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Vol. 43 No. 5 • MAY 2009
IMPACT • May 2009 2




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IMPACT
Quote in the Act
“When Toyota sneezed, we caught pneumonia.”
Shoji Sawahira, head of the fnance section at Toyota City’s city hall; on the
economic slump of Toyota City in Japan with 423,000 residents who are mostly
dependent on a single corporation, Toyota Motors, that has idled factories
causing thousands become jobless.
“You used to say, ‘Long live Karl Marx, now you
say, ‘Long live Tata, Karl Marx, you go.’ ”
Mamata Benerjee, opposition leader in West Bengal State, India; expressing a
popular sentiment against the communists that has failed in the face a capitalist
success symbolized by the Tata Nano, the cheapest car, economy.
“The eating of pork is absolutely not a problem.”
Dr. David Butler-Jone, chief health offcer of Canada; saying that a person
appears to have spread the Swine Flu virus to the pigs and not the other way
around.
“They copy Apple, Nokia, whatever they like, and
they respond to the market swiftly.”
Wang Jiping, senior analyst at IDC, a global market intelligence frm; on the
massive proliferation of mini factories in China that produces counterfeit phones.
“The task of moral regeneration is too big to
entrust to religious leaders alone.”
Angel Lagdameo, Archbishop of Jaro and president of the Catholic Bishops’
Conference of the Philippine; quoting a journalist in his recent statement, Year of
the Two Hearts for Peace-Building and Lay participation in Social Change.
“If that’s the case, the cities will be like an oven.”
Juzhong Zhuang, economics of Asian Development Bank (ADB); referring to
the latest report of ADB on global warming saying that, in Southeast Asia, cities
like Manila, Bangkok and Jakarta will have an average temperatures 9 degrees
hotter than the normal by 2100 while sea levels will rise up to 70 centimeters.
Volume 43 • Number 5
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May 2009 / Vol 43 • No 5
EDITORIAL
Lay participation in social change .................. 27
COVER STORY
The Cause of so much Poverty and Wealth:
Understanding the Coconut Industry ......... 16
ARTICLES
Pastoral Guidelines and Core Values in NFP
Promotion .......................................................... 4
The Response of the Local Church in Davao to
the Summary Killings ...................................... 9
Is outsourcing exploitation? ............................ 12
The Inconvenient Contradictions .................... 13
DEPARTMENTS
Quote in the Act ................................................. 2
News Features ................................................... 14
Statements .......................................................... 22
From the Blogs ................................................... 26
From the Inbox .................................................. 28
Book Reviews ..................................................... 29
Entertainment .................................................... 30
News Briefs ........................................................ 31
CONTENTS
M
anny Pacquiao is phe-
nomenal. By sheer box-
ing prowess he has
touched every chord of the
Filipino psyche, or so it looks—
but more so his demeanor in the
ring that makes the simplicity of
Manny Pacquiao all the more
outstanding.
He has brought down the
curtains from ecclesiastical pal-
aces to shanties and suspended
sessions both in the sabungan
and in the Congress as a herd
of congressmen trooped to Las
Vegas devoid of qualms and
delicadeza.
The rosary prominence, the
kneeling in prayer before and
after the fght, and a doting
mother that brings a chapel of
saints as part of her spiritual
support have become his perma-
nent fxtures, that even a priest
would be ashamed and feel silly
of doing in public—a western
public at that, which disdains
and makes legal issue even the
making of the sign of the cross
in classrooms.
What seems to be against
the trends in promotions and
advertising were his statements
during the weigh-in, such as:
“We don’t know what happens
tomorrow…” and left everything
to God, which sounds
frail since Mohammad
Ali proclaimed he was
the greatest and trail-
blazed arrogance as a
psychological part of
winning the brawl.
There is, of course, no question
about Pacquiao’s greatness. Neither
is there in a country that affords him
a hero’s welcome. Even the Catholic
Church with the universal catechism
on hand is willing to wink on ques-
tions such as the morality of boxing
just, perhaps, to sustain the euphoria
of being on top of the world and
winning against the Britons who
earlier on tagged Filipino OFWs as
slaves and prostitutes.
Even just for few minutes, the
Filipino was given the luxury of a
lull from the stigma of being the most
corrupt country in Asia, not to men-
tion being one of the poorest, and
the scariest because of kidnapping
and human rights violations.
The fooring of Hatton was as
fast and as short-lived as a fre-
cracker, but a good time enough
to breathe a fresh air of relief from
a socio-political milieu that has
been painfully degenerating since
the conjugal dictatorship of the
Marcoses.
In the Philippines the aspira-
tion of the bishops is to “Chris-
tianize politics” (as may be seen
in CBCP’s Pastoral Exhortation
on Politics). The reality, however,
is in this country everything,
both Christianity and Christians,
become politicized. Which is
why, Pacquiao is coming home
not only with laurels of victory
but with a halo of politics. Watch
out for the next round.
This issue opens with Pas-
t oral Gui del i nes and Core
Values in NFP Promotions by
Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of
Cagayan de Oro. In our cover
story, staff writer Charles Avila
comes up with an investigative
story on the coconut industry
in the Philippines: The Cause
of so much Poverty and Wealth:
Understanding the Coconut In-
dustry. It seems like most of our
leaders move like King Midas
in that everything they touch
becomes gold—albeit only for
themselves. Read on.
IMPACT • May 2009 4
The dignity of human life is directly
linked to the dignity of the human per-
son.
1) The human person is created in
the image of God. “God created man in
his image, in the divine image he created
him; male and female he created them”
(Gen 1:27). The biblical perspective
states that man and woman have the same
dignity and are of equal value.
God’s creative act takes place from
the moment of conception: “You created
every part of me; you put me together
in my mother’s womb. When my bones
were being formed, when I was grow-
ing there in secret, you knew that I was
there – you saw me before I was born”
(Psalm 139: 13,15,16).
2) The human person is created
by God in unity of body and soul. The
spiritual faculties of reason and free will
are linked with all the bodily and sense
faculties. The spiritual and immortal soul
is the principle of unity of the human
being, whereby it exists as a person.
Man is an embodied spirit. “It is
because of its spiritual soul that the body
ARTICLES
By Archbishop Antonio J. Ledes-
ma, S.J.
N
atural Family Planning has para-
doxically been described as the
“second best kept secret” of the
Catholic Church (after its Social Teach-
ings). In contrast to government pro-
grams that offer a value-neutral approach
to all methods of family planning, the
Catholic Church has consistently articu-
lated its moral principles in advocating
for Responsible Parenthood and Natural
Family Planning. Based on actual results,
however, NFP has remained the untried
option. According to the latest surveys,
less than one percent of Filipino couples
are adopting modern NFP methods!
On the other hand, the pastoral ex-
perience of many priests and family life
workers indicate that a growing number
of couples today have three felt needs: (1)
They want to plan their families in terms
of family size and spacing of births; (2)
They prefer natural family planning, if
they are given adequate information on
fertility awareness and NFP meth-
ods; and (3) They want to choose
among NFP methods according
to their own circumstances and
preference. It is in this light that
church communities, as well as
government entities, are chal-
lenged to promote all recognized
natural family planning methods
today.
Before discussing the vari-
ous NFP methods, however it
would be good to examine the
core values that underpin the
Church’s advocacy for natural
family planning—values that
touch on the sacredness of hu-
man life, marriage, and the fam-
ily. Four pastoral guidelines for
All-NFP provide the framework
for the local church’s values for-
mation and the parameters for critical
engagement with government and other
groups. (Fig. 1)
I. We are Pro-Life
We uphold the dignity of human life
from the moment of conception. We con-
demn abortion which is also proscribed
by the Philippine Constitution. All-NFP
is a proactive program that helps prevent
the tragedy of unwanted pregnancies and
recourse to abortion. It also provides an
alternative to contraceptive methods that
are considered as abortifacients.
Pastoral Guidelines and Core
Values in NFP Promotion
Fig. 1. Four Pastoral Guidelines for All-NFP
made of matter becomes a living, human
body; spirit and matter, in man, are not
two natures united, but rather their union
forms a single nature” (CCC, 365).
3) The human person is open to
transcendence: he is open to the infnite
and to all created beings. Through his
spiritual faculties of intellect and will,
the human person reaches out to know
the truth and to love and choose the good
and the beautiful. (Fig.2)
Despite his limitation in attaining
his fnite ends in this life, man tends
towards total truth and the absolute
good—i.e., union with God, or
the revelation of Jesus Christ as
the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
What Christian philosophers call
the Summum Bonum or the Beatifc
Vision is premised on the promise
of the resurrection and eternal life.
Pope John Paul II sums this up:
“Human life is precious because
it is a gift of God—and when God
gives life, it is forever.”
4) The human person is en-
dowed with a moral conscience
that enables him to recognize the
truth concerning good and evil.
Man’s exercise of freedom and
responsibility implies a reference
to the natural moral law, of an
objective and universal character,
which is the foundation for all
rights and duties. “Living a moral life
bears witness to the dignity of the person”
(CCC, 1706).
The dignity of the moral conscience
as man’s “most secret core and sanctu-
ary” enables the person to acknowledge
that inner law which is fulflled in the
love of God and of one’s neighbor (GS,
16). Love of neighbor, in the language
of the modern world, can be interpreted
in terms of promoting and defending hu-
man rights. Fig. 2 locates the context of
human rights and duties, understood as
access to the means that enable a person
Volume 43 • Number 5
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Pastoral Guidelines and Core Values in NFP Promotion
Pastoral Guidelines and Core
Values in NFP Promotion
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Archbi shop An-
tonio J. Ledesma
(center) is shown
in this December
19, 2006 photo
with the Catholic
Women's League
of Cagayan de Oro
and high ranking of-
fcials from the De-
partment of Health
and the Commis-
sion on Population
at the signing of a
tripartite agreement
promoting NFP in
Northern Mindanao
region.
IMPACT • May 2009 6
to attain his natural and
supernatural ends. In this
light, human rights can
be understood as moral
claims, and duties as mor-
al responsibilities.
5) The human person
is essentially a social and
relational being. (Fig. 3)
He is a being—with
others in the world. He
is a person among other
persons, among equals—
in the family, in the small
community or in the larger
society.
He is also a being-
through-others in the
world. He is born from
the union of parents and
grows up within the wid-
ening circle of relatives,
teachers, and friends. He
too is a being-for-others
in the world, available in
service to others, capable
of loving others and be-
ing loved in return. He is
called to enter into com-
munion with others, and to
forge bonds of solidarity
for the common good.
In the web of rela-
tionships that surround him, the person
learns to interact “horizontally” with
other persons and society at large. He
also deepens his “vertical” relationships
with God as his Creator and Father as
well as with the world of nature.
In the process, he also relates to him-
self as a self-project with an immensity
of possibilities. He remains a subject,
an “I” capable of self-understanding
and self-determination. In this sense, as
a center of consciousness and freedom,
he exists as a unique and unrepeatable
being (CSDC, 131).
6) The Christian view of the human
person balances the mystery of sin with
the universality of salvation in Jesus
Christ.
The tragedy of original sin as well
as personal and social sin has brought
about the consequences of alienation
of man from God, from his true self,
from other persons, and from the world
around him.
Indeed, “Christian realism sees the
abysses of sin, but in the light of hope,
greater than any evil, given by Jesus
Christ’s act of redemption, in which sin
and death are destroyed” (CSDC, 121). In
this light, man is a being-unto-death-and-
beyond, ultimately a being-unto-God.
Life becomes a pilgrimage and death a
graduation to eternal life.
II. We are for Responsible Parenthood
This is our goal: to enable parents to
be aware of their rights as well as their
duties in the procreation and educa-
tion of their children. Planning one’s
family in order to adequately care for
every child that comes into the world is
a responsibility that should not be taken
lightly by parents.
Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter on
the regulation of birth, Humanae Vitae
(Of Human Life), describes responsible
parenthood in terms of the parents’ de-
liberate decision in planning the size of
the family:
In relation to physical, eco-
nomic, psychological and social
conditions, responsible parenthood
is exercised, either by the deliberate
and generous decision to raise a
numerous family, or by the decision,
made for grave motives and with due
respect for the moral law, to avoid
for the time being, or even for an
indeterminate period, a
new birth (HV, 10).
The Second Plenary
Council of the Catholic
Bishops of the Philippines
explicitates further this
meaning of responsible
parenthood:
Christian parents
must exercise respon-
sible parenthood. While
nurturing a generous
attitude towards bring-
ing new human life into
the world, they should
strive to beget only
those children whom
they can raise up in a
truly human and Chris-
tian way. Towards this
end, they need to plan
their families accord-
ing to the moral norms
taught by the Church
(PCP II, 583).
Planning one’s family
highlights the central val-
ue of the family in human
society. In particular, we
can refect on the role of
the Christian family in the
modern world, in terms of
four tasks elaborated in
Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul
II’s apostolic exhortation:
1) Forming a community of persons.
As an “intimate community of life and
love” (GS, 48), the family refects and
is “a real sharing in God’s love for
humanity” (FC, 17). It is based on the
indissolubility of marriage and conjugal
communion. It fosters the dignity and
vocation of all the persons in the family
– husband and wife, children, relatives.
It underlines the equal dignity of women
with men, the rights of children, as well
as care for the elderly. Indeed, this com-
munion of persons makes the family “a
school of deeper humanity” (GS, 52).
2) Serving life. The fundamental
task of the family is to serve life – i.e.,
“transmitting by procreation the divine
image from person to person” (FC,
28). Fecundity is seen as the fruit and
the sign of conjugal love. The Church
stands for life and stresses that “love
between husband and wife must be fully
human, exclusive and open to new life”
(HV, 11).
Educating children in the essential
values of human life is an integral part
of serving life. These values include a
Fig. 2. Dignity of the Human Person
ARTICLES
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Volume 43 • Number 5
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sense of true justice, of true love, and of
service to others. Parents are “the frst
and foremost educators of their children,”
while the family itself is “the frst and
fundamental school of social living”
(FC, 36-37). Education for chastity as
well as education in the religious faith
of the parents, are other essential values
that must be respected and supported by
the state.
3) Participating in the development
of society. As the “frst and vital cell
of society,” and the “frst school of the
social virtues,” the family is “by nature
and vocation open to other families and
to society” (FC, 42). Hence, the family
also plays a social and political role.
Its members in their various capacities
are called to contribute to the develop-
ment of the wider community. Christian
families should strive to live out the
values of truth, freedom, justice and
love—the pillars for building peace on
earth, envisioned in Pope John XXIII’s
Pacem in Terris.
4) Sharing in the life and mission
of the Church. The family is seen as
the “domestic church” (FC, 49). In
this light, it partakes in the threefold
role of Jesus Christ as Prophet, Priest
and King. The family is seen as (a) a
believing and evangelizing community,
(b) a community in dialogue with God,
and (c) a community at the service of
man (FC, 50).
Christian marriage itself is seen as a
“profession of faith” and it is this journey
of faith that continues throughout the life
cycle of the family. The Christian family
educates the children for life that enables
them to discover the image of God in
every brother and sister.
In sum, responsible parent-
hood gives birth to a Christian
family that is a community of love
and is at the threefold service of
nurturing life, developing society,
and continuing the mission of the
Church.
III. We are for Natural Family
Planning
If responsible parenthood is
the goal for married couples, natu-
ral family planning is the means
deemed morally acceptable by
the Church. Pope John Paul II
underlines “the difference, both an-
thropological and moral, between
contraception and recourse to the
rhythm of the cycle” (FC, 32). It
is in this light that we can discuss
the nature of natural family planning and
ten reasons for its adoption.
a) What is Natural Family Planning?
Natural family planning is an ap-
proach for regulating births by identi-
fying the fertile and infertile periods
of a woman’s cycle. As an educational
process and a way of life, there are four
elements:
It involves the observation of a natu-
rally occurring body sign or signs
• in order to identify the woman’s
fertile and infertile periods.
• it involves the timing of inter-
course
• to avoid or achieve pregnancy.
In contrast to artifcial contracep-
tives, NFP means No DIDO − i.e., no
Drugs, Injections, Devices, or Opera-
tions at any time. It also means no with-
drawal.
b) Why Natural
Fami l y Pl an-
ning?
1. Normal inter-
course is pre-
served. Couples
can plan the size
of their families
and space births
the natural way.
They do not re-
sort to artifcial
means.
2. NFP is mor-
ally acceptable
to people of all
religions and cul-
tures. It does not
separate the love-
giving and life-giving dimensions of the
marriage act. The unitive and procreative
ends of marriage are kept whole.
3. There are no inherent health risks in
NFP methods. No pills, drugs, injec-
tions, devices or operations are used. A
healthy body does not need this kind of
“medical” treatment.
4. Modern NFP methods are effective
and reliable. They are based on scientifc
studies and are time-tested. Simplifed
methods are easy to learn. Some NFP
methods may be combined to reinforce
each other.
5. There is no cost involved once the
method has been learned. Couples are
empowered not to rely on health centers,
donor agencies, or drugstores. NFP is
pro-poor, and not for proft of outside
companies.
6. NFP becomes sustainable from gen-
eration to generation. Mothers can
readily pass on the practice of NFP to
their daughters.
7. NFP involves a joint decision by the
couple. Neither partner feels being used
by the other. It is an ideal way of exercis-
ing shared parenthood. A “contraceptive
mentality” is avoided.
8. NFP engenders sexual discipline
for the spouses through periodic absti-
nence. The practice of NFP manifests a
conscious familiarity with the natural
rhythm of the human body, mutual caring
between the spouses, and the develop-
ment of self-control that is carried over
in the upbringing of the children.
9. Couples who use NFP seldom or
never resort to abortion. They manifest
an innate respect for human life. They
welcome every child as a gift from God –
Fig. 3. Relationships
of a Human Person
Pastoral Guidelines and Core Values in NFP Promotion
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IMPACT • May 2009 8
even in the eventuality of an unexpected
pregnancy.
10. Couples who use NFP seldom or
never end up in separation or divorce.
NFP enhances communication between
spouses and promotes a wholesome
family life.
The Catechism of the Catholic
Church summarizes the nature and ra-
tionale of NFP:
Periodic continence, that is,
the methods of birth regulation
based on self-observation and the
use of infertile periods, is in con-
formity with the objective criteria
of morality. These methods respect
the bodies of the spouses, encour-
age tenderness between them, and
favor the education of an authentic
freedom (CCC, 2370).
IV. We are for enabling couples to make
an Informed and Morally
Responsible Choice, according to
the dictates of a Right Conscience
“The education of an authentic freedom”
constitutes our fourth pastoral guideline.
Within the context of a pluralistic society,
the government’s focus is to refrain from
coercion and to provide information
on all family planning methods that it
deems necessary for couples to make
an informed choice. On the other hand,
the Church’s focus should be to provide
information on all NFP methods
and to help couples form a right
conscience so that they are able to
make not only an informed but also
a morally responsible choice.
Three kinds of freedom are
implied in this pastoral guide-
line. There is frst the ontological
freedom of every human person,
endowed with reason and free will.
Innate in his human dignity is the
person’s freedom to choose good
or evil—even to say “no” to his
Creator, or to go against his very
nature by doing what would be
considered inhuman acts.
From the societal perspective,
governments promote the civic and
political freedoms of their citizens
by safeguarding the exercise of
their rights and duties within the
bounds of public order. Thus the
freedoms of speech, of assembly,
of religion, of economic enterprise,
of responsible parenthood itself,
etc. are hallmarks of a democratic
society. A dictatorial government,
on the other hand, suppresses by
superior force the basic freedoms of its
citizens.
A third kind of freedom is what we
call authentic freedom—i.e., the freedom
to do what ought to be done. “Man’s dig-
nity,” according to the Vatican II Council
Fathers, “demands that he act according
to a knowing and free choice that is
personally motivated and prompted from
within…” (GS, 17). This inner prompting
is what we mean by conscience which
calls man to acknowledge the natural
moral law given by God.
“For man has in his heart a law
inscribed by God,” cite the Council
Fathers. “His dignity lies in observing
this law, and by it he will be judged…
By conscience in a wonderful way, that
law is made known…” (GS, 16). Thus
the individual assumes personal respon-
sibility for all his human acts that are
knowingly and willingly done, heeding
the dictates of his conscience.
However, conscience itself needs to
be formed and guided by the objective
norms of moral conduct. Ignorance or
sinful habits pose as obstacles to the
formation of a right conscience. It is
in this light that values formation is an
integral part of our All-NFP program − to
enable parents as well as their children
to acquire “a truly responsible freedom”
(FC, 21).
This includes providing information
on all scientifcally-based NFP methods
as a pastoral imperative. Corollary to
this would be presenting the positive
motivations for NFP and its integral at-
tractiveness, instead of simply attacking
the agencies promoting contraceptives.
“Proclamation is always more important
than denunciation,” notes Pope John
Paul II, “and the latter cannot ignore
the former, which gives it true solid-
ity and the force of higher motivation”
(SRS, 41).
In summary, these four pastoral
guidelines provide the core values for
our All-NFP ministry. Couples, indeed,
have to consider several crucial factors:
the good of their children already born
or yet to come, their own situation at the
material and spiritual level, and the over-
all good of their family, of society, and
of the Church. “It is the married couple
themselves,” note the Council Fathers,
“who must in the last analysis arrive at
these judgments before God” (GS, 50).
For its part, the local church can
carry out its servant role by reaching out
to as many couples as possible with the
good news of various natural family plan-
ning methods today that are proven to be
safe, reliable, practicable and adaptable
to the various circumstances of family
life. Instead of resorting to condemna-
tion or confrontation, we fnd that for
concerned couples, authentic values
can best be formed with charity,
compassion, and the formation of
conscience.
References
CCC - Catechism of the Catholic Church,
Pope John Paul II, 1994.
CSDC - Compendium of the Social
Doctrine of the Church, Pontifical
Council for Justice and Peace, 2004.
FC - Familiaris Consortio (The Role
of the Christian Family in the Modern
World), Pope John Paul II, 1981.
GS - Gaudi um et Spes (Pastoral
Constitution on the Church in the Modern
World), Second Vatican Ecumenical
Council, 1965.
HV - Humanae Vitae (Of Human life),
Pope Paul VI, 1968.
PCP II - Second Plenary Council of
the Philippines, Catholic Bishops’
Conference of the Philippines, 1991.
SRS - Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (The
Social Concern of the Church), Pope
John Paul II, 1987.
Pastoral Guidelines and Core Values in NFP Promotion
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Volume 43 • Number 5
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F
ive years ago, while
I was officiating at a
wedding in our parish
church in Davao, I heard
gunshots in the parking area
in front of the church. Af-
ter the mass, I went out to
find out what happened. I
learned that a teenager named
Bonicol who was watching
the cars was shot by a man
who escaped on a motorbike
driven by his companion.
Bonicol lived in Sagrada, an
urban poor community near
the church. He was a member
of a neighborhood gang and
was believed to be a drug
user. A few weeks before he
was killed, Bonicol and his
companions were suspected
of breaking the window of a
car and stealing a bag con-
taining money. The owner of
the car got so angry and he
was heard as saying: “They’d
better watch out, the DDS
will get them.”
Two years ago, while
I was biking towards a ba-
rangay, I met on the road
The Response of the
Local Church in Davao to
the Summary Killings
men on two motorbikes who
were speeding so fast. When
I reached the center of the
barangay, I saw people gath-
ering around the body of
teen-ager who had just been
shot. When I asked what hap-
pened, they asked me if I met
men on motorbikes. I said
that I saw them. They told
me that that those men were
DDS who shot the victim
whom they said was a drug
addict and a thief who stole
cell phones.
One afternoon last year,
while I was jogging back to
the monastery, I saw people
gathered around the dead
body of a teen-ager. I asked
what happened. The people
told me that the victim was
stabbed by men who escaped
on motorbikes. They said the
victim was a gang member
who was an addict and a
pusher. When I asked who
they believed killed him, they
answered: DDS.
There are serial killers
on the loose in the streets of
Davao and other cities of the
Philippines. Day by day the
body count continues to rise.
From 1998 up to March 27,
2009, 890 people were mur-
dered by this group. Most of
these were suspected drug ad-
dicts, pushers, petty thieves
and members of gangs. They
come mostly from the lower
class. Many of the victims
were young people, as young
as 14 years old. Some were
older.
The victims were usu-
ally warned beforehand by
police or barangay officials
that their names were on a list
and that they should mend
their ways. The killings were
usually carried out by two to
three men on motorcycles
using .45 caliber pistol or
knife. Some were killed a few
minutes after being released
from jail—while waiting for
public transportation.
Davao Death Squad
Who are behind these
killings? There is a wide-
spread belief that the killings
in Davao are perpetrated by
a shadowy vigilante group
known as the Davao Death
Squad (DDS). According to
reports, the group was ini-
tially composed of NPA rebel
returnees and off-duty police-
men who acted as handlers.
Later they expanded to young
people who were addicts and
members of gangs that were
recruited as hit-men.
There is public percep-
tion that these killings are tol-
erated or even sponsored by
those in authority—the local
government executive and
some police officials. The
mayor and the police officials
have denied the existence
of the Death Squad. They
blame these killings as part
of the rivalry among gangs
or criminal syndicates. They
deny that they are sponsoring
this non-existent group.
Yet at the same time, the
mayor has made pronounce-
ments that tend to support
or justify these killings. He
By Fr. Amado Picardal, CSsR, STD
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IMPACT • May 2009 10
warned criminals that they
are fair targets of assassi-
nation, that they could die
anytime. He said that capital
punishment has not been
lifted in the city. He had read
a list of suspected criminals
and many on the list were
killed afterwards. He has
not condemned the killings.
The justifications that he has
given are often echoed by
some radio commentators,
newspaper columnists and
city councilors.
What are the justifica-
tions provided by those who
support the killings? 1) Those
killed are criminals (thieves,
drug pushers and addicts,
gang members) and they all
deserve to die; 2) They are
meant to defend ordinary
citizens from criminals; 3)
This is part of the war against
crime and a means for cleans-
ing evil from society; 4) It
serves as a deterrent and will
bring down the crime rate;
5) It keeps the city safe and
this is good for business;
6) Those who sponsor and
commit these killings are just
doing their duty to uphold
law and order; 7) It is for the
good of society. Those who
order and carry out these
killings are rendering service
to society.
Many people have ac-
cepted these justifications
and support the killings. This
is probably the reason why
there is not much outcry
from the public against sum-
mary executions. Those local
government officials who
are suspected of sponsoring
these summary executions
remain popular and they get
re-elected.
Coalition Against Summary
Execution
There are civil society
groups, including the Inte-
grated Bar of the Philippines-
Davao Chapter who oppose
the killings and formed the
Coalition Against Summary
Execution (CASE).
The archdiocese under
the leadership of Archbishop
Fernando Capalla has taken
a prophetic stance vis-à-vis
these killings. As early as
2002, Archbishop Capalla
has issued a pastoral letter
“Thou Shalt not Kill” which
condemned the killings. The
priests have also preached
against the killings and af-
firmed the sacredness of life.
At the beginning of the sea-
son of Lent this year, Arch-
bishop Capalla asked that
the Oratio Imperata be read
in the churches. The prayer
describes what is happening
in the city:
“Heavenly Father, our
city is wounded in its soul.
Our people’s wounds are deep
and wide. These wounds are
the hatred and dislike of drug
addicts and drug pushers, the
senseless disregard of due
process of law, the violent
killing of mere suspects, the
crash taking of the law into
one’s hands, the lustful greed
in the hooded killers on motor
bike, the baseless claim that
there are no witnesses, the
inhuman disrespect for life
of the unborn from womb to
tomb, and the unjust socio-
political system that tolerates
all these to happen.”
At the core of the prayer
is the following petition:
For this reason, Heav-
enly Father, we beg you to
give us your healing touch.
Touch the hardened hearts
of criminals, drug addicts,
drug pushers, drug lords, law
enforcers, and the hearts of us
all. Open them to the healing
power of your love and com-
passion. Give the grace of
courage to the eyewitnesses
of crimes. Awaken in us all a
collective consciousness and
support which are urgently
needed by the witnesses and
the grieving families of vic-
tims. Convert us to you and
to one another. Reconcile us
to you and to one another
through sincere repentance
and mutual forgiveness. For
without forgiveness, there is
no future for our city.
The oratio appears to
have been partly answered
with the coming of the Com-
mission on Human Rights
headed by Atty. Leila de
Lima to start the public in-
quiry and investigation on
the killings. Although the
local authorities continued
to deny the existence of the
death squad, more witnesses
began to speak to the Com-
mission secretly with the
encouragement of the clergy
and the Coalition Against
Summary Execution. The
witnesses confirmed the re-
port of the New York-based
Human Rights Watch that
there is indeed a vigilante
group responsible for the
summary killings and who
have links to some police
and government officials.
Although the witnesses are
not yet ready to testify in
public, their testimonies pro-
vide detailed information on
the workings of the Death
Squad and their connection
with some police officials
who act as their handlers.
The role of the Church
As the investigation on
the killings continues, the
Catholic Church in Davao
has the following tasks:1)
To continue praying so that
the killings may stop, that
witnesses may come out to
testify and those responsible
be held accountable; 2) To
continue it prophetic stance
of denouncing the culture of
death and proclaiming the
Gospel of life; 3) To form
the moral conscience of the
people and counteract the
justification for killings as
promoted by the mayor and
the local media; 4) To en-
courage witnesses to come
out and testify and ensure
their safety.
It is in the area of the
formation of conscience that
the local Church is giving
ARTICLES
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Volume 43 • Number 5
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much attention since there
are many people who believe
that the killings can be justi-
fied. There has been either
apathy among the people in
Davao to these killings, if not
even outright support. This
is indeed disturbing. What
is more disturbing is that the
killings have spread to other
cities in Mindanao (Tagum,
Digos, General Santos, Ca-
gayan de Oro), in the Visayas
(Cebu, Dumaguete) and in
Metro-Manila. The tacit sup-
port of majority of the people
emboldens the death squad
and their sponsors to continue
the killing spree.
How do we respond to
the justifications that the
sponsors and supporter of
the summary killings are
promoting?
We first have to address
the question of whether it is
really a solution to criminal-
ity. Obviously, it is not. The
victims are mostly small-time
criminals, some are innocent
(mistaken identity), some
have already surrendered
and were released from jail.
The drug problem remains
unsolved; the big drug lords
continue to operate. It is not
a deterrent to crime. The big
criminals are at large and con-
tinue to remain in high office.
It spawns copycat killings
and vigilantism. According
to Human Rights Watch, after
analyzing the statistics for
the last ten years, the crime
rate in Davao has increased
by 219%.
From a legal perspective,
summary killing is against
the law. It is a crime. It is
premeditated murder. Those
who sponsor and commit
these summary executions
are considered criminals. It is
a travesty of the due process
of the law and a mockery to
our judicial system. Those
who order and carry out these
killings, illegally arrogate
to themselves the functions
of prosecution, judges and
executioners.
No moral justification
From a moral perspec-
tive, those who sponsor and
carry out summary killings
violate the 5th Command-
ment: “You shall not kill.”
They are committing murder.
The direct and intentional
killing of human beings is
a grave sin. It is immoral.
Murderers are answerable
to not only to the law but
to God.
The Catechism of the
Catholic Church no. 1756
states: There are acts which,
in and of themselves indepen-
dently of circumstances and
intentions, are always gravely
illicit by reason of their object.
One may not do evil so that
good may result from it.
Murder is one of these.
Even if the intention is to
fight criminality, it does not
justify the killings. In spite
of good intentions, the means
used is not only illegal it is
also immoral. The end does
not justify the means. We
cannot achieve a good end
with evil means. It is not right
to fight crime by committing
a crime.
One cannot use the ar-
gument of self-defense to
justify the killings. The vic-
tims were unarmed, they did
not directly threaten the life
of those who sponsored and
carried out these summary
executions nor the life of the
citizens in general. While
their activities may be harm-
ful to society, there are lawful
means to deal with them.
The Catechism of the
Catholic Church no. 2259
states: “God alone is the Lord
of life from its beginning un-
til its end: no one can, under
any circumstances, claim for
himself the right to destroy
human life.”
No one can, therefore, ar-
rogate for himself the power
of life and death over other
people. No one has a license
to kill. Not government offi-
cials (even if he is the mayor),
not the police and military
and not any civilian.
According to the Cate-
chism of the Catholic Church
2319: “Every human life,
from the moment of concep-
tion until death, is sacred be-
cause the human person has
been willed for its own sake
The Response of the Local Church in Davao to the Summary Killings
Volume 43 • Number 5
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Killings, page 15
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IMPACT • May 2009 12
ARTICLES
By Xavier Rodrigues
A
few weeks ago I received an
email from a friend in Mexico.
It was a PowerPoint presenta-
tion of the conditions “beneath human
dignity” in which people in Mumbai
are subjected to in a shoe workshop.
Everyone overseas expects to see
such things after watching the Oscar-
winning film Slumdog Millionaire.
The presentation had been made
by a businessman there after a trip to
India. He had come here thinking of
outsourcing the shoe making process
for his company to a top-quality
producer in this country. Apparently,
he decided not to go ahead and went
back home. His email was intended to
spread the message that outsourcing
means exploiting poor people.
I beg to differ.
It is true that many people in Mum-
bai work under conditions which, in
other countries, would be considered
Is outsourcing
exploitation?
Just ask Indian shoemakers whether they would prefer
to work for themselves or for an overseas company.
sweatshops. And it is true they do it for
an extremely low salary—just a couple
of dollars a day. But it is very far from
the truth that giving business to those
companies is cooperating with evil.
First of all, it is a fact that the
quality of the products and services
is generally high. Thus the companies
outsourcing get the benefit of high qual-
ity at a good price. As New York Times
journalist Thomas Friedman put it in
his bible of globalization, The World
is Flat: "Rule #6: The best companies
outsource to win, not to shrink. They
outsource to innovate faster and more
cheaply in order to grow larger, gain
market share, and hire more and dif-
ferent specialists—not to save money
by firing more people".
By outsourcing they are getting
someone else to care for a process
which does not involve their core busi-
ness. In this way they will be able to
concentrate on innovation and market-
ing. This applies to outsourcing in any
field: shoe-making, software and web-
development, call centers, etc.
Now, what about the people work-
ing behind the outsourcing? Just imag-
ine that company X, which employs 50
of these shoe makers (mochis as they are
called here) goes out of business:
Each of these mochis would then
have to set up his own shop as other
thousands of mochis in the city do. He
would be sitting in a corner protected
from rain and sun with some rags as a
roof. The “shop” is barely 3 by 3 feet and
perhaps just 4 feet high. They are very
efficient, working with both arms and
legs (thus they need to be sitting on the
floor), and don't charge much... perhaps
Rs. 10 US$0.20) for a 15-minute job.
Hopefully he will get enough clients so
as to make 2,000 or 3,000 Rupees ($40
to US$60) in a month.
This is not really too bad, but the
guys in the outsourced workshop are
better off. It is true they still sit at the
Outsourcing, page 14
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Volume 43 • Number 5
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By Fr. Shay Cullen
T
he outpouring of public concern and outrage over the
acquittal and overturning of a rape conviction and
a life sentence by the Philippine Court of Appeals
against US Navy Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith,
was less than expected. The public had been conditioned
by the affidavit of desistance of the victim made last 8
March 2009. Soon after that the young woman, Nicole (not
her real name), departed to the United States with a special
immigrant visa, if not a green card and a generous financial
gratuity by way of compensation. A deal had been done. The
complainant was neutralized and the court could proceed
with the expected acquittal.
The Court of Appeals division 11 is composed of three
female judges. They ruled that they had ignored the affidavit
of Nicole, but that she was not an innocent provincial girl but
a woman of “indecorous behavior”. More or less saying that
the victim had asked for it and was to blame. The ruling said
in effect that the lower court had been wrong in convicting
Smith of rape because the evidence showed that it was a
“spontaneous unplanned romantic episode”. Indeed!
It ruled that semi-intoxicated Nicole, even though she
was carried on the back of the marine to a van where the
“spontaneous romantic episode” happened, gave her consent.
Many have taken issue with this decision. But it was the only
“political” decision possible.
For many Americans and Filipino officials and business
leaders, it is unimaginable for a US marine to be impris-
oned for life in a filthy, disease-ridden Philippine jail with
criminals, rapists, rats and cockroaches. It would lead to
unending protest rallies in the United States, and an end to
all US investment and aid to the Philippines.
That was the reason the US government insisted on
keeping Smith in the US Embassy and not in a Filipino jail.
They were right, those jails are unfit for human habitation.
They are still the abode of Filipino children and we wish
many Filipinos would consider it unimaginable that children
would be incarcerated with adult criminals and rats and rally
The Inconvenient
Contradictions
to have them released.
But what a campaign it was for the activist groups
during the past three years that saw rallies, marches and
denunciations of US military rapists and women abusers.
There were even calls by some opposition politicians for
the Philippines to rescind the Visiting Forces Agreement
(VFA) that allows US ships and planes to use the Philip-
pines ports and airports and conduct military exercises.
It was the widespread sexual exploitation of women and
children by US servicemen and sex tourists in the honky-
tonk bars of Olongapo and Angeles City and elsewhere that
led to the campaign to close the bases and convert them
to economic zones.
That was a ten-year campaign that succeeded beyond
our wildest dreams. It started the day in 1983, when I dis-
covered 12 children, the youngest was 9 years-old, infected
with venereal diseases and hidden away from the public and
media in the Olongapo City general hospital by the mayor
and US admiral. Not even the Red Cross came to save them.
Exposing that nearly cost me my life.
The bases are closed since 1992 and hundreds of manu-
facturing enterprises, hotels, and family tourist resorts employ
as many as 80,000 Filipinos with dignified work. While the
bases went away, the sex industry did not completely die. It
reemerged in 1996 run by the international sex mafia with
thousands of European and Australian sex tourists and retired
US servicemen enjoying the sexual exploitation of young
women and children they once enjoyed.
Today, sex slavery is growing and thousands of women
and children are trafficked into the sex clubs that proliferate
across the land from the cities to the seaside resorts. Child
rape, prostitution of children, forced abortions and every
kind of sexual exploitation is rampant. There are no cam-
paigns, rallies nor marches for them. Why not? Thousands
of foreigners are doing this every day and night in sex bars,
clubs and hotels across the land and it is just as evil and
wrong and outrageous as what the marchers and protesters
said Daniel Smith did to Nicole and there is not a placard
of protest to be seen.
©

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floor and work in a cramped space. But
this is how they learned their job in the
first place. Besides, those fellows have
a stable job; they have accommodation
(the workshop itself); their salary is
secure and thus their children can go to
school... The accommodation factor is
very important, even though they may
not get to see their family for the full
week. Otherwise they would have to
spend about four hours a day in jam-
packed public transport and spend a few
precious Rupees in the process.
I have used shoe manufacturing as
an example, but a very similar line could
be drawn for other labour-intensive
manufacturing processes, or even for
services where professionals work.
Contributing to those businesses as
clients is certainly not cooperating with
something against human dignity.
However, what is against human
dignity is maintaining the status quo
instead of improving things. The point
is that those shop owners, the producers,
should help their employees to improve
their standard of living. Employers
should take care that their workers are
getting a fair income, that their children
are able to attend school, that they are
able to spend some time with their
family, they improve their skills, that
salaries are not delayed, that their debts
are not overwhelming, etc.
At the same time, of course, the
business has to run smoothly and make
a good profit. It is not easy, and un-
fortunately, at times it doesn't happen.
Bosses want to retain their employees
at the lowest possible cost, not helping
them and not giving them an opportunity
to develop.
Here is where a conscientious client
can put some pressure to ensure that
the boss takes care of his employees.
This is already happening. Many clients
demand that their providers improve
working conditions and quality of life
of employees. A proof of this is that now
outsourcing to India is now more about
high quality rather than cost.
(Xavier Rodrigues is the manager of
a company in Mumbai for the coordina-
tion of outsourced projects. email: xavi-
er@ecam.co.in This article is printed
with permission by MercatorNet)
Outsourcing, from page 12
NEWS
FEATURES
SEOUL, South Korea, April 30, 2009—
South Korea’s bioethics authority yes-
terday conditionally lifted a three-year
ban on research using cloned human
stem cells. The decision will allow sci-
entists to use human embryos after it
was banned following the scandal that
involved Hwang Woo-suk, the phony
“human cloning pioneer.”
Once a national hero, Hwang fell from
grace when the international scientifc
community and Seoul University realized
that the results of his stem cells research
were doctored to show that he had had
cloned healthy human cells from people
affected by still incurable diseases.
Seoul’s Cha Medical Center applied
for approval last October for research on
cloning human embryos and extracting
stem cells but its application still has
to meet four conditions before getting a
green light, namely it must get a written
agreement from egg donors (to use aborted
human eggs), focus on lab animals to
minimize the use of human eggs, set up
an internal screening body to check for
possible abuse and cheating, and remove
any references from the project title that
could give people false hope like ‘stem
cell research which can cure diseases such
as Parkinson's.’
The decision to remove the ban from
human stem cell research still requires
ministerial approval but chances of rejec-
tion are minimal.
In taking this direction South Korea
appears to be following US bioethics
policy. Among his many measures US
President Barack Obama has decided
to fund human stem cells, to the tune of
billions of dollars.
“The decision will help reactivate
stem cell research in South Korea,"
said Chung Hyung-Min, Cha General
Hospital’s leading researcher. “Stem cell
research has been done by scientists in
Britain and other countries. But there has
been no successful case yet, using human
eggs,” he explained.
Embryonic stem cell research has
been marred by controversy ever since
it began, fuelling heated debates over
ethics, science and the right to life at
every stage.
The Catholic Church’s position on the
matter is unequivocal: embryos are hu-
man beings for all intents and purposes.
In May 2008 South Korean bishops
condemned changes to the country’s
bioethics law by parliament which now
allows for the reimbursement of the
expenses incurred by people who ac-
cept to take part in cloning experiments.
(AsiaNews/Agencies)
Seoul lifts ban on human stem cell research
MANILA, April 30, 2009—The head of
the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP) on Thursday urged
employers and the government to recog-
nize the contribution of the workers.
In his message on Labor Day 2009,
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo la-
mented that workers in the Philippines
are oftentimes deprived of the just share
of the fruits of their work.
The archbishop said there should
be interdependence between labor and
capital to achieve economic progress.
He noted that the protection of the
work force and justice of charity must
always be taken into account in the just
ordering society.
“The celebration of Labor Day
would be all the more meaningful if our
labor force will feel more concretely
and tangibly the care and concern of
the business sector, the government
and civil society,” he said.
The Second Plenary Council of the
Philippines, whose priorities included
transforming the local church into a
"church of the poor," recognized the
"priority of labor over capital."
“We acknowledge the mutual de-
pendence of capital and labor. It has
been well said ‘neither capital can do
without labor, nor labor without capi-
tal,’” Lagdameo said.
“This mutual dependence can exist
only in the atmosphere of social and
distributive justice. Acts of justice
take precedence over acts of charity,”
he added.
The church official also said the
work force which is responsible in
producing the food and wealth of the
country must be provided with their just
share of the fruits of their labors.
Retirement benefits must likewise
be part of the program for workers,
Lagdameo said. (Roy Lagarde)
Church says labor has priority over capital
I
Volume 43 • Number 5
15
in the image and likeness of
the living and holy God.”
John Paul II also af-
firms the sacredness of life:
“God proclaims that he is the
absolute Lord of the life of
man, who is formed in his
image and likeness. Human
life is thus given a sacred and
inviolable character ... God
will severely judge every
violation of the command-
ment “You shall not kill”
(Evangelium Vitae 53).
Thus, every human being
has the right to life (whether
the unborn, the young, the
old, and even criminals). The
right to life is inalienable. It
flows from the principle that
all human beings are made in
the image and likeness of God
and possess human dignity.
No one can be deprived of
the right to life.
According to John Paul
II in Evangelium Vitae 57:
“Such great care must be
taken to respect every life,
even that of criminals and
unjust aggressors.”
The Catechism for Fili-
pino Catholics 1032 states:
“God alone is the ultimate
Lord and Master of life. Since
life comes from God and is
sustained by God, it belongs
to him.
Therefore, we are stew-
ards of life who must respect
and care for our own lives
and of others. Hence, it is
not just the question of “not
killing,” but of protecting,
promoting, and enhancing
the quality of life.
The Church’s opposition
to summary killing is con-
sistent with its opposition to
abortion, capital punishment,
war, euthanasia and other
manifestation of the culture
of death. This is part of the
consistent ethic of life.
Not a solution
The summary killings
cannot be morally justified.
It is murder – an intrinsically
evil act. It is gravely immoral.
It is a crime and a grave
sin. It cannot be considered
as a legitimate self-defense.
Even if it claims to have a
good intention or end, the
means used cannot be justi-
fied. Those who sponsor and
carry out summary killings,
in their effort to stamp out
criminality become criminals
themselves. There is a need
to address the problem of
criminality, especially drug
addiction, which is part of
the culture of death. Summary
killing is not the solution.
It contributes to the rise of
criminality by being a crimi-
nal act and further promotes
the culture of death. As part of
our prophetic mission, it is our
task as clergy and religious to
denounce and oppose sum-
mary killings and to proclaim
the Gospel of life.
(Fr. Picardal is a Re-
demptorist priest and theo-
logian based in Davao City.
He is the spokesperson of the
Coalition Against Summary
Execution (CASE))
Killings, from page 11
NEWS
FEATURES
LAHORE, Pakistan, May 2, 2009—
Twelve Christian families are on the run
after receiving death threats from other
Christians and Muslims who are alleg-
ing that the families have committed
‘blasphemy’. The episode occurred in
the village of Chak, Sahiwal, where the
Christian community numbers 6,500.
Local Muslim sources report that a
week ago, unidentifed people broke into
Harrappa Government Community Model
Girls Primary School in the village. Later
students found a page of the Koran on
Christian families flee Punjab in wake of presumed blasphemy case
deliberately sully Shani and they added;
“It could have been a conspiracy against
Shani”. Sources on the ground report
that following the incident, a group of
Christian families already opposed to
Shani started accusing him of committing
blasphemy and instigated Muslims and
other Christians of the area against him.
The enmity between Shani and some
members of the local Christian commu-
nity arises from Shani’s support for the
politician Zahid Iqbal, while the other
families support Rai Azizullah.
As a result, mosques in the area
made announcements saying “it is mat-
ter of respect of Islam”. On April 30th a
large number of Christians and Muslims
protested at the arrival of Shahbaz Sharif,
Chief Minister of Punjab, in Sahiwal,
demanding the arrest of Shani. Later the
charged mob started shouting slogans
against Shani and tried to torch his house
and those of his friends and relatives who
had already fed the area. However, police
intervened and succeeded in restoring calm
to the village. There is still no news of the
whereabouts of the friends and family of
Shani. Local sources claimed they had
sought refuge with the local police; which
was immediately denied by the police.
Despite this Friday May 1st, a mob
from a neighboring village tried to burn
the houses of the accused. Calm was only
restored after the intervention of local
fgures of note. (AsiaNews/Agencies)
the ground smeared with black ink and
gum. The blackboard had the following
words written on it: “I am don”. Pakistan
People’s Party Member of the National
Assembly, Zahid Iqbal and local police
said that the words on the blackboard led
to the assumption that a Christian social
activist, well-known in the area, named
Shani was responsible for what had hap-
pened, as he was also called ‘don’.
However the politician and local
police did not exclude that the writing and
Koran page could have been planted to
I
IMPACT • May 2009 16
The Cause of so much Poverty and Wealth:
UNDERSTANDING THE
COCONUT
I NDUSTRY
COVER
STORY
By Charles Avila
W
ith the PCGG’s recent resolu-
tion allowing the utilization of
dividends from the coconut
levy-funded San Miguel Corporation
shares to the tune of a couple of billion
pesos for the benefit of the coco-levy-
funded bank (UCPB) and its investment
arm (the CIIF—or Coconut Industry
Investment Fund), the old undying
controversy has taken on new intensity.
Mr. Eduardo Cojuangco’s successful
forays into investment areas other
than food and drink (communications,
power distribution, energy production,
etc.) have also reminded many, despite
the passage of the years, where all that
capital originally came from and in what
manner it was accumulated.
The coconut itself, however, as the
center of the most important Philippine
industry in history is little understood
for what it is to our country and to the
world. It may be useful to be reminded
of a few basic facts.
A Nature-Made Competitive Advantage
The “Tree of Life” is what many
people call the coconut—cocos nu-
cifera—a perennial tree grown exten-
sively in Asia Pacific, Africa and parts of
Latin America covering about 12 million
hectares of land on planet earth. For
many communities in the developing
nations of these coco areas, the coconut
is a source of food, drink, fuel, furniture,
medicine, handicrafts and fiber. It is
the tree of a thousand uses—in most
of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Kerala India,
parts of Malaysia and Thailand, and
many Pacific islands.
For most of the developed world,
coconut oil is the greatest source of
lauric oil—C12 to C14—the desired
raw material for soaps and toiletries,
personal care and detergent products,
cooking oil and fats component of food
products. Millions of tons of coconut oil
flow into Rotterdam annually for redis-
tribution, in turn, to the whole developed
world to meet these demands that only
coconut can satisfy with superiority.
Coconut oil is premium oil and has no
perfect substitute. The closest substitute
is palm kernel oil.
Coconut oil is also the secret of the
jet age. Jet turbines need this oil whose
specific carbon content mineral fossil
oil cannot provide.
Of late, it is the most desired fruit
for its richness in monolaurin, the
medium-chain fatty acid largely found
in only one other place—in mother’s
milk. These fatty acids are burned almost
immediately for energy production, and
so they are not converted into body fat
or cholesterol and do not affect blood
cholesterol levels.
These therapeutic benefits of coco-
nut and its by-products are protection
against heart disease, cancer, diabetes
and a host of other degenerative illness-
es. Coconut oil supports and strengthens
the human body’s immune system.
Due in part to the scientific consensus
globally reached on the matter, coconut
virgin oil is at long last becoming more
than a fad.
Recent studies have also found that
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Understanding the Coconut Industry
increasing amounts of coconut flour in
bakery products result in what scientists
call “lower glycemic food index.” Why?
Because coconut flour from “sapal” is
a good source of dietary fiber.
In the light of these facts, the strong
lobby of the American Soybean Associa-
tion or ASA for the labeling of coconut
oil as “bad for the heart” collapsed at
committee level in the US Congress,
but the propaganda stuck and many
people up to now don’t realize how
good coconut is for their own health.
As a result, it has been reported, ASA is
currently contemplating a propaganda
come back at the US Senate.
In fact, for both developed and
developing countries, another thing—
coconut skim milk—has been found to
be a one-on-one equal to fresh cow’s
milk in its nutrient composition, with
the added superiority of being lactose-
free: a boon for many lactose intolerant
populations like ours.
One in three coco hectares on earth
is presently found in the Philippines. It is
in this country, more than anywhere else,
that coconut has no difficulty growing
in comfort and quasi-self-supporting
prosperity. Not just any spot on earth
can grow coconut—it is a special gift
for certain tropical lands between lati-
tudes 20 degrees North and 20 degrees
South on the planet. It is our nation’s
natural competitive advantage. There
may be more than a few things go-
ing for the Philippines, but when one
thinks of it—nothing beats the coconut
advantage.
Providential care for each one is
true of individual persons as it is true
of nations. There was a time when
people must have thought the Arab
peoples were quite God-forsaken in that
it looked like all the resources gifted
them by Providence was sand and more
sand and still more sand. But one day
it all became clear. A special gift had
been given them, which was not read-
ily evident because it was hidden deep
under their deserts. Now we know what
it is and that it is indeed so—mineral
oil in abundance.
A nation’s natural competitive ad-
vantage is that asset it has which very
few other countries have. In the case
of the Philippines, one may have had a
hard time in the past discerning what
that special gift could be—a gift of
Providence to the Filipino nation. To
more and more Filipinos today it is
becoming clearer that our nation’s one
natural competitive advantage is indu-
bitably the “Tree of Life”.
In the Philippines, some 3.11 mil-
lion hectares of nearly 1.6 million hold-
ings—averaging less than 3 hectares in
size—are devoted to coconut. Out of 78
provinces, 64 grow coconut as a major
crop employing some 3.4 million small
farmers, tenants, lessees and farm work-
ers. It is generally recognized that the
coconut industry provides livelihood to
some 25 million Filipinos today.
In all, however, the coconut is the
oldest and most strategic agricultural
industry in the country. It is our No. 1
agricultural export providing revenues
of up to a billion dollars or more per
annum.
More significantly, from an envi-
ronmental viewpoint, it is our country’s
first line of defense. Coconut trees
form a natural canopy that protects
our environment. There is no question
that the fall of the coconut industry
will also mean the destruction of our
country’s ecological balance. It will
lead to widespread devastating floods
hitting prime agricultural lands, towns
and cities; severe soil depletion and ero-
sion; destruction of rich flora and fauna;
climatic change in the whole country.
That is the simple inconvenient truth.
It will also mean the loss of almost
50 billion pesos from export earnings per
year, the loss of millions of tax revenues
annually from domestic sale, and the
pressure to spend billions of govern-
ment funds for homes and livelihood of
displaced or dislocated farm families,
not to mention the urban blight that will
ensue when hundreds of thousands more
of displaced coconut farmers hit the cit-
ies desperately looking for work.
Copra—asset or culprit?
While 3 billion nuts are a great
food source annually for a growing and
hungry population, it is a glaring fact
that some 1.5 million-coconut trees are
being cut down every year.
Seventy-five million coconut trees
are old and unproductive. Seedlings to
replace them are inadequate.
So many coconut farms remain
monocropped, with farmers unable to
adopt new farming technologies, and
the industry as a whole not able to com-
pete globally. A coconut farmer earns
no more than Php10,000 per year in a
one-hectare monocropped farm—a sure
prescription for rural poverty. Eighty
percent or 8,000 sq. m. of a typical
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COVER
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one-hectare monocropped farm is so
wastefully unutilized in much the same
way that in such a situation the coconut
farmer’s labor potential on a 45-day
harvest cycle is also wastefully reduced
to 9 days of work.
Unless something is done soon to
move this industry from Third World to
First World status, the farmer’s judg-
ment is conclusive: there is no money for
him in coconut. Cut the tree down.
During one decade, coconut pro-
duction in the Philippines went down
from 1.876 to 1.374 million metric tons
(MMT) whereas in competitor Indonesia
it went up from 2.221 to 2.911 MMT.
During almost two decades, Phil-
ippine coconut oil remained static, or
even went down from 1.5 to 1.2 MMT
production. In the same period in Ma-
laysia, palm oil was quite progressive,
going up in production from 2.8 to 9.2
MMT and in Indonesia, in a decade’s
period palm oil rose in production from
2.7 to 5.6 MMT.
Originally, during Spanish colonial
times, the Governors-General obliged
the indios to plant coconut trees in order
to ensure a constant supply of fiber for
the cordage they needed in the Manila-
Acapulco galleon trade. Later, when, for
health reasons, Europeans shifted from
overly using animal fats in their diet to
consuming more and more vegetable oil,
planting coconut became more intense
in order to meet Europe’s requirements
for cooking oil.
Typically, however, of a colonial
economy then, the Philippine coconut
industry was never a price-setter but
merely a price-taker. We never quite ad-
opted the policy of supply management
as “Philippines, Inc.” Whereas other
coconut producing countries consumed
their own coconut products by up to 80
percent, we exported ours by up to 90
percent. Domestic utilization of coconut
was always very low.
We have the dubious distinction of
being the world’s No. 1 CNO exporter
when we should rather be working
towards becoming the oleo-chemical
production center of the world.
We should already have been great
exporters of skim milk to other countries
instead of being such an importer of
cow’s milk from developed countries.
We should already have cut down our
imports of wheat flour and developed
coco flour and coco beef as an alterna-
tive.
Our countryside should already
have been brimming with small and
medium size factories for the production
of bio-fuel additives to clean the envi-
ronment for use both in our own country
and many other countries, which now
clamor for this coco-derived material for
the express purpose of complying with
their various Clean Air legislations.
Instead, most of our coconut farms
are still hung up on copra, the intermedi-
ate product for the production of coconut
oil that is often aflatoxin contaminated.
Technologies abound that can take us
into a copraless society rather quickly
but the financial and marketing support
service expected from the state has not
been forthcoming—till now.
The copra-based structure of the
coconut industry that we have known
for ages ensures that the oil naturally
gifted to us slips from our hands to be
controlled by others. As a result the
coconut became the No.1 producer of
poverty rather than the No. 1 producer
of wealth that it can easily be.
We have to get out of this trap fast
or we are doomed. The idea is to move
decisively from where the industry is
now to a copraless society that can
bring more money to the farmers and a
variety of healthy and useful products
to the people as a whole.
Serious reflection will show that
the copra-based system of oil produc-
tion was imposed on us to ensure that
we would not do other things with the
coconut nut. Those who wanted our oil
made sure that we would not naturally
have control over it ourselves. The
system was designed for us to stick to
copra and throw everything else away.
And what easier way to enslave and
entrap producers than by tying them up
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Volume 43 • Number 5
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in copra—an unfinished, unnecessary,
intermediate product!
International and domestic buyers
would not care how poor the farmers
would be so long as they cornered the
coconut oil. How? The Third World
production system ensured the farmers
would not produce the oil themselves but
only this monstrosity called copra.
Nature made the coconut beauti-
ful, clean and green. The idea of copra
making had to be one perverse idea
indeed: to break open the coconut nut
for the purpose of making it dirty, and
then going about a long while to clean
it to ensure there would be just suf-
ficient moisture content and very little
aflatoxins. Mischievous buyers would
always have reason to complain and to
discount the coco products for so many
parts per millions of aflatoxin alibi.
Indeed this system or mode of
production should now be rejected
with finality. For even when the rela-
tions of production have improved, say,
with DAR Administrative Order No.
5 establishing Leasehold Relations in
Coconut Lands, if the obsolete Third
World mode of oil production remains
the same, via copra, the small farmers
will still find themselves poor—not
knowing why.
From the poverty-causing copra
mode of production, we need to bring
the coconut industry to a prosperous
First World state of copraless rural
industrialization mode where one fresh
coconut should be made to produce five
or more finished products of at least
food and fuel.
The most heavily taxed citizen in
recent history
Before history-blind financial man-
agers of government have their way, we
should accept quite clearly that in any
dictionary of any country, at any time
of history—anywhere—there has never
been any doubt about the meaning of the
word “levy”, namely, that it is a —an
imposition of the state on the people
to generate public funds. But equally
clearly, a levy is distinguished from a
general tax in that the latter are funds
raised for the general revenues while a
levy is a special tax not for the general
revenues but for the benefit and use of
that sector in society from which it was
collected in the first place.
Quite concretely in the Philippine
context, the law provided that “the pro-
ceeds from the levy shall be ...a separate
trust fund which will not form part of the
general fund of the government” (Sec.1,
P.D.276). Therefore the government
of the Republic should not too easily
consider itself the absolute owner of
the levy funds—public as these funds
truly are—but, rather, should merely
consider itself a Trustee of such funds
for the real beneficial owners who are
the farmers themselves from whence the
funds came in the first place.
Who are these farmers? And how
was the coco levy collected? The coco
levy was unquestionably a tax on the
farmers. The collecting state agency
was the PCA or Philippine Coconut
Authority. In the years of coco levy
collection the newspapers posted prices
“net of levy” in as much as the relevant
Presidential Decrees provided that the
levy would be charged against the farmer
during the first domestic copra sale.
The PCA, however, while charging
the levy against the farmer during the
first domestic copra sale, collected that
levy from the last domestic buyer. The
latter merely passed on the levy cost
to the farmer through the escalera, the
layers of middlemen operators in the
countryside.
The PCA was supposed to give
out triplicate receipts for the payment
of the levy after the end-users of copra
remitted the required amounts: one copy
for the buyer, one for the producer, and
the third one was registration copy. The
end users kept the buyer’s copy, while
the producer and registration copies
were supposed to go back to the farm-
ers who were deemed to have paid for
the levy.
The farmers were then also sup-
posed to register his receipts with the
recognized farmers’ organization—that,
in turn, was supposed to return the regis-
tration copies and submit a conciliation
report to the PCA. These receipts, the
coco fund receipts, were supposed to
establish for the farmer his ownership
rights over planned (by law) coconut
Investment Company.
The truth is—there was no way
for the farmer to see that the levy was
operating behind the buying price
of copra that the middlemen offered
him—unless he read the papers which
sometimes posted prices “net of levy”.
The farmer simply experienced low
prices for his copra. Whatever prices
the middlemen set he took—for granted.
He was not necessarily aware that the
levy actually depressed the prices for
his produce.
By how much were the prices for
his produce depressed? How much was
the tax on the farmer? From the initial
P0.55 for every 100 kilos of copra, the
tax went up to P13.00 and peaked at
P100.00—averaging throughout a still
high, very high, P60.00 per 100 kilos
Understanding the Coconut Industry
Volume 43 • Number 5
19
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IMPACT • May 2009 20
COVER
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of copra—which represented roughly
33.8% of farm income.
No doubt about it—the levy made
the poor coconut farmer the most heav-
ily taxed citizen of the whole country.
As greed increased with the Cojuangco
years, the method of calculating the
levy got worse. The government cal-
culated the levy using a higher price
as basis—higher than what the farmer
was actually receiving: a higher rate of
taxation and a greater burden for the
poorest of the poor.
Today there should no longer be
any doubt whatsoever that the coco
levy funds are public trust funds for
the benefit of the farmers.
The coco levy related cases were
filed by the government almost two
decades ago. The revolutionary govern-
ment that was installed after the People’s
Urban Insurrection of 1986 did not take
advantage of its political revolutionary
character (Freedom Constitution and
all) for social revolutionary purposes.
This is now sadly universally recog-
nized. A social revolutionary govern-
ment would have judiciously used state
power as a corrective bias in favor of
the majority populace and immediately
fostered programs empowering the
small coconut farmers in the utilization
of their own monies.
Instead of such a clear resolve in
both ends and means, the first post Edsa
government compromised the means
and methods to achieve the supposedly
desired ends. Thus, on the one hand,
the government’s posture was that of
assuring the small farmers of the ends
of social justice. On the other hand,
however, it canalized all efforts to the
exclusively judicial route of achieving
those ends. This exclusively judicial
route has proven, as expected, to be a
truly protracted struggle—one that has
made the proverbial Long March look
like a veritable quickie.
In the victory at Edsa ‘86 over
authoritarian monopoly capital, liberal
competitive capital did not want to give
in to social democratic programs more
than it had to. It could have ruled, if it
wanted to, by revolutionary Executive
Orders in favor of the small farmers—
orders that would have had the force
of law—but it did not. Thus, after two
decades since the cases were filed it
clearly may take another two decades
more before any effective final and
executory resolution can be had, if at
all—making every coconut farmer spon-
taneously remark today, “Aanhin pa ang
damo kung patay na ang kabayo?” (Of
what use would the grass be if the horse
is already dead?)
At one time, on July 11, 2003, there
was great rejoicing among farmers’
groups with the announcement that the
Sandiganbayan had at long last promul-
gated a Partial Summary Judgment that
declared the UCPB to be “conclusively
owned by Plaintiff Republic of the Phil-
ippines”. In another line, the court ruled
that the 72% UCPB shares “belong to
the plaintiff Republic of the Philippines
as their true and benefcial owner.” At
that point, many farmers were already
asking, “So, is UCPB ours, or is it merely
another government bank like the DBP
and the Land Bank?” For one thing, the
UCPB has had its ups and downs over the
decades—but today it is down, with the
PDIC to the emergency rescue and partly
owning this coco levy funded bank.
On October 8, 2003, Danding’s
side scored a major victory on dubi-
ous grounds of technicality. The court
lifted the 9 writs of sequestration over
the Danding 20% shares in San Miguel
Corporation because seven of these
writs were issued in violation of the
“two-commissioner rule” and two of
these writs were issued without prima
facie factual basis.
On May 27th, 2004, the govern-
ment side scored its own victory. The
Sandiganbayan promulgated a Partial
Summary Judgment awarding the 31%-
become-27%-become 24% San Miguel
Corporation shares to the government
in trust for “all the coconut farmers and
ordered reconveyed to the government.”
But, of course, to date none of these
decisions are final and executory and
the judicial process can be protracted
Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.
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till kingdom come.
In fact, on November 16th 2005
the Supreme Court, in an attempt to
resolve “the correct characterization of
the coconut levy funds, i.e. whether they
are public or private funds”, wrote that
although it had earlier held (in Republic
v. Cocofed) “that the coconut levy funds
are prima facie public funds imbued with
public interest, such a pronouncement
[according to the court] is obviously
only a preliminary finding”, to allow
the PCGG to vote the sequestered UCPB
shares. So, according to that court called
“supreme”, “the question of whether the
coco levy funds are public or private is
intertwined with the principal issue” in
the mother case (CC No. 0033), which
may yet take a long time to be settled.
After more than twenty years, litigation
proper has yet to start at all.
It would be different, however, if all
parties to the case agreed to a settlement
which can be respected as such with
finality by the courts: in other words,
a socio-political solution that would
be judicially confirmed. Ah, but here
we would need moral leadership and
political will.
In one State of the Nation Address,
President Arroyo expressly recognized
the assistance being given her govern-
ment by the ecumenical group under
the leadership of Davao Archbishop
Fernando Capalla in the resolution of
the coco-levy fund cases. Archbishop
Capalla, through the BUPPFALUC
or Bishops-Ulamas-Pastors-Priests-
Farmers-and-Lumads-Conference had
been fostering dialogue among coconut
farmers’ organizations the past so many
years and with the other stakeholders
in the coco levy matter, including the
group led by Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.
(ECJ) both on their own initiative and
with a mandate from the President of
the Philippines.
At one time, too, Archbishop Ca-
palla’s group had a very productive
dialogue with no less than President
Arroyo and all the senior officers of the
coco-levy funded firms in September
2006 at the UCPB main office where
it was agreed to go for an amicable
settlement of the cases as desired by
the broad majority of the farmers’ orga-
nizations expressed in the nation-wide
consultations facilitated by BUPPFA-
LUC. President Arroyo had declared
her own desire and willingness to “cede
government’s rights over the public trust
funds” to a Foundaton suggested for
creation by the farmers’ organizations.
Up to now, Arroyo calls this idea the
“Capalla formula.”
A tiny minority of NGO coco levy
advocates have been loudly opposing
settlement in favor of traditional litiga-
tion. Understandably, the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG), whose joy is
litigation, always tilts its opinions and
actions in their favor. And the President,
while publicly always upholding the
Capalla formula, at other times strongly
backs up this OSG-minority-voice
combine. The result is obvious. Roman
law could not have been more precise.
It said that when it comes to ownership
questions, possession is nine-tenths of
the law.
Danding Cojuangco is still in pos-
session and so is the government through
a cruel historical joke called “sequestra-
tion”. Between Danding and the govern-
ment, everything is fine, because they
are in possession. The farmers are not.
As soon as the settlement draft had been
agreed on by technical working groups
and a myriad number of meetings and
dialogues and consultations and rallies
and public relations drives—the piece
of paper became dead as dead.
Poor Archbishop Capalla—no man
of the cloth could beat this Ordinary of
Davao in his understanding of dialogue,
his patience and listening powers, his
faith in the sincerity of the President and
the PCGG Chairman. But maybe we are
all wrong. Even though “legacy” is such
a bad word now, maybe, just maybe, one
of these days the President may call the
Archbishop again and ask “can we still
rush that coco levy settlement we were
talking about?”
Archbishop Fernando Capalla
Understanding the Coconut Industry
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ear Brothers and Sisters!
In anticipation of the forthcoming World Com-
munications Day, I would like to address to you
some reflections on the theme chosen for this year - New
Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a culture of
Respect, Dialogue and Friendship. The new digital tech-
nologies are, indeed, bringing about fundamental shifts in
patterns of communication and human relationships. These
changes are particularly evident among those young people
who have grown up with the new technologies and are at
home in a digital world that often seems quite foreign to
those of us who, as adults, have had to learn to understand
and appreciate the opportunities it has to
offer for communications. In this year’s
message, I am conscious of those who
constitute the so-called digital genera-
tion and I would like to share with them,
in particular, some ideas concerning
the extraordinary potential of the new
technologies, if they are used to promote
human understanding and solidarity.
These technologies are truly a gift to
humanity and we must endeavor to en-
sure that the benefits they offer are put at
the service of all human individuals and
communities, especially those who are
most disadvantaged and vulnerable.
The accessibility of mobile telephones and computers,
combined with the global reach and penetration of the inter-
net, has opened up a range of means of communication that
permit the almost instantaneous communication of words
and images across enormous distances and to some of the
most isolated corners of the world; something that would
have been unthinkable for previous generations. Young
people, in particular, have grasped the enormous capacity
of the new media to foster connectedness, communication
and understanding between individuals and communities,
and they are turning to them as means of communicating
with existing friends, of meeting new friends, of forming
communities and networks, of seeking information and
news, and of sharing their ideas and opinions. Many benefits
flow from this new culture of communication: families are
able to maintain contact across great distances; students
and researchers have more immediate and easier access to
documents, sources and scientific discoveries, hence they
can work collaboratively from different locations; moreover,
the interactive nature of many of the new media facilitates
more dynamic forms of learning and communication, thereby
contributing to social progress.
While the speed with which the new technologies have
evolved in terms of their efficiency and reliability is rightly
a source of wonder, their popularity with users should not
surprise us, as they respond to a fundamental desire of people
to communicate and to relate to each other. This desire for
communication and friendship is rooted in our very nature
as human beings and cannot be adequately understood as a
response to technical innovations. In the light of the biblical
message, it should be seen primarily as a reflection of our
participation in the communicative and unifying Love of God,
who desires to make of all humanity one
family. When we find ourselves drawn
towards other people, when we want to
know more about them and make our-
selves known to them, we are responding
to God’s call—a call that is imprinted
in our nature as beings created in the
image and likeness of God, the God of
communication and communion.
The desire for connectedness and
the instinct for communication that are
so obvious in contemporary culture are
best understood as modern manifestations
of the basic and enduring propensity of
humans to reach beyond themselves and
to seek communion with others. In reality, when we open
ourselves to others, we are fulflling our deepest need and
becoming more fully human. Loving is, in fact, what we are
designed for by our Creator. Naturally, I am not talking about
feeting, shallow relationships, I am talking about the real love
that is at the very heart of Jesus’ moral teaching: "You must
love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind, and with all your strength" and "You must
love your neighbor as yourself" (cf. Mk 12:30-31). In this
light, refecting on the signifcance of the new technologies,
it is important to focus not just on their undoubted capacity to
foster contact between people, but on the quality of the content
that is put into circulation using these means. I would encour-
age all people of good will who are active in the emerging
environment of digital communication to commit themselves
to promoting a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship.
Those who are active in the production and dissemination
of new media content, therefore, should strive to respect the
dignity and worth of the human person. If the new technologies
are to serve the good of individuals and of society, all users
New Technologies, New Relationships:
Promoting a Culture of Respect,
Dialogue and Friendship.’
Message of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI,
for the 43rd World Day of Communications
May 24, 2009
Volume 43 • Number 5
23
STATEMENTS
will avoid the sharing of words and images that are degrad-
ing of human beings, that promote hatred and intolerance,
that debase the goodness and intimacy of human sexuality
or that exploit the weak and vulnerable.
The new technologies have also opened the way for dia-
logue between people from different countries, cultures and
religions. The new digital arena, the so-called cyberspace,
allows them to encounter and to know each other’s tradi-
tions and values. Such encounters, if they are to be fruitful,
require honest and appropriate forms of expression together
with attentive and respectful listening. The dialogue must be
rooted in a genuine and mutual searching for truth if it is to
realize its potential to promote growth in understanding and
tolerance. Life is not just a succession of events or experi-
ences: it is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful.
It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that
we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness,
and in beauty ─ that we find happiness and joy. We must not
allow ourselves to be deceived by those who see us merely
as consumers in a market of undifferentiated possibilities,
where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty,
and subjective experience displaces truth.
The concept of friendship has enjoyed a renewed promi-
nence in the vocabulary of the new digital social networks
that have emerged in the last few years. The concept is one
of the noblest achievements of human culture. It is in and
through our friendships that we grow and develop as humans.
For this reason, true friendship has always been seen as one
of the greatest goods any human person can experience. We
should be careful, therefore, never to trivialize the concept
or the experience of friendship. It would be sad if our desire
to sustain and develop on-line friendships were to be at the
cost of our availability to engage with our families, our
neighbors and those we meet in the daily reality of our places
of work, education and recreation. If the desire for virtual
connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function
to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also
disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are
necessary for healthy human development.
Friendship is a great human good, but it would be emptied
of its ultimate value if it were to be understood as an end
in itself. Friends should support and encourage each other
in developing their gifts and talents and in putting them at
the service of the human community. In this context, it is
gratifying to note the emergence of new digital networks that
seek to promote human solidarity, peace and justice, human
rights and respect for human life and the good of creation.
These networks can facilitate forms of co-operation between
people from different geographical and cultural contexts that
enable them to deepen their common humanity and their
sense of shared responsibility for the good of all. We must,
therefore, strive to ensure that the digital world, where such
networks can be established, is a world that is truly open
to all. It would be a tragedy for the future of humanity if
the new instruments of communication, which permit the
sharing of knowledge and information in a more rapid and
effective manner, were not made accessible to those who
are already economically and socially marginalized, or if
it should contribute only to increasing the gap separating
the poor from the new networks that are developing at the
service of human socialization and information.
I would like to conclude this message by addressing my-
self, in particular, to young Catholic believers: to encourage
them to bring the witness of their faith to the digital world. Dear
Brothers and Sisters, I ask you to introduce into the culture
of this new environment of communications and information
technology the values on which you have built your lives.
In the early life of the Church, the great Apostles and their
disciples brought the Good News of Jesus to the Greek and
Roman world. Just as, at that time, a fruitful evangelization
required that careful attention be given to understanding the
culture and customs of those pagan peoples so that the truth
of the gospel would touch their hearts and minds, so also
today, the proclamation of Christ in the world of new tech-
nologies requires a profound knowledge of this world if the
technologies are to serve our mission adequately. It falls, in
particular, to young people, who have an almost spontaneous
affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the
responsibility for the evangelization of this "digital conti-
nent". Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries
with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their
aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you
can give to them is to share with them the "Good News" of a
God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to
save all people. Human hearts are yearning for a world where
love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built,
where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity
is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to
these expectations: may you become its heralds! The Pope
accompanies you with his prayers and his blessing.
From the Vatican, 24 January 2009, Feast of Saint Francis
de Sales.
BENEDICTUS XVI
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IMPACT • May 2009 24
STATEMENTS
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eloved people of God,
As we conclude the year of
St. Paul which the Holy Father
inaugurated on June 29, 2008, we invite
the Filipino faithful to start preparing
spiritually for another crucial transition
in the life of our nation—namely, the
elections in May 2010. For this purpose,
we are declaring the post-Pauline year
(from June 2009 until June 2010) as
a year of Prayer and Work for Peace-
building and Lay Participation in Social
Change. By way of transition, we can
draw our inspiration from St. Paul’s
timeless reflections on “Christ as Am-
bassador of Peace and Reconciliation”
(2 Cor 5: 18-20 & Eph 2:12-18) in order
to dispose ourselves for the
next thematic year.
Consecration to the Two
Hearts
We will launch this new
thematic year by consecrat-
ing our country to the Sacred
Heart of Jesus through the
Immaculate Heart of Mary
when we celebrate their feast
days on June 19-20, 2009—a
few days before the formal
closing of the Pauline Year
on the feast of Sts. Peter and
Paul, June 29, 2009. This Year
of Prayer and Work for Peace-Building
and Lay Participation in Social Change
will begin and end with the feasts of the
Two Hearts (June 2009- June 2010).
Peace-building
From the wounded Heart of Jesus
flowed the grace of healing and recon-
ciliation. Let this grace flow through
us, the community of Christ’s disciples,
into the bloodstream of our nation. Let
it find a concrete expression in serious
advocacies for peace and dialogue, heal-
ing and reconciliation amidst conflict-
situations in all possible circumstances
of life. Let us all actively pray and work
for peace, following the inspiration of
that popular prayer attributed to St.
Francis of Assisi, “Lord, make me an
instrument of your peace. Where there
Year of the Two Hearts for Peace-Building
and Lay participation in Social Change
(A Pastoral Exhortation)
is hatred, let me bring love; where there
is injury, pardon; where there is doubt,
faith; where there is despair, hope; where
there is darkness, light; where there is
sadness, joy,” seeking at each time, not
so much “to be consoled as to console,
to be understood, as to understand, to
be loved as to love…” and believing
firmly that “It is in giving, that we
receive; …in pardoning, that we are
pardoned; …and in dying, that we are
born to eternal life.”
While we go on with our pastoral
programs in all Church units and or-
ganizations, basic ecclesial communi-
ties, parishes, dioceses, and regions
throughout the country, we also ask that
all ecclesial entities all over the country
strive to establish and form groups that
can effectively focus their ministry or
apostolate on peace-building and genuine
reconciliation through dialogue, drawing
encouragement especially from St. Paul’s
profound insights on these topics. Let us
consciously lay the moral foundations on
which we can build a more stable, more
mature Philippine society. Let this foun-
dation be not just a change of leaders or a
change of social and political structures,
but above all, a radical change of heart,
commending ourselves to Jesus and his
Blessed Mother as we entreat them to
“…make our hearts so like to (theirs)
that we may holy be!”
Lay participation in social change
For the past few months now, we
have noted a mounting call for “moral
regeneration” in our country. Not only
do we welcome this; we your pastors are
encouraged by the fact that this call has
been coming mainly from the laity. You
know that we have sounded this call too
many times already in the past. Perhaps
because this task is expected of us, there
has been a tendency to take it for granted
that we are also to carry it out by ourselves.
One journalist wrote in a commentary
recently, “The task of moral regeneration
is too big to entrust to religious leaders
alone.” We couldn’t agree more.
As your pastors, we exercise spiri-
tual and moral leadership as regards
our communal and ecclesial life in our
parishes and dioceses through-
out the country. But we cannot
just extend that leadership into
the spheres of politics and
governance, in business and
economics, in the sciences
and the mass media, etc., with-
out running the risk of being
misconstrued as engaging in
power-play or over-extending
our sphere of influence beyond
our offices. The participation
of the laity in moral leadership
pertaining to every specific
discipline and institution in
the Philippine society is most
essential, if we want the Gospel and the
social teachings of the Church to have
a tangible and positive impact at all on
our life as a nation.
We challenge our Catholic laity, in
particular, to take the lead in the task
of moral renewal towards a deeper and
more lasting change in the Philippine
society. We challenge all lay people
involved in politics to renounce cor-
ruption and bond together in the task of
evangelizing politics for effective gov-
ernance and the pursuit of the common
good. We challenge the laity involved
in legislation to unite themselves and
consciously allow their actions to be
guided by the truth of the Gospel and the
Christian faith. We urge the Catholic lay
people involved in legitimate business
to organize themselves and consciously
Volume 43 • Number 5
25
STATEMENTS
practice their trade with a strong sense of
corporate social responsibility informed
by the social teachings of the Church.
We enjoin all Catholic law enforcers to
form associations among themselves
that consciously renounce violence,
respect basic human rights, and truly
work for the preservation of peace and
social order. We call upon the Catholic
laity involved in social communications
and the modern mass media to form
networks among themselves that can
articulate a genuinely Christian ethics
in their practice of their profession.
We urge every Catholic lay person to
give a concrete expression to Chris-
tian discipleship through responsible
citizenship.
Prayer
In closing, may we ask that we
start praying the following prayer at
O
n the occasion of Labor Day 2009, we gratefully
salute the labor force on whom depends the sus-
tenance and development of our country.
The celebration of Labor Day would be all the more
meaningful if our labor force will feel more concretely
and tangibly the care and concern of the business sector,
the government and civil society. The work force which
is responsible in producing the food and wealth of the
country must themselves be made to share the fruit of
their labor through just wages and well-deserved security
for themselves and their families. Retirement benefits
must likewise be part of the program for workers.
We acknowledge the mutual dependence of capital
and labor. It has been well said “neither capital can do
without labor, nor labor without capital.” This mutual
dependence can exist only in the atmosphere of social
and distributive justice. Acts of justice take precedence
over acts of charity.
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO. D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
CBCP President
W
e celebrate Labor Day today when the working
person is threatened with the loss of work and the
ever thinning compensation for work. The pres-
ent financial crisis has brought to our country the loss of
much work together with less pay for the worker. Trained
observers and analysts agree in many ways as to the cause
of the problem; and they say that the culprit basically is an
aberration in values, more spiritual than material.
There has to be a cap to the human lust for profit.
Humans cannot forever go for more, and still manage to
get some more. Although human desires are limitless, there
is, however, a limit as to
what s/he can have and use.
To go beyond that limit is to
reinforce one’s self-seeking
which is destructive of the
society a person lives in. We
are reminded by the Church’s
teaching that “selfishness is
the most insidious enemy of
an ordered society. History
shows how hearts are devas-
tated when men and women
are incapable of recognizing
other values or other effective
realities apart from material
goods, the obsessive quest for
which suffocates and blocks
their ability to give them-
selves.” (CSDC, 581)
Management and Pro-
duction need to balance their
programs for profit with that
of the welfare of Labor. For
sheer survival—and this we
least every Sunday after communion
in all Catholic churches and chapels
all over the country from June 2009 to
June 2010:
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, the real-
ity of our deeply wounded and broken
country impels us to respond with new
urgency to the most pressing problems
of our times.
We are a broken people; our hearts
are fragmented and we are discouraged.
We need Your Heart, O Lord, as we seek
to be made whole.
Rooted in our faith in You and love
for our country, we want to participate in
Your work of transformation of persons,
families, organizations, and society.
Through the transforming power of
the love of Your Heart, we draw a new
dynamism, a strong inspiration, a fire,
which can change and transfigure our
lives as individuals and as a nation.
(Please pause for a specific intention)
Love of the Heart of Jesus, give
us courage and patience. Wisdom of
the Heart of Jesus, teach us to pray
and to act with hope and charity at all
times. Amen.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy
on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray
for us.
May Jesus, the Source of Divine
Mercy, and His mother Mary accompany
us in our work of peace-building, and
social and moral regeneration.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Confer-
ence of the Philippines,
+ ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
April 19, 2009
Feast of Divine Mercy
learn from what is happening in the financial and economic
world today—there are positions that study how to factor
the welfare of workers and that of society into the equation
of production. We encourage such efforts that lead to the
security and welfare of all involved in the process of produc-
tion.
But for the State, it is not just a matter of providing work
for our fast growing working population. The State inspires
and helps (to) legislate laws through which the needs of the
workers and their families have already been factored in
production. A healthy balance is constantly sought whereby
the welfare of the worker and
that of the community cannot
compromise the survival of
the company, but neither can
the profit factor be allowed
to threaten the welfare of
the workers. Moreover, in
the economic world, neither
politics nor trade unions are
given the capacity to destroy
the interest of these two im-
portant factors of business and
industry.
For the healthy
Filipino working class we
pray for God’s blessings that
as the workers are protected,
the country is also thereby
secured.

+GAUDENCIO B. CARDI-
NAL ROSALES, D.D.
Archbishop of Manila
01 May 2009
Labor Day Messages
IMPACT • May 2009 26
FROM THE
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here is this “Man of God”, this “Man of the Cloth” and
“Man of Prayer” who sired a child from a woman when
he was a priest. For one reason or another, he became
a bishop. And as such, he even sired two more children from
the two more different women. Eventually he became a poli-
tician—and today the President of Paraguay. In all this errant
disposition and erratic actuation, he knowingly and willfully,
repeatedly and grossly violated the Commandments of God,
as well as the pertinent Laws of the Church. And adding salt
to injury, he nevertheless appears cool and calm!
He certainly is a living discouragement to Catholics
trying their best to observe the articles and norms of their
Christian faith and morals. He is also a big defnitive socio-
spiritual disturbance to the Catholic Church as a whole. He
is fnally nothing less than a huge disgust—a scandalous sign
of contradiction—to the ranks of the Clergy the world over,
specially the body of the Catholic Hierarchy. Such is the
most rational and realistic “judgment” that can be made on
him. To claim and insist that no judgment should be passed
on him here and now on earth—without necessary reference
to the hereafter and beyond in the Eternal Kingdom—such a
posture is not only numb but also dumb.
One thing appears certain: If the man herein concerned is
morally bankrupt in both his status as a Priest and a Bishop,
how could he be really morally upright as a politician!? This
brings to mind the consecrated saying: “corruptio optimi est
Discouraging. Disturbing. Disgusting
pessima.” Translation: The corruption of the best is the worst.
In other words, it is so hard to trust someone who is untrust-
worthy. In effect, this is also like saying that anyone with a
corrupt value system, engages in corruption as a matter of
course—to expect and wait for the opposite is not only dopey
but also wacky. Otherwise, it would be asking and expecting
nothing less than a miracle.
In a way, such a priestly atrocious deed and Episcopal
ignominious actuation in the Church is not the frst of its kind,
and in all probability, it will neither be the last. From the very
foundation of the Church by Christ Himself, there was already
that disastrous fgure of an incarnate lover of money, a detestable
traitor, an expression of eventual suicidal act. The church is holy
because her Founder is Holy. Sinfulness in the Church however is
squarely premised on the weakness of her human constituents─the
Laity and Religious, the Priests and Bishops.
Incidentally, there was that likewise popular “pro poor”
priest who not too long ago, also became the president of his
country. More sooner than later however, the very people
who elected him into offce booted him out. Among other
things, there seems to be some kind of the infamous “Sword
of Damocles” ever hanging right at the head of a Catholic
cleric who thereafter instead threw his hat into the arena of
politics—thereby concretely turning his back to everything
he sworn upon his Sacred Ordination.
www.ovc.blogspot.com
T
hese are trying times for the world—courtesy of the
multinational greedy corporations, insatiable liberal
capitalists plus self-serving International Monetary
Fund—such as there is no other real and practical alter-
native than the economic tripod of reduce consumption,
reuse materials and recycle disposable items. And during
these particularly diffcult times in the country—courtesy
of the ruling distinctly corrupt and effectively corrupting
administration—the more the said three remedial options
of reducing expenses, reusing already used but still usable
articles and recycling anything recyclable, becomes not
simply reasonable but also necessary.
Why buy more if less suffices? Why spend for articles
a family could be without? Why simply throw away things
when they can serve other purposes? Why at once discard
personal items or house pieces when these are still useful?
Why not make something out of something else? Why at
once get rid of materials which have other uses? These
are the rational questions, the logical queries in support
of the practicality and even necessity of the ardent call to
reduce, reuse and recycle.
Over-consumption, over-demand and over-acting
have no place in the face of a national financial crisis,
are offensive to pervasive poverty and misery among
the Filipinos, and are even productive of more economic
woes and lamentations in the country. These are times that
urgently call for the virtues of prudence and parsimony
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
that loudly cry for the spirit of solidarity especially among
those who have less in life and less as well in access to
public welfare. It is not only unchristian but also anti-
Filipino as well as irrational for anyone to eat so well
when so many are hungry, to dress so costly when others
have barely anything to wear, to live so luxuriously when
people as a whole live in want.
There was once a so-called “Throw Away Society”—
the USA where people were in command of so much
wealth and seemingly unlimited resources. The said title
was coined because the Americans then had too much to
have and to waste, too little to fret and worry about—in
the reality of economic abundance and the glut of temporal
goods they produce and import. Now, it is something else.
In effect, the country itself was the first that felt huge
economic reversals and consequent financial liabilities.
Now, a good number of smart Americans are themselves
practicing the threesome of “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle”
without being told to do so.
The truth of the matter is that herein the Philippines, there
is practically no need to shout and insist in the observance of
the aforesaid tripod of right living and sound value system.
The gloomy and sad economic circumstances which are in
effect getting still worse, not only advises but also imposes
the observance of the principle of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle- as
a matter of not only of urgency but also of necessity.
www.ovc.blogspot.com
Volume 43 • Number 5
27
EDITORIAL
Lay participation in social change
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D
ated 19 April 2009, the Catholic Bishops’ Confer-
ence of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a Pastoral
Exhortation entitled Year of the Two Hearts for Peace-
Building and Lay participation in Social Change. One key
call therein is the active and concerted participation of the
Catholic lay faithful in the social change of the Philippine
national community, specifcally such as in matter of politics
and the issue of governance.
The call, akin to an ardent plea if not a kind directive,
is deemed in order for basically three reasons: First, poli-
tics in the country has long since been qualifed as “dirty”
primarily because of many deceitful and corrupt politicians
in possession of wealth and in position of power. Second,
governance in all levels of its hierarchy from the local to
the national has practically become synonymous with graft
and corrupt practices. Third, more than anybody else, it is
the millions of Filipino men and women, young people and
children who are the infallible and continuous victims of
such politics and governance.
The question may be asked: Why has the CBCP issued
such an earnest and impassioned Pastoral Exhortation? The
Conference must have a good number of crucial reasons and
must be confronted with many urgent causes for doing so.
There appears the spectacle that it is from the ranks of the
few religious, the priests and even bishops who are seen
in rallies for truth and actions for justice. There is also the
perception that millions of Filipinos especially in Luzon and
the Visayas have been rather long harboring indifference
and apathy in demanding for honest politicians and in the
working for good governance.
And the end-result of all the above depressed and
depressing situation is too obvious to mention: The politi-
cians by and large are having much fun in holding on to
their lofty offces, and greatly enjoying the perks and pork
appended to their respective positions. And governance
has practically become of itself, by itself and for itself. For
those who think and say otherwise, they must be aliens in
this land or they simply have no care for others, nor love
for the country.
No wonder therefore that the Senate itself has been
having its divisive and destructive intramurals, that the
House has now more representatives that it can accom-
modate, and that Malacañang would spare no ways and
means to eventually have a permanent resident. So what if
the present highest executive in the land is much disgraced,
largely discredited and deeply distrusted? So what if the
ruling administration is synonymous with odious machi-
nations and obvious hypocrisy. And so what if the billions
of Filipinos have no work, suffer from hunger, wallow in
helplessness?
Social change for trustworthy politicians and depend-
able governance, for the rule of truth and the reign of justice,
for the respect of human life and human rights, for national
harmony and peace—all these would be but an impossible
dream, a futile aspiration if the laity does not take part in
their actualization.
IMPACT • May 2009 28
FROM THE
INBOX
A
n Ameri can
businessman
was at the pier
of a small coastal Mexican village
when a small boat with just one fish-
erman docked. Inside the small boat
were several large yellow fin tuna. The
American complimented the Mexican
on the quality of his fish and asked
how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, "Only a
little while, Señor."
The American then asked, "Why
didn't you stay out longer and catch
more fish?"
The Mexican said he had enough
to support his family's immediate
needs.
The American then asked, "But
what do you do with the rest of your
time?"
The Mexican fisherman said, "I
sleep late, fish a little, play with my
children, take siesta with my wife
Maria, stroll into the village each
evening where I sip wine and play
guitar with my amigos. I have a full
and busy life, Señor."
O
ne rich man owned
19 horses when he
died. In his last will
and testament he had written
that upon his death, half the
horses he owned should go to
his only son; one fourth to the
village temple and one fifth
to the faithful servant.
The village elders could
not stop scratching their heads.
How can they give half of
the 19 horses to the son? You
cannot cut up a horse. They
puzzled over this dilemma for
more than two weeks and then
decided to send for a wise man
who was living in a neighbor-
ing village.
The wise man came rid-
ing on his horse and asked
the villagers if he can be of
any help to them. The village
elders told him about the rich
man's last will and testament
which stated that half of the
19 horses must be given to his
only son, one fourth must go
to the temple and one fifth to
the faithful servant.
The wise man said he
will immediately solve their
problem without any delay
whatsoever. He had the 19
horses placed in a row stand-
ing next to one another. Then
he added his own horse as
the 20th horse. Now he went
about giving half of the 20
horses, that is, ten horses to
the son. One fourth of 20, that
is, 5 horses were given to the
19 horses
From the e-mail messages of lanbergado@cbcpworld.net
and flled with admiration.
And the parting words of the
wise man were inscribed in
their hearts and minds which
they greatly cherished and
passed on to their succeeding
generations till today.
The wise man said: In our
daily lives, in our daily affairs,
simply add God's name and
then go about facing the day's
happenings. Ever come across
problems in life that are seem-
ingly insurmountable?
The wise man continued:
Add the God Principle in our
daily lives and the problems
will become lighter and even-
tually will disappear. In the
manner of the ice which, with
the addition of the heat prin-
ciple will turn into water and
that will eventually evaporate
as steam and disappear.
And how do we add
God's name in our daily lives?
Through prayers, filled with
true love and devotion, with
sincerity of purpose and dedi-
cation, that only total faith
can bring about.
temple committee. One fifth
of twenty, that is, 4 horses
were given to the faithful ser-
vant. Ten plus five plus four
made 19 horses. The remain-
ing 20th horse was his own
which he promptly mounted,
spoke a few inspiring words,
and rode back home.
The villagers were simply
dumfounded, full of disbelief
‘But, what then, Señor?’
The American scoffed, "I am a Har-
vard MBA and could help you. You
should spend more time fshing and with
the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the
proceeds from the bigger boat you could
buy several boats, eventually you would
have a feet of fshing boats. Instead of
selling your catch to a middleman you
would sell directly to the processor,
eventually opening your own cannery.
You would control the product, process-
ing and distribution. You would need to
leave this small coastal fshing village and
move to Mexico City,
then LA and eventually
NYC where you will
run your expanding enterprise."
The Mexican fisherman asked,
"But Señor, how long will this all
take?"
To which the American replied,
"15-20 years."
"But, what then, Señor?"
The American laughed and said,
"That's the best part. When the time
is right you would announce an IPO
and sell your company stock to the
public and become very rich, you
would make millions."
"Millions, Señor? Then, what?"
The American said, "Then you
would retire. Move to a small coastal
fishing village where you would sleep
late, fish a little, play with your kids,
take siesta with your wife, stroll to
the village in the evenings where you
could sip wine and play your guitar
with your amigos."
"You mean being a Harvard MBA,
you have to go through all that to fnally
get me to where I already am, Señor?"
©

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Volume 43 • Number 5
29
book
Reviews
Confessions of an Impatient Bride
Godly Lessons You Can Learn While Waiting for Mr. Right
Rissa Singson-Kawpeng
Humorous, down-to-earth, delightfully straightforward... The author, erstwhile editor-in-chief
of an inspirational magazine charmingly entertains readers with her “straight from the heart”
life’s anecdotes. Though the experiences chronicled in the book have previously appeared in
Singson-Kawpeng’s Kerygma column, yet certain freshness remains in retelling them anew.
Readers can pick up a lesson or two from the wealth of insights the author dishes out: nurture
one’s soul with God’s word and discover his grace at work in one’s life; enjoy life and put
one’s hope in God despite uncertainties; patience in waiting for the right man to come while
praying for him to materialize in your life; and seeing God’s presence even in the simplicity
and ordinariness of daily life. This volume is published by Shepherd’s Voice Publications.
The Gift of Abundance
Pido Aguilar, Jr.
Motivational speaker Pido Aguilar Jr. will inspire readers with the ABUNDANCE of stirring
insights he shares in this volume. The title of the book is very telling in itself. The author shares
that abundance of gifts, whether spiritual or material, relationships, and positive values, are
likely to overfow when a person lives his/her life according to God’s design. He goes on to
say that abundance can happen in one’s life by living the seven heartsets (as opposed to
mind-sets) he proposes so that a “new life of nonstop blessings, unexpected graces, deep
prosperity, open windows, new doors, and untold opportunities” can come about. The book is
rich with inspiring thoughts that will surely fre up enthusiasm of readers. Each chapter closes
with some important points to refect on to further drive home the meaning of what has been
discussed. The author is a past president and member of Board of Trustees of Philippine
Society for Training and Development and founder of ABUNDANCE!
The Cedars of Lebanon
Homily-Meditations on the Saints of the Year
Nil Guillemette
This collection of homily-meditations on the saints throughout the year is very relevant for
preachers and for anybody who may just want to be enriched by the author’s consideration
of a particular saint’s feast. The homily-meditations, 109 in all, comprise all obligatory me-
morials, feasts and solemnities which take place on a fxed date, except solemnities of the
Lord that fall on a Sunday. The book is a veritable wealth of resource material for refection
and in helping readers draw deeper insights into the lives of exemplary men and women of
virtue. The author, a Jesuit biblical scholar, who has written a long list of books on homilies,
scriptures and God-Tales series, notes that “it is the secret ambition of any Christian writer
that the book he or she writes will have a positive effect
on his or her readers—if not the effect of bringing them to
‘date a new era in their lives,’ at least the effect of bring-
ing them a bit closer to God.” Undoubtedly, his earlier
published books have achieved this effect of bringing
readers into a profound understanding of their personal
relationship with God, and certainly this latest addition will not be any different. This volume
is published by St. Pauls.
Leadership Secrets of St. Paul
Jeff Caliguire
This book is a take on the exceptional leadership qualities of a man who “helped launch
an enterprise that changed the history of the world.” Author Jeff Caliguire, a chaplain and a
coach to business entrepreneurs, fnds in St. Paul the Apostle a model, from whom business
leaders can learn secrets to make them successful and
effective leaders in their organizations. But don’t be
misled. Although the author addresses entrepreneurs,
the 38 principles outlined in each chapter—all drawn
from Pauline teachings are also guideposts for anybody
who wants to become successful leader in any human
endeavor. Readers will fnd this book an interesting read
especially in this year of St. Paul.
IMPACT • May 2009 30
ENTERTAINMENT
CATHOLIC INITIATIVE FOR
ENLIGHTENED MOVIE APPRECIATION
Cast: Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Tom
Payne, Mark Strong, Lee Pace, Shirley
Henderson
Director: Bharat Nalluri
Producers: Nellie Bellfower, Stephen Garrett
Screenwriters: David Maggi, Simon Beaufoy
Music: Paul Englishby
Editor: Barne Pilling
Cinematography: John de Borman
Distributor: Viva Films
Location: London
Running Time: 90 min.
Technical Assessment: 
Moral Assessment: 
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
M
i ss Gui nevere
Pettigrew (Fran-
ces McDormand)
has just been fired from
her 4th job as a govern-
ess and she finds herself
jobless and desperate on
a bench in a London train
station because of her
rigid moral views. The
day progresses and she
encounters one bad luck
after another that she fi-
nally decided to pose as
the applicant sent by her
previous employer to an
American social climber
Delysia Lafosse (Amy
Adams). Unfortunately,
the position as Delysia’s
social secretary compro-
mises her morals as the
former uses her sexuality
to attain success. Amidst
the backdrop of the 2nd
World War, Ms. Petti-
grew and Delysia become
friends as each opens a
new world to the other.
Miss Pettigrew Lives
For A Day is delightfully
entertaining. McDormand
and Adams deliver out-
standing portrayals of
an uptight and cloistered
woman exposed for the
first time to the world and
a social climber with deep
secrets. The comedy is
powerful and leaves you
thinking hard after the
nervous laughter. The pro-
duction design and music
ingenuously delivers the
feel and elements of cir-
ca pre-war era. Over-all,
Nalluri succeeds in de-
livering an honest movie
with a strong moral lesson
without being preachy or
corny.
The movie makes one
very strong statement:
morality cannot be com-
promised. We often hear
people saying certain prin-
ciples and ways are “al-
ready too old-fashioned”
or are “no longer appli-
cable in modern times”.
And in order to have fun
or be successful, certain
lines are crossed without
batting an eyelash. The
movie proves otherwise.
Although people need to
adapt to ways of change
and experience, the line of
morality remains. While it
is not prohibited to have
fun and enjoy life, or to
be assertive to achieve
success, all must be done
in a way that is proper,
modest and good. At the
end of the day, one finds
true love and happiness
when she remains true to
herself and to what she
believes in.
Parents should caution
their very young children
against watching because
of some partial nudity and
the tolerance of promiscu-
ity and premarital sex.
Volume 43 • Number 5
31
NEWS
BRI EFS
PAKISTAN
Military assault vs Tali-
ban continues
Pakistan's army is us-
ing artillery against Taliban
positions in the northwest
of the country. The soldiers
recently launched a se-
ries of operations against
the rebels who had seized
control of Lower Dir and
Buner districts alarming
Pakistan's allies in the
West.
INDONESIA
I ndo army offi cers
sacked
An Indonesian army
battalion which revolted
against its offcers in Pap-
ua has been dismissed
from his post a day after
about 200 troops rioted
over their offcers' refusal to
pay the full costs of return-
ing a dead soldier's body
to his family. Three middle
ranked offcers have also
been sacked.
JAPAN
Japan's industrial out-
put grows
Offcial fgures show that
Japan’s industrial input has
grown larger than expected
1.6 percent in March, com-
pared with the previous
month. The rise is being at-
tributed to increased output
by the high-technology and
machinery industries.
SINGAPORE
Singapore goes green
The government has
unveiled a plan to certify 80
percent of the city-state’s
buildings as environmen-
tally green. The aim is to
make the urban landscape
a more sustainable envi-
ronment. And Singapore
authorities believe there
are savings for building
developers if they go
greener.
N. KOREA
Govt threatens more
nuke test
The hardline communist
state is threatening to con-
duct another nuclear test.
It said they will go ahead
with the detonation if the
UN does not apologize
for its criticism of a rocket
launch by Pyongyang early
April. If there is no apology,
the hardline gov’t said it
will conduct more nuclear
tests.
SRI LANKA
Refugees triple in Sri
Lanka
Gov’t refugee camps in
and around the Sri Lanka
battle zone now hold about
200,000 civilians, three
times the number of only
seven to 10 days ago. The
UN children's fund, UNI-
CEF, renewed its call for
help for the thousands of
civilians caught in fghting
between gov’t and rebel
forces.
MALAYSIA
Vietnamese fshermen
jailed in Malaysia
Authorities jailed 42
Vietnamese fishermen
for allegedly encroaching
into its waters. It seized
two boats and confscat-
ed the fshermen's catch.
The Maritime Enforcement
Agency said the fsher-
men were arrested near
the north-eastern state of
Kelantan.
ISRAEL
US urged to end Gaza
blockade
US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton should
speak out forcefully against
Israel's blockade of Gaza
as unlawful collective pun-
ishment against the civilian
population, Human Rights
Watch said. As the major
political, military, and fnan-
cial backer of Israel, the
US should press its ally to
abide by international law,
it added.
MALAYSIA
Group urges new PM
to keep promises on
rights
Malaysia's new prime
minister should take im-
mediate steps to distin-
guish himself from pre-
vious governments and
implement a human rights
agenda, Human Rights
Watch said. It said PM
Najib Razak should make
recommendations for re-
form on arbitrary and pre-
ventive detention; freedom
of expression; impunity of
security forces; and protec-
tion of migrants, refugees,
and asylum seekers.
NEPAL
Army chief to retain job
Nepal President Ram
Baran Yadav ordered the
country’s army chief, Rook-
manged Katawal, to stay
in his job after the Maoist
gov’t tried to sack him in
a power struggle between
the Prime Minister and the
military. PM Pushpa Kamal
Dahal’s attempt to sack the
army chief “did not meet the
constitutional process,” the
President said.
PAKISTAN
Govt troops kill 80
rebels
The Pakistani army said
80 militants have been
killed in a ferce military
offensive since late April
against Taliban fghters in
the northwest district of
Buner. The military said
helicopter gunships and
ground troops have been
attacking militant hideouts
in Buner and neighboring
Lower Dir district.
BURMA
EU to continue Burma
sanctions
The European Union
is extending sanctions
against Burma's military
gov’t for another year, cit-
ing human rights concerns.
EU foreign ministers recent
meeting renewed calls for
the release of opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi
and other political prison-
ers. They added the sanc-
tions could be relaxed or
reinforced depending on
developments.

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