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Is there Food in the Duterte Revolution?

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“VIOLENCE is not the cure for our broken world.” Thus speak Pope Francis in his message for the 50th World Day of Peace that will be observed on January 1, 2017, but already released on December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Titled “Nonviolence: A style of politics for peace,” this may be the first extensive treatment on nonviolence by a pope, although St. John Paul II tackles this issue in three paragraphs in Centesimus Annus and stressed in passing the fact that momentous change in the lives of people, nations and states had come about “by means of peaceful protest, using only the weapons of truth and justice… by the non-violent commitment of people who, while always refusing to yield to the force of power, succeeded time after time in finding effective ways of bearing witness to the truth.” The devastation of two world wars and other forms of “piecemeal” violence has lead humanity nowhere closer neither to peace nor progress. The Pope asks, “Can violence achieve any goal of lasting value” Or does it merely lead to retaliation and to a cycle of deadly conflicts that benefit only a few ‘warlords.’? Indeed, violence is not one of the paths to peace. “Countering violence with violence leads at best to forced migration and enormous suffering, because vast amounts of resources are diverted to military ends and away from the everyday needs to your people, families experiencing hardships, the elderly, the infirm and the great majority of people in our world. At worst, it can lead to the death, physical and spiritual, of many people, if not all.” Pope Francis says that active nonviolence is more powerful than violence. He cites history to prove that. He quotes Mother Teresa when she received her Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, “We in our family don’t need bombs and guns, to destroy to bring peace—just get together, love one another…and we will be able to over all the evil that is in the world.” He says, moreover, that decisive and consistent practice of nonviolence had encouraging fruits in peace building. “The achievements of Mahatma Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in the liberation of India, and of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in combating racial discrimination will never be forgotten. Women in particular are often leaders of nonviolence, as for example, was Leymah Gbowee and the thousands of Liberian women, who organized pray-ins and nonviolent protest that resulted in high- level peace talks to end the second civil war in Liberia.” In the Philippines were violence was congenital with the Martial Law of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, active nonviolence had encouraging results that finally conscientized people into the bloodless EDSA revolution in February 1986. Among the more prominent names in the active nonviolence initiatives was the Jesuit Fr. Jose Blanco who made living and preaching active nonviolence his ministry. It is sad that hereabouts violence has become the centerpiece of politics. Six months into his presidency, Mr. Rodrigo Duterte has riddled his political path with blood with more than six thousand people now dead in the euphemistically crafted “war against drugs.” One of the “unimaginables” that the Philippine government would take is the unilateral “separation” of the Duterte administration from Uncle Sam, a longtime ally. It may be good to see what “friendship” with the United States has done to the Philippines so far. Read our cover story.

28 |

Killing fields



Then and now:


US economy intervention in the Philippines



Death penalty:


Retaliation or restoration?


| Children are not criminals



Food banking



Prepping the kids for the future




News Features






From the blogs



Asia briefing

"Using condom is not even safe regarding the protection against HIV/AIDS."

Arturo Bastes, bishop of the Dio- cese of Sorsogon; commenting on the recent move of the govern- ment’s health and education de- partments to distribute condoms to student in order to promote “safe sex.”


"The death penalty is contrary to our Catholic moral life."

Socrates Villegas, archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan; in a recent Circular exhorting the faithful of his archdiocese “to resist the threat of the death penalty in our country” and join a prayer rally to be held December 12, 2016 at one of the parishes of the archdiocese.

"Schools should give knowledge not condoms."

Jerome Secillano, a priest of the archdiocese of Manila; on the recent drive of the Department of Education to distribute free condoms to students as a way to ensure “safe sex” which according to Secillano will only promote sexual promiscuity among students and, therefore, HIV/ AIDS susceptibility.

"Have we become to heartless that we cannot anymore feel for them, their families and those loves ones they have left behind."

Joel Baylon, bishop of the Diocese of Legazpi;

on the alarming rise of murders in the govern- ment’s initiated “war on drugs” now counted by the thousands; and the equally alarming apathy of the citizenry.

"While we do not negate his accomplishments, we do not lose sight of what he did."

Gerardo Alminaza, bishop of the Diocese of San Carlos; on the raging issue of the burial of former president Ferdinan Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani which, though upheld by the Supreme Court, is being opposed by a growing number of citizens.







Retaliation or restoration?

By Atty. Jo Aurea M. Imbong

T he Death Penalty was

“abolished” under the 1987

Constitution and with that,

the Philippines became the first Asian country to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. The 1987 Constitution reads: “Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it. Any death penalty already imposed shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua.” (Article III, Section 19 [1] )

Note that as worded, Congress

may restore the death penalty at some future time. But on what


itself provides the criteria for Congress to so act: One, “compelling reasons”; two,

“heinous crimes.” That was 1987. Something

happened six years later.

December 13, 1993. R.A. 7659,

the “Death Penalty Law” law was passed, imposing a progressive penalty of Reclusion Perpetua to death for heinous crimes. Question: What crimes were

listed as “heinous?”


Qualified Bribery, Plunder,

The Constitution


The law

Treason, Piracy,


FEATURE ARTICLE PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ronaldo Dela Rosa presents to the media the 22 kilos

PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ronaldo Dela Rosa presents to the media the 22 kilos of shabu seized from two drug suspects in a buy-bust operation in Makati City, November 21, 2016. The violations of the anti-drug trafficking law is among those punishable by capital punishment under a proposed measure to revive the death penalty in the country. PNP-PIO

Murder, Parricide, Infanticide, Kidnapping for ransom, Robbery with violence against persons, Arson, Rape committed under specific circumstances, Carnaping, when the owner, driver or occupant of the motor vehicle is killed or raped, Violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act. We should also ask: Was the re-imposition of capital punishment based on “compelling reasons” as required by the Constitution? According to one of the “Whereas” paragraphs of the

law— “

of such crimes which has resulted in the loss of human lives and wanton destruction of property

an alarming upsurge

but also affected the nation's efforts towards sustainable economic development and prosperity while at the same time has undermined the people's faith

in the Government and the latter's ability to maintain peace and

order in the country

The law listed those crimes “by reason of their inherent or manifest wickedness, viciousness, atrocity and repugnant and outrageous to the common standards and norms of decency and morality in a just, civilized and ordered society.” From then on, the death sentence consisted in putting the person under sentence to death by



electrocution. It had a mitigating factor by requiring that so far as possible, the sufferings of the person under the sentence during electrocution as well as during the proceedings prior to the execution should be minimized. If the person under sentence so desires, he shall be anaesthetized at the moment of the execution. The same law also provided that as soon as facilities are ready, the method of carrying out the sentence shall be through gas poisoning. There were exceptions. Death penalty shall not be imposed— 1. When the guilty person is below eighteen years of age at the



time of the commission of the crime or is more than seventy years of age, or when upon appeal or automatic review of the case by the Supreme Court, the required majority vote is not obtained for the imposition of the death penalty; 2. Execution shall be suspended when the convict is a woman while she is pregnant or within one year after delivery, nor upon any person over seventy years of age.

Three years after, another law was passed strengthening the death penalty. On March 20, 1996, Republic Act No. 8177, AN ACT DESIGNATING DEATH BY LETHAL INJECTION AS THE METHOD OF CARRYING OUT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT was passed. In 1994, one Leo Echegaray was found guilty of assaulting his 10-year old stepdaughter. The date of the crime was never established, the forensic evidence was inconclusive and there were no corroborating witnesses. Echegaray, a house painter from a poor Manila neighborhood, maintained that he was innocent and had been framed because of a family land dispute. The lawyers of the convict contested in the Supreme Court the legality of the death penalty, in light of the 1987 Constitution, but their efforts failed. And so, for the first time in 23 years (that is, since Martial Law days), the death penalty was carried out in the Philippines. Leo Echegaray, 39, died shortly after 3 p.m. on February 5, 1999 having been injected with lethal chemicals at the execution chamber of the New Bilibid Prison. At one point before carrying out his execution, his lawyers asked for a Temporary Restraining Order which was granted by the Supreme Court, delaying only the date of his execution. The Supreme Court decision upholding the TRO (and

Death penalty opponents participate in a prayer rally held Bacolod City on Dec. 12, feast of the Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Unborn and of the prolife movement. PHOTO COURTESY OF ADSUM

the law itself on death by lethal injection) is significant, not for the decision of the majority court, but for the separate dissent of two Justices who maintained to the end that the law on death by lethal injection is unconstitutional. Prohibited again — On June 24, 2006, seven years after the execution of Echegaray, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law R.A. 9346, PROHIBITING THE IMPOSITION OF DEATH PENALTY IN THE PHILIPPINES. The law provided that reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment shall be imposed instead on heinous crimes. The new administration — At his first press conference after the May 9 elections, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted Congress to restore the death penalty “by hanging”, for convicts involved in illegal drugs, gun-for-hire syndicates, and those who commit “heinous crimes” like rapists, robbers or car thieves who kill their victims. In his own words— "Para ma-discourage ang tao

mag-commit ng crime because there is the death penalty. Iyong death penalty to me is retribution. Magbayad ka sa ginawa mo sa buhay na 'to." As though taking a cue from the President’s statement, on July 26, 2016, prospective House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro authored House Bill No. 1 to repeal RA 9346 so as to restore the death penalty through lethal injection. The crimes identified as heinous include the crimes in the previous law, RA 8177, namely— Plunder, Treason, Qualified Piracy, Parricide, Infanticide, Bribery, Kidnapping, Illegal detention, Robbery, Arson, Rape, Carnaping, and (the obligatory) Drugs-related cases. To this list, HB 01 added three more crimes: Terrorism, Human trafficking & Illegal recruitment. What compelling reasons impel the filing of HB 01? According to

its authors,

a need to reinvigorate the war against criminality by reviving

“there is evidently

a proven deterrent coupled by its consistent, persistent and determined implementation, and this need is

a proven deterrent coupled by its consistent, persistent and determined implementation, and this need is as compelling and critical as any,” adding that “the imposition of the death penalty for heinous crimes and the mode of its implementation, both subjects of repealed laws, are crucial components of an effective dispensation of both reformative and retributive justice.” Cong. Alvarez and Cong. Castro point out that the national crime rate has grown to an “alarming proportion” that it requires an “all-out offensive against all forms of heinous crimes.” In the Senate, Sen. Manny Pacquiao has also filed bills seeking to re-impose the death penalty for heinous crimes involving illegal drugs, kidnapping and aggravated rape. In the good Senator’s words, “You commit a crime – you must pay for it. But the punishment must be commensurate to the crime committed.” The Senator also added that the death penalty “has legal and biblical basis.” Senator

Panfilo Lacson also filed a bill providing for the penalty of lethal injection for similar crimes. “[A] death penalty law is appropriately necessary due to the alarming upsurge of such crimes,” he said.

Let us examine the arguments for its re-imposition.

1. Deterrence—The Public

Attorney’s Office (PAO) cites a

study on death penalty in the Philippines, where Amnesty International found out that:

1) innocent people may be sentenced to death through

judicial error; 2) death penalty is the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment; and 3) it has no unique deterrent effect.

2. Upsurge of crime—In more

recent news it is reported that the present administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs and criminality has pulled down crime rates nationwide, the Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed last August. At one Senate inquiry on drugs-related killings, PNP Director Ronald dela Rosa said index crimes nationwide went down by 31 percent—from 17,105 incidents in July 2015 to 11,800 in July this year. The PNP defines index crimes as crimes against persons (rape, murder, homicide, etc.) and crimes against property (robbery, theft, etc.). Director Dela Rosa said rape cases saw the most significant decrease at 49 percent, presenting the trend in graphic terms, thus:

The Police Head also said that the nationwide daily average of focused crimes also slid by 49 percent, from 499 incidents in the second semester of 2015 to 256 cases during the same period this year. The generally improving

crime situation, he said, is also reflected by daily crime trends which reached a peak of 353 cases on July 4, but dipped to 23 incidents on August 21. Apparently, this was also the crime situation when Congress in the 1990’s debated whether or not



to re-impose the death penalty. In

those debates , statistics from the Dangerous Drug Board indicated that in 1987— the year when the death penalty was abolished—the persons arrested in drugs-related cases were 3,062, and the figure dropped to 2,686 in 1988. But

in 1987, when the death penalty

was abolished, as far as the drug- related cases are concerned, the figure continued a downward trend, and there was no death penalty during this time, from 1988 to 1991. 3. Sen. Manny Pacquiao believes that the bill has legal basis. On this, we refer to the discussion of Justice Panganiban in his Separate Opinion in People of

the Philippines vs. Leo Echegaray

y Pilo (G.R. No. 117472, February 7,

1997). There, the good Magistrate wrote that the 1987 Constitution did not merely suspend or prohibit imposition of the death penalty. Rather, he held the position that:

1) The 1987 Constitution abolished the death penalty from our statute books 2) The Constitution effectively granted a new right: the constitution right against the death penalty, which is really a species of the right to life. 3) Any law reviving the capital

penalty must be strictly construed against the State and liberally

in favor of the accused because

such a stature denigrates the

Constitution, impinges on a basic right and tends to deny equal

justice to the underprivileged.


x x

4) Congressional power (to restore the death penalty)

is severely limited by two

concurrent requirements:

5) First, Congress must provide

a set of attendant circumstances

apart from the elements of the crime and itself, and explain why and how these circumstances define or characterize the crime as "heinous".



6) Second, Congress has also the duty of laying out clear and specific reasons which arose after the effectivity of the Constitution compelling the enactment of the law. The compelling reason must flow from the heinous nature of the offense. 7) In every law reviving the capital penalty, the heinousness and compelling reasons must be set out for each and every crime, and not just for all crimes generally and collectively. In past Senate debates, then Senator Francisco Tatad pointed out that the death penalty bill violates the country’s international commitment in support of the worldwide

abolition of capital punishment since the Philippines is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Second Optional Protocol. PAO has argued that imposing the death penalty violates the right to equal protection of the poor; that it is imposed disproportionately upon those whose victims are rich and influential, and upon offenders who are poor and uneducated. The Free Legal Assistance (FLAG) Group’s "Profile of 165 Death Row Convicts" found


against the poor, the powerless

and the marginalized.

Profile, based on age, language

and socio-economic situations, shows that RA 7659 ( re-imposing

the death penalty in 1993)

worked against the poor and the powerless — those who cannot afford the legal services necessary in capital crimes, where extensive preparation, investigation, research and presentation are

required. As expected, the Commission on Human Rights opposed the re-imposition of the death penalty. In its view, the State Policy, as embodied in the Constitution is abolitionist in perspective, and embodies the core value of protecting the right

the death penalty militates



to life and upholding human dignity. 4. Does the death penalty have biblical basis? Some advocates of the death penalty are of the

opinion that “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” means that retribution must equal the crime; that what it means is “a life for

a life.”

that, “If I seriously injure or kill another, I must also be seriously injured or killed. Killing is wrong, however, the Bible says it is right.”

Does Holy Scripture talk of retribution? Far from it. In the context of biblical law, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” is meant to emphasize the grave and terrible nature of injuring or killing another human being. The passages cited to restore the death penalty are known as the

lex talionis—the law of retaliation. This law of retaliation was used by the early Babylonians to limit retaliation and stop the unending feuds, so it meant, “take only an eye for an eye.” Lex talionis is borrowed by ancient Israelites, but in the context of the Torah and God’s covenant, the phrase takes on a different meaning. The so-called law of talion can be understood “to mean that monetary compensation equal to

the injury is to be paid.”

restoration is the goal. The phrase “an eye for an eye” is not to be taken literally as retaliation. Similar figurative language is used in Holy Scripture. In Matthew 5:29: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.” The meaning of this phrase is not literal so that, in terms of personal injury or death, “an eye for an eye” means those no recompense—no sacrifice or restitution on part of the

offender—is too great. In other words, compensation must be given, but the offender is called also to seek forgiveness and atone for the wrong done. “A life for a life” indicates that someone who

One reason offered is

In short,

indicates that someone who One reason offered is In short, kills another must give all of

kills another must give all of his life over to the restitution of the victims. Holy Scripture talks of restoration, not vengeance. More than expressing the extreme gravity of the deed, Scripture emphasizes—and even commands—the need to repair the harm done. Without restitution, the condemnation of a vile deed will remain simply a condemnation with no redeeming end in sight. God’s call to us, however, is a call to restore brokenness rather than to destroy the sinful person. Remember the call of Jesus to the woman caught in adultery? There is more to the imperative of restoration. In Matthew 5:38- 39, Jesus proclaims—“You have heard that it was said, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.” Christ did not resist when he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. When temple guards and chief priests arrive, one of the

Thousands of people gather in San Carlos City, Pangasinan for a prayer rally against the reimposi- tion of the death penalty on Dec. 12, 2016. Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said improving the country’s criminal justice system is an effective deterrent against crime, not the


disciples, Peter, strikes a servant of the high priest and cuts off his ear. Jesus immediately heals the servant. At the moment when he is suffering an injustice, betrayed and falsely arrested, Jesus heals a member of the arresting delegation. Jesus refuses to retaliate against those who arrest, accuse, convict, and cry out for his execution—but his refusal accomplishes our salvation. His way of non-retaliation puts in place God’s loving answer to our rejection of God (the root of sin). More than that, His way of peace accomplishes something good. How? “Turning the other cheek” is a way to respond with good. It is not cowering and hiding; it is not backing down. Turning the other cheek is “standing up straight so that the injustice can be seen plainly, for hitting back only keeps the evil in circulation.” Forgiveness allows a person to take control of his own life, no longer controlled by the evil acts of the murderer. The gospel- based convictions of the civil rights movement attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr. say it all:

“Non-violent resistance is not a method for cowards; it is directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to

be doing the evil

only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit.” Turning the right cheek is directed against the forces of evil rather than against persons. Turning the right cheek avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. Turning the right cheek is not meant to annihilate the offender. Turning the other cheek is loving your enemies! In the words of The Word: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt 5:44) Like “turning the other cheek,” loving our enemies and those who persecute us is not a passive response. It is, rather, taking action for the good. (Matt. 5:43-48). Note that love is not necessarily liking a person; it is not accepting another person’s sinful actions. Loving our enemy is wanting and working for another person’s

It avoids not



good. It is seeing the goodness of others. We do not have to like them, nor accept what they do or have done. Loving our enemy is assertive and does not ignore the wrongs done. Loving our enemy is mercy. And mercy does not contradict justice. Mercy is wanting another person to be free of his own injustice. The mercy of requiring compensation rather than death enables the offender to live to restore what cannot be restored, a burden so understandably great since the person will never be able to do enough. But it is a burden that opens the possibility for acting meaningfully and deeply for another. A final query is, will the permanent annihilation of the offender bring true peace to victims? That question should bother us. Crucial in the equation for restorative justice is the attention to a victim’s rights and needs. It must carry with it victims’ peace. In wielding restorative justice, penalty for crime should address both the offender and the victim. “In this way, authority also fulfils the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people’s safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.” (Evangelium Vitae) Man has yet to invent a better fountain of justice side-by-side with the courts. It is a wellspring of peace where justice will bloom only when we can prevent reason to be blown away by the winds of rage. The flame of the rule of law cannot be ignited by rage, especially the rage of the mob which is the mother of unfairness. To borrow from PAO, “death penalty is legalized murder. Being a crime itself it cannot, and can never solve the crimes in our society.” After all, no human being is illegal. •



By Fr. Shay Cullen

T here are some haunting

children as young as 6

images from the past when

years old were incarcerated in jail behind iron bars and mixed with adults in prison cells where they were abused by pedophiles. Hungry children jailed as criminals for begging on the street. That’s what some congress people want to bring back by lowering the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 years old to nine or 12 years old. It’s a return to the penal code of 1930. The jailing of small children as in the past is still happening today and kids are put behind bars. It is forbidden by the law Republic Act 10630. Lowering the minimum age of criminal liability will make this all the more common. Local governments do not have a proper home for detained children in conflict with the law (CICL) and children at risk (CAR). They have jail cells. How much more will it happen if the congress changes and amend the law to allow nine or 12-year old children to be held criminally liable even for misdemeanors? Children, boys and girls, are being picked up in violation of a curfew decree and held in jail cells. They are vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse under those conditions and are frequently left unfed and sleeping on the concrete floors. Is that what the People of the Philippines want to do to the most abused and neglected children? The criminalization and jailing of children is in violation of the best interests of the child. It is a violation of their rights and forbidden by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Philippine law under RA 7610 .The best interests of the child and respect for human rights of the child is number one and much more important than lowering

child is number one and much more important than lowering the age of criminal liability which

the age of criminal liability which

is branding them as criminals at

nine or 12 years old. It is clear that the congress people rooting for the lowering the minimum age of criminality from 15 years to nine or 12 have never met or seen the majority of street children and youth who are taken from the streets and jailed. They will see that they are small malnourished ordinary children desperate for respect, attention, affection, friendship, food, education, skills training and if 16 and older they need a job and

a chance of reconciliation with a

solid family. The UNICEF, DSWD and NGOs have repeatedly stated this fact. The child is a child in need of childhood, not jail and criminal court proceedings. Although bad as it is, it is less violent than just shooting them dead by a death squad as is apparently and

allegedly a state policy if they are branded drug suspects. As many as 5000 people, some minors, have been allegedly shot dead. The teenagers are in need of education and skills training also and not to be treated as criminals for they will soon become one. As they are treated so they will become. For forty- four years, the Preda Foundation has given rehabilitation and recovery therapy to youth living as a therapeutic community in an open home. There is no need for guards and cells, gates or fences. The youth are children in need, not criminals. The proven track record shows this to be true. They recover from abuse and neglect with respect and dignity restored with therapy. Youth and children in conflict with the law take any chance to grow and reform their neglected and broken lives. But once badly

treated and abused by authority and treated as a criminal, it is very hard to convince them that they are not criminals and can have a new life. Lowering the minimum age of criminal liability and treating the youth and children as criminals will make them like criminals. Congress will sow the seeds of anger and revolt in the hearts of these children. They will grow to be anti-social and seek revenge on those who tormented and abused them. With the punitive abuse, government and society becomes the “punisher” of children not the healer and protector. If we allow this to happen we will lose thousands of youth to the world of criminality instead of saving them for the future-building of the country. They are poor and helpless before the authoritarian law.



Children behind bars. PREDA FILE PHOTO

When criminals exploit children then the police and authorities must go after the adult criminals and not be afraid of them and not just arrest and prosecute children. The adults exploiting the children can be prosecuted more easily under RA 7610- the child protection law. The children so victimized can testify against the suspected abusers and exploiters and convictions will follow. We appeal to the intelligent and wise congress people to leave the minimum age of criminal liability at 15 years. Instead what must be done is to protect and help them through diversion and rehabilitation and to strictly implement the law that says local governments must have proper therapeutic homes for children in conflict with the law and children at risk, not jails and prison cells. •




By Bernardo Villegas

C ONSISTENT with its strong commitment to poverty eradication in

the Philippines, the Center for Research and Communication held last June 17 a Focused Group Discussion (FGD) on Food Banking. A small group of economists, management specialists (especially in supply chain management), officials of NGOs and individual philanthropists was briefed by some officials from Second Harvest Japan that already has years of experience in food banking, not only in Japan but in a good number of Asian countries. Second Harvest Japan establishes and develops partnerships with manufacturers, wholesalers, importers and restaurants and encourages them to donate excess or surplus food or grocery items to institutional or individual beneficiaries like orphanages, women’s shelters, aid agencies, welfare institutions, community centers and soup kitchens. We learned the fundamentals of food banking. Food banks collect surplus food that is still safe for consumption and redistribute them to those in need. On the one hand, there is surplus food, and on the other there are those in need. Food banks are a bridge between the two. They connect “donors” who have surplus food (e.g. canned goods that are about to expire and will just be destroyed to ensure that they will not be sold anymore) and “beneficiaries” who are in need of food support (in the Philippines, for example,

there are numerous orphanages, elementary schools with feeding programs for very young children, homes for the aged, shelters for street children, etc.). In the case of processed food, Second Harvest Japan prefers to have at least one month left before expiration so that the donations can be safely delivered well ahead of its expiration. They do now deliver expired food and request agencies to dispose of any donations that have expired after being delivered. Among the preferred donations are canned food, agricultural products, emergency supplies, rice and other grains, bread and pastries and temperature controlled (frozen or chilled) food products. What are rejected are lunch boxes, fast food sandwiches, rice balls, hamburgers, prepared food such as leftovers from banquets and parties, food without any expiration date on the package and home cooked food. Fortunately, among the participants in the FGD there were officials of NGOs that already are implementing some sort of food banking linking restaurants like Jollibee and Contis with establishments that are within walking distance from the beneficiaries like orphanages, public schools and feeding clinics. The problem of storage or spoilage is minimized if the initial attempts to link those having surplus food with those in need are location specific. It was agreed that we can start with these low- hanging fruits of food banking. In fact, I shared with the group my experience with the students

of a leading technical school that grants scholarships to out-of- school youth in a training program for electro-mechanical workers who are in great demand among the factories in CALABARZON. These children of poor families are not only given tuition scholarships but also receive some stipends to cover living expenses. Because the families of these youth are so poor, it is a practice for many of them to send even their stipends to their families for their basic needs. They heroically scrimp even in their food budget so that we soon discovered that some of them have only one meal a day consisting of a pandesal and a bottle of coke. Obviously, this diet has a negative impact on their ability to study and on their long- term health conditions. Food banking can definitely target these technical schools so that they can offer very nourishing lunches to their students. Restaurants close to the site of this technical school can share their surplus food with these hungry students. As surveys after surveys of the Social Weather Station have revealed, there is no shortage of hungry and malnourished Filipinos, even among those who are not exactly considered as living below the poverty line. For a good number of years now, those who earn income below the poverty line ($1.50 to $2.00 per person per day) have been 25% of the entire population. But those who report that they have experienced acute hunger in some of the SSW surveys can be as high as 50% or more of the population. Hunger and



malnourishment are, therefore, a problem not only of the poorest of the poor but of millions of low- middle income families who may encounter short-term financial crises because of family tragedies, natural calamities, temporary unemployment, and other events that drastically reduce their food budgets. To encourage readers to help in any way they can this movement

of food banking in the Philippines,

I enumerate below what the

officials of Food Harvest Japan told us are the advantages of food banking, not only for the donors and beneficiaries, but also for government agencies. For the

partner agencies, the following are the obvious advantages:

1. Reduced food costs. Welfare

agencies and NGOs are able to economize on food expenses and direct funds toward other welfare activities. For example, the experience in Japan showed that one welfare agency cut its average

cost per meal by as much as 40% as

a benefit of food banking.

2. Access to new and better

quality products. Most welfare agencies purchase food based on cost rather than on quality and nutritional content. Through food banking, these agencies can receive donated premium ice cream, milk products, sweets or quality seasonings that they could not normally afford to purchase with their limited budget. In the Philippines, for example, some of the actual or potential donor companies are in the manufacture of canned tuna, milk products, and canned sardines which can significantly enhance the nutritive

values of the food served to the orphans, elementary school

children, and other beneficiaries.

3. Meeting nutritional and

emotional needs. Prior to food donations, the staff at one orphaning noticed sugar disappearing from the kitchen. Because of tight funding, the

facility was unable to provide sweets or snacks for their children, and so some of the children started to steal and eat the sugar used for cooking. With the assistance of the food bank, the facility is now able to provide the children with nutritious food as well as occasional sweets and snacks. To the donor companies, such as food manufacturers, farm

enterprises, restaurants and food retailing outlets, the benefits of food banking are as follows:

1. Reduction in disposal cost

and environmental benefits: By donating rather than dumping their surplus food, companies can reduce their disposal costs.

Second Harvest Japan estimated

that the average cost is about 100 Japanese yens per kilogram. In 2012, companies who donated their surplus food saved approximately 300 million yens. The additional benefit of donating is that companies can help protect the environment and meet environmental quotas by cutting out the CO2 emissions that would have resulted from their disposing of their food wastes.

2. Raising employee morale:

No one likes to see food being destroyed, least of all those who took part in manufacturing it. By donating rather than destroying


surplus food, companies can boost

the morale of their employees by assuring them that some needy

persons are benefitting from their hard work.

3. Corporate Social

Responsibility (CSR): Donating surplus food is one form of CSR. It serves the common good of society. It confers

tangible economic benefits to the community without involving a direct financial donation. Since 2002, Second Harvest Japan has donated food worth 4.7 billion yens to the community.

4. Free marketing: Welfare

agencies are bulk purchasers of food products. Delivering donations to them is a means of distributing free samples. When the beneficiaries become familiar with the products donated, there would most likely be purchases

in the future. At the very least, the recipient agency develops a favorable image of the donating company. Finally, local government units who participate in food banking

will obtain the following benefits:

1. Local government units have

targets for organic waste reduction in their respective communities. Donating is one means to reach the goal. By working with their local food bank, local governments can reduce food waste and its negative impact on the environment.

2. According to the 2010

Ministry of Health, Labor and

Welfare of Japan, the relative poverty rate in Japan is 16%. This was the highest recorded poverty rate since surveys were started in 1986. Fifty-five percent of single-



mother households and 51% of single elderly women live below the poverty line. By ensuring

that citizens have adequate access to food, local governments can improve the lives and health of their citizens. Using donated food to support welfare recipients and aid those in need can help supplement welfare budgets and enrich the nation as a whole.

3. Increased citizen participation

and regional revitalization. In addition to those in need, it is important for local communities to support the elderly. By encouraging citizens to volunteer, and by making use of food banks to support both the elderly and those in need, local governments can work with NGOs, faith-based groups and welfare agencies to create “food safety net” for their community. This is especially a great service in the coming years when the greatest threat to both developed and developing economies will no longer be the lack of energy but shortages of food and water. If Second Harvest Japan has found many opportunities to help the needy in super-rich Japan, one can imagine what can be accomplished in the Philippines that has the highest rate of poverty in East Asia, despite its being very rich in agricultural resources. It must be pointed out that the largest sector in Philippine manufacturing is the food and beverage industry. It is not surprising then that many of the leading conglomerates, as well as small and medium- scale enterprises, are food manufacturers or retailers, e.g. San Miguel Corporation, Universal Robina, Monde Nissin, Jollibee, MacDonalds, Nestle, Alaska Milk Corporation, Century Canning, Liwayway Manufacturing, Del Monte, Southeast Asian Food, NutriAsia, etc. It would be relatively easy to convince these corporations involved in food manufacturing and retailing to get involved in food banking in the Philippines. One action program that the

food banking in the Philippines. One action program that the Sacks of rice are stacked at

Sacks of rice are stacked at the National Food Authority warehouse in Manila. NFA PHOTO

participants in the FGD agreed upon was to start operations in Metro Manila which has a population now of more than 10 million. Even if the poverty incidence in the National Capital Region is only 4%, much below the national average of 25%, the absolute number of the very poor is still 400,000 individuals. Three or four foundations in which some of the participants are involved can divide Metro Manila and implement small initiatives in certain geographical districts, e.g. Quezon City, Manila, Makati and Paranaque. For example, the Madrigal Foundation that is already active in Payatas among the relocated informal settlers can lead the initiative in Quezon City. Whatever template this Foundation can develop in Quezon City can be replicated by other foundations in the other

specified districts. Second Harvest Japan can be asked to help in transferring their technology to these initial steps which can be eventually expanded at the right time with the help of the big corporations. As I emphasized in the FGD, it is always wise to start small and learn from our experiences. Transferring technology from one country to another is always tricky. Those who are interested in participating as partner agencies, donor companies or Local Government Units may get in touch with Mr. Gregorio Mabbagu at gregorio.mabbagu@ or Maria Socorro Bautista at coritob2009@gmail. com or Mr. Charles E. McJilton at charles@secondharvestasia. org. For comments, my email address isbernardo.villegas@uap. asia. •

Prepping the kids


By Fr. Roy Cimagala

S IMPLY looking around,

one can readily conclude

that the future is going to

be more complicated and more

is now urgently needed. There

is great need to enter into their

minds and hearts, and to know

their character and temperament,

their strengths and weaknesses.

It cannot be denied that wide gaps

be, and how their work actually

reinforces their dignity as a person

and as child of God.

In the area of virtues, again a

lot needs to be learned. First and

the more immediate would be

challenging. And one worries

about today's youth, about how

now exist between what are taught

and encouraged in the collective

order—order in the way they think,

judge and evaluate things in general.

they can cope with all these

complications and challenges.

means, on one hand, and what is

personally learned and lived, on

Nowadays, because of the many

things coming out, there is a great

for the future

Let's hope and pray that families

and schools and all other entities,

especially the faith-based groups

like parochial organizations and

many others are up to all this. Yes,

we have to invest a lot of prayers

and sacrifices for this intention,

but these should be matched by a

more systematic way of imparting

the youth with the relevant

attitudes, virtues and skills.

Offhand, what I can say is that

there should be an effective

mentoring system where the kids

are more personally attended

to. Other than the formal classes

and other collective means of

formation and education, there

should be this more personal and

the other. We should aim at greater

consistency between the collective

and the personal means, between

what is taught and what is lived.

Most important is that the kids

should have the proper priorities.

They should know the value and the

relation between the material and

the spiritual, the flesh and the spirit,

the natural and the supernatural,

the technical and the essential, etc.

In the area of attitude alone, a lot

needs to be done. The kids have

to have a healthy attitude toward

work in general, and should know

its proper role and purpose in

their lives. They should have the

proper intention. It's amazing that

many do not know what the proper

tendency to create a lot of clutter, not only in tangible things but also and most especially in the intangibles—in their thoughts, plans, desires, etc. Of course, we need to see how they are developing all the other

virtues—humility, prudence,

temperance, justice, fortitude, etc.

This is going to be an endless task.

As to skills, they need to be shown how to bolster their strengths as well as how to deal with their weaknesses and

temptations. Nowadays, they have to learn how they can live out that gospel indication of being “simple as doves and shrewd as serpents.” They should develop a keen

sense of ethics and morality.

Since evil cannot be avoided and

today's evil can be most deceiving,

they have to know up to what

extent they can cooperate with

evil without compromising their

spiritual and moral life. Yes, they

have to know how to develop a

certain resistance and immunity in an environment that can be filled with temptations and sin. They need to be encouraged to always to aim higher in their personal goals, not out of pride and vanity but rather because of love of God and others. Basic skills like the proper use of time, money, talents and other resources need to be taught. There are a lot more that can be said in this issue. But to conclude for now, what is important is that the mentors, be they the parents, teachers, priests, friends, etc.,

should try to win the trust and confidence of the kids. And they themselves have to be demanding on themselves, since they cannot give what they do not have. •

Prepping the kids

individualized attention given

to them, so that their peculiar

conditions can be better addressed.

Yes, the formal and collective

means should never be sacrificed.

They are always necessary and

also need to be improved and

updated, attentive to new relevant

developments, insights and lessons.

But the individualized attention

intention should be.

In this regard, they need to

acquire a more comprehensive

understanding of how their work

relates to their spiritual life and

the supernatural goal of man.

They have to learn how they can

convert their work into prayer,

into a continuing dealing with God

and with others, as it is meant to


the kids

for the future

for the





A 2013 file photo shows US Nave ship docks at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Pampanga. ROY LAGARDE










US economic intervention in the Philippines


By Ibon Features




D URING the swearing-in

of the new United States

(US) ambassador to the

Philippines in early November, US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed that the “logic” of the “indelible” US-Philippine alliance is “as compelling today as [it has] ever been”. Newly sworn-in US ambassador Sung Kim in turn highlighted the “ironclad” Mutual Defense Treaty, the US being “among the Philippines’ top trading partners and its largest foreign investor”, and how USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation “promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth”. This year marks the 70th anniversary of formal US- Philippines relations on top of almost 50 years of direct US occupation. The Philippines seems to have gained so much from its relations with the US, to hear top US diplomats speak. Much of this is in response to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s recent statements asserting an independent foreign policy including a drift away from the US. Yet US intervention in Philippine economic policy- making for instance has always been to serve its own economic interests and not to develop the country. Then and now, this has been about ensuring that US corporations benefit from cheap Filipino labor, the country’s natural resources, and selling goods and services that the local economy is stifled from producing for itself.

History of intervention Direct US colonial rule lasted from 1898-1946 but the Americans ensured their control of the Philippine economy even after this with various US-biased treaties and laws. The most brazen was in giving American corporations and citizens the same rights and privileges as Filipinos. This was achieved through the 1946 US-RP Treaty of General Relations and

the infamous Parity Amendment to the Philippine Constitution in 1947 which was reiterated and expanded by the Laurel-Langley Agreement in 1954. Until as late as 1974, American monopoly capitalists could exploit natural resources and engage in public utilities and other industries as if they were Filipinos. The US also ensured free trade with the Philippines for easy access to the country’s vast natural resources and to be able to easily dump its surplus goods into the domestic market. The Bell Trade Act of 1946 was explicit in providing for continued free trade. This agreement and the Laurel-Langley Agreement also ensured that subsequent tariffs and quotas would protect US access to Filipino resources and markets. The US also installed American “advisers” in Philippine government offices including even the Central Bank. This was done with the Quirino-Foster Agreement and US-RP Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement in the 1950s. These so-called advisers pushed pro-US measures such as the use of American and Philippine funds to support US activities and clinch projects with private American contractors in the country. They also formed the Macapagal administration’s policies in the 1960s on ‘free enterprise’, removing foreign exchange controls, fiscal austerity, and discarding the “Filipino First” policy favoring Filipino business. The US was at the forefront of putting neoliberal economic policy measures in place during the Marcos dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s. This started with cheap labour export, export processing zones, and wage repression. The US then used International Monetary (IMF) stabilization programs and World Bank structural adjustment programs to aggressively

intervene. Trade and investment liberalization, privatization, and deregulation was implemented across the breadth of the economy. By the 1990s, 100% foreign ownership was allowed in most sectors. This was followed by the liberalization and deregulation of water transport, telecommunications, banking and shipping, airlines, oil and retail trade, among others. Nationalists criticized these as an affront to sovereignty that compromised Philippine development. Sure enough, the early 2000s saw official unemployment rates breaching 11% to reach the highest since the 1950s and some 75% of Filipinos struggling to live on Php82 or less a day. Neoliberal policies did not bring progress but instead reinforced the economy’s backward, agrarian and pre- industrial character. More than ever, the country’s resources was not being used to provide for the needs of its people or for the requirements of national development.

Neocolonial economy The US remains the single- biggest foreign influence on Philippine economic policy- making today. It imposes neoliberal globalization policies on the Philippines to benefit American corporate export and commercial interests as well as to create the kind of free market- driven trade and investment system in the Asia-Pacific that allows it to maintain its hegemony and dominant economic position. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) plays a major role in crafting Philippine economic policy. This is consistent with how US Pres. John F. Kennedy decades ago described aid as “a method by which the US maintains a position of influence and control around the world.” USAID’s US$25-million

« Activists protests the US military presence in the Philippines, in front of the US


Activists protests the US military presence in the Philippines, in front of the US EMbassy in Ma-


Accelerating Growth Investment and Liberalization with Equity (AGILE) project started in 1998 created ‘satellite offices’ in 11 key government agencies to produce at least ten major economic laws promoting the free market. AGILE was renamed and extended into the Economic Governance Technical Assistance (EGTA) project (2001-2004) and was succeeded by three other programs from 2004 until 2011. Since 2011, the US government has been using the so-called Partnership for Growth (PFG) initiative. This program has at least US$739 million in funding and is the most comprehensive US intervention in Philippine economic policy-making in decades. Aside from seeking to consolidate US economic control over the Philippines, the PFG is also part of the US government’s larger effort to dominate Asia-Pacific economic integration through the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Obama administration pushed

the TPP as the economic aspect of the US pivot or rebalance to Asia against China. The new Trump administration has been very critical of the TPP so it remains to be seen if this will be scrapped, modified, or pushed in some other form such as through bilateral agreements. Meanwhile, this is the last year of the US$1 million USAID- funded The Arangkada Philippines project (TAPP) which started in 2010. Still under the PfG initiative, the project is administered by the American Chamber of Commerce and implemented with the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in the Philippines. TAPP lobbies policymakers on 471 policy recommendations and reports that, by 2015, 75% of these recommendations have been started or already completed. It is also among the most aggressive groups seeking to change the 1987 Philippine Constitution and remove the last legal impediments to foreign capitalism in the country.

There are also four other USAID economic policy intervention projects cumulatively worth some US$50 million (Php2.4 billion): Trade-Related Assistance for Development (TRADE), Facilitating Public Investment (FPI), Investment Enabling Environment (INVEST), and Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) Project. Even granting that these projects are for 2-5 years, it remains striking that their combined budgets rival the personnel expenses of the government’s entire economic planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). From 2006-2014, the World Bank provided US$1.1 billion in “development policy” loans to the Philippines. These resulted in greater health, education and power privatization, higher VAT and other taxes, and reduced government spending. As it is, the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC),





and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) have a 2015-2018 Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the Philippines purportedly to promote inclusive economic growth, end extreme poverty, and boost prosperity. The World Bank commits an average of US$800 million annually and the IFC already has a portfolio of US$792 million in the country. The IMF meanwhile continues to issue regular country monitoring reports and recommendations. The Philippines is no longer subject to an IMF program but its reports and recommendations influence credit ratings agencies who in turn establish the terms of the country’s access to commercial banks and global capital markets. The US also benefited from pushing the Philippines to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO), such as with greater imports of Philippine raw materials and larger exports of American products. For instance:

80% of coconut oil exports go to the US and the Netherlands; 80% of sugar exports to the US and Japan; and 72% of pineapple exports to the US, Singapore and Japan. Meanwhile, 91% of imported wheat comes from the US and Australia, 70% of imported milk and cream products from the US and New Zealand, and 94% of imported soya from Argentina and the US. The Philippines’ agricultural trade deficit has drastically worsened after entry into the WTO which reflects growing food insecurity and bankruptcy among Filipino farmers.

Biggest investor, biggest PH beneficiary? The US is the biggest foreign direct investor in the Philippines with US$4.7 billion worth of investments last year—being the biggest investor also makes the US the biggest foreign exploiter of



Philippine resources and market opportunities. The US invested some US$1.8 billion from 2011- 2015 which accounted for 27.4% of total inflows; inflows from Japan trailed with 21.8% of the total. US corporations are among the biggest direct beneficiaries of US-designed economic policies. In 2014, for example, US firms accounted for 45% or US$466 million of the country’s electric power systems imports. US firms also accounted for 25% or US$635 million of aerospace imports including for airport projects. Moreover, US firms accounted for 24% or US$92 million of medical equipment imports and 10% or US$40 million of water equipment and services imports. US firms also accounted for 26% or US$394 million of information technology imports aside from 31% of foreign equity in business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.

People’s assertion Despite supposed independence in 1946, all post-colonial Philippine governments have maintained a foreign policy tradition of aligning with and upholding US geopolitical, military and economic interests in the region. The country’s one- sided military ties with the US for instance remain cemented by the still-existing 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), 2002 Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA), and 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). The administration economic team’s socioeconomic agenda also remains consistent with US-designed neoliberal policies with, so far, little signs of being reformed. Nonetheless, Pres. Duterte’s statements about charting independent foreign policy are potentially significant. They can be the starting point of a real shift in how the Philippines relates





with other countries to uphold and defend the nation’s and the people’s interests. In particular, independent foreign economic policy can immediately be concretized by: 1) withdrawing from the intrusive US Partnership for Growth program; 2) actively exploring economic relations outside accustomed US-, Japan- and Western Europe- centric circles; 3) renegotiating or withdrawing from international economic deals that damage the national economy and prevent the country from using protectionist policies that developed countries themselves continue to use; and even 4) taking the lead to build or join a regional or global united front against the biggest and most aggressive advanced capitalist powers. But these are by no means easy and go against decades of deeply ingrained and especially pro-US neocolonialism in the country’s economy, politics, and culture. The strongest impulse for these already comes from the progressive people’s movement which has long stood for nationalism and democracy. A determined push by the administration would go far in further developing the critical mass needed for the country to break free from foreign— especially US—dictates. These would mark decisive steps towards a more genuinely independent and sovereign Philippines. •

Sources: A Continuing Past (Renato Constantino); International People’s Tribunal 2015 (IBON submission); Fifth Arangkada Assessment 2016 (Arangkada Philippines); IBON 2016 Midyear Birdtalk “End of the Road: Real Change Ahead?”; Philippine Neocolonialism and APEC and 4 Decades of Neoliberal Globalization (IBON Powerpoint presentations); On Duterte’s 100 Days (IBON Features)


A past that lies unburied

By Fr. Eutiquio B. Belizar, Jr., SThD

N OTHING divides the Filipino nation like the Marcos question. This

is glaringly evident these days not only because the “sneaky” burial of the late strongman has

sparked angry protests across the country but also because it has reopened old wounds that up until now remain untreated. This deep-seated division is clearly obvious even in the local Church herself. No one fails to notice how several bishops and priests have joined the protestors




in condemning the burial of the strongman’s remains at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (‘Heroes’ Cemetery’). Yet did anyone miss that prelate who even graced the last rites at the hallowed ground? He too represents a not-too- negligible section of the Church in the Philippines, one that sees

Nuns from different congregations carry placards during rally to protest the hero’s burial for the late dictator Fer- dinand Marcos at the People Power Monu- ment in Quezon City, November 30, 2016. ROY


21 21


nothing wrong in Marcos, his ilk and his era. Since the Church is, as Vatican II teaches us, the sacrament of mankind’s union with God and with fellow human beings (Lumen Gentium, no. 1), we all must be deeply concerned over this continuing saga plaguing the nation. The Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities, which the local Church is launching for the new Church year in the Philippines, is inevitably confronted with a sharply stinging rebuke and challenge. How do we address this constantly recurring reality? We wish and hanker for answers but the truth is, they are not easily forthcoming. First, Filipino Catholics may listen politely to, but do not necessarily follow, the hierarchy’s evaluations and directives on the question. There are other factors that come into play more effectively: parental or ancestral political leanings, collective cultural biases, school and peer pressure, social and mass media exposure, leanings of idols and celebrities, and so on. The Church must humbly acknowledge the factual extent of her reach and influence without giving up on her prophetic role. She necessarily has to ask where she needs to improve and how. Two, open-mindedness on the Marcos question is pretty tricky. Our old and well-worn mindsets and attitudes keep getting in the way. For instance, my experience as a seminarian of seeing rigged referenda and elections in the Marcos era, the underdevelopment of my beloved Samar Island while neighboring Leyte (where Imelda is from) was abundantly blessed, personal visits to detention cells where activist friends were confined and tortured would not easily convince me of so-called “golden age” that was 1965-1986. Yet I do struggle to open my mind to the intellectual brilliance of Marcos, the boom of infrastructural and agricultural



Marcos, the boom of infrastructural and agricultural 22 2 2 development in certain places of the

development in certain places of the country (again except in my native Eastern Samar and many others), Madame Imelda’s cultural and social uplift of the nation’s capital are too hard to ignore. Three, alas the pluses of the Marcos era came with so many undeniable cases of torture, repressions of basic human rights to life and liberty (freedom of speech and the press were sacrificed for what the late Cardinal Sin called “Praise Releases”), cronyism at its worst in the name of stopping the oligarchs. Even Pope St. John Paul II could not refrain from pointing this out to the strongman himself, his family and his cabinet during his 1981 visit to the Malacanang. He tersely reminded his hosts that political and economic development cannot be

“Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain…as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens” (Exodus



Students express outrage against the hero's burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos during a protest action at the People Power Monument in Quezon City, November 30, 2016. ROY


at the People Power Monument in Quezon City, November 30, 2016. ROY LAGARDE IMPACT IMPACT DECEMBER





« A student shouts a slogan denouncing the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at


A student shouts a slogan denouncing the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani as they hold rally at Mendiola Bridge in Manila, November 30, 2016.


“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hos- tility against every form of tyranny…” (Thomas Jefferson)

pursued at the expense

of human rights and human dignity. The enormity of human rights abuses during the Marcos regime are only partially dramatized by their victims who have been identified and partly compensated. Ironically till now the victims themselves have not forgiven their Tormentor and tormentors. As a placard put it, “How can I forgive when you did not say, ‘I’m sorry’?” Unless the injustices wrought on them, their loved ones and the nation itself are addressed adequately, the greater irony could





be the Church in the Philippines claiming to be a Communion in an actually deeply wounded nation. Four, the manner in which the strongman was buried was strongly reminiscent of the Marcosian style of what I may call as “hide and inflict” strategy. Marial Law was hidden but suddenly inflicted; his ill health was well-hidden but inevitably inflicted on the country in terms of governance disarray (even recently acknowledged by President Duterte himself); his colossal wealth was hidden until its truth was inflicted by actual millions recovered and actual billions lost in terms of national debt. In other words, the Marcos burial in the way it was carried out was very true to character. At first it was hidden, then inflicted in one fell swoop. This complicates any attempt on their part to call for unity or, on the part of the Church, to take their call seriously. Pope Francis has recently urged Christian believers as well as everyone to have recourse to forgiveness precisely because our world is presently locked in various forms of “hatred” and “resentment”. There is wisdom there. The nation cannot forever be stuck in perpetual un-forgiveness. But forgiving does not mean letting injustice have the last say. It only means not allowing hatred to propel our continuing effort to rebuild and re- establish Communion in the Philippine Church on charity founded upon justice. If not, despite the sneaky burial, one starkly dark chapter of our past will stay unburied. •

23 23


Oppose death penalty, Filipinos urged

MANILA— Filipinos need to unite against the reimposition of capital punishment more urgently than ever amid attempts to “railroad” the passage of the death penalty bill, a ranking Catholic archbishop said. Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said it is a “tragedy” that the proposed measure is being pushed for approval in Congress before Christmas. “In resisting the threat of the restoration of the death penalty, we cannot be disunited or indifferent. On this pro-life issue let us truly unite. Come out and make a stand!” said the prelate. Voting 12-6-1, the bill restoring the death penalty for all heinous crimes hurdled the House justice committee on Dec. 7. House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, one of the co-authors of the bill, said he is confident the measure will be approved by the Lower House by Christmas.

Railroad Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said lawmakers allied with the Duterte administration are “trying to railroad” the passage of the bill. This was despite the fact, he said, that during the committee hearings the anti-death penalty advocates presented pieces of evidence that the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime, is anti- poor, and violates international agreements. “The majority bloc Congressmen just wants it passed, period. And they want it fast as it is among the campaign

promises of the incumbent President,” he said. Diamante urged those who believe in the sanctity of human life and the dignity of every person to “stand up and resist this railroad attempt to pass this anti-life and anti-poor measure.” “Let us make a more forceful stand against the death penalty,” he said. “Now more than ever we need to act fast and swiftly to counteract the prevailing culture of death in our society.’

Work together Next week, the death penalty bill is expected to be debated on second reading. Diamante called on the faithful to show their opposition to capital punishment and show support for anti-death penalty lawmakers. “Let us all work together to uphold the sanctity of life! No to the death penalty! Yes to justice that heals!” he added. In Pangasinan, Villegas also called on the faithful to join a prayer rally at the Parish of St. Dominic in San Carlos City on Dec. 12. “I am calling on the God-loving people of the Archdiocese of Lingayen – Dagupan to come together in prayer to resist the treat of the death penalty in our country. The death penalty is contrary to our Catholic moral life,” he said in a circular that enjoined the faithful in his archdiocese to hold a “Prayer Rally for Life” on Dec. 12, 2016, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. “This is a conscience call to stand up for life,” said Villegas. (R. Lagarde / CBCPNews)

Gov’t urged: Stop recruitment of child soldiers

MANILA— A Catholic bishop has called on the government to act now to stop the recruitment of children into dissident groups. Newly-installed Ozamiz Archbishop Martin Jumoad condemned the alleged involvement of minors who may be forced to fight. “Our government must double their efforts to win the sympathy of our young (people) [on] the side of goodness,” said Jumoad, a former bishop of Basilan, on Dec. 7. Poverty, lack of guidance According to him, recruiting child warriors is not new in Mindanao like what is allegedly being done by the Maute group, one of several Islamist groups in the country’s troubled south. He said young people are sometimes enticed to join rebel groups because of two reasons:

poverty and lack of guidance from parents. The prelate also called on local catechists and Islamic leaders to be more concerned about the issue and help prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. “Ustadz and catechists must do our share in reaching out to the periphery so that the values of the Almighty be heard and lived by them,” he said. Jumoad reiterated that recruiting child soldiers is unacceptable because it violates human rights. “It is unbelievable that children are used as soldiers,” Jumoad previously said. “Mindanao will never become peaceful if children are exposed to violence. Children must be in school so that Mindanao will have a bright future,” he said. (CBCPNews)


Priest alarmed by HIV ‘youth epidemic’

MANILA—As the country witnesses a rising number of HIV/AIDS infections among the youth, a Catholic priest said it’s time to redouble efforts to raise awareness and prevent the spread of the virus. Official figures showed that from 1984 to 2016, about 10,279 of the total number of HIV/AIDS cases were in the 15-24 years-old range. But records also revealed that of the total number of youth cases of 9,066 was reported only in the last five years, prompting the government to tag it a “youth epidemic.” Fr. Dan Cancino, executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission on Health Care, said necessary actions should be taken to reduce them in future data, noting it is “a cause for alarm.” “This is a day for us to increase our knowledge, awareness, consciousness [about HIV/AIDS], especially because of the youth affected now by this global problem of HIV and AIDS,” Cancino told Manila archdiocese-run Radio Veritas on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1 in Filipino. The priest said the lack of adequate information as well as the prevalence of pre-marital sexual activities among the youth are among the main reasons of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. “Most of those affected are our youth. Cases are rising among the 15 to 24- year olds. So they are the future of our country, our high school and college students,” explained the priest. In an effort to further raise public awareness, the Church is calling on young people to join the celebration of National Catholic AIDS Sunday on Dec. 4. The activities include the HIV Awareness Conference that will be held at the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord located in SM Mega mall in Mandaluyong City. (CBCPNews)

Bishop: Make Duterte keep labor promises

MANILA— A Catholic bishop is urging stakeholders to be more vigilant than ever when it comes to the Duterte administration’s labor policies. San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, chairperson of the Church People-Workers Solidarity (CWS), said labor leaders must particularly demand that Duterte make good on his promise to protect workers’ rights. During the campaign, Duterte promised to stop the practice of “endo” or labor contractualization in the country by providing workers’ wages that can support themselves and their families. “These promises are beacon lights that could inspire us to struggle more and push forward our demands for just wages, job security, right to organize, and an end to forced migration,” said Alminaza. “We gather in order to be more vigilant, proactive and consistent in asserting pro-labor codes, laws, and policies that would protect and guarantee labor rights,” said the prelate during a recent gathering of church and labor leaders to mark the CWS’ 5th anniversary in Manila. Various labor union leaders, however, are disappointed over the lack of progress in Duterte’s vow to address the issue. The bishop said many workers have yet to see the end of contractualization


“that has enslaved us for so long.” He also said the country has yet to get the national minimum wage that somehow will put all workers on equal footing, regardless of the sector, industry, and location they belong to. Established in 2011 during the 30th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s encyclical On Human Work, the CWS was formed to campaign for just labor policies that give workers their right to security and decent living. Five years on, they have witnessed how attacks on workers’ rights had been “relentless and multi-faced as neoliberal globalization rages on and capitalist crisis deepens.” Alminaza said that the “crisis of capitalism” and the neoliberal policies it pursues continue to accelerate the process of extracting profits from the surplus capital created by labor. “It is continually increasing casualization and employment of short-term contractual apprentices and the like to cut the number of workers with tenure, reduce costs while inducing maximum profits,” added Alminaza. “I urge everyone here to include the study of the ways how neoliberalism attacks … the workers, the labor movement, the marginalized, and the planet we live in, and discern also the ways of combating such attacks,” he said. (CBCPNews)



Statement of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas on House Bill 01, the ‘Death Penalty Law’STATEMENTS AT present there is an insistent attempt both in Congress and in the Senate to

AT present there is an insistent attempt both in Congress and in the Senate to reimpose death penalty in our country. Such an attempt is supported by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte. In 1987, death penalty was abolished in the Philippines. Its abolition clearly reveals a strong message that it has no place in our society where preservation and respect for human life is of utmost importance. Based on their in-depth worldwide study on death penalty, Amnesty International itself concludes that Capital punishment does not work. There is a wealth of mounting evidence that proves this fact. “Death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence and not a solution to it”. It is

likewise discriminatory because poor and marginalized people have no access to legal resources to defend themselves. Aware of how our legal and justice system works, death penalty will never bring real justice. Further, it breaks essential human rights such as the right to life. Pope Francis in his message during the recently celebrated Jubilee Mass for Prisoners calls for a Criminal Justice System that gives hope. He specifically calls for an improvement in the condition of life in the prison cells so that human dignity of the detainees is fully respected. He calls for a criminal justice system that is not exclusively punitive but open to the prospect of reinserting the

convict in society. Therefore we, at the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas appeal to our lawmakers to reject and oppose the restoration of Death Penalty. We also call on our God fearing countrymen to work for the respect and protection of human life.

For the Laiko Board of Directors, ZENAIDA F. CAPISTRANO National President

Noted by:

+MOST REV. BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D. National Director Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity 22 November 2016

Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan Circular 2016-14: On the Death PenaltyCBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity 22 November 2016 MY dear people of God: The death

MY dear people of God:

The death penalty bill is being pushed for approval in Congress before Christmas. What a tragedy if this would be passed in this holy season of Christ’s birth. The death penalty is “prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1Peter 5:8) I am calling on the God loving people of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan to come together in prayer to resist the threat of the death penalty in our country. The death penalty is contrary to our Catholic moral life. In all the anticipated Masses on December 10 and in all the Masses of December 11, Third Sunday of Advent, the enclosed Prayer Against the Death Penalty must be prayed instead of the Prayers of



the Faithful. All the parish church bells must ring for 15 at six o-clock in the evening for three evenings on December 10, 11 and 12. This is a conscience call to stand up for life. On December 12, 2016, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we shall hold a prayer rally for life at the Parish of Saint Dominic, San Carlos City. I am calling on all our Catholic schools, social action ministers, catechists, youth leaders, BEC leaders to encourage our Catholic faithful to attend this prayer rally and defend human life. There will be a Mass at 3:00 pm inside the parish church. Right after Mass, we shall hold a March Against the Death Penalty around the plaza. We will converge at





the city plaza and hold a candle lighting memorial prayer for all the victims of violence afterwards. Please wear white. We know that Pope Francis blesses us as we rally, because the Holy Father himself has called for a worldwide abolition of the death penalty declaring that the commandment “Thou shall not kill” is valid for the guilty as for the innocent. In resisting the threat of the restoration of the death penalty, we cannot be disunited or indifferent. On this pro-life issue let us truly unite. Come out and make a stand!

Sincerely yours, +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan





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EDITORIAL Killing fields GOING six months and with about 6,000 people dead, the Duterte government does



GOING six months and with about 6,000 people dead, the Duterte government does not look too rosy. But it does not appear too scary either, because nobody seems bothered about it. Earlier on, the popular logic was drug pushers and users deserve to disappear because they are a scourge to the country anyway. That was when the dead littered on the streets were counted only by the hundreds. Now the count is going by the thousands. And by the looks of it, it is exactly running by the campaign rhetoric of President Duterte that he will kill criminals and drug pushers by the thousands in his first six months in office and “dump all of them into Manila bay… and fatten all the fish there.” The average 25 or so dead people sprawled on the streets every night certainly do not tickle any popular conscience to mount a popular protest. Curiously enough, the Marcos burial at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, which

unearthed a sentiment of more than four decades ago, cajoled more people to go to the streets in protest. Not the thousands of dead people, Filipinos nonetheless, who died days, weeks or months ago— just over our noses. More people now are glued to their TV sets watching, or enjoying if you may, to the congressional hearings where “frailties of a woman,” sex and conflict are given prominence as in a telenovela. Seemingly, the frailty of a woman has beclouded the mortal frailty of a mind that can sleep soundly in the face of a killing field. And, as if this is not enough, the Death Penalty Bill is now being cooked up in the House, though rather hastily. Have we been so numb and so desensitized? “What is happening to us? Have we become so heartless that we cannot anymore feel for them, their families and those loved ones they have left behind?” Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi asks.


FROM THE BLOGS IMMIGRATION per se can be a rightful response to the quest for subsistence,

IMMIGRATION per se can be a rightful response to the quest for subsistence, for having a bet-ter life, for living a more viable family life—for a better tomorrow of the immigrants in gen-eral—considering the huge socio- economic development contrasts between the countries they leave behind and those they make the option to migrate to. The truth is that unless such a rather serious decision is undertaken to escape criminal liability in the country left behind and/or cause criminal acts in the opted country of destination, immigration for good intentions or salutary purposes eventually brings about the development not only of the migrants themselves but also the country they opted to live and work in. Such thinking could be immediately considered taboo at first hearing. But considering the now obtaining down-to- earth realities in the world, the standing truth is that there are grave inequali-ties between the wealthy and destitute people, the rich and poor Countries. And in principle, immigration done with the right intention or salutary motives is a phenomenon contributory to the socio-

economic welfare of both the migrants and of the Country they migrate to. So it is that the objective truth and standing fact is that the now-considered most wealthy and most powerful Nation in the World became such because of white and black “migrants”—so to speak. So it is that:

1. When immigrants bring benefits not only to their

families—be these with them or left behind—but also to the Country they migrated to and find good compensation

usually on ac-count of their needed profession and/or industry, this is immigration really contributing to human and economic development to both migrants and Countries they migrate to.

2. Let it be expressly said that the immigration of no less

than entire families is still ac-ceptable when these go to and

stay in a foreign Country for their own domestic good and pro-gressive economic welfare. This presumes that a family

stays together and together lives with more than enough temporal possibilities that usually lead to financial realities.

3. But the immigration of not only heads of families but

all the members thereof, viz., fa-ther, mother, and children

primarily because of the poverty and even misery in their own Coun-try, in effect means that something is very wrong with the way its government manages the na-tional socio- economic order, spends public funds supposedly for public welfare.

4. The truth of the matter is that there are rather few

Countries that suffer from destitu-tion for dire lack of natural resources. Still, naturally affluent Countries may still suffer from want and destitution on account of the ingrained

incompetence and/or the incarnate corruption of their

public officials—a reality that is not hard to understand.

5. But then, phenomenon of the “Overseas Contract

Workers” is humanly and ethical costly for various reasons— such as the division of the families as domestic units, the absence of complementary parenting of children, not to

mention the not really rare factual separations of spouses.

not to mention the not really rare factual separations of spouses. 3 0 30 IMPACT IMPACT







SRI LANKA. Gov’t halts bid to erect world's tallest Christmas tree

Sri Lanka has halted its bid to construct the world's tallest Christmas tree after it was criticized for being a waste of money by the Catholic archbishop of Colombo. Construction ground to a halt on Dec.

6 following Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith's

comments at a press conference the same day."Those who are responsible for this construction should use these funds to provide scholarships for poor children or construct houses for poor people," said Cardinal Ranjith. The government announced that they were halting con-

struction following discussions between Mangala Gunasekara, chairman of the organizing committee, and Ports and ShippingMinister ArjunaRanatungawho is also a Sri Lankan cricketing legend. (UCAN)

BANGLADESH. No peace in Chittagong Hills

Indigenous leaders and activists have slammed the Bangladeshi government for not implementing a peace accord signed in 1997 that was supposed to give them land and respect. The failure to fulfill the peace accord is responsible for ongo- ing sectarian violence between indig- enouspeopleandsettler Bengali Muslims in the southeastern Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), according to activists."Over the past

19 years, six governments have come to

power but none of them had any inten- tion of implementing vital components of the peace accord," Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, president of the United People's Party of CHT, said during a press confer- ence in Dhaka on Nov. 30. (UCAN)

HONG KONG. China's state-run Catho- liccongressscheduledafterChristmas

China's communist government will hold its Ninth Congress of Catholic Rep- resentatives for party-approved Catholic officials in late December, providing yet another hurdle for the normalization of relations between Beijing and the Holy See. The Catholic congress, usually held every five years, was delayed by a year to accommodate discussions between the two sides. The running of the conference is a curve ball for the Vatican, said Fr. Jeroom Hendryckx, founding director of the Ferdinand Verbiest Foundation at LeuvenCatholicUniversityinBelgiumthat


is devoted to the promotion of a relation-

ship of cooperation with China. (UCAN)

PAKISTAN. Province bans forced con- versions

The government of Pakistan's Sindh province has banned people from grab- bing Hindu girls and forcing them to convert to Islam, often as a prerequisite for marrying a Muslim man; it is the first province to do so. The law was passed on Nov. 22 and carries prison sentences of five years to life for anyone found guilty of changing the religion of a minor. Anyone facilitating the crime will be imprisoned or forced to pay compen- sation to the victim. "We welcome the historic verdict. It has been very painful for local Hindu families who have no hope of seeing their child after they are abducted. The matter is made worse when the police and courts side with the Muslim party," said Fr. Abid Habib, former president of the Major Superiors Leadership Conference of Pakistan. (Kamran Chaudhry/UCAN)

PHILIPPINES. Church to unveil world’s tallest Divine Mercy statue

With a towering height of 100 feet, the world’s tallest statute of the Divine Mercy will be unveiled in Bulacan province early next year.“This will be the biggest statue of the Divine Mercy around the world,” said World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WA- COM) Asia Secretary General Fr. Prospero Tenorio during a press briefing in Manila on Thursday. The statue is seen standing atop a four storey multi-purpose building constructed at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Marilao town, located some 24 kilometers north of Manila. Its blessing and unveiling will be held on Jan. 19 as among the highlights of the 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM) to be held in the Philippines. (CBCPNews)

VIETNAM. Pollution emergency de- stroys tourism

The pollution emergency that hit

Vietnam’s central provinces has delivered

a heavy blow to the local tourism indus-

try. On top of job losses in the fishing industry, locals complain of the drop in tourists, discouraged by the poor quality of water and fish. Compared to 2015, the provinces of Quang Bình, Quang Tri, Thua




Thiên and Hà Tĩnh have lost a million visi- tors. Tourism Office statistics show that " marine tourism-related business in Hà Tĩnh dropped by 90 per cent. Sales and services fell by 40-50 per cent." Quảng Bình province lost revenue worth 1,900 billion dong (US$ 85 million), including restaurants, hotels and handicraft prod- ucts. According to the Provincial People’s Committee, "local tourism has been seri- ously damaged. More than 4,000 workers are in precarious conditions; 30,000 direct and 7,200 indirect jobs have been lost.” (Asianews)

NEPAL. Poverty, emigration, the main causes of AIDS

Poverty and emigration, especially in India and the Middle East, are the main causes of the spread of HIV in Nepal, where more than a thousand new cases are recorded each year. The data were released yesterday to mark World AIDS Day. According to the National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC), 28,865 people, mostly men, are living with AIDS, victims of discrimination at the social and educational levels. Children born with the virus are denied access to education and can only enroll in separate schools, ostensibly to avoid spreading the virus to other pupils. A NCASC study found that the virus is spread through unprotected sex in more than 85 per cent of the cases. (Asianews)

ISRAEL. UNESCO: no one can deny biblical history hit

The Vatican has joined the critics of the UNESCO decision to use only the name Arabic name of holy places in East Jerusa- lem, leaving out their Hebrewversion. The Joint Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel's Delegation for Relations with the Catholic Church and the Holy See's Com- mission for Religious Relations with the Jews issued a joint statement noting that the UNESCO decision’s denies on political and polemical grounds the relationship between Jews and Temple Mount and thebiblical story. Thecommuniquéstates that it is necessary now more than ever to promote peace at a time when violence is perpetrated in the name of religion. In view of today’s challenges and human tragedies, it goes on to emphasize the importance of religious leaders setting an example for tolerance and respect. (Asianews)

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