoral, and fundamentally evil
means.
The spate of deaths reported
from police operations and vigilante
killings is very alarming. The death
toll continues to increase every day
and the wave of killings shows no
sign of subsiding. Instead of fostering
a situation conducive to peace and
unity, the situation is becoming
alarmingly hostile. The “shoot to
kill” order of the President and the
Philippine National Police Chief
Director General Ronald dela Rosa
against suspected drug pushers
and criminals resisting arrest, is an
apparent instigation of extrajudicial
violence. It is beyond what is morally
and socially acceptable.
As in any economic shock, and
natural and man-made disasters,
the poor are always more vulnerable
to loss of life, and the destruction,
violation and suppression of their
rights. Reports indicate that majority
of those killed are poor people
residing in squatter areas. The
President’s claim of ensuring and
protecting those who have less in life
becomes merely lip service should
the State continue to violate and
disregard the rights of the poor.
Every human person has an
inalienable right to life, which
cannot be taken away from anyone.
A person committing wrongdoing
should undergo due process under
the law, and be provided a chance to
change his/ her ways. Government is
duty-bound to ensure that the rights
of all persons are respected and
protected, and that sanctity of life is
upheld.
We call upon President Duterte to
put a stop to extrajudicial violence.
While fulfilling duty to eradicate
illegal drugs, the President has
IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

Youth groups with the religious and the clergy
gather in prayer for the "Respect and Protection of Life" at the Baclaran Church, October 22.
JOHANN MANGUSSAD

authority and therefore a greater
obligation to be in the forefront of
respecting the rule of law, which
calls for respect for the judicial
process in his fight against crime
and illegal drugs. Every suspect
should be given a chance to defend
themselves in court and ultimately,
change their ways. Respect of the
dignity of life should always be a
priority in any administration.
We also call on PNP Chief Director
General de la Rosa to adhere to
their mission as protector of the
people. He must provide just and
humane directives to the police in
pursuing and arresting criminals,
suspected drug dependents
and not to resort to extrajudicial
means when accosting suspected
criminals. Let the rule of law and
rule of engagement be observed at
all times with appropriate charges
and punishment imposed for any
violation.
Further, the police personnel and
other government security forces
should firm up their intelligence

STATEMENTS

Statement of Social Action
Network on drugs and
extrajudicial violence
“Thou shall not kill”
(Exodus 20.13)
work, monitoring and investigation.
Cases must be filed in the proper
courts. Suspected users, pushers,
protectors and “lords” must be tried,
without fear and favor, in adherence
to due process of law.
Likewise, we call on our judiciary
to initiate the need for reform in the
country’s justice system. Extrajudicial
violence could be an expression of
mistrust in our corrupted criminal
justice system. Impunity encourages
disgruntled citizens to resort to
criminality. Let there be overhaul
of the Philippine criminal justice
system to ensure the right of every
Filipino to fair trial and security.
We value the inviolability and
sacredness of life hence, as Social
Action Network, we are willing
to support, participate and/
or coordinate with government
appropriate agencies for the
care and rehabilitation for drug
dependents. We encourage our
network to offer and open our
facilities and resources as our
commitment to save life, especially
those who are least in laws and life.
We urge every citizen of goodwill
and fellow Christians to actively
exercise their prophetic role by
denouncing evil acts that violate the
dignity of life. Let us be the visible
force for common good as we take a
stand against extrajudicial violence.
Let us continue to be instruments of
justice and peace as we continue to
be vigilant in respecting, promoting
and defending the rights and dignity
of everyone because we are all made
in the image of God. Let us be united
in calling upon President Duterte to
respect the dignity of life by putting
a stop to extrajudicial violence.

Statement of the CBCP – Episcopal Commission
on Prison Pastoral Care on the occasion of the
29th Prison Awareness Sunday on October 30 and
the Jubilee of Prisoners on November 6
ON the occasion of the 29th
Prison Awareness Sunday
celebration on October 30 and
the Jubilee for Prisoners on
November 6, the CBCP-ECPPC
with its 86 units of Volunteers in
Prison Service declares that:
Bearing in mind God extending
His mercy, His compassion
and His unconditional love to
His people, especially to the
marginalized, we realize that God
is calling us and challenging us to
do the same; and
Considering that this
Extraordinary Jubilee Year of
Mercy specifically the Jubilee of
Prisoners will bring to the fore the
richness of Jesus' mission echoed
in the words of the prophet:
to bring a word and gesture
of consolation to the poor, to
proclaim liberty to those bound
by new forms of slavery in modern
society, to restore sight to those
who can see no more because
they are caught up in themselves,
to restore dignity to all those from
whom it has been robbed;
Recalling the various
international and local
instruments on the treatment of
those who are in conflict with the
law, especially the U.N. Minimum
Standards on the Treatment of
Offenders, International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights, the
U.N. Convention on the Rights
of the Child, the Constitution of
the Republic of the Philippines
particularly the provision
recognizing the right to life and
the dignity of the human person,
and the laws affecting the youth;
Coming together as one
community who share a common
vision of a truly just, humane, and
peaceful society, we have chosen

to affirm life now more than ever.
We choose to uphold the inherent
dignity of all persons. We support
Pope Francis call to all Christians:
men and women of good to work
not only for the abolition of the
death penalty, but also to improve
prison conditions so that they
respect the human dignity of
people who have been deprived
of their freedom. Death can never
be an answer to criminality;
Being deeply concerned with
the increasing urgency of the
need to revitalize our prison
ministry programs to respond in
pro-active way to the following
issues and concerns:
• THE WORSENING
ENVIRONMENT in our local jails
and prisons.
• THE PUNITIVE SYSTEM OF
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
• THE SNAIL-PACED
DISPOSITION OF CASES in the
courts
• THE PLIGHT OF CHILDREN IN
CONFLICT WITH THE LAW
• THE PENCHANT OF OUR
COUNTRY’S LEADERS AND
POLICY MAKERS FOR A QUICK
FIX SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM
OF CRIMINALITY
• THE DESIRE FOR VENGEANCE
BY THOSE WHO WERE
VICTIMIZED
• THE RAMPANT KILLINGS
GOING ON THE COUNTRY RIGHT
NOW
• THE PLAN TO TREAT
CHILDREN AS ORDINARY
COMMON CRIMINALS
• THE PLAN TO BUILD A MEGA
PRISON WHICH WILL BE USED TO
FURTHER EXCLUDE THE INMATES
FROM SOCIETY
This has a tremendous impact

13 October 2016
VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 10

25

STATEMENTS

on the life of those in prison and
their families.
We specially take note of
the following violations of
the minimum standards for
the treatment of prisoners as
stipulated on the UN and as
reflected in our Constitution.
• CONGESTION, POOR HYGIENE,
VENTILATION AND FOOD
• HARSH DISCIPLINE AND
PUNISHMENT
• PROLIFERATION OF DRUGS
AND OTHERS SUBSTANCE ABUSE.
• PROSTITUTION
• EXTENDING OF PRIVILEGES
(FAVORITISM) AMONG
PRISONERS.
• CORRUPTION IN THE CRIMINAL
JUSTICE SYSTEM.
Believing that the problems in
our jails and prisons are far more
serious now than any other time in
the long history of our involvement
in the prison ministry.
Feeling an inescapable
responsibility to bring to a higher
form of struggle and the need for a
renewed solidarity among all those
working towards a more humane
treatment of prisoners and
building an environment where
conversion and reconciliation can
happen…
CALLS UPON our nation’s policy
makers, the President and the
members of Congress to give
high priority in improving the
justice environment instead of just
working for the passage of punitive
measures like the death penalty , .
CALLS UPON all government
agencies, specially the BJMP,
DSWD, and DOJ to take effective
steps and sincere commitment to
intensify their efforts to respond
to the needs of the jail and prison
community;
CALLS ON the MEDIA-PEOPLE
to report accurately and
truthfully news affecting those in
conflict with the law and avoid
sensationalism.
URGE the NGOs/GOs, catholic

26

schools, business sectors and
all entities who work in the
upliftment of the condition of
the plight of the prisoners and
its environment to constantly
meet for technology sharing and
networking for a more effective
justice system;
RE-ITERATE our plea to
our Bishops to address more
effectively the emerging concerns
of the criminal justice system by
strengthening the Restorative
Justice Advocates and Volunteers
in Prison Services;
REAFFIRM OUR OPTION FOR
LIFE as we appeal to the President
for the Non- restoration of the
death penalty and put an end to
a culture of despair, violence and
death and promote the culture of
HOPE, PEACE AND LIFE.
URGE the members of Congress
and the Senate to seriously
contemplate on the merits of
imposing death penalty and make
a sincere effort not to restore it.
CALLS on all sectors that still
value life and has a high regard for
it to join efforts, never stop to find
creative ways to increase public
awareness on the evils of death
penalty and to constanly pressure
our government to open its eyes to
the sentiments of all peace loving
Filipinos.
LASTLY, WE CALL on our
government to seriously consider
the conduct of a Summit on
Criminal Justice System to
diagnose the issues and concerns
in the delivery of justice
As we observe the Prison
Awareness Sunday and the Jubilee
for Prisoners we will bring with
us energies born out of our own
experiences of being loved and
cared for unconditionally by a
Merciful God.
Equipped with this strength
and renewed spirit in doing
prison ministry, we pledge to
be BEARERS OF GOD’S MERCY
AND COMPASSION among God’s
people in jails and prison.

IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

Covenant
for life
WE are Filipinos who share a
common vision of a truly just,
humane, and peaceful society.
In the pursuit of this vision we
have chosen to AFFIRM LIFE now
more than ever. We have chosen
to oppose the unnecessary taking
away of life of any individual. We
uphold the inherent dignity of all
persons
WE BELIEVE THAT THE DEATH
PENALTY MUST NOT BE RESTORED
AND WE APPEAL TO OUR POLICY
MAKERS TO RETHINK THE PLAN TO
BRING IT BACK !
THE DEATH PENALTY IS A
VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO LIFE.
The violation of the right to life of

“Lord, help
us to seek
and save the
lost”
THE Gospel reading today as we
celebrate Prison Awareness Sunday
is about a man named Zacchaeus,
a tax collector, who climbed
a sycamore tree, just to have a
glimpse of Jesus.
Zacchaeus curiosity turned into
hope when Jesus reached out to
him by inviting Himself to have
dinner with him in his house.
This encounter with Jesus made
all the difference in Zacchaeus’ life.
This incident shows how love and
compassion can change situations
of isolation, bitterness, and even

STATEMENTS

victims is in no way righted by the
deliberate taking away of another’s
right to life by the state.
THE DEATH PENALTY IS CRUEL,
INHUMAN AND DEGRADING
TREATMENT. There is no humane
method of killing. The penalty,
whether carried out or not,
exerts extreme emotional and
psychological pressures on the
condemned and his family.
THE DEATH PENALTY IS
TILTED AGAINST THE POOR,
THE MARGINALIZED AND THE
MOST VULNERABLE SECTORS OF
SOCIETY. Experience shows that
most, if not all persons meted
the death penalty are poor and
uneducated, who cannot afford to
retain prominent criminal lawyers
and have no political connections.
THE DEATH PENALTY IS
IRREVOCABLE. Once carried
out, there is no possibility for
rectifying an erroneous judgment

by an imperfect system. Innocent
people will inevitably be executed
for as long as the death penalty
exists in law.
THE DEATH PENALTY DOES
NOTHING TO PREVENT CRIME. It
is not proven deterrent. Murderers
and rapists, kidnappers and drug
traffickers, arsonists and robbers
were never stopped by the death
penalty. Its re-imposition has no
impact on problems of crime and
violence.
Under the banner of the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines- Episcopal Commission
on Prison Pastoral Care - CBCPECPPC, we have come together
in the midst of all the violence,
to echo our option for life. We
commit ourselves to the following
course of action to uphold our
option for life:
• Lobby for the NONRESTORATION OF THE DEATH

PENALTY
• Pursue a continuing public
education program against the
death penalty and for alternative
options for life
• Endeavor to implement the
conduct of a Criminal Justice
Summit that will discuss thoroughly
and in depth the current criminal
justice system and propose
measures that will address the
issues and concerns affecting the
delivery of justice.
• Encourage a rehabilitative rather
than punitive correctional system

be a sign of hope for all people as
they zealously and faithfully live out
the Gospel values of compassion
and active charity;
2. That our government leaders
may show a special concern for
those who are poor, the victims of
social injustice, and the oppressed;
3. That prisoners and their families
may be sustained by the love and
mercy of God and experience his joy
and comfort, in spite of their physical
separation from one another;
4. That those working in our
correctional institutions and the

volunteers in the prisons may help
the inmates find hope amidst their
difficult life situation by respecting
their basic dignity and treating
them with compassion and love;
5. That all the victims of violence
and hatred , may find in their
religious faith the strength to
hope for better days and build a
society characterized by love and
cooperation;
6. That, amidst the economic
difficulties that our country is facing
today, all of us may grow in mutual
understanding and solidarity.

- 86 Units of the Volunteers of
Prison Service
- Coalition Against Death Penalty
- Philippine Action for Youth
Offenders
- Integrated Correctional
Association of the Philippines
October 30, 2016

(Message of Most Rev.
Leopoldo S. Tumulak, D.D.,
Chairman of the CBCPECPPC, on the occasion of
the Observance of the 29th
Prison Awareness Sunday,
October 30, 2016)
despair to attitudes of openness,
kindness and hope.
Such a wonderful transformation
can take place also in our inmates
if we follow the example of Jesus
toward Zacchaeus, if we reach out
to them in brotherly and sisterly
compassion. Like Jesus, we are to
seek and save the lost.
Today, let us pray to the Lord
that we may be His instruments in
turning despair to hope.
On this important day I urge you
to pray,
1. That the Church and her leaders

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 10

FROM THE BLOGS

Again, justice delayed is injustice
SO it is commonly said and heard:
“Justice delayed is justice denied. So
too it is said that the unreasonable
delay in the administration of justice is
considered nothing less than the denial
of justice itself. So it is that in the world
of down-to-earth realities, the truth is
that Justice Delayed is Injustice—such as
when the accused is all-powerful, when
the lawyer is over-acting, when the judge
is nonchalant. And so it is that in such
a scenario, nothing less than injustice in
effect prevails. To simply say that such
is unfair is to forward the summit of
insensitivity, the over-all result of which
is downright justice. To seek justice of
the quasi-forever as something forever
illusive—such is nothing less than
injustice incarnated itself. This is he
truth, this is reality. And this is making
the victims of injustice doubly victimized.
To mention but a few Cases where the
delay in the administration of justice is
nothing less than a big injustice. One
has still to hear of a duly-identified
and accordingly punished killer in the
infamous “Mendiola Massacre”. So
many farmers killed and no one at all
is judged and penalized as a killer. Not
even one is yet named as a deadly agent
in the “Maguindanao Massacre” where
no less than some 58 individuals were
mercilessly gunned down and simply all
covered by earth without regret, without
remorse by those responsible for their
already well-known unconscionable
slaughter. And there is the “SAF
Massacre” where no one is still certified
as responsible for the hideous event.
How about the perpetrators of the recent
Davao Massacre, the extrajudicial killings,
the summary executions here and there?
Why is it that prisons all over the land are
bursting with stand-up prisoners? And
why is it that the lower courts all over

28

IMPACT

the land are likewise bursting up with
thick files of unresolved/undecided cases
brought precisely thereto for resolution
according to the demands of justice?
This is to say nothing about the
rich and powerful, about those in
command of high public offices with
their corresponding quasi-inexhaustible
resources plus consequent powerful
and fearful influence—in the persons of
high government officials such as in the
previous administration—a good number
of whom are precisely experts and
champions in graft and corrupt practices.
So it is too that to this writing, while a
little number of them are already facing
charges before the proper courts in the
land, it is altogether something else for
them to be sentenced guilty an penalized
as provided by law.
But behold and read nothing less
than a sound and clear constitutional
provision: “The Supreme Court shall
have the following powers: ...Promulgate
rules that shall provide a simplified and
inexpensive procedure for the speedy
disposition of cases...” (Phil. Const., Art.
VIII, Sec. 5, no. 5)
A case in point is the following: When
the administration directly or indirectly
endorses summary executions, extrajudicial killings and the like, could such
speedy life-annihilating procedures
find its rationale on the undeniable
fact that justice in the country in effect
moves slower than a turtle? Could
the same speedy doing away with life
of be premised on the reality that the
Philippine justice system does not really
work? Could it be then that in this
country during these times, someone is
presumed guilty unless proven innocent.
So it is that the saying goes: Where
justice there is none, injustice takes over.
This is sad—very sad!

OCTOBER 2016

EDITORIAL

The poverty factor in the drug menace
THE drug situation in other
countries may have different
over-all causes. But in the
Philippines, its over-all causal
origin is poverty and misery all
over the place—courtesy of the
past administration. Wealth is
but for a chosen few—like those
having lucrative business ventures
such as selling electricity, fuel
and water even. But miserable
living conditions in miserable
houses built in miserable places,
the people therein are highly
susceptible to drug quest,
purchase and use. Life is hard and
living is difficult. Prohibited drug
in-take makes a good palliative.
This is certainly not about
criminals due to a criminal
personality constitution. These
big social liabilities in the
country rightfully belong to
mental asylums not really for
personal constitutional cure but
for the protection of the general
public. Yes. They remain
human persons with human
rights although dangerous to
other human persons. So it

is for their own safety and the
safety as well of others—always
with the possibility of some
rehabilitation although not
perfect in outcome—they should
be separated from society for the
good of all.
So it is that poverty generates
criminality which leads to the
manufacture, sale and use of
prohibited drugs. This is not
meant to say that there are no
criminals in affluent countries.
Neither is this intended to affirm
illegal drugs are distributed,
bought and used only by poor
people. But it us a standing fact in
the Philippines that illegal drugs
available for buy and sale—for
their users to enjoy, to relax, to
forget, to become indifferent, to
feel at ease, to be numb.
So it is that there will be crimes
here and there, of one kind or
another. And so it is the illegal
drug trade will be on and on-going
as a matter of fact. But make life
easier to live, make living more
promising and enjoyable, do
away not simply with poverty but

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 10

misery as well, less criminality
there will be and very much
less illegal drug fabrication and
distribution, less illegal drug
purchase and use will come to
fore.
This is not to say that illegal
drugs is the cause of all kinds of
poverty, all kinds of criminality.
This is but an affirmation
that—as far as the Philippines is
concerned—it is the destitution
and want among millions of
Filipinos that foment criminality,
that foster illegal drugs sale and
use. So it is that much crime is
caused by much poverty which
in turn leads to much prohibited
drug use. Again: The pervasive
poverty in the country fosters
criminality which in turn thrives
in illegal drug buy and sell.
Perhaps—just perhaps—instead
of priority attention given by
the government to altogether
stopping illegal drug productionsale-fruition, attention to the
socio-economic development
should be instead its priority
focus.

29

ENTERTAINMENT

DIRECTOR: PETER BERG

CATHOLIC
INITIATIVE FOR
ENLIGHTENED
MOVIE
APPRECIATION

PRODUCER: LORENZO DI BONAVENTURA,

DISTRIBUTOR: SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT

MARK VAHRADIAN & DAVID WOMARK
LOCATION: USA RUNNING TIME: 107 MINUTES

LEAD CAST: MARK WAHLBERG, KURT RUSSELL,
JOHN MALKOVICH, GINA RODRIGUEZ,

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: STEVE JABLONSKY
TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: 3

DYLAN O'BRIEN, KATE HUDSON
GENRE: ACTION/THRILLER/ DRAMA
MATTHEW SAND

MORAL ASSESSMENT: 3
CINEMA RATING: V14

SCREENWRITER: MATTHEW MICHAEL CARNAHAN,
CINEMATOGRAPHER: ENRIQUE CHEDIAK

MTRCB RATING: PG

to experience real terrors of the
dangerous explosion. However,
the film lacks in educating the real
outcome of the case—as to who’s
really to blame or what could have
been done to avoid such tragedy
from happening again. Were they
pushed by too much capitalism?
Or Greed? Those were just some
angles to the themes that the film
could have explored but it chose
to stay safe with the Hollywood
conventions of filmmaking.
At the forefront and center of
the film is a man who risked his
own life and safety to save others.
His convictions, aspirations and
motivations are clearly shown from
the beginning and are consistent
until the end. His big “why” in
life is his family – his wife and his
daughter. He wants to remain
alive for them. And he believes
everybody onboard is feeling
the same—they all want to live
and survive for their “whys” in life.

What’s really impressive about
Mark is his selflessness amidst the
danger of his own life. Human
instinct would always go for selfpreservation, but here is a man
who’s willing to endanger his own
life for the safety of others. He is
not driven by anything else than
his genuine concern for others. The
film actually focused on this part
of the story. Instead of thoroughly
investigating into who’s to blame
for the tragedy, it opts to focus on
one’s act of heroism. Tragedies
such as Deepwater Horizon could
bring out the best and the worst in
people but this film chose to focus
on the best side of man: after the
heroic rescue, the survivors huddle
together and pray the Our Father.
For some strong language and
heavy tragic visuals, and given the
highly technical milieu, the film
may be too much for the very young
so CINEMA deems it as suited only
to audiences 14 years old and above.

T

he film dramatizes the tragic
events on board Deepwater
Horizon oilrig back in April of 2010.
The narrative is told mostly from the
point-of-view of chief electronics
technician Mike Williams (Mark
Wahlberg). He leaves his loving
family behind and arrives on the
rig to find the drill site executives,
Jimmy (Kurt Russel) and Don (John
Malkovich) on board arguing as the
former wants to take precautions
while the latter pushes to cut
corners in order for them to get
back on schedule. As they are
already 43 days behind delivery,
Mike and the rest of the crew are
pressured to proceed with the
drilling in spite of test results that
indicate unfavorable conditions.
With that, the situation goes worse
and Mike finds himself having to
brave the dangers of explosion
and shipwreck in order to rescue
everyone onboard.
Deepwater Horizon succeeds
to be an entertaining piece with
the entire feature impressively
reenacting a significant event in
the oilrig industry. The chosen
thread to tell the story is focused
and easy to follow. One would not
be lost in the film’s storytelling
technique which does not really
go far from the familiar shipof-fools plotline with a twist of
heroism towards the end. The
main character is given enough
exposition arcs—family, love,
friendship, work, etc. so the
dramatic heroics and sympathy
is very much earned. Camera
techniques and special effects are
well executed and the audience is
really brought there in the event

30

IMPACT

OCTOBER 2016

ASIA BRIEFING

PAKISTAN. Christian TV networks ordered to close over lack of permits

Several Christian television stations in
Pakistan were ordered to stop transmitting last month, after the nation's media
regulator found that they didn’t have the
legal permit required to broadcast their
materials.“It’s true that we didn’t have
permission for the radio,” Alessandro
Monteduro, president of the Italian branch
of Aid to the Church in Need, told CNA
Oct. 12.For two years Monteduro’s branch
has been supporting a specific project on
Catholic TV, the television network of the
Archdiocese of Lahore. (CNA)
VIETNAM. Bishops appeal for help for
provinces hammered by flooding

Vietnam’s Catholic bishops issued a
plea following heavy rains that began
on October 14, hitting particularly hard
the country’s central provinces.“We
appeal to all men and women of good
will, to all priests, men and women
religious, to all the members of God's
people in our country and abroad, to
help our compatriots in difficulty,” said
the bishops’ statement. The area, which
was struck by a major environmental
disaster caused by a steel plant owned
by Formosa Plastics Group, a Taiwanese conglomerate, has now had to put
up with a week of heavy rains that has
have brought it to the verge of collapse,
especially the provinces of Hà Tĩnh and
Quảng Bình. (Asianews)
SINGAPORE. The new Jesuit Superior
in Southeast Asia is a blogger

He is appreciated for his incisive and
persuasive preaching and especially for
his blog "Breaking The Word": we are
talking about Fr. Christopher Soh, the new
Regional Superior of the Jesuits for the
Malaysia-Singapore region (MAS).Pastor
of souls near and far, known as a blogger,
Fr. Soh will start his work on November 8.
Ordained a priest in 2005, professed his
perpetual vows in the Society of Jesus in
2011. He studied at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and during those
years of study he felt the vocation to the
priesthood, engaging with the "Legion of
Mary" and the Catholic Students Society.

After the Ignatian experience, in 1994 he
started his path in the Society of Jesus.
(Fides Service)
INDIA. Christians, Hindus together for
the care of creation

Hinduism and Christianity meet on
the value of respect and care for creation: says a seminary organized by
the "K.J.Somaiya Bharatiya Sanskriti
Peetham" Hindu Institute, an organization that aims to promote and spread the
eternal values enshrined in the Indian
culture, pledging to cultivate the spirit
of peace, harmony and universal fraternity, through education and dialogue.
These issues will be discussed during
the international seminary "The teachings of Pope Francis on ecology and care
for nature, in parallel with Hinduism" to
be held in Mumbai on November 17.An
important reference point will be Pope
Francis encyclical Laudato Sì, in which
the Pope addressed the issue of environmental and human ecological crisis
that threatens the planet. (Fides Service)
INDONESIA. Muslim craftsman makes
Youth Day’s symbolic cross

The cross was the symbol of the Indonesian Youth Day, Oct. 4 to 6, in Manado. As
Fides learns, the cross, made of bamboo
and rattan, was built by a Muslim craftsman: the work is, itself, a sign of that
"unity in diversity" and harmony among
different religions which is the motto of
Indonesia and was the central theme of
World youth Day, titled: "the joy of the
Gospel in a plural society”."The cross is
the symbol of these days", said His Exc.
Mgr. Joseph Suwatan, Bishop of Manado.
"The cross was a pilgrim, traveling to
the parishes in the diocese of Manado"
symbolizing the path of those who "want
to pick the fruit from the cross, which is
love, to build peace", he remarked. Many
Muslims welcomed and honored the cross
as a symbol of peace during this diocesan
pilgrimage. (Fides Service)
SRI LANKA. Uproar over police shooting

Sri Lankan civic rights activists, including
priests are demanding justice for two Jaffna
University students who were allegedly

VOLUME 50 • NUMBER 10

killed by police. Wijekumar Sulakshan and
Nadarasa Gajan, two undergraduates, were
allegedly shot dead by police while riding
a motorbike on Oct. 20 at Kulappidi Junction in Jaffna. The police ordered the pair
to stop and allegedly opened fire when
their orders weren't obeyed. The officers
then filed a report claiming the young men
had died in a traffic accident. During the
demonstration in Colombo on Oct. 24,
activists condemned the alleged killing.
They brandished placards which read: "Are
the bullets the only gift for Tamils from the
government?" and "such killings destroy
reconciliation.” (UCAN)
BANGLADESH. Catholic gets prestigious
papal award

The Vatican has conferred a prestigious
award on a Bangladeshi Catholic in recognition of his extraordinary efforts to
develop the church and society. Gabriel
Costa, 69, was awarded the Pro Ecclesia
et Pontifice ("for the Church and Pope"),
also known as the Cross of Honor, the highest honor the pope can give to Catholics.
Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi gave
Costa the award in front of about 500
parishioners attending Sunday Mass at
Our Lady of Lourdes Church in northern
Natore district, Costa’s home parish, on
Oct. 23.Costa is the second layperson
to be given the honor after Benedict Alo
D’Rozario, who received the award on
Aug. 19. (UCAN)
VIETNAM. Catholic blogger faces harsh
jail sentence

A prominent Catholic activist has been arrested and is being detained in Vietnam for
publishing anti-government writings after
she tried visiting a prisoner of conscience
in prison.Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a
blogger known as "Mother Mushroom,"
was held on Oct. 10 after she and three
others tried to visit Song Lo prison camp
on the outskirts of her home city of Nha
Trang, central Vietnam, a church source
told ucanews.com. Prison officials did
not allow them to meet the prisoner and
detained them when they protested. The
police took Quynh home, searched her
residence and took her away again, the
source, who wanted to remain anonymous,
said. (UCAN)

31