Insights and opinions from our contributors on the current issues happening in the region

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Two sets of jewels

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Frequently Asked Questions on Executive Order 79 (Mining Reform)

Why is the Filipino special?

Chief Justice’s credibility crossroad

Good Friday people




Statement on the Lahad Datu situation

By Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy
February 22, 2013

On the 12th of February, 2013, news reported that 100 men, some of them armed with a motley of rifles, belonging to the Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu, landed on a remote village in Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia. Led by Rajah Mudah (Crown Prince) Agmuddin Kiram, brother of Sultan Jamalul III, they originally stated that their purpose was peaceful: to visit their "homeland". Later, the Rajah Mudah stated that they are reasserting their dominion over the contested territory to which the Philippines has a dormant historical claim, acting on a royal decree from the Sultan, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.

As of today, the forces of the Royal Army are engaged in an uneasy standoff with Malaysian security forces: the former insisting on their right to stay, and the latter demanding that the Sultan's men leave. The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, on one hand, had urged the party of the Sultan to leave peacefully. On the other hand, the Moro National Liberation Front primarily based in the Sulu archipelago and led by Chairman Nur Misuari, has expressed its support of the Sultan’s Sabah claim while calling for a peaceful resolution of the situation.

As this unanticipated event developed, there is fear that it might negatively affect the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, facilitated by the Malaysian Government. The Philippine government and the MILF had signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) on October 15, 2012, with the support of Malaysia. The rising tension over the situation in Lahad Datuh needs to be resolved not just expeditiously but peacefully. It is necessary to ensure that the standoff does not deteriorate into violence. A violent resolution of the Lahad Datu situation will have negative impact on the finalization of the Philippine Government-Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace process.

Significantly, the FAB is seen by critics to have apparently left out the MNLF and again cast aside the Sabah question. The Framework Agreement covers a territory that includes the island provinces of Sulu, Tawitawi and Basilan. These provinces are part of the domain of the Sultanate of Sulu, which has historical claim over Sabah. Thus, while there is no mention about Sabah in the FAB, there is a Philippine claim over Sabah, which has been brought to the International Court of Justice. Leaders of the island provinces, part of the Sultanate of Sulu, have always maintained that the historical claim to Sabah must be taken into consideration in the peace process.

In this light, the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID) strongly supports a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to the Sabah standoff between the Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu and Malaysian security forces in Lahad Datu, Sabah. The involvement of key players, such as MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari and the Sultan of Sulu will be instrumental in resolving this impasse. They, together with the Malaysian and Philippine government leaders, must ensure that the situation does not escalate into violence. All avenues must be taken to avoid bloodshed.

The PCID also urges the Aquino administration to reactivate its pursuit of the resolution of the Philippine claim over Sabah, which it had filed before the International Court of Justice. A just and peaceful resolution of the sovereign claim of the Sulu Sultanate, erstwhile ceded to the Philippine Government, will remove a thorny issue that has caused much uncertainty in the relationship between Malaysia and the Philippines.

Further, the Philippine Government should protect the proprietary rights of Sultan Jamalul Alam's heirs, identified in the 1939 ruling of Chief Justice C.F.C. Macaskie of the High Court of North Borneo. The heirs were Dayang-Dayang (Princess) Hadji Piandao, who was acknowledged as the major share-holder with 3/8 share; Princess Tarhata Kiram and Princess Sakinur-In Kiram, were to have 3/16th share each; Mora Napsa, Sultan Esmail Kiram, Datu Punjungan, Sitti Mariam, Sitti Jahara and Sitti Rada, who were awarded 1/24th share each.

All the principal heirs have died. The rights of their heirs, most of whom are Filipino citizens, must be protected by the Philippine Government.

The PCID calls on the Philippine Government to create a Sabah Committee, under the Office of the President, to address the Philippine Claim to Sabah. The members of the Committee should include the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice, Department of Local Government, Department of National Defense, Mindanao Development Authority, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, a representative of the Sultanate of Sulu as well as a representative of the heirs to Sabah. Past Philippine Administrations have attempted to address the Sabah claim but were unable to reach a lasting and generally acceptable conclusion. However, this must not discourage the stakeholders and peace advocates from pursuing an inclusive, just and sustainable formula that will satisfy the concerns not just of the Philippine and Malaysian Governments but particularly of the Sulu Sultanate and the private heirs to Sabah.

“The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy.”





Internet freedom and responsibility

roy cimagalaBy Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
February 7, 2013

I have come to believe, each time more strongly, that the more freedom one has, the more responsibility he should also exercise. The two cannot and should not be separated.

Freedom is such a tremendous gift that it gives us power to be anything or anywhere we want to be, including to be in the gutter – or worse, in hell. That’s why, it has to be directed and conformed to a law that is meant to be good for all of us.

That’s not a limitation of freedom. That actually enhances freedom, since that makes freedom to get engaged with its proper purpose. That’s when freedom would truly serve us for our own good and the good of everyone else. And that good is none other than ultimately to love God and others in the truth.

The Internet, especially its very popular social networking services, has opened a wide, new and apparently endless and borderless avenue for us to exercise our freedom of expression. It has brought about a quantum leap of benefits and advantages unknown before.

In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, the digital social networks are creating “a new ‘agora,’ an open public square in which people share ideas, information and opinions, and in which new relationships and forms of community can come into being.”

He went to the extent of saying that the spaces created by this new technology, if properly handled, can make the exchange of information into true communication, the links can ripen into friendship, and connections can facilitate communion.

That’s why, according to the Pope, all those who make use of them must exert great effort to be “authentic since, it is not only ideas and information that are shared, but ultimately our very selves.”

That’s a statement worth meditating on, if only to make into a strong conviction the truth that in any communication, it is not merely ideas that are exchanged, but ultimately a person-to-person interrelationship is taking place.

Great care therefore has to be done. And it should be made clear that in these exchanges, it is not only about who makes sense or more sense that matters, but rather the ultimate goal and requirements of charity have to be reached and met.

We need to examine ourselves more deeply if we are using the Internet and its social network services properly. While it’s true that these technologies can be used to further facilitate our ordinary communications, we also need to make sure that they are not used to foster inanities, vanities, waste of time, obsessions or worse, to commit big sins and crimes.

Nowadays, pornography is a common stuff in this environment. Also phishing and trolling. And all sorts of fraud and forms of indignities are committed.

We definitely need to check ourselves frequently to see if our use of these powerful means is on the right track toward our proper goal, if we truly are facilitating authentic communication, if we are all becoming better persons, understanding and loving each other more, aside from understanding issues more deeply, etc.

The digital world should improve our capacity for tolerance to an ever-increasing range of diversity, but it should also sharpen our love for one another and our understanding and appreciation of opinions as well as absolute truths.

These should be the standard and criteria to assess the quality of our use of these means. We cannot remain cavalier in this regard, because these new technologies, while giving us great good, can also cause big and even almost irreparable damage to us.

We also need to understand that there has to be an effort to use these technologies for the ultimate purpose of communication. And that is evangelization, spreading the Good News about God and ourselves with respect to our ultimate end.

The Pope spells this out quite clearly. “The challenge facing social networks is how to be truly inclusive,” he said. That means these networks should include God and should be open to all.

Otherwise, these powerful means can be likened to the Tower of Babel that was built for the purpose of reaching heaven merely by human effort. God destroyed it and made it to cause such confusion of languages that the people could not understand one another anymore.

We need to be most responsible in enjoying the tremendous freedom afforded by the Internet and its very popular social networks. When we use them, are we clearly driven by love for God and for the common good, or are we just allowing our merely human and temporal impulses free play?





Senators of the 15th Congress: be the heroes of the poor and hungry! pass NLUA today!

A press statement by the Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! (CLUP Now!)
February 6, 2013

Is it almost the end for NLUA, yet again?

After the CREBA deluge of paid ads last Monday against the National Land Use Act, suddenly 3 Senators expressed interest to interpellate last Monday – Drilon, Villar and Marcos. Yesterday, Senator Enrile joined the fray. He and Senator Marcos said they were not yet ready to give their individual amendments. Senator Villar was absent. Only Senator Drilon finished giving his amendments.

After three years of deliberation, discussions, consultations on this landmark bill, they suddenly pay attention to it on the last three days of session! It was already approved on 2nd reading last week but was reverted back after a mere motion last Monday. It secured a Certification as Urgent from the President and yet, some Senators are still belaboring its passage.

Twenty-two Senators approved the Committee report. This was even a campaign promise by Senator Enrile during the 2010 elections. So they didn't bother to study it, only until a group of real estate developers came out with a million pesos worth of paid ads in one day? Or was it all a ploy to really push it against the wall on the last three days of session when its champion, Senator Gringo Honasan and advocates of NLUA can't do anything about it anymore?

The bill only wants to ensure the country's food self sufficiency and climate change adaptation! It wants to make sure that LGUs will follow minimum requirements for using land for food security, ecological conservation and safe settlements. NLUA will just map out what is already mandated under existing laws for Protection, Production, Settlements and Infrastructure.

For instance, prime agricultural lands (10.5 million hectares) are already mandated as protected under the Network of Protected Agricultural and Agro-Industrial Development (NPAAAD) of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) or RA 8435. The Department of Agriculture affirms that LGUs have attested to this coverage through consultations.

Furthermore, local autonomy is NOT being compromised. There are processes involved in formulating the National Land Use Plan. Only the framework and guidelines to formulate the plan will be set at the National level.

Today, we hope and pray again that the Senators will deliver their amendments, and heed the appeal of Senator Honasan to finish their comments so the bill will be passed today. After all, it has been certified as urgent by no less than the President.

Dear Senators, developed economies now, like Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan, are turning to other countries to grow their food. We are still blessed with agricultural lands to grow our own food and develop a full-blown industry from agriculture. 40% of the country’s labor force is still in agriculture and 70% of our poor are in the agriculture sector as well.

We don’t think you would rather plant houses than food on our land. The marginalized and vulnerable Pinoys cannot even afford to buy their food, let alone spend on these housing projects targeted for overseas workers. It’s so easy to convert land to non-agricultural uses but it is so difficult to revert land back to agriculture. Engineering solutions are more available for settlements rather than reviving soil fertility. Also urban spaces are not just on the land now but use airspace as well. So why be afraid of protecting lands for agriculture?

If only Congress bothered to pass NLUA 20 years ago, perhaps all those lives lost at Cherry hills, La Isla Oro, from Ondoy, Sendong, Frank, Pablo and countless other storms could have been saved. The urban poor say the resettlement areas they are thrown off to are still located in geo-hazard areas and with poor access to basic services. The list of reasons for passing NLUA can go on and on, but if the Senators still fear the unknown of NLUA, we will never really achieve food security and safe settlements for future generations.

President Benigno Aquino III himself underscored the importance of this legislation when he certified the NLUA as URGENT.

CLUP Now! strongly urges, appeals, beseeches the Senators of this Congress to pass NLUA, TODAY! CREBA, although powerful, is just ONE sector. They do not represent us, the MAJORITY of this nation – the farmers, fisherfolk, urban poor and indigenous peoples sectors.

We voted for you as our legislators in the august chambers of Congress, expecting that you will be our voices and protect our interests in crafting the laws of our land.






Gutting the 7th commandment

February 1, 2013

Have the “10 Commandments” been watered down into the “10 Suggestions”? That’s what today’s brawl over Congress Resolution No 10 – that auditors be barred from peering\ into legislators spending – is all about.

Hit the rewind button. Senators adopted CR10 on Aug. 24, 2011. This castrated the Commission on Audit of it’s constitutional power to check how senator and congressmen handled your tax shekels. It also exempted members from submitting receipts, vouchers, etc. They’d get away with a legislator’s certification.

The House scrambled to catch up on Feb. 1, 2012. Walang hindi nagbibighani, kapag ang salapi ay kumakalansing,” a Tagalog proverb explains. “When money jingles, everyone is attracted.”

Congressional scramble for unaudited funds erupted into scandal when Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile gift wrapped, for Christmas, P1.6 million checks, culled from peso “maintenance and other operating expenses”. He doled that to 18 friendly senators.

That’s legalized theft, snarled Senator Miriam Santiago – who returned her P250 thousand peso check. From 2008 to 2013, MOOE bolted from P759 million to P1.57 billion, just in the Senate.

An audit will document the same profligacy with taxpayers pesos in the Lower House. Congressmen too scribble a “special power of attorney” or SPA and – Bingo! Hard-earned taxpayer pesos floods in for salaries and allowances for untallied staff. Does a congressman have 10 employees? Maybe 40? CR10 bars taxpayers from asking.

The stink became so offensive, Senator Panfilo Lacson suggested in a radio interview: “The Senate needs an enama to purge the toxins. But it needs to act". Follow my example, he prodded colleagues. My office staff has been ordered to open all our books.”

“Did the man say all?”, Inquirer’s View point asked. That would include Lacson admitting he authored CR10. The resolution was “was not in our consciousness” when it was passed, Lacson mumbled. Adoption of his “brainchild” slipped thru “unnoticed amid many others that the Senate approved”. Is this selective amnesia? Or is it “CYA” otherwise known as covering your ass?.

Lacson, who spurned pork barrel allocations, said he wouldn’t mind if his handiwork were to be junked. Is this a ruthless Saul turned into a evangelizing Paul?. Nonsense, snap Lacon’s critics who quote the Ilocano proverb: Ti uwak waray digos, nagsiti latta. ”Although it bathes, the crow remains black”.

Such abuse does not occur in a vacuum. “Poverty is inextricably linked to corrupt practices that are deeply rooted in society,” says the earlier Ateneo de Naga University’s book, “Cross Sectoral Study of Corruption in the Philippines”. Indeed the monstrosity of corruption seems utterly difficult to capture in a single illustration” (Like CR10?)

"Perceptions of corruption color vocabulary", the book researchers found. They also shape imagery. Four symbols were seated into minds, especially of students, urban poor and NGOs. These were: crocodile (buaya); a contagious disease (isang-sakit na makakahawa); octopus with tentacles (galamay); and roots (ugat) of a tree.

Local parlance reflects this infection. These include: Utos sa taas (“Order from above”) to tea-money: “may pangmeryenda ka ba dyan?” (“Speed money” greases). And indigenous folk dub grafters: maro – not trustworthy.

Utang na loob reciprocity is not seen a bribery but fulfillment of a social obligation. “Opportunities for graft are created when people tolerate the unpunished corrupt. So do wide discretionary powers” (as in CR10 ). The book says it is essential to stip glamour from the corrupt and instill transparency mechanisms, Chairperson Grace Pulido Tan seems determined to do just that. COA is starting a “no-holds-barred audit”, in line with it’s constitutional mandate, she informed the Senate. Tan asked auditors be given access to all relevant documents in a letter to the chairman of accounts – by happenstance, Lacson.

If you can’t beat them, join them. In a caucus, they agreed to scrap “certification”. Senators must now file receipts, vouchers, etc., announced – not as author of the reviled CR10 – but as chair of the committee on accounts.

Enrile informed Speaker Feliciano Belmonte of the Senate decision to bail out, Lacson added. “It’s the Lower House call if they will waive [the resolution] or rescind it. But for us, no ifs and buts. The Senate will comply.“

Senator Aquilino Pimentel, meanwhile, filed Senate Resolution 930. This seeks to curb an epidemic of 35 congressional “oversight committees” that chew up another P400 million yearly.

The committees sprawl from biofuels, labor, disaster risk reduction to special purpose vehicles. Merge their duties with that of appropriate legislative committees, Pimentel sensibly proposed.

COA’s Grace Pulido Tan’s effort to bring to light what crooks in legislative robes tried to hide will be sabotaged at every turn. Vultues do not let go of carrion lightly. Indeed, CR10 is only the latest devise whereby they turned both houses of Congress, meant for statesmen, into a den of thieves. They swear by Napoleon Bonparte’s axiom: “Money has no fatherland.”

If Tan’s audit succeeds in ripping down CR10 blinders, she’ll stop Congress’ gutting of the 7th Commandment: “Thou shall not steal.” Tan will enter history as one of COA’s giants. She will also ensure our grandchildren will be spared the scourge of “dark money”.

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself,” Robert Kennedy once wrote. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly…There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”





Political genius or political animal?

January 26, 2013

As a priest, I of course do not do politics, that is to say, I cannot run for public office, I cannot take partisan positions in public, unless the issues involved are clearly inhuman and unchristian. But I should follow it closely, because politics is part of life and needs to be guided by the proper spirit of Christ.

That’s the reason why there is the social doctrine of the Church that also covers politics. While it is the lay faithful who can take active and direct part of it, the clergy should also see to it that the whole political life in all levels of society is done properly.

Besides, the clergy is also part of the citizenry, subject to the laws of the land. They are part of the political life, obviously in a way proper to their state. Everyone takes part of politics always in accordance to one’s state and possibilities, the clerics in their own way, the lay also in their own way.

This doctrine of the Church has to be understood properly. It is that way because the priest’s mission is eminently spiritual and supernatural in nature. It’s a mission that is above but not exempt from the understandable differences and conflicts of temporal affairs such as politics.

Thus the priest has to be extremely discerning to do his part in the political life of the country. He is not supposed to take a passive stance in it. He should be disinterested, but not uninterested. At least he has to pray a lot, offer a lot of sacrifices, do a lot of catechizing, etc. He has to be keenly interested in it, but in a specific way.

Having said that preamble, I must admit that I enjoy reading political developments here and abroad. There is obviously the chance to get excited with all the twists and turns of the political maneuverings politicians do. But at the end of the day, I bring these political items to prayer, trying to discern how things ought to go.

And I learn a lot from this exercise, since it allows me to read between the lines, to somehow read the minds of people, politicians especially, and to read the signs of the times. While there is a lot of tentativeness in this exercise, it actually gives me a lot of ideas and all sorts of impulses that I need to tame and clarify.

As of now, I learn a lot from certain moves of some politicians, both local and international. There are instances when I think the move is stupid, but also many instances when I am convinced the move is brilliant, is a masterstroke.

Since politicians are at the forefront of the development of society, they cannot help but be extremely cautious and smart in their actuations – their planning, their speeches, their public appearances, etc.

But they cannot avoid controversies and conflicts. And I must say that I admire how some of them handle these situations well – how they explain their positions, or defend them when attacked, how they have a good sense of timing and of what to say to what kind of audience at a given time.

Some of them really have excellent speaking talents, with sharp minds and witty tongues, and very adept both in aggressive and defensive tactics. Obviously, there are some who truly are political geniuses. But there sadly are others who can only elicit the judgment, tentative at best, of being political animals bereft of conscience.

Political developments are actually good learning moments. They should not be wasted by tackling it superficially as in simply giving knee-jerk reactions that tend to exaggerate or oversimplify things and are prone to make negative responses more than positive.

In short, politic discussions and analyses should go beyond the level of the barbers. Let’s pray that our political columnists really do their part well, giving well-thought-out opinions and commentaries that should always be characterized by charity and fairness.

Sad to say, there are instances when some of these commentators are just out and out unfair, painting their enemy-politicians as the devil incarnate while putting their friend-politicians on a pedestal as if these are incapable of sinning. That’s really over the top or way under the bottom.

We have to learn to hold our horses when reacting to political issues. Let’s study them first, weigh things disinterestedly. Better, bring them to our prayer and ask God for light. We need to learn to relate political developments and issues to God and to the common good.





Missing the essentials

January 18, 2013

Tourists, touts, pilgrims to, dancers jam Cebu City Sunday for the centuries-old Santo Nino fiesta. It’s easy to skid into non-essentials. Who’ll elbow the way to first places, in viewing stands? Battling a suspension order, will Gov. Gwen Garcia emerge from Capitol redoubt to shashay with a town troupe? Where will Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale sit?

A “Devotees City” opened to house indigent pilgrims. Hotels are full. The finale will highlight canonization of Pedro Calungsod, first saint from the Visayas. Ms Razini Alexis Gomez, who won as Ms Tourism International, will lead 500 young dancers. “Oh to be 70 again” 84-year old Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes sighed when young chicks flitted by.

“Typhoon Sendong, and Pablo caused some of the out-of-town contingents to beg off. But eight others will come. And a hundred boats will trail the launch, bearing the Niño, up Mactan Channel. In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan’s vessels carried this icon on galleons that sailed up this then-pristine strait. (Since 1970, the quality of Mactan water has deteriorated as waste is dumped, University of San Carlos environmental monitoring reports.)

Sunday rites recall the account by Italian chronicler Antonio Pigafetta, Italian chronicler on Magellan presenting the Niño to the newly-baptized Queen Juana. After Magellan died on 27 April 1521 in the Battle of Mactan, the image disappeared. On 28 April 1565, Spanish mariner Juan de Camus, a member of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi’s follow-up expedition, found the statue the ruins of a burnt house.

It is now enshrined at the basilica and over the centuries, draws crowds. Some are curious. Many go for a culture bash. And scores pray for help. Affection for the Child wells up from below. No organizing committee can jerry-rig such gut reaction.

Myths abound. Some nights, an old tale goes: the Child slips away from his altar. He walks the streets: comforting, blessing, curing. Dawn, the Niño’s cloak is sometimes studded with the weed: amor seco (Spanish for “dry love”). Some botanists shrug. Andropogan aciculatus merely proves deforested Cebu is semi arid.

“The Sto. Niño, isn’t about a cute, harmless little boy”, writes Fr. Johnny Go, SJ. We treat him either like a lucky charm that we display in our homes, or like some Catholic version of Barbie doll. The feast recalls reminds us he stayed back in Jerusalem where his questions stunned Temple leaders. “Why did you look for me?, he asked Mary and Joseph. “Did you not know I must be about my Father’s concerns?”

“The Feast of the Sto. Niño teaches us about the courage and faith of a young boy amidst all the uncertainties and the pains that always accompany those growing-up years. Our Lord was beginning to realize that it was time to let go of his own preferences because his life was not his own.”

But is worship sealed off, on a “split level”, from deeds?, the Jesuit psychologist Jaime Bulatato often asked. Indeed, popular devotion “continues to animate the life of the people”, The Third Pastoral Assembly said earlier. Is there a marked dichotomy between faith and life, between worship and activity?

An official who attends Mass, honoring the Child, has no qualms about pocketing “Christmas gifts” from realigned funds courtesy of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. And some who lighted tapers, in the Niño’s procession, ushered in Cebu’s “hot car miracle”: registrations vaulted from only two in 2006 to 3,906.

The litmus test for devotion to the Niño is how Filipino children fare here. Chronic hunger reduces one out of three into a puny underweight. That’s 9.31 million kids. Another 3.8 are stunted. They don’t starve to death. But debilitating – and preventable – diseases like TB, anemia, diarrhea take their toll. Nutrition National Survey found that, improvement inched forward by only five percent. “At this rate, it will take maybe half a century before we can eradicate the problem of malnutrition”.

"How can the Sto. Niño today become the refuge of families who are landless, jobless, homeless, hungry and who lack basic services?”, asks the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group. “Our celebrations will be like empty clanging cymbals (Amos 5:21-24) if the above concrete realities of the least of the Sto. Niño's brothers and sisters are not addressed effectively.”

Kids can’t wait. “Their name is today”. A recent issue of the British medical journal “The Lancet” found, in a study of the Philippines and 19 other countries, that “undernutrition is to blame for 3.5 million deaths among children aged under five each year – more than a third of child deaths worldwide,” it concluded. Most fatalities “occur in 20 countries, where targeted aid programs could swiftly address the problem.”

Majority of deaths are “inflicted indirectly by stunting and poor resistance to disease. And two of the biggest culprits are lack of vitamin A and zinc during the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s first two years of life.” Striking a child in anger may be pardoned, George Bernard Shaw once said. “But a blow, against a child in cold blood,” as in the continued tolerance of malnutrition, is an obscenity. “Let the little children come to Me,” the Niño said.



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