Showing posts from 2011

Letter of Appeal for the Calamity Victims of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and Diocese of Iligan

Our dear Bishops, SAC Directors, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we celebrate the coming of the Lord during this Advent season, we are challenged all the more to be in solidarity with the needy, to enkindle hope and to share God’s loving presence among us.

We find ourselves again in the middle of another tragic calamity in the eastern province of Agusan del Sur and northern Mindanao. Typhoon Washi (local name “Sendong”) made landfall on Friday evening causing severe flash floods on Friday night and early Saturday particularly in Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental and Iligan City in Lanao del Norte province.

As of today, December 19, 2011, 23 barangays in Cagayan de Oro are still flooded. The city still had no potable water. According to DSWD’s data, some 3,500 families are being assisted in 7 evacuation centers. The Red Cross reported that the death toll from the floods was now at 652 with 808 others missing.

In Iligan City, at least 24 villages are flooded according to NDRRMC r…

When will the killings stop?

The Church has offered once again another precious life in its service to God’s people and the poor.The CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace expresses deep anguish and condemnation over the horrific murder of Fr. Fausto Tentorio. He was shot eight times by an assassin as he was getting into his pick-up truck parked at the Mother of Perpetual Help Church compound in Arakan, North Cotabato.Fr. Pops was a staunch advocate against mining and other extractive operations that threaten the indigenous people. He had been an inspiration to his parishioners as wells as the lumads who have been opposing activities that are harmful to the environment.We join Fr. Pops’ brothers at the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), the Diocese of Kidapawan, and the hundreds of human rights activists that demand justice for our slain priest.No peace workers and human rights defenders should ever live in fear or shed blood because of what they believe in and what they sta…

People first before profit

“The points raised by PALEA in its motion for reconsideration are mere rehash of those considered, discussed and ruled upon by the Secretary of Labor…” declared Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa as he endeavored to justify Malacanang’s approval of PAL’s plan to terminate and outsource approximately 2,600 employees.Ochoa’s pronouncements dashed the hope of thousands of workers who had appealed to Malacanang to end the labor row by way of harmonizing the interests of both the workers and the PAL management. Instead, his statement suggests the government’s insensitivity to the predicament of the workers. The repetitive points raised by PALEA, which failed to impress Malacanang, only reflect the apprehensions felt by its members in the face of impending job loss. They failed to recognize the fact that the “rehash” merely indicates PALEA’s persistence to appeal for the reversal of the flawed and unfair decision issued by former labor secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, and which Malacanang now san…

“Proclaim liberty to the captives… Set free the Oppressed”

A Statement of Concern on the Plight of Political Prisoners in the CountryNearly three weeks ago, July 25, hundreds of political detainees around the country began a synchronized hunger strike to protest the government’s inadequate agenda on human rights protection and its seeming disregard of the conditions of political prisoners. Since the early ‘80s, more than 300 political prisoners have been languishing in prison cells throughout the country without explicit assurance of judicial remedy or executive clemency. Some of whom have already died or gotten ill in custody as a direct result of the government’s inability to provide for their medical treatment. The circumstances of neglect and eventual demise of some of these prisoners qualify as violations against human dignity and protection. The National Secretariat for Social Action – Justice and Peace expresses deep concern over the condition of the political detainees, especially those on hunger strike. Three weeks without food will …


CARP 23rd anniversary

Today CARP (Comprehensive Land Reform Program) celebrates its 23rd anniversary.I celebrated mass outside of the DAR office this afternoon. We were only a handful – some 40 persons, but the variety of thegroups present well made up for the small number. There were people from DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform), farmers from Pampanga, Tarlac, Aurora, Quezon and southern Tagalog. There was a group of Aetas from Porac. Present too were workers from many support NGOs, seminarians, a religious sister, two priests and some media people. All were gathered, decrying the slow implementation of Land Reform in the country, yet hoping that with enough mix of goodwill and political will many more will benefit from this asset reform. CARP is not a failure. Many have benefited from it but its implementation has much to be desired due to corruption, political maneuverings of landed political families and the greed of big business. It is sad though that there is not enough support from the public at p…


With local Church of the Apostolic Vicariate of Infanta, we in the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), strongly condemn the murder of one of our advocates for indigenous peoples’ rights in Casiguran, Aurora. Armando Maximino, Chieftain of the Agtas in Sitio Delebsong, Barangay Nipoo was shot dead last May 17.
The suspected perpetrators belonged to the security personnel enlisted by the contesting party that falsely claims ownership of the ancestral domain, even with the reported knowledge of the city mayor, local police, and other officials. Denied burial at his property among departed kin, Armando was instead laid to rest at the site where he took not one but several bullets.
When the Agtas briefly left their vigil at the grave, they returned to find six of their houses burned. Previously, barbed-wire fences were installed around their property by the suspects. When they questioned the move, five members of their tribe were arrested, with some women wounded from the resul…

Do we need this RH Bill HB 4244?

THE Philippine Constitution states:
“The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government”. (Sec 12, Art II)
“The State shall defend the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood”. (Sec 3(1) Art XV)
The State shall defend “the right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them.” (Sec 3 Art XV)

1. Due commendation is to be given to the authors of the bill 4244 when they made several amendments to it on March 15, 2011. The amendments take away some of its objectionable features. The…

Calling evil good

IN the headline of Philippine Daily Inquirer last February 10, retired Philippine Navy chief Mateo Mayuga was quoted as saying that Angelo Reyes’ act of taking his life by shooting himself in the chest showed “extreme courage” and that it was an honorable thing to do.

I am not a military man so most probably I do not understand what exactly are the ‘extreme act of courage’ and the ‘honorable thing’ in taking one’s life. In plain language that is suicide, and every act of suicide is wrong. I do not and cannot judge the state of mind of General Angelo Reyes when he committed suicide. In this, he renders personal account with his Creator. What I am referring to is the act itself of taking one’s life. Yes, we condole with the family, the loved ones and friends of General Reyes. I personally felt extreme sadness at his action and prayed for his soul. But sympathizing with him should not induce us to saying what he did was right. Let us not send a wrong message to the people, especially …