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IMPACT

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IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

2 IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006 “ Quote in the Act “Offering so few tickets to so

Quote in the Act

“Offering so few tickets to so many people can be likened to throwing a small slice of meat to a pack of hungry wolves.”

Investigating task force chief Interior Undersecretary Marius Corpus, citing the circumstance that triggered the tragic February 4 stampede at ULTRA (Pasig City) which claimed 74 lives and injured about 500 poor people.

“Divorce takes too long and costs much too much—too much money, too much agony, too hard on the children.”

New York’s chief judge Judith S. Kaye, on a report calling for no-fault divorce in the state.

“Intelligence was misused publicly to

justify decisions that had already been made,

chiefly to topple Mr. Hussein in order to shake

up the sclerotic power structures of the Middle East.”

Paul R. Pillar, retired (in October 2005) C.I.A.’s national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, on accusing the Bush administration of distorting the prewar evidence about Iraq’s unconventional weapons in its effort to justify the American invasion of 2003.

“This person Koizumi doesn’t know history or philosophy, doesn’t study, doesn’t have any culture.”

Tsuneo Watanabe, publisher of Yomiuri newspaper, criticizing Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine (the Shinto memorial for wartime criminals) and purportedly indicating his adherence to Japan’s wartime militarism.

“Press freedom is not a license to malign

religious beliefs.”

William Esposo, INQ7 online columnist, commenting on Denmark’s

Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons which generated worldwide outrage

from Muslims.

“It’s a small, single-digit percentage. We generally think that having more access is better, as long as you’re not a child or overly offended. But we can help people do filtering if that’s what they want, though there is no technology that can tell with 100% accuracy if an image or website is pornographic.”

Larry Page, one of Google’s top-honcho triumvirate, when asked how much do people use Google to look for porn.

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COVER PHOTO CREDIT: DENNIS BALDOZA DAYAO

COVER PHOTO CREDIT: DENNIS BALDOZA DAYAO I M P A C T Febraury 2006 / Vol

IMPACT

Febraury 2006 / Vol 40 • No 2

CONTENTS

EDITORIAL

StormSignals

23

COVER STORY

Who Are Behind Global Population Control?

16

23 COVER STORY Who Are Behind Global Population Control? 16 The Malthusian myth of a ‘population

The Malthusian myth of a ‘population bomb’ already debunked and population growth, birth and fertility rates plunging below replacement level—who are else behind the population control agenda?

ARTICLES

Marriage, Family and Sacrament

4

Globalization and its Impact on Catholic Higher Education(Last Part)

6

The Community and School: Learning Together Through Makipamuhay

8

Filipino Not After Philip II of Spain but After Philip

theApostle The Tall Order of PRO-Life Philippines

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14

STATEMENTS

A Statement on Mining Issues and Concerns RenewingOurPublicLifeThroughMoralValues

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26

DEPARTMENTS

QuoteintheAct CINEMAReview Quotes in Quiz FromtheBlogs FromtheInbox VanillaBytes NewsBriefs

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One feels saddened, and this time to the bones, when political spinners—even respectable columnists who

One feels saddened, and this time to the bones, when political spinners—even respectable columnists who are used to write professionally until, one thinks, they too, drunk of the poisonous wine dangled by the supreme goddess—orchestrate attacks against the Church whenever she speaks against evils in gover- nance, as CBCP did, albeit cautiously, in its January statements. The same old arguments which have been re- hashed for ages now are tacked in holsters ready for the firing. Predictable as the 30% S.O.P. in pork-barrel projects, the arguments are: “church meddling in poli- tics”, “separation of church and state”, and, “why not tax the church? or “why not mind your own ranks of pedophile priests?” And, of course, the latest cache:

“the bishops do not know anything about mining.” Admittedly, nobody gets curious why the same people did not brandish any of the aforementioned stereotypes when the Church modestly helped fish out the country from the dark depths of Martial Law or placed in a platter those who are now comfortable, or otherwise, in power. And this is not to say anything yet about the Church’s social teachings as contained in its latest document, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. But even without that, are some people that myopic as to think that social concerns are the monopoly of politicians and the powerful? Isn’t it pure and simple that to prevent Church people from de- nouncing immoralities in the exercise of politics is undemocratic? Common welfare is too precious and fragile to be left alone to the exclusive care of thieves! In the meantime, the poverty threshold of the country keeps plummeting. The typecast reason is: the stonewalling by the Church of population control pro- grams. The country is so poor because of the swelling number of mouths to feed, or so goes the political equation. Refusing to acknowledge the real reasons for the country’s maladies, one thinks it’s hardly relevant now what to make out of the outbreak of corruption and the concomitant evils of the present dispensation: the disappearance of fertilizer funds, the looting of the Marcos loot, the cheating and stealing of votes in the elections, the inefficiency in fiscal management and governance, to name but the tip of the iceberg of the country’s worsening winter. Neither by rhyme nor reason will a barber or a pedicab driver say that the reason why he has no food is because he has sired four or more children. But economists and technocrats, who certainly know better than a barber, still insist that overpopulation brings about the specter of death. But “who are behind global population control?” Read on.

Volume 40 • Number 2

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I t was in the middle of T.V. talk shows

and print media publications that the

traditional family life and marriage was

again put to the fore in the consciousness of Filipinos. It was set as the background, if not the target, of the sectoral cry for equality of marital infidelity. It is clamored that infidelity of the wife against the exclu- sivity of marital contract should be of equal degree and gravity with that commit- ted by men. The nature of marital infidelity should be one and same for both sexes. It is unfair to hold one category of marital infidelity for the wife and another category for the husband. This is what happened in the provision as found in Family Code of the Philippines. Here, marital infidelity suffers from double standard categoriza- tion with a seeming bias against the wife. What constitutes marital infidelity for the husband is cohabitation, which, needless to say, implies habitual acts of sexual rela- tions outside marriage. Whereas for the wife what constitutes her marital infidelity is just one adulterous act. The clamor is valid. However, a subtle message is in the meantime sent, that is, that damaged mar- riage can only be remedied by a legislation that is impartial and therefore equal to both the husband and the wife. With this too is the ambiguous signal that can easily lead to a conclusion that equality of marital infidelity is a good thing to be pursued. While this was hotly discussed, the National Geographic, an internationally acclaimed magazine due to the quality of its graphics as well as its well chosen and highly disciplined articles, came out in its February 2006 issue a banner story on love and family life. Entitled “The Thing called Love”, it portrays love as a chemical reac- tion that influences the brain and the whole person of the parties involved. It then proffers the questions: “Does passion necessarily diminish over time? How reli- able is romantic love, really, as a means of choosing one’s mate? Can a marriage be good when Eros is replaced with friend- ship, or even economic partnership, two people bound by bank accounts?” (Na- tional Geographic, Lauren Slater, “The Thing Called Love”, pp. 32-49). Conclusion of this kind is not new. Already in the age of the Enlightenment, similar accusations were leveled against the traditional teaching of the Church on marriageandfamilylife.PopeBenedictXVI, in his first and recent Encyclical Letter “Deus Caritas Est” alluded to this sniping when he quoted the leading philosopher of the age,Nietzsche,as saying: “Christianity had poisoned eros.” He said this as an articula-

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IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

4 IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006 Marriage, Marriage, Family Family and and the the

Marriage, Marriage,

Family Family and and the the

Sacrament Sacrament

by Leonardo Y. Medroso, DD

tion of the widely held perception of his time, that is: “Doesn’t the Church, with all the commandments and prohibitions, turn to bitterness the most precious thing in life? Doesn’t she blow the whistle just when the joy, which is the Creator’s gift, offers in a happiness which is itself a certain foretaste of the divine?” (no.3). Christian marriage is more than a piece of legislation that declares a couple as husband and wife; more than the union of a male and a female hit by a chemical reaction called love. It is a sacred union. It starts with the free choice of the man and the woman in love, mutually surren- dering themselves to each other which they do by entering into marriage whose meaning and values do not depend on them but on God himself. For God is the Author of marriage, delicately endowing it with proper laws and regulations. And due to reality of sin in the subsequent status of man , making him/her prone to the temptations of the flesh and the pride of life that oftentimes sours the relation- ship between man and woman, God el- evated that union into a sacrament. Here the spouses are caught up by Christ who gives that great promise: “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Canon Law expresses this reality with this provision: “The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very na- ture is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and up- bringing of children, has, between the baptized, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament” (C. 1055, § 1). Marriage therefore bestows that sacra- mental grace to “perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children” (cf. CCC, n. 1641). In other words, in the Christian marriage the spouses encounter Christwhowillinglydwellswiththem,gives them the strength to take up the daily crosses and so follow Him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one an- other, to bear one another’s burden, to be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (cf. Eph 5:21; Gal 6:2). It is within this context that the late John Paul II, in his address to the Roman Rota judges, highlighted the importance and the significance of the religious dimen- sion of marriage. He cited the phenomenon

ARTICLES ture.” It has to be tamed by agape, disci- plined by its calming yet

ARTICLES

ture.” It has to be tamed by agape, disci- plined by its calming yet firm touch. On the other hand, man cannot live by oblative, descending love alone. He cannot always give, he must also receive. Anyone who wishes to give love must also receive love as a gift” (Deus Caritas Est, n. 7). Fresh ideas, indeed; novelties that answer well the modern soul of man quest- ing for true love. But the Pope insists that the real novelty that Christian faith intro- duces to the concept of love is Christ Him- self who “gives flesh and blood to those concepts” (ibid., n.12). He is the one who is met by the couple in the sacrament of mar- riage. Here, Christ is not just the good shepherd who seeks the lost sheep; not just the woman who searches for the lost coin; nor, just the Father who runs to meet and embrace his own son who became prodigal. In the sacrament of marriage, Christ is the bridegroom who gives up his life for the bride, the Church, to make her holy, purify- ing her in the bath of water by the power of the word (Eph 5: 25-26). This is the sacra- mental Christ who becomes the role model of the husband in relation with his wife. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church” (ibid, 5:25). He is the same Christ to whom the wife has to obey, ex- pressed by her submission to her husband. “Wives should be submissive to their hus- bands as if to the Lord. As the Church submits to Christ, so wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Eph 25:

22-24). The reality of sin experienced by the couple in marital union is now caught up through the sacrament of marriage with the reality of grace that saves and purifies. For the spouses, therefore, to survive the rigors of married life and family union, they have to be religious people, persons of deep faith. It was not for mere slogan purposes that Fr. Peyton coined that widely acclaimed phrase: “the family that prays together stays together.” He knew what it takes to be faithful in marriage and to stand up to the variegated temptations and suf- ferings of the family. To enter into marriage and the family life the spouses need the faith to see that Christ is there to support them all the way. Christ then is essential to the union in marriage and family life. It is not the legal imposition of punishment on the unfaith- ful partner, no matter the inequality or equality of marital infidelity; nor does it lie in the right and delicate balancing of the

chemistry of love.

of many recent matrimonial cases and ob-

understand the position taken up by Benedict XVI in his bold response to the accusation of Nietzsche who with bravado said: “Christianity had poisoned eros.” It likewise provides ready answer to the ques- tion posed by the National Geographic:

“How reliable is romantic love, really, as a means of choosing one’s mate?” He is sure and convinced to state that eros needs redemption. And then he describes in detail how this comes about, tracing the growth of love in the dynamic interplay of the eros and the agape. They are not opposite elements of one and the same love; nor are they antithesis. They form the two aspects of love, that is, the ascending love (eros) and the descending love (agape). Eros is at first wild, covetous, selfish. Yet it has that over- powering drive to climb every mountain and transcend any obstacle with great fas- cination and firm determination in pursuit of the great promise of happiness. As it draws near to the other, “it becomes less and less concerned with itself, increasingly seeks the happiness of the other, is concerned more and more with the beloved, bestows itself and wants to be there for the other.” It is at this point that the element of agape enters into this love, “for otherwise eros is impoverished and even loses its own na-

served that there is a pattern. The pattern is the diminishing awareness of the spouses

of the significance of the sacramentality of

the Christian marriage. Spouses do not consider anymore the transcendence of Christianmarriage,itsintimatemeaning,its intrinsic supernatural value, its positive effects on the conjugal life and family. He also observed that secularism has much to blame to this modern phenomena in Chris- tian marriage. He said: “Today’s strongly secularized mentality tends to affirm the human values of the institution of the family while detaching them from religious values

and proclaiming them as fully independent

of God. Influenced as it is by models of life

that are too often presented by the mass media, today’s mentality asks, ‘Why must

one spouse always be faithful to the other?’

A person of faith can easily answer that

question; but a person who is cut off from that religious dimension of marriage is in a

quandary. Caught in a crisis, this person of

no faith “will even reformulate the preced-

ing question in this way: why it is always necessary to love the other spouse even when so many apparently justifying rea- sons would lead one to leave?” It is also within this reality that we can

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(Most Rev. Leonardo Y. Medroso, DD, Bishop of Borongan, is the Chairman of the CBCP Commission on Canon Law)

Volume 40 • Number 2

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Clash

Globalization and Catholic Ethics

Civilization:

of

T he various Encyclicals have ex- pounded on the obligation to create wealth as directly related to the right

to private property, which is a natural right of man. The right to ownership of property is natural because of two reasons: (1) it perfects the powers of man; and (2) it is essential to the preservation of life. Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter (Centissimus Annus), stated that “the goods of this world are originally meant for all. The right to private property is valid and necessary. Private property, in fact is under a “social mortgage” which means that it has an intrinsically social function, based upon and justified by the principle of the universal destination of goods.” The obligation to create wealth has a moral dimension because it is the duty of everyone to contribute to the com- mon good. The full expression of one’s individu- ality in the Catholic doctrine is generally possible within a well-defined duty to society. The fact that man is an active agent in society entails that he has to work for a cause common to all: the common good for society is the means to his end. But in an era of globalization, the market is conceived as a device to liberate persons and things from this social obligation. “Logic about human society is restricted to the logic of individual interests, fully expressed in free, voluntary and inten- tional exchange, institutionally organized and regulated by the market. Within this social space, persons and things are to be somehow “dissocialized” or liberated from all imposed relations. What is transferred is wealth, viewed socially as pure means.” Thus, efficiency is preferred to social jus- tice as a means to an end, and also, some- times, as an end in itself. With globalization, social life is in- creasingly being organized around values that are dominantly utilitarian. Social rela- tions are thus increasingly viewed as rela- tions among private owners, buying and selling all manner of commodities among themselves. Consequently, human action is judged not on whether it is inherently good or bad but by its results. Toward this end, the Catholic Univer- sities and other Institutions of Higher Learning will need to review its mission in terms of the following thrusts:

1. Matching and meeting the new pri- orities of society, not only at the national

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IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

national 6 IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006 Globalization Globalization and and its its Impact

Globalization Globalization and and

its its Impact Impact on on

Catholic Catholic Higher Higher

Education Education

Last Part
Last Part

(This series is a reprint with permission from a recent book edited by Msgr. Jose R. Rojas entitled Light to All )

by Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP, DD

level, but also at global perspectives, to interpret, explain, dissect, analyze, diag- nose, critique and point to the advantages and disadvantages to society and espe- cially to the poor and disadvantaged popu-

lace, of far-reaching developments such as globalization, liberalization, foreign debt obligations, international trade, invest- ments and transactions of multinational corporations.

2. Devoting resources and expertise

in its programs of studies, public work- shops and seminars, research studies, extension services, and social critiquing, to the large issues and concerns of deci- sion-making impact on society, and not the traditional academic idealistic, theo-

retical and what many even the poorer classes consider irrelevant to their every- day lives.

3. Bringing the world of business,

investments, globalization and liberaliza- tion into the academic classrooms and research institutes, and probing into the motives and practices of businessmen, multinational managers, foreign govern- ments and regional and international bod- ies in the affairs of state; and providing governments and policymakers alterna- tive scenarios and choices beneficial to

the greater masses of people. Subse- quently, sharpening the minds of profes- sors and students in the questioning of global managers and investors and their scenarios in engaging in the affairs of the nation and in their treatment of the nation as just another consumer market among so many markets in the world. 4. Developing an expertise in global and economic issues, which must take

center stage in university studies and re- search, not because religion appears to play a lesser role in contemporary life but because socio-economic and political forces dictate the shape and direction of life today. Catholic universities lack the specializations we find clustered in the state and private institutions of higher learning. The image of the Catholic univer- sity tends to be conservative, tradition-

bound, religious, almost divorced from the everyday conflicts which plague mankind and make headlines in newspaper and ra- dio/TV broadcasts everyday. They are not perceived to be reliable, realistic, and sure-footed about global events. They are seen to be outside contemporary affairs and not inclined to become involved in everyday affairs. 5. These negative perceptions and

ARTICLES stages. seen as having positive qualities. Since we belong to a universal or Catholic

ARTICLES

stages.

ARTICLES stages. seen as having positive qualities. Since we belong to a universal or Catholic church,

seen as having positive qualities. Since we belong to a universal or Catholic church, we can see these trends as a sign of the times, as a kairos, a special challenge for us Catholics. By our very nature as a church we are also global and universal. This moment, then, poses for us a distinct but positive challenge: How can we, as a church that is universal and Catholic, af- fect these interdependent economic trends and the culture that they are bringing with them? There is need in this global context for a clear vision of well-articulated values founded on the Gospel values, however, that can be shared with all people of good- will, that can resonate in the hearts of all those who are not Christians but who have the good of this globe in their hearts. We do not stand alone as Catholics; we live and work in societies where other Chris- tians, members of other faith traditions and others of goodwill also have a stake. Can we in this meeting articulate such gospel values and then ask our friends, both Christian and those of other faiths, to espouse them so that we can construct a more just global economy and culture. Such a vision should include and strongly emphasize the following values:

• The dignity of the human person and the sacredness of human life at all

• The central role of the family in soci- ety that must be fostered and pro- tected.

• The rightful role of women in society and church.

• The church’s option for the poor, both within the boundaries of each nation and between nations.

• The opportunities for remunerative work, for the free association of work- ers—even across national bound- aries and for wages that permit a family to live in dignity.

• The possibility of education and hu- man development for all.

• Concern for the ecological well-be- ing of this planet and especially of our hemispheres.

• Freedom from coercion in religious beliefs and practices.

• Just governments, free of corruption that respects the rights of individuals while working toward the common good of all. Are we ready to be prophetic in pro- posing such a global and cultural vision for these hemispheres and for the world? The obstacles that stand on our way, in addition to a lack of prophetic courage, are several. First, there are not interna- tional structures strong enough to em- body these values. We might have to stand alone and swim against the stream. We can see that nation-states are often less powerful, economically speaking, than the large multinational corporations that work within their boundaries. Second, for the church to be credible in such prophetic teaching (a teaching that could be agreed upon by all of good will), the church would first have to witness to these values within its own structures and life. Often, that would require conversion on our part. Do we have the courage to let ourselves be so converted by the gospel message? The challenge we face now is to take advantage of these signs of the times, this kairos, the globalization of our economy and culture. First of all, we must articulate more fully what these values are and make them our own as a Catholic Church. Then we must study how we can witness to them in church life in our region. Finally, we must seek to work with other Christians and those of other faiths to embody them in our economy and society. But only if we work in solidarity to implant them first among ourselves can we be able to influ- ence others and make a difference in the global culture that is now emerging. Will we seize the moment? Will we

take this challenge?

inadequate institutional capabilities fur- ther alienate the Catholic university from the key institutions and policymakers of society. A curtain of indifference marks the attitude of business and socio-eco- nomic and political sector about the Catho- lic university. This is exacerbated by the predominant religions of Hinduism, Islam, Shintoism, Buddhism, and Taoism in this region. The Catholic sector is so small, except for the Philippines, it is virtually unheard of except for a few of the great and ancient Christian institutions of learning established by the Missionaries in the great cities of Asia including Manila de- cades and, in cases, hundreds of years

ago. So large is this chasm that it would be extremely difficult for the Catholic univer- sities to return to the mainstream of con- temporary issues and participate in key issues such as globalization and liberaliza- tion. Unless they pursue new pathways to break out of the circle of repeated ways of doing things in academic community, fur- ther enveloping itself in its old ways and putting more distance between themselves and the world at large. Promote the spirit of hope and not of fear vis-à-vis globalization. At first, one could be frightened by these trends to- wards globalization. Yet they can also be

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Volume 40 • Number 2

The The School School and and Community: Community: Learning Learning Together Together Through Through

The The School School and and Community: Community:

Learning Learning

Together Together Through Through

Makipamuhay Makipamuhay

By Lorenzo B. Isla

M akipamuhay literally means “liv- ing with.” In January 2000, teach- ers of Sociology and Theology in

the collegiate department of Letran- Calamba found “Makipamuhay” an ap-

propriate title for the three-day community

immersion

Makipamuhay, a teaching strategy for the two three-unit courses was born. Community immersion has been prac- ticed in various ways among many Catholic and non-Catholic educational institutions for the past decades. However, five years ago, community immersion was a new idea

for most constituents of Letran-Calamba, so that it was not easy to introduce Makipamuhay intotheacademicprograms. After ten semesters of implementation, Makipamuhaynow stands as a key feature of the institution’s community involvement. This paper intends to share with fel- low Catholic educators: (1) the history of Makipamuhay and its institutionalization; (2) the impact of Makipamuhay in terms of

participationandcommunitylinkage-build-

ing; (3) the innovations introduced by the

Makipamuhay program integrating the three functions of higher education into the institutional vision-mission and the framework of Catholic education; (4) the difficulties encountered; and (5) the vi- sion that the school and the communities learn together through Makipamuhay.

of

their

students.

Thus,

The Setting

Letran-Calamba stands on a nine-hect- are picturesque campus at the foot of the legendaryMountMakiling.Letran-Calamba

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IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

started to serve the children and young people of Laguna and nearby provinces in 1979, and from thereon, provided skilled professionals to various industries and schools in the CALABARZON region. From the densely populated urban ar- eas surrounding Greater Manila area, the City of Calamba serves as a doorway to the numerous rural communities of Laguna and other Southern Tagalog provinces. At 25, Letran-Calamba is a witness to the rapid socio-economic changes that this historic province continues to experience.

The Impetus

Makipamuhay was a result of a confluence of five factors. One, some teach- ers of Sociology and religious educators teaching Theology 4 (descriptively en- titled “Church and Human Society”) ex- perimented on employing one-day com- munity immersion as a teaching strategy in Letran-Calamba intermittently from 1997 to 1999. Two, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Memo No. 59 series of 1996 encouraged an “interdisciplinary ap- proach which would help the students see the human being as an integral person living in both a national and a global com- munity”. Three, the religious education curriculum of Letran-Calamba was revised in 1997 and adapted an interdisciplinary approach to suit the needs of the students as a way of realizing the mission of Catho- lic educational institutions. Four, the mis- sion-vision statement of Letran was fully articulated in 1996. Five, Letran-Calamba established the Community and Extension

Services (CES) Office and the Center for Research and Development or CRD (in 2003 CES and CRD were renamed as Com- munity and Extension Services Depart- ment and Research and Development De- partment, respectively) in 1997. The teachers’ initiatives were bol- stered by the structural and curricular im- petus at the institutional level and the national policy provided by CHEd. The result was a proposal to make community immersion a constitutive part of the syllabi of the two courses as a teaching strategy. Makipamuhay was conceived as an in- structional activity that integrates com- munity service and research activities, to

be experienced by all college students regardless of their degree programs. Institutionalization was the next

be experienced by all college students regardless of their degree programs. Institutionalization was the next prob- lem. When brought to the Academic Board for approval, some academic administra- tors expressed apprehension over the safety and security of the students, and the pos- sible resistance from parents. However, the learning opportunities offered far out- weighed the perceived risks. Makipamuhay finally got the stamp of approval.

The Impact

Makipamuhay spans ten semesters, bringing a total of around 5,000 students to

ARTICLES

34 rural poor communities in the provinces of Laguna, Quezon, Batangas, and Cavite. About 100 volunteers from faculty, em- ployees, students, and administrators have been mobilized to facilitate the activities during the three-day immersion. Approxi- mately 500 families have received the stu- dents in their homes. Countless stories of new experiences have been told, providing the base for drawing out learning. Beyond the figures, Makipamuhay

has gradually rekindled the desire of Letran constituents in serving poor communi-

ties.

organized and provided support in the implementation ofMakipamuhay, as well as other programs of the Community and Extension Service Office. Many student organizations conducted community ori- ented activities. A concrete manifestation of this impact was the overwhelming re-

sponse of the Letran constituents to the relief drive organized by the Community and Extension Service Office for the vic- tims and survivors of the North Quezon tragedy in December 2004. At the policy level, community exten-

sion was integrated into the faculty devel-

opment

Makipamuhay as one of the core activi- ties where the faculty members could earn service credits. The communities of Makipamuhay were not just hosts to the students. Makipamuhay welded partnerships be- tween Letran-Calamba and the communi- ties. The activities conducted during the three-day immersion, and the post-immer- sion projects arising from Makipamuhay provided some benefits for the partner communities in the form of book dona- tions, REAP (Re-entry Educational Assis- tance for the Poor, a project tie-up with Angelicum College, Quezon City), medical and dental missions, tutorials for school- children, community social activities, stu- dents’ participation in community-initi- ated projects, assistance in community assessment and planning, and advocacy of community issues. For this, the PAASCU rated commu- nity involvement in 2003 as one of the best features of Letran-Calamba, with the uniqueness of Makipamuhay as a corner- stone that integrates the three functions of higher educational institutions—in- struction, research, and extension.

with

The Letran Volunteer Corps was

program

in

2004,

The Innovations

In a semester, Makipamuhay brings about 300 to 1,000 students to 15 commu-

nities for three days. This is no simple task. The management strategies include class- room-based orientation of students on the nature of Makipamuhay and the partner communities, coordination with Commu- nity & Extension Service Department for community networking, organizing the Makipamuhay Steering Community to bridge the instructional needs with the community resources, orientation and training of volunteer facilitators, and the establishment of monitoring scheme dur- ing the immersion proper. Each semester provided a learning experience for the Makipamuhay Steering Committee and the partner communities through the vari- ous modes of evaluation conducted after each immersion batch. The Table 1summa- rizes the processes before, during and after immersion. Makipamuhay has stretched its wings beyond being an instructional strategy for the two three-unit general education courses. At the institutional level, it paved the way for sustaining links with partner communities, and inspired a number of student and faculty researches to focus on issues and problems in marginalized rural communities. At the individual level, each student is given an opportunity to experience learning through participating in the activities of the partner community. Makipamuhay provided space for the students’ internalization and operationalization of the school’s core values based on an education that is Catho- lic, Dominican, and Filipino in orientation. Compassion for the poor is a recurrent theme in most students’ reflections, which manifests later in their involvement in com- munity-oriented projects and research. This is a stride towards culture-building— necessary process that strengthens the character of every Catholic youth in re- sponding to the adversities of the times.

most

schools is a major requirement for degree programs in social work, community de-

In

velopment, and the health sciences.

Letran-Calamba, all collegiate level stu- dents, regardless of their degree pro- grams, experience Makipamuhay. The incorporation of Makipamuhay into the general education curriculum facilitates a learning experience shared by all gradu- ates of the Colegio. Furthermore, Makipamuhay brought to the fore the organic link between Sociology and Church & Human Society—step towards fostering interdisciplinary approaches in student formation through general edu- cation.

Community

immersion

in

Volume 40 • Number 2

9
9

Learning Together Through Makipamuhay

Learning Together Through Makipamuhay The Difficulties Schools and Communities Learning Together: A Vision Beyond student

The Difficulties

Learning Together Through Makipamuhay The Difficulties Schools and Communities Learning Together: A Vision Beyond student

Schools and Communities Learning Together: A Vision

Beyond student learning, Makipamuhay is starting to usher the partner-communities’ realization of their

self-worth. Social exclusion is felt in most

of

marginalized by their geographic and so- cial distance from the centers of political and economic power. In the study con- ducted in 2003, many community members initially perceived students from Catholic schools as economically advantaged and not capable of reaching out to the poor. The bonds created throughMakipamuhay between the students and the communi- ties proved otherwise. Bringing students to these communities is an initial step towards bridging these social gaps. In the same study mentioned above, some community members expressed that they have overcome the customary “bisita” treatment accorded to the stu- dents. Through Makipamuhay, these community members learned that their ev- eryday experience of poverty is a well- spring of lessons that may not have been taught in school. The community mem- bers’ assumption of the teacher-role in the students’ learning process is another build- ing block in reclaiming the worth of the family and the community as agents of socialization that would help the youth understand their role in the larger society. Community participation in the plan- ning, implementation, and evaluation of Makipamuhay has been encouraged since its first implementation in year 2000. How- ever, some community leaders, especially those in the local government units, were not receptive to this. Towards the ninth semester ofMakipamuhay, their increased participation was noted not only in the

been

these

communities,

having

implementation, but also in the planning and evaluation of the activities. Consider- ing the dynamics of political culture in the barangay level, this is already a big leap towards realizing their value, responsibil- ity, and capability as community leaders. These observations are the bases upon which Makipamuhay is now con- ceptualized and is being enhanced as a program that provides for schools and communities to learn together. The idea of learning together departs from the ten- dency of community immersion to heavily favor the students, leaving the community as merely hosts of this process. The con- cept of learning together promotes justice in the sense that the partner communities become active learners by being active participants in Makipamuhay and its con- tinuing programs. Letran-Calamba and its partner com- munities have different socio-economic and cultural milieu. Inherent in these dif- ferences are a spectrum of beliefs of how learning takes place, as well as variation in modes of learning, definition of what is learning and what should be learned. How and what students learn are apparent to the eyes of the teachers, at least for the prescribed period of time. However, what the marginalized communities regard as learning may not yet be clear to the Insti- tution. The greater challenge of learning together would be to understand what and how marginalized communities learn through the Makipamuhay and transform these learning to programs that nurture

the well-being of the community.

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(Lorenzo B. Isla is currently the Director for Community and Extension Services Department of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Calamba, Laguna. He is also a part- time Professor in Theology, Philosophy, and Sociology of the same College. The above article is his paper presentation during the 2005 National Convention of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines held last September 14-16, 2005 in Davao City – Ed.)

As an institutionalized activity, with a wide scope in terms of the number of students and communities involved, Makipamuhay is not spared from difficul- ties. Below are some areas of development that Makipamuhay needs to address:

(1) Through the Makipamuhay Steer- ing Committee, Letran has instituted sys- tems and procedures in the management of the community immersion, but lacks articulation in terms of policies that would ensure its continuity and sustainability as a program. (2) Makipamuhay has yielded volu- minous data on the partner communities but are not systematized and processed into a knowledge base that would support the school’s community extension pro- grams. (3) As indicated in the 2003 evalua- tion, the syllabi of Sociology and Theol- ogy 4 need refinement, to include an elabo- ration of the students’ behavioral indica- tors of learning. (4) Change of leadership in partner communities, especially those in the LGU’s, threatens continuity of partner- ships. This necessitates another set of dialogues and other processes that would uphold and enhance existing linkages with the communities.

that would uphold and enhance existing linkages with the communities. 10 IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006
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IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

ARTICLES D EUS caritas est . A passage from the first letter of St. John,

ARTICLES

D EUS caritas est. A passage from

the first letter of St. John, meaning,

God is love, these words are now

the title of the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI. As such, the document is meant to present the general thrust of Pope Benedict’s papacy. It is where we can find the seeds and directions of his activities for years to come. Yes, a very bold move, but that’s just how it should be. As the Vicar of Christ on earth, the Pope is expected to give his all in the service of God and souls. Nothing less is expected. Focusing on God and love is a good and timely reminder for the world that is getting increasingly indifferent and even hostile to God and, thus, also increasingly confused about its role and purpose. Such focus is also a vital continuation of Pope

Spirit-filled

magisterium. The truth is many of us are lost or at least confused in the complicated web we are making supposedly out of love. The document’s storyline, so to speak, is that since God is love and we are children of His, made in His image and likeness, we ought to know what true love is and live it consistently in all aspects of our life, be it personal, family, social, etc. This love is revealed in its fullness in Jesus Christ who perfected the old law with the new law of love—love of God with all one’s might, and love of neighbor as oneself. It is a love that goes much farther than being sentimental. While it always respects and makes use of emotions, it is first of all based on the truth, taught by Christ and now by the Church and lived properly only in the Holy Spirit. What happens many times is that we meet caricatures and counterfeits, distort- ing the real one by focusing on one aspect while missing out on the others, or simply showing love’s peripherals without hav- ing its real substance. Some of them can be so subtly deceiving that they can affect big sectors of society. This is when we can get into real trouble. Cultures can become blighted because of a grave misunder- standing of love. The Pope clarifies in basic terms what this true love is, reminding us that love can only be one though its expressions are varied. Manifestations of love not in keep- ing with this fundamental truth can only be fake and dangerous. Personally, the encyclical reminds me of that excitement when I studied St. Tho- mas Aquinas’ proofs of the existence of God. I know there are many people still

John

Paul’s

rich

and

Love Love Defines Defines

God God and and Man Man

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

Defines God God and and Man Man By Fr. Roy Cimagala grappling hard with the question

grappling hard with the question of whether God exists or not. To me and to many others, thanks to God, this is a settled question. St. Thomas’ proofs articulated what I have been struggling to explain about the existence of God. Thus when he came up with the concept of God as “Ipsum Esse Subsistens,” the Subsisting Being Itself, I went ballistic. Things just fell into place. St. Thomas’ philosophical explana- tion about God’s existence answered all the questions I had. Such explanation also coincided with what Moses heard from the burning bush—God’s name is simply “I am who am.” God is not limited by any finite es- sence. His very essence is simply “to be,” to exist. Thus, God is the ultimate and constant object of our intelligence and will

go beyond the merely sensible and intel- ligible and toward the infinite. But the infinite is not void and empty. The infinite exists because of God. Thus the natural tendency of our spiritual faculties, unless thwarted by a number of reasons, is to discover, find and savor God. This is how far reason or philosophy can go. Imagine how I felt when I discov- ered from Christian faith that this God is not only a supreme being, existing from all eternity, but is love, and is manifested fully in Jesus Christ! Try to read and study Pope Benedict’s encyclical. Perhaps you will get an idea of what I am trying to say here but cannot. Words fail me. It is love that defines God perfectly, and it is love that also has to

define us.

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Volume 40 • Number 2

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11

ARTICLES

ARTICLES I n the parish where I once stayed I met Irish immigrants who call Ireland
ARTICLES I n the parish where I once stayed I met Irish immigrants who call Ireland

I n the parish where I once stayed I met

Irish immigrants who call Ireland “the

old country”. I don’t know if Filipi-

nos who migrated to, or who have been born and raised in, the U.S. could call the Philippines that. Personally I can’t bring myself to call the Philippines an old coun- try. As our latest democratic exercises (the interminable Congressional and Sen- ate investigations on the president’s legitimacy and other issues at the fore, together with the snail-slow pace that characterizes it, not unlike the justice system) and dismal socio-economic re- alities (notwithstanding the strong peso) show, she is really a country in over- extended adolescence. Whoever gains the upper hand in the political struggles, for example, there’s bound to be a long- term wrestling with the socio-political and economic woes the country faces. Democracy hasn’t helped the country’s poor much. If at all, it has merely made them more susceptible to the ever-con- tinuing rule of our elite families, as even foreign observers have noted. Whether

12
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IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

through showbiz or through money and patronage the country’s poor will keep being ruled by the country’s elite who are more loyal to their interests than to leading the nation to social justice and social peace. Alas but this observation is all too true to sneeze at. This fact makes the Philippines unable to grow in almost every aspect of development, spiritual and moral included (but espe- cially). We don’t consider someone fully grown-up if he or she only has an A- student brain while his/her emotional age is that of a child and the other bodily organs are impaired by lack of proper nourishment. That’s what the Philippines seems like: about 10-15% elite that en- joys First-World lifestyles and more than 80% masses struggling with crippling poverty that mocks their dignity. How can you expect the country to be an eagle that flies when a shadow of itself keeps it from rising even to the height of a chicken? I think a great part of our problem is that we have misunderstood what we are

Filipino for. Does anyone still recall the times when powerful people had tried to give us names other than Filipino (e.g. Maharlikans etc.)? But, for some reason, Filipinos we still are. Yet, we have not really lived up to who we are. We have been living by the superficial meaning of our identity. It has been ingrained in us that we were named after a king of Spain, namely King Philip II. We were named, we have believed, after someone who ruled a kingdom and tried to conquer other territories, even other worlds, for himself. It’s no wonder, then, that we think of ourselves as a people who either live trying to rule over others or allow the better-off, the landed or, yes, the better- educated to rule over us. But that’s not who we really are. And, for all we care, Philip II of Spain was named after someone else. He was named after Philip the Apostle. He it is whom we must look up to. He is the key to our real identity. Philip was first a disciple of John the Baptist before he became a disciple of Jesus. That means he was a searcher of truth. That’s what we Filipi- nos are meant to be. And when we do search it will likely take us to the Way, the Truth and the Life, as it did to Philip. That may explain in part why, of all Asians, we were blessed to be (mostly, at least) the Christian Asians. We were destined, as Philip was, to find Jesus Christ. But Philip was first a disciple before he became an apostle. He was first a constant companion of Jesus be- fore he was “sent” to preach the good news too. Ah, that’s where we have not done much homework in. Have we be- come constant companions of Jesus such that we don’t abandon him when we do politics, manage our wealth or property, engage in business, confront the needy with our bounty while they have almost none? Have we followed Jesus closely enough we won’t betray him in the way we vote or promote would-be leaders, not selling the mediocre to gain power or not turning a blind eye on corruption for the sake of (political) friend or family? Have we Filipinos been like Philip the Apostle enough? Philip was no celebrity apostle in the likes of Peter or John. But doesn’t that speak for us who are mostly a simple people ignored by the rest of the world? Moreover, Philip is always regarded, even by the Church, in association with James the Apostle (they celebrate the same feast every May 3). It’s also com- patible with the fabled ease of Pinoys to

make friends and establish smooth inter- personal relationships. Our vaunted pakikisama harks back to Philip’s

make friends and establish smooth inter- personal relationships. Our vaunted pakikisama harks back to Philip’s char- acter. Moreover, it was at Philip’s prompting that Jesus uttered the pro- found key to who he is: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). Most of all, interestingly, Philip was in touch with foreigners. In fact, it was he whom the Greeks sought to get to Jesus (Jn 12:20-22). Isn’t this very much like Pinoys? Go anywhere in the world to- day. Chances are, there are Filipinos there. But here’s the rub. Philip the Apostle used his foreign contacts to bring people to Jesus. This, for me, is what really defines who we are: Filipinos are people who bring people to Jesus. That defines our identity and our mis- sion. That sets the way out of our na- tional malaise. By the way, I’m Filipino and I won’t go by any other name except perhaps

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Philippian.

Filipino Filipino not not After After Philip Philip

II II of of Spain Spain but but After After

Philip Philip the the Apostle Apostle

By Rev. Euly B. Belizar, Jr., SThD

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Volume 40 • Number 2

After After Philip Philip the the Apostle Apostle By Rev. Euly B. Belizar, Jr., SThD I

13

ARTICLES

ARTICLES S r. Mary Pilar L. Verzosa was not born a nun. She also had experienced

S r. Mary Pilar L. Verzosa was not born

a nun. She also had experienced so-

cial gatherings, being in the com-

pany with boys, gimmicks and even hav- ing suitors in her high school and college years. She grew up very much involved with the medical field because her mother was a doctor. Nursing, which she took up at St. Paul, had been her chosen course since elementary. But when she was fin- ishing her college, especially when they were having their annual retreat, she was already gearing more towards entering the convent. Even then, being a nun was always an option for her. In her early years at the Good Shep- herd convent, Sr. Pilar was first assigned to a shelter for battered women, sexually abused girls and women in prostitution who want to get out of the trade. At the outset, she was not familiar too much yet about abortion. But when she got to attend a lecture by an American priest, Sr. Pilar knew that she had found her biggest challenge to her own involvement in helping the women. “We should put our forces together and keep educating the people that abortion is not the answer even if some groups are proposing that it’s a right of women.” It was in 1975, when Sr. Pilar founded Pro-life as a movement promoting respect and care for the “life from conception to natural death.” Like most of non-profit organizations, Pro-Life funding mostly came from private donations and support from pro-family and pro-life advocates and businessmen. She believed it is necessary to be actively involved in providing women-in-need with accurate information about abortion (risks and method) and services to enable them to carry their ba- bies to term. “So we explain the issues of abortion, euthanasia and all the things that affect human life in between.” “It’s a sad story,” she said. “Women and even teenage girls are resorting to abortion not because of their own freewill but because of pressure from their part- ners or other people.” Eighty percent of the women who have done abortion is because either their partner abandoned her or advised to have an abortion. That’s the issue that she intends to clarify: “The truth is that it’s unusual, if rare, to hear a woman considering about aborting her baby. If she were really free to choose, she would opt to carry her pregnancy to term.” Pro-life exists to make that choice pos- sible. Pro-life has been providing counsel-

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IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

For 31 years now Pro-Life Philippines may be a voice crying in the wilderness, one among few and far-between, pursuing a tall order, as tall as the sanctity of life itself.

ing and other related services for women with problems. Some critics, however, at- tack Pro-life for barraging women with films and pictures of bloody fetuses. Sr. Pilar said: “How are we able to educate the public that the holocaust should never be repeated?” “We show them the pictures,” she confidently said. “And so the emotional hatred for such atrocities comes deep within and the truth is this is what happens to the babies.” But there’s something wrong with the claim according to Sr. Pilar. “We do not bombard women with gory pictures in individual counseling but we use them in educating students and society. So there’s a difference.” “Counseling style is one where which you focus with what the woman needs at the moment, and not rather putting guilt on them,” she advised. For 31 years now, Pro-life is getting into bio-ethics and formation of life which

is Natural Family Planning (NFP). They confront the government’s Family Plan- ning Program which emphasizes too much artificial contraceptives and ligation. Pro- life also opposed the overpopulation jug- gernaut. Sr. Pilar also debunked the no- tion, purportedly peddled by authorities, that the world is getting overpopulated. Why is the government willing to give “candies” (contraceptives) rather than real food which is agriculture development and all the proper development in the country? They say “we are poor because we are too many” rather than “that’s why they are increasing their number because there’s so much lack of education, lack of jobs and so on that the people just cannot cope.” “Our problem is derived from misgov- ernment and evil behavior, not the exist- ence of large families,” Sr. Pilar maintained. Abortion issue is dividing strongly the United States politics. And they are using that strongly for putting candidates

even in the Supreme Court. So, there are pro-life groups in the US and their
even in the Supreme Court. So, there are pro-life groups in the US and their

even in the Supreme Court. So, there are pro-life groups in the US and their empha- sis is identifying who are the candidates that carry pro-life platform and who are not. There are also groups who emphasize more direct service to the people and other groups that give more emphasis on chas- tity and abstinence programs for the youth. In the Philippines, as far as the poli- tics is concerned, Pro-life identify and try to influence even neutral legislators and senators to recognize their stands so that when public hearings or sponsoring bills come in, they are able to position them- selves. Among them is the two-child policy of Edcel Lagman—the HB 3773, already a composite of many other bills on population control. Unassumingly so, they want more budgets for population control. They wait the local government to implement more the population control program which they have touted as Re- sponsible Parenthood. They have

The The Tall Tall Order Order of of

Pro-Life Pro-Life Philippines Philippines

by Roy Q. Lagarde

adopted the terminology of the Church and called it also as Reproductive Health because that simply sounds better than controlling population. And, sadly, says Sr. Pilar, while the bill is still pending in the congress, the international population control agencies are now upbeat courting local govern- ments with funds on development, women in gender, agriculture and public works as long as they will implement population control and setting up family planning centers and so on. For ten years now, Sr. Pilar, has been hosting a radio program every Sunday, 3- 4 PM, at Radyo Veritas and continues to provide counseling services with Pro-life volunteers during ordinary days. She re-

ceives at least 30 text messages in her 1- hour on-the-air counseling program and many phone callers soliciting for advice. And the questions do not dwell only on pregnancy. It has expanded to boy and girl

relationships,maritalproblems,homosexu-

ality and even psychiatric problems and jobs. People have simply realized that there are others who are willing to serve. “There are even people who call us following up their insurance benefits,” she yarned. “They thought we are Prudential Life.”

During the Catholic Mass Media

Awards 2005, Pro-Life won at least two majorawards:BestWebsiteandBestDrama series in their “Buhay Pagmamahal.” Sr. Verzosa, a self-described unborn child rights activist, all wanted to do is to protect all mothers and their babies. It saddened her to know that despite their continued campaign, abortion cases con- tinue to increase. She isn’t totally despair- ing, however. It has in fact posed a chal- lenge for her to improve, all the more, their advocacy. An updated study by the Allan Guttmacher Institute (AGI)—University of the Philippines Population Institute from 2003 to 2005, nailed to total incidence of abortion at 473,408, up from the estimated 400,000 released in 1994. Metro Manila has the highest number of abortion cases in the country. One reason is “because we cannot stop increasing sexual activity and the strident contraceptive mentality. Whereas, unlike before, sexual activity was within marriage and couples would accept the child no matter what.” Is there any hope yet? “Yes!” she said assertively. “Let’s increase the number of services for women who are pregnant and increase education programs in value ori-

entation.”

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Volume 40 • Number 2

services for women who are pregnant and increase education programs in value ori- entation.” I Volume

15

W ho W ho Are Are B ehind B ehind G lobal G lobal P

Who Who Are Are Behind Behind

Global Global Population Population

Control? Control?

16 16
16
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IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT

• February 2006

COVER STORY The Malthusian myth of a ‘population bomb’ already debunked and population growth, birth

COVER

STORY

The Malthusian myth of a ‘population bomb’ already debunked and population growth, birth and fertility rates plungingbelowreplacementlevel—whoareelsebehindthe populationcontrolagenda?

By BOB ACEBEDO

F ormerU.S.DemocraticCongressman

Richard Ottinger, sponsor of the

Population Policy Act of 1981, can-

not be more succinctly blunt, “Overpopu- lation is a national security question. We have much greater demand on our food stocks, and we will make God-like deci- sions on who lives and who does not.” Then as now, Ottinger’s flat-out admis- sion of America’s population control agenda yet strikes a resonant chord on the issue of “moversandmotives”behindcurrentworld population trends, be it in developed, devel- oping, or less developed countries. Undeniably, in quantitative propor-

tions, the world’s total population has, since humanity’s inception, always been invari- ably increasing. Currently, the United States

CensusBureaureportsthetotalworldpopu-

lationat6,493,946,686andisreportedlygrow-

ing by an estimated one million people every four or five days. China, according to the

2005WorldGazetteerstatistics,stillleadthe

pack of the top ten most populated countries

with1,296,110,643population,bagging20.2%

of the total world population. Others in the top ten list include—India, 1,094,870,677; United States, 296,208,476; Indonesia,

219,307,147;Brazil,181,823,645;Pakistan,

160,166,742;Nigeria,156,468,571;Russia,

144,003,901;Bangladesh,134,792,167;and

Japan, 128,137,485. the aggregate popula- tion of this top ten countries already consti- tutes almost 60% of the total world popula- tion, obviously a huge portion compared to the 40% variably spread through the rest of the world. On hindsight, world population has more than doubled in the last 50 years, and has nearly quadrupled since 1900. With the current world population growth rate of 1.35 percentperyear,theUnitedNationsprojects a hefty 8.9 billion world population by 2050. On first blush, yes, such world popula- tion trend readily meets the eye—as if to

confirmtheapparentexistenceoftheMalthu-

sian ‘population bomb’—as ‘population’ or demography cannot exclude to account modern world’s plunging death rate (cer- tainly no one will opt the opposite course) and increasing life expectancy. Conversely,

however, statistics from the United States

CensusBureaurevealsthattheworld’spopu-

lation growth rate has declined to about 1.5 percent, the lowest rate in fifty years. The same statistical study also says that the birth rate is declining faster than population has been growing that the U.S. Census Bureau has cut its three year old estimate of world population in the year 2000 by one hundred twenty million, and in the year 2020 by more than three hundred million. Similarly, the United Nations’ recent forecast predicts a slowing in the growth of world population to about 0.33 percent per year by 2050, at which timeU.N.forecastersfurtherpredictaworld average fertility rate—that is, the average number of children a woman will bear in her lifetime—of 1.85. At that rate, fertility will be below the level necessary for population to stay constant, i.e. about 2.1 children per woman. Bottomline thus, is humanity teeter-

ing on the brink of extinction? Curiously so—then, as now, as well as in the future—what factors or forces do precipitate or trigger world demographic trends, changes or transitions? Who deter- mines or decides the course of the world’s demographic growth or decline—or of humanity’s boom or bust? God? Mammon?

The individual couples? Governments or nation-states? United Nations’ global popu-

lation policy-agenda?

Affluent western

countries? Transnational corporations? Or, United States’ imperial geopolitics or global hegemony?

Premises for Population Control

Population control is as old as human civilization. Surviving records from ancient Greece document the first known examples of population control. The so-called coloni- zation movement prompted the Greeks to build outposts across the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins to accommodate the excess population of individual states. As the number of available sites decreased, the Greeks—beginning with the Cretans— turned to pederasty, the formal practice of pairing young adult males with adolescent boys for educational and erotic purposes.

The Greeks also used abortifacients and practiced infanticide which was believed to have been an early form of eugenics. The Romans too had effective birth

controlherbalsaroundA.D.100-200,which,

as some historians reckon, eventually re- duced their population by one-third in a span of 200 years. Butfardifferentfromtheprimitiveways of population control, whatever their rea- sons may have been, of the ancient civiliza- tions, modern world has indeed come a long way in structuring, or anchoring, contempo- rary population control agenda on doggedly multifaceted premises or motives—from Malthusian threat of overpopulation catas- trophe to Garrett Hardin’s “relinquishment of the freedom to breed through mutual coercion” or mandatory population control, down to voluntary motives borne out of poverty or of religious-ideological reasons, and even further to some powerful nations’ covertmotivesforglobalhegemonycouched behind the façade of “sustainable develop- ment,” “common security,” “new world or- der,” “common future,” “new ecological al- liance,” “Earth charter,” and a lot more. Thatpopulationwouldincreaserapidly in exponential proportions in contrast to the arithmetical increase in the earth’s resources is a plain Malthusian postulate. In 1798, Thomas Malthus, in his famous “Essay on the Principle of Population” argued as fol- lows: “the power of population is indefi- nitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man. Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arith- metical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison of the second.” Thus, in Malthus’ view, population growth will inevitably outstrip the earth’s capacity to produce food, resulting in widespread fam- ine, disease and poverty. Since then, this Malthusian worry, if not an ominous threat, has been repeatedly magnified or echoed by other contemporary “prophets of doom” of the same Malthusian genre. The eminent scientist Paul Erlich, in his best selling book The Population Bomb, declared in 1968: “In the 1970s the world will undergo famines—hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” The

ClubofRome,backin1972,intheirlandmark

study The Limits to Growth, announced that “the world would run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and gas by 1993.” And none of these things hap- pened. Not spared too, in the Philippines, the

Volume 40 • Number 2

Volume 40 • Number 2

17 17
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Who

Are

Behind

Who Are Behind Globa l same Malthusian argument is advanced by population control or anti-natalist policy

Globa l

same Malthusian argument is advanced by population control or anti-natalist policy advocates who are obdurately pandering to the Congress’ halls for the passage of House Bill 3773 or Responsible Parenthood and Population management Act of 2005: the country’s runaway population growth im- pedes or stunts economic growth. For one, University of the Philippines’ Economics Professor Ernesto Pernia, who was also a former lead economist of the Asian Develop- ment Bank, contends that the reason why thePhilippineshasfallenbehindotherAsian

neighbors in economic ascent is principally attributed to the country’s failure in control- ling its population growth. In his article “Population, Economy and Poverty,” pub- lished on February 24, 2005 in the Philippine

Star,Perniasaid,“Thelinkbetweenpopula-

tiongrowthandeconomicdevelopmentwas the subject of intense research from the

1960’s to the 1980’s, a common view was the rapid population growth—of two percent or higher per year then prevailing in many developing countries—was more likely to

hinder

development…The large gap between wanted and actual fertility, the high unmet need for contraception,and the low contra- ceptive use among the poor (italic under- scoring mine) constitute cogent justifica- tions for the government’s provision of ef- fective family planning services. Population policy is a necessary complement of a pov- erty reduction strategy.” Ostensibly, indeed modern-day Malthusians have invariably contrived to postulate, among others, four principal pre- mises or arguments for population control,

namely: (1) the rapid growth of population or “population explosion”; (2) the earth’s lim- ited or finite resources to feed or sustain

over-flourishingpopulace;(3)rapidpopula-

tion growth stunts or impedes economic growth, and (4) overpopulation breeds or causes mass poverty and hunger. But, on the contrary, contemporary demography experts and informed observ- ers strongly posit that these Malthusian premises have been proven wrong—or, at its best, eschew the real roots of environ- mental depletion, economic malaise, mass poverty and hunger. “(While) modern con- cern over population growth shares with Malthus the view that population pressures may have dire consequences, however the Malthus’ view that these consequences are inevitable—theviewthatearnedeconomics the label ‘dismal science’—is not shared by informed observers today. (More so), ex- perts say that the odds that population growth will cause real difficulty in the fore-

foster economic

than

seeable future have receded,” so said Will- iam Poole, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (USA), in his October 4, 2004 speech delivered at Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri. As it were, hence, overpopulation or, at the least, population growth, has cunningly become a scapegoat for mass poverty, envi- ronmental degradation, and economic mal- aise—rather than social injustice, transnational or cross-cultural hegemony, economic mismanagement (due to cronyism or corruption), poor governance or political incompetence, and ideological aberrations. But, how do anti-population control advo- cates debunk the four Malthusian premises for population control? One, that there is such a hovering “popu- lation explosion” is inarguably a flat-out lie or myth as evidenced by the rather world- wide trend of plummeting population growth

rate, birth and fertility rates. This shrinking population trend is generally experienced by developed countries in the west as well by less developed countries, by the world’s most populous country, China, as it is by the Philippines—which, according to the Popu- lation Commission and demographers, is already headed for Zero Population Growth by 2010 at 2.1 percent, way below the 2.4 replacement level for developing countries. Two,everynationhasenoughresources and the capacity to feed its people well, pro- natalist or pro-life advocates argue. “Most countries in the world have the natural re- sources to feed and provide a life with dig- nity for every citizen, as reported by the

UnitedNations’FoodandAgricultureOrga-

nization. Obviously hence, the problem lies not in the scarcity of resources or food supply but in the equitable distribution of resources or food…furthermore, population control advocates insist that it is better to have smaller population in order to increase resources. If this were the case, Bolivia, for example—with only 7.8 million people, but with a territory the size of California and Texas combined, and with abundant natural resources—would have been a wealthy country, which unfortunately it is not.” (www.prolife.org.ph) Three, pro-life advocates posit, rapid population growth or high population den- sity cannot be considered a correlative fac- tor to significantly effect a stunted or ailing economy, like the Philippines. “Nobel prize winning economist Simon Kuznets pub- lished, in 1967, the result of a study in which he compared population growth rates of a group of countries over the last hundred years to see if high rates of population growth correlated with low rates of eco-

rates of population growth correlated with low rates of eco- nomic growth. He found that there

nomic growth. He found that there was no connection.” (www.prolife.org.ph) Lastly, poverty and hunger cannot be attributed to overpopulation or rapid popu- lation growth but rather to a wide range of domesticandexternalfactors.“International experts have identified that the causes of a country’s underdevelopment, like that of the Philippines’ can be both internal and external. The internal causes may include social injustice, unjust distribution of wealth, the absence of equal opportunity for all in education and economic life, poor political andeconomicadministrationcombinedwith widespreadcorruption,exaggeratedmilitary budgets in contrast to inadequate spending on health and education, over-concentra- tion or productive capacity in urban centers, the unbridled pursuit of profit at the expense of the common good, the heavy burden of foreign debt accompanied by lack of con- trols on the flight of capital, unequal access toproperty,etc…Externally,underdeveloped nations are victims of an inequitable distri- bution of the world’s resources as well as international trade and financial arrange- ments which work against them. Economic expertsblametheeconomicrecessionbeing experienced in the Asian region to globaliza- tion—reduction of jobs, a cutting of social services and the laying of greater stress on the laws of the international market rather than the laws of the land. As has always been the case, it is only the superpowers who win the game because with deregulation, privatization and liberalization of trade, they

18
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IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

Population Control? Likewise, is quite alarming to observe that some 20 nations classified as less

Population

Control?

Likewise,

Population Control? Likewise, is quite alarming to observe that some 20 nations classified as less developed

is quite alarming to observe that some 20

nations classified as less developed coun- tries (LDCs) already have fertility rates way

below the replacement levels.

most developed countries posted a below

2.1 fertility rate, and in many cases substan- tially below. Some representative examples are: United States, 2.l07; Ireland, 1.87; New

Zealand,1.79;Australia,1.76;UnitedKing-

dom,1.6;Canada,1.5;GermanyandAustria

are at 1.3; Russia, Italy and Japan at 1.2; and Spain at 1.1, about half the replacement rate, or that’s to say, Spain’s population is halv- ing every generation. By 2050, Italy’s popu- lation will have fallen by 22%, Bulgaria’s by 36%, Estonia’s by 52%. Anent the current demographic trend of the strident growth of the world’s aging population, William Poole, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (USA), reveals, “While the world’s population

growthhasslowed,therehas,therefore,also been an aging of the population. A good summary measure of a population’s age is the median age—the age such that half the population is older and half is younger. Over the last half century, the median age of the world’s population has increased by 2.8 years, from 23.6 in 1950 to 26.4 in 2000. The U.N. forecasts median age to rise to 36.8 years in 2050. More developed countries are expected to have an increase in median age from 37.3 years to 45.2 years, and lesser developed countries from 24.1 years to 35.7 years. Japan today is the country with the oldest population, having a median age of 41.3 years. Japan is projected to have a

medianageof53.2yearsin2050.Themedian

age of the U.S. population, by contrast, is

currently 35.2 years, and is forecasted to be

39.7yearsin2050…Theworld’sfastestgrow-

ing age group is comprised of those persons 80 years and older. In 2000, 69 million per-

sons, or 1.1 percent of world population, were aged 80 or older. By 2050, the number aged 80 or older is expected to increase more than quintuple to 377 million and be 4.2 percent of world population. In that year, 21 countries or areas are projected to have at least 10 percent of their population aged 80 or over. Indeed, Japan is forecast to have almost 1 percent of its population comprised of persons aged 100 or more.”

Onasimilarnote,JosephChamie,direc-

tor of the UN Population Division, reported estimates that already 10% of global popu- lation is aged 60 or more and that this share

will mount to 22%, or about 2 billion people by 2050.

Noteventheworld’ssecondmostpopu-

lated country, India, is spared from the demo-

graphic threat of an aging population. De-

mographers warn that by 2051 only 19% of the country’s population would be up to the age of 14 years. Currently this group consti- tutes almost 38% of the population. The median age, forecasters add, will rise by 17 years from 21 years now to 38 years in 2051. According to the Population Foundation of India, a volunteer organization working closely with the Union government, about 15% of the population will be over the age of 65 by 2051, at which time India will have an evened out sex ratio. Also, the same source added, India’s fertility rate is expected to come down to 2.52 between 2011 and 2016, and is further expected to reach 2.1 in 2026. Expectedly, the current plunging birth, fertility rates and rapid aging population have carried with them the seeds of an alarm- ing crisis, paving the way for an impending

surge of some serious consequences. One, for instance, as the number of retirees inevi-

tablyincrease,government’sfiscalandbud-

getary resources are threatened. Another, if

life expectancy continues to increase, as demographers project, the dependency ra- tiowillriseandsuchtransferswillconstitute an increasing burden on those working.

Also, as the working population falls, indus- trial output will likewise decrease.

Confrontedwithsuchimminentconse-

quences, some countries with record low population growth and birth, fertility rates are, as of late, headed for measures to combat population decline. Japan, for example, has been providing incentives aimed at making it easier for women to bear and rear children, with billions of dollars spent on improving nursery schools and child-care facilities. Parents receive subsidies of 300,000 yen ($ 2,500.00) per pregnancy to defray the costs of childbirth. Afterward, a monthly allow- ance ($44.00 to 90.00 per child) is provided until children reach school age, and most medical expenses not covered by insurance are reimbursed during this period as well. Similarly,eventhemostpopulousChina has, as it were, already contracted the demo- graphic chill of a looming baby bust. Ac- cording to a recent New York Times news story, “Fearing Future, China Starts to Girls their Due,” the Beijing government is report- edly considering a shift from the controver- sial one-child policy (enacted in 1970s to help control population growth) to a two- child policy—likely, to even out the sex ratio. Observers affirm that due to selective abor- tion, widely practiced in China, there is a grave shortage of girls in the country. In early January this year, the government an- nounced that the nationwide ratio had reached to 119 boys for every 100 girls. Demographers predict that in a few decades

canmaintainthestatusquo,”arguedpro-life advocates. (www.prolife.org.ph)

The New Demography: A Shrinking, Graying Population

Far from Malthus’ prognosis of a ‘popu- lation bomb’ and its ‘dire consequences’, modern world’s new demography rather unveils some telling shifts or trends con- spicuously observable among most coun-

tries:(1)slowerpopulationgrowthrates;(2)

unabated decline in birth and fertility rates; and (3) rapid increase of aging population. As already mentioned earlier, the cur- rent world population growth rate, accord- ing to the United Nations’ statistics, is 1.35 percent per year. U.N. forecasters predict that this will further slide to 0.33 percent per year by 2050. Interestingly, according to the Septem- ber 2005 World Gazetteer data, even the world’s top ten most populous countries have currently posted a record low popula-

tiongrowthrates:(1)China,1.1%;(2)India,

1.7%;(3)UnitedStates,0.8%;(4)Indonesia,

1.8%;(5)Brazil,1.4%;(6)Pakistan,2.6%;(7)

Nigeria, 2.6%; (8) Russia, 0.5%; (9) Bangladesh, 1.1%; and (10) Japan, 0.1%. Similarly, the fertility rate in most coun- tries has likewise plummeted dramatically, the United Nations’ statistics reveal. With the standard replacement fertility rate—i.e.

thenumberneededformerelyastablepopu-

lation, neither getting any bigger nor any

smaller—pegged at 2.1 babies per woman, it

lation, neither getting any bigger nor any smaller—pegged at 2.1 babies per woman, it 19 Volume

19

Volume 40 • Number 2

Who

Are

Behind

Who Are Behind Globa l China could have up to 40 million bachelors unable to find

Globa l

China could have up to 40 million bachelors unable to find mates.

Population Control: ‘Movers and Motives’

Indeed, conspicuously enough, some important observations on the burning is- sue of population control and demographic trends by far inevitably precipitate to the fore, namely, that: (1) the Malthusian pre- mises—of a ‘population bomb’ and its ‘dire consequences’ of environmental depletion, stunted economic growth, and mass pov- erty—have all been dismantled or rendered feeble myths, flat-out lies, and as scheming scapegoats for the more pressing and real problems haunting human society; (2) there is rather a looming global “depopulation bomb” brought about by slower population growth rates, declining birth and fertility rates, and unabated rise of aging population; and (3) some notably developed countries likeJapan,ItalyandChinahavealreadyeven adopted counter-measures, like child-birth and rearing incentives, to reverse—or, at the least, stem—the declining demographic trend. Yet, curiously, likely so intriguing it is no end wondering why and how still such a fabulous cult of population control is unde-

niablybeingpeddled,andaggressivelypan-

dered to almost anyone and everywhere— shanty homes of the poor, health centers, government health agencies, the mass me- dia, Congress’ halls, schools, business insti- tutions, the United Nations, etc., all from every “boardroom to the bedroom” in the world. Who are the “movers” and what are their hideous “motives” in such farce that is population control? Anti-population control advocates, pro-life activists, and informed observers,

not loath at all to take cognizance of the farce, invariably claim that the population control agenda is perpetrated or concocted—in co- vert fashion, as it were—by powerful “mov- ers” worldwide with vested ends or inter- ests. Some, albeit at the risk of oversimplifi- cation, are worth mentioning thus. One, the International Planned Parent-

hoodFederation(IPPF),TransnationalCor-

porations,InternationalLendingInstitutions,

and powerful Developed Countries. Jacqueline Kasun, in her paper “Birth (Out of) Control: The Failure of Govern- ment Family Planning Programs” (1994), reveals that “overpopulation is a concoc- tion of contraceptive and abortion pushers who have banded together in a conglomer- ate called International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which was founded by

Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which was founded by 20 IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

20

IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

MargaretSanger,thewomanwhocoinedthe

expressions,‘birthcontrol’,‘humanweeds’, ‘less children from the unfit’, ‘right to de- stroy’, and ‘freedom of choice’. The mem- bers of IPPF are also owners of multinational corporations which manufacture infant for-

mulas,contraceptives,condoms,IUDs,ster-

ilization and abortion gadgets like suction machines. These people also control inter- national money lending institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United States Agency for International De- velopment (USAID), Frankfurt-based De- velopmentLoanCorporation,andtheAsian DevelopmentBank.” Likewise, IBON Foundation’s study disclosed that the Philippines’ population program was undertaken to please the rich countriesthatprovidemoneythroughloans, grants and investments, crucial to the government’s economic plans. “Rich coun- tries, including the international organiza- tions they dominate, are only willing to help the poor nations if they allow their popula- tion to be controlled. USAID, for example,

includes population reduction as one of the criteria for giving financial assistance to the Philippines,”IBONsaid. Two, there was U.S.’s “National Se- curity Study Memorandum 200”.

BishopJesusVarela,inhispaperpresen-

tation “The Family: Showcase of Universal Solidarity at the Center of Human Develop-

ment”deliveredduringthe1999International

Inter-Faith conference on the Family, articu-

latelydetailsthebackgroundof“NSSM200”

and its sinister plot to control the population of third world or less developed countries:

“In 1974, a top-secret classified docu- ment known as the National Security Memo- randum 200, or The Kissinger Report, was completed. Authored by the U.S. State Department’s population specialist, Philan- der Claxton, the title of that document is “Implications of Worldwide Population

GrowthforU.S.SecurityandOverseasInter-

ests.” The Memo noted that the continued

growth of the peoples of the Third World was a threat to the security of the U.S. and other rich nations. The threat was not only military

butalsoeconomicandpolitical.Thedevelop-

ing countries constituted a potential chal- lenge to the superpowers for world domina- tion. To check this challenge the Memoran- dumrecommendedwith‘primaryemphasis’ systematic population control in 13 ‘key’ countries, among which are the Philippines, India,ThailandandIndonesiainAsia,Nigeria and Egypt in Africa, and Mexico and Colom- bia in Latin America. The Memo further rec- ommendedthattheU.S.Governmentsupport the U.N. agencies, such as UNICEF, WHO,

FAO and others in their promotion of the ‘WorldPopulationPlanofAction’strategies. As an indication of the close relationship between the U.S. and UNFPA (United Na- tionsFundforPopulationActivities),theU.S.

contributed about 50% of all the funds con- tributed to UNFPA. Shortly after the release oftheStudyMemo,itbecameanimplemented program through the instrumentality of the

networkofU.S.embassies.Now,alldevelop-

mentaidcomesinacarrot-and-stickpackage:

no population control, no aid. They work on the local officialdom to convince them, oftentimes through bribery, of the need to reduce population as a pre-condition to de- velopment and progress. The document was declassified in June 1988.” Clearly, NSSM 200 acknowledges the fact that the purpose of population control was to serve the U.S. strategic, economic and military interests at the expense of less devel- oped or developing countries.

But,isNSSM200stillinforcetothisday?

Technically, the answer is yes, as critics be- lieve. It remains the official strategy paper on population until it is replaced by another. Three, is UNCED’s (United Nations Commission on Environment and Develop- ment) Sustainable Development Program. LaureneConneroftheWandererForum foundation(Wisconsin,USA),inherresearch article Sustainable Development: A Global Agenda Structured On Population Control, claims that the agenda of population control, particularly, state-mandated, has success- fully crept its way into the policy programs of the United Nations maneuvered by known anti-natalist and radical environmentalists as Gro Harlem Brundtland, Maurice Strong,

Vice President Al Gore, James

Loveflock, Thomas Berry, and others more.

ConneruncoversUNCED’s‘SustainableDe-

former U

S.

velopment’ program-agenda on population control, “In December 1983, Javier Perez de Cuellar, UN Secretary-General, asked Mrs. HarlemBrundtland,formerPrimeMinisterof Norway, to chair a World Commission on

Environment and Development (UNCED)

focusingon‘long-termenvironmentalstrate-

gies for achieving sustainable development by the year 2000 and beyond…The Brundtland Commission describes Sustain- ableDevelopmentas‘developmentthatmeets the needs of the present without compromis- ing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs…and can only be pursued if demographic developments are in harmony

with the changing productive potential of the

ecosystem…(TheBrundtlandReportrecom-

mendedsomepolicyactionswhichincluded) that governments should develop long-term multifaceted population policies and a cam-

Population Control? paign to pursue broad demographic goals to strengthen social, cultural and economic motivations

Population

Control?

paign to pursue broad demographic goals to

strengthen social, cultural and economic motivations for family planning, and to pro- vide to all who want them the education, contraceptives and services required…A BrundtlandCommissionrecommendationthat

theUNGeneralAssemblypreparea‘Univer-

sal Declaration’ on environmental protection and sustainable development resulted in the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, (wherewhich),theCanadian,MauriceStrong, a radical environmentalist who had served on the Brundtland Commission was selected secretary-general…At the opening session of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (The Earth Summit), Maurice Strong bemoaned the world’s ‘explosive in- crease in population’ and warned ‘we have been the most successful species ever; we are now a species out of control. Population must be stabilized and rapidly.”

Four, and last (not the least though), there was also U.S.’s Global Report 2000 hatched in 1980.

GreggSzymanski,U.S.-basedindepen-

dent investigative journalist, in his online article TheNext90DaysCouldBringNuclear War and a U.S. Financial Collapse posted January 22 this year, writes about George Green, a former Washington insider and fi- nancial whiz-kid, revealing an infamous Ar- mageddon-like plan called Global Report 2000—a mass genocidal plan to drastically reduce the world’s population—which was eventually endorsed as official U.S. policy during the Carter administration.

SzymanskiquotesGeorgeGreen’schill-

ingrevelationsaboutGlobalReport2000,and

its present-day repercussions, thus:

“In July of 1980, the Secretary of State endorsed as official Carter administration

policytheGlobal2000report,whichaccord-

ingtothenSecretaryofStateEdmundMuskie’s

ownwords,‘theeliminationof2billionhuman

beings by the year 2000’. The Office of Popu- lation Affairs of the U.S. State Department, along with the National Security Council’s AdHocGrouponPopulationpolicy,planned and implemented U.S. foreign policy on the basis of murdering human beings. “Unprecedented population growth

spelledoutintheECOsummitmeetingin1992

in Brazil has shown the most growth human species in the last 40 years. The first billion of population occurred on the planet around 1800, the next century ended with about two billion, the third billion around 1960, the 4 th billion in approximately 1974 and reached 5 billion in 1987. We’re currently exceeding 6 billion on the planet and the technicians of genocidearenowsteppinguptheirprograms. “Thomas Ferguson, the former head of the Latin American desk at the U.S. State Department’s Office of Population Affairs, admittedly stated, ‘Every spot in the third world is in fact a result of failed population policy.Thereisasinglethemebehindallofour work—we must reduce population levels. Either governments do it our way, through nice clean methods, or they will get the kinds of mess that we have in Iran or Beirut. Popu- lation is a political problem. Once population is out of control, it requires authoritarian governments, even Fascism, to reduce it. To really reduce population quickly, you have to put all the males into fighting and you have to kill significant numbers of fertile females’. “At present 250 million Africans are

threatenedwithdeathbystarvationandAIDS, nearly twenty million in the coming months. The immediate cause is a collapse in food production in most areas of the continent. In

truth,thecollapseofAfricanagricultureisdue

to the ‘Global Report 2000’ policies of the InternationalMonetaryFund,theWorldBank, and like agencies of the NWO. “ThelendingpoliciesoftheWorldBank,

undera‘GlobalReport2000’supporter,Rob-

ert McNamara, have been designed to force African nations not to develop irrigation or any advance farming techniques but to rely on labor intensive low technologies.”

Agenda of Greed, Suppression

Clearly indeed, the global agenda of population control—couched in fashionable hype-phrasesas“SustainableDevelopment,” “New World Order,” “Common Security,” “New Ecological Alliance,” “Common Fu- ture,” etc.—is cadged from the abattoir, as it were, of powerful forces’ and nations’ profli- gate whims or greed to perpetuate their hege- monic dominion over the earth’s resources, thus wantonly subjugating or suppressing, andevenwipingoutweak(‘unfit’,inMargaret Sanger’s vocabulary) peoples and countries into oblivion. Undoubtedly, such ominous agenda of population control has no less ushered in modern times’ culture of death. Plain and simple, hence, population control, unmasked by its Malthusian hoax, is down- right suppression of life, if ‘murder’, and con- trary to genuine ‘sustainable’ human devel- opment. But, verily, no exceptional erudition is required to comprehend the simple truth that the right to one’s own life or development demands equally the obligation to respect others’ life, self-determination, or develop- ment. Unassumingly, the grand perpetrators

of global population control know this.

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CATHOLIC IN ITIATIVE FOR ENLIGHTENED MOVIE APPRECIATION

IN ITIATIVE FOR E NLIGHTENED M OVIE A PPRECIATION Title: FIREWALL Running Time: 105 mins Lead

Title: FIREWALL Running Time: 105 mins Lead Cast: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Robert Forster, Alan Arkin, Carly Schroeder, Jimmy Bennett, Robert Patrick Director: Richard Loncraine Screenwriters: Joe Forte Music: Alexandre Desplat Genre: Thriller Cinematography: Marco Pontecrove Distributor: Warner Brothers Location: USA Technical Assessment: @ @ @ Moral Assessment: # # # CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and below

to do evil in order to save his loved ones? How many and how great are the risks he should take in engaging the kid- nappers in psychological war- fare when the lives of his wife and children are in their hands? Brainteasers to toss among fam- ily members would be: What would you have done if you’d been in Jack’s shoes? Would you have agreed to rob your own bank and jeopardize your future just to save your family? What other solutions would you have thought of or offered to the kidnappers? And why— really, Why?—go through all that trouble to save the family? You might get interesting an- swers.

(Date

cbcpworld.com/cinema)

Reviewed:

13

January

2006

@

J ack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) is chief of secu-

rity at a bank which is considering a merger

with a large conglomerate. He meets with Bill

Cox (Paul Bettany), a businessman who right after the cocktail encounter waylays Jack into a kidnapping binge that turns Jack’s plush sea- side home into kidnappers’ headquarters. The Stanfields—wife Beth (Virginia Madsen) Beth (Virginia Madsen), daughter Sarah (Carly Schroeder), and son Andrew (Jimmy Bennett)— become hostages as Bill and his bunch demand $100 million from Jack. In exchange for the Stanfields’ life, Bill forces Jack to do electronic robbery—transferring funds by computer from Jack’s bank. The story is quite predictable for one in its genre, but still manages to keep the tension through its 105-minute run. The pace is just right, and the editing, good. Action is plentiful, though Ford tends to look pathetic slugging it out with a much younger villain. It could be intentional, if he’s cast as an aging banker mar- ried to a much younger woman (Madsen is 20 years younger); otherwise they could have cho- sen a younger male lead. Bettany as chief villain plays his role so well you’d say in the end he deserves what he gets. Madsen and the kids also do a good job making their characters credible. All in all, it has all the right ingredients of a good thriller, and it’s still worth seeing even if it’s not a memorable one. The dilemma rests on Jack Stanfield’s shoul- der, and it’s worth pondering by families. How far should the head of the family go, consenting

WHILE MAN IS GROWING, LIFE IS IN DECREASE; AND CRADLES ROCK US NEARER TO THE
WHILE MAN IS GROWING, LIFE IS IN DECREASE; AND CRADLES
ROCK US NEARER TO THE TOMB. OUR BIRTH IS NOTHING BUT
OUR DEATH BEGUN. - EDWARD YOUNG
THE TOMB. OUR BIRTH IS NOTHING BUT OUR DEATH BEGUN. - EDWARD YOUNG 22 IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT •

22

IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

EDITORIAL Storm Signals I t all began with a disastrous tape. This was followed by

EDITORIAL

Storm Signals I t all began with a disastrous tape. This was followed by one

Storm Signals

I t all began with a disastrous tape. This was

followed by one public scandal after another.

Then came a series of bad political judg-

ments. This is further aggravated by certain num- bers such as the revealing Hyatt 10, the nervous PDP 454, and the Ominous Magdalo 4, among others. Recently came the Malacañang reaction of “fire with fire”. This is the equivalent of a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye mentality—this betrays a feeling of extreme desperation, the sense of being driven to a corner. A socio-political storm is in the making. And this is premised on unresolved moral issues. The administration should know by now that socio- moral questions cannot be resolved by mere partisan politics. Ethical problems do not give in to plain political maneuvers—much less by rice and noodle strategy. Even the elementary sense of decency seeks the truth about the strong allegations of gross lying, massive cheating, and flagrant stealing. Graft and corruption, falsity and incompetence

cannot be responded to—even by calling the Council of State which is perceived as a political ploy.

It is a big fabrication to claim that a section of

the AFT is politicized. There is restiveness espe- cially among the young soldiers because they are

fed up with too much dishonesty and discrimina- tion in the otherwise proud institution. Precisely their idealism can no longer shallow partisan political accommodations vis-à-vis preferential treatments.

A storm is brewing, the signals are up. This is

the sad and dangerous reality now obtaining in the country. It is strongly perceived and felt—

irrespective of whether the administration ac- cepts it or not, adequately respond to it or otherwise.

It is great to have champions. It is good to

have a quiet day or two to celebrate living he- roes. But over and above everything else it is the imperative of moral ascendancy on those who govern—something which is the least that those

governed expect at the end of the day.

Volume 40 • Number 2

who govern—something which is the least that those governed expect at the end of the day.

23

FROM

THE

BLOGS

FROM THE BLOGS Mining G ood intentions, bad consequences. Beautifulwords,uglyresults.Prom- ising vision, despairing
FROM THE BLOGS Mining G ood intentions, bad consequences. Beautifulwords,uglyresults.Prom- ising vision, despairing

Mining

G ood intentions, bad consequences.

Beautifulwords,uglyresults.Prom-

ising vision, despairing realities.

This best describes the irresponsible min- ing ventures in the country. And the CBCP once more cried for the environmental damages and disasters caused by large-scale mining in the coun- try. It again pleaded for mining restraint in favor of the small communities oppressed and dislocated, the many families impov- erished and rendered ill by irresponsible mining of the land. And the CBCP is once more belittled and even lambasted infallibly by big min- ing interests in the country. It is again

branded as pro-poverty and anti-develop- ment. It is further perceived as uncon- cerned with the pursuit of national eco- nomic progress as well as ignorant of advanced mining technology. The CBCP may not have its technical mining jargon but it is in contact with the mass base adversely affected by avari- cious mining. It may not have the academic know-how of mining but it knows the disastrous realities brought about by cov- etous mining. It is not ignorant of what wealth is drawn out by mining the land—

as well as what poisonous dirt in fact is left behind for keeps. Only in the Philippines: transnational mining corporations are allowed to en- croach into 35 national conservation prior- ity areas, 32 national integrated protected areas, 17 important bio-diversity areas. There is the claim that the “Mining Act of 1995” and the “Mining Revitaliza- tion Program” are excellent in legal provi- sions and normative requirements. But the administration is not exactly known for the observance of laws. The Executive De- partment is favored by good laws on hand but also good for their non-implementa- tion right after their enactments. Business is beneficial. But it becomes destructive when it is exploitative. Profit is logical. But it becomes unethical when it is at the expense of human persons, the det- riment of the common welfare—and the destruction of the environment which spells the lynching of generations yet to come. Just as the global market, even transnational industries should have a social conscience. Otherwise, the people they intend to help precisely become their victims.

www.ovc.blogspot.com

CULPRIT

T he ULTRA tragedy is rightfully

said to be but one deadly mani

festation of abject poverty in the

country. Poor people lost their lives. Poor people were badly hurt. Poor people were traumatized. There is now an avid search for the culprits. The administration is leaving no stone unturned to find the villains. It is eager to blame on them and penalize the same. It wants to satisfy the clamor of justice for the victims. The bigger tragedy in this pitiful saga of the poor is that the Administra- tion appears to be succeeding in ex- empting itself from blame. Everything and everybody else are the objects of accusation. In fact, there seems to be a marked political color in the unfolding drama of the fervent witch-hunt for de- fendants and respondents in the case— a sad story that readily caught the atten-

tion of the international community. While there are entities and agen- cies, groups and individuals deserving of censure and penalty, it is the summit of incongruity to even think that the administration is not accountable for the deadly plight of the poor at the ULTRAcatastrophe—including all the destitute and despairing, the hungry and sick in the country. Where have all the public funds gone? What happened to all the mon- eys received from the huge internal and external government borrowings? How have all the ever increasing direct and indirect taxes been spent? Why are more than 16% of Filipinos hungry? Why do more and more Filipinos scrimp on food? It is the present Administration that

has to answer these questions.

It as-

sumed leadership with all means and at all costs. It is the height of hypocrisy for the administration to think and act as if it had nothing to do with the ULTRA disaster—and with the misery of many people all over the land. The ULTRAtragedy is but the pro- verbial tip of the iceberg. It is but a small indication of a big socio-moral evil with its accompanying extensive socio-eco- nomic misery enveloping the land. And this national issue cannot be resolved by mere rice and noodle distribution, by sporadic largess here and there—much less by teaching geography to children.

www.ovc.blogspot.com

less by teaching geography to children. www.ovc.blogspot.com 24 IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

24

IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

STATEMENTS Sisters and Brothers in Christ: W e are Pastors. We listen to the voice

STATEMENTS

Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

W e are Pastors. We listen to the

voice of the flock and take care of

them. In our task to care for them,

we reiterate our concern for the Earth. In 1998, we in the CBCP issued “A Statement of Concern on the Mining Act of 1995”. We declared that the govern- ment mining policy is offering our lands to foreigners with liberal conditions while our people continue to grow in poverty. We stated that the adverse social impact on the affected communities far outweigh the gains promised by mining Trans-Na- tional corporations (TNCs). In our state- ment we also forewarned that the “imple- mentation of the Mining Act will certainly destroy environment and people and will lead to national unrest.” We reaffirm our stand for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995. We believe that the Mining Act destroys life. The right to

life of people is inseparable from their right to sources of food and livelihood. Allow- ing the interests of big mining corpora- tions to prevail over people’s right to these sources amounts to violating their right to

life.

people’s health and environmental safety through the wanton dumping of waste and tailings in rivers and seas. Our experiences of environmental trag- edies and incidents with the mining transnational corporations belie all assur- ances of sustainable and responsible min- ing that the Arroyo administration is claim- ing. Increasing number of mining affected communities, Christians and non-Chris- tians alike, are subjected to human rights violations and economic deprivations. We see no relief in sight. President Arroyo’s “Mining Revital- ization Program” is encouraging further the entry and operation of large-scale min- ing of TNCs. Alarmingly, the mining ten- ements granted through the program have encroached into seventeen (17) of impor- tant biodiversity areas, into thirty-five (35) of national conservation priority areas, and thirty-two (32) of national integrated protected areas. The promised economic benefits of mining by these transnational corporations are outweighed by the dislo- cation of communities especially among our indigenous brothers and sisters, the risks to health and livelihood and massive environmental damage. Mining areas re- main among the poorest areas in the coun- try such as the mining communities in CARAGA, Bicol and Cordillera Regions. The cultural fabric of indigenous peoples

threatens

Furthermore,

mining

is also being destroyed by the entry of mining corporations. Moreover, we are apprehensive that

the proposed deletion of the nationalist provisions in the Constitution by the Con- stitutional Commission (CONCOM) can pave the way to the wholesale plunder of our National Patrimony, and undermine our Sovereignty.

• To support, unify and strengthen

the struggle of the local Churches and

their constituency against all mining projects, and raise the anti-mining cam- paign at the national level;

Project in Zamboanga del Norte, and the San Antonio Copper Project in Marinduque, among others;

• To support the conduct of studies on the evil effects of mining in dioceses;

• To support all economic activities that are life-enhancing and poverty- alleviating. As we have said in our 1998 state-

ment, “even our best efforts will come to nothing without the help of God, our Cre- ator. We invoke upon you the grace of the Holy Spirit who renews the face of the earth. With gratitude in our hearts we ask

• To support the call of various sec- tors, especially the Indigenous Peoples, to stop
• To support the call of various sec-
tors, especially the Indigenous Peoples,
to stop the 24 Priority Mining Projects of
the government, and the closure of large-
scale mining projects, for example, the
Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project in Albay,
HPP Project in Palauan, Didippio Gold-
the intercession of Mary, the Mother of
Jesus and our Mother, to obtain for us a
renewed land and a converted people.”
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
the Philippines:
Copper Project in Albay, HPP Project in
Palawan, Didippio Gold-Copper Project in
Nueva Vizcaya, Tampakan Copper-gold
Project in South Cotabato, Canatuan Gold
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
January 29, 2006
AAAAA AAAAA STSTSTSTSTAAAAATEMENTTEMENTTEMENTTEMENTTEMENT STSTSTSTSTAAAAATEMENTTEMENTTEMENTTEMENTTEMENT ONONONONON ONONONONON
MININGMININGMININGMININGMINING MININGMININGMININGMININGMINING ISSUESISSUESISSUESISSUESISSUES ISSUESISSUESISSUESISSUESISSUES ANDANDANDANDAND ANDANDANDANDAND
CONCERNSCONCERNSCONCERNSCONCERNSCONCERNS CONCERNSCONCERNSCONCERNSCONCERNSCONCERNS
“Do “Do not not defile defile the the land land where where you you live live and and where where I I dwell” dwell” (Num. (Num. 35:34) 35:34)

Volume 40 • Number 2

where you you live live and and where where I I dwell” dwell” (Num. (Num. 35:34)

25

Beloved People of God:

W e, your bishops, have collectively

discerned in the light of the Gos-

pel what our mass media, our

political leaders and, above all, you parish- ioners in our various dioceses have been telling us. What clearly emerges is the continued and urgent need for renewal in the public life of our country.

Our Pastoral Situation: What Our People are Saying

We have all observed the failure of political processes to make public ser- vants accountable for wrongdoings. What we have seen instead are acts of evasion and obstruction of the truth, as in the case of the wiretapping and Garcillano tapes controversy. While we acknowledge that patriotic and sincere Filipinos have heeded our call in July 2005 for accountability in public office and sought means for the truth to emerge, we also witness those who seem to use “the search for truth” as a means of furthering their political ambi- tions. Pressure is thus brought on the ordinary citizen to take sides on the basis of speculation, whether this be with regard to destabilizing alliances, armed insur- gency, or a brewing coup d’ etat. Have we become a nation of rumors and untruths? As a result of all this, there seems to be a paralyzing gridlock in the political sphere, as partisan interests prevail over the demands of the common good. Enough of this destructive politics, we hear our people declare. In this situation of wide- spread confusion, it is not surprising that apathy and cynicism with regard to poli- tics have taken hold of the minds and hearts of many Filipinos. Tragically, many Filipinos have lost trust in political leaders from left, right, and center, and worse still, in the political institutions themselves which are perceived by many to be cor- rupted. Among an increasing number of our people, there is a sense of hopeless- ness about our country and the possibility of genuine reform. While the economy at the macro-level seems to be moving along, the benefits are not sufficiently shared by the poor. What the people in our dioceses are experienc- ing and saying informs us that their most immediate and urgent priority is their daily struggle to earn a livelihood. Poverty re- mains the heaviest burden our people bear. They wonder if the political priorities that preoccupy our leaders are merely “Manila- magnified” problems foisted upon those

merely “Manila- magnified” problems foisted upon those 26 IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

26

IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

those 26 IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006 RENEWING RENEWING OUR OUR PUBLIC PUBLIC LIFE LIFE

RENEWING RENEWING OUR OUR PUBLIC PUBLIC LIFE LIFE

THROUGH THROUGH MORAL MORAL VALUES VALUES

A Pastoral Statement

A Pastoral Statement

VALUES VALUES A Pastoral Statement A Pastoral Statement in the provinces. They are seriously con- cerned

in the provinces. They are seriously con- cerned that in 2006 we shall be repeating the same kind of chaotic politics that we all suffered in 2005.

The Root of the Crisis: Erosion of Moral Values

As bishops, we believe that at the bottom of our political chaos is a crisis of moral values, a crisis of truth and justice, of unity and solidarity for the sake of the common good and genuine peace. Truth has become a victim of political partisan- ship as well as of transactional politics. Moral accountability and justice for crimes, such as the killings of journalists and labor leaders, are yet to be realized. Because of this crisis of values in our public life, the common good and the plight of the poor are being ignored. We witness the anguish of poor farmers affected by rising prices of farm inputs and decreasing prices for their products. Indigenous people, farmers and fishermen in our dio- ceses are filled with anxiety about the negative effects of mining, commercial logging, illegal quarrying and fishing, and the continual threat of displacement from one’s ancestral lands. More regrettable is

the common knowledge that many of our politicians are behind such ventures that disregard the common good. As Bishops, we realize that the root cause of our debilitating situation is the erosion of moral values. Its external mani- festations are deceit and dishonesty, cor- ruption, manipulation and a deadening preoccupation with narrow political inter- ests, perceived in practically all branches and at all levels of government. Pope Benedict XVI cites St. Augustine’s obser- vation that “a State which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves.” (Deus Caritas Est, 28) But we also recognize that our situa- tion is not one of utter darkness. We are encouraged and inspired to see so many good and decent Filipinos, of different faith traditions, working selflessly and sincerely to build up our nation. We see public servants struggling for integrity and the authentic reform of the corrupted institutions they are part of. We acknowl- edge groups of dedicated laity, religious and clergy, NGOs and various associa- tions, including police and military per- sonnel, giving of themselves to improve the governance, education, health, hous- ing, livelihood and environmental condi-

STATEMENTS tions of our people. These people, united by a vision of heroic citizenship, are

STATEMENTS

tions of our people. These people, united by a vision of heroic citizenship, are rea- sons for hope, even in the midst of the political crisis we find ourselves in.

What We Need to Do

The mission of the Church includes the renewal of the social order and public life through the teaching and inculcation of the values of the Gospel. Because of the moral dimensions of our political and eco- nomic life, “The Church has something to say about specific human situations, indi- vidual and communal, national and inter- national.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 521) “Any

authentic search for peace”, the Holy Fa- ther stresses, “must begin with the realiza- tion that the problem of truth and untruth is the concern of every man and woman.” (In Truth, Peace,no. 5) Let us all therefore address the urgent issues facing our coun- try from this moral standpoint:

• We recommend that the search for truth be relentlessly pursued through structures and processes mandated by law and our Constitution, such as the Ombudsman, the Commission on Human Rights, the Sandiganbayan,

and Congress itself as well as other citizens’ groups. This requires that such bodies be led and run by credible people, persons of integrity and pro- bity.

• Confidence and trust in our political processes have to be restored. As a first step we strongly urge our political leaders to undertake electoral reforms posthaste. The Commission on Elec- tions has to be transformed into a competent and reliable body beyond reproach. The call for resignation or even prosecution of a number of the Commissioners should not be lightly brushed aside. The electoral process, including counting of votes, needs to be reformed and modernized before the next elections.

• Elections in 2007 should not be can- celled. The Church recognizes that in a democracy power emanates from the people—i.e., that “the subject of po- litical authority is the people consid-

This people

transfers the exercise of sovereignty

ered in its entirety

to those whom it freely elects

but

it preserves the prerogative

[of]

evaluating those charged with gov- erning, and replacing them when they do not fulfill their functions satisfac- torily.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 395)

• While we agree that certain aspects of our Constitution may need amend- ments and revisions, we do not sup- port hasty efforts to change this fun- damental law of the land without the widespread discussion and participa- tion that such changes require. We continue to believe, as we did in our Statement on Charter Change in 2003, that changing the Constitution involv- ing major shifts in the form of govern- ment, requires widespread participa- tion, total transparency, and relative serenity that allows for national dis- cussion and debate. This is best done through a Constitutional Convention. The reasons for constitutional change must be based on the common good rather than on self-serving interests or the interests of political dynasties.

• We reiterate our stand in our July 2005 statement that we do not condone any move resorting to violence or counter- constitutional means in resolving our present crisis. These measures would only bring about new forms of injus- tice, more hardships, and greater harm in the future. We are aware that the renewal of the Philippine public life will require the transformation of cultural values and structures, and will require more inten- sive efforts on the part of the Church. We therefore commit ourselves to the following:

• To adopt a more systematic program of promoting the moral values that are indicated in seven (of the nine) pasto- ral priorities drawn up at the 2001 Na- tional Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal. These are: integral faith for- mation; empowerment of the laity to- wards social transformation; the ac- tive presence and participation of the poor in the Church and in society; the family as the focal point of evangeliza- tion; the building and strengthening

of participatory communities that make

up the parish; integral renewal of the clergy and religious; and our journey- ing with the youth.

• To continue the formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities and other faith-

communities at the grassroots, towards

a deeper spirituality of heroic Chris-

tian citizenship, and towards encour- aging the laudable efforts of these communities at nation-building, such as the monitoring of the IRA, bidding of public works projects, etc.

• To promote a spirituality of public service, integrity and stewardship among public servants and citizens’

groups alike. These forms of social spirituality should counteract the per- sistent evils of gambling, drug-push- ing, usury, destruction of our environ- ment, and corruption in public office.

• To bring together various concerned citizens’ groups that are working for good governance in order to encour- age better collaboration among them in the mobilization of the governed to check graft and corruption and to work for better public services.

• To declare this year 2006 as a “Social Concerns Year” under the auspices of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Social Teachings of the Church, as summa- rized in the recently-printed Compen- dium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, may be discussed, internal- ized, and acted upon in all our dio- ceses, parishes and Catholic schools.

• To accompany our efforts with prayer and penance and a deep trust in the transformative power of God’s grace in the lives of individuals as well as of societies. “Restore us to Thee, O Lord, that we may be restored” (Lam 5:21)

Conclusion

In all we have been saying here, we, your Bishops, are seeking to be faithful to the Lord’s command of love, and his call to his followers to care for all peoples, especially those whom he sees as the “least of my brothers and sisters”(Mt. 25, 40). It is this Gospel mandate we wish to see making a quantitative difference in our efforts at healing and renewing our flawed political culture and corrupted public life. In doing this, we show our solidarity with the poor who suffer most from the present state of public life and politics. May the love of God in Christ, poured out upon all of us in the Holy Spirit, give us the courage and hope to renew our public life and to build up a truly moral society. And may Mary become our guide and model in this renewed pilgrimage towards Truth, Justice, Freedom and Love—the pillars of genuine peace in our

Land.

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:

+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D. Archbishop of Jaro President, CBCP 29 January 2006

Volume 40 • Number 2

of the Philippines: +ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D. Archbishop of Jaro President, CBCP 29 January 2006 Volume

27

FROM THE INBOX The Other Woman my eyes and saw mom sitting there staring at

FROM

THE

INBOX

FROM THE INBOX The Other Woman my eyes and saw mom sitting there staring at me.

The Other Woman

my eyes and saw mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on
my eyes and saw mom sitting there staring
at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips.
”It was I who used to read the menu
when you were small,” she said. “Then it’s
time for you to relax and let me return the
favor,” I responded.
During the dinner we had an agree-
able conversation, nothing extraordi-
nary—but catching up on recent events of
each others’ lives. We talked so much that
we missed the movie.
As we arrived at her house later, she
said, “I’ll go out with you again, but only
if you let me invite you”. I agreed.
”How was your dinner date?” asked
my wife when I got home. “Very nice.
Much more so than I could have imag-
ined,” I answered.
A few days later my mother died of a
massive heart attack. It happened so sud-
denly that I didn’t have a chance to do
anything for her.
Some time later I received an envelope
with copy of a restaurant receipt from the
same place mother and I had dined. An
A fter 21 years of marriage, I discov-
ered a new way of keeping alive the
Spark of love. A little while ago I

had started to go out with another woman.

It was really my wife’s idea.

”I know that you love her,” she said one day, taking me by surprise. “But I love YOU,” I protested. “I know, but you also love her.” The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my mother, who has been

a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made

it possible to visit her only occasionally.

That night I called to invite her to go out

for dinner and a movie. ”What’s wrong, are you well?” she asked. My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news. ”I thought that it would be pleasant to pass some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.”

She thought about it for a moment then said “I would like that very much.” That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s ”I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were im- pressed,” she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meet- ing”. We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu to her. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entree, I lifted

attached note said: “I paid this bill in advance. I was almost sure that I couldn’t be there but, nevertheless, I paid for two plates—one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant to me. I love you.”

At that moment I understood the im-

portance of saying, in time: “I LOVE YOU” and giving our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than God and your family and friends. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off ‘til “some other time”. Someone once said “I’ve learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I think this is true with your in-laws, grandchildren, sisters, broth- ers and your friends. Anyone that means something to you-you should spend time with them and let them know how much they mean to you as often as you can.

rowena.dalanon@cbcpworld.net

they mean to you as often as you can. rowena.dalanon@cbcpworld.net 2828 IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

2828

IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

VANILLA BYTES Sites Sites on on Focus Focus by DENNIS B. DAYAO I n this

VANILLA

BYTES

Sites Sites on on Focus Focus by DENNIS B. DAYAO I n this issue, we
Sites Sites on on Focus Focus
by DENNIS B. DAYAO
I n this issue, we are featuring some RVM school websites.
rvmonline.net/olfa-macarthur
The Sisters of the Religious of the Virgin Mary run and
Urged by Very Rev. Father Uldarico
Villasin, then parish priest of Gen.
MacArthur, and confirmed by the late,
Msgr. Miguel Acebedo, then bishop of
Calbayog, two sisters from Assumption
College in Guiuan, were sent to MacArthur
in 1949. They would open a school to
prevent the start of a Protestant school in
this town. For the first two years, Our Lady
of Fatima Academy was affiliated to As-
sumption College.
operate more than fifty schools both local and abroad.
Serving Christ in the youth in the field of Catholic education
continues to be another living witness of active Catholicity
and inspiring labor of love. (You may also wish to visit their
website at www.rvmonline.net.)
rvmonline.net/sma-palo
rvmonline.net/sma-guiuan
smacconline.net
It was formerly known, as Our Lady of
Grace Academy (OLGA) and was renamed
to SMACC on December 8, 2000 as the
school marked its Golden Jubilee to unify
the RVM system schools. SMACC is lo-
cated at Madre Ignacia Avenue (12th Ave.),
Grace Park, Caloocan City. Currently,
SMACC opened its doors for the Home
Study Program which offers education to
youth and adults who cannot be physi-
cally present in learning situations in the
mainstream classes.
Considering that Palo lies in then heart of
Leyte, the school was originally named
Leyte Central Academy in 1926. In 1949,
Most Rev. Manuel Mascari?as, then Bishop
of Palo, invited the Congregation of the
Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM)
through Rev. M. Ma. Andrea Montejo,
RVM, Superior General, a native of Palo,
to help manage the school. St. Mary's
Academy of Palo is an institution that
helps its constituents acquire the neces-
sary values and skills needed for life. By
acquire the desirable knowledge, skills,
attitudes, values and behavior in all situ-
ations; discover and manifest skills in
decision-making; participate in Church
and in civic community affairs; and share
faith experiences on the life of Jesus as
lived by the Blessed Virgin Mary and
Mother Ignacia del Espiritu.
The school was first organized and given
recognition in 1904 through the initia-
tive of Msgr. Donato Guimbaolibot with
the assistance of Dr. Jose Lugay. It was
named “Gloriosa Patriarca San Jose”. In
1929, it was changed to Guiuan Academy
with Msgr. Donato Guimbaolibot as the
Director. It was on May 1941, upon the
invitation of the late Bishop Miguel
Acebedo of the Diocese of Catbalogan, the
RVM took over the administration. On
1991, the 50th year of providing Catholic
Education to the community of Guiuan
and the neighboring municipalities, SMA
is called to be more responsive to the
times so as to be relevant, creative and
productive in her work for the building of
God’s kingdom in the here and now.
rvmonline.net/smc-borongan
In 1946, the Most Reverend Miguel
Acebedo, DD, Bishop of Calbayog and
Very Reverend Simeon Desoloc, then Par-
ish Priest of Borongan, established St.
Joseph’s High School for Boys and girls in
Eastern Samar. A year after, the most
Reverend Bishop Acebedo decided to turn
over the management of the school to
RVM.

Volume 40 • Number 2

the most Reverend Bishop Acebedo decided to turn over the management of the school to RVM.

29

NEWS

BRIEFS

NEWS BRIEFS INDONESIA Cartoon Controversy spark protests As Islam cartoon furor escalates, Denmark has withdrawn its

INDONESIA

Cartoon Controversy spark protests

As Islam cartoon furor escalates, Denmark has withdrawn its ambassa- dors in Indonesia, world’s most populous Muslim nation, including that in Syria and Iran because of serious grave threats di- rected against them. Mus- lims around the world con- demned and staged pro- tests against a Danish newspaper’s publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that have also been reprinted in some European and American newspapers. This issue has caused eco- nomic problems for Den- mark. It also has triggered a debate among Danes over freedom of speech and re- ligious sensibilities.

JAPAN

Royal pregnancy scup- pers succession reform

Japanese Prime Minis- ter Junichiro Koizumi has “abandoned plans to sub- mit a bill allowing female emperors” to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne, after the announcement of the pregnancy of Princess Kiko, wife of Prince Akshimo. If the baby is a boy, he will be third in line to the throne under the current Imperial House Law, after Crown Prince Naruhito and his brother Prince Akishino. This was a reverse from earlier statements to pursue the bill that would allow Prin- cess Aiko, Naruhito’s daughter, to succeed her father and grandfather

since no male has been born to the imperial family since 1965.

AFGHANISTAN

6 soldiers killed in Af- ghan bomb attacks

Two separate bomb at- tacks by alleged Taliban guerillas have killed six Afghan soldiers in north- eastern Afghanistan Feb- ruary 10. Two solders were killed and four in- jured in the first blast at Peche Valley in Nuristan province. Meanwhile, as other troops were rushing to site of the first blast, a bomb hit their vehicles kill- ing four more soldiers and wounded another four. It was not clear if the explo- sions were caused by landmines or remote-con- trolled bombs.

INDIA

Pilots should learn En- glish to fly

The government of In- dia ruled that all expatriate pilots should undergo a lin- guistic examination to test their English speaking skills. An Indian authority said that they do not want to face a situation where the notable pilots are not able to converse with the ATCs and could case “se- rious problems.” Almost a decade ago, India faced probably the worst crash in its history when a Saudi Arabian Air- lines crashed with Kazakhstan aircraft. Re- sult of the investigation put the blamed on the pilot’s poor understanding of English.

the blamed on the pilot’s poor understanding of English. 30 IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

30

IMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACTIMPACT • February 2006

PHILIPPINES

Extremists

Murder Christians

Suspected Muslim ex- tremists gunned down six Christians including a 9- month old girl in Patikul, Sulu last February 3. Ac- cording to news reports, the perpetrators alleged as Abu Sayyaf rebels, a group linked to al-Qaida, went door-to-door on the said date asking if the residents were Muslims or Chris- tians. If the residents re- sponded that they were Christian, the guerrillas opened fire, according to AsiaNews.

Muslim

SINGAPORE

4 more Human Avian Influenza cases in Indo- nesia

The Ministry of Health in Indonesia has con- firmed on February 6 an additional four cases of

human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza vi- rus. Two of these cases were fatal. The latest fa- tal case was 15-year-old boy from West who died on February 1. Deaths in chicken near his home were reported in the week prior to his onset

of

of

symptoms.

Most

the said cases with re- cent symptom onset re- sided in West Java, where resurgence of vi- rus activity in birds has been reported. The newly confirmed cases bring the total in Indonesia to 23. Of these cases, 16 were fatal.

S. KOREA

Man commits suicide over Hwang Woo-suk affair

A South Korean man in his late 50s has committed suicide recently as a show support and urging stem- cell scientist Hwang Woo- suk to pursue his research. Reports revealed that the man identified only in his surname Chung, has set himself on fire after dous- ing his body with paint thinner in front of a his- toric statue in the center of Seoul. According to Yonhap news agency, Chung was a member of an online chat cafe, “I love Hwang Woo-suk”, but had not actively participated in outdoor protests to sup- port him.

THAILAND

Toxic leakage should send warning signal to companies

The toxic leakage oc- curred early January at an electronics factory in Pathum Thani that sent over 200 workers to hos- pital, should send a clear warning signal to electron- ics companies to stop us- ing hazardous materials and chemicals in the manu- facture and design of their products. Greenpeace, an independent environment group, said that same in- cidents “can and will hap- pen again unless the elec- tronics industry com- pletely ceases the use of toxic substances and adopts safer materials and processes.”

Volume 40 • Number 2 31

Volume 40 • Number 2

31
31

A A network

network

of

of

Parishes,

Parishes,

Schools

Schools

and

and

Dioceses,

Dioceses,

Catholic

Catholic

religious

religious

groups. Today, over a hundred

groups. Today, over a hundred

of them nationwide.

of them nationwide.

Pursuing

Pursuing

one mission, linked under one

one mission, linked under one

nationwide satellite system. Con-

nationwide satellite system. Con-

nected together with the same

nected together with the same

passion for the Gospel.

passion for the Gospel.

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