enforcing Anti-Torture and Cybercrime Laws
A Statement by the Asian Human
January 17, 2013
On January 15, the Supreme
Court of the Philippines (SC) heard oral arguments questioning the
constitutionality of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and its
conformity to international norms and standards. The Cybercrime
Prevention Act is one of the many unprecedented pieces of legislation
in the Philippines in recent years. The Cybercrime Law is expected to
protect private individuals from cyber bullying, protect women and
children from being sexually trafficked online, and so on. Due to
questions raise as to its constitutionality, the SC issued an order
suspending its implementation.
Apart from the Cybercrime
Law, the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, the first domestic law
criminalizing torture in Southeast Asia and the Anti-Enforced
Disappearance Act of 2012, the first law criminalizing enforced
disappearance in Asia are some examples of landmark human rights
legislation. The question as to the Cybercrime Law, however, is
whether part of its provisions, notably punishments for libel, is in
line with the Constitution and international human rights standards,
as we have stated earlier. The Cybercrime Law attracted protest as it
borders on the risk of suppressing freedom of expression in the
process of protecting rights of individuals.
The AHRC has observed that
in numerous cases, such as the prosecution of torture case, the
interpretations of the law are problematic when the prevention and
punishment of crimes are involved. In torture cases, the police,
public attorneys, prosecutors and judges, become the obstacles in the
effective implementation of the Anti-Torture Law. Thus, despite the
clarity of the law on torture – since there was no challenge raised of
its constitutionality in court – this did not prevent inconsistencies
and subjective interpretations of the law preventing prosecution of
For example, in the torture
case of five men in San Fernando City in 3 August 2010, the prosecutor
rejected their complaint of torture for reasons that they could not
have possibly identified the perpetrators because they were
blindfolded. The prosecutor exonerated the policemen from torture
because the five victims have failed to "positively identify" their
torturers. The prosecutor also disregarded the compelling medical and
forensic evidence that they were tortured and that they were in police
custody on the day on which they claimed to have been tortured.
In another case, a public
attorney investigating the case of victim John Paul Nerio, a boy whom
policemen tortured in December 11, 2010 in Kidapawan City, did not
prosecute the policemen for torture but for child abuse. He argued
that Nerio's complaint does not constitute a violation because it is
not political in nature. Nerio is an ordinary teenager with no
involvement in political activities. The public attorney disregarded
the information that policemen have, in fact, extracted a confession
from him when they arrested, detained and assaulted him in their
custody. The AHRC argued otherwise and sent numerous appeals to the
To have the clarity on the
meaning and interpretation of the law is very important. But the
challenge is the enforcement of the law and how the enforcers of the
law – the police, the prosecutors and court judges – interpret the law
in their daily work. If freedom from torture as an absolute right
could hardly be adequately implemented despite its clarity, it raises
questions as to whether the government's institutions could protect
any other rights. None of those charged and prosecuted for torture
were punished. This will certainly be the challenge in the
implementation of the Cybercrime Law.
There is the assumption that
the codification of rights in the Constitution and Statutes itself
serves as protection. However, in our experience, while they offer
some assurance there is no guaranty of the protection of rights. Most
of these right remains on paper.
The case of the Abadilla
Five is an example to this. In a 13-page legal critique we exposed
that local courts disregarded Constitutional and Statutory rights. The
court justified the breach in fundamental rights that protect
individuals from arbitrary arrest and detention and torture by
invoking jurisprudence contradictory to the Constitution. Also, the
SC's decision upholding the conviction of the Abadilla Five in this
case give rise to questions on consistency and legal certainty in the
application of the jurisprudence by the court in adjudication of
cases, notably in evaluating forensic evidence and credibility of the
witness in court.
The AHRC is of the opinion
that the effective and adequate implementation of the law does not
rely purely on the clarity of its meaning but how the enforcers of the
law – the lawyers, the police, the prosecutors and judges – interpret
the substantive meaning of the law and what the law ought to be on
protection of rights.
By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
January 17, 2013
I happened to be nearby when
the dedication of the newly renovated cathedral of San Pablo City in
Laguna took place recently. I immediately went there without being
formally invited due to a number of personal reasons.
I learned that the architect
who designed the renovation was a close friend of mine who is really a
first-class architect. He has designed many beautiful churches and
chapels, and I wanted to see another marvel of his.
Then, both the outgoing and
incoming rectors of the cathedral were also friends of mine. They were
seminarians in the seminary in Spain which was my first pastoral
assignment after my ordination. A good number of the priests in that
diocese are also alumni of the same seminary in Spain. So, I wanted to
see them again after so many years.
As if these were not enough,
I discovered to my pleasant surprise that the main celebrant of the
Mass was Cebu’s archbishop-emeritus, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal. So I felt
very much at home even if this was only my second time to be in that
Since the affair was about
the dedication of a cathedral, the cardinal preached in his homily
about what a church is. As expected, he made reference to some
passages in the first letter of St. Peter that talked about the church
being made by living stones, that is, us, people.
The relevant quotation is
the following: “Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual
house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable
to God by Jesus Christ.” (2,4)
This letter of St. Peter
also talks about Jesus as the corner stone that has been rejected but
which in fact is the one that gives unity and cohesion to this
building, the church that is made of living stones, that is, us.
Up to now, I feel that
people have to be reminded about this fundamental element in the
definition of the church. While the church is, of course, a special
place, a special building since it is a house of worship – we even
refer to it as the house of God – it is much more than an edifice.
The church is a communion of
people with God and among themselves. It is much more than just a
social and material community of people gathered together. That is
already a lot, but not yet enough.
A community which is an
external phenomenon has to be animated inside by a living communion of
life and love rooted on the love of God, shown and given to us in full
through Christ and transmitted to us through the Church that was
founded by Christ on Peter.
Unless this communion takes
place, the vitality and unity of any community that we can see would
be at best only apparent. It cannot last long. It cannot pass the test
of time, not to mention, the many challenges that it is bound to
encounter in life.
There is a lot of theology
involved here, something that we have to deepen ourselves in and
master, because in the first place it is unavoidable. To relish the
fullness of things, to reach the ultimate consequences of what we see,
touch and feel and of what we understand, we need to enter into
theology where we allow faith to play its crucial role in our effort
to understand things.
Theology, with its essential
element of faith, allows us to penetrate into the spiritual and
supernatural realities that are impenetrable to our senses and even to
our reason alone.
And given the complexities
of our times, we cannot afford to be ignorant of theology anymore. We
need to go serious with it, purifying it from the usual superstitions
and other errors that also distort it. In this, we just have to help
I considered it as some
stroke of providence that I finished that day of the dedication of the
San Pablo Cathedral with a viewing of the movie, For greater glory,
which is about the religious persecution in Mexico in the 1920s.
It’s a terrible story that
simply showed malice played out in the political life of that country,
and the not-so-right effort to defend religious freedom that resorted
also to forms of violence.
My analysis is that these
things happen when faith is excluded in public life and forced to
survive in some clandestine manners that are also prone to
We have to be living stones
that build up a true Church which is supposed to be the mystical body
of Christ himself!
constitutionality of cybercrime law
A Statement by the Asian
Human Rights Commission
January 15, 2013
At 2pm today, the
Philippines Supreme Court will hear petitions challenging the
Constitutionality of the newly approved law, Cybercrime Prevention Act
of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10175). The law was approved in September
12, 2012, but the SC issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) after
petitions were filed questioning the conformity of the law to the 1987
Constitution and the country's obligation for protection of freedom of
expression in international law.
In its Advisory issued
earlier, the SC will hear oral arguments questioning the following
provisions of the law:
First, by Atty. Harry Roque,
Jr. on section 4(c) (4) of the Act;
"SEC. 4. Cybercrime
Offenses. — The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime
punishable under this Act:
(4) Libel. — The unlawful or
prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any
other similar means which may be devised in the future."
Second, by Congressman Neri
Colmenares, on section 6 and 7;
"SEC. 6. All crimes defined
and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws,
if committed by, through and with the use of information and
communications technologies shall be covered by the relevant
provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall
be one (1) degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal
Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.
SEC. 7. Liability under
Other Laws. — A prosecution under this Act shall be without prejudice
to any liability for violation of any provision of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended, or special laws."
Third, Atty. Rodel Cruz, on
"SEC. 19. Restricting or
Blocking Access to Computer Data. — When a computer data is prima
facie found to be in violation of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ
shall issue an order to restrict or block access to such computer
Fourth, Atty. Jesus Disini,
Jr, on section 12;
"SEC. 12. Real-Time
Collection of Traffic Data. — Law enforcement authorities, with due
cause, shall be authorized to collect or record by technical or
electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with specified
communications transmitted by means of a computer system..."
Fifth, Atty. Julius Matibag,
on section 5 (a) and (b);
"SEC. 5. Other Offenses. —
The following acts shall also constitute an offense:
(a) Aiding or Abetting in
the Commission of Cybercrime. – Any person who willfully abets or aids
in the commission of any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall
be held liable.
(b) Attempt in the
Commission of Cybercrime. — Any person who willfully attempts to
commit any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held
On top of the debate on the
Constitutionality of this law, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
welcomes this as an opportunity to discuss protection and promotion of
rights to freedom of expression, thoughts and opinion. It calls on the
SC that in hearing petitions and oral arguments on the challenge to
the law to ensure that a balance between protection of freedom of
expression and prevention of internet crimes is reached.
Freedom of expression is a
cornerstone in the protection of civil liberties. When there is
restriction on citizens from expressing their opinion of public
interest, it denies any forms of genuine debate concerning their
issues that matters in the society and their relation to the State.
The Philippines is constitutionally a democratic country and the 1987
Constitution is a product of bitter social and political struggle.
However, despite its robust
1987 Constitution, there are jurisprudence and provisions in its
criminal law such as the Revised Penal Code (RPC) that continue to
operate despite being contradictory to the spirit of the Constitution.
Though the country's constitution has been replaced jurisprudence and
case-laws, laws and legislation, their interpretation and
implementation, have largely remained unchanged since dictatorial
Therefore, the oral argument
today would be an opportunity, not only to challenge the
constitutionality of the Cybercrime law, but for the Filipinos to
demand from its courts the protection of this right as interpreters of
the Constitution in line with the substantive principles of freedom of
expression and the country's obligation to implement international law
standards in its court system.
L. MERCADO, firstname.lastname@example.org
January 11, 2013
"...once you lose principle, it can never be regained.”
Tension between journalists,
publishers and officials, is as old as the 1440 AD Guttenberg press.
It resurfaced in Sun Star Cebu and tabloid Superbalita, the country’s
most widely-circulated community papers.
Sun Star Cebu is flagship
for a syndicated network of 13 papers. An average of 473,107 viewers
daily surf the paper’s electronic version. The paper garnered 236
local and international awards, since launched in November 1982 by the
Garcia family. It posts a profit. Women run the top three editorial
posts. Professionalism kept politics at bay. Till now?
DILG Secretary Mar Roxas’
suspension of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia lit the brawl. Garcia is not a
candidate for canonization. But she was canned long after legal
deadlines lapsed. It took 474 days from filing of charges to
suspension. That straddled start of the 2013 campaign. Garcia burrowed
into her office while DILG swore in Agnes Magpale as acting governor.
This “season of the long
knives” dragged in Columnist Bobby Nalzaro’s columns. Sun Star carried
Nalzaro’s scathing criticisms of Gov. Garcia, despite periodic
personal sniping. The columns vanished after New Year.
“I’m on sabbatical”, Nalzaro
told Cebu Daily News. He’d been asked to stop writing “until the
Capitol conflict is resolved. It’s (the publisher’s) prerogative… I
understand them and respect their decision. After “the issue blows
over,” he’d decide what to do next.
“The press is a frail vessel
for the hopes it is meant to bear”, London’s Sunday Times editor
Harold Evans wrote. “The best it can do is never enough to illuminate
the complexity of forces and agencies that we can not monitor for
ourselves but affect our lives. A free, cultivated…resourceful and
honest press can only try. And if we ever get one, it will be
interesting to see what it achieves.”
In Britain, Lord Justice
Leveson completed, this November, an enquiry into a Guardian expose:
News of the World hacked mobile-phone messages of a girl who was
murdered. “The press is often thuggish,” the Leveson report states.
“The Press Complaints Commission is largely toothless.”
(Like the Philippine Press
Council? Some member-newspapers pillored Antonio Calipjo Go who blew
the whistle on textbook rackets – a valid charge President Aquino
agreed. PPC collapsed after accused papers ignored it’s request that
Calipjo Go’s side be published.)
Fleet Street editors heeded
the Leveson commission, and empowered their self-regulatory body to
impose fines up to £1million. They rejected oversight legislation but
welcomed an arbitration service for libel. (Sen. Vicente Sotto, this
January, sneaked in Section 4-c (4) on libel, as a rider, to the then
pending cybersex crime bill. That made libel non-bailable, press
At “Southern Weekly” of
Guangzhou, China, an editorial, calling for human rights protection,
was pasted over by one praising the Communist Party. The staff staged
an precedented strike. Demonstrators waved chrysanthemums, flowers
used for funerals.
Will the “solution” that
striking journalists would not be punished hold?, Dow Jones asks.
That’d signal more elbow room under new rulers led by Li Jinping.
“Warm rice porridges from southern China can soothe the soul in
winter”, said a Beijing News front page feature. China observers
interpreted that as support for Southern Weekly, BBC reports.
Bearded terrorists shut down
Pioneer Press in 1951, forcing publisher and editor to flee Cebu.
Candidate Sergio Osmeña Jr. clubbed the Cuenco family for terrorism.
Once seated as governor, Osmeña cracked down on the Southern Star for
critical columns. The paper folded.
That ham-handedness rubbed
off on Osmeña’s son. In 2004, Mayor Tomas Osmeña threatened to shut
down GMA stations “for lack of business permits.” Osmeña vowed to sue
radio stations that refused City Hall ads, since it didn’t settle
earlier IOUs. He barred reporters from when displeased by their
reporting – then backed off.
President Joseph Estrada, in
July-November 1999, mounted an ad boycott against the Philippine Daily
Inquirer. Erap was infuriated by Inquirer’s reports on mounting graft
Estrada dangled a quid-pro-quo before movie producers: he’d grant
their request for tax incentives – if they would pull out their ads
from the Inquirer.
By the month’s end, half of
Inquirer’s top advertisers scrammed. A few, like the Ayala group of
companies and Marie France, stood their ground, recalls editor Jose
Nolasco. Name your price, a businessman close to Estrada told Sandy
Romualdez. “The Inquirer is not for sale, not at any price. We will
fight,” she told cheering employees.
Eleven years after his
failed boycott, ouster by People Power, conviction for plunder and
pardon, Erap visited Inquirer’s office. “Mr. President,” would you
instigate another boycott?, the editor asked. "I hear you owe the
people here P70,000 each,” referring to losses from the boycott. He
smiled. “It was the show biz people who started it. Sina Armida (Siguion-Reyna)
yun,” he said. “Di ba after four days, OK na ulit ang Inquirer?” Not
so, Inquirer editor in chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc quickly noted.
In Cebu’s press tensions,
what Inquirer’s Marixi Prieto told the Personnel Management
Association of the Philippines, at the peak of Estrada’s boycott
resonates: “Credibility is paramount in the news business. And
commitment to this principle requires sacrifice….The pullout of the
ads is just temporary, and we hope they’ll eventually come back. But
once you lose principle, it can never be regained.”
By JUAN L. MERCADO
January 6, 2013
(Thousands turned out
Saturday, at the Jesuit cemetery in Novaliches, for the burial of Fr.
James Reuter: teacher, counselor, communicator, Filipino – and priest.
More could not make it. He was 96. Allow us to pay tribute to this
friend. Start with the reaction of our daughter Maria Lourdes who was
a grade school student when martial law was declared...)
"Fr. Reuter waited for me
until our St Paul third grade class was dismissed," Malou recalls.
There were 22 of us journalists detained under the first wave of
martial law arrests. “Not everyone in prison is bad,” he gently said.
“Your father and other newsmen are not criminals. They were doing
their jobs.” That was four decades back. Malou is a lawyer, who lives
in California with her physician husband and two kids. On hearing of
Fr. Jim’s passing, she emailed. “He touched many lives, including
Jim Reuter joined the Jesuits, as a 22-year old novice, in
Pennsylvania. In 1938, he arrived in the Philippines. He taught at
Ateneo de Manila and Naga. When war broke out, the Japanese military
jailed him with 2,154 other Americans, in Los Baños After ordination
at Maryland in 1946, Fr. Reuter returned to the Philippines. He
became, “a priest whose parish was stage, radio, printing press,
shooting lot, dressing room, director’s booth, the theatre”.
He spent years as spokesman for the Catholic Bishops Conference. That
work led to confrontation with the Marcos’ censors. Military
Intelligence Security Group shut down “Signs of the Times”. Fr Reuter
edited this newsletter for religious groups. “Death of a Cobbler”
reported military torture of an ordinary citizen. Fr Reuter found
himself under house arrest.
Fr. Jim downplayed his role in supporting People Power by getting the
underground “Radyo Bandido” on the air. “That station came on the air
after President Ferdinand Marcos’ men blew up Catholic station Radio
Veritas. “Information is democracy’s oxygen”. He secured dzRJ
transmitters and hitchhiked that on Veritas’ frequency of 840.
Anchored by June Keithley, “Radyo Bandido” became nerve center for
reports on the “Yellow Revolution.” Pope John Paul II cited him “for
faithfully and courageously upholding truth, justice and integrity in
Thousands got a helping hand from Fr Jim. He weighed in for them in
his column "At Three AM". But failing health led to his confinement at
a hospital he helped to build: Our Lady of Peace in Parañaque.
On May 18, 2009, he wrote his last "At Three AM" column “I am ten days
away from my 93rd birthday. God has been kinder to me than I deserve,
giving me such a rich life, in such a beautiful country, among such
gentle people. I have been thanked for giving my life to the
Whenever we visited Manila, we’d drop by Our Lady of Peace Hospital
and chat with Father Jim. The last visit was when he marked diamond
anniversary of making his first vows in the Society of Jesus. “Bob
Hope said 75 candles on his birthday cake made it look like Los
Angeles airport runway,” I crack. Overhead, a jet makes it’s final
landing approach for the Manila airport. It's whine drowns out our
We recalled years he spent in World War II concentration camp. Hard
labor, short rations (two ounces of rice in the morning and two ounces
at night) constant threats marked the next three years – until
liberated. “That taught me three most important things in life,” he
wrote. “Breakfast, dinner and supper.” Clothed in rags, the prisoners
shuffled barefoot, vulnerable to hookworms and disease.
“Shanghai Lil had a checked career,” Fr. Jim recalls. In Barracks 20,
detained Maryknoll sisters befriended her. Noticing a nun’s shoes
falling apart, Shanghai Lil gave her red nightclub shoes. “You have
no permission to refuse,” the nun’s superior said. Take the shoes.”
In February 1945, Filipino guerrillas assaulted Los Baños as US
Eleventh Airborne paratroops dropped four hundred meters from the
camp. All guards were killed in 11 minutes. Then, a tall black
paratrooper stood in the door: “If you folks would get out into the
road, we’re plannin’ to evacuate you all in a li’l while,” he drawled.
The late Fr. Leo Cullum distributed remaining consecrated hosts as the
chapel caught fire. The nuns ran past us to their Amtrak. So did
Shanghai Lil and her friend, the Maryknoll sister, holding hands. “We
could see the red shoes flying.”
Fr. Reuter employed his gifts as writer, theatrical director, and
broadcaster, but most of all as teacher, the Magsaysay Award reads.
“(He made) the performing arts and mass media a vital force for good
in the Philippines.”
Thanks for the life lessons Father Jim.
Requiescat en pace.
“The Singing Bird”
“In a country well governed,
poverty is something to be ashamed of…but in a country badly governed,
wealth is something to be ashamed of”.
By JUAN L. MERCADO
December 30, 2012
”Make sure the poor have
reason for hope,” Nobel Laureate Armatya Sen writes. That’s counsel
worth heeding, as 2012 winds down and curtains will rise on 2013.
On New Year’s Eve, the
Kitchen God’s lips are rubbed with pork, ancient Chinese fables say.
That’d prod the diety to report favorably, on one’s household, to the
Jade Emperor "If you can look into the seeds of time, and say / Which
grain will grow and which will not / Speak then unto me,” Banquo
challenges witches in Shakespeare’s 1605 play “Macbeth”.
Today, we prefer scientific
surveys. “Ninety-two percent of adult Filipinos enter the New Year
with hope rather than with fear”, the 4th quarter 2012 Social Weather
survey, found. A parallel Pulse Asia survey reached the same
conclusion. The upbeat sentiment, cuts across geographic areas as well
as economic brackets.
However, “in Mindanao, New
Year hope declined by nine points to 85% in 2012.” SWS observed. More
(14%) Mindanaoans are fearful. That is understandable. Altered typhoon
paths now slam a Mindanao, that once enjoyed immunity-from-storms
Typhoon “Sendong” tore into
Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in 2011, leaving 1080 corpses. Up to now,
“1,979 are missing. Typhoon “Pablo” clobbered Compostela Valley and
Davao Oriental December 4. By Christmas Eve, “Pablo’s” death toll
crested at 1,067. A “Christmas gift” of 500 coffins came a Metro
“Hope is the poor man’s
income”, an old Danish proverb says. There were hard-nosed examples of
good governance that anchored the optimism. The “sin” tax reform,
reproductive-health measures, plus the new law (RA 10350) cracking
down on enforced disappearances were passed.
Moro Islamic Liberation
Front and government signed, on Oct 15, the “Framework Agreement on
the Bangsamoro”. This is a first step in beating swords into
ploughshares for a decades-long rebellion. Both sides are treshing out
nitty three annexes on power and wealth sharing, plus “normalization”.
MILF named four of it’s
nominees to Transition Commission. “We must learn to live together as
brothers,” Martin Luther King wrote. “Or we are all going to perish
together as fools”.
Standard and Poor’s raised
its outlook on the Philippines’ credit rating to “positive” from
“stable” late December. This followed Moody Investor’s upgrade in
October. That performance saw President Aquino clock a trust rating of
80%, Ulat ng Bayan survey says.
“Pnoy is not a crook,” as
street jargon puts it. “Like mother, like son.” That refers to the
unblemished reputation integrity Corazon Aquino brought to her grave.
Pnoy must keep his escutcheon unblemished. There are no-holds-barred
brawls ahead with the sleaziest of characters that politics can
“You can never plan the
future by the past”, the statesman Edmund Burke once said. But then
Burke never saw our “tradpols”.
A US federal court slapped a
$353.6 million contempt fine on Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. for
trying to secretly ship out of the US, paintings and other artworks,
from court-contested holdings. In September, Imelda wailed over
government plans to auction off confiscated jewelry, notably the
‘Roumeliotes Collection’. “These are all mine,” she stressed.
Senator Ralph Recto denies
he moonlights as spokesman for the tobacco industry. And in the Lower
House, the Freedom of Information bill has been consistently
sabotaged. Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino snarled deliberations
further by insisting that a right-of-reply (RoR) provision be stitched
“The calculated incompetence
of the House committee…led to the outcome it wanted all along,”
Inquirer’s editorial “House Hypocrites” pointed out. “The House
leadership, and the administration it closely works with, do not want
the FOI cause to advance.”
“In a country well governed,
poverty is something to be ashamed of,” Confucius writes in the
Anaclets. “But in a country badly governed, wealth is something to be
ashamed of”. These tradpols buck reform and embed poverty.
In 2012, The Philippines
poverty rate was roughly the same level as Haiti. One out of every
four Filipinos huddle below the poverty line: P16,841 pesos a year.
Rate of decline in penury lags behind neighboring countries who
experienced broadly similar numbers in the 1980s: China, Thailand,
Indonesia (which poverty level lies at 8.5%) or Vietnam (13.5%). Thus,
we lag in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
Those who gave hope were not
those who kapit-tuko to official posts: They were mostly
self-effacing individuals, who poured themselves out for others.
Some have been recognized. A
Ramon Magsaysay Award, for example, went to UP College of
Agriculture’s Romulo G. Davide. He showed “passion in placing the
power and discipline of science, in the hands of farmers who
consequently multiplied their yields, created productive farming
communities, and rediscovered the dignity of their labor.”
Many who work away from the
headlines. A Cebuana physician ministers, as a Medical Mission sister,
to lumads in Bukidnon. A woman-lawyer spends time giving free legal
counsel to the poor.
They give fretful people
like us reason for hope. “If you keep green boughs of hope in your
heart”, the old Chinese proverb says, “the singing bird will come”.