Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 2, 2012
“Our guardian angels can act as our security guard, our errand boy, a
finder of lost items, a memory guide, etc.”
There used to be some kind
of fad on angels before. This was some years ago when all of a sudden
a lot people took interest in these spiritual beings. Even the media
reflected this phenomenon by publishing pictures and articles about
But now, it seems this
fondness has evaporated. And if there happens to be some mention in
the media about these spiritual beings, it usually has something to do
with some people’s encounters with so-called “ghosts” or paranormal
experiences that cannot be clearly verified.
But angels really do exist.
They are not myths, figments of our piously fertile imagination. They
are pure spirits, and that’s why they cannot be perceived normally
through the senses. We know them more by faith and the devotion
arising from that faith.
Our Catechism, for example,
tells us that “the existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings
that Sacred Scripture usually calls ‘angels’ is a truth of faith. The
witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.” (328)
Thus, the Catechism
continues, we have abundant references to them in the Bible. “They
closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child;
stayed Abraham’s hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the
People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the
“Finally, the angel Gabriel
announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.” (332)
An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream to tell him the real story
about Mary’s pregnancy. An angel comforted Christ after being tempted
by the devil.
Our intelligence, of course,
can somehow discern them. If we too have something spiritual,
precisely because of our capacity to think, know, judge, reason, love,
etc., thereby making us persons and not just things, there must be
beings too that are pure spirits, unlike us whose spirit is integrated
with our body.
Being pure spirit, angels
live and operate in ways very different from ours. They are created
directly from God, unlike us whose life depends both on God and on our
And upon creation, angels
immediately have to make the choice, being free beings like us,
between wanting to be with God or against God. This is the peculiar
property of spiritual beings. We, on the other hand, make this choice
in our whole lifetime.
But for angels, they make
this choice upon creation, and their choice determines their status as
good or bad angels permanently. They don’t change midway. In our case,
we can change status many times in our lifetime. And our choice
becomes definitive only at death.
It’s good that we strengthen
our faith in the angels and develop the appropriate devotion to them.
In fact, it would really be good if we can spread this devotion more
widely, because it would be a pity, a real waste of precious resource,
if we ignore them.
We are told that angels do
nothing other than to serve in “the accomplishment of the divine
plan.” They serve the Church as well. “In her liturgy, the Church
joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their
More, “from its beginning
until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and
intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and
shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth, the Christian
life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united
in God.” (336)
Many saints have very
interesting personal testimonies about angels. St. Josemaria Escriva,
for example, believed it was his guardian angel who saved him when he
was suddenly attacked on the road by a madman.
A stranger just came to his
rescue and told him something that St. Josemaria was telling to
himself in private. “How are you, donkey with sores?” In those years,
St. Josemaria called himself “donkey with sores” as some kind of
ejaculatory prayer. He never told anyone about this very private
practice of his.
Our guardian angels can act
as our security guard, our errand boy, a finder of lost items, a
memory guide, etc. A friend of mine once told me that in a trip to
Hongkong by boat, he arrived with his sick mother at the port when a
heavy downpour took place.
There were many passengers
trying to get a taxi. Since he could not get a taxi because of the
competition and his mother was getting tired, he prayed to his
guardian angel, asking for a taxi. And behold, in a few minutes, an
empty taxi just stopped in front of him.
Honor your parents’
struggle vs. Martial Law through stopping all human rights violations
A Message to PNoy by the
VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
September 21, 2012
On the 40th commemoration of
the declaration of Martial Law, the bishops and priests of the Visayas
Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG) call on President Benigno Aquino III
to meaningfully honor his parents’ struggle against Martial Law,
through stopping human rights violations such as militarization,
demolition and eviction of urban and rural poor communities, summary
killing of media people and environmentalists, and other forms of
human rights abuses.
Our Holy Father Pope
Benedict XVI said, “Those with greater political, technical, or
economic power may not use that power to violate the rights of others
who are less fortunate. Peace is based on respect for the rights of
all” (Pope Benedict XVI, in his Message for World Day of Peace, 1
Despite its insistence on
“daang matuwid”, human rights violations and the impunity of
perpetrators continue to characterize the Aquino government.
Two years into his
presidency, 99 extra-judicial killings have been recorded, 11 enforced
disappearances, 60 frustrated extra-judicial killings, 222 illegal
arrests without detention, 216 illegal arrests with detention, 185
illegal search and seizure, and 7,008 forced eviction/demolition.
The Aquino government also
committed 29,465 acts of forced evacuation, 19,325
threat/harassment/intimidation, 6,721 indiscriminate firing, 45
forced/fake surrender, 296 use of civilians in police and/or military
operations as guides and/or shield, 14,620 use of schools, medical,
religious and other public places for military purposes, 2,099
restriction or violent dispersal of mass actions, public assemblies
and gatherings, among others (Karapatan Quarterly Monitor, 2012).
In Cebu, violent demolition
and eviction of urban poor communities have continued; and more than
30,000 households in Metro Cebu are facing demolition. There are also
farmers’ leaders who have asked helped from Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma
as they are being harassed for asserting genuine agrarian reform.
Fisherfolks in Cordova, Cebu and other areas in the province are being
displaced from their livelihood due to reclamation projects for ports,
golf courses, and others.
We recall the Church’s
social teachings on integral development. In any program for
development or progress, the government must make sure that everyone
affected by it, especially those who don't have the means to have
their voices heard or who can’t defend themselves, is given the chance
to be listened to or consulted. The government should ensure that its
decisions are not biased in favor of those who have more in life, at
the expense of those who have less. Each one's rights should not be
violated in the name of progress.
Yet amidst increasing human
rights violations, we are dismayed with the continuing impunity of
perpetrators. Impunity or exemption from punishment of perpetrators
has become so common that it has become just another matter of
routine. Impunity denies the victims their right to justice and
For example, General Jovito
Palparan, who is facing two charges of kidnapping and serious illegal
detention for allegedly masterminding the 2006 abduction of University
of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan,
continues to elude the law. The late Sec. Jesse Robredo in his talk in
the Cebu Discernment of Public Servants last July 20, 2012, even said
that Palparan can’t be arrested because “may kasabwat sa kapangyarihan.”
Many other government
military officials and personnel accused of perpetrating human rights
violation continue to enjoy impunity under the current dispensation.
We ask the Aquino Government
to denounce Martial Law through doing all it can to stop impunity and
stop all human rights violations.
We also challenge ourselves,
and everyone concerned. To attain lasting peace, all of us must
promote human rights and justice. We are one with Pope Benedict XVI
who said, “Peace for all is the fruit of justice for all, and no one
can shirk this essential task of promoting justice” (Message for World
Day of Peace 2012, Pope Benedict XVI).
As Christ lives,
BISHOP GERARDO ALMINAZA, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro/
Head Convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG)
Pass the Freedom of
Information Bill now!
By CBCP Caritas Filipinas
Our peoples’ right to
information – access to the records, documents, papers of/on
contracts, transactions, decisions, programs, data, regulations, and
all other official acts of government – provides greater opportunity
for peoples’ participation in good governance. It is a constitutional
right of every Filipino to be informed of the governmental affairs to
ensure healthy social environment for democratic peoples’
participation in the delivery of programs, projects and services of
The National Secretariat for
Social Action - Justice and Peace (NASSA), the social action and
development arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
(CBCP), calls upon our legislators to PASS THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
(FOI) BILL in the 15th Congress. CBCP-NASSA strongly believes FOI
adheres to the principle of transparency and accountability. It is an
important component to appropriately ensure the flagship governmental
advocacy on “MATUWID Na DAAN.”
Lack of access to
information systematically subjects our concerned sectors – farmers,
fisherfolks, Indigenous peoples, workers and rural and urban poor,
particularly the Basic Ecclesial communities – to become vulnerable to
exploitation and manipulation by bad elements in the society.
Unfamiliarity and ignorance of government processes, contracts,
activities and services, together with lack of formal education cause
deprivation of rights and poverty. Our people then become mere objects
of government policies rather than subjects/ participants in their
Without access to
information, these sectors as well as other sectors in the Philippine
society gain no knowledge as to what government plans. They would be
unaware of the projects and contracts the national and local
governments make for them. Even now, although some of these
communities and/ or sectors are consulted, their issues and concerns
are not being heard. Our people then eventually tend to develop
distrust in government institutions and activities.
CBCP-NASSA finds several
questions worthy of reflection:
- Why is it that in 14 years
the FOI bill has still not been passed?
- Why did the Aquino
Administration not certify FOI as one of the priority bills when the
President demands for transparency and accountability in his effort to
eliminate corruption in his government?
- Why has the Congress not
called committee hearing on FOI? Why is Malacanang not following-up
the calling of hearings if there is nothing to fear about the
- How can the government be
true to its mandate according to the 1987 Philippine Constitution Art.
III, Section 7, stating “The right of the people to information on
matters of public concern shall be recognized” if there is no
political will to take concrete steps to adopt FOI?
CBCP-NASSA believes that the
passage of the Freedom of Information bill enhances people’s
participation in politics and governance. The passage and enforcement
of FOI would be a great service to the people; it empowers people with
a new tool of information, especially the poor; it promotes social
justice by giving the opportunity for social auditing of previously
inaccessible public information, all geared towards the pursuit of the
In the spirit of truth and
justice, CBCP-NASSA calls upon President Benigno Aquino III to
immediately certify the FOI bill as a priority, and urge all the
members of the House of Representatives especially his party members,
to support the passage of the FOI. Unless the President sees the
urgent need to pass the FOI bill, his campaign on “Matuwid na Daan” is
only a slogan, and has no firm basis.
We urge Speaker Feliciano
Belmonte, Jr. to immediately direct their respective Chairpersons of
the Committee on Public Information to conduct committee hearings on
the said bill. Both houses of Congress should deliberate and decide on
the bill before the 15th Congress ends.
CBCP-NASSA also prays for
the support of every individual and groups who want to transform
Philippine politics into an art of good governance. Let us encourage
our respective district representatives and senators to vote for the
passage of FOI. As our representatives in the government, their
authority resides and emanate from us. Let them truly represent us in
Congress by supporting the passage of FOI.
+ BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D.
20 September 2012
“Shaping the Future
A speech delivered by Vice President Jejomar
C. Binay during the Mining Philippines Conference and
Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Pasay City
September 19, 2012
I thank you for the very
kind introduction. I am honored to join this conference of the mining
industry as you convene to tackle the vast prospects that lie ahead. I
see many familiar faces in the crowd this morning and I believe our
paths first crossed when I spoke before the 2nd Mining Convention of
the Philippine Society of Mining Engineers in Davao. I am truly happy
to see you here in Manila.
We gather during a time of
intense debate. Mining has become a polarizing issue and whenever
talks drift to this industry, unmovable lines tend to be drawn, with
each camp boldly championing their cause. But amidst these
discussions, I propose that the ultimate concerns of both sides can
and should be tackled in unity. When I last spoke in Davao City, I
submitted that the real question was not whether we should mine or
not, but how we can mine responsibly wherever mineral wealth lies.
Mining and responsibility
are inherently joined at the hip for good reason. The target of mining
is wealth of finite quantity that is usually non-renewable. The
environment can be affected by mining activity, and communities both
proximate and remote from the mining areas are not immune to the
changes that mining brings. Our environmental and social ecosystems
are profoundly touched by our actions and we must move with purpose,
knowing full well that our deeds breed lasting consequences.
The fears are real. However,
man and science has evolved at paces unheard of as recently as the
20th Century. The technologies we have at our disposal are impressive
and all of these should be brought to bear so that mining becomes a
unifying issue, rather than a divisive one. Wherever mining shall be
permitted by law, to miners of whatever scale, it is important that we
apply every measure and technology to ensure that the impact on the
environment is managed to acceptable degrees and that after the
operations have ceased, proper rehabilitation is undertaken.
Of greater importance, the
gains of mining should trickle down to empower and improve the lives
of those who truly own these resources: the Filipino people. Though we
live in an era where knowledge is fast becoming the foremost commodity
of value, minerals still hold a durable and lasting worth, and we
should be able to use the gifts bestowed by Providence to close the
gap between poverty and development.
Certainly, the issue of
mining is very complex, one that unleashes a host of arguments and
statistics both for and against its pursuit. At the very core are
mining’s economic benefits. But these are not the only essential
considerations. The real issue is how mining can advance social
justice – how it can improve the lives of not just an elite few, but
those in the middle class and most especially, our countrymen living
below the poverty line.
At the end of the day,
mining should help raise the economic bottom line for the average
Filipino and allow him or her to pursue a dignified and productive
life. This is the context within which the future of mining must be
And so I stand before you
today to ask all to rise to this challenge: Let social justice be one
of the hands that shape the future of Philippine mining.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This challenge is made even
more urgent by recent news and encouragements. A few weeks ago, an
article published in the New York Time heaped praises on the
Philippines and called us the “economic bright spot” of Asia.
Last July, Standard & Poor’s
raised the country’s debt rating to just below investment grade. This
is the highest rating we have obtained since 2003 and the confidence
that S&P has affixed shows that we are certainly blazing the right
The same New York Times
article cited a study done by banking giant HSBC projecting the
world’s top economies in 2050. This research highlights – at the very
top of its list – “[t]he striking rise of the Philippines, which is
set to become the world’s sixteenth-largest economy, up 27 places from
today.” HSBC forecasts that in 38 years’ time, the Philippines will be
third on the list of countries with the fastest growth, next only to
China and India.
The article also cited areas
where we can do better. In listing “real weaknesses” of the country,
Frederic Neumann, a senior economist of HSBC claimed – with basis –
that we have “traditionally underexploited” our natural resources.
The Philippines has always
had the potential to be one of the most viable mining sites in the
Asia Pacific region. According to the Asian Development Bank, the
Philippines is the 5th most mineralized country in the world and ranks
second in gold reserves, 4th in copper, fifth in nickel, and sixth in
By our own government
estimates, there are around 21.5 billion tons of metal deposits buried
beneath our soil. This includes nickel, iron, copper and gold. But for
all the wealth that lies waiting to be unleashed for the benefit of
its true owners, mineral extraction has not been as great an economic
driver as it could be. Ghosts from the past such as mismanagement and
fear and ignorance have all served to clip our wings, and deny us even
the dream of flight.
But all that is now past. I
am proud to say that our dreams of prosperity can now be attained.
Executive Order No. 79 has been signed by President Aquino.
The Mining Act of 1995 may
have attracted praises and objections from various sectors. It is not
a perfect law but experts from countries where mining thrives have
paid tribute to this legislation by calling it one of the very best in
the world. EO 79 has elicited similar receptions from society and
while it too, is not perfect, it is a well-conceived policy.
Dean Antonio La Viña, an
environmental policy expert and dean of the Ateneo School of
Government, calls EO 79 “a good and progressive issuance for which
President Aquino merits congratulations.” He goes on to comment
that while the government’s mining policy, as illustrated by the EO,
may not be perfect, it is good. “In fact, it is very good,” he says.
The good dean is not alone
in seeing the value of this Executive Order. Many more now see a clear
path and structure towards a responsible and profitable growth in the
mineral industry. The Mining Act, together with EO 79, provide firm
basis upon which those who invest can make a decent profit, and a
country hungry for development can reap just gains from the treasures
The Executive Order shows
what is possible when government takes on the challenges of our times
with transparency and good governance in mind. The President and I are
one in the conviction that good governance and transparency will
always encourage businesses to flourish and drive economic growth. The
fruits of our labors prove just that, and serve to strengthen our
resolve to infuse all other efforts with the same spirit.
A multipartite approach –
one that involves industry experts, the academe, the local and
national government and civil society leaders – can help redefine the
mining industry. We can achieve sustainable, environmentally-sound
mining principles and continuously refine such a framework that
upholds both economic and social justice.
This conference happens at
the best possible time. As you gather over three days, and with the EO
as your guide, the entire nation looks forward to all the dreams you
can make real, and all the lives you can change.
Thank you very much.
Mabuhay kayong lahat.
A guide to boosting
cultural pride among Filipinos
By RYAN MEADOWS
Even though some claim that
tradition is falling to the wayside, it looks like both religious and
cultural practices are really hear to stay. Whether Filipinos are
residing in their country of origin or abroad, they want to ensure
that they display their cultural pride. How can they go about doing
Starting at Home
The best place to start any
cultural teachings is at home. From the time they are young, parents
can teach their children about the cultural traditions of their
ancestors. In addition to learning the stories, they can also eat
cultural foods and celebrate holidays in the traditional manners. Some
parents tend to flounder away from tradition as the children become
teenagers; however, those concerned with showing pride will keep them
While there is not one
religion to which all Filipinos belong, the Roman Catholic faith has a
large majority. 86 percent of people in the Philippines practice this
faith according to Northern Illinois University's article written by
Jack Miller entitled "Religion in the Philippines." When Filipinos are
living abroad, they can seek out Roman Catholic churches with a high
percentage of Filipinos who attend them. Through this, they will be
able to build both stronger cultural and religious ties. Both of these
components of life are so intrinsically tied to have pride in one's
When individuals are really
interested in promoting their Filipino pride, they should consider
starting a committee in the community. Doing so will likely be easier
in communities that have high concentrations of Filipinos living
within them. They might propose that the community has a Filipino
pride day, or they may promote more education about the Philippines in
schools. In order to start such committees, interested parties should
talk to the local government. Additionally, they could also head to
the local library and contact the department of parks and recreation.
These two establishments are usually the hub of activities and events
in many towns in the United States.
Education and Knowledge
Perhaps you are not a
Filipino who is looking to boost your own pride in the culture.
However, you are trying to inspire a love for it in others. Host an
international day at your school where everyone brings a different
dish that represents their background. This will give Filipinos a
chance to present their own unique dishes. You can also hand out
pamphlets or provide brochures to individuals who are visiting places
that have ties to the Filipino culture. The more people know, the more
they are intrigued to learn even more. Ultimately, you want to ensure
that individuals know as much as they can about this unique culture.
Boosting cultural pride can
be difficult, especially when people are living away from their
homeland. However, one of the great parts about the world is that
people are different, and they have so much to offer to one another.
Make sure you take the opportunity the next time you have the chance
to display pride in the Filipino culture.
Meadows writes about culture, travel & more at
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