By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, email@example.com
EVERYONE is familiar
with what is called “yellow journalism,” that kind that is screaming
and sensationalistic, not averse to exaggerating things and even
inventing and staging events to grab people’s attention.
is the process involved in making it. It’s a dynamic mix of many
elements and factors, conditions and circumstances, multi-layered and
multi-threaded, whose course is uncharted, like an adventure that
gives suspense and excitement, except that it can end in a big
The media coverage of
the current RH bill controversy reminds me of this yellowing
journalism. All the ingredients seem to be present and made to stew.
There’s passion and emotion, slogans and buzz words, myths and
speculations. Biases and questionable ideologies are the driving
If reason is ever
used, it is made to serve the passions. Faith, that is supposed to
guide reason, is considered Public Enemy Number One in what is
supposed to be an objective pursuit for what is good for us. In fact,
there’s a shrill cry for liberation from Church, faith, religion and
journalism is not associated with the tabloids. It affects more the
broadsheets, the more standard and mainstream brand of journalism.
They have become vulnerable because of certain journalistic
requirements that have been neglected.
Most of the media
practitioners, from publishers down to the reporters, do not know the
relation between faith and reason, between religion and their work,
the spiritual and material aspects of man, Church and state, etc.
These things are
considered abstract and academic and are kept that way, with no effort
to convert them into something concrete and practical. If ever they
have to acknowledge these values, it’s mainly just lip service, for
photo-ops, and not much more.
Those who still care
about their faith are ashamed to show it, let alone, to shape and
define the character of their work and their life. So they become easy
target to atheistic and agnostic sophistries that are often stuffed
with immediate practical benefits.
In fact, they usually
frame issues like the RH Bill within a strictly economic or social
point of view, as if problems are solved only in these levels. Purely
human means are flaunted as our authentic savior. This is the tyranny
of this kind of attitude. It shuts out the inputs of faith.
Besides, they cite the
scandals in the Church as reason to discredit the faith, a clear
example of throwing the baby out with the bath water. As if there are
no scandals in other places, forgetting we are all humans, with our
own share of shortcomings irrespective of where we are placed.
Remember that there
was a Judas among the apostles. And Judases can spring up anywhere
anytime. That’s always a possibility, given our weakened human
Our attitude should
rather be to help one another, and be objective in distinguishing
between the truths involved in an issue, derived from faith and our
human sciences, and the personalities involved, between the office and
the occupant, between the doctrine and the way it is lived.
is placed at the margins, since nowadays it seems to be the fad to
deem morality to be nothing other than a result of economic, social,
political and other human and earthly considerations. Sorry, but with
this attitude, we are in deepening trouble. We won’t be getting
Since faith requires
grace, then effort, often torturous, and even sacrifice, it’s no
surprise it many times loses to the practicality of reason unburdened
What aggravates this
situation is the phenomenon of strange creatures who call themselves
Catholics only to go against the Catholic faith. Their Catholicism is
self-produced, self-arrogated and self-inflicted. They go around
proudly proclaiming they are Catholics for Choice.
These, I think, are
the deadly elements present in yellowing journalism. They thrive in an
environment stirred by emotions and passions, with reason playing
second fiddle. Faith is ridiculed and ostracized. The crisis is at
bottom a question of faith in relation to our earthly affairs.
Worsening things is
the emerging reality that much of what we see in the press today
regarding the RH Bill seems to be orchestrated by a tremendous
machinery of public relation outfits, clearly funded by moneyed
international groups and helped by their local lackeys, the NGOs, etc.
The fingerprints are all over.
Unless faith is
given a fair hearing in this debate, I don’t think we can really
resolve this issue properly. Faith, the very soul of our reason, has
to be given its proper place.
What we can do to
mitigate the impacts of climate change
By CHITO DELA TORRE
Could people in Samar
and Leyte do something to at least mitigate the effects of climate
change or global warming? Better still, could the Warays contribute
to world efforts to STOP global warming?
Last Sunday (October
3), I thesisized on the need to make farmers understand these threats
to human lives.
Yes, Dr. Jenny Lyn R.
Almeria, agriculture department’s operations division chief for Region
VIII, has urged for “multi-stakeholders partnerships”. That was why,
I called upon the local government units and the private sector.
Well, we can include elementary and high school students, college
students, businessmen, the religious sector, and ALL OTHERS. We
should partner with each other.
No, we do not need to
wait for Dr. Almeria to start all these up for us. In fact, we also
do not need our mayors to make pronouncements on these. All we need
is start choosing the partnership idea as a major topic each time we
sit down with our friends or with other groups.
Of course, many may
say the topics global warming and partnering with others to combat the
ill effects of climate change will soon become as sonorous, at first,
and monotonous, next, as the topic death itself that we forget about
it altogether. Yes, because many humans today don’t care about dying;
they only care to live, survive and be successful all the time. And,
mind you, that’s what the Devil wants humanity to do and become. Our
proclivity to fall into this Devil’s trip and trap will soon make all
of us realize that the Devil is winning over God, and that we are
ourselves to blame.
Dr. Almeria has
pointed out that the global efforts to solve this impending disaster
from global warming and climate change seek to attain two common
goals: first, that of building the adaptive capacity of communities
and increasing the resilience of natural ecosystems to climate change,
and second, that of optimizing mitigation opportunities towards
Across sectors and
areas of ecosystems, energy, food, water, health, human society and
infrastructure, people around Planet Earth must take adaptation and
mitigation strategies to start with.
In adaptation, Dr.
Almeria enumerates these global suggestions: enhanced vulnerability
and adaptation assessments, integrated ecosystems-based management,
climate-responsive agriculture, water governance and management,
climate-responsive health sector, disaster risk reduction, and
Mitigation can come in
the way of energy efficiency and conservation, including sustainable
infrastructure, and then via renewable energy such as waste management
and environmentally sustainable transport.
adaptive and mitigating measures should be the following
interventions: capacity development, knowledge management, IEC
(information, education and communication) and advocacy, research and
development/technology transfer, and gender mainstreaming.
partnerships should also look into the essentials for attaining the
twin goals. These are financing, valuation, ad policy, planning and
mainstreaming. These are the means of implementation.
This is the picture of
what Dr. Almeria describes as the “climate change impacts and
The challenges and
opportunities in climate change impacts is presented as follows:
The Department of
Agriculture has taken on its role in disaster risk reduction, to wit:
disaster risk profiling, disaster prevention and mitigation, and
disaster preparedness. In disaster risk profiling, the DA goes into
hazard assessment – it identifies the typology, frequency and
potential severity of an hazard; vulnerability mapping – it identifies
geographical areas and communities that are most vulnerable to those
hazards; then it identifies the key factors of vulnerability and local
coping and adaptive strategies and capacities; and assesses gaps in
national policies, legislation and institutional capacity for DRR.
In the prevention and
mitigation, the DA promotes appropriate crop selection (testing and
introducing new varieties, and choosing drought / flood / saline
resistant crops); improved cropping systems and cultivation methods
(which includes crop diversification, intercropping, adjustment of
crop, and soil conservation); post-harvest management (which consists
of storage, food drying, and food processing); pest control;
sustainable water management (improved design, construction and
maintenance of irrigation and water control infrastructures; rainwater
harvesting; and water conservation techniques); afforestation /
reforestry and agroforestry; early warning system (by detecting,
forecasting and issuing the alert relating to impending hazard event
to allow for contingency cropping plans); risk sharing and transfer
instruments (which consist of crops / livestock / fishery insurance,
and compensation and calamity funds); livelihood diversification
(promoting small scale enterprise development, and introducing new
farming activities or promoting non-farm activities); and training and
But wait, we cannot
leave the DA and the agriculture personnel all alone by themselves.
We have to do our share. While indeed we may follow all their
recommendations, let us also initiate other helpful contributions.
Most importantly, let us not wait. If we do not know so much yet,
let’s consult someone knowledgeable in the neighborhood, or let’s read
or research. If someone is already up among us, let’s see how we can
help and strengthen the advocacy pursued. If we have extra cash,
let’s chip in some amount for the furtherance of the advocacy.
A smaller but purer
By ABRAHAM V. LLERA
When Jesus’ disciples
started to peter out one by one because of Jesus’ “hard teaching”
about the faithful having to eat Jesus’ body and drink his blood to
have eternal life, did Jesus stop them? No, Jesus allowed them to go.
Today, we see before
us unfold a similar situation – Catholics of every stripe and hue
refusing to heed the Church’s “hard teaching” on contraception,
claiming “My conscience tells me that we have an overpopulation. We
must assure full availability of contraceptives. (P-Noy)” or
complaining “Can someone tell me where in the bible it say's you are
NOT allowed to use contraceptives? How can helping the less fortunate,
by giving them a choice be the ‘selling out of their soul? (a Facebook
Should the Church go
out of her way to stop them? No. I say the Church should try to
reason with them up to a certain point, but beyond that to let them go
We should remember
that, although Christ died for all (cf John 11:52; 2 Corinthians
5:14-15; Titus 2:11; 1 John 2:2), making heaven possible for all, yet
not all will make it, for the simple reason that God will not force us
to love him. Salvation, in other words, does not happen in a
mechanistic way without the free participation of each human being.
It’s perhaps a recognition of this certainty that the synoptic Gospels
(Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24) – in conjunction with Is 53:11-12 – in their
institution narratives use “for many,” not the “for all” found in the
translations into the vernacular of the formula “pro multis” that has
been in use in the Roman Rite in Latin for centuries.
In other words, the
Church can be likened to a membership club, where individuals who
share similar beliefs band together, but who are free to go whenever
membership doesn’t appeal to them anymore.
In other words,
everyone who’s lucky to have been born Catholic or fortunate enough to
have converted to Catholicism should be ready to accept what the
Church teaches as something which Jesus himself would confirm were
Jesus here with us the same way he was when he taught with his
This is because it’s
one of the three requirements for membership in the Church. For those
who may not know it yet, there are three requirements before one can
be considered inside the Church. First, he must have been baptized a
Catholic. Second, he must accept everything that the Church teaches
as God’s truth. Third, he must accept the authority of the Pope. If
all of the above are present, one’s a Catholic. If just one of the
three is absent, one is not Catholic.
Now contraception is
something that has been taught by the Church consistently for 2,000
years. Detractors might insist that to be a dogma, the teaching must
be declared by the Pope ex-cathedra, one of the requirements being
that the Pope have the intention of deciding finally a teaching of
Faith or Morals, so that it will be held by all the faithful, that
without this intention, which must be made clear in the formulation,
or by the circumstances, a decision ex-cathedra is not complete. Now
since contraception has not reached this point, it could not be
considered binding to Catholics.
This objection by
detractors, notwithstanding, the faithful are bound to obey this
teaching by the Church. In the first place, the fact that it is not
dogma now in the sense described above doesn’t mean it couldn’t become
one, ever. It should be remembered, dogmas are normally pronounced
when questions about an issue reach a point that the Pope would have
to step in to clarify. Dogmas are not pronounced simply because the
Pope woke up one morning feeling like making something a dogma.
Besides, we have to
remember, that when a Pope teaches, all the faithful should listen,
and popes have consistently taught against contraception for 2,000
In the present
controversy, it is clear that it will be wistful thinking to hope that
P-Noy, any of the multitude of women on contraceptives, the doctors
and health workers who prescribe them, the pharmaceutical companies
which make them, the med-reps who push them, and the drug stores which
sell them would change their stance in the near future.
That being the case, I
believe the Church should simply announce one Sunday Holy Mass, that
anyone who has anything to do with contraception is NOT a Catholic,
and has no business attending Holy Mass, or availing of any of the
sacraments. Anytime, however, that he or she decides to stop having
anything to do with contraceptives, the Church will welcome him back
with open arms, much like the Father did with the Prodigal Son.
The measure will
decimate the ranks of the faithful, but then, this is not about
numbers. It’s about obedience, which is at the heart of love.
Open Letter by NDF-EV to the People on
the Diatribes of the Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum
September 30, 2010
Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas would like to answer the "Statement
of condemnation of the inhuman killing of the eight police officers
and barangay councilman" by the Northern Samar Peace and Development
Forum dated August 21. The statement was allegedly issued on the day
of the tactical offensive by the New People's Army in Catarman, but
came to light suspiciously only recently.
The NSPDF statement
maliciously makes it appear that human rights violations were
committed by the New People's Army in its Aug. 21 tactical offensive
against the Philippine National Police in Brgy. Imelda, Catarman,
Northern Samar. As the NPA's Rodante Urtal Command has already
clarified, T/Sgt. Rolando de Guia was punished for being a military
intelligence handler of the 63rd Infantry Battalion, acting under
cover as a village councilor of Brgy. Imelda. Moreover, the eight
who were killed in action were legitimate targets for the NPA. The
entire operation against De Guia and the PNP was therefore a
legitimate act of war. The NPA has also asserted its firm adherence to
human rights and international humanitarian law.
It is thus sheer
hypocrisy and manipulation for the NSPDF to pontificate about the
NPA's taking away the right to life of the casualties. That is
certainly ridiculous, because were not De Guia and the policemen
clearly combatants in the armed services of the state, who themselves
were ready and authorized to take away the right to life of enemies of
the state such as the NPA? We also remind NSPDF that as far as
respecting the right to life is concerned, the Philippine government
remains a pariah in the international community for more than 1,200
unsolved political killings under Oplan Bantay Laya since 2001. The
silence of the Aquino regime on bringing Gloria Arroyo to account for
these crimes becomes all the more damning because these continue: at
least 12 political killings have been committed by state security
forces even before Aquino's one hundred days in office.
The NSPDF also grossly
distorts the facts in misrepresenting that the heavily-armed policemen
were not combat-ready but only on police investigation, as if even
that would not make them legitimate targets as members of the armed
services. Much more maliciously, the NSPDF claims the NPA finished off
the policemen by shooting them in the head and burning their vehicle.
But despite the serious allegation, no credible evidence, or even a
formal complaint whether to reactionary or revolutionary authorities,
have been presented more than a month after the incident.
The NSPDF statement
feigns concern for human rights, but its contents reveal gross
distortions, manipulations, and lies that all amount to similar
fascist diatribes by the military against the revolutionary movement.
It raises questions, such as what is NSPDF, and who benefits from this
fascist statement pretending to avow human rights?
To the knowledge of
NDF-EV, the NSPDF is a hollow organization but claims to represent, as
per its statement, the Church, government, academe, civil society and
youth in Northern Samar. In reality, the NSPDF is a puppet
organization being manipulated behind the scenes by reactionary
government officials and the military in the province to present a
pro-fascist united front. They use the NSPDF for parallel political
maneuvers in support of the "counter-insurgency" program Oplan Bantay
Laya and other reactionary government projects. They have even duped
the Church and other members of the community into supporting the
NSPDF. The military in fact gave away its leading role in NSPDF in
2009, when it denied responsibility for the assassination of political
activist Fr. Cecilio Lucero, and insisted Fr. Lucero supported the
military because he participated in the NSPDF. But it is also known
Fr. Lucero had distanced himself from NSPDF upon knowing its
reactionary nature, refused to cooperate with the military, and was
actually investigating human rights violations by the 63rd IB in
Catubig, Northern Samar
when he was killed.
The latest diatribes
by the NSPDF are not for genuine peace and development and thus do not
benefit the people. Such a statement intends to obscure the observance
of human rights and international humanitarian law in the armed
conflict, by disparaging the NPA while ignoring the decade-long
impunity of Oplan Bantay Laya. By doing so, the NSPDF also helps to
justify the government's escalation of human rights violations, as is
being done by the Aquino regime in pursuing Oplan Bantay Laya until
Junary 2011, and in planning to supplant it with a new scheme based on
the 2009 US Counter-insurgency Guide. Thus, the NSPDF plays a part in
sugarcoating "counter-insurgency": massive psywar deception going with
brutal military suppression.
We appeal to the
Catholic Church and other sectors in
Northern Samar: Listen to the sufferings of the people under Oplan Bantay
Laya and discern the preponderant influence of the reactionary
politicians and the military in the NSPDF. Such an organization only
deceives and isolates the Catholic Church and other sectors from the
masses of the people. This can only lead to unwitting participation in
spreading government-instigated fear and violence among the people
because of Oplan Bantay Laya and whatever new "counter-insurgency"
scheme of the Aquino regime.
Let us not be like
sheep lying down with wolves; let us reject NSPDF now, and oppose
Oplan Bantay Laya and the US Counter-insurgency Guide. Instead, let us
support the people in genuine struggle for human rights, justice,
peace, democracy and national sovereignty.
Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the
Reference: Roy Santos, NDF-EV Media Officer, Email:
condemnation of the inhuman killing of the eight police officers and
By Northern Samar
Peace and Development Forum (NSPDF)
A multi-sectoral partnership of the
Church, Government, Academe, Civil Society and Youth
21 August 2010
We, the members of the
Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum (NSPDF), a multi-sectoral
partnership of the Church, Government, Academe, Civil Society and
Youth in Northern Samar, Philippines, in grief and solidarity, issue
this statement of condemnation on the brutal killing of eight (8)
members of our Northern Samar Philippine National Police (PNP) and a barangay councilman on
august 21, 2010,
Saturday at Barangay Imelda, Catarman. We mourn the death of our
brothers and continue to be in union with their families and all the
others who are directly pained by their murder. When we kill, we
collaborate with evil, we destroy our humanity that makes us worthy of
a life that God alone can give or take.
Mr. Rolando de Guia, a
councilman of Brgy. Imelda, Catarman was shot to death for unknown
reasons around 5:30 in the morning by armed men whose identities are
unknown up to this writing. Philippine National Police (PNP) Officers
were immediately deployed to investigate the incident. However, close
to a hundred (100 m) from the victim’s house, a landmine exploded
beneath their vehicle followed by a burst of fire from the assailants
around 7:45 a.m. And to make things worse, the assailants shot the
police officers on the head and burned the police vehicle to ensure
PSI Nicasio Lavapie San Antonio,
SPO3 Junito Tingzon
Julio, SPO1 Juancho Malimban Esteron, PO2 Marcial Espelimbergo Velarde,
PO2 Marlon Genio Estremera, PO2 Rodel Martires Balag, PO1 Arnil Olango
Saludario and PO1 Edgar Cabales Catunhay died brutally that Saturday
morning. The PNP Officers were not performing combat operations when
they were waylaid by an armed group, they were just performing police
duties to investigate the killing. A total of nine (9) individuals
died that fateful day. (cf. 803rd Infantry Brigade, 8ID, PA, Press
Statement, 23 August 2010)
We are all Nortehanons,
whatever our belief or ideology, or whatever government agency or
institution we are working with, no one among us have the right to
kill any fellow human being. We all want freedom, development,
justice and peace. But, we need to work together, and reach for these
values through legal means.
We call on everyone to
help stop the brutal killings that destroy our humanity by taking the
law into our hands. The evil spirit wants us to be divided and kill
one another, the Spirit of God wants us untied and save one another.
These brutal killings violate our human rights and endanger our
democratic institutions. There is nothing in this world that can
justify the killing of any human being or anything that harms
physical, psychological and spiritual welfare of anyone. We are
rational human beings, not beasts who can just harm and eliminate
permanently those whom we hate or wish to take revenge on. Most of
all, we are men and women created by God to love and care for one
another. We have the law of the land that ensures a system to make a
better world. We all need freedom, but we have to make sure that the
way we exercise our freedom does not take the freedom and the right to
life of anyone.
We urge all of us to
pray hard and never cease to discern in faith, truth and justice to
know the difference between good and evil. We ask everyone to
continue to pray for the eternal repose of the souls of our brothers
and all others who perished as a result of inhuman needs.
We are confident that
the law enforcement authorities will soon restore the peace and order
that will reinforce justice in the land.
Again, we condemn the
act of lawlessness that killed
PSI Nicasio Lavapie San Antonio, SP03 Junito Tingzon Julio, SP01
Juancho Malimban Esteron, P02 Marcial Espelimbergo Velarde, P02 Marlon
Genio Estremera, P02 Rodel Martires Balag, P01 Arnil Olango Saludario,
and P01 Edgar Cabales Catunhay and to the barangay councilman of Brgy.
Imelda, Catarman, Mr. Rolando de Guia. We offer our prayers for them,
and we extend our sincere condolences to their families, friends and
companions at work.
God bless us and have
mercy on us all.
NORTHERN SAMAR PEACE
AND DEVELOPMENT FORUM (NSPDF)
Task Force on Good Governance
Task Force on Peace and Order
Task Force on environment
Northern Samar Peace
and Development Forum
PCID Statement on the
formation of the MILF Peace Panel
By Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy
September 14, 2010
The Moro Islamic
Liberation Front on Monday has announced the constitution of its peace
panel headed by Mohagder Iqbal.
The Philippine Center
for Islam and Democracy (PCID) welcomes the return to the negotiating
panel of Mohagher Iqbal, as chairman; and Atty. Datu Michael Mastura,
Maulana Bobby Alonto, and Abdullah Camlian as members. Their
collective wealth of experience in political negotiation and their
shared passion for the aspirations of the Bangsamoro will be important
as the peace process enters a new phase.
We, at the PCID, are
hopeful that the choice of Mr. Camlian who is a native of Basilan will
provide representation for Muslims living the island provinces of
We are likewise
pleased with the inclusion to the peace panel of Prof. Abhoud Syed
Lingga, chairman of the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies, whose
intellectual capability and probity should be of big help to the
The government had
earlier stated that it is prepared to talk peace with the completion
of its peace panel headed by UP Law Dean Marvic Leonen.
The Philippine Center
for Islam and Democracy (PCID) welcomes these positive developments in
the GRP-MILF peace process. After the MOA-AD debacle as well as the
uncertainty with the new administration's peace approach, the
formation of the two negotiating panels represents a constructive
direction towards the attainment of lasting peace.
It is PCID's hope that
the peace negotiations under the new government will build upon the
goodwill and successes of previous negotiations as well as learn from
the lessons of the MOA-AD controversy.
We are also encouraged
by the announcement of President Aquino III on the formation of an
advisory body to be "composed of members from both Houses of Congress,
retired justices of the Supreme Court, members of the 1987
Constitutional Commission, local governments in strife-affected areas,
nongovernment organizations, and the former chairpersons of previous
This will hopefully
ensure that the peace process would be inclusive and participatory.
The inclusion of members of Congress, for instance, solves a problem
in the past where an agreement that was signed by both panels are
derailed in Congress.
In PCID's analysis of
the 1996 GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement, for instance, we noted how a
party--the legislature--crucial to the implementation of the terms of
the peace agreement was largely absent in the negotiation phase.
We urge government to
treat the peace negotiations not as an occasion to simply manage the
conflict but as an opportunity to address the root causes of the
conflict that hopefully will lead to sustainable and just peace.
We also urge both
sides to seriously consider putting in place an effective social
communications strategy that would help the peace process in terms of
seeking public support for the peace agreement to be forged.
We appeal to
everyone--especially government officials and politicians--to exercise
circumspection when issuing statements relative to the peace process.
Irresponsible statements bordering on grandstanding and fear mongering
can become distractions to the peace process.