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IMPACT • September 2009 2




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IMPACT
Quote in the Act
“It’s Asia that’s lifting the world, rather than the
U.S., and that’s never happened before.”
Neal Soss, chief economist for Credit Suisse in New York; believes that while
American economy is still more than 3 times the size of China, it would come to
rival and eventually surpass the US in global economic infuence.
“The Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more
sophisticated, in their tactics.”
Mike Mullen, an Admiral Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff; described
the worsening situation in Afghanistan despite the recent addition of 17,000
US troops ordered by the Obama administration and the extra security efforts
surrounding the presidential election that has been beset by complaints of fraud.
“I have 106 students in my class and 90 seats.”
Rico Encinares, Chemistry teacher; narrating to New York Times the woes of
Philippine education caused by a government that allocates only 2.19% of the
annual budget despite a constitutional mandate to make education a priority and
an endemic corruption inherent among government offcials.
“What is frightening is that a priest, these religious
leaders, if they become president, might confuse
spiritual from temporal things.”
Leonardo Medroso, Bishop of Tagbilaran in the Philippines; on the recent news
that a priest and two lay religious leaders will be vying for the presidency by
2010 elections.
“It would be foolish of us to recount your
achievement as we cannot even measure the
enormity of your legacy.”
Park Young-sook, one of Kim’s close associates; during the memorial address
where tens of thousands of citizens, politicians, government offcials and foreign
dignitaries gathered at the National Assembly August 23 to pay fnal tribute to
late former Korean president Kim Dae-jung.
“She made me proud again, to be Filipino.”
Catalino Arevalo, a Jesuit priest; in his homily at the funeral mass for former
President Corazon Aquino, August 5, where the funeral procession lasted for
many hours snaking along mourners counting about three hundred thousand.
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Volume 43 • Number 9
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September 2009 / Vol 43 • No 9
EDITORIAL
Dysfunctional politics ....................................... 27
COVER STORY
San Miguel Corporation: A Brewing Storm .. 16
ARTICLES
The Socio-Economic Spohisms of RH bill
5043 ..................................................................... 4
A Presence that Challenges and Strengthens .. 8
Decline of traditional media ............................ 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
Asia Briefng ........................................................ 31
CONTENTS
S
capegoats the likes of “it’s a
communist propaganda” or
“it’s politically motivated”
or, the more recent, “it’s a media
hype” are too hackneyed to merit
credence, or even just a whimper
of attention. They used to sell
good during the heyday of Marcos,
because during the time of Martial
Law there was no way to check the
veracity of things except to groan
for thy-kingdom-come.
But today with the democratiza-
tion of all sorts of communication,
there is simply no way to slip the
truth under the rug. Shortly after
Gloria Arroyo and her band left Sirio
Maccioni’s Le Cirque at 58th Street
in Manhattan, the details of what
her group gorged in the menu worth
Twenty Thousand Dollars were
already circulated in the rooftops
of blogs, twits, facebook, and other
social networking online communi-
ties coming in droves of millions.
It was a tsunami of comments and
curses from ordinary people who
are neither politicians nor com-
munists. And this, not to mention
the mainstream media mix of print
and broadcast which dedicated
hours and hours of primetime on
the subject.
Which was why when Mala-
cañang apologists—dominated
mostly by Remonde and Macalin-
tal—came to fore in order to spin a
win, they looked beleaguered and
argued non sequiturs which only got
worse when, as habitually expected,
they pointed fngers to the media,
the communists and the political op-
position. Gee, it was like justifying
the problem of evil.
A huge amount of mon-
ey wasted on corruption or
lavish government spend-
ing seriously means mil-
lions of children deprived of
classrooms and eventually
education; millions of sick
people denied of their medi-
cine and health; millions of poor people
divested of needed social services and
opportunity to earn decent living; mil-
lions of parents leaving their families to
get fragmented behind just to fnd work
abroad—and so on and on.
These consequences are pretty heavy.
From an economic point of view, the
degeneration of a country to penury
not purely by global economic funda-
mentals (because neighboring countries
are continually fourishing despite the
economic slump of the United States)
but largely by the inutility—some call it
greed for power and gold—of its leaders
is a calculated insolvency in the fashion
of Enron or the Lehman Brothers, albeit
unbelievably. But here the victims of
the fnancial heist are not the investors
but the citizens themselves, the country
itself. At the end of the day the question
nags, but how can leaders victimize their
very own people?
While the destruction of a coun-
try’s economy is a national misfortune
enough, it still does pale in comparison to
the disarray of culture and cultural val-
ues. This generation of Filipinos, are still
home to the practice of an elder brother
or sister working hard and never getting
married until all siblings have fnished
schooling. Or of parents who never buy
new clothes for the sake of the children
that need new ones. Or of a man who is
about to bite his food, but gives it instead
to a poor kid looking nearby.
And more values distinctively
Filipino that sums up to subjugating
one’s needs for sake of the other. Of
late, this may have been the reason
why, among others, the Philippines
saw hundreds of thousands of
mourners through many hours of
funeral march because people saw
in Cory Aquino the homestretch of
a vanishing cultural value. In Ninoy
and Cory Aquino the value of giving
more prominence to the country’s
needs more than the wants of their
own children, to the common good
more than the good of their own
selves have become personifed.
Today, all these inherent Fili-
pino values are disappearing to
smithereens with the current politi-
cal leaders. Insensitivity is mild.
The tagalog “garapal” is more. But
just the same, today’s breed of lead-
ers is a bunch of whatchamacallit
who never gives a hoot to the very
people who gave them the hoot in
the frst place.
This issue opens with Tony
Roxas disclosing the socio-econom-
ic sophisms of the Reproductive
Health Bill 5043. In our cover story,
our staff writer Charles Avila writes
about one of the irregularities of
Martial Law, the coco levy, which
until now is still breeding more and
more irregularities. Read on.
IMPACT • September 2009 4
ARTICLES
By Tony F. Roxas
W
ords are not just tools of ordinary day-to-day
communication—they can be powerful weapons
of persuasion, especially when packaged neatly
and alluringly in well camouflaged sophisms.
This article aims to pinpoint, expose and refute some
of those concealed underlying sophisms in the controversial
RH Bill 5043.
In doing so, much hope rests on the likelihood that the
majority of RH Bill supporters, both in and out of Congress,
are only honestly mistaken about the wisdom and necessity
of the bill. It is for them and for those who oppose this bill
that this paper is primarily intended. As for the minority of
RH Bill supporters who persist in their untenable position,
it is hoped that there may be some window left for the light
of objective truth to enter.
Among the three pillars on which the RH and Sex
Education Bills in the Philippines are anchored are the fol-
lowing:
RH education is a human right;
RH education is one way to help alleviate poverty;
RH education gives women the right to exercise their
Freedom of Informed Choice, an important human right.
Let us then deal with them seriatim and start with the
first item above.
RH Education Actually Violates Human Rights
Setting the stage for the legalization of abortion, or in
conjunction with it, as can be inferred from Sec. Hillary
Clinton’s recent statement to the US Congress on the Obama
administration’s interpretation of the term “Reproductive
Health”—that it includes “Women’s Reproductive Rights
to “SAFE” Abortion—Reproductive Health Education is
being forced into the educational curricula of developing
countries, with the usual “human rights” shield being cited
as grounds for its necessity and urgency.
But just how logically valid really is this RH Education
claim of being a human right? Foreign and local proponents
of this bill overlook, fail or refuse to see and acknowledge
the inherent relationships of different human rights to one
another. In so doing, all sorts of highly destructive social
consequences follow.
It is an axiomatic truth that human rights exist only
because human life exists! If human life did not exist, there
would be no human rights, not even a single right to assert,
protect, speak or even think of.
Obviously, if all the human rights were gathered and ar-
ranged in their order of importance, the right to life would be
the highest of all because, as already said, it is the reality of
An Insidious Endangerment of Human Rights
The Socio-Economic
Sophisms of RH bill 5043
human life that makes all other rights exist. For this reason,
the right to life is the principal and all-encompassing right.
All other lesser rights exist only for the exclusive purpose
of supporting the right to life, enriching it, and protecting
and strengthening it. Hence, we have man’s basic right to
food security because it supports life, his right to education
because it enriches his rational life with knowledge and
basic skills needed for total human development, and his
right to the laws of the land that protect and strengthen the
right to life.
Furthermore, any so-called “rights” that do the very
opposite—weakening and not supporting the right to life,
corrupting and poisoning the tender minds of children with
a contraceptive culture and not enriching their rational life,
and endangering or destroying the right to life and not pro-
tecting and strengthening it—are rights only in name but not
in reality. Such “rights” do not have any moral existence!
Therefore, any and all provisions of Reproductive Health
Bill 5043 and all similar provisions found in all bills on sex
education and all other related bills containing such non-
existent rights, because they are naturally unjust per se, are
absolutely null and void ab initio and can never be enacted
validly into any just law!
The Essential and Universal Cause of Poverty
Foreign interests who insist and strive hard to aggres-
sively control our population growth most often claim that
an increase in family size is a cause of poverty. Now, if it is
true that a family becomes poor or poorer precisely because
of an increase in family size, then it would follow that all
families that increase in family size will always end up poor
or poorer in the end. But this is clearly not the case because
while it is true that some families end up poor or poorer,
there are also some that end up even richer in the end, while
there are also some that end up about the same as when they
began. Therefore, it is not true that an increase in family
size is per se a cause of poverty.
In fact, no less than two Nobel Laureates in Economics,
Gary Backer and Simon Kuznets, and Resource Economist
Julian Simon say the same thing. They emphasize that there
is no scientific evidence proving that an increase in family
size is a cause of poverty.
What then is the real cause of poverty? The essential,
immediate, direct and universal cause of poverty is non-
productivity or insufficient productivity!
Consequently, if any foreign or local interests are sincere
in wanting to help solve our poverty problems, they can best
do so by helping provide skills, training, education and liveli-
hood projects which will surely uplift the economic conditions
of the poor, and not insist on flooding poor families with
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ARTICLES
pills and condoms which only result in the end in damage
to the mother’s health and/or the slaying of the unborn. To
paraphrase what one writer once wisely said, productivity,
not pills, condoms or abortions, will end poverty!
RH Bill 5043 Denies Women the Right to Freedom of
Choice
Let’s face it. “Freedom of Choice” is a catch phrase these
days that is frequently invoked to rationalize even the most
rapacious, unnatural and indefensible agendas.
The economic pundits clearly responsible for the global
financial meltdown that’s adversely affecting countries
around the world and millions and millions of people claim
that they were only exercising their “freedom of choice” to
engage in business.
Also, all the billions of inhabitants of this planet for
the past 100 years or so exercised their freedom of choice
to use petroleum-based products as their main source of
energy and fuel. Did our freedom of choice make right the
now almost irreversible damage we have inflicted on our
ecology? Obviously not!
Clearly, there is more to the freedom of choice than
just exercising it. One must exercise this right responsibly.
And this can be attained only if the meaning of freedom is
clearly understood by the one suggesting and by the one
exercising it.
Freedom has a twofold meaning, one negative and the
other positive. The negative meaning of freedom is the ab-
sence of restraint. One is not free to swim, for instance, if
his hands and feet are tied or bound. To be free to swim, his
hands and feet should be untied. Or, he must have the absence
of restraint on him, i.e., he must have negative freedom.
However, even if his hands and feet are not tied, if he
does not know how to swim, he still is not free to swim. To
be truly free, he must have the skill or know-how of swim-
ming. In short, he must have positive freedom, the presence
of a skill or ability to do something. Only then can one be
truly free to swim. True freedom, therefore, means having
both positive freedom and negative freedom.
In regard to the exercise of the freedom of choice, before
one insists on freedom from restraint to exercise this right of
negative freedom, one must recognize that there is a prior
right and duty to learn how to choose correctly (positive
freedom). Otherwise, freedom will be misused, as white collar
criminals of Wall Street have destroyed our world economy
and petro-chemical firms and the billions of inhabitants of
this planet who believed them have destroyed our ecology.
RH Bill 5043 Promotes an Irresponsible Exercise of the
Freedom of Choice: Negative Freedom without Positive
Freedom
Since the right to safety and the preservation of good
health is an essential natural and fundamental human right
second only to the right to life, no man-made laws or insti-
tutions can legitimately nullify, suspend, replace or violate
it any more than can all the nations of the world pass laws
that will eliminate or repeal the law of gravity!
Hence, a woman who wants to space childbirths is entitled
by natural right to methods of child spacing that are guaran-
teed absolutely safe, not just “advertised” as safe by supposed
medical experts in the service of pharmaceutical frms.
But since only natural family planning methods are
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The Socio-Economic Sophisms of RH bill 5043
guaranteed for their safety, then only such methods may be of-
fered and taught to them, whether by the government, foreign
funded institutions, or private individuals and groups. The
Billings Ovulation Method with its proven 99.98% success
rate even for irregular fertility cycles is one such method.
In promoting the use of artificial contraceptives, RH Bill
5043 fails or refuses to divulge to possible users the dangers
to life and health such contraceptives bring!
Fortunately, of the abounding scientific evidence showing
the dangers to life and health through the use of contraceptives,
no less than Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene
and Public Health, the highest medical authority promoting
the population control program worldwide, asserts this:
It is, therefore, concluded that risk of adenomatous
carcinomas of the cervix is increased in women who use
oral contraceptives, that this risk is greatest in long-term
users and users of high progestin potency products, and
that the enhanced risk diminishes with the passage of time
after cessation of use”. (David B. Thomas, Roberts M. Ray,
and the World Health Organization Study of Neoplasia and
Steroid Contraceptives; Oral Contraceptives and Invasive
Adenocarcinomas and Adenosquamous Carcinomas of the
Uterine Cervix, American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol.
144, No. 3, page 288, Copyright 1996 by the Johns Hopkins
University School of Hygiene and Public Health)
And yet the RH bill, with the support of its foreign
sponsors and local counterparts, insists on letting our female
population of reproductive age use these dangerous and
unsafe birth control methods, defying comprehension and
scuttling all sense of humaneness.
In conclusion, RH Bill 5043 denies Filipino women
the right to exercise authentic freedom of choice because it
only wants them to exercise negative freedom, the absence
of restraint, without the corresponding positive freedom,
the ability to choose correctly, because the truth about the
dangers these contraceptives bring to the life and health of
possible users is hidden from them.
In short, this RH Bill wants our Filipino women to ex-
ercise the “freedom” of misinformed choice!
Flawed, invalid and irrelevant
In the light of the foregoing arguments, all three grounds
for the so-called necessity and urgency of the RH bill have
been shown to be flawed, invalid and irrelevant to its intended
conclusion. The only inescapable course of action left then
is to reject and disapprove this controversial bill because the
grounds it cites in no way justify its existence.
And to put things finally in the right perspective, the
pro-life cause is not a unique or exclusive concern of the
Roman Catholic Faith. It is a cause deeply rooted in natural
law, and is, therefore, the concern of all men of goodwill
who uphold, protect and defend the sanctity of human life
and the dignity of the human person, whether believers or
not in the existence of God or in the afterlife. It is the same
natural moral law whose binding effect on the conscience of
mankind was invoked and strongly enforced in the historic
trials of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg after World War
II for the mass extermination of Jews, all crimes against
humanity. And it is the same natural law that is the moral
bedrock upon which the United Nations organization was
founded. Hence its universal and pervasive binding effect
on the conscience of mankind as it is the ultimate source
of natural moral rights, now called human rights, and the
guarantor and protector of the Right to Life.
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IMPACT • September 2009 8
ARTICLES
W
e rejoice that it was on the
soil of Asia that the Son of
Man chose to break his ‘word’
beginning with the announcement “The
Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mk 1:15)
And it was here again that he chose to
break the ‘bread’ saying “Do this in
commemoration of me.” (Lk 22:19).
As we gather together in the East-
ern part of the same great Continent,
we recall these history-making events
that took place on its Western side two
thousand years ago, and we continue
to break the bread and proclaim the
‘word’, injecting new energies into the
processes of history.
We Christians are no more than a
‘tiny’ minority in most countries of Asia.
It is from partaking of Jesus’ ‘bread’ and
sharing his ‘word’ that we receive the
spiritual sustenance we need to fulfill
our mission on this vast continent with
dauntless courage: which means, pursu-
ing in all earnestness those evangeli-
cally inspired causes we have before
us, being prepared to pay any price in
pursuance of this goal, translating into
life the full message of the Gospel that
we keep announcing with unlimited
confidence, and thus contributing to
the transformation of our society and
the shaping of its future.
1. Presence
The Psalmist keeps wondering
about God’s presence in his life. He
says, “You are all round me on every
side… If I flew away beyond the east,
or lived in the farthest place in the
west, you would be there to help me
(Ps 139:5-10).
Indeed, Jesus is present in our lives;
he is the source of our strength. That
is why the “little flock” in Asia need
not have any fear; (Lk 12:32) even if
it means being constantly ready to face
persecution. For God has a wonderful
plan for them. If the people of Israel
could have an unshakable confidence
A Presence that Challenges
and Strengthens
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and
fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).
that God was going to use them as ac-
tive agents in history and shapers of the
future, we ought to have even greater
confidence. For our Master is with us;
he is called Immanuel, “God-with-us.”
(Mt 1:23). And he has given us an as-
surance, “I will be with you always, to
the end of the age.” (Mt 1:23).
This wonderful presence that Jesus
has promised comes true very espe-
cially in the Eucharist. It is called ‘real
presence’. He abides in our midst in
thousands of tab-
ernacles, in the
big cathedrals and
little shrines, in
village churches
and convent cha-
pels; he moves to
the hospitals as vi-
aticum to heal the
sick: he remains
close to us to urge,
to chide, to com-
fort, and to chal-
lenge. While he
sustains the ener-
gies of a worn-out
missionary, of a
weary mother and
an over-worked
laborer, he also
breathes a word
of correction to
the young man in-
clined to alcohol-
ism and drugs, the
corrupt judge, the
exploiting land-
owner, and the
adolescent begin-
ning to question
everything and
distance himself
from the believing
community. The
presence that cor-
rects is also a pres-
ence that sustains.
He assures us “Do not be afraid, it is
I.” (Jn 6:20).

2. A Life-giving Presence
“You are the source of all life, and
because of your light we see the light”
(Ps. 36:9).
The people of Israel ate manna,
but ultimately they met with death. But
those who eat the bread that Jesus gives
will not die. They will live forever. The
Eucharist is the source of life. The Lord
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A Presence that Challenges and Strengthens
says, “I am the living bread that came
down from heaven. If anyone eats this
bread, he will live forever. The bread
that I will give him is my flesh, which
I give so that the world may live.” (Jn
6:51). Our prayer today is, “Give us
this bread always.” (Jn 6:34). Mahatma
Gandhi used to say that it is really in
the form of bread that God would be
intelligible to the poor. How actual life
confirms this perception! Mother Teresa
followed up this perception.
Just like the Eucharist, the word of
God is the source of life as well. The son
of the official received life only because
he believed in the ‘word’ of Jesus. The
man at the pool received a new lease of
life because he too believed in his words;
and so with the blind man. For, he says,
“The words that I have spoken to you
are spirit and life.” (Jn 6:63). “Truly,
truly, I say to you, the hour is coming,
and now is, when the dead will hear
the voice of the Son of God, and those
who hear will live.” (Jn 5:25). Jesus
continues to offer us the words of eternal
life even in our own times.
Very sadly, the louder message we
hear today is not about life, but about
death. News of war, ethnic conflicts,
genocide, suicide, communal clashes,
bomb-explosions and domestic violence
reaches us day after day, until we have
come to the point of considering such
things normal. People are least dis-
turbed hearing of abortion accounts,
especially of the girl-child, of dowry-
related deaths, euthanasia, tampering
with life-related systems, abuse of the
life-sustaining processes of nature, ad-
dictions that eat away the life-forces of
individuals,. They devalue the immense
worth of human lives.
3. A Presence that is a Call to Inti-
macy
“I call you friends” (Jn 15:15).
God admitted Moses to close inti-
macy with him; he spoke to him face
to face. A greater privilege is given
to us. The gift of
the Eucharist is
an invitation to
the closest possi-
ble intimacy with
Jesus, “He who
eats my flesh and
drinks my blood
abides in me, and I
in him.” (Jn 6:56).
There could not be
a closer bond. The
‘word’ too has a
similar purpose:
that we may re-
main in him. For,
Jesus says, “If a
man loves me,
he will keep my
word, and my Fa-
ther will love him,
and we will come
to him and make
our home with
him.” (Jn 14:22-
23). Thus divine
intimacy becomes
complete.
This nearness
to Jesus in fact
is an invitation to
holiness. It is our
obedience to the
word that makes
us his true disci-
ples. Jesus says,
“If you continue
in my word, you are truly my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the
truth will make you free.” (Jn 8:31).
We are set free from the binding grip
of evil, our sins are forgiven and we
are purified and transformed. His word
cleanses us, all that is evil is wiped out.
It is for this that his blood is “poured out
for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
(Mt 26:28).
Let us therefore “be completely
holy by living in awe of God.” (2 Cor
7:1). For, he wants to bring us “holy,
pure and faultless into his presence”.
(Col 1:22). That is why our personal
life is important. “The scripture says,
‘Be holy because I am holy.’” (1Pet
1:16). The most eloquent evangelizer is
the one who has translated the word into
his own life. (cf. Abp. Joseph Mitsuaki
Takami, Japan) The true theologian is
a saint. (cf. Bp.George Punnakottil,
India).
4. A Presence that is a Call to Unity
“God…made known to us the secret
plan he had…This plan …is to bring all
creation together, everything in heaven
and on earth, with Christ as head”
(Eph 1:10).
There is a call that goes out to ev-
ery person who is born into this world,
“Come.” “Come, all you nations! Gather
round and listen. Let the whole earth
and everyone living on it come here and
listen.” (Is 34:1). “Come everyone who
is thirsty—here is water! Come, you that
have no money—buy corn and eat.” (Is
55:1). And you answer, “I will come,
Lord.” (Ps 27:8) This is an invitation
to unity in the Lord that goes out to the
whole of humanity.
Early Christians assiduously “de-
voted themselves to the apostles’ teach-
ing and fellowship, to the breaking of
the bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42).
They were one in mind and heart. They
were “completely united with only one
thought and one purpose”, (1 Cor 1:10)
because they gave importance to love
“that binds all things together in perfect
unity”. (Col 3:14). This charity has
great communicating power. (Cf. Abp.
Charles Maung Bo, Myanmar).
If we are carriers of a message that
invites the whole of humanity to be one,
it ought to make us aware of the need
for being open to all people. Years ago
the FABC spoke of the triple-dialogue
with the poor of Asia, with its cultures
and religions. We show respect to other
people when we respect their cultures
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and have sincere appreciation for what
is good in different ecclesiastical and
religious traditions. In this way we try
to foster a sense of common belonging
and shared destiny among people of di-
verse heritages, and work with them for
common good. We feel an obligation to
build up communities of solidarity and
fellowship (Cf. Abp. Orlando Quevedo,
Philippines); for, ultimately we are to
form “parts of one body”.
The ‘word’ and ‘bread’ give us
the spiritual stamina needed to engage
ourselves in conversation with other tra-
ditions, e.g. ecumenical endeavors (Cf.
Bp. Felix Toppo, India); and to work for
unity; to strive for reconciliation with
Muslims (Cf. Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre
Sfeir, Lebanon); even in the midst of
sufferings, kidnappings, and new forms
of martyrdoms. (Cardinal Emmanuel III
Delly, Iraq) For we have the experience
that even from opposition we can derive
strength, (Bp. Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh,
Vietnam) when we respond to it in true
Christian spirit.

5. A Presence that is a Call to Fruit-
fulness
“I chose you and appointed you to
go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit
that endures” (Jn 15:16).
Isaiah compares the word of God
to the rain and the snow that waters the
earth and produce fruit. (Is 55:10-11)
A person open to God’s word is like a
palm-tree that always remains green and
strong and produces abundant fruit (Ps
92:14); for a good tree produces good
fruit. Similarly, seeds that fall on good
soil produce even a hundredfold; ‘the
good soil’ are those who hear the ‘word’
and understand it. (Mt 13:23) Likewise,
those who eat Jesus’ body and drink his
blood become fruitful in an abundant
measure. (Jn15:1-8)
Bringing the ‘word’ closer, we must
make sure that the Church’s social teach-
ing is brought effectively into Church
life. It should begin with ensuring fair
dealings within the believers’ fold itself,
e.g. attending to fair wages, responsible
administration and conscientious stew-
ardship of Church property. (Thomas
Hong-Soon Han, Korea) The same
concern reaches out further, hastening
to come to the defense of the poor,
the marginalized, and those of humble
classes and castes (Bp. Antony Devotta,
India); always making a preferential
option for the more humiliated and
less privileged. (Abp. Ignatius Suharyo
Hardjoatmodjo, Indonesia)
We cannot stand by and watch
child labour, bonded labour, traffick-
ing in human persons going on around
us, “To receive in truth the Body and
Blood of Christ given up for us, we
must recognize Christ in the poorest,
his brethren” (Catechism of the Catholic
Church, no. 1397).
6. An Urge to Communicate
“God gave me this privilege of
taking to the nations the Good News
about the infinite riches of Christ, and
making all people see how God’s secret
plan is to be put into effect…by means
of the Church.” (Eph 3:8).
We have said that intimacy with
Jesus in the word and the Eucharist
stirs us into action that it grows into a
relationship that is performative. It is
communicative as well. Peter and John
could not help “but speak of what they
had seen and heard”. (Acts 4:20) We
notice a similar relationship between
the breaking of the bread and sharing
of the Good News. This fact becomes
most evident in the Emmaus account:
1) Jesus interpreting for the disciples
all the scriptures, beginning with Mo-
ses and the prophets; 2) the disciples
recognizing him only at the breaking of
the bread, and remembering that their
hearts had been burning within them
while he talked to them on the road and
opened the scriptures to them; 3) and
two disciples rising that same hour and
returning to Jerusalem to speak of what
they had seen and heard.
In the Asian context I have often
referred to “whispering the Gospel to the
soul of Asia”. Whispering, not because
we are apologetic about the message
we carry, but because in Asia the most
sacred words are whispered; the most
precious secrets are whispered; the most
intimate sharing is through a whisper.
However, in order that the whisper may
be effective, we have to come close to
the ‘soul’ of a community, enter into
an intimate relationship with its inner
identity, catch something of its inner
vibrancy and rhythm. That is where we
so often fail. However, some mission-
ary geniuses have negotiated their way
through the inner world of a community,
touching its core values and ways of self-
expression, and have found acceptable
utterance in an amazing manner, leading
entire societies closer to the Gospel. The
expression ‘whispering’ does not intend
to deny the duty of “announcing from
the housetops” where such a strategy
is possible and relevant. But in every
case, one should know, what, where,
and how. What is important is that the
message goes across.
I have also often spoken about ‘non-
threatening’ ways of evangelization,
meaning that we should never go against
ARTICLES
Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, SDB
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the selfhood of a community. While
Jesus at times had strong words for
his own intimate friends and members
of his own community (‘woe to you’,
‘get behind me satan’) to emphasize a
point, dealing with other communities
he seems to be gently trying to come
on their wavelength and drawing them
to reflection, e.g. with the Samaritan
woman, Syro-Phoenician woman, Ro-
man officer. We find Paul too consis-
tently trying to build bridges across
to the people of Greco-Roman world,
emerging courageously, but always with
a great sense of responsibility from the
Hebrew world.
We can never enter into a serious
discussion on sharing the Gospel in
Asia without the topic of ‘Culture’ com-
ing up for consideration. Stereotyped
concepts of inculturation do not help;
and from experience we have learned
that pilfering of cultural elements from
other communities will be resented. We
need to go much deeper into such issues
before we can interpret the inner genius
of a community, touch the core values
of a culture, and contribute towards
enriching the inner identity of a society.
For undertaking such mighty tasks we
need persons who are ‘deep’.

7. We need God-experienced Persons
today
“Keep your root deep in him, build
your lives on him, and become stron-
ger in your faith, as you were taught”
(Col 2:7).
Amazingly Asians seem to esteem
persons of depth. By ‘persons of depth’
we do not mean merely persons of intel-
lectual acumen, but those who are deep
in their spiritual perceptions, human
relations, and commitment to values
and to the common good. This sort of
depth comes from true God-experience
and is characterized by authenticity,
sincerity, deeds matching words, capac-
ity to endure for common causes, gentle
joy and religious seriousness. Such
profound persons command respect
on this continent, they win a hearing.
Evangelization is safe in their hands.
Can we rise up to these levels?
In this globalized world where
‘utilitarian values’ seem to count most,
where people are caught into a net-
work of superficial relationships, where
achievement is measured in terms of
possessions and success in mutual ma-
nipulation, where increasing number of
people are only claiming their rights and
are indifferent to their responsibilities,
we eagerly look for ‘deeper persons’,
persons society can count on. Such
are the persons, who, through diligent
self-cultivation in true Asian fashion,
have come to represent the genius of
this ancient continent, with an emphasis
on a search for harmony, non-violence,
A Presence that Challenges and Strengthens
religiosity and a strong sense of belong-
ing; with pride in their past heritage
and sturdy confidence in their ultimate
destiny. They hold out hope. The future
of human history depends on them.
But alas, even firm believers are at
times swept off their feet by the Tsu-
nami of secularization. We all run the
risk of becoming inwardly superficial
and shallow, and of slipping towards
consumerism, crass materialism, and
indifference to the transcendent. If
we plunge ourselves into struggle for
justice leaving no room for God, or are
radically committed to the cause of the
development of people with no concern
for the spiritual hunger of the communi-
ties concerned, we contribute to building
up a godless space in human society. It
is in such cases that the exploited easily
become exploiters, and the underde-
veloped become reckless consumers,
totally indifferent to the needs of the
less privileged. Or, in outright reaction,
some turn to the ‘sects’ in search of
spiritual consolations for which their
subconscious is ardently longing. This
is happening right before our eyes. Yes,
it is in this context that we would speak
of the need for ‘deep persons’, persons
who have spoken to God ‘face to face’,
persons who have sought guidance from
his ‘word’ and enjoyed his intimacy in
the Eucharist.
8. They will Run and not get Weary
(Is 40:31)
“And those who have taught many
people to do what is right will shine like
the stars for ever” (Dan 12:3).
We know that Asia is astir to-
day. Our societies have experimented
with various sorts of imported social
philosophies and ideologies*, which
have been confronting each other on
the Asian soil. Some of their native
versions relate with indigenous move-
ments in chaotic fashions that defy
definition. For example, the different
forms of fundamentalisms in Asia do
not fit in with the traditional definition
of ‘Fundamentalism’. However, what is
essential for us to note is that both our
evangelizers
and social activists will have to
rub shoulders with such fundamental-
ists of various categories (religious,
cultural, market), cultural national-
ists, xenophobes, fascists of various
colours, Senas of diverse persuasions,
Bajrang Dals, Falung Gongs, Maoists
and Marxists of unique self-description.
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IMPACT • September 2009 12
They will have to deal with authoritarian
governments, discriminating officers,
callous members of the dominant com-
munity, biased press, and possibly an
insensitive neigbourhood. They will
also have many opportunities for joining
hands with people of good will of every
persuasion and find so many things in
common. They will look to their cul-
tural roots and hold on to the values
that their communities have cherished
for centuries.
(*Making dogmas out of alien ide-
ologies that do not correspond to the
cultural realities of Asia would be a
mistake, especially in this era in which
culturally conditioned meta-narratives
are being questioned.)
But in all circumstances, the carri-
ers of the Good News will have to keep
their Christian vision clear and respond
to the needs of each local community
in an existentially realistic manner,
paying attention to local cultures, situa-
tions, and compulsions, and not merely
dictated by the prescriptions of alien
ideologies. Paul used to call challeng-
ing situations opportunities, “Be wise
in the way you act towards those who
are of other persuasions, making good
use of every opportunity you have. Your
speech should always be pleasant and
interesting, and you should know how
to give the right answer to everyone”,
(Col 4:6) answers that turn into com-
mitted action! And when more difficult
days will come, believers will seek to
derive inspiration and strength from the
‘word’ of God and build up their sturdi-
ness from the ‘bread’ they will break.
They are never totally unprepared; for,
Jesus had already given this warning
long ago “You will be arrested and
persecuted…This will be your chance
to tell the Good News. I will give you
words and wisdom…Stand firm.” (Lk
21:12-19)
Only persons who have depth in
themselves (sages, gurus, masters,
teachers, prophets, priests, consecrated
persons, evangelizers, ardent but re-
sponsible activists, dedicated women,
committed youth), will be equal to
this immense task. Today we look for
such persons of convictions, spiritual
stamina and unction, persons who have
the ‘word’ of God as lamp to their feet
and the light for their path (Ps 119:105)
persons who ponder over the ‘word’ as
Mary did (Jn15:4-); recognize the need
to be intimately united with the Mas-
ter to draw strength; for he had said,
“Remain united to me and I will remain
united to you…Whoever remains in
me, and I in him, will bear much fruit;
for you can do nothing without me.”
(Is 40:31)
In God they trust. It is about such
persons of depth that Isaiah had spoken
long ago, “Those who trust in the Lord
for help will find their strength renewed.
They will rise on wings like eagles; they
will run and not get weary; they will
walk and not grow tired, for, they have
spoken to God ‘face to face’ and have
sought his guidance in his ‘word’ and
enjoyed his intimacy in the Eucharist…
such persons will change the face of
Asia, and of the world.
(Archbishop Thomas Menam-
parampil, SDB of the Archdiocese of
Guwahati in India, is the Chair of the
Commission for Evangelization of the
Federation of Asian Bishops’ Confer-
ences (FABC). Due to space limitations,
this article is an abridged copy of his
address delivered at the 9
th
Plenary
Assembly of the FABC held in Manila,
August 10-16, 2009)
A Presence that Challenges and Strengthens
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13
S
hould the threat to traditional media from the Internet
really be a cause for concern?
The new social media—blogging, Facebook,
MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube are current faves—revolu-
tionizing the publishing world, for better and worse. Let's
look at both the better and the worse in perspective.
The current tsunami of personal choices in communica-
tion is slowly draining the profit from mainstream media.
These media traditionally depend on huge audiences who
all live in one region and mostly want the same things (the
football scores, the crossword, the TV Guide, etc.). But that
is all available now on the Internet, all around the world,
all the time.
One outcome is a death watch on many newspapers,
including famous ones like the Boston Globe. As journalist
Paul Gillin noted recently: "The newspaper model scales up
very well, but it scales down very badly. It costs a newspaper
nearly as much to deliver 25,000 copies as it does to deliver
50,000 copies. Readership has been in decline for 30 years
and the decline shows no signs of abating. Meanwhile, new
competition has sprung up online with a vastly superior cost
structure and an interactive format that appeals to the new
generation of readers."
Traditional electronic media are not doing any better.
As James Lewin observes in "Television audience plummet-
ing as viewers move online" (May 19, 2008), mainstream
broadcasters "will have to come to terms with YouTube,
video podcasts and other Internet media or they’ll face the
same fate as newspapers."
Radio audiences have likewise tanked. Overall, the recent
decline of traditional media is remarkable.
Some conservative writers insist that mainstream me-
dia's failure is due to its liberal bias. But conservatives have
charged that for decades—to no effect. Another charge is that
TV is declining because it is increasingly gross or trivial.
True enough, but TV's popularity was unaffected for decades
by its experiments with edgy taste.
Let's look more closely at the structure of the system
to better understand current steep declines. Due to the low
cost of modern media technology, no clear distinction now
exists between a mainstream medium and a non-mainstream
one, based on either number of viewers or production cost.
DECLINE OF
TRADITIONAL
MEDIA
By Denyse O'Leary
Today, anyone can put up a video at YouTube at virtually
no cost. Popular videos get hundreds or thousands of views.
Podcasting and videocasting are also cheap. A blog can be
started for free, within minutes, at Blogger. It may get 10
viewers or 10,000, depending on the level of popular interest.
But the viewers control that, not the providers.
The key change is that the traditional media professional
is no longer a gatekeeper who can systematically admit or
deny information. Consumers program their own print, TV,
or radio, and download what they want to their personal
devices. They are their own editors, their own filmmakers,
their own disc jockeys.
Does that mean more bias or less? It's hard to say, given
that consumers now manage their own level of bias. So
they can hear much more biased news—or much less. And,
as Podcasting News observes, "Social media is a global
phenomenon happening in all markets regardless of wider
economic, social and cultural development."
Understandably, traditional media professionals, alarmed
by these developments, have constructed a doctrine of "lo-
calism" and, in some cases, called for government to bail
them out. That probably won't help, just as it wouldn't have
helped if the media professionals had called for a government
"bailed out" of newspapers when they were threatened by
radio, or of radio when it was threatened by TV. Video really
did (sort of) kill the radio star, but the radio star certainly
won't be revived by government grants.
Still, the news is not all bad. Yes, new media do some-
times kill old media. For example, no one seriously uses
pigeon post to send messages today. But few ever thought
birdmail was a great system, just the only one available
at the time. However, radio did not kill print, and TV did
not kill radio. Nor will the Internet kill older media; it will
simply change news delivery. Sometimes in a minor way,
but sometimes radically.
Media that work, whether radio, TV, newspapers, books,
blogs, or any other, thrive when there is a true need. Today's
challenge is to persuade the consumer to look at alternatives
to their own programming decisions.
(Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain. This
article is published with permission by MercatorNet.com)
ARTICLES
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NEWS
FEATURES
MANILA—Amidst plans to revive the
peace talks with the Moro Islamic Lib-
eration Front, a Catholic bishop asked
the government peace panel to avoid the
same mistake it did in the past.
According to Kalookan Bishop
Deogracias Iñiguez, the government
must take into consideration last year’s
Supreme Court decision on the Memo-
randum of Agreement on ancestral
domain (MOA-AD), which it ruled as
being “unconstitutional”.
“They should use that (SC ruling)
as guidelines on how to do it this time
and [make sure that what was ruled] as
unconstitutional [will not be repeated],”
Iñiguez said.
Bishops welcome resumption of
GRP-MILF peace talks
In October 2008, the High Court
outlawed the MOA-AD, aimed at giving
full independence to the provinces that
will be covered by the treaty through
the creation of the Bangsamoro Juridi-
cal Entity.
The government has said they are
already working for the resumption of
the peace negotiations with the Moro
separatist group as soon as possible.
Last Aug. 18, though, government
panel chair and Department of Foreign
Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis
related that third party facilitator, Ma-
laysia, has decided to push back the
scheduled informal talks in a bid to have
more time to study proposals from the
two camps.
The prelate said the Church is in full
support of the plans to revive the talks
if only to find peace in Mindanao.
The peace talks may continue any-
time as it is the most appropriate venue
to achieving peace, Iñiguez said.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines president Archbishop Angel
Lagdameo earlier called for prayers for
peace in Mindanao.
The CBCP head said the nation’s
prayer for Mindanao is important
especially since the peace and order
situation in the Southern Philippines
is important to the whole country.
(CBCPNews)
HUE, Vietnam—Catholic priest from the
diocese of Hue (Central Vietnam) has de-
nounced the shows on TV where some dis-
sidents were forced to confess their "crimes"
and ask the state’s forgiveness. Now even
the priest is likely to be imprisoned.
Fr. Peter Phan Van Loi, from Hue
diocese told AsiaNews: "We know that the
state police and the media are deliberately
targeting these democracy activists to influ-
ence public opinion against them. They are
taking over the role of Public Prosecutor
and this is illegal. These forced confes-
sions, then, have no real meaning. They
merely reveal the dark and brutal face of
this government. "
On the evening of August 19, a 10-
minute television broadcast showed five
recently arrested democracy activists who
"with bowed heads admitted their crimes against the
Vietnamese State". The day after, the news was reported
with great emphasis in the more than 700 newspapers and
government publications. The Vietnamese Communist Party
newspaper, Nhan Dan, listing their names, concluded that
they "have pleaded guilty and appealed for clemency”.
The five activists who have apparently admitted guilt
are: Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, former General Director of
the OIC Company (Ho Chi Minh City), Le Cong Dinh, a
lawyer; Le Thang Long, General Director of Innotech com-
Catholic priest from Hue defends
activists humiliated on State TV
pany, residing in the residential quarter of
the Hanoi Polytechnic University; Nguyen
Tien Trung, 26 year-old former soldier, a
resident of Than Binh (Ho Chi Minh City)
and Tran Anh Kim, 60, former Lieutenant
Colonel in Vietnam’s Communist Army,
of Thai Binh.
All of these dissidents have been
arrested in recent months on charges of
"threatening national security." In reality
they distributed flyers, displayed banners,
wrote poems and pro-democracy articles on
the internet. All of them are connected in
one way or another to the illegal group Bloc
8406, a movement with 2 thousand mem-
bers, which supports freedom of expression
and a multiparty system in Vietnam.
These activists are well known and
admired among Vietnamese people for
their courage. For this reason, the public confessions have
surprised many people. But Fr. Phan Van Loi, states: "We
cannot accuse them of being cowards only because we have
seen them in a television broadcast. These confessions are
always extracted under pressure and torture".
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has asked the Vietnam-
ese government to release all pro-democracy activists
arrested in recent months, and guarantee them freedom
of expression. According to HRW, Fr. Phan Van Loi also
risks arrest. (AsiaNews)
Volume 43 • Number 9
15
NEWS
FEATURES
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka—On the Feast of the Assumption,
hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan Catholics were able
to fnally make the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of
Madhu, following the end of the country’s 30-year civil war.
They were told to put away hatred and division in order to
build peace.
Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Ranjith welcomed a
crowd of 500,000 pilgrims to the shrine, where they took part
in a Festive Eucharistic Celebration, after having endured the
long trek through the battle-scarred countryside. The huge
throng of pilgrims stood in stark contrast to the trickle of
faithful who arrived between 1999 and
2008, when government forces battled
with the Tamil Tiger rebels for control
of the northern part of Sri Lanka.
“It is a blessed moment and day,
that we come to Madhu Shrine, after
the 30 years long war is over, which
destroyed the lives of the people and the
country,” Archbishop Ranjith said.
“It is in this environment all people
belonging to different nationalities have
gathered here today. From the days we
remember, we came to Madhu Shrine
without being conscious of our national-
ity, language or religion,” he said, citing
the 400 year-old tradition of visiting the
church.
Noting that the pilgrims’ tents are
only a temporary place to stay, he said
they are a reminder that our own life is
temporary. He compared the divisions
between nationalities, religions and
languages to a kind of “imprisonment”
in one’s tent.
“This war began not due to a clash
between the Sinhalese and Tamil com-
munities, but mainly because we sepa-
rated ourselves from one another and
imprisoned ourselves in our own limited
kingdoms,” he said.
The desire for division and power
was an indication of the limits of the
human being, he added, saying that the
confict indicated that there had been “no
place” for righteousness and justice in
Sri Lankan Catholics flock to Marian
shrine after decades of civil war
the lives of Sri Lankans.
“A period of loss of humanity was created in Sri Lanka.
Religion became a tool of selfshness. During the past decade,
it might be correct to say that religion has become an external
affair and a political tool for selfsh motives. We cannot expect
righteousness and justice from this kind of society.”
Archbishop Ranjith lamented an increase in “indiscipline
and loss of moral values,” saying this makes peace and justice
more diffcult to attain.
He also noted that those in the refugee camps were not
able to attend the celebration. He appealed to authorities to
expedite their resettlement.
“Now it is time to put justice into practice, frst in your
life and then in the country,” the archbishop exhorted. “From
today onwards, spread the message of peace and solidarity.
Spread thoughts of unity and strengthen the ways of unity. Stop
talking of divisions and spreading hatred. As Sri Lankans, we
must dedicate ourselves sincerely to develop our country.”
Archbishop Ranjith presided at the Eucharistic Celebra-
tion with Archbishop Emeritus Oswald Gomis and Bishop
Thomas Sauvdranayagam of Jaffna. (CNA)
Cardinal Gracias: A year from the pogroms
in Orissa, hope ‘for a new beginning’
MUMBAI, India—It was a terrible year
marked by so many serious incidents of
religious intolerance and the killings
that took place in Kandhamal (Orissa)
are one of the saddest moments in the
history of India. Now, a year later, we ask
God to bless our nation with peace and
harmony and to take care of the painful
memories and wounds caused by this
horrifc anti-Christian violence.
Our prayers are also for those who
perpetrated these crimes, those who
instigated and those who carried them
out, that they may realize the evil they
have done.
Today we ask God to give our
people the grace of a new beginning
because so they can live in peaceful
coexistence, mutual acceptance, toler-
ance and peace
Inter Religious meetings between
peoples of different religions will be
one of the ways of seeking harmony,
dialogue at all levels, in communities,
societies, in schools and institutes of
higher learning. India has to regain its
pristine glory of being a multi-cultural,
multi-religious, multi-lingual nation
with values of peace and harmony,
understanding and tolerance.
I was very saddened by the image
that India offered of itself and I still
am. What happened in Kandhamal is a
disgrace to the nation. The anniversary
of the violence against Christians [24
August, ed] is a day of prayer in all
the churches in India. We pray for our
country, so everyone can live as broth-
ers and sisters in our beloved homeland
and so the anti-Christian violence no
longer offend the rich heritage of cul-
ture and tradition in India.
In Kandhamal our Christian com-
munity, which is a minority, was not
protected. Religious freedom was
completely trampled on. I myself have
criticized the government for not hav-
ing ensured the safety of a minority:
our people were left at the mercy of the
fundamentalists, law and order were
altogether demolished.
My hope for a future of freedom
and security for religious minorities
does not erase my concerns, but I base
my confdence on the signs I see in
reality and I hope that my trust in the
future of the country is well founded.
(AsiaNews)
IMPACT • September 2009 16
San Miguel Corporation:
A Brewing Storm
By Charles Avila
S
an Miguel Corporation, holder and beneficiary of so many
billions of pesos worth of the blood, sweat and tears of
the coconut farmers of the Philippines, badly needs bil-
lions more for “the Company’s thrust to develop new engines of
growth and diversify into new businesses”(quoted from SMC’s
Prospectus for Modification or Exchange of Securities).
The Company has become so big and successful that
it is now time to expand or go under. It must “further aug-
ment the gains it has realized from nurturing its current core
businesses.”(ibid.)
While staying in food and beverage, particularly beer, that
made it the giant firm that it is now, it nonetheless salivates over
the sight of greener grass on the other side of the business fence.
The Company dreams of big player status in energy and power
and communications as well as in development infrastructure
like dam construction and maintenance.
But the Company knows she’s not SMART, that entity that
has practically unlimited supply of investible funds. SMC,
however, thinks she’s got unlimited savvy, and guts and dreams
and imagination. “Just you wait, SMART.” SMC imagines the
big investors of the world bringing their moneys to be managed
by her in a manner that the globe or smart companies have not
yet seen or imagined. So, why is this not happening? What
makes those investors hesitate anyway? And what can be done
about it?
Of course, SMC knows what the problem is. It is all in that
one word—sequestered.
On May 27, 2004, the Court declared certain SMC shares
(twenty-seven percent [27%]) as owned by the Republic in trust
for the coconut farmers, the decretal portion of which reads:

Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, we hold
that:

The Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Re:
Defendants CIIF Companies, 14 Holdings Compa-
nies and Cocofed, et al) filed by Plaintiff is hereby
GRANTED. ACCORDINGLY, THE CIIF COMPA-
NIES, NAMELY:

1. Southern Luzon Coconut Oil Mills (SOLCOM)
2. Cagayan de Oro Oil Co., Inc. (CAGOIL)
3. Iligan Coconut Industries, Inc. (ILICOM)
4. San Pablo Manufacturing Corp. (SPMC)
5. Granesport Manufacturing Corp. (GRANEX); and
6. Legaspi Oil Co., Inc. (LEGOIL),

AS WELL AS THE 14 HOLDING COMPANIES,
NAMELY:

1. Soriano Shares, Inc;
2. ASC Investors, Inc;
3. Roxas Shares, Inc.;
4. Arc Investors, Inc;
5. Toda Holdings, Inc;
6. AP Holdings, Inc;
7. Fernandez Holdings, Inc;
8. SMC Officers Corps. Inc;
9. Te Deum Resources, Inc;
10. Anglo Ventures, Inc;
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San Miguel Corporation Headquarters, Ortigas, Makati City
Volume 43 • Number 9
17
San Miguel Corporation:
A Brewing Storm
“Poor coconut farmers! Even during the
collection of the coconut levy, there was
no way for them to see that the levy was
operating behind the buying price of copra that
the middlemen offered.”
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11. Randy Allied Ventures, Inc;
12. Rock Steel resources, Inc;
13. Valhalla Properties Ltd., Inc.; and
14. First Meridian Development, Inc.

AND THE CIIF BLOCK OF SAN MIGUEL
CORPORATION (SMC) SHARES OF STOCK
TOTALING 33,133,266 SHARES AS OF 1983,
TOGETHER WITH ALL DIVIDENDS DE-
CLARED, PAID AND ISSUED THEREON AS
WELL AS ANY INCREMENTS THERETO
ARISING FROM, BUT NOT LIMITED TO,
EXERCISE OF PRE-EMPTIVE RIGHTS ARE
DECLARED OWNED BY THE GOVERNMENT
IN TRUST FOR ALL THE COCONUT FARM-
ERS AND ORDERED RECONVEYED TO THE
GOVERNMENT.
Let the trial of this Civil Case proceed with
respect to the issues which have not been disposed
of in this Partial Summary Judgment, including
the determination of whether the CIIF Block
of SMC Shares adjudged to be owned by the
Government represents 27% of the issued and
outstanding capital stock of SMC according to
plaintiff or to 31.3% of said capital stock accord-
ing to COCOFED, et al. and Ballares, et al.
SO ORDERED.

Thus it is that some geniuses at SMC think that the
34%-become-31%-become-27%-become-24% San Miguel
Corporation shares originally purchased with coco-levy funds
should now be reduced to 0% in ownership character, if at
all possible, in order to make the Company super-attractive
to investors.
And so, SMC seems to say: let us go to the govern-
ment and the coconut farmers and offer them a proposition
they will find very hard to refuse. At the end of the day,
all their ownership stock, that is, their common shares will
disappear by having their character transmuted—let’s call it
“converted”—to something else, say, “preferred”. And let’s
give the shares a new name—Series “I” Preferred Shares.
First, we must have a sale of those common shares.
The Coconut Industry Investment Fund or CIIF (held by the
government in trust for the farmers) owns collectively, in the
very least, 446,452,537 SMC “A” common shares and 307,
395, 776 SMC “B” common shares for a total ownership
stock or common shares of 753,848,353 representing some
24% of total outstanding common shares of the Company.
This indubitably is a hefty, super-block of ownership stock.
This is the target group. Of course SMC can’t make it look
like they are only interested in these shares. They must
announce a bigger target like, say, 1.104 billion Class “A”
and Class “B” common shares representing up to 35% of
the total outstanding shares of the Company, for Series “I”
Preferred with a par value of Five Pesos (P5.00) per share
and an issue price of Seventy Five Pesos (P75.00) per share.
The CIIF group thereby represents almost 70% only of the
bigger target and it can always be argued that it is not the
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exclusive market.
But SMC must not use the term “sale” too much. Re-
member the words “sequestered,” “sub judice”, etc.—some
legal wise guy might find a way to stop the process. They’ll
call it “conversion” instead, the process of transmuting or
converting “common” to “preferred”.
But of course this catalytic process will be through a
sale—how else? It will be a special kind of sale, with no
cash involved, advantageous to the Company [SMC and
the powers controlling it]. It is a sale because there will be
selling of costs that will be deducted from the first quarterly
dividend—costs like brokers’ commissions and VAT thereon,
sales transaction tax, PSE and SEC fees, and Special block
fee transaction fees. Yes, Virginia, it will be a sale. The CIIF
will lose all its voting rights after this transaction. They
will be holding special shares that have no stated maturity
(perpetual) and which are permanently non-convertible into
common stock.
And, to repeat, they will be non-voting, with no pre-
emptive rights on future share issuances, and can be redeemed
only at the option of the Company [SMC]. However, “when
redeemed,” they “shall not be considered retired and may
be re-issued by the Corporation [SMC] at a price to be de-
termined by the Board of Directors.” We have to put this in
black and white: “The Board of Directors of the Company
[SMC] shall have the sole discretion to declare dividends
on the Series “I” Preferred Shares.”
How, then, can SMC make the offer attractive to CIIF?
First a good price will be offered for each share, say Php75
versus the current market price of Php51.50! That should
look sufficiently dramatic—a 47% jump in value of share
holdings immediately!
Second, SMC can promise a higher dividend yield of
8% on the 75-peso value compared to the current yield of
2%. Would that not be a good few billion pesos per annum?
Some CIIF managers will jump on this. After all, they’ve
been so dependent on the generous dividends the SMC Board
has been declaring for a few years now—such that many
CIIF businesses may in fact find it hard (not impossible) to
continue without the SMC “generosity”.
Of course, it is understood that there are no absolute
guarantees, no sovereign guarantee, nothing—just SMC’s
“good name”. To reiterate, the Board of Directors of SMC
shall have sole discretion to declare dividends on those
Series “I’ Preferred shares which will be payable quarterly.
And SMC will have the right, not the obligation, to redeem
the Preferred Shares starting on the third anniversary date.
If the Preferreds are not redeemed by the fifth anniversary
date the dividend rate will be increased—a promise of
SMC, something in the neighborhood of 11% per annum,
still payable quarterly. But “mind you, no guarantees. All
business is a risk.”
“Amen to that!” SMC can almost hear some CIIF man-
agers saying. After all, how terribly they’ve experienced
the risk of business the past many years. World-famous
Cocochem is now hardly operational, and UCPB itself has
had to be rescued by PDIC many times over, to the tune of
scores of billions of pesos. No question—the “business-is-
risk” melody will find a whole choir singing.
And anyway, SMC assures CIIF that they have lots of
undistributed dividends—almost a hundred billion pesos.
There may be times when the SMC Board, for whatever
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a foundation would be established for that precise purpose.
And she had added, quite clearly, in Tagalog, Cebuano and
English—languages fluently spoken by Teves—that: “Sa
una ang gobyerno ang mokontrol sa foundation. Apan unya
sa pag-ingon sa Korte, it will eventually transfer control to
the farmers groups.”
Her PCGG Chairman later explained that “the agreement
between farmers and government calls for the government
to organize the levy funds—now estimated to reach P130
billion—into a foundation where all the stakeholders will be
represented. The foundation would initially be controlled by
the government, because not all of the coconut farmers have
been organized yet. If there are to be 15 board members,
eight would be government nominees and seven nominees
of the farmers. As the coconut farmers get better organized,
the government will gradually cede control of the foundation
to representatives of the sector,” Sabio explained. “Cede
control” was, in fact, a favorite phrase of President Arroyo’s
in telling the farmers her good intentions.
The foundation would initially manage the 27-percent
stake in San Miguel—then worth an estimated P52 billion.
In fact, Secretary Teves organized a working group from
DOF, PCGG and OSG to tackle the finer points of the gov-
ernment-farmers accord, always assuring all that the main
idea of setting up the foundation was already approved by the
President. Much earlier, the government had organized two
national and 10 regional consultation sessions to ensure that
an amicable settlement would be reached with the farmers.
On the basis of the results of these consultations and the DOF
proposal, the PCGG, through the Solicitor General, would
draft the amicable settlement. The PCGG chair had frankly
urged various groups, including several non-governmental
organizations that had been critical of the idea, to support
it, or risk having the coco levy funds tied up in litigation for
“another 20 years.” These many long months, BUPPFALUC
waited and waited till finally a point was reached that they
felt they were merely waiting for Godot.
In fairness however, through those many long months
of consultation, the government through the PCGG Chair-
man always maintained that in accordance with law “the
reasons, will decide not to pay out dividends. “Don’t worry,
those preferred shares in your hands are cumulative. Unpaid
dividends will be added on to the next dividend payments.”
But please understand. SMC is right now in the process of
expansion, indeed in a race with some smart tycoons. “But
we repeat,” SMC says, “we shall overcome.”
Wait a minute—some farmer directors are saying. “Those
undistributed dividends are ours in the first place—at least
to the tune of 24%, or more. Do you seriously intend to per-
suade us to relinquish control and ownership powers over the
CIIF shares in SMC for a price to be ostensibly guaranteed
by our own money? And will we have power of disposition
over those moneys at all?”
SMC, however, need not listen to the questioning farmer.
The shares are sequestered and the Republic has the power to
decide. SMC can count on the Republic’s big temptation—to
regard the proceeds of the conversion program in SMC as
an alternative source for balancing the budget without the
hassle of revenue collection. And Finance Secretary Gary
Teves is not at all bashful about this. It will always be all
too easy for the Republic to be in denial that these public
trust funds can never belong to the general fund, that the
government’s ownership of such funds is “special”—in the
nature of stewardship or trusteeship, and that, therefore
these funds must never be commingled with the general
fund in the national treasury for it would be both immoral
and illegal to do so.
But who in government can still remember that on Feb-
ruary 23, 2007 at the University of Mindanao Gymnasium
in Davao the President publicly welcomed before 15,000
coconut farmer delegates the BUPPFALUC (Bishops, Ulama,
Priests, Pastors, Farmers, Lumads Conference) idea of co-
conut farmers’ participation in the disposition of the coco
levy funds? Has Secretary Teves forgotten that the President
ordered him, her Solicitor General and the PCGG to craft
an agreement wherein, said the President: “Kasama sa isi-
nasaad sa agreement ang pagtatag ng isang foundation na
mamamahala, mangangasiwa at maglalagay ng kontrol sa
paggamit ng pondo.” Yes, indeed, to make sure the benefi-
cial owners, the farmers, had a say in the funds disposition
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proceeds 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.
Poor coconut farmers! Even during the collection of
the coconut levy, there was no way for them to see that the
levy was operating behind the buying price of copra that
the middlemen offered—unless they 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 necessar-
ily 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 of copra—which represented
roughly 33.8% of farm income.
No doubt about it—the levy made the poor coconut
farmer the most heavily taxed citizen of the whole country.
As greed increased with the dictatorial years, the method of
calculating the levy got worse. The government calculated
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.
That was then. A good big chunk of the billions of pesos
produced by his sweat and tears ended up as capital for the
super-rich SMC. And now that either an extra-court settle-
ment or a court decision is possible, SMC is rushing to zero
out the coconut farmers of any ownership power over the
shares that belong to them but are meantime entrusted to
government for the farmers’ benefit. Some of the big play-
ers of the coco levy years are still the same big players of
these “conversion” times.
The big question is: will the President completely forget
her previous commitments to the farmers through the latter’s
special conference, the BUPPFALUC? Will she only listen
to the balance-the-budget-song and the special requests of
her friends at SMC? Will she give the order to her appointed
Directors and Officers in the coco levy funded entities to go
for the SMC blandishments? The Exchange Offer period is
July 27 to August 20, 2009. Will she be such a glutton for
self-punishment as to give a big chance to her usual critics
especially from the Liberal Party to denounce her no end as
anti-farmer, a liar and a cheat?
Or should she not rather meet with BUPPFALUC
again. It is not clear yet whether BUPPFALUC will still be
trusting of her—in all probability, she will be given again
another chance but she really shouldn’t blow it this time.
Or a stronger breath will blow into the River Pasig, a storm
that is even now gathering, threatening to wreak havoc on
her name (never mind her popularity, she often says) for the
immediate and long into the future.
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STATEMENTS
T
he recent violent encounter in Basilan resulted in 23
deaths from the army and 31 deaths from the Abu
Sayyaf. In the context of war, no one wins.
For peace in Basilan and other parts of Mindanao, the
CBCP appeals for prayer for all the victims and their bereft
families. We ask for prayers and Masses for them.
In a certain sense, the situation of “unpeace” in one
part of the country lessens the peace in other parts because
we are all “brothers.”
Violence, retaliation and annihilation create more anger
in both parties and destroy the seeds of past peace processes.
Peace cannot result from violence and retaliation.
The victims of such violence and retaliation are in-
nocent lives of victims.

+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
August 17, 2009
An appeal for prayer for peace
in Mindanao
W
e, the 117 participants—Cath-
olic Bishops of Asia, together
with the Papal Envoy, Francis
Cardinal Arinze, Archbishop Robert
Sarah, the Secretary of the Congregation
of Evangelisation of Peoples and the fra-
ternal delegates from other Conferences
of Bishops (Australia, Canada, U.S.A,
Spain and the Federation of the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of Oceania), and
FABC Offices and representatives of our
funding partners (Missio, Misereor and
Stichting Porticus), Christian Confer-
ence of Asia—gathered in Manila for
the IX Plenary Assembly of the FABC
(August 10-16). With great pastoral
concern, we came together to celebrate,
pray, reflect and discern, and to provide
pastoral orientations and recommenda-
tions on the theme: “Living the Eucharist
in Asia.”
FABC IX Plenary Assembly
Manila, Philippines
10-16 August 2009
Call to Community
The theme of the Plenary Assembly
is of great importance for the entire
Church in Asia, for our life and mis-
sion. Therefore, every effort must be
made to have on-going reflection on its
significance. This, we hope, will result
in a new fervour to make the Eucha-
ristic celebration first and foremost an
encounter with Jesus, the Risen Lord,
leading to communion. Active and
prayerful participation by hearing the
Word and sharing in the breaking of the
Bread will lead us to that personal and
intimate encounter.
In this sacrament, the God of unity
comes to permeate and envelope our
life – personal and societal, bringing
the gift of union with him and with one
another. We should also keep in mind
that Asia cherishes family, common
meal and community celebrations to
foster and promote unity. The Eucha-
rist, both sacrifice and meal, was first
referred to as the “Supper of the Lord”,
and then as the “breaking of the Bread”.
These names express two important
demands (dimensions): intimacy with
Jesus and family-like union among those
who share the bread. Our celebrations
should generate in everyone the cour-
age to build authentic communities that
reconcile, forgive, minister to the poor
and the marginalized.
Love made perfect in self-sacrifice
by Jesus, and renewed in the Eucharist,
calls forth nothing less than a life-style
of sacrificial love. This alone can bring
about true harmony and peace. Asia’s
soul thirsts for universal harmony. The
Eucharist responds to this quest. Each
and every Christian and every commu-
nity must become what they celebrate:
unity in diversity. St. Paul shows the
gift and the task that the Eucharist is
in these memorable words: “Because
there is one bread, we who are many
are one body, for we all partake of the
one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). The Eucharist
should indeed be the school where we
grow in harmony and are empowered
to promote it.
We cannot celebrate the Eucharist
and at the same time maintain, practice
or tolerate discrimination based on
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STATEMENTS
religion or race, culture or language,
caste or class. If we are grafted into the
Eucharistic Lord, we will reach out and
become bridge-builders in a world that
is becoming increasingly divisive.
The Call to hear the Word
To celebrate the Eucharist is to live
in faith, a faith planted, nurtured and
nourished by the Word. It demands that
we become contemplative listeners and
ponderers of the Word, like the Virgin
Mary, our Mother. Our brothers and
sisters of other religions in Asia have
great devotion to their sacred books,
and they chant and interiorize the Word.
This culture of listening is a further
invitation to become men and women
who cherish and devote themselves
to the Word and to the breaking of the
bread. Such listening will certainly
issue forth in living in the light of the
Word. An ideal context where intense
listening to the Word can take place
is the Small Christian Communities
(SCCs) that dot the map of the Church
in Asia. We remind all those who are
entrusted with the ministry of animat-
ing the Eucharistic communities, es-
pecially priests, that they have a great
responsibility to make the Eucharist a
transforming event, by adequate prepa-
ration, and effective celebration, and in
particular by relevant and nourishing
homilies.
There should be devout listening to
the Word every day at home as a fam-
ily, especially on the eve of Sundays
to prepare for the Eucharist by reading
and praying the Word to be proclaimed
on the Day of the Lord. Such a practice
will certainly bear fruits of renewal
of Christian life. It will bring about a
culture of listening to the Word in our
parishes and communities.
Call to faith and hope
We are pilgrims on earth, walking
in lights and shadows, journeying with
anxieties and uncertainties, pains and
sufferings, oftentimes, imposed upon
on us. We cherish the Eucharist, for in
it we receive the Word of life and light
that opens our eyes and the Bread of
life that warms up our hearts. The unity
of the Word and Bread in the Eucharist
invite us to treasure and live both these
aspects.
Without this gift we would be just
groping in the dark, walking through
a tunnel without even a glimmer of
hope. With both these gifts we shall
discover, like the disciples on the way
to Emmaus (Lk 24:13f), the deeper
meaning and the divine call to hope in
the midst of all that we go through in
life: sudden economic chaos, increas-
ing global warming, natural disas-
ters, persecutions, untold sufferings
of people everywhere, especially of
women and children, refugees and of
those deprived of freedom in different
countries of Asia.
To those who experience life as
meaningless and (worthless) not worth
living, we must bring the memory of
Jesus crucified and risen, the memory
made alive in the Eucharist, a memory
capable of healing the trauma of hope-
lessness. The Paschal mystery contains
the power to interpret our life experi-
ences. For in Jesus not only God is
revealed, but also the meaning of our
human life with all its richness and
vulnerability. His Word can enlighten
every experience we go through.
Call to mission
Asian celebrations are marked
by joy, simplicity and participation.
Asian heart is energized by contemplat-
ing beauty in nature. Our Eucharistic
celebrations need to touch the hearts
of Asians who love colour, flowers,
symbols, music and contemplation.
Asian symbols, Asian melodies, and
even more Asian values, should make
our celebrations create a resonance in
the depths of Asia’s heart. How great a
witness of our faith—Christ has come
not destroy but to perfect—would such
a celebration of the Eucharist be! The
appeal of Pope John Paul II to show forth
the Asian face of Jesus to our brothers
and sisters echoes afresh in our ears.
(Ecclesia in Asia)
We are convinced that meaning-
ful, contemplative, experiential and
prayerful celebration of the Eucharist
has the potential to render the Christian
communities of Asia powerful witnesses
of Jesus, witnesses who are bearers of
his presence, his love, and his healing
power. The celebration of the Eucharist
end with the call to mission: “Go, you
are sent forth.” The Eucharist must
be lived by becoming communities of
loving concern, hospitality, selfless
service to the poor, the excluded, and
downtrodden. The breaking of the Bread
must continue. That is the sign that we
live the Eucharist (Jn 13:1-17).
Mary is the “woman of the Eucha-
rist” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia). To her,
on the Feast of the Assumption, we
entrusted the Church in Asia. May she
accompany us in our commitment to
live the Eucharist in Asia.
16th August 2009
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
IMPACT • September 2009 24
STATEMENTS
T
he CBCP joins the Aquino family and the entire nation
in mourning the passing away of a great woman who
was for six year the President of our country.
It was a holy death in the midst of physical pain and
suffering. Death occurred at three o’clock the Hour of Divine
Mercy. It was First Saturday the day of our Blessed Mother.
Tita Cory was holding the Fatima Rosary which Sr. Lucia
gave her many years ago.
Our country is very much indebted to this humble and
sincere woman, who though not a politician herself and un-
prepared, she accepted the challenge of the Filipino people
to lead them as President. It was not she who pushed herself
into the position; but it was the people who called upon her.
Eternal gratitude is due to Cory and her husband, Ninoy, for
living it out that “The Filipino people is worth dying for.”
Many eulogies and speeches will be delivered to extol
Message of the CBCP on the
demise of Mrs. Corazon Aquino
her goodness; we know she deserves them. But now at the
threshold of eternity, the only eulogy she would hear is the
invitation of the Lord of Divine Mercy: “Come, blessed of
my Father, enter the kingdom which has been prepared for
you.”
In her unassuming way she knew when to say “enough
is enough” and gently handed over the government to her
successor. It remained to succeeding generations of leaders
to be worthy of the trust of leadership and to continue what
she had begun, to dream again the dream of what is best for
the country.
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD
Archbishop of Jaro
CBCP President
August 1, 2009
I
n the spirit of fraternal collabora-
tion and solidarity, we greet with
respect our fellow Mindanawons
as we celebrate once again the Min-
danao Week of Peace.
Providentially initiated in 1998 by
the Peace Advocates of Zamboanga
(PAZ), the MWP region-wide celebra-
tions, later vigorously promoted by
the BUC, have thankfully energized
Mindanawons to express in many
varied ways our need and aspirations
for lasting peace. This variety of
ways inspired by our respective faith
and culture has repeatedly shown us
Joint Statement on
Mindanao Week of Peace 2009
27 November – 3 December 2009
Theme : “Think Mindanao, Feel Mindanao, Bring Peace to Mindanao”
“Blessed are the Peace Makers, for they shall be called Children of God.” Matthew 5:9
“O you who believe! Enter into Peace (perfectly and completely)…” Al-Qur’an, 2:208
“You will not enter paradise unless you believe. But you will not be able to believe
unless you love one another; Do you want me to tell you a way by which you will be
able to love one another? Give (and show) peace towards one another.” Al-Hadith
that peace must begin with each and
everyone of us.
Therefore, if peace has to be brought
up personally to Mindanao by every
Mindanawon, this need and aspiration
must influence the individual thoughts
and feelings of us all. Since our holy
scriptures remind us always that each of
us bears the image of the Almighty and
Merciful Creator in our souls and spirit,
this godly gift must always be in our
minds when we think, in our heart when
we feel, and in our behavior when entire
Mindanao as one and solid community
calls for a just and lasting peace.
So in the name of God/Allah we
earnestly urge every Mindanawon:
“Think Mindanao, Feel Mindanao,
Bring Peace to Mindanao”.
Assalamu alaikum / Peace be
with us all!

FERNANDO R. CAPALLA, DD
Archbishop of Davao

HILARIO M. GOMEZ, JR., PhD
UCCP Bishop Emeritus

DR. HAMID A. BARRA
Ulama League of the Philippines
Volume 43 • Number 9
25
STATEMENTS
D
ear Madame President,
At no time in the history of
the Philippines has there been
a greater opportunity for the President
to act decisively to protect Filipino
children at grave risk than the pres-
ent historical moment. Thousands of
Filipino children are damaged for life
when abused in the making of child
pornography.
The abuse continues when the imag-
es of the sexually-abused
children are spread around
the world through the in-
ternet and are available on
the streets of the Philip-
pines for all to purchase
with impunity. They are
shown to other children
as training videos to se-
duce them into becoming
Commercially Sexually
Exploited Children and
they too are abused and
damaged for life.
By immediately cer-
tifying as “urgent” the
Anti-child Pornography
Bill pending before the House of Rep-
resentatives, House Bill No.684 en-
titled “An Act Defining the Crime of
Child Pornography, Imposing Penalties
Thereof, and for Other Purposes”, you
will save thousands of children for
years to come.
The Philippines needs this law ur-
gently to protect children and to fulfill
the nation's international obligations
under the Convention on the Rights
of the Child and other international
An Appeal to a President
By Fr. Shay Cullen, SSC
Traffcking of children and women is growing in most countries. All who
believe in the dignity and equality of the human person are rightly outraged
and disturbed by the blatant and shocking wave of international traffcking
and sale of human persons as sex slaves and exploited unpaid workers.
Many think slavery was abolished but how wrong. It is thriving in a modern
form and using all modern forms of electronic communication and media to
promote it. Child pornography drives this dehumanization of children and
women, denying their dignity and value. A new proposed law would help
stop the making and distribution of this child pornography.
protocols undertaken by the State on
behalf of the Filipino People.
The passing of House Bill No.684
at your behest will be a proud historical
legacy and will provide protection for
children for future generations.
We the concerned citizens, repre-
sentatives of agencies and organizations
working for the protection of the dignity
of the Filipino people and the rights
of the child strongly appeal for you to
act and announce the bill as an “urgent
priority”. [End].
Child pornography drives much of
the sex industry and is behind the recruit-
ment and trafficking of children into
this form of slavery. It's slavery because
most are trapped and held against their
will and not paid. They are told that they
have endless debts to pay.
Margie and Angie are the latest to
be rescued from sex slavery and are
now turning around their lives. They
were lured by pimps from their villages
in Samar province, Middle Philippines
and trafficked to the sex bars of Angeles
City where the politicians give the bar
permits to operate mostly owned by for-
eigners from European countries. They
were locked in a sex den with debts and
threats hanging over them.
The Preda team received a text
message from Beth, a girl who had been
bought out of the club by a foreign sex
tourist who paid her debts.
She texted to say that Mar-
gie and Angie were desper-
ate and wanted to escape
from the sex bar where
they were imprisoned and
forced to service 10 to 12
men a night and never paid.
They were beaten up when
they refused to have sex
without a condom. Margie
thought she was pregnant
and the Mamasan said she
must have a forced abor-
tion. She didn't want it.
She had to escape. After a
secret agreement arranged
by Beth by text, they climbed over a wall
and ran to the waiting Preda van.
They are now safe at the Preda home
for girls. They are now 17 year-old girls
and are taking non-formal study and
have quickly picked up skills in shirt
and sportswear making from which they
have good earnings and have some extra
to send home to their family so their
brothers and sisters can go to school
and never have to beg on the streets or
be recruited into the sex business.
C
o
n
t
r
ib
u
t
e
d

p
h
o
t
o
IMPACT • September 2009 26
O
ne of the rational and valid
questions asked on the occa-
sion of the phenomenal funeral
rites of the former President Cora-
zon Aquino personally attended by
some 300 thousand of Filipinos and
closely watched by millions through
it extensive TV coverage, is pre-
cisely that—in terms of a composite
interrogatory: What made such a big
number of people join it? How come
so many Filipinos from all walks of
life were drawn to it? Why was such
a huge crowd of individuals from all
age brackets bravely and patiently
witnessed event that caught even the
attention of major foreign media?
Why?
The rains and the winds came
and went, but the mourners stood the
ground, unmindful of the inconve-
nience nature brought about. There
was a little food and drink available,
but the sympathizers stayed on, not
minding their hunger and thirst. It
took almost half a day for the funeral
D
issenters are unceremoniously murdered, indepen-
dently of what the law provides. Mere suspects are
immediately eliminated against all dictates of even
elementary decency. Not only is human life considered cheap
for the helpless, but human dignity is only revered in favor
of the powerful, while human rights are recognized merely
among the rich and wherefore influential.
The country has fast become the haven of illegal drug
trade. There are both big and small drug lords in practically
all the regions of the Philippines. The drug peddlers have
become certainly more—not only in number but also in their
respective districts of operation. This is not even making
mention of the drug markets (“tiangge”) here and there that
refuse to fold up. Meantime, dangerous drug addicts are
found among all sectors of society, among all age brackets
of the population. Their innocent victims as well infallibly
become more not only in number but also in gravity.
Kidnappings and carnappings go on as a matter of fact.
Bank robberies are not rare events, while snatching of even
teller machines already takes place. Hold-ups in the streets,
in jeeps and buses are no more news. Houses are either
calmly or forcibly entered into the robbed to the burglars’
delight. So called “impregnable” buildings ultimately prove
vulnerable especially to insiders. To lose things here and
there is the rule, but to have things returned to their rightful
owner—this is truly a rare exception.
Women are violated. Boys and girls are damaged. While
rapists and pedophiles are usually strangers, women, the
FROM THE
BLOGS
Criminal industry
truth is boys and girls at times are not safe even among their
elders, and even in their homes. Meantime, these danger-
ous and at times even serial sex offenders whose rapacious
existence continues to thrive for one reason or another, are
certainly not only local in origin but also, and more shame-
fully so, foreigners allowed not only to enter but also to
stay in the country.
Needless to say, there is already a growing criminal industry
in the islands. The criminals appear to be all over the land,
and crimes seem to be the order of every day. The conclusions
seem to be obvious: First: The Chief Law Enforcement Of-
fcer in the land signs a good number of anti-criminal bills in
general, shouts many anti-criminal orders and even proudly
assumes this and that anti-criminal title. Conclusion: The
criminal industry is one big living and thriving reality. Sec-
ond: The police authorities, the intelligence offcers plus this
and that law and order agency are becoming more in number,
knowledge and training, and assigned also to more and more
places. Conclusion: Something must be basically wrong in the
law and order manpower and operation. Third, many criminals
are caught yet many too go free and happy. Conclusion: The
country must have a great dysfunctional justice system.
Meantime, the citizens have to rely on their own anti-
criminal means and recourses. The people have to defend
their own selves, homes and resources. The parents have to
protect their own sons and daughters. Until when? Until a
better Chief Law Enforcement Officer comes to fore!
www.ovc.blogspot.com
Moral contrast
procession to reach the cemetery, but so
many tirelessly followed it or patiently
waited to see it pass them by. The yel-
low shirts, yellow flags and yellow
ribbons were proudly worn, waved and
tied around anything possible, respec-
tively. The loud and continuous shouts
of “Cory! Cory! Cory! were heard from
morning to evening. Innumerable of the
“Laban” hand signs were decidedly,
proudly and tirelessly made from morn-
ing to evening of the burial day.
The fact is that before and after the
former President was laid to rest, voices
from the different sectors of Philippine
society were already raised and heard
to the effect: Proclaim her as a national
hero! Build her fitting monuments all
over the land! Place her image together
with Ninoy Aquino in the 500 peso bill!
As if such extensive public admiration
and intense popular appreciation were
not enough, there were also fervent
sentiments raised to present her case
to the Vatican for Sainthood!
Question: Why was such a com-
bined strong inspiration felt and fer-
vent aspirations made on the occasion
of the sickness, death and burial of the
former President? Answer: Because
of the commonly perceived radical
moral contrast between the lowly lady
President who humbly passed on to a
better life and the now many questions
asked and the many answers given. But
the basic question and the basic answer
are the above—most probably.
In the last analysis, the “Cory
Magic” finds its root cause in the
now tragic lot of the Filipinos under
to already too long rule of the present
administration. This is not to say in
any way that the dear and endearing
“President Cory” had no merits of
her own. This is simply stating the
obvious that the demerits of the in-
cumbent national leadership are seen
and felt as so many in number and so
much in gravity that the credits of a
predecessor are thereby rightfully well
remembered and much treasured.
www.ovc.blogspot.com
Volume 43 • Number 9
27
municipality, city and Malacañang public servants—with the
expectation that thereafter everything will be for the better if
not the best for their country.
But, sad to say but true to mention, that “better” or “best”
could be but wishful thinking, without premise on the realities
on the ground—such as specifcally in terms of a dysfunctional
politics in the present Philippines society. Among other things,
this pathetic factor means that there has been a long marked
disparity between politics as the art of exercising good and
effective governance vis-à-vis the politicians as a big majority
of whom are downright incapable of governing well or doing
productive governance.
Most of them—those not only presently holding elective
offces but also those aspiring for elective positions—may
be wealthy, well known, good looking, may have both the
desired political machinery and many infuential supporters,
could in fact be honest, truthful and upright. But truth to say,
these are not necessarily the credentials required by rightful
and dynamic governance.
To know the particulars of the people and the salient
features of the country, to be disposed in collaborating with
other capable politicians even in the opposition, to have the
will and the courage to promote genuine integral human de-
velopment, to defend the truth, uphold justice and promote
peace—plus to observe the virtues of the often invoked tripod
of “honesty, integrity and transparency—those individuals in
tenure of these human traits and moral virtues are what make
politics functional.
EDITORIAL
Dysfunctional politics
T
hese are interesting times. These are uncertain days.
These are disturbing moments. Reason: Emergency
Rule. Martial Law. Transition Government. Charter
Change. Extension of Term. Revolution. People Power. These
are some of the more often invoked possible realities that are
expressly and openly mentioned not only by the common tao
but also by known professionals and other experts in politics,
in economics together with those in the academe.
The unsettled and unsettling socio-political situation
in the country has been recently rendered even more tense
and critical by the much lamented illness, mourned death
and singularly followed and distinctly watched funeral of a
much celebrated former lady President of the Philippines. The
once locally called and now internationally invoked “People
Power” vividly came to memory on the said extraordinary
event that once more brought to mind that after all is said
and done, moral power and political authority fundamentally
belong to and reside in the people as the real sovereign in the
country—especially so of this supposedly democratic land
of the morning.
While before the said big public occasion there may have
been different unconstitutional scenarios that could come to
fore, the constitutionally provided May 2010 national elec-
tion is considered as a very critical event for the Philippines.
Among other things, it means that people will once again have
the opportunity to elect their chosen public offcials from the
local to the national levels of government, will once more
have the chance to repose political power in their elected
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
IMPACT • September 2009 28
FROM THE
INBOX
From the e-mail messages of lanbergado@cbcpworld.net
Blessings from other people’s prayers
A
voyaging ship was wrecked dur-
ing a storm at sea and only two of
the men on it were able to swim
to a small, desert-like island. The two
survivors, not knowing what else to do,
agreed that they had no other recourse
but to pray to God. However, to find
out whose prayer was more powerful,
they agreed to divide the territory be-
tween them and stay on opposite sides
of the island.
The first thing the first man prayed
for was food. The next morning, the
first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on
his side of the land, and he was able to
eat its fruit. The other man's parcel of
land remained barren.
After a week, the frst man was lonely
and he decided to pray for a wife... The
next day, another ship was wrecked, and
the only survivor was a woman who swam
to his side of the land. On the other side
of the island, there was nothing.
Soon the first man prayed for a
house, clothes, more food. The next
day, like magic, all of these were given
to him. However, the second man still
had nothing.
Finally, the first man prayed for a
ship, so that he and his wife could leave
the island. In the morning, he found a
ship docked at his side of the island.
The first man boarded the ship with his
wife and decided to leave the second
man on the island. He considered the
other man unworthy to receive God's
blessings, since none of his prayers had
been answered.
As the ship was about to leave, the
first man heard a voice from Heaven
booming, “Why are you leaving your
companion on the island?”
“My blessings are mine alone, since
I was the one who prayed for them,” the
first man answered.
“His prayers were all unanswered,
and so he does not deserve anything.”
“You are mistaken!” the voice re-
buked him. “He had only one prayer,
which I answered. If not for that, you
would not have received any of my
blessings.”
“Tell me,” the first man asked the
voice, “what did he pray for that I should
owe him anything?”
“He prayed that all your prayers
be answered.”
God's wife
O
n a cold day in December, some
years ago, a little boy, about
10-years-old, was standing
before a shoe store on the roadway,
barefooted, peering through the win-
dow, and shivering with cold.
A lady approached the young boy
and said, “My, but you're in such deep
thought staring in that window!”
“I was asking God to give me a
pair of shoes,” was the boy's reply.
The lady took him by the hand,
went into the store, and asked the clerk
to get half a dozen pairs of socks for
the boy. She then asked if he could
give her a basin of water and a towel.
He quickly brought them to her.
She took the little fellow to the
back part of the store and, removing
her gloves, knelt down, washed his
little feet, and dried them with the
towel.
By this time, the clerk had re-
turned with the socks. Placing a pair
upon the boy's feet, she purchased him
a pair of shoes.
She tied up the remaining pairs
of socks and gave them to him. She
patted him on the head and said,”
“'No doubt, you will be more
comfortable now.”
As she turned to go, the astonished
kid caught her by the hand and look-
ing up into her face, with tears in his
eyes, asked her.
“Are you God's wife?”
No, she said, “I'm just one of His
children.”
©

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Volume 43 • Number 9
29
You Shall Be My Witnesses
Lessons Beyond Dachau
Archbishop Kazimierz Majdanski
In 1939 Adolf Hitler attacked Poland, provoking the start of World War II. Most people know that the
Polish Jews were quickly gathered for the purpose of extermination, but few are aware that a similar
fate awaited the Polish clergy. Among these clergy was Kazimierz Majdanski, who later would become
Archbishop of Poland. You Shall Be My Witnesses is intended as a witness to the author's own prison
experiences and remarkable test of faith during the war. But this book does more than detail Hitler's
war against the faithful. It also asks us to look forward to see where civilization is headed. Most im-
portant, it asks us to choose not the civilization of death, but the blessing of the God of life. Kazimierz
Jan Majdanski was born in 1916 in Poland. As a young seminarian, the author was among thousands
of Polish clergy imprisoned by the Nazis. After his release in 1945, Majdanski was ordained a priest.
Eighteen years later, he became Bishop of the Diocese of Szczecin-Kamien from 1979 until he was
appointed Archbishop in 1992. He died on April 29, 2007 at the age of 91.
The Migrant Family in Asia:
Reaching Out and Touching Them
Brother Anthony Rogers, FSC, Editor
The Church has long special interest in the migration of people and has been a voice of support and
accompaniment for migrants and their families. From her Biblical roots up to present day, the pilgrim-
age and journey toward the Promised Land is a central tenet of the Church’s teachings. The rich tradi-
tion of Catholic social teaching confrms the Scriptural injunctions of the right of people to journey in
search of fulflment. At the same time, the Church recognizes the right and even the responsibility of
sovereign states to control their borders. Where and how are these balances struck? How do nations
decide immigration policies, while accommodating the migrants’ rights? Increasingly critical to these
important questions, the Church’s prophetic voice is stressed in this book—a compilation of presenta-
tions of a “Consultations on Migrants and Refugees,” as the Second Bishops’ Institute for Christian
Advocacy December 2007 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia. This book also does not "just analyze
and refect on the current problems being faced by migrants and their families but tries to create a
greater awareness of the need to stand up for human migration."
Old Cultures Renewed Religions
The Search for Cultural Identity in a Changing World
Leonardo N. Mercado, Editor
The articles in this book illustrate the interplay of the old and new, the static and the dynamic elements
of culture, constantly in dialogue and where religion, which is part of culture, shares in the ever-evolving
process. Representing three Asia-Pacifc countries, namely, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and
Japan, this book is a compilation of some papers given at a symposium held in Nanzan University,
Nagoya, Japan in September 1997. Japanese nationalism, Knecht says, get its strength from how the
new religions interpret the old Japanese cultural heritage. Kisala studies how some Japanese religious
groups have used the Nostradamus prophecies either to enhance “the founder’s own image as a
prophet” or to motivate their followers to persevere. The articles of Papua New Guinea center on the
cargo cult which basically was new interpretation of the old culture that the people had for centuries.
This new interpretation invigorates the followers to face of new challenges. The same is true of the
Philippines. According to Beltran, local cults used elements of the shamanic past. In the case of a new
form of a local charismatic group called El Shaddai, Mercado also agrees how the forces of Filipino
culture have been tapped to boost the El Shaddai movement and spread in other countries.
book
Reviews
15 Steps to Healing
Making Peace with Yourself
Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP
This toil proves anew how Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes of the Daughters of Saint Paul became an inspiration
and intellectual model to many Catholics with lifelong frequent episodes of severe depression. Her
book Making Peace with Yourself is a vital guide to the deepest reality at work in the world and in our
lives: the presence of God in the midst of life’s confusion. As we begin to live in the realm of that real-
ity, things may begin to look different— something may even fall into place. Life doesn’t become easy.
We aren’t spared disaster. But we can give ourselves to this reality with complete assurance that our
best interests are always at the heart of God’s designs. Poignant and touching real-life narratives offer
hope and direction. Poetry, prayer, and Scripture passages provide a solid base for further refection
and contemplation. Ideal for anyone trying to cope with life’s hardships and traumas. Also leads friends
and families toward understanding. Just off the press from Paulines Publishing House.
IMPACT • September 2009 30
ENTERTAINMENT
CATHOLIC
INITIATIVE
FOR ENLIGHTENED
MOVIE APPRECIATION
O
n a snowy Christmas day, young
Henry DeTamble (Alex Ferris)
and his mom drive through the
slippery streets, singing jolly Christ-
mas songs to their hearts content, un-
mindful of the approaching car ahead.
But just before they crash, young Henry
slowly disappears inside the back seat
and reappears a few yards away with
an older man who tells him he is the
future version of himself. This incident
begins a series of time tossing to the
past and future for Henry. His time
travels are beyond his control and he
is unable to take anything with him,
even his clothes on his body, which
forces him to break into houses and
steal people’s belonging’s to cover
himself and survive. The next time we
see him is in the library where he meets
Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams),
who recognizes him instantly although
he has never seen her before. Appar-
ently, Clare recognizes him because of
several meetings they had in the past
beginning when she was 6 years old.
Eventually, they get married despite his
genetic “chrono-impairment” condi-
tion which gets worse whenever he is
stressed or upset. At first they seem-
ingly have a happy life until Henry
disappears for awhile and reappears
again, sometimes as an older man,
sometimes a young boy.
Time Traveler’s Wife is the film
adaptation of Audrey Niffeneger’s
novel of the same title. Although,
director Schwentke remains faithful
to the literary version, the execution
is weak and faulty. For one, Bana and
McAdams do not have enough chem-
istry to make the audience believe and
sympathize with their unrequited love.
The plot development is confusing and
stuck at the surface level. The charac-
ters critical to push the story forward
are mere cardboard cut-outs used to fill
in some gaps in the scenes. By the time
we get involved with Clare and Henry,
the end credits are already rolling.
The film underscores the power of
love against time, distance and uncer-
tainty. Henry and Clare’s love for each
other is admirable and courageous.
Despite the struggle and complications
their relationship poses, they choose to
remain faithful and committed to their
marriage. Their situation can mirror
most marriages nowadays when one
spouse has to work away from home
for a long time and husband and wife’s
relationship is challenged by the loneli-
ness and temptations created by time
and distance. Further, the movie reiter-
ates the value of life despite the many
difficulties surrounding pregnancy and
motherhood.
There is some light nudity, non-
graphic premarital relations, and mild
inappropriate language in the movie.
Parents are advised to guide their young
children who might watch with them.
Cast: Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams, Ron Livingston,
Arlis Howard
Director: : Robert Schwentke
Producers: Brad Pitt, Nick Wechsler, Dede Gardner
Screenwriter: Audrey Niffeneger, Jeremy Leven,
Bruce Joel Rubin
Music: Mychael Danna
Editor: Thom Noble
Genre: Sci-fction Romance
Cinematography: Florian Ballhaus
Distributor: Warner Bros
Location: Chicago
Running Time: 107 min.
Technical Assessment: 
Moral Assessment: 
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
Volume 43 • Number 9
31
ASIA
BRIEFING
INDONESIA
Bali families hit night-
club plan
A plan to build a nightclub
on the site where a bomb
killed 88 Australians in 2002
earned the fury of friends
and family of victims of the
Bali bombings. A spokes-
man for the Peace Park
foundation, Phil Britten,
claimed they have the sup-
port of local authorities to
build a memorial instead.
CHINA
Police nabs 15, 000
drink-drivers
At least 15, 000 people
have been arrested by Chi-
nese police since a crack-
down started on Aug. 15
on drinking and driving,
which follows public anger
caused by a series of fatal
accidents. But despite the
crackdown, it said there has
been no drop in the number
of drink-driving cases.
THAILAND
More attacks in Thai’s
south
Suspected rebels have
killed 2 soldiers and seri-
ously injured another 3 in
the latest attack in Thai-
land's troubled south. Po-
lice said 10 gunmen fred on
a checkpoint in Narathiwat
province, where 10 soldiers
were working on Aug. 23.
On Aug 22, as the region
entered the holy month of
Ramadan, a bomb killed 3
security volunteers, while
militants shot dead three
Muslim civilians.
EAST TIMOR
Horta vows to end cor-
ruption
Timor Leste President
Jose Ramos Horta has
vowed to curb corruption in
his country. He was speak-
ing as the country began
celebrations leading up to
the 10th anniversary of the
referendum on indepen-
dence. He said he is de-
termined, together with the
Prime Minister, to stamp out
corruption.
CAMBODIA
Govt to reduce troops
at border temple
PM Hun Sen said he
plans to reduce the number
of troops stationed around
an ancient border temple
that has sparked clashes
with Thailand. The neigh-
bouring countries have
fought several skirmishes
on the disputed frontier
around the 11th century
Preah Vihear temple in
Cambodia since the ruins
were granted UN World
Heritage status in July
2008.
PAKISTAN
US vows aid to Paki-
stan
The US government has
pledged to help Pakistan
deal with its energy crisis
and to provide economic as-
sistance. Washington was
setting up a task force of ex-
perts to help Pakistan deal
with the energy crisis. It's
also seeking assistance for
Pakistan, from the Internat’l
Monetary Fund, the Asian
Development Bank and the
World Bank.
KOREA
Kim Dae-Jung passes
away
Kim Dae-Jung, the man
who led South Korea's
struggle for democracy
and went on to win the
presidency and the No-
bel peace prize, has died
aged 83. Kim, who was
president from 1998-2003,
fought against the 1961-
1979 rule of dictator Park
Chung-Hee. He survived
other assassination bids, a
death sentence, prison and
exile under army-backed
regime during his turbulent
life.
TAIWAN
Strong quake hits Tai-
wan
Taiwan and several
southern islands in Japan
have been shaken by two
strong earthquakes, but
there were no reports of
casualties or damage. The
epicentre of the frst quake
on Aug. 17 was about 188
kilometres southeast of
Hualien on Taiwan's east
coast. The U.S. Geological
Survey put the magnitude
at 6.7. A tsunami warning
was later withdrawn.
IRAQ
Halt attack on civil-
ians—HRW
All parties in Iraq and
elsewhere in conficts in the
Middle East should put an
end to attacks that target or
indiscriminately harm civil-
ians, Human Rights Watch
said. The group issued the
statement following coor-
dinated truck bombings
in Baghdad on Aug. 19
that killed 95 civilians and
wounded about 600 others,
and two truck bombings in
northern Iraq and a series
of bomb attacks in Baghdad
on Aug. 10 that claimed
48 lives and about 250
wounded.
JORDAN
Group hits broken pris-
on reform promises
The prison administra-
tion here has broken prom-
ises to improve the treat-
ment of prisoners, most
recently in denying water to
10 Islamist prisoners in Ju-
waida prison who began a
hunger strike on August 18,
2009, Human Rights Watch
said. It said authorities have
also turned off the hunger
strikers' water taps, placed
them in solitary confne-
ment, and prevented visits
from their families.
THAILAND
Thaksin’s sympathizers
rally in Bangkok
Supporters of Thailand's
fugitive former PM Thaksin
Shinawatra have submitted
a petition seeking a royal
pardon for the exiled leader.
The leaders of the group
say fve million people have
signed the petition, which
was delivered to the royal
household representative
today in a number of large
boxes.