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IMPACT • October 2009 2




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IMPACT
Quote in the Act
“Our efforts to attain the goal of denuclearising
the peninsula remain unchanged.”
Kim Jong-Il, North Korean leader; saying that his country will return to the
six-party talks on its nuclear disarmament depending on the outcome of the
discussions with the United States; which observers take with reservations.
“If the government fails to enforce it, the
government can be sued.”
Gamawan Fauzi, Governor of Sumatra; in the aftermath of the 7.6-magnitude
earthquake that rocked West Sumatra, the governor pledged to issue a law that
would ensure all buildings in the province are rebuilt to withstand stronger quakes.
“Corruption was the lifeboats that should have
been there but were not because the money had
been stolen.”
Conrado de Quiros, Columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer; summarizing the
bottom-line cause of government’s inability to respond to the cries for rescue
and relief of almost half a million victims of tropical depression Ondoy into just
one word: corruption.
“We are not out of the woods.”
Stephen Harpe, Prime Minister of Canada; noted that while global economy is
experiencing a mild, fragile recovery, one cannot really say that it has kicked in
earnest until it starts to turn unemployment around.
“If there were no graft and corruption in our
government, our government would be more
prepared to respond to such crisis.”
Angel Lagdameo, archbishop of Jaro and president of the Catholic Bishops’
Conference of the Philippines; bewailing the government’s inutility in the face
of the onslaught of tropical depression Ondoy that claimed over 300 lives and
rendered thousands of people homeless.
“The key in Afghanistan is to have a triad of things
happen simultaneously: economic development,
good governance and the rule of law.”
James Jones, Jr., National Security Adviser of the United States; in the wake of
President Obama’s meeting with top congressional leaders this October to discuss an
overall strategy in Afghanistan that now appears to be at a potential tipping point.
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Volume 43 • Number 10
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October 2009 / Vol 43 • No 10
EDITORIAL
Stewardship ....................................................... 27
COVER STORY
Filipino Seafarers: Sailing amidst turbulent
waters ............................................................... 16
ARTICLES
Metro Manila fooding: A disaster of
mismanagement and corruption .................... 4
CARE (Clean, Authentic, and Responsible
Election) is our mission .................................... 8
Raining on the parade ...................................... 10
Greed, the guru of growth ............................... 12
Charity in Truth ................................................. 21
DEPARTMENTS
Quote in the Act ................................................. 2
News Features ................................................... 13
Statements .......................................................... 22
From the Blogs ................................................... 26
From the Inbox .................................................. 28
Book Reviews ..................................................... 29
Entertainment .................................................... 30
Asia Briefng ........................................................ 31
CONTENTS
T
he world was watching as
the flash floods brought
about by tropical storm
Ondoy drove thousands of
Metro Manilans to scamper for
safety on their rooftops or swam
to higher grounds. In minutes,
SMS that carried texts, videos
and photos were transmitted
to relatives and friends abroad.
And twitter rattled numerous
twits of alarm and pleadings
for help.
Barely three hours from the
onset of the flooding, relatives
from all over the world were
already calling Manila radio
stations asking help on behalf
of their relatives who were help-
lessly marooned precariously on
top of their houses.
Before darkness enveloped
the pitiful victims of the raging
floods on that fateful Saturday
afternoon, the 26th of Septem-
ber, the internet was already
spewing pictures and videos in
youtube, facebook and other on-
line social networking devices.
As if on real time in a reality
show, the global community
was watching people disappear
in the sea of raging waters, of
cars being towed by the fierce
floods like matchboxes, and of
hundreds of people negotiating
to safety in what looked like a
river which earlier was actually
the streets of Marikina. It
also showed the embar-
rassment of the govern-
ment that emerged more
helpless than the victims
themselves.
J udgi ng f rom t he
number of SMS transmitted, this
may have been the most techno-
logically covered catastrophe in
history—after the one of the World
Trade Center. The Chair of the
National Disaster Coordinating
Council (NDCC) had to ask people,
though nonsensically, to stop send-
ing text messages in order to declog
the airwaves. That, of course,
showed the folly of the government
that was so far from realizing that
the SMS was the only line for rescue
available.
At the backdrop of so much suf-
fering during and after the floods
when the victims had to huddle in
hunger and discomfort in evacua-
tion centers if not in what was left
in their mud-filled houses, the world
was mesmerized by the resilience
of the Filipino. This was verbalized
by an American soldier helping the
relief operations who saw people
still smiling and in better spirits—
despite the catastrophe and the
neglect of their leaders.
But what stood out really were
the heroism and the bayanihan spirit
that is seemingly cultural to the
Filipino. Or, perhaps, of a value
system that has been nurtured
through centuries of Christian-
ity. Stories were told of people
giving up their lives in order
to save their neighbors. Stories
were told, too, of the Bicolanos
and many others trooping to
Manila with heavy equipments,
foodstuff and relief materials to
give assistance to the suffering
flood victims. And more stories
of individuals who have parted
with even the little they have
just to give relief and comfort
to those in distress.
This issue opens with an es-
say that discusses a bigger catas-
trophe which is mismanagement
and corruption in government
that may have caused more
agony to the Filipino people
than natural calamities. Sr.
Pinky Barrientos, FSP, writes
the cover story titled “Filipino
Seafarers: sailing amidst tur-
bulent waters” and pursues
the real “turbulence” that has
driven more and more Filipinos
to become seafarers in the first
place. Read on.
IMPACT • October 2009 4
ARTICLES
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Volume 43 • Number 10
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By Pepe Quitorio
T
ropical storm Ondoy, internationally known as Ket-
sana, that hit mostly Central Luzon on September 26
was not even a typhoon. It was all about a two-day
torrential rain with barely a wind. But it left the country
with 295 people dead and counting, hundreds injured and
many more missing.
Damage to property according to government reports
is estimated at P9.767 billion which counts P3.412 billion
in infrastructure and P6.354 in agriculture. The National
Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) further reports that
at least 828,380 families or 4,081,596 persons were affected
in the entire Luzon, Cordillera, Western Visayas, Regions 9
and 12, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Metro
Manila were affected.
But these are government figures. And they are cold.
What makes one shiver are the amateur videos in Youtube
and maybe a million pictures on facebook that could paint a
thousand words about nameless faces hugging on rooftops or
wading through rising waters that could launch, with apolo-
gies to Bread, a thousand ships, but only three government
rubber boats were actually available.
Today, almost two weeks after the tropical storm, 1,786
barangays are still flooded. According to reports, there are
still 216,845 families or 1,092,827 persons that are holed
up in evacuation centers. And 39,068 houses damaged with
16,219 totally and 22,849 partially.
While most of the survivors are clearing their houses
thick with mud, finger-pointing seem to have become the
order of the day. The political opposition and most of the
general public are heaping curses over the inutility of the
national government that was caught flatfooted. NDCC chair
Gilbert Teodoro blames the local government units for not
being prepared and not responding too soon.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., is filing a class action
suit against those responsible for the allegedly “reckless
release of water from the dams.” Another Senator, Miriam
Defensor Santiago, said the mayors of areas gravely af-
fected by tropical storm Ondoy, including Interior and Local
Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, should be suspended
for negligence.
Others surmised that maybe this misfortune is an act
of God. Or perhaps because of the global warming and the
consequent climate changes that are bringing about more
rains and typhoons. But was it really? Could the massive
flooding have been mitigated and lives saved? Whence came
the real disaster?
Global Warming and climate change
Without rocking the boat on Al Gore who received a Nobel
Peace Prize for just making a film “An Inconvenient Truth”
and touring around the world brandishing his environmental
niche, global warming until now is still a scientific theory.
What is beyond theory is the environmental lobby that has
become so successful in political fora and academic bodies
so that both proponents and fans have fearlessly accepted
it as gospel truth.
Charles Darwin over 150 years ago has already showed
that coral atolls grow on top of sinking volcanoes. He also
observed that the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu which is
in danger of sinking under the waves is so because the land
Metro Manila flooding
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IMPACT • October 2009 6
ARTICLES
beneath it is dropping due to factors not necessarily because
of global warming.
The same may be true with rising temperature, which,
according to studies have done a roller-coaster even before
industrialization began to add CO2 to the atmosphere. The
earth, for instance, has cooled down between 1940 and 1976,
warmed from 1976 to 1998 and has been cooling down since
1998, according to scientific records.
This, of course, is for experts. And a layperson may not
dare question scientific findings which till this day are still
being debated by the scientific community. But granting, for
the sake of argument, that global warming is real, factoring
it in the recent inundation of Metro Manila is a long shot.
(Since I was a kid, the experience of flooding and typhoons
had been common place in my province of Eastern Samar—
even before global warming became a blockbuster!).
Columnist Perry Diaz quotes an email that refutes it all
saying that “It’s deemed impossible for the supposedly ex-
cessive amount of rainfall, equivalent to a month’s outpour
condensed in six hours time, to be the main culprit.” He
gives the following reasons: 1) The rain was not that strong;
2) We’ve had worst rains before; 3) And why Marikina,
Pasig and Cainta became water worlds in just an hour; and
4) Why Moriones, Tondo, just several hundred meters away
from Manila Bay was barely affected if nature did cause
the rivers to swell, overflow and contribute greatly to the
deluge. It makes sense.
Besides, what happened to the much advertised disaster
preparedness on expensive TV by the government and its
Gilbert Teodoro?
Gross neglect and mismanagement
A more plausible factor is the gross neglect and urban
mismanagement. Urban planner Felino Palafox was quoted
lately as saying: “The flood disaster that struck Metro Manila
over the weekend was not an act of God but a sin of omission
by government and private real estate developers.”
He said further that “a land use plan that took floods
into consideration was drawn up as far back as 1977, titled
‘Metro Manila Transport, Land Use and Development Plan-
ning Project,” sponsored by the World Bank.” The study he
said “had already noted the possibility of heavy flooding in at
least three sites of urban growth in the Philippine capital—the
Marikina Valley and its northern and southern parts.”
But nothing was done about it. Instead of considering the
study, the government has built projects and allowed estate
developers to indiscriminately build housing subdivisions
on critical areas that in effect would block the natural flow
of flood waters.
The Manggahan Floodway was constructed precisely to
mitigate the flooding in Marikina, Pasig and Cainta. This time,
and maybe even before, it did not work. Reportedly, there was
a mechanical or systems failure of the water pumping station,
which has been left rusty because of gross neglect.
Metro Manila is supposed to be blessed with wide rivers,
tributaries and “esteros”. These are the natural floodways that
have saved residents from killer floods years back. But this
time, these tributaries are clogged and “cemented” with all
kinds of garbage of all shapes and sizes from refrigerators
to mattresses to human waste and name it.
The growing population has often been blamed for the
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Volume 43 • Number 10
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Metro Manila flooding
litter that has contributed much to the inundation of Metro
Manila. But Hong Kong, Tokyo and even Manhattan do have
as much number of populations, yet they do not encounter the
same problem as Manila does. Population management is the
key. While centralization of population is indeed a problem,
allowing people to build houses along waterways and under
bridges is indeed the summit of population mismanagement,
if not incompetence and social irresponsibility.
Even if the population is reduced and decentralized to
other provinces, the end result will still be the same if the
government will not manage it rationally.
Corruption, plain and simple
In his statement issued shortly after the Metro Manila
flooding, CBCP president and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lag-
dameo bewailed, “If there were no graft and corruption in
our government, our government would be more prepared
to respond to such crisis.” That is mouthful enough.
But the hard-hitting Philippine Daily Inquirer Columnist,
Conrado de Quiros, says it his own way: “Corruption was
the lifeboat that should have been there but were not because
the money had been stolen. Corruption was the pile of relief
goods that should have been there but was not because the
money had been stolen. Corruption was the dams and garbage
incinerators and drainage systems and relocation areas for
those living beside the creeks that should have been there
but were not because the money had been stolen.”
As it appears, there has been a reduction of images in the
government: from a much advertised, albeit costly, strong
republic and super-regions, it has laid low to becoming a
mendicant. Malacañang is begging for donors to help its
strange relief operations that involve bringing well chosen
flood victims to take refuge in Malacañang—making it the
best evacuation center in the world. NDCC is also solicit-
ing funds from its constituents for its relief work. Not to be
outdone, the Department of Health is also soliciting medicine
from the general public. It is the government now competing
with non-government organizations in raising funds.
Obviously, unless someone is spinning a trick some-
where, the government does not have ready funds for disas-
ter assistance—which is worse. The Commission on Audit
(COA) has recently reported that President Arroyo “has all
but spent the P800 million contingency funds allotted to the
Office of the President.” Moreover, COA has also reported
that “nearly every peso of the fund had been used for her
foreign junkets, on top of the more than P1 billion budget
for her official travels.”
And that, without even considering other anomalies
where the office of the President, or the extended office of
her family, had been accused of irregularities.
That, indeed, maybe the biggest disaster that has been
hitting the country for some years now. I
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IMPACT • October 2009 8
ARTICLES
C
lean, authentic and responsible
elections are one such critical
participation. Let’s consider the
following.
Situationer
Maria (not her real name) confessed
to her B.E.C. cluster community that in
the 2007 elections she tried everything
to avoid the rampant vote-buying in her
neighborhood. In fact, after she and her
husband voted early in the morning she
left her house together with her whole
family to her husband’s birthplace, a
barangay seven kilometers away. To
her family’s shock, when they returned
home several envelopes and folded
papers were strewn all over their front
porch even if it was walled in by grills.
They were filled with money from the
leaders of the different candidates,
urging the couple to vote for their bets.
They tried to avoid vote-buying but
vote-buying came to them. Still, hus-
band and wife returned the money where
they came from. They pointed to their
commitment expressed in writing by a
piece of paper posted on their doorway
inspired by their parish PPCRV: “THIS
FAMILY WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY
CARE
(CLEAN, AUTHENTIC, AND RESPONSIBLE ELECTION)
IS OUR MISSION
By Rev. Eutiquio B. Belizar, Jr., SThD
MONEY TO VOTE FOR ANYBODY.
THANK YOU.”
This incident is repeated in various
ways and in diverse places across our
archipelago when election time comes.
But, without a doubt, Maria and her
husband are not the rule. They are the
exception. Our mission is to help make
as many Filipinos as possible take and
live up to the same commitment.
At this point three questions could
be proposed for group reflection: (1)
What election anomaly(ies) have I or
other reliable person(s) been a witness
to? (2) What did I do or did not do about
it and why? (3) What consequences did
my action or inaction have on me and
the situation?
Reflection
Why must we overcome dishon-
est, dirty and irresponsible elections?
1) They give us leaders with the most
money and dirty tricks but not necessar-
ily with the right qualifications; 2) They
are a big factor behind some politicians’
thrust into graft and corruption, in part
to recover lost money and to make a
bigger profit for themselves; 3) They
damage the voter’s character as a citi-
zen and his/her sense of responsibility
to self and country; 4) They stifle real
participation since the people’s will is
blurred or even reversed by dishonest
elections; 5) The common good is not
served when the right leaders are not
elected and the exact count of votes is
not reported.
The expected first automated elec-
tion in the country is, by and large, a
source of hope for most Filipinos. But
it can also be a cause of complacency;
hence, a warning is in order. Not only is
automated cheating a dreaded possibil-
ity. The readiness of election personnel
and teachers who control and supervise
both the equipment and the process,
not to say that of the voting population
itself, is still uncertain. This is all the
more reason for us to CARE. That is
to say, we must both aim at and work
for a CLEAN, AUTHENTIC AND
RESPONSIBLE ELECTION.
CLEAN. There is no election un-
less it is clean which we must define
here as uninfluenced, untainted and
unmarked by cheating and other dirty
tactics employed by certain political
leaders and their agents in order to win
an elected office. But why should we
“The characteristic implication of subsidiarity is participation which is expressed essentially in a series
of activities by means of which the citizen, either as an individual or in association with others, whether
directly or through representation, contributes to the cultural, economic, political and social life of the civil
community to which he belongs. Participation is a duty to be fulfilled consciously by all, with responsibility
and with a view to the common good.”
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 189
Volume 43 • Number 10
9
CARE (Clean, Authentic, and Responsible Election) is our mission
Catholic Christians and all Filipinos
of faith commit ourselves to this prin-
ciple? Because we cannot be who we
are unless we repent and say no to sin
in whatever form it takes, including
those that emerge in the conduct of
elections. “The kingdom of God is near
at hand,” Jesus says at the start of his
public ministry. “Repent and believe in
the Good News!” (Mk 1:15). In Jesus’
own words we hear that before we can
even listen to and follow the gospel we
have first to repent, that is, to make an
about face in our minds and hearts, in
our words and deeds from sin in all its
forms in order to turn to and follow Jesus
the Master and Lord. As St. Augustine
states: “We make a ladder for ourselves
out of our vices if we trample the vices
themselves under foot.”
AUTHENTIC. When is an elec-
tion authentic? If and when it reflects
not only the people’s real choices but
also true democracy’s principles of
participation and freedom. Why is
this significant to us people of faith?
Because our God is Truth, our Savior,
his Son, is “the Way, the Truth and the
Life” (Jn 14:6). This must be reflected
in us believers, his Son’s followers in
what we say and what we do. Hence,
our elections must also be authentic,
true. Otherwise we cannot claim to
be People of God, followers of Jesus
Christ. We do not conduct elections
despite being but precisely as Christians.
When we renounce elections that are
not true or those that do not proclaim
who the people truly voted for, those
that do not serve the true principles of
democracy which are real participation
and real freedom, then we confront a
reality which is a direct affront to God
and to his Son, as well as to ourselves.
When elections are called upon not to
determine the true chosen leaders of
the people but to hide a despotic rule
behind a mask of democracy, then de-
mocracy itself becomes a sham. To fight
it is not only a duty but also a mark of
discipleship. To work for its authentic
form truly becomes an integral part of
our mission to proclaim Christ and the
Kingdom of God.
RESPONSIBLE ELECTION.
What makes an election responsible?
When everyone involved in the process
respond to its goal and purpose which,
ultimately, is the common good, even if
it means turning his back on himself and
his own interests. Its Latin root ‘respon-
dere’ precisely means to respond to or to
answer. For example, when candidates
run a campaign looking at an elected of-
fice not as an opportunity to power and
wealth but to service in the direction of
the people’s true welfare, when voters
reject money and patronage politics in
order to elect qualified leaders, when
election personnel do everything ac-
cording to law and morality, then they
all answer and respond to the call of
the common good. When election time
comes, people participate in it in vari-
ous ways but all must work to achieve
this one goal. “Participation,” says the
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of
the Church, “is a duty to be fulfilled
consciously by all, with responsibility
and with a view to the common good”
(CSDC, 189).
When the Church defines the com-
mon good as “the sum total of social
conditions which allow people, either
as groups or as individuals, to reach
their fulfillment more fully and more
easily” (GS 26), it clearly includes clean,
authentic and responsible elections. The
reason is simple. Only when elections
have these characteristics will there be
a possibility for human fulfillment to
become full and easier.
Call to Action
1) We must spearhead intensifed
voter’s education programs, particularly
exposing not only the evils of vote-
buying and cheating but also the intimate
connection between them and the sorry
state the country is in; 2) We must call
a spade a spade, we must call sin a sin
especially in the conduct of elections:
e.g., vote-buying because it desecrates
the voter and suffrage itself; cheating
because it is a gross injustice to one’s
political opponents and to the country
itself; and other election violations in so
far as they impede the attainment of the
common good; 3) The prophetic ministry
also means that the Church must coura-
geously and constantly call politicians
and voters, hierarchy and lay faithful, to
repentance and to reject sin in private and
public life, especially in the conduct of
campaigns and elections. Pastoral letters,
homilies, chats and addresses must repeat
this call just as Jesus himself did so; 4)
The Church, that is, the hierarchy and
laity, must use all available and legitimate
Volume 43 • Number 10
9
CARE, page 14
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IMPACT • October 2009 10
ARTICLES
T
oday China celebrates the 60th anniversary of Com-
munist Party rule. The Party is highlighting the nation’s
huge and powerful military, its international influence,
its towering role in the world economy, and its growing pros-
perity, at least in the large coastal cities. It has left behind the
barbarities of Mao Tse-tung and has become a "civilized",
"harmonious", "prosperous" and "democratic" country.
But one barbarity persists: the one-child policy. On
September 25, 1980, the Communist Party announced that,
with very few exceptions, couples were permitted to have
only one child. Party officials insisted that the population
had to be capped at 1.2 billion by the year 2000.
This policy has not only blackened China’s reputation
as a human-rights abuser. It also is leading to economic and
social disaster. China’s population is ageing so rapidly that
caring for the elderly will impose a crushing burden on its
economy. And because Chinese have a traditional prefer-
ence for sons, infant girls are often aborted or murdered,
which means that as many as 15 percent of Chinese men
will never find wives.
How did such an insane idea become official policy of
the world’s largest nation?
This is the question raised by anthropologist Susan
Greenhalgh in her valuable book Just One Child: Science
and Policy in Deng’s China. Greenhalgh reads and speaks
Chinese and used to work for a US-based NGO, the Population
Council. With this background, she won the confidence of
many high-ranking government officials involved in forging
the policy. Her detective work yielded a surprising answer.
Most Westerners attribute the one-child policy to Com-
Who is responsible for China's
infamous one-child policy?
Surprisingly, it is not 60 years of
Communist rule.
munist ideology and its top-down authoritarianism. This is
only partially true. Without the harsh discipline imposed
by the Party, it would have been impossible to implement.
However, population control is not a Communist idea. Karl
Marx despised his contemporary Thomas Malthus and the
Soviet Union was clearly pro-natalist.
Until 1980, the attitude of the Chinese Communist Party
was far from clear. Although birth planning was regarded as
a solution to China’s economic problems in the 50s and 60s,
the slogan was just "later, longer, fewer"—later marriages,
longer spaces between children, and fewer of them, not "stop
at one". The Great Helmsman, Mao Zedong, flip-flopped on
population control. He was quoted as saying both "of all things
in the world, people are the most precious" and, shortly before
his death in 1975, "it won’t do to not control population".
As late as 1974, Premier Zhou Enlai told the UN Popula-
tion Conference in Bucharest that the notion of a population
explosion was a capitalist plot: "Is it owing to overpopula-
tion that unemployment and poverty exist in many countries
of the world today? No, absolutely not. It is mainly due to
aggression, plunder and exploitation by the imperialists,
particularly the superpowers."
Mao’s pragmatic successor Deng Xiaoping was clearly
in favor of reducing population growth, but he never publicly
committed himself to a one-child policy.
So who was responsible for the idea? Although many
people had a hand in creating this cruel policy, Greenhalgh
claims that the single most influential person was not a
Marxist ideologue, but a brilliant computer expert named
Song Jian. Song was a missile expert who had survived the
By Michael Cook
Volume 43 • Number 10
11
Raining on the parade
Cultural Revolution because China needed a strong military
even during the upheavals of the Cultural Revolution. His
particular expertise was cybernetics and unlike many of his
colleagues, he was able to travel overseas.
In 1978 he attended the Seventh Triennnial World Con-
gress of the International Federal of Automatic Control in
Helsinki. There he met two Dutch control theorists who had
contributed to the Club of Rome report, Limits to Growth.
This was an influential computer program which forecast
catastrophe if world population were not limited. Song found
their work compelling and when he returned to China he set to
work developing a population model for his own country.
Unfortunately, Song was completely unaware of the ham-
mering which Limits to Growth was receiving in the West.
Greenhalgh says that he imported what had been merely a
scientific exercise in Europe and transformed it into a con-
crete policy proposal for use on a real population.
After the ideological lunacies of the Maoist era, Song’s
supporters in the Communist Party were searching for scien-
tific solutions to social problems. What Song offered them
was confident precision. In their isolation from the West,
these Chinese officials had never even seen computer mod-
eling and graphs. They found ideas like "spaceship earth"
and mathematical control of childbearing utterly compel-
ling. Song once confided to a group of American population
specialist that because he was a mathematician, anything he
said would be believed. His models were real science, not
social science or spurious ideology.
The most trenchant opponents of Song’s mechanistic
approach to social problems were actually Marxist theorists,
but in the wake of the disasters engineered by Mao and the
Gang of Four, no one listened. If Greenhalgh’s narrative has
a hero, it is a Red Guard turned Party intellectual named
Lian Zhongtang.
Liang foresaw the problems that China faces today.
"One-childization" would impose terrible social costs upon
the peasants, he said in 1979. In several decades there would
be 150 million "gloomy and lonely old people" and that
China would become a "breathless, lifeless society without
a future". "In the past," he wrote, "under the extreme leftist
road, China’s peasants were subject to all kinds of coercion.
We have made the peasants’ suffering bitter enough in the
economic realm. We cannot make them suffer further [in the
reproductive realm]."
Alas, Party officials were mesmerized by computer-
generated population forecasts based on a range of birth-
rates—even though Chinese population statistics ranged
from fictitious to inaccurate. In December 1979 the Party
sponsored a conference on population theory in the city of
Chengdu, in Sichuan province, where Song finally won over
influential party officials after intense lobbying.
Greenhalgh cites a radio broadcast from early 1980 which
shows Party officials were besotted with bogus statistics:
"This reporter saw numerous figures typed on paper by
electronic computers—the first fairly detailed, reliable data
and prediction that have been made of our country’s popula-
tion growth in the next 100 years. This dazzling data clearly
shows the different results of population growth according
to different plans... Their data shows that... if we vigorously
encourage every married couple to have one child... [and
can] achieve this goal by 1985... [this is] the most ideal way
to solve our country’s population problem."
Obviously this reporter had never heard of "garbage in,
garbage out".
Greenhalgh claims that Chinese officials even foresaw
China’s incredibly distorted sex ratio at birth, which today
stands at about 120 infant boys for every 100 girls. They
knew that if couples were forced to stop at one child, some
would kill their daughters. However, discussion of this sensi-
tive topic was stifled. Instead, birth planning officials wrote
articles denying that the sex ratio would rise. Researchers
told her that they had been instructed to avoid investigating
this issue and that newspapers and journals would refuse to
print anything they wrote about it.
So the real villain of China’s oppressive one-child policy
is scientism, the belief that science and technology can solve
all human problems. As Greenhalgh puts it, the Chinese
of the post-Mao era had merely swapped one ideology for
another. Today in China, she writes, "there is overwhelming
acceptance of science as a new theology that can settle all
problems, even scientific ones".
Does this sound familiar? In the West we are grappling
with similar issues in areas like stem cell research or climate
change. Scientists are often applauded as experts even if
they are abysmally ignorant of ethics and blithely ignore the
social implications of their policy proposals. Like the most
dogmatic Marxists, they are capable of stripping human be-
ings of their dignity and treating them as nothing more than
numbers. Greenhalgh’s research is a sobering reminder that
obsequious reverence to shonky science has been responsible
for one of the greatest human rights violations of the last
hundred years.
(Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.)
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ARTICLES
By Fr. Shay Cullen
T
here were heroes who sacrificed their own lives while
saving the weak and helpless during the height of the
devastating tropical storm that brought rampaging
flood waters cascading through Manila, sweeping all before
them. A construction worker, Muelmar Magalanes,18, leap
again and again into the raging torrent and saved over 30
women and children until he was too exhausted to fight the
current as he was saving a baby girl. He was swept away to
his death. A Judge, Raph Lee, 49, of Quezon City took his
Jet ski and later with two rubber boats rescued over a 100
people in danger of being drowned by the rising waters.
Hundreds of ordinary people took great risks as they carried
their neighbors to safety. Thousands spent days and nights
on their roof tops terrified as the water kept rising.
Such terrible tragedies bring out the best in the Filipino
as neighbors help one another. Mostly the poor helping the
poor survive the turbulent torrent. The kind and generous
people, non-government and church agencies are out day and
night sharing food and dry clothing as I write this.
Media commentators and editorials have lambasted
politicians and government officials that were nowhere to
be seen as they cowered in their mansions while the poor
were carried away to their deaths. Disaster prevention and
readiness was practically non-existent, there were no plans,
no practice or preparation according to an opposition Senator
Loren Legarda. “It’s plain incompetence of the leadership,
and the government was absent. ...clearly it has no plan”,
she said.
The political fall-out in the Philippines as a result may
well be like that of hurricane Katrina in the United States
that brought election disaster to the Republicans because of
the Bush administration’s inability to respond adequately.
The need for change was apparent then as it is in the Philip-
pines today. The world need to change too as Copenhagen
Greed,
the guru of growth
gets ready to host the world conference on climate change
in December. International agreements must be reached and
signed to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants, factories
and cars to save the planet.
These terrific storms of growing intensity and frequency
are evidence of the deadly effects of climate change due to
the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Soon we will reach the point of no return, a tipping point
where a runaway chain of events will cause the planet to
heat ever more quickly. The burning of fossil fuels have to
be cut back and clean electrical generation must be harvested
from renewable sources such as wind turbines, ocean tides,
solar panels on houses and factories and arrayed across the
hot deserts.
There is much we can do to contribute to the reduction
of CO2 in the atmosphere. We can recycle everything we
can, reduce the use of our vehicles, get smaller electric
cars, insulate our houses to reduce the need for heating and
cooling and stop cutting and instead plant millions of trees.
What we need also is to change the almost fanatical belief
of our politicians and economists that consumerism is the
engine of growth; that greed is good and we must shop til’
we drop. The world economy came to a shuddering halt as a
result of this ideology that champions possession and power.
The more we have, it says, the more powerful we are. The
pursuit of riches is not the same as the pursuit of happiness
and do we really need to pursue the goddess of growth? Do
developed nations really need continual non-stop economic
expansion? Are the rich never rich enough?
Greed is the guru of growth but soon it causes us to burst
our britches with the economic obesity that is alternately caus-
ing the planet to burn, the ice caps to melt, the oceans to rise,
the land to perish in drought and then to drown in storms and
typhoons. Millions of plants and animals are going extinct
and poor hungry sick people, shrivel, starve, drown and die
in their millions. Growth, is it worth it after all?
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NEWS
FEATURES
MANILA, Philippines, Oct. 2, 2009—
The head of the Catholic Bishops’
Conference of the Philippines expressed
his frustration with the pace of relief
efforts in the typhoon-devastated Lu-
zon region.
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo
said he can’t but register his deep con-
cern at the unacceptably slow response
to the grave humanitarian crisis.
He said “depletion” of the govern-
ment’s resources might have triggered
the “slowness” in responding to the
victims of the strong typhoon.
What the church leader fear the
most, he admitted, is the misappropria-
tion of resources set aside for responding
to calamities.
“If there were no graft and corrup-
tion in our government, our government
would be more prepared to respond to
such crisis,” Lagdameo said.
Survivors are angry at the lack of
aid. Some of them reported that they
were trapped inside their homes or on
the rooftops but were ignored by rescue
helicopters flying overhead.

Record breaking
Massive flash floods unleashed by
Typhoon Ondoy swept across Metro
Manila and nearby provinces on Sept.
26 killing over 200 people and stranding
hundreds on roof tops.
The National Disaster Coordinat-
ing Council (NDCC) said the homes of
nearly 1.9 million were inundated.
The typhoon dumped 410.6 mil-
limeters (16 inches) of rains on Manila
that weekend in just 12 hours, breaking
the previous single-day record of 334
millimeters in July 1967.
Major areas in Pasig, Marikina and
Rizal, Laguna and Bulacan provinces
were the hardest hit by the storm.
Based on the initial report that
reached CBCP’s National Secretariat
for Social Action from its diocesan
networks, Metro Manila has been the
worst-hit in terms of flooding and
damage, while Rizal province had the
highest number of casualties due to
landslide and flash floods.
CBCP prexy scores slow
response to killer food
The Diocese of Antipolo is still in
the process of gathering information.
So far, a partial list of 5,452 affected
families (including Marikina) has al-
ready been documented.
In Bulacan, 22 municipalities (118
barangays) were affected listing down a
partial total of 13,576 families (44,178
persons). “There were reported cases
of 42 casualties but still has to be con-
firmed,” the NASSA reported.
In Pampanga, the typhoon left
in its wake 207 barangays in the 20
municipalities/city submerged under
1-9ft deep of floodwaters. Landslide oc-
curred in Arayat, affecting 174 families,
which are now temporarily housed in
five evacuation centers mostly schools
and chapels.
NASSA said a total of 37,540 fami-
lies (175,514 individuals) were affected
in this province, 217 of which are staying
in the evacuation centers.
In Laguna, it also said, there were
a total of 73,170 families (310,893
individuals) affected with nine fatali-
ties. In Cavite, there were 309 partial
list of families affected from three
municipalities.
As of press time, the official death
toll in the massive flooding has climbed
to 240. There are nearly 380, 000 people
in evacuation centers.
Following the onslaught of the
typhoon, survivors were found digging
through the mud, desperately trying to
find their loved ones.
Dead bodies were also found ev-
erywhere—hanging in tress, floating
in mucky floodwater, or buried alive
by massive landslides.

Compassion
The current situation, Lagdameo said,
is call to everyone for compassion.
He also lauded the efforts by various
groups and individuals who immedi-
ately responded to help the thousands
of typhoon victims.
“The pictures we have seen in the
past few days are pictures of Filipinos
responding to the call for compassion,
of people willing to ‘suffer with,’
people with the spirit of ‘bayanihan,’”
he said.
“We bend our knees in prayer for
salvation against natural calamities, but
when they do come, we are not so help-
less as not to respond with heroism.”
“We have said it before and we
say it again “In the Church, no one is
so poor as to have nothing to give, and
no one is so rich as to have nothing to
receive,” he added. (CBCPNews)
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IMPACT • October 2009 14
means, including the internet, to teach
morality and the mission of the laity to
bring gospel values to politics, econom-
ics and other secular felds of action; 5)
Maria’s and her husband’s commitment
to reject vote-buying and other election
malpractices should be elicited always
through persuasion and prayer from as
many more voters as possible. PPCRV,
responsible citizens and the youth should
campaign actively for such a commit-
ment, e.g., through written and publicly
displayed notices; 6) Politicians and vot-
ers must always be invited not only to
CARE, from page 9
discussion fora but also to recollections
and prayer meetings for clean, authentic
and responsible elections. Their commit-
ment to such a goal must also be elicited
and monitored; 7) While we do right by
condemning wrongdoing by politicians
and voters alike, we must also encour-
age those who do right, e.g., citing and
giving awards to good and accomplished
leaders as well as to responsible and
exemplary citizens.
What are we really saying? That
Jesus Christ be realized among us even
as we conduct politics and, in particu-
lar, our elections. We conclude where
we started. It is Jesus Christ who saves
us and calls us to his saving ways. It is
the same Jesus Christ we follow and
his salvation that we try to announce as
covering all human beings and all human
endeavors. That is to say, we engage in
clean, authentic and responsible elections
to signify his saving presence among us.
That all of this forms part of a plan we
want to serve. “A plan to be carried out
in Christ, in the fullness of time, to bring
all things into one in him, in the heavens
and on earth” (Eph 1:10).
NEWS
FEATURES
HANOI, Vietnam, Sept.
28, 2009—Amid a con-
tinuing smear campaign
against Catholics, lo-
cal Vietnamese offi-
cials have confiscated
a Catholic school while
other church land has
been appropriated for
private investors. The
school adjacent to the
parish church of Loan
Ly in the town of Lang
Co (Hue province) was
built by parishioners in
1956, Fr. J.B. An Dang
told CNA. It was used
as a Catholic elementary
and high school until the
local government seized
it after the communist
takeover of South Vietnam in 1975.
Since the seizure, Sunday catechism classes have been
allowed under the condition they are conducted under a
large picture of Communist leader Ho Chi Minh instead of
under a cross.
Local authorities have repeatedly attempted to convert
the school into a hotel since 1999. Their efforts were previ-
ously stopped because of parishioners’ public protests.
The most recent confscation attempt came under the local
chief secretary of the Communist Party, Ho Xuan Man, who
wanted to annex the school to create his own hotel. On Septem-
ber 13, a Sunday, local authorities along with the local, district
and provincial police barricaded the building and prevented the
children from coming to the school for their catechism classes.
The occupants then built a makeshift fence around the
school. Hundreds of protesters gathered at the school and
some started pulling the fence down.
According to Fr. An Dang, thousands of police and
armed reinforcements rushed to the scene and attacked the
parishioners with batons and stun guns.
The two Catholic bishops of Hue expressed “shock and
frustration” with the government action and its “employment
of violence.” They also called for peaceful dialogue.
Vietnam officials continue confiscation of church land
Hue Television responded to their comments with a
series of interviews in which government contractors posed
as Catholics who verbally attacked the bishops.
Newspapers have also made “fierce” attacks against Fr.
Joseph Ngo Than Son, pastor of Loan Ly. They accused him
of plotting and directing parishioners’ protest on Sunday.
However, the priest had been in the hospital for weeks and
was not at his parish when the incident took place, Fr. An
Dang reports. (CNA)
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Japanese experts expect super-
typhoons to cause a lot of
damage due to global warming
TOKYO, Japan, Sept. 30, 2009—Japanese weathermen
predict that global warming will spawn ‘super-typhoons’ in
the second half of this century that will hit coastal Japan,
causing unprecedented damages. However, typhoons and
tropical storms have already sown death and destruction
in the Philippines, Taiwan, China and Vietnam.
“If a super-typhoon makes landfall in Japan, the
surges in tides could bring about more serious damage
than the Isewan Typhoon,” said Katsuhisa Tsuboki, as-
sociate professor of meteorology at Nagoya University.
The Isewan Typhoon struck the Ise Bay area in 1959,
killing more than 5,000 people, many of whom were
swept away in tidal surges.
In August this year, researchers predicted that global
warming would raise sea surface temperatures in the
Western Pacific, leading to several super-typhoons with
winds of more than 240 kilometers per hour from 2074
to 2087.
In May, an Environment Ministry team in an inde-
pendent study forecast huge damages from surges in tides
due to rising sea levels and stronger typhoons. ”Coastal
structures will need reinforcement in 40 to 50 years,”
said Nobuo Mimura, professor of coastal engineering at
Ibaraki University.
Only 65 per cent of the 13,792 kilometers of coastal
embankments are high enough to handle tides caused by
storms the size of the one that hit Ise Bay. (AsiaNews)
I
IMPACT • October 2009 16
COVER
STORY
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
T
he travails of Filipino seafarers
invaded anew the consciousness of
the Filipino people when in April
2009, international attention was riveted
by the dramatic rescue of American cap-
tain Richard Phillips from the hands of
Somali pirates.
The drama on the high seas was suc-
cessfully executed through the combined
efforts of France, European Union, Canada,
China and some African countries, which
sent their navy armada to resolve the
crisis.
At that time, there were about 228
seamen of various nationalities being held
captive by Somali pirates from 13 ships
they seized on various occasions. Half of
those hostages were Filipinos.
The swift action of the United States
in securing the release of Captain Richard
Phillips highlighted the inadequacy of the
Philippine government in ensuring the
safety of Filipino seafarers when they fall
prey to piracy and other dangers related
to their work.
Piracy on the high seas
Considered the scourge of the mari-
time industry, piracy caught international
interest when Maersk Alabama, a US cargo
ship, was seized by Somali pirates off
the Horn of Africa sometime in April and
took hostage the ship’s captain, Richard
Phillips.
Piracy off the coast of Somalia is a
booming business. With warlords offer-
ing protection, it has become too easy
for pirates to pull off attacks in exchange
for hefty ransom that runs to millions of
dollars.
Somali pirates have been attacking
ships plying the Gulf of Aden in the Horn
of Africa since the early 1990’s.
Piracy in Somalia started off as an
upshot against illegal fishing and dump-
ing of toxic wastes by other nations into
Somali waters. With no functioning cen-
tral government, and a civil war to boot,
there was much chaos around. The local
fishermen banded together to protect their
source of livelihood. And very soon after,
they transformed themselves into pirates
upon discovering that piracy is a lucrative
business that pays in millions of dollars.
International piracy experts have
estimated that in 2008 alone, the pirates
have gained at least $80 million dollars in
ransom payments.
Somali pirates have had at least 78
piracy attacks since January this year,
Filipino Seafarers:
Sailing amidst turbulent waters
Volume 43 • Number 10
17
San Miguel Corporation: A Brewing Storm
Filipino Seafarers:
Sailing amidst turbulent waters
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Seaman Jonathan Luman-ag Seaman Hydee Denoy
COVER
STORY
compared to 111 during the same period
in 2008, according to a Malaysian-based
International Maritime Bureau.
In November of last year, Somalis
took hostage a Philippine tanker and its
23 all-Filipino crew. The longest in cap-
tivity so far, the ship and seamen were
freed only on April 21 this year, after
the ship’s company paid an undisclosed
amount of ransom.
Somalis however, are not the only
pirates preying on merchant vessels ply-
ing the Gulf of Aden off North Africa.
Nigerian militants are also involved in
the lucrative business of piracy whose
notoriety is second only to Somalis.
Job benefits outweigh risks
Filipino seafarers comprise about
25% of manpower in around 80% of
ships in the world today. Hailed as
among the very best in the world, Fili-
pino crews can be found anywhere—
onboard transport ships, tankers, ro-ro
ships, riggers, fishing vessels, luxury
liners and yachts. It has been said
that without the big percentage of
Filipino seafarers working onboard,
the global shipping industry would
suffer a crisis.
Seafaring, perhaps more than any
other profession exacts a lot on the
emotional and psychological wellbeing
of the person and his loved ones.
“It can be lonely sometimes, espe-
cially when you have to think of your
loved ones left behind. But in my profes-
sion that is a sacrifice that you have to
accept,” says Jonathan Luman-ag.
Working as an able-bodied seaman
(AB) in a salvage towing ship, Luman-
ag says his ship has traveled many times
in pirate-infested waters of Africa and
Malta. But he is not worried about
dangers at sea.
“God is there to protect,” he says.
Indeed, life in the oceans is fraught
with risks. Seafarers have to contend not
only with their own personal struggles of
being separated from family for a long
period of time, but with other factors as
well. Loneliness sometimes drives them
into illicit relationships every time they
call on every port. There are instances
too when their salaries are withheld for
months or they are not given sufficient
food by their employers. At the top of
it all is the problem of piracy which
has been pillaging the high seas for
years already.
Notwithstanding threats of piracy
or otherwise, Filipino sailors still are
lured to seek a seafaring job because
the profession pays far better than any
other job they can find at home.
Ordinarily, able seaman and oilers
can earn as much as US$1,500 monthly.
Bosuns earn US$1,700; chief cooks
get a pay of US$1,600; and third and
second engineer officers US$2,350 and
US$2,500 monthly, respectively.
Seafarer Hydee Denoy admits he
also worries about being taken hostage,
but says he is willing to take the risk.
The Leyte native says he would
rather stay in the country than board
a ship if only he could find a job that
pays as much as he gets as a seaman.
Working in a product tanker ship, De-
noy gets as much as P60,000 a month
in salaries.
“Life is really hard in the begin-
ning because of adjustments, but after
a few months you tend to get used to
the routine,” he says in a mixture of
English and Tagalog.
Lack of opportunities at home
Like thousands of other overseas
workers who opted to leave the country
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Filipino Seafarers: Sailing amidst turbulent waters
and loved ones in search for better op-
portunities abroad, Filipino seafarers are
mostly driven by the same motivation.
Certainly, it is not all love for travel that
moves them to endure the hard life at
sea, separated from family for months,
sometimes without the possibility of
communication.
The Department of Foreign Affairs,
approximate the number of Filipino
seafarers deployed all over the world
at around 350,000, most of them on
board ships that travel through African
waters, particularly the Gulf of Aden in
the Horn of Africa.
According to the Philippine Over-
seas Employment Administration
(POEA), since 1987 the Philippines has
been the leading contender in the supply
of manpower in the international ship-
ping industry. In 2007 alone, 266,553
seamen were hired to work in interna-
tional passenger and cargo ships.
Despite receiving pay less than what
their contracts state, still the salary is
bigger compares to what they will nor-
mally get if they worked in the country.
To be able to sail around the world for
free is also another plus factor.
“Besides earning dollars, you can
travel around the world,” says Luman-
ag, who gets a monthly salary of
$1,500.
Seafarers’ remittances make up 15
percent of the $14.5 billion sent home
by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
In 2007, the remittances sent home by
seamen totaled around $2.2 billion. This
amount went up in 2008. According to
Central Bank, Filipino seafarers sent
home $2.393 billion in the first nine
months of 2008, a 43.35-percent higher
than the $1.669 billion they sent in the
same period in 2007.
Demand remains high
Although the demand for Filipino
crews has remained high as shown
by increase in deployment this year
despite the global economic crisis,
the emergence of other countries like
China, Ukraine, India, Indonesia, Po-
land and Greece, as sources of labor
can drastically cut the need for Filipino
seamen.
But ship owners still preferred
Filipino seamen for various reasons.
The Filipinos’ ingenuity, flexibility,
loyalty, willingness to work long hours
and facility in English language are
among the many positive factors why
ship owners would choose Filipinos to
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Filipino Seafarers: Sailing amidst turbulent waters
man their ship. But ship owners also
tend to exploit the seamen in many
ways, like withholding their salaries for
sometime or paying them less than what
was stipulated in their contracts.
Apostleship of the Sea
The Church is deeply involved
in protecting the welfare of Filipino
seamen and their loved ones. To be
able to assist the needs of mariners
who are highly vulnerable to dangers
and exploitation, the Church has es-
tablished the Apostleship of the Sea
(AOS) organization which gives all
kinds of assistance to seafarers and
their families. The AOS which is pres-
ent in many countries works hand in
hand with national and international
organizations, private agencies and
maritime institutions to protect the
welfare of the estimated 1,200,000 sea-
farers worldwide, more than 300,000
of whom are Filipinos.
Magna Carta for Seafarers
Recently, a bill providing a Magna
Carta for Filipino Seafarers, which aims
to improve the economic and social
status of Filipino sailors has been in-
troduced in Congress. Filed by Senator
Edgardo Angara, the piece of legislation
is touted to be a “major breakthrough
in Philippine Maritime industry,” as it
proposes better educational curriculum,
employment system and post-employ-
ment support for Filipino seafarers and
their families.
Indeed, global competitiveness
should push the country to improve
the Maritime industry by creating poli-
cies that would safeguard the rights of
Filipino seafarers.
At the home front, the government
may do well to urge for the revitaliza-
tion of the country’s shipping industry
so that Filipino mariners who may not
wish to go out of the country at one
point in their life will have an equally
satisfying opportunities right within
our shores.
But with little possibilities offered
to them at home, our seafarers may yet
choose a riskier alternative. Brave it out
in the pirate-infested waters of Africa
where yet a number of Filipinos are
being held hostage.
While the Filipino seafarers in
rough seas are living turbulent lives
enough, the government seeming in-
difference to their plight is more than
chaotic. But all that is nothing compared
to the catastrophic turbulence of bad
governance which is the root cause why
the unwilling Filipino has to become a
seafarer in the first place.
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Volume 43 • Number 10
21
I
ts original Latin rendition is “Caritas in veritate.” It’s the
title of the third long-awaited encyclical of Pope Benedict
XVI that just came out first week of July.
When two years ago its idea was first brought up in
public, the common attitude was that it was to be the pa-
pal social encyclical to tackle our festering current global
economic crisis.
Expectations and suspense ran high. What made it more
so was that there were announce-
ments that the document would
come out last year. But it didn’t,
thus, all sorts of speculations came
thick and fast.
So it was quite a major letdown
that when it finally came out, only
the “usual people” (ecclesiastics,
Church commentators, seminary
professors, etc.) were the ones mak-
ing noise. Hardly anything came out
from the secular press. It seemed
that interest in the encyclical was
restricted to a certain circle of
people.
Even in our country that’s sup-
posed to be very Catholic, there’s
almost total silence to its reception.
The bishops preferred, it seems, to
talk about politics or something else,
though it must be said that what
they said one way or another have
some relation to what the encyclical
is saying.
This phenomenon has been
hovering and bothering me at the
back of my mind. Why is it like
that? His second encyclical, “Spes
salvi” (Saved by hope), despite its
tremendous content, suffered more
or less the same fate. It was only the first one, “Deus caritas
est” (God is love), that caused some stir.
Several reasons can be put forward. But I prefer to
think that most people are not prepared for it. Many are
those who do not know how to think theologically. They can
think emotionally, rationally, sociologically, economically,
politically, not but yet theologically.
I’m afraid some have gone to the extent of considering
documents like this as a foreign body to their system. They
have already developed a certain allergy to any Church
document.
Underpinning this could be an attachment to the super-
ficial aspects of the current situation, plus a certain soft or
subtle narcissism that keeps one thinking of oneself only,
or worse, a hostile attitude backed up by some ideologies
like secularism, a wild liberalism, etc.
Charity in Truth
Which is all a pity because the encyclical puts the whole
issue of our current socio-economic-political predicament
in its proper perspective. The Church has the duty and the
charism to read the signs of the times, and this is what the
Holy Father is doing in this encyclical.
It does not offer technical solutions, but it points out the
fundamental causes of our problems these days and the way
to correct them. The Pope knows the vast scope as well as
the limits of his authority. He toes
the line.
In this document, the Pope
says that while truth always has to
be pursued and given in charity, as
St. Paul says, charity, which is the
driving force of human develop-
ment, should always be developed
in the truth.
Everyone, I suppose, wants to
love. But we have to make sure that
our love is in the truth, otherwise we
would just be going in circles, pursu-
ing a false and dangerous love.
He defines what true integral
human development is, grounding it
on its ultimate source as a vocation
coming from God and highlighting
the spiritual component more than
its material aspect.
The Pope tries to highlight the
connection between our earthly
affairs on the one hand, and our
origin and destination in God, on
the other.
Our usual problem is to under-
stand our autonomy in our earthly
affairs as total independence from
God. They are just a human thing,
we tend to think. God has no place
in them. Wrong! We need to make drastic changes in this
mentality.
The Pope goes on to touch on a number of crucial ele-
ments regarding our earthly affairs that all need clarification.
Among these are the social principles of common good,
solidarity and subsidiarity as lived in the context of our
present crisis.
There are references to how international cooperation
should be developed, and other issues like migration, aid to
poor countries, care for the environment, delicate responsi-
bilities in finance, etc.
There’s one point that I find most interesting. It’s about
how openness to life is at the center of true development.
“If personal and social sensitivity toward the acceptance of
a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance valuable
for society also wither away.”
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
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ARTICLES
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IMPACT • October 2009 22
STATEMENTS
T
he pictures we see in the newspapers and television
screen in these days, after the epic flood brought about
by devastating tropical storm “Ondoy” have many
stories to tell which are beyond words. Many of the victims
of super typhoon Ondoy has a scary experience to narrate.
While we keep in our imagination the pictures that invite
our deepest sympathy, and even listen in our hearts to their
desperate cries for help, the victims agonizing and angry
complaints at the slowness or absence of response from
Disaster Preparedness Program, let us see in this situation
a call to everyone for compassion. If there were no graft
and corruption in our government, our government would
be more prepared to respond to such crisis.
Typhoon Ondoy’s destructive path may be the worst
flood in more than half a century. Through the ravages of
nature in the past, the Filipino sense of compassion, which
we also call “bayanihan,” has been called forth. The pictures
we have seen in the past few days are pictures of Filipinos
responding to the call for compassion, of people willing to
“suffer with,” people with the spirit of “bayanihan.”
We pray against typhoons, earthquakes, floods and other
natural calamities. But when they do occur, the heroism of
the Filipino comes out. We salute, for example, to that 18-
year old teen-ager, Muelmar Magallanes, who lost his life
after saving more than a dozen neighbors, the last of whom
was a six-month old baby.
This one heroic example is an inspiration of our appeal
with the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action. The
CBCP NASSA has been mobilized to help with its limited
resources the victims of the flood. Relief goods have started
to be gathered and distributed to the flood-affected provinces
around Metro Manila. Caritas Manila has started to respond
to the flood victims in Metro Manila. Compassion is drawing
many Filipinos to unite with their unfortunate brothers and
sisters. Social Action Centers of other Dioceses may join
the campaign by sending to CBCP NASSA whatever they
Epic Flood: A Call for Compassion
may collect. Profound gratitude to the Knights of Columbus
Supreme Council and the US Bishops’ Conference—Catholic
Relief Services. They were among the first to respond.
Other Institutions like the RED CROSS, have also
started to respond to the call for compassion, as we have
seen in GMA network and ABS-CBN network in the spirit
respectively of “KAPUSO” and “KAPAMILYA.”
We bend our knees in prayer for salvation against natural
calamities, but when they do come, we are not so helpless
as not to respond with heroism. We have said it before and
we say it again “In the Church, no one is so poor as to have
nothing to give, and no one is so rich as to have nothing to
receive.” We are humbled by the crises that come to us. We
pray to God and appeal for our neighbor.
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO
Archbishop of Jaro
CBCP President
September 29, 2009
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Statement against the slaying of Fr. Cecilio Lucero
T
he CBCP-National Secretariat for
Social Action–Justice and Peace
condemns in the strongest terms
the brutal murder of Fr. Cecilio Lucero,
human rights activist, of the Diocese of
Catarman, Northern Samar.
The murder of Fr. Lucero comes
in the wake of a series of unresolved
extrajudicial killings and attacks on
human rights defenders, journalists and
NGO activists. These senseless acts of
violence represent the antithesis of a
people of life. The Filipino people, who
peacefully pray and work every day for
the protection of all human life, are
rightfully aggrieved by this news.
Our immediate thoughts are with
Fr. Lucero’s family and parishioners.
This is a terrible moment for them, in
which their worst fears about the threats
to Fr. Lucero’s life have been confirmed.
We offer them our deepest condolences.
Fr. Lucero is a well-known peace and
human rights advocate who served
as parish priest in Catubig town, and
Chairman of the Human Rights Com-
mittee of the diocese. He was a tireless
crusader for the rights and dignity of all
individuals. He understood the danger of
his work, but refused to be intimidated.
Fr. Lucero’s remarkable courage and
dedication are sources of inspiration;
he will be truly missed.
We fully support every effort to bring
those responsible for this cowardly
crime to justice. NASSA calls on the
government and its law enforcement
agencies to ensure a thorough, prompt
and impartial investigation, and to
leave no stone unturned in the hunt
for his killers. The time for political
statements and assurances has passed;
only the swift delivery of justice will
lend any credence to the authorities’
supposed commitment to justice.
For the Social Action Network
+ BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D
National Director
9 September 2009
Volume 43 • Number 10
23
STATEMENTS
I
n January 1988 the Catholic Bishops'
Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
issued the Pastoral Letter on Ecology,
“What is Happening to our Beautiful
Land”, where we shared our anxiety over
the “attack being made on the natural
world” which was “endangering its
fruitfulness for future generations.”
On the tenth anniversary of that
Letter, the CBCP released a “Statement
of Concern on the Mining Act of 1995”
to underline how concerned we were at
the rapid expansion of mining
operations arising from the
said Act of 1995, asking for
the repeal of Republic Act
7942 known as the Philippine
Mining Act of 1995.
In March 2005, NASSA
and the CBCP Episcopal Com-
mission on Social Action-Jus-
tice and Peace issued “Nature
is Groaning: A Statement on
the Revitalization of Min-
ing in the Philippines,” and
observed that the continuing
enforcement of an oppressive
law is blighting our ecology.
In January 2006 the CBCP re-affrmed
our stand for the repeal of the Mining Act
of 1995, contained in “A Statement on
Mining Issues and Concerns,” believing
that the said mining law destroys life.
The right to life of people is inseparable
from their right to sources of food and
livelihood. Allowing the interests of
big mining corporations to prevail over
people’s right to these sources amounts
to violating their right to life. Further-
more, mining threatens people’s health
and environmental safety through the
wanton dumping of waste and tailings
in rivers and seas.
Today we are saddened to see many of
our recommendations have been ignored
and the broken promises have continued
to multiply, including the claimed invest-
ments, revenues, jobs and the promise of
development.
With the current speed and scale that
mining is being aggressively promoted
in the Philippines, the vast deleterious
impacts to our already fragile ecology is
quickly becoming a bitter reality.
Be Responsible Creation Stewards
We remember the fears that were
outlined by CBCP ECSA-JP in 2005,
that “Mining has given the Philippines
a scarring experience: mine tailings
fooding villages and killing individuals,
depletion of natural resources, ill effects
on health, fabricated social acceptability,
polarization among locals, unjust labor
practices, delays in or non-payment of
taxes due the local government, aban-
doned mines that continue to harm the
environment and inhabitants long after
operations have ceased, displacement
of indigenous communities, unfulflled
promises of community development,
militarization, intimidation and threats.”
It seems that our fears have come true
only after three years. We reiterate
the recommendations of the 1998 CBCP
Statement wherein, i) we asked for the
“repeal of Republic Act 7942 known as
the Philippine Mining Act of 1995,” ii)
the “recall of all approved Financial or
Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs)
and other mineral agreements, and to
disapprove the pending ones,” and iii) we
expressed “support for the petitions of
some sectors to close down several mining
operations in various communities that
confronted this extractive industry.”
These calls were again highlighted in
2006, wherein we called all our religious
leaders:
1. To support, unify and strengthen
the struggle of the local Churches and their
constituency against all mining projects,
and raise the anti-mining campaign at the
national level;
2. To support the call of various sec-
tors, especially the Indigenous Peoples,
to stop the 24 Priority Mining Projects
of the government, and the closure of
large-scale mining projects, for example,
the Rapu-rapu Polymetallic Project in
Albay, HPP Project in Palawan, Didippio
Gold-Copper Project in Nueva Vizcaya,
Tampakan Copper-gold Project in South
Cotabato, Canatuan Gold Project in Zam-
boanga del Norte, and the San Antonio
Copper Project in Marinduque, among
others;
3. To support the conduct
of studies on the evil effects of
mining in dioceses;
4. To support all economic
activities that are life-enhancing
and poverty-alleviating.
Given the many unresolved
issues and concerns about large-
scale mining, it is clear that the
present Mining Law (Republic
Act 7942) does not regulate the
rational exploration, develop-
ment and utilization of mineral
resources, and fails to ensure
the equitable sharing of benefts for the
State, Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and local
communities.
As we have said in our 1998 state-
ment, even our best efforts will come
to nothing without the help of God, our
Creator. We invoke upon you the grace
of the Holy Spirit who renews the face of
the earth. With gratitude in our hearts we
ask the intercession of Mary, the Mother
of Jesus and our Mother, to obtain for us
a renewed land and a converted people.
“At the cross her station keeping, stood
the mournful Mother weeping, close to
Jesus to the last.”

For the Episcopal Commission on Social
Action, Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP)
The National Secretariat for Social Ac-
tion-Justice and Peace (NASSA)
+BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D.
National Director
September 8, 2009
A Reiteration of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
(CBCP) Pastoral Statements against large-scale mining in the Philippines
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STATEMENTS
T
he issue of good and evil in governance starts with re-
sponsible and irresponsible citizenship. Leadership in
governance starts with leaders as citizens. Responsible
citizens produce good leaders, good leaders produce good
citizens. Leaders and citizens are linked to each other; they
infuence each other for good or evil, for better or for worse.
Leaders and citizens must work jointly for the common good.
Sadly, however, the common good is very often being subordinated
to private good, to the good of one’s own self, party or family.
While it is true that we cannot be blind to the evil or wrong
around us, we must have the wisdom and fortitude to correct it.
We need to exercise our social conscience by owning our social
evils and wrongs and by owning as well the tasks of fghting these,
and of pursuing the common good, individually or collectively.
Before condemning others, let us frst look at ourselves, because
we may be guilty of the same or similar. No person is completely
evil that there is nothing we can do to correct him or her.
Corruption, we have said many times before, is the greatest
shame and problem of our country. Our government has not
eradicated it, because it is involved in corruption itself.
To help pursue the good and fght evil, the CBCP has
recommended and undertaken “communal actions,” we “pray
For Good or Evil, For Better or Worse
together, reason together, decide together, act together towards
a more vigorous work for good governance and a more active
promotion of responsible citizenship in our society.” May I
repeat here that in view of the national elections next year,
“we call upon those who are competent, persons of integrity
and committed to change to get involved directly in partisan
politics and become candidates for political election, aware
that the common good is above the good of vested interests.
We remind the laity that it is within their right as their duty to
campaign for candidates they believe to be competent, honest
and public-service minded in order to reform our country.”
Our question that needs to be posed to all those aspiring
for the presidency and other government elective positions is:
how are you going to eradicate graft and corruption in your
level of governance? We, citizens, are urged to examine their
plans, and in conscience choose and support those who will
lead us to the good, onward to the better.
+ARCHBISHOP ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
September 16, 2009
W
ith the introduction of the Re-
productive Health Bill 5043,
a.k.a. Reproductive Health
Bill, in Congress, truth and morality,
the value and dignity of life, family and
marriage are sadly made to depend on
human laws. That is what is implied in the
Reproductive Health (RH) Bill presently
under discussion in Congress.
It appears that Congress even plans
to shorten the discussion in order to have
the R.H. Bill passed before the end of
October. We hope that the normal pro-
cess of discussion and interpellation be
observed, that the Congressmen who
have signifed to interpellate on the
R.H. Bill be honored and given the op-
portunity to interpellate. To shorten the
period of interpellation would give the
impression that the passage of RH Bill
is “lutong makaw”, not judiciously and
suffciently discussed.
As Catholics and Christians we are
against the passage of the RH Bill 5043
of Congress for reasons we have already
enunciated and I now summarize:
1. The Bill dilutes and negates Section
III (1) Article XV of the Constitution which
provides “The State shall defend the right
of spouses to found a family in accordance
with their religious conviction and the
demands of responsible parenthood.”
Reiterating CBCP Position on Family
2. The Bill seeks to legalize surgical
procedures that the Catholic Church has
denounced as immoral, except for serious
health reasons: tubal ligation, vasectomy
and abortion.
3. The Bill requires mandatory re-
productive health education from Grade
V to Fourth Year High School without
consideration of their sensitivity and moral
innocence. The moral law and the Constitu-
tion recognize the right of parents to be the
primary educators of their children.
4. The Bill recommends having two
children only per family as the supposedly
ideal family size. There is no moral or
scientifc basis for this recommendation.
It puts the State above the family. The
natural right of couples to have as many
or as few children as possible, pursuant
to their understanding of responsible par-
enthood, is in our view already protected
by Section 12, Art. 2 of the Constitution,
which recognizes the “sanctity of family
life” and protects the life of the mother
and of the unborn.
5. The Bill states that those who “ma-
liciously engage in disinformation about
the intent of provisions of the bill” shall be
punished with imprisonment and/or fne of
P10,000 to P50,000. This includes those
who will teach contrary to the bill (after
it is passed) and speak about its immoral
provisions. Such provision is a clear
violation of the freedom of speech and
of the right to religious conviction. Only
totalitarian states have such policies.
We thus reiterate our categorical
and unequivocal opposition to any at-
tempt at controlling the exercise of the
God-given rights of human persons to
enter into married life, procreate and
raise families according to the provisions
of the Constitution and their religious
convictions.
We appreciate and are grateful to
the members of the Legislature who seek
to understand the will of the Supreme
Lawgiver whose laws are beyond our
limited human competence to repeal or
amend. We recognize and likewise thank
the individuals and groups who support
our pro-life, pro-women, pro-marriage
and pro-family advocacy. We raise in
prayer all their efforts for continued
guidance and strength from the Lord
and Giver of Life.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference
of the Philippines:
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
September 16, 2009
Volume 43 • Number 10
25
STATEMENTS
W
e, the del-
egates to
the 13th
Asian Liturgy Fo-
rum of South-East
Asia, met from Sep-
tember 16-19, 2009
to discuss the time-
ly and urgent topic
of Liturgical Year
and Inculturation.
The meeting was
held in Bahay-Pari
of San Carlos Pasto-
ral Formation Com-
plex, Makati City,
Philippines, under
the auspices of His
Eminence Gauden-
cio B. Cardinal Ro-
sales, Archbishop
of Manila to whom
we express profound gratitude. The del-
egates to the meeting came from Brunei,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philip-
pines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
We are now pleased to share the result
of our three-day meeting.
1. The history of the liturgical year
shows that the calendar of feasts has
been constantly adjusting itself to politi-
cal, cultural, and religious environment
of local Churches. This should serve
as a guiding principle in our work of
inculturating the liturgical year.
2. We note that inculturation nor-
mally takes place within the framework
of approved liturgical books, whereby
the substantial unity of the Roman Rite
is preserved. Hence, the inculturation
of the liturgical calendar does not re-
sult in a totally new calendar that is an
alternative to the typical edition of the
Roman Rite.
The Liturgical Year and
Inculturation
13th Asian Liturgy Forum (ALF)
South-East Asian Region,
September 16-20, 2009
Bahay Pari, San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex,
Edsa, Makati City
3. However, we acknowledge that
inculturation might not always be suf-
ficient to address certain local needs.
We would not preclude the creation of
particular liturgical calendars while
retaining the register of feasts of the
Roman Rite.
4. Roman traditional liturgical sym-
bols may need to be adjusted in accord
with the seasons of the year in the local
Church. This would be applicable, for
example, to liturgical feasts like Christ-
mas and Easter whose original symbols
do not correspond to existing seasons of
the year in a particular Church.
5. Inspired by liturgical history,
we recognize the role of local cultural
and social traditions in the institution
of some liturgical feasts like the Chair
of St. Peter in Rome, which originated
in the ancestral feast of ancient Rome
called parentalia. In accord with liturgi-
cal norms, local Churches could institute
feasts derived from
their traditional
and other estab-
lished practices.
6. Likewise,
the cycle of human
work has shaped
some liturgical cel-
ebrations like Ro-
gation and Ember
days. We believe
that in the industri-
al world marked by
the rhythm of work
and rest, produc-
tion and consump-
tion, and strikes
and negotiations,
the Church should
similarly establish
pertinent liturgical
feasts.
7. In regions where popular pious
exercises abound and continue to be
meaningful to the faithful the liturgical
calendar can be enriched by the integra-
tion of popular religious practices with
the liturgical feasts.
8. Sometimes political situations
have left their mark on the liturgical
calendar as witnessed by the institution
of the feasts of Christ the King and St.
Joseph the Worker. Local Churches may
propose similar feasts to accompany the
faithful across political systems.
In conclusion, given that time is
relative, that situations are provisional,
and that culture and traditions are in
constant evolution, the Church should
continue to revise, reinvent, and create
liturgical feasts that meet the actual
needs of the faithful.
That in all things God may be
glorified.
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FROM THE
BLOGS
T
he election fever has started. Political gimmicks are all
over the country. Camoufaged, ambivalent or obvious
campaign advertisements have long since invaded par-
ticularly the radio and TV stations. The common tao are already
anticipating and salivating for the festa atmosphere of the
forthcoming elections. But more than them, there are political
candidates who will spare no costs and will adopt all conceiv-
able means to get their monies back by landing their eagerly
opted political positions. These are good times. These are bad
times. It is a good time because money, food and drinks will
food the country. It is a bad time whereas bad people appear as
if from nowhere to sow fear and bring havoc to many otherwise
peaceful communities in all the regions of the land.
While all political candidates—specially those aspiring for
the highest offce in the land—are decidedly saying anything
and doing everything to sell themselves to the voting public,
there are however three pivotal questions that both the young
and old committed and serious voters keep on asking more
frequently and insistently as election time draws nearer. One,
whom will they vote for? Two, why will they vote for him?
Three, will he be able to reform the malevolent Philippine
politics and transform an ethically dying and wherefore morally
bankrupt present government? These are not only legitimate
but also timely questions. Why?
After the long infamous martial law regime, not only a
pious person and thereafter a brave fgure, not merely a popu-
lar individual followed by a haughty character as well, were
all one after another elected to lead in the governance in this
other blessed country. The over-all lamentable result of their
combined some two decades of administration need not really
be mentioned at all. Reason: Reciting their long litany of their
respective outrageous personal conduct and offcial nauseous
actuation can readily be considered as sadism—something like
adding barrels of salt to a big and still fresh national injury.
The mere recall of what their individual presidency stood
for—with the still ruling administration deserving a special
mention—is enough to make the brave surrender in despera-
tion and the courageous to give up with disgust!
INTEGRITY, that keeps someone fair, just and upright,
notwithstanding all arguments to the contrary. CHARACTER,
that makes the same individual stand still, and thereby exercise
the right and sound political will despite all representations
and pressures in favor of the opposite. COMPETENCE, that
empowers the same person with the knowledge of and aptitude
for governance, without necessarily being perfect or altogether
unerring; with good intentions however never wanting. These
are the key attributes demanded from the in-coming President
according to the signs of the times. Note: Truth to tell, there is
one distinct and singular personality already in government who
for all intents and purposes, has the integrity and the character
and the competence for eligibility and election to the Offce
of the President of the Philippines. Why not check attentively,
look closely and vote for him accordingly?
www.ovc.blogspot.com
Key enemies of
good government
C
onsidering that good government demands good
politics which in turn stipulates good politicians,
the main social enemies of this triple goodness are
the following: One, poverty. Two, credulity. Three, pas-
sivity. All these realities have been long since obtaining
on the part of a good number of Filipinos in their roles as
citizens and voters in this supposedly democratic country.
Otherwise, it would be practically impossible to explain
particularly the incumbent administration during the past
eight years—an administration which has been long since
in effect equated with deception and corruption.
The ground truth of such a partisan politico-national
disaster is the combined by-product of a people who are
by and large poor, credulous and passive. More than a
composite socio-ethical fault on their part, they are in-
stead continuous victims of flagrant thievery, gross deceit
and ultimate pitiful submission—courtesy of the ruling
administration with an odious and devious destructive
staying power. The bigger the “trapos” are in government,
the more poor, credulous and passive a large portion of
the Filipinos become.
To start with, an impoverished people are not re-
ally free precisely because they are chained by their
unmet basic needs and unsatisfied necessities. Time
and again, it is rightly said that genuine democracy and
real poverty cannot co-exist. In line with the dictum
that beggars cannot be choosers, so it is that poor and
hungry people are readily bought, reigned and silenced
by political dole outs which can be readily equated with
social bribery. This is precisely why truly evil political
figures prefer to govern people wallowing in poverty as
these become not only simple in thinking and submis-
sive in behavior.
And there is the added social liability that poor people
readily believe that heavenly promises of politicos, well
disposed to cling to and depend on their delirious com-
mitments to common good and public welfare. What
can a very thirsty and hungry man do if not immediately
listen to and hope for the loud and repeated vain avowals
of fresh water and abundant food made by abominable
if not also delusional “professional” politicians? These
are elective or elected individuals who simply love and
enjoy having credulous and obedient constituents.
Being thus afflicted by continuous poverty and con-
sequent credulity in the world of rapacious and deceptive
“expert” politicians, people eventually become afflicted
too with passivity. Being poor is considered as a way of
living and being credulous is felt as a means of hoping
and coping, what else is in store for such people if not
to be passive in life and thus indifferent to the socio-
political pathetic national situation and to the persevering
dreadful local conditions.
Come to think of it, a government can be the life or
death, the blessing or curse of the people it rules over.
www.ovc.blogspot.com
Three signal
attributes of a worthy
presidential candidate
Volume 43 • Number 10
27
to care for and preserve them.
People are but stewards of what they have, such as those
temporal goods called their possessions in cash and/or in
kind. This is why even their so-called private properties
have ingrained social dimension. The truth is that no one,
absolutely no one has absolute ownership of anything he/
she has—even those stored in their vaults, deposited in their
banks or brought to foreign investment houses. The under-
lying reality behind this apparently curious if not cryptic
truth squarely consists in the long known and obvious fact
that no one, no one at all, can bring and keep a miserable
centavo with him or her when stiff dead.
The above simple observations and plain reminders
bring to fore the following pretty good reminders: First, more
people respect and care for the earth and its environ, the
better for them, their children and their children’s children
to continue enjoying and benefting from them. Second,
more people share possession with others in need, the more
their resources become useful and proftable as such goods
are made to spread their benefcial purpose and attributes.
Third, more people become generous not stingy, some kind
of a Santa Claus instead of a Scrooge, the bigger they look,
the taller they stand before God and man.
Stewardship is not an option but an imperative.
S
tewardship in general refers to someone acting as
an overseer, a supervisor, a deputy or a trustee of
certain resources, certain agenda or assigned work.
In the temporal world, a steward is a caretaker of material
resources that he or she does not really own but simply
manages in the name of someone else. In other words, a
steward has really no dominion over the assets the same
is commissioned to supervise, to safeguard, improve and
even upgrade. The striking reality of stewardship has con-
tinuous relevance and practical application at all times and
in all places. The truth of stewardship specially comes to
mind during these days of one big calamity after another
in the country.
People are stewards of creation. Nature and its resources,
the environ and its benefts, the wealth of the land and the
bounty of the sea, the benefts of clean and fresh air—all these
are entrusted by their Creator to men, women and children to
care for and to beneft from. Woe therefore to people if they
merely exploit such wealth and potentials of nature. What a
pity if they abuse and misuse the earth’s natural resources,
thus leaving them wasted and destroyed. It is no secret that
even silent nature and the patient environ can roar, rebel
and hit back with a vengeance when so much ill-treated or
maltreated by their own stewards who precisely are meant
EDITORIAL
Stewardship
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
IMPACT • October 2009 28
FROM THE
INBOX
From the e-mail messages of lanbergado@cbcpworld.net
The miracle of a brother’s song
L
ike any good mother, when Karen found out that an-
other baby was on the way, she did what she could to
help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new
sibling.
They found out that the new baby was going to be a girl,
and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister
in mommy’s tummy.
He was building a bond of love with his little sister
before he even met her. The pregnancy progressed normally
for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United
Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee.
In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five
minutes, every three, every minute… But serious compli-
cations arose during delivery and Karen found herself in
hours of labor.
Would a C-section be required? Finally, after a long
struggle, Michael’s little sister was born. But she was in
very serious condition.
With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed
the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s
Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee. The days inched by… The
little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents
there is very little hope... Be prepared for the worst.
Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about
a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house
for their new baby but now they found themselves having
to plan for a funeral.
Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him
see his sister. I want to sing to her, he kept saying. Week two
in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before
the week was over.
Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but
kids are never allowed in Intensive Care...
Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or
not. If he didn’t see his sister right then, he may never see
her alive.
She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched
him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket.
The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed,
“Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed.”
The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually
mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head
nurse’s face, her lips a firm line.
“He is not leaving until he sings to his sister,” she
stated.
Then Karen towed Michael to his sister’s bedside. He
gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live.
After a moment, he began to sing in the pure-hearted
voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang:
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me
happy when skies are gray.”
Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse
rate began to calm down and become steady.
“Keep on singing, Michael,” encouraged Karen with
tears in her eyes.
“You never know, dear, how much I love you. Please
don’t take my sunshine away.”
As Michael sang to his sister, the baby’s ragged, strained
breathing became as smooth as a kitten’s purr.
“Keep on singing, sweetheart,” Karen said.
“The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I
held you in my arms.”
Michael's little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest,
seemed to sweep over her.
“Keep on singing, Michael.”
Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head
nurse. Karen glowed.
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don’t
take my sunshine away.”
The next day... the very next day the little girl was well
enough to go home.
Woman’s Day Magazine called it “The Miracle of a
Brother's Song.” The medical staff just called it a miracle.
Karen called it a miracle of God's love.
©

w
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e
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ille
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.
w
o
r
d
p
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e
s
s
.
c
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m
Heart warmers
A
four-year-old child had a next-door neighbor, an
elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.
Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into
the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just
sat there.
When his mother asked him what he had said to the
neighbor, the little boy just said, “Nothing, I just helped
him cry.”
*****
T
eacher Debbie Moon’s first graders were discussing
a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture
had a different hair color than the other members.
One of her students suggested that he was adopted. A little
girl said, “I know all about adoption, I was adopted.”
“What does it mean to be adopted?” asked another
child.
“It means,” said the girl, “that you grew in your
mommy’s heart instead of her tummy!”
Volume 43 • Number 10
29
Catechism on Consecrated Life
Based on the Code of Canon Law
Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., DD
This book is a signifcant refer-
ence material for especially for
members of religious communi-
ties. Given in a question and
answer format, the Catechism
delves on selected topics like
“matters that defne the identity
of the consecrated life, issues
that relate to the rights and
obligations of religious com-
munities, and matters relating
to religious institutes, secu-
lar institutes and societies of
apostolic life. Based on the
Code of Canon Law, the book
provides a clear understanding
on the “richness of consecrated
life” and the “role of religious
communities in the service of
the Church.” The Catechism is
also an expression of gratitude
by the Archbishop to the religious communities serving in the
Archdiocese of Caceres in various capacities: schools, mass
and social communications, hospitals and health care for the
dying, elderly, the specially disabled, youth ministry, rehabili-
tation of abused women, orphanages, literacy and livelihood
programs and tribal promotion. The volume is a publication of
the University of Santo Tomas.
Living Your Strengths
Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your
Community
Albert L. Winseman, D.Min., Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. & Curt
Liesveld, M.Div.
Each of us has been endowed
by God with talents uniquely
ours. But for most people their
talents remain unrecognized
and untapped because they are
not aware of their gifts or simply
they don’t focus on cultivating it.
This motivational book will help
people discover and develop
their signature talents. A prod-
uct of Gallup research on the
incredible potential each person
possesses, the book explains
that anyone can be successful
in any endeavor as long as the
person builds on one’s great-
est natural abilities rather than
on one’s weaknesses. How
does one discover what his/
her strengths are? The authors
encourage readers to take the
Clifton StrengthsFinder, an online talent assessment before reading
the book. The tool assessment will help them discover what their
innate talents are. In each chapter of the book are stories from
people who have discovered their signature talents, who have
built on their strengths not only to develop themselves into a better
person, but also to become effective ministers in their parishes.
Living Your Strengths is an edition of Claretian Publications.
The Making of a Local Church
Francisco F. Claver, SJ
In his book ‘The Making of a Lo-
cal Church’, Francisco F. Claver,
SJ having served as a former
bishop of the Diocese of Malay-
balay and the Apostolic Vicariate
of Bontoc-Lagawe, shares his
experiences on his journey with
his fock as well as his insights
in building up a local church
revitalizing the Vatican II teach-
ings. His approach is wholistic,
dealing with the totality of the
person as well as the community
in shepherding aimed towards
our salvation. The book gives
insights in response to incarnat-
ing the church through the local
church which he had developed
during his teaching experience
as a professor at a pastoral insti-
tute in Ateneo and his hands-on
ministry in his diocese. He describes the history and development
of the local church and discusses about the ‘ecclesiologies’ that
developed as a response to “aggiornamento teachings of Vatican
II.” He writes about the basic ecclesial communities, the “expres-
sion of the local church in its most fundamental form” which are
present in numerous parishes of poor countries. He also discusses
the role of the social apostolate, confronting the problems on jus-
tice and human rights in forming the local church as well as the
relation of social change in its task of evangelization. Endorsed by
several prelates as a “vademecum” for priests in their shepherding,
the volume is co-published by Claretian Publications and Jesuit
Communications.
book
Reviews
Natural Family Planning
Values, Issues, and Practices
Chona R. Echavez & Estrella E. Taco-Borja, Editors
The book is a compendium
of stories, articles and re-
search outputs clustered into
four sections. Section one,
“Catholic Church Teaching,”
articulates the teachings of
the Catholic Church on re-
sponsible parenthood and
NFP based on Humanae
Vitae and other church docu-
ments. The second section,
“NFP and SDM: Issues and
Reflections,” explains what
consti tutes natural fami l y
planning and presents the
various modern NFP methods
including the controversial
Standard Days Method. Sec-
tion three, “Church and Gov-
ernment on Population and
Poverty,” situates the signifcance of NFP pastoral program in
the contentious issues of population and poverty and the roles of
the church and government. The fnal section, “NFP in Practice
and Lessons from the Field,” presents actual experiences of NFP
program from three areas—a rural setting, an urban slum area,
and an archdiocesan context. The articles that comprise the book
are related but independent works by several authors. Hence the
various perspectives are best woven along a discernible problem
to which they all seem to contribute in one way or another. The
heart of the book is Christian responsibility to the family planning
needs of Filipino couples. It calls for pastoral innovation in order
to effectively mainstream the Natural Family Planning program
as a proactive and moral alternative to contraceptive and abortive
practices in Philippine society.
IMPACT • October 2009 30
ENTERTAINMENT
CATHOLIC INITIATIVE FOR
ENLIGHTENED MOVIE APPRECIATION
B
agama't may angking talino ay labis naman ang
kapilyahan ni Angelina (Ogie Alcacid) kung kaya't
walang tumatagal ditong yaya. Matapos ang pagkuha
ng ilang mga yaya para kay Angelina, tanging si Yaya Ro-
salinda (Michael V.) lamang ang makakatagal sa kakulitan
ng alaga. Sa umpisa'y maayos ang pakikisama ni Angelina
kay Yaya Rosalinda, ngunit hindi magtatagal ay magiging
sunod-sunod na rin ang kapilyahang gagawin nito sa yaya
hanggang sa dumating ang araw na mapilitan rin ang mga
magulang ni Angelina na palayasin si Yaya Rosalinda.
Ngunit isang araw ay kakailanganin ni Angelina ang tulong
ng yaya nang ito ay makidnap ng mga teroristang gustong
patayin ang bibisitang Dukesa ng Wellington. Makaligtas
kaya sila at magkaayos pa kaya silang dalawa?
Kahanga-hanga ang talino ng dalawang pangunahing
tauhan na sina Michael V. at Ogie Alcacid na mga mismong
nakaisip ng karakter ni Yaya at Angelina. Mula sa mumunt-
ing mga kuwentong mag-yaya na sumikat sa telebisyon ay
nagawang pelikula na ang kanilang mga likhang tauhan.
Nakakaaliw silang makita sa sinehan lalo pa't kilala na ang
kanilang tambalan. Maayos at manlinaw ang kuha ng kamera
at mahusay maging ang pagkakaganap ng mga pangalawang
tauhan. May mga mangilan-ngilan ding nakakatawang
eksena. Ngunit pawang nasayang ang pelikula dahil hindi
nito napalawig ang kuwento at relasyon ng mag-yaya.
Tulad sa palabas sa telebisyon, nanatili itong mababaw na
walang hinangad kundi ang magpatawa. Hindi naghangad
man lang ang pelikula na maglahad ng mas malalim at mas
makabuluhang kuwento maliban sa pagpapatawa. Marami
pa sanang pwedeng gawin sa kuwento ngunit nakuntento
na lamang silang manatili sa manipis na hibla ng kwentong
mag-yaya.
Bagama't lumaking spoiled brat at may kapilyahan,
kitang dalisay naman ang puso ni Angelina. May taglay
man siyang kakulitan, hindi naman niya sinasadya ang
mga nagagawang pananakit. May ilang eksena nga lang
na nakakababahala tulad ng mga pagsabog at pananadyang
pananakot at pagpapahiya sa kanyang mga yaya. Hindi
ito dapat tularan ng mga bata at dapat silang magabayan
sa panonood. Higit na kahanga-hanga si Yaya Rosalinda
na nanatili ang malasakit sa- alaga sa kabila ng kakulitan
at kapilyahan nito. Hindi sumusuko si Yaya Rosalinda sa
alaga kahit pa hindi niya ito kadugo. Bagay na mahirap
hanapin sa mga kasambahay at yaya sa kasalukuyang
panahon. Ang nabuong relasyon sa mag-yaya ay dapat
magsilbing halimbawa na wala sa dugo ang pagmamahal
at pagmamalasakit, bagkus ito ay kusang tumutubo basta't
mayroon pagmamahal at mahabang pang-unawa ang mga
higit na nakakatanda. Hindi rin magtatagumpay kailanman
ang kasamaan sa kabutihan. Kahit pa walang armas, ay na-
gawa nila Yaya at Angelina na labanan ang mga armadong
terorista sa masama nitong binabalak.
Cast: Ogie Alcasid, Michael V., Iza Calzado, Aiko Melendez,
Jomari Yllana, Leo Martinez, Roxanne Guinoo, Sheena
Halili, Victor Aliwalas
Director: Mike Tuviera
Producers: Jose Mari Abacan, Ogie Alcasid, Mike Tuviera,
Michael V.
Screenwriters: Ogie Alcasid, Michael V., Uro Q. dela Cruz
Genre: Comedy
Distributor: GMA Films
Location: Manila
Running Time: 100 min.
Technical Assessment: ½
Moral Assessment: 
CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with
parental guidance
Volume 43 • Number 10
31
ASIA
BRIEFING
N. KOREA
Gov’t ready to return
to talks
North Korea is ready to
return to international talks
aimed at ending nuclear
program, but it wants ne-
gotiations with the US frst.
The country walked away
from the talks with fve
regional powers on end-
ing its nuclear weapons
program late last year,
and since then had repeat-
edly said the format was
dead.
PAKISTAN
UN shuts offce
The UN World Food
Program has temporarily
closed its offce here after
a suicide bombing Oct. 5,
a day after Taliban’s new
leader vowed fresh as-
saults on western targets.
Authorities said a suicide
bomber struck the lobby
of the heavily fortifed UN
headquarters in Islamabad,
killing 5 people.
JAPAN
Authorities probes PM
over fund raising
Prosecutors are inves-
tigating the fund-raising
activities of new PM Yukio
Hatoyama’s offi ce. In
June, he admitted keep-
ing accounts for his fund-
raising body, which report-
edly included the names
of dead people and those
who had denied giving
money. His former accoun-
tant, he said, was behind
the problem, in which a
total of US$235,000 was
recorded incorrectly since
2005.
LAOS
Typhoon Ketsana kills
24
After raging havoc in
the Philippines, typhoon
Ketsana killed at least 24
people in Laos recently with
massive flooding hitting
several areas; the worst-
hit Attapeu region could
only be reached by heli-
copter and boat. The UN
said canned goods and rice
have now been delivered to
storm survivors.
INDIA
Floods displace thou-
sands
In southern India, hun-
dreds of thousands of peo-
ple have been displaced
and evacuated after torren-
tial rains and foods swept
away their homes. At least
207 people have died, with
the state of Karnataka bear-
ing the brunt of the disas-
ter. An estimated 100,000
people have been made
homeless.
BURMA
UN calls for Suu Kyi’s
release
The UN Human Rights
Council urged Burma’s
authorities to release pro-
democracy leader Aung
San Suu Kyi. A resolution
adopted by the Council
expressed "deep concern"
at the recent sentencing of
Suu Kyi to further house
arrest. The court ruling
means the Nobel Laure-
ate will not be able to
contest national elections
next year.
CAMBODIA
Thousands lose jobs
due to economic down-
turn
At least 20,000 workers
have lost their jobs in the
country’s garment indus-
try this year because of
the global economic crisis,
Cambodia’s Labour Minis-
try said. The garment indus-
try is Cambodia’s largest
source of income, providing
80 percent of its foreign ex-
change and employing an
estimated 350,000 people
last year.
AFGHANISTAN
Recount underway in
presidential poll
Election workers here
have begun recounting bal-
lots following the disputed
presidential poll in August.
A UN-backed commission
ordered a partial recount
to resolve allegations of
widespread fraud. The re-
count could result in a runoff
between President Hamid
Karzai and his rival, former
foreign minister Abdullah
Abdullah.
MALAYSIA
Islamic group pushes
polygamy
Mal aysi a' s I khwan
Polgygamy Club is trying
to match several women to
one husband, in the name
of Islam. They said it's a
way to help women who are
isolated or marginalized—
like widows and reformed or
former sex workers—and to
promote positive values. It
was founded last month by
Hatijah Aam, who said she
wants polygamy to be seen
as something beautiful.
SINGAPORE
Ms. Singapore quits
after criminal record
revealed
The pageant here has
been rocked by scandal,
after it emerged that Miss
World Singapore 2009 has
a criminal record. Ris Low,
a 19-year-old student, then
give up her crown after be-
ing exposed as a credit card
cheat when she worked as
a receptionist.
VIETNAM
Govt rejects UN propos-
als to improve rights
record
The Vietnamese gov’t
has rejected calls to im-
prove its deteriorating hu-
man rights record raised
during the UN Human
Rights Council's Universal
Periodic Review process
that ended this recently,
Human Rights Watch said.
"Shockingly, Vietnam de-
nied to the Human Rights
Council that it has arrested
and imprisoned hundreds
of peaceful dissidents and
independent religious ac-
tivists," said Elaine Pear-
son, HRW deputy Asia
director.