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Vol 41, No 11 • NOVEMBER 2007 Php 70.

Quote in the Act
ISSN 0300-4155
Asian Magazine for Human Transformation
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Condoleeza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State, reacting to the declaration of
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2 IMPACT • November 2007

I MPACT November 2007 / Vol 41 • No 11

IMPACT welcomes the new Papal Nuncio, Arch-
bishop Edward Joseph Adams, who arrived on All EDITORIAL
Souls Day amid warm welcome by well-wishers led
by His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and Nationalism vs. Partnership ................................. 27
seven other bishops representing the Catholic Bish-
ops’ Conference of the Philippines. COVER STORY

The Vatican Ambassador came at a time when the

political turbulence in the country is impacting a
heavy toll on the lives of people, especially the poor
whose preferential escape for now, at least for those
who can, is to leave the country in search of a decent
job, albeit the risks. The alarming millions of Filipi-
nos leaving this country annually are proof enough.

This socio-political decadence has been fueled of

late with a battery of corruptions and anomalous
transactions publicly perceived, if allegedly, to be
the handiwork of the incumbent government ad-
ministration. (And one does not even say about
syndicated gambling operations proudly managed
by the government). In the papers, one would even
read of a country that is heavily divided—piercing
even the Catholic Church, or so the perception goes.
Division, of course, is a trademark of a healthy
democracy especially when contending political
sentiments, philosophies and persuasions are The Millennium Development Goals in RP:
lodged in the free market of ideas in view of build-
ing up the country and in the service of the common Missing Out on a Millennium Opportunity? .. 16
In the Philippines, however, this is not the case.
Debatable as it may be, but the division in this part
Undermining a Nation ............................................ 4
of the world is drawn between those who have
received financial favors from gigantic political
Keeping children safe online .................................. 7
leaders and those who did not. Sadly, this is not Mindanaoan, minority and peacebuilder ............ 9
democracy, because when a person is bought hardly
can he or she be free to philosophize—or even Poor countries need freedom and children ........ 11
moralize for those who are overtly religious.
Weakening the rights of children ......................... 13
Hopefully, the good Papal Nuncio will make a
difference. DEPARTMENTS

This issue opens with the article of Kawagi Andres Quote in the Act ...................................................... 2
Fernan, “Undermining a Nation”. Interestingly, in-
stead of alleviating the poverty situation in this
News Features ......................................................... 14
country, the mining industry seems to be working Statements ................................................................ 21
for the opposite.
From the Blogs ......................................................... 26
Atty. Jo Imbong writes our cover story, “The Millen-
nium Development Goals in RP: Missing Out on a From the Inbox ........................................................ 28
Millennium Opportunity?” Planning for the future
development of this country and the world should Book Reviews .......................................................... 29
be encouraged and lauded. But scheming for subtle
ways of population deduction through means that
CINEMA Review .................................................... 30
are immoral is definitely not about development. Quotes in Quiz ........................................................ 30
Read on.
News Briefs .............................................................. 31

Volume 41 • Number 11 3

By Kawagi Andres Fernan

ituated in the middle of the Philip-
pines, Sibuyan Island is called the
country’s equivalent of the
Galapagos. The Philippine archipelago is
every bit the tropics; a land of rainforests,
rugged mountain ranges, and extensive
coral reefs, but even so, Sibuyan Island
stands out in terms of raw biodiversity.
Flora and fauna that exist nowhere
else in the world call Sibuyan home. Hard-
wood trees that have since vanished from
the rest of the Philippine islands make up
its towering forests. The waters of the
island are so clean that its people can drink
from the lines that irrigate their rice fields.
On October 3rd 2007, Sibuyan Island was
the site of a murder.
Local councilor Armin Marin, who
was protesting the entry of several mining
firms into Sibuyan’s pristine landscape
was shot dead by the head of security of
one of the firms. The councilor was un-
armed, while the security man should not
have been armed—a prevailing gun ban
made his possession of a firearm illegal.
Eyewitnesses described the incident as a
verbal tussle that ended with gunshots,
and the councilor fell to the ground bear-
ing bullet wounds in his head, while his
killer fled the scene.
The saga of mining in the Philippines
is one of shattered lives, of lost people,
lost towns, lost islands. It is a tale of
choices colliding, of what a government
wants and what people and communities
want and how these two things may be at
complete odds.
Mining has been a part of Philippine
life for centuries. Hundreds of years ago,
Chinese traders sailed from the mainland
to trade their goods for the gold of the first
Filipinos. The artisanal techniques which

extracted this gold are still practiced to this
day. But mining in the modern sense truly
boomed in the early twentieth century
with the arrival of the Americans. The
industry thrived for decades until a global
downturn of mineral prices saw compa-
nies cut their losses and abandoned their

a Nation
mines across the Philippines. In an attempt
to revitalize the mining industry, the Phil-
ippine Mining Act of 1995 was written and
Touted by the government as a mar-
vel of modern legislation, the Mining Act
liberalized the country’s mining industry,
working around protectionist clauses in
the Philippine constitution and allowed
(among other things) for 100% foreign
ownership of mining firms and 100% repa-

4 IMPACT • November 2007

Undermining a Nation

massive public outcry, and the global spot- which is official, lawful recognition of their
light on the “Marcopper Disaster” forced claim to the lands they have inhabited for
the Mining Act into limbo and the centuries.
country’s mineral industry shrank to al- Subanen tribal leader Jose Anoy,
most nothing. whose title is Timuay, chieftain, saw his
Soon afterwards, a series of academic people’s long struggle for land come to an
studies explored the great failure of min- end when President Gloria Macapagal-
ing. The areas of the Philippines which had Arroyo handed him an ancestral domain
hosted mining for the longest were found title to the lands around Mt. Canatuan.
to remain among the poorest parts of the The handover was documented and the
nation. True economic development had photo of Timuay Anoy meeting the Presi-
skipped these places, and mining towns dent is one of his prized possessions. A
quickly became ghost towns once the handful of years after President Arroyo
firms exited. Marinduque was held up as gave Timuay Anoy his land title; it was her
the ultimate example: after being home to policies which allowed that title to become
Marcopper for thirty years, in the after- null and void to serve the interests of a
math of the disaster, the company fled foreign miner.
from its responsibilities and returned to The Canadian mining company TVI
Canada, paying Resources Devel-
only a fraction of opment (TVIRD)
the damage costs, sought to convert
and leaving behind "The saga of Mt. Canatuan into a
a river choked with
toxic sediments. To
mining in the mine. The Subanen
refused, as this
this day, the health Philippines is one would desecrate
of shattered lives,
of the people of their holy mountain.
Marinduque is In response TVIRD
compromised by
what is left in the
of lost people, lost recruited Subanen
tribes people from
river. towns, lost other areas, and
But in these
times, mining has islands. It is a tale manipulated them
to craft a false writ
made a resurgence. of choices of consent for the
colliding, of what a
The primary author mining operation.
of the Mining Act In the battle
became President
of the Republic and
government wants over authenticity,
and in the face of all
An open pit mine of Atlas Mining located in Central
in 2004, President and what people the facts, the gov-
Cebu, with coordinates: 10°20'1.79"N,
123°44'48.67"E. Photo courtesy of Earl,
Arroyo’s policy on
mining shifted from and communities ernment decided
against Timuay
“tolerance” to “ag- want and how Anoy despite his
these two things
gressive promo- possession of land
tion.” In line with rights to Canatuan,
triation of profits. The Philippine Chamber
of Mines calls the act superior to similar
this, 23 priority min-
ing sites were iden-
may be at and the President’s
own recognition of
mining laws in the USA, Canada and Aus- tified; places where complete odds." his status as tribal
tralia in terms of the standards it sets for the country’s un- chieftain.
safety and environmental protection. tapped mineral TVIRD, with
A year after the passage of the Mining wealth—believed the permission of
Act in 1995, the single worst mining disas- to number in the billions of dollars—could the Philippine government, then ejected
ter in the country’s history occurred. A be exploited for the country’s economic Timuay Anoy from his home in the area
tailings’ dam of Marcopper Mining Ltd. on gain. One of these places was Siocon. and have since ringed their mine site with
Marinduque Island burst; spilling several Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte could steel fences and armed guards. The re-
million tons of toxic waste into the island’s be called the shame of the mining industry maining Subanen have been brutalized by
prime river system; obliterating its capa- of the Philippines. The homeland of the TVIRD’s guards and have had their homes
bility to sustain life. indigenous Subanen tribe since time im- demolished and belongings destroyed in
To be fair, the Mining Act could not memorial, the tribes people live in the foot- order to force them out of the area. Mt.
have done anything about the situation. hills of their holy mountain, Canatuan. Canatuan has been deforested, and is on
An investigation of the accident revealed Like many tribes across the nation, its way to being leveled entirely. Timuay
that Marcopper had been practicing un- the Subanen fight to be legally recognized. Anoy has traveled the world to appeal his
safe dumping practically since their arrival Under Philippine law they can apply for case, and while even the UN has heard him,
in the Philippines in the 1960s. But the and receive an “ancestral domain title”, the President of the Philippines has turned

Volume 41 • Number 11 5
Undermining a Nation

a deaf ear to his plight. the Church, manifested in the Catholic against the company which they saw as
Instead, President Arroyo has called Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines encroaching on their land without permis-
TVIRD’s mine the flagship operation of (CBCP) is a major force, perhaps the pre- sion.
the Philippine mining industry. eminent social force in the country. The area’s bishop, Most Rev. Ramon
“Development aggression” is the term The Church’s stance on mining is Villena, raised the alarm in the nation’s
coined for development done against the both cautious and hardline. While the capital of Manila, while Sister Eden Orlino,
common will and to no benefit of the people CBCP releases carefully worded, though SPC, kept heads cool at the barricade. The
it affects. In the face of this aggression, the powerful statements; warning of the dan- media attention and ensuing public outcry
Philippines has birthed some of the fierc- gers of pursuing economic goals, while forced the authorities to temporarily sus-
est anti-mining campaigners in the entire ignoring community progress, the pend Oxiana’s exploratory work.
South East Asian region. Far from a church’s people: bishops, nuns and While the government’s promises of a
marginalized minority, the anti-mining cam- priests, are frequently directly involved rich and bountiful future thanks to mining
paign has drawn support across the board, with hot button social issues. are everywhere, so too is growing evidence
though its strength lies in the actions of In July of this year, the hinterlands of of perfidy and corruption. In the lull after the
communities with a direct stake in mining. Nueva Vizcaya bore witness to a mass events at the barricade, the ATM sent an
The Alyansa Tigil Mina (Alliance to action of concerned citizens. A thousand investigative team into Nueva Vizcaya. The
Stop Mining/ATM) network was formed locals barricaded their town road against team discovered a map that had been ma-
to counter the government’s all out pro- the entry of the heavy equipment of Oxiana nipulated to make it seem as though Oxiana’s
motion of mining. With a base of former Philippines Inc. (actually an Australian targeted mine area was far away from the
and current mining communities—count- company) set to begin exploratory mining nearest town, instead of nearly on top of it
ing groups from both Marinduque and work in a nearby area. For several months, and would clearly compromise the town’s
Siocon—the ATM clearly states that its the barricade was kept up, as the issue was water supply.
opposition is to the government’s wooing taken to the courts and the area’s local Though business observers fre-
of mining in the hopes of reaping profits government units declared their support quently state that mining would receive a
rather than development. The nationwide both for and against mining. warmer welcome if it spread the wealth
network counts among its numbers mem- In September, blood was nearly spilled, more evenly, anti-mining campaigners ar-
bers of the academe, indigenous peoples, as the tense standoff exploded into a melee gue that mining is inappropriate for the
various government officials from all lev- between villagers manning the barricade Philippines due to issues of ecology and
els and, perhaps most importantly, the and Oxiana’s security people. Local tribal geography, not to mention policy.
religious. In the majority Catholic nation, leaders threatened to wage open war “Scrap the Mining Act of 1995” is one
of the main campaign
thrusts of the ATM.
Meanwhile, the gov-
ernment has expanded
the initial 23 priority
mining sites to a total
of 32, with no slow-
down seen.
In the same week
as Councilor Armin
Marin was shot dead,
Maoist rebels attacked
a mine site in the south-
ern Philippines.
Mining in the
Philippines is a set of
choices. To the par-
ties concerned, the
choices are easy: they
have to do with pov-
erty, land, wealth,
health, the past, the
present and the future.
And no one con-
cerned believes they
have made a wrong
choice. I
(Kawagi Fernan is a graduate
of the University of the
Philippines, Diliman, and a
volunteer for the Alyansa
Tigil Mina (ATM). He has
been with ATM for 2½ years.)

6 IMPACT • November 2007


It hardly restricts our

freedom to filter pornog-
raphy out of the web in
schools and libraries.

Keeping children safe online

By John Bambenek

he merits of filtering out internet As with any piece of technology, web filtering often assert that because the soft-
pornography in schools and librar- filters are not perfect. They are software ware is not perfect, it should not be used.
ies is an issue which will not die. In designed by humans using data entered Women might die because they can’t find
the United States, the Children’s Internet by humans. In the infancy of web filtering information on breast cancer on the web.
Protection Act passed in 2000 by Con- software, correcting such problems was This argument is absurd. Taken to its logi-
gress has been the subject of several legal difficult. With today’s software, the task cal conclusion, we would have to ban police
challenges. The objection to keeping porn borders on trivial. officers because crime still happens even
from children revolves around two issues: Errors in web filtering are of two kinds: though they are on the street. We would
the accuracy of the filtering mechanism false positives and false negatives. False have to ban the judicial system because
and free speech rights. positives are websites that register as judges and juries sometimes get it wrong.
Few will argue against the need to pornographic without being pornographic. Let’s not even talk about what would have
protect minors online. Cyberspace is a The usual example is a breast cancer to happen with the United States Congress.
hunting ground for sexual predators. The website. False negatives are pornographic The point of protection mechanisms
less savory the website, the less savory sites which slip through the filter unno- is to “raise the bar” for would-be attackers.
the people who run and frequent the ticed. The stricter the filtering, the more Most would not bother and those who try
website. No sane person would argue that likely false positives become. The laxer the have to work so hard that they get caught.
pornography should be available to six- filtering, the more likely false negatives Modern web filtering software makes
year-olds. So how do we protect children will get through. it very easy to “whitelist” or “blacklist”
online outside the home? Those irritated by the notion of internet websites. Sites that are incorrectly filtered

Volume 41 • Number 11 7
Keeping children safe online

can be entered into a “whitelist” so they still be available. The mentality being dis- expect employees to be working.
will be let through. Sites that need to be played by those who oppose filtering goes A quick Lexis-Nexis search showed
filtered can be “blacklisted.” The process beyond “freedom means I can do whatever about a dozen teachers and administrators
varies between the specific pieces of soft- I want to.” What they are saying is “free- running afoul of the law for viewing por-
ware but it is not difficult. Imperfections dom means I can do whatever I want to and nography in school. Most of these cases
can be overcome. you need to pay for it.” Convenience is not involve child pornography. The Children’s
The question of free speech is more a constitutionally protected right. Internet Protection Act, as interpreted by
difficult. Since the US Supreme Court has It seems that schools and libraries are the court, allows an adult user to request
decided that prurient imagery is a consti- the only institutions where this “right to that filtering be turned off while they ac-
tutionally protected form of speech, re- look at porn” is controversial. Other gov- cess the internet. The result has been that
stricting it is difficult. However, most tax- ernment agencies fire workers for looking perverts end up viewing child pornogra-
payers feel that schools and libraries are at pornography while working. In fact, phy on the public dime.
not in the business of producing and dis- according to human resources people, Web filtering, while not perfect, helps
tributing pornography. The purpose of looking at pornography is the only thing stop accidental viewing of pornography by
schools is to teach children. It is not un- that will get you instantly fired from a job minors. If children are in danger of falling
constitutional to not give children access with the US federal government. into the clutches of online sexual predators,
to Playstation 3s in school. The purpose of One could argue that filters are an not putting in place solutions that are 98 per
libraries is make information available to attempt to legislate morality. However, busi- cent accurate because of the 2 per cent of
patrons. It is not unconstitutional for them nesses also ban pornography viewing at errors is unthinkable. The idea that such
not to perform colonoscopies. Simply put, work. It is a stretch to suggest that busi- filtering is a threat to free speech is simply
taxpayers did not found these institutions nesses are driven by a sense of morality. a red herring that distracts people from the
so perverts can get pornography on the The reason most corporations ban pornog- real issue. Our children’s safety is more
public dime. They surely do not pay for raphy isn’t prudishness. It is fear of legal important than a pervert’s access to por-
internet access into schools so these per- liability. With sexual harassment laws, nography at the expense of taxpayers. I
verts can inculcate young people with a women who work in an environment where (John Bambenek is, among other things, a freelance
pornographic mentality. they see men looking at pornography have columnist. He also writes for his own blog, Part-Time
Regardless of what parents, schools recourse in the court system. Furthermore, Pundit, and contributes to six other popular blogsites
such as Blogcritics. This article is lifted with permission
and libraries filter out, pornography will when on the company dime, corporations from MercatorNet)

© Randy Faris/Corbis

8 IMPACT • November 2007


minority and
By Diwa Aquino-Gacosta

17 year old Rehoney, a moslem girl from

troubled Mindanao, was invited to share her
experiences as a World Vision child
peacebuilder at the Civicus World
Assembly. Here she talks about the
pressures of growing up in a community
divided by generations of violence.

M y name is Rehoney. I am 17 years old. I am

a Moslem.
Peace remains elusive in the land of my birth.
I’m used to conflict, prejudices and biases. I have
lived it all through the 17 years of my life.
Being a Moslem in this predominantly Chris-
tian nation is not easy… it never has been, espe-
cially because Moslems are often regarded as
sources of conflict, troubles and violence.


The tensions in Mindanao have existed

for so long and the Mindanaoan—
Muslims, Christians and Lumads
(indigenous people)—have
been enduring these ten-
sions with much

© Denz Dayao / CBCP Media

Volume 41 • Number 11 9
Mindanaoan, minority and peacebuilder

I believe the problems in when I hear that Christians from bombers were Muslims, un- neighboring areas in the pur-
Mindanao are more than politi- Luzon and Visayas also regard mindful that there are five suit of development or specifi-
cal, more than religious. I be- Muslims as a threat to national Muslims, myself included, in cally, transformational devel-
lieve the core of the continu- security—not just Mindanao. our class. opment”.)
ous conflict in Mindanao is the Another incident of this We know that we cannot
lack of effort of one another to Minority culture of bias and prejudice solve the complex problems in
understand each other. This against Muslims was when I Mindanao, but we know that
comes from a long history of I may not have experi- and my friends went out to eat we can do something to bridge
hatred and prejudice that has enced actual war happening. in a restaurant in the city. One relationships among ourselves.
been passed from generation The tensions I see may not be of my friends jokingly predicted I can say that the children
to generation. What makes it the same tensions my parents, that the restaurant would be in ADP Saranggani have really
even worse is the fighting over and grandparents, witnessed spared from bombing because been helping with the peace
land or for self-determination during their time, which I be- “there is a Muslim around,” process in our community, in-
by Islamist separatist groups. lieve were too painful to erase. apparently referring to me. fluencing not only children like
Land ownership has But every time a person judges Often, we are insensitive ourselves but adults as well.
caused a huge gap between me for what I am not… I feel with our comments and ideas I was invited to speak on
the Lumad, Muslims and Chris- pain. in relating to one another, think- peace-building and children
tians. It is such a sensitive People in the community ing that it is normal… it is ok. during the CIVICUS World
issue that any chance of mis- where I live have been putting Now, I know better. Assembly last May. I talked
understanding would defi- labels on people. Muslims, However different we seem about our initiatives, how we
nitely cause another war in Christians, Lumads… each has to be, we all deserve to be re- recognize our differences but
Mindanao. its own labels on each other. spected and regarded for who respect them. We want to end
This gap has existed for so Sadly, children, like my self, we are. We do not have to fight the culture of bias and discrimi-
long. It has passed from one often imitate what elders do, or look down on each other just nation! We want to eliminate
generation to another and adopting and practicing the to prove that we are different. the wrong perceptions we have
caused most of the attitudes culture of bias and discrimina- of one another.
and behavior of Mindanaoans tion. We think that’s just the Peacebuilder Erasing the stains of bi-
today. way it is. ases and discrimination in our
When there is also pov- I remember one day when The children in ADP culture is not going to be easy.
erty, differences in faith and I was in class, there had been a Saranggani have identified the There are families who refuse
culture, lack of regard for the bombing incident in General culture of bias and discrimina- to allow their children to join
rights of children, a poor politi- Santos City. The majority of tion as a barrier to peace. (ADP our activities. There are chil-
cal system and lack of political my classmates were Christians. - Area Development Program, dren who have adopted these
will, the conditions of people, While I believe that I have a “a child-focused approach attitudes so much that they
especially children, in fairly good relationship with that seeks to partner with chil- won’t listen. Personally, we
Mindanao continue to worsen. my non-Muslim classmates, I dren and their families and have to consciously balance
It also makes me feel sad still heard them say that the communities in selected or our time spent with the activi-
ties in the ADP, our studies,
and our obligation to our fami-
But then, there are so
many things to be thankful for.
Promoting the culture of peace
in our community has helped
bring out the best in me and of
the other children in our com-
munity. We have learned so
many things about peace, love
and respect of one another.
Peace does not come with
age. That is why we as children
should not demand it, but in-
stead work out what we can do
to help achieve it. I
(Diwa Aquino-Gacosta is an Internal
and Partnership Communications
Specialist at Advocacy and
Communications/World Vision
Development Foundation, Inc.. which
is a development, relief and advocacy
organization dedicated to working with
children, families and communities
worldwide to reach their full potential by
addressing the causes of poverty and

10 IMPACT • November 2007


By Oskari Juurikkala

he great wonder of over-popula-
tion is that people actually believe
in it. Less developed countries
(LDCs) are suffering from over-popula-
tion, goes the common mantra. If they
wish to advance economically, people in
parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America
must be content with fewer children. In
fact, LDCs have not too many people, but
too few. Overpopulation is a myth, and a
silly myth at that. Just look at the real
world. 50 years ago, Hong Kong,
Singapore and South Korea were under-
developed spots with significant unem-

© James Leynse/Corbis
ployment problems and practically no
natural resources. Now they are thriving
and affluent, with no obvious resource
problem in sight. This is in spite of some
of the highest population densities in the

Poor countries
world. In contrast, Africa and Latin
America are among the most sparsely
populated areas on the entire globe, and
endowed with the greatest natural wealth.

need freedom
The population control lobby

Unfortunately, if the overpopulation

theory is not backed up by reason and
evidence, it is supported by plenty of
cash. At least since the 1974 Kissinger

and children
Report of the United States government,
billions of dollars have been poured into
funding any kind of activity that supports
the population control message, ranging
from academic publications to media pro-
grams, films and even popular music. Popu-
lation control thwarts development and The World Bank is out to destroy the most
advances US economic interests. valuable economic resource: people.
Piles of money come from the US State
Department’s Agency for International De-
velopment (USAID), the UN Fund for Popu-
lation Activities (UNFPA) and the World
Bank. They also channel funds to private
organizations like the International
Planned Parenthood Federation, Path-
finder, and the Population Council. Their
policy goals—abortion, contraception,
lower fertility rates—are masked by eu-
phemistic language, including “family plan-
ning” and “reproductive health.”
There is nothing wrong with planning
and health, but plenty wrong with legaliz-
ing and funding the killing of innocent
children yet unborn. Occasional forced
sterilizations in rural areas are a dismal
reality, too.
© Lynsey Addario/Corbis

These methods are well known. But

there is a more subtle form of population
control. It is called pension policy and
arguably it is even more effective.

Volume 41 • Number 11 11
Poor countries need freedom and children

Old-age security and pensions They want large families, because it is It could be just an accident. There is no
economically rational. Raising children has doubt that many individuals at the World
What do pensions have to do with short-term costs but long-term benefits. In Bank have the best intentions in the world
population control? A lot, actually. As sev- LDCs, children start earning soon and will do and are genuinely concerned about poverty
eral economists have shown, the establish- so for years to come. Most importantly, chil- in LDCs. At the same time, the Bank’s track
ment of public pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) dren are the prime source of social insurance record on the global low-fertility agenda is
pension schemes is among the main rea- and old-age security for the vast majority. In beyond doubt.
sons for the rapid decline in birth rates most LDCs, more than 90 per cent of the
during the 20th century. Cultural reasons population has no formal pension coverage. Towards a pro-family future
played a role in that development, but pub- As the population economist Julian Simon
lic pensions sealed the coffin. once put it, Westerners who think poor people A different, pro-family approach is
What a public PAYGO scheme does is to cannot make rational fertility choices are sim- needed. It will not seek to replace the existing
transfer money from current workers to cur- ply ignorant, arrogant or both. and well-functioning family-based system of
rent grannies. This is something that families social insurance. It will instead build on and
and extended families have done for millennia. Anti-family World Bank reinforce those social structures and customs
In the modern welfare state, the government that work. It will also help people to save, not
has quite simply replaced the traditional fam- This is what the World Bank wants to by forcing people to participate in unreliable
ily. The family is no longer necessary. Be- change. As long as 20 years ago, the Bank’s public schemes, but by providing the neces-
sides, compulsory pension payments penal- 1984 World Development Report explicitly sary legal and institutional framework.
ize those who have more children, because stated that social and old-age security is a The experience so far with formal pen-
they must finance the contributory base of major reason why people have large families sion schemes in LDCs has been dismal. In
future pensions. Having few or no children in LDCs. If the Bank wished to see a perma- many countries they have been associated
gives a cheaper free ride. nent reduction in birth rates, it must alter the with mismanagement, corruption and fraud.
In Europe or the US low fertility rates may socio-economic conditions. In India, the public sector scheme is running
have been an unintended consequence of The World Bank has now devoted sub- a massive implicit debt. In Nigeria, various
benign welfare policies. However, one coun- stantial resources to this end. In the past 10 groups have suffered hardship and poverty
try is known to have used pensions deliber- years, it has become the single most influen- as the government has failed to pay their
ately in its anti-family battle: the People’s tial player in global pension reforms. It is promised pensions. There is no need to ex-
Republic of China. In the early 1980s, China pushing for wider pension coverage and for tend such systems further. In fact, countries
self-consciously instituted formal pension providing tools for long-term pension poli- would be better off without them.
schemes in rural areas so as to fortify its cies in a wide range of countries. The World Bank is now promoting com-
infamous one-child policy. Ironically, the Of course, not everything the World pulsory savings schemes as an alternative to
Chinese pension system is now a big mess, Bank does is evil or harmful. Indeed, its governmental schemes. Unfortunately, this
and rural areas continue to be the strongest contributions to pension reforms have often is a recipe for disaster. Savings schemes can
rebels against the one-child policy. Large been very valuable. There is just one defect: only work in an environment of developed
families are essential to their economy and the approach of the Bank undermines the financial markets and most LDCs lack the
social security. family. institutional capacity to cope with them. The
That is also true of other LDCs, espe- More specifically, what the World Bank risk of bubbles and unstable markets is a minor
cially in Africa. Despite a forceful push for proposes for governments is a three-pillar concern in comparison with a bigger one:
contraception and abortions, these countries model of old-age security. It comprises a whenever there is a large pile of money sitting
take pride in high total fertility rates and public PAYGO system, a mandatory savings somewhere, one can expect troubles ahead.
population growth. External technologies only system, and voluntary savings. In this model, The cause of these troubles is the same
go so far, because people in LDCs are just too families play no role. This is rather surpris- as the cause of general poverty in LDCs. This
keen to have kids. ing, given that the extended family is the only is what reforms should target. These people
source of social do not need grandiose Western-style schemes
and old-age secu- that do not work. They need an environment
United Nations, New York. rity for about 90 that fosters initiative, enterprise and private
per cent of indi- wealth accumulation. They need more trade
viduals in LDCs. and less government, more private property
This was noticed and fewer public programs. When these are
by the Bank’s In- achieved, LDCs will have higher incomes and
dependent better old-age security—not by having fewer
Evaluation Group children but by having more of them.
which criticized Smaller families will not help these coun-
the pension re- tries, because the greatest economic resource
form agenda for in the world is man, his creativity and ingenu-
failing to under- ity in the face of life’s challenges. This re-
stand and respect source is yearning to be set free. I
the ordinary (Oskari Juurikkala is a research fellow at the Institute
socio-economic of Economic Affairs, UK, and legal counsel of
conditions of Magnus Minerals, Finland. This article, reprinted here
with permission, was written as part of the IEA
LDCs. Empowerment through Savings program.)

12 IMPACT • November 2007


candinavian countries have high
rates of parenting outside marriage.
Living together, or cohabitation, is
socially acceptable. In countries like Swe-
den and Denmark, marriage and cohabita-
tion have become practically indistin-
guishable, although de facto couples with
children actually dissolve their relation-
ship at two to three times the rate of married
parents. In Denmark, around 45 per cent of
births take place outside marriage.
In the United States, there is less co-
habitation, and more marriage, but the mar-
riages have a higher failure rate. The end
result is that in both the US and Denmark,
family breakdown is high and many children
do not live with both biological parents.
An interesting approach to this modern
problem comes from Dr. David Blankenhorn,
from the Institute of American Values. In a
recent address to the Danish Institute for
Human Rights, he used the language of
human rights, as it applies to marriage and
the family. Looked at from the point of a child,
the picture is not so good: as adults assert
their rights, children may suffer. Sure, adults deserve to have their fundamental human rights
Dr. Blankenhorn said that the global
human rights revolution, which largely stems
protected. But why don’t we set the same standard for their children?
from the 1948 Universal Declaration of

Weakening the
Human Rights, is radically transforming the
way we think about ourselves as individu-
als, as citizens, and even as family members.
The results are mixed, he said, with the

rights of children
human rights revolution producing prob-
lems as well as successes. But overall, he
sees it leading to more freedom and a more
universal respect for human dignity.

Rights and obligations

There is a tendency, even a tempta-

tion, said Blankenhorn “to treat each spe- By Gerald Mercer
cific right as if it stands alone, in splendid
isolation and reigning in absolute mas- lated in Europe as early as the 12th Century is intrinsically connected to the institution
tery, conveniently disconnected from other in Christian canon law, and a right that is of parenthood and to the values, norms,
rights that may conflict with it.” enunciated explicitly in both the Universal and social expectations connected to bear-
He said that rights can be discon- Declaration of Human Rights and the Char- ing and raising offspring.”
nected from an overriding system of values ter of Rights of the European Union.”
that allows us to understand rights in rela- The second right is the right of the child, Far-reaching implications
tion to duties and obligations. “The obvi- as far as possible, to know and to be raised
ous danger in this take-your-pick, cafeteria- by his or her own two biological parents, But in the US, and in many Western
style, essentially decontextualized ap- except when it is contrary to the best inter- countries, this basic human right is being
proach to human rights is that each right, in ests of the child. He said this is clearly implied re-conceptualized and expanded in ways
its isolated supremacy, tends to get ex- in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that will have far-reaching implications for
pressed in absolutist, totalising terms”. when it insists that the family is the natural society. The essence of this, he said, “is
Americans, he said, are particularly prone and fundamental group unit of society. It is that all persons have the right to form the
to this temptation. explicitly spelled out in the UN Convention families that they choose and to bear chil-
From the viewpoint of the institution on the Rights of the Child. dren in the way that they choose.”
of marriage and the family, Blankenhorn “The right to marry and to found a Three distinct trends are behind this
pointed to two basic human rights. “The family” as the Universal Charter puts it, is development, he said. The first is the rapid
first is the right to marry and to found a a compound right, according to scientific development of assisted repro-
family—a right that was formally articu- Blankenhorn: “the institution of marriage Weakening / p.20

Volume 41 • Number 11 13

Communists against the bishop,

Church in the streets to protest
THIRUVAMBADY, India, Oc- apologies from the Commu- religions, from 106 parishes of called the bishop a “wretched
tober 22, 2007—No reaction nists for derogatory remarks the local diocese. Schools and creature” for his “lie” and reit-
yet from the Communist Party made against Mgsr. Mar Paul hospitals run by the (Syro- erated his view later, saying:
of India-Marxist (CPM) follow- Chittilappilly. Malabar) diocesan council “A lie is a lie, and just because
ing the protest march of 30,000 There were bishops, were closed in protest. it is uttered by a bishop it does
people in Thiruvambady, in priests, men and women reli- The protest was sparked not become a holy lie.”
the southern Indian state of gious as well as lay people, by the CPM state secretary The insulting remarks
Kerala, demanding formal including members of other Pinarayi Vijayan when he were in turn caused by a speech
Mgsr. Chittilappilly made last
September at a rally in support

Islamic extremism targets

of minorities’ rights.
In it the prelate said that a
former Kerala Communist
leader, Mathai Chacko, sup-
posedly called for priest in or-

foreign tourists der to have the last sacraments

administered as he lay dying.
He is also supposed to have
contracted marriage in church.
MALE, Maldives, October For Vijayan, such remarks
23, 2007—A rise in Islamic were nothing but an act of
militancy poses an unprec- support for the opposition
edented threat to the United Democratic Front
Maldives’ status as South (UDF), which is trying to re-
Asia’s most upmarket holi- gain the ground it lost in the
day destination. last elections.
The first concrete In making such remarks
sign of trouble came on against the late Communist
September 29 when 12 for- leader, who lived a “rich Com-
eign tourists, including a munist life”, the bishop por-
honeymooning British trayed the late Communist
couple, were wounded in a leader as a man of contradic-
bomb attack. The govern- 330,000 believed that tourism Tourism is the main- tions in order to carry out po-
ment however is deter- was against Islam because it stay of the archipelago’s litical propaganda.
mined to beat the extrem- leads to the importation of economy. This year the According to Fr. Paul
ists. practices contrary to their re- Maldives hopes to wel- Thelakat, from the Syro-
Maldivian President ligion like the sale of liquor. come 650,000 Malabar Synod, “what is strik-
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom However, “we can deal holidaymakers, about 10 ing is not so much the content
issued a decree whereby with the problem because of per cent up from last year, of the debate, but the hatred in
foreign clerics should not the geography of the the minister said, adding the tone Vijayan used. There
be allowed entry without a Maldives,” Mr. Hussain said. that the industry earned are practicing Christians,
special permit, barred Only 200 of the 1,192 is- the country US$ 200 mil- Muslims and Hindus in the
women from covering lands are inhabited, and tour- lion to 300 million annu- party. Is there no space for
themselves from head to ist resorts are kept separate, ally. faith in the politics?
toe, and ordered that edu- with foreigners not allowed Earlier this month, the If it so, then people with
cational qualifications to spend the night on any government raided the faith cannot engage in politics
from foreign madrassas, or inhabited island except the stronghold of radical ex- according to Communists and
Islamic seminaries, would capital Male. tremism on an island some perhaps cannot vote for them.
not be recognized. Maldivians are employed 100 kilometers south of In India we consider this party
Former Education in resorts, but cannot work as Male and detained more like many others, secular but
Minister Mohamed Zahir bar tenders. than 50 people who clashed not atheist. But is it all a mask,
Hussain said a minority of “There is no popular sup- with police and security that of democracy which they
people in the moderate port for them,” Tourism Minis- forces. (AsiaNews/Agen- claim they want to serve?”
Sunni Muslim nation of ter Mahamood Shougee said. cies) (Nirmala Carvalho /

14 IMPACT • November 2007


Talibans attack Catholic schools in Swat Valley

Worried by the turn of boring Afghanistan.
events, many parents pulled In an editorial article, the
their daughters from the school, Daily Time says that the “gov-
which was forced to shut down ernment seems unable to con-
till next week when local au- trol the militant groups, who
thorities will send security have been controlling the dif-
agents to enforce security. ferent areas in the province and
However, only half of all non making people’s lives miser-
Muslim students are planning able,” opposed to everything
to come back. Many are actu- that makes Pakistan a modern
ally thinking about leaving the country.
country to avoid further vio- On September 26 various
lence. Christian and Muslim non-
What is happening does governmental organisations
not worry the Christian minor- operating in the country dem-
ity alone. In the Swat Valley, a onstrated in Islamabad against
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oc- Extremists enthusiasti- region much loved by Paki- the rising tide of violence. They
tober 23, 2007—The process cally welcomed the order, cit- stanis and one of the country’s warned the government that if
of “talebanization” of Pakistan ing the case of the three young richest areas, greater Islamist Islamic extremism is not
continues despite formal Christian women in Indonesia pressures show that the gov- stopped, humanitarian aid of
pledges by the central govern- who were decapitated for not ernment has failed to stem the any kind will dry up. (Qaiser
ment and local authorities. Is- wearing the veil. flow of Talibans from neigh- Felix / AsiaNews)
lamic extremism has in fact
reached the Swat Valley, once
known as the Switzerland of
the Orient, this according to a
report by Minorities Concern Tibet monks celebrate the Dalai Lama, arrested
of Pakistan, a local organiza-
tion which monitors the situa- DHARAMSALA, Tibet,
tion of minorities and viola- October 23, 2007—Chinese
tions of the human rights of the police have violently
population. quashed celebrations by
One of the cases cited in Buddhist monks in Tibet
the report involves a Catholic- for the conferral of the Gold
run public high school in Medal award by the US
Sangota, in the Swat Valley. In Congress on the Dalai
a recent letter, a group calling Lama. A group of Tibetans
itself Janisaran-i-Islam (Sacri- in exile in India have de-
fices of Islam) attacked the nounced the episode.
school administration for al- According to their re-
legedly “forcibly converting ports, police arrested
students” and “encouraging scores of monks and Ti-
un-Islamic behavior.” betan activists, over four
The fundamentalist group days in Lhasa last week.
calls for the firing of all Chris- The clashes were centered
tians employed by the school at the Drepung and Nechung monasteries in award by President George W. Bush had
and their replacement with fer- Lhasa which were sealed to keep the thou- “gravely undermined” US-China relations,
vent Muslims. It also threatens sands of monks inside and away from the defining the religious leader “a dangerous
suicide bombers “if its orders public. The initial clashes began after police activist for independence”.
are not followed.” questioned monks who were ceremonially The Dalai Lama has been out of China
Instead of finding out what whitewashing the walls of Drepung monas- since 1959 when he fled Tibet following a
the school had to say, the local tery a ritual which expresses “joy and puri- failed attempt at a revolt against the Chinese
government agreed with the fication”. army who had invaded the region nine years
letter, and issued an order that The exile sources said internet services before. Following the flight he settled in
all female students cover their in Lhasa were cut on October 17, the day the Dharamsala, northern India, where the exiled
heads in the school to preserve award was presented and reports of the government and parliament also have estab-
local Islamic morality from con- clashes filtered out slowly. Beijing said the lished themselves. (AsiaNews/Agencies)
version and atheism.

Volume 41 • Number 11 15
S T O R Y The Millenniu

The Millennium
Goals in RP
Missing Out on a Millennium Opportunity?

16 IMPACT • November 2007

um Development Goals in RP: Missing Out on a Millennium Opportunity?
© Photo courtesy of Reuel Mark Delez - http://www.flickr.com/photos/kamalayan

By Atty. Jo M. Imbong

n Year 2000, taking advantage of the turn of the millennium, then United
Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed a government framework
for development for member countries, particularly for developing and
least developed countries.
At the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, 189 nations
adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, embodied in General
Assembly Resolution No. 55/2. As a member state, the Philippines was a
signatory to the Declaration
The eight targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6 Combat HIVs/AIDs, malaria and other infectious diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8 Develop a global partnership for development
Notably, due to conflicts among country delegations on the definition
and framework for Maternal Health during the negotiations on Goal No. 5,
Reproductive Health was removed from the MDG general goals.
Contemporaneous documents in the U.N., however, do not rule out the
old and interminable agenda of population control and reproductive health in
the implementation of the MDGs. Various Task Force Reports of the Millen-
nium Development Project include clearly stated references to reproductive
health matters in several places. 1

Volume 41 • Number 11 17
S T O R Y The Millenniu

It is in fact believed that “women’s poverty trap in the poorest countries, re- • To achieve Universal Primary Educa-
reproductive rights are central to any sus- flecting the impact of poverty on the tion (Goal 2), “families with fewer
tained poverty-alleviation strategy, and ability to make investments, as well as the children, and children spaced further
even if the political language of the repro- treadmill effect of ever-increasing levels of apart, can afford to invest more in each
ductive health agenda is temporarily expenditure required for the provision of child’s education... girls who have
shelved for strategic reasons, the MDGs basic social services; (2) Sexual and repro- access to contraceptives are less likely
and the reproductive health agendas are ductive health and rights are recognized than those who do not become preg-
each the means and the ends of the other. as central pillars of gender equality; (3) nant and drop out of school.”
Each requires, sustains, and promotes the Sexual and reproductive health are recog- • To promote gender equality and to
other2 ... A number of important non-gov- nized as essential to progress against ill- empower women (Goal 3), “control-
ernmental organizations, private founda- ness and mortality among mothers, in- ling whether and when to have chil-
tions, and national governments … remain fants, and populations at risk of acquiring dren is a critical aspect of women’s
loyal to the reproductive health paradigm HIV/AIDS; and (4) Population dynamics empowerment.”
and to the idea that women’s reproductive are recognized as a background driver to • To reduce child mortality (Goal 4),
rights are central to any sustained pov- climate change.”7 “children in large families are likely to
erty-alleviation strategy.3 The MILLENNIUM PROJECT RE- have reduced health care, and un-
This perception is shared by Adrienne PORT also states that “sexual and repro- wanted children are more likely to die
Germain4 and Ruth Dixon-Mueller of ductive health is essential for reaching than wanted ones.”
International Women’s Health Coalition, the Goals. It entails healthy, voluntary, • To improve maternal health (Goal 5),
who wrote that “although reproductive and safe sexual and reproductive choices “preventing unplanned and high-risk
health is not specifically named as a goal, … Maternal mortality takes some 529,000 pregnancies and providing care in preg-
it is widely acknowledged that universal lives a year. Of those deaths, around 68,000 nancy, childbirth, and the postpartum
access to reproductive health services, are due to unsafe abortion, a sign of the period save women’s lives.” In the
including family planning and sexual need for better access to higher quality Philippines, Goal 5 has a secondary
health, is required for the achievement of family planning services to prevent un- target which is to increase access to
the MDGs (Sachs 2001; Singh et al. 2003; wanted pregnancies and (where permitted reproductive health services to 80%
United Nations Millennium Project 205; by law) to safe abortion practices.” 8 by 2010 and 100% by 2015. 9 This
WHO’ 2002 and 2004)” 5 How will the eight MDG’s be means, contraceptive prevalence must
An independent advisory body was achieved? TheMILLENNIUM PROJECT be at 100% for all women of reproduc-
commissioned to advise the UN on strat- REPORT defines very clear strategies: tive age (or at least for married women).
egies for achieving the Goals. Known as • To eliminate Extreme Poverty and As of 2006, contraceptive prevalence
the UN Millennium Project, its FINAL Hunger (Goal 1), “smaller families and is at 48.9%.
REPORT speaks of a “demographically- longer birth intervals, a result of con- • To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and
related poverty trap” and “attributes to traceptive use, allow families to invest other infectious diseases (Goal 6),
population a significantly causal role in more in each child’s nutrition and health “sexual and reproductive health care
development.” 6 The MILLENNIUM … At the national level, voluntary includes preventing and treating sexu-
PROJECT REPORT in fact declares that: reduction of birth rates may enable ally transmitted infections, including
(1) Rapid population growth continues to faster social and economic develop- HIV/AIDS. In addition, reproductive
be recognized as creating a demographic ment. health care can bring patients into the
health care system encouraging diag-
nosis and treatment of other diseases
and conditions.”
• To ensure environmental
sustainability (Goal 7), “providing
sexual and reproductive health ser-
vices and avoiding unwanted births
can help stabilize population numbers
in rural areas, slow urban migration,
and balance natural resource use with
the needs of the population.
• And finally, to develop a global part-
nership for development (Goal 8),“af-
fordable prices for drugs to treat HIV/
AIDS and a secure supply of contra-
ceptives would greatly advance re-
productive health programs in all de-
veloping countries.” The REPORT
acknowledges that “there are numer-
ous channels (entry points in the
MDG) to integrate sexual and repro-
ductive health services in a strength-
ened health system. 10

18 IMPACT • November 2007

um Development Goals in RP: Missing Out on a Millennium Opportunity?

© Reuel Mark Delez - http://www.flickr.com/photos/kamalayan

In the Philippines, the MDG agenda If DILG Circular 152 comes from the NY 14853-7601 ab54@cornell.edu,
has been put in place by DILG Circular 152 ‘kindness’ of the State for the general STUDIESINFAMILYPLANNING,vol.
which sets clear and specific targets such welfare, the State can kill the family by 36, No. 2, June 2005,
as increasing access to reproductive kindness. It will kill by kindness if we allow Ibid.
health services to 60% by 2005, 80% by it to treat families like they are Kindergar- Adrienne Germain is President, Inter-
2010 & 100% by 2015. This entails strong ten kids—nagging them not to have many national Women’s Health Coalition,
and funded advocacy and services on all children much like one would nag an over- 333 Seventh Avenue, Sixth Floor, New
methods of population control including weight kid to stop eating too much; entic- York, 10001, agermain@iwhc.org. Ruth
voluntary sterilization service (VSS) and ing us with contraceptive drugs as one Dixon-Mueller is a consultant.
adequate supply of contraceptives for all would force a spoonful of medicine into dixonmueller@yahoo.com
men and women of reproductive age. (If we the mouth of an unwilling toddler. Adrienne Germain and Ruth Dixon-
consider girls, the reproductive age is If not stopped and rewritten to truth- Mueller, “Reproductive Health and the
normally from 14 – 45 years.) fully address the real roots of extreme pov- MDGs: Is the Glass Half Full or Half
This strategy in Circular 152 is to be erty, Circular 152 can only deal the utmost Empty?”,STUDIES IN FAMILY PLAN-
expected considering that “the entire ado- injustice to the poorest people in the country NING, vol. 36, No. 2, June 2005, p. 137.
lescent population” 11 is a major target who look to the new millennium for new hope 6
identified in the Millennium Project Re- towards a better life. On the other hand, by Stan Bernstein, ‘The Changing Dis-
port, where adolescents are closely eyed navigating with the rudder of population course on Population and Develop-
for “literacy and numeracy training, and control, the developed and affluent coun- ment: Toward a New Political Demog-
nutrition and health information... includ- tries miss out on a millennium opportunity of raphy”, STUDIES IN FAMILY PLAN-
ing that of reproductive health”, 12 inte- ushering in an environment that will be truly NING, vol. 36, No. 2, June 2005, p. 130.
grated into the school curriculum,13 and to “conducive to development and to the elimi- 8
Ibid., p. 146.
be introduced “in primary schools and nation of poverty”17 I 9
See DILG Circular No. 152, series 2004.
continue through the secondary level”, 14 10
Stan Bernstein, Ibid., p. 147.
(Atty. Jo M. Imbong, Executive Secretary of the 11
because “they also have a higher unmet CBCP Legal Office, teaches at the Ateneo de Manila id., p. 154.
need for contraception… “ 15 University.) 12
For this country, it must be noted that Ibid.
the Task Force on Child Health and Ma- (Footnotes) Report of the Millennium Task Force
ternal Health of the Millennium Devel- on Gender Equality, Ibid., p. 154.
opment Project has recommended that 1
See Report of the MDG Task Force on UN TASK FORCE ON EDUCATION
“for abortion as for other areas of sexual Gender Equality at the later part of this ANDGENDEREQUALITY, Ibid.,p.148.
and reproductive health, governments Paper. United Nations Millennium Project
and other relevant actors should review 2
Professor Alaka Malwade Basu, Associ- Task Force on Child Health and Mater-
and revise laws, regulations, and practices ate Professor, Department of Sociology, nal Health 2005 page 74, Ibid., p. 139.
that jeopardize women’s health.” .16 Cornell University 323 Uris Hall, Ithaca 17
U.N. Millennium Declaration, III-12.

Volume 41 • Number 11 19

Weakening / p.13 child to know the identity of his or her riage and the family, and put forward four
ductive technologies, such as the sale or biological parents. But in the case of do- propositions.
donation of sperm or eggs; surrogacy and nor-conceived children, it is a federal crime (1) Every child has the right, in so far as
other developments on the horizon. to reveal to the child the identity of his or society can make it possible, to know and
The second is in the area of family law, her biological parents. be raised by its two natural biological
where there has been a steady lessening, Furthermore, the federal government, parents, except when it is contrary to the
and in some cases nearly the full elimina- in its policy of equal marriage rights for child’s best interests. The implication of
tion, of the distinctions between married homosexual and lesbian couples, proposes this right is that society should recognize
and unmarried persons in the eyes of the to remove the term “natural parent” from and support the institution of marriage,
law. The third trend, also in the area of family all Canadian laws, and replace it with the since marriage is our only social institu-
law, is the establishment of equal marriage term “legal parent”. tion that seeks fully to unite, in the per-
rights for homosexual and lesbian couples. sons of the spouses, the biological, so-
“To a significant degree, these three Personal autonomy cial, and legal dimensions of parenthood.
trends hang together. They largely comple- The great good and goal of marriage is to
ment and reinforce one another. They are This social change carries with it a give to each child the gift of the two
all defended by proponents who depend number of important likely consequences persons who brought the child into the
almost entirely on the language of human for families and society, said Blankenhorn. world. For this reason, marriage is
rights. The essential rights claim is that These include an increase in personal free- society’s most pro-child social institu-
modern individuals have the right to form dom and autonomy, greater recognition of tion and probably ultimately society’s
families of their own choosing and bear the rights and dignity of homosexuals and single most important protector and guar-
children in the way that they wish, without lesbians, a weakening of marriage as a pro- antor of the rights of children.
restriction or interference from society, child social institution, and direct strides (2) Every child has the right to a natural
and with the full support of available medi- towards the mercerization and biological heritage, defined as the
cal and scientific technologies.” commodification of human reproduction. union of the father’s sperm and the
Dr. Blankenhorn cited a number of Each of these likely consequences, he mother’s egg. Society should typi-
developments in different countries. Two said, deserves serious consideration. cally refrain from actions that would
contradictory moves in Canada may be One consequence is a fundamental efface or deny the child’s natural bio-
amongst the most amazing. Under Cana- redefinition of what it means to be a parent, logical heritage.
dian law, it is now the right of an adopted and how we decide who are a child’s par- (3) Every child has the right to know his
ents. “Specifically, I am re- or her biological origins. Individuals
ferring to the phenomenon and society should typically refrain
of erasing the biological ba- from creating genetic orphans, or chil-
sis of parenthood from law dren who do not and can not know
and replacing it with the idea their natural origins.
of the state-defined legal par- (4) Children have the right to be heard.
ent. This erasure not only Today, the rights claims of adults tend
represents a dramatic trans- to come through loud and clear.
fer of power from private life Children’s voices are much harder to
to the state, but is also, I hear.
believe, contrary to the best To illustrate this last point, Dr.
interests of children.” Blankenhorn read out a poignant letter
The right of the child to from an Australian, Narelle Grech. She
know his or her own two describes herself as “a 22-year-old donor-
natural parents is just as conceived adult”. In her letter she goes on
much a right, said to say “we are bargaining and trading
Blankenhorn, as the right of human beings here as though they are
the adult to marry and found items on supermarket shelves! Creating
a family. “As a sociological donor-conceived people who all of these
matter, we know that, for consenting adults know will be unable to
children, biological parents trace their biological mothers is, to me,
matter. The social science ignorant and cruel.”
evidence on this point is Ms. Grech speaks of the possibility of
overwhelming.” half-siblings she will never know, and writes
This results in a clear “How dare someone take away someone
case of rights in conflict. else’s freedom to know themselves? It is
Making one right stronger one of the most de-humanizing experiences
almost necessarily means I have had to face in my life. To look in the
making the other weaker. Dr. mirror on a day-to-day basis and question
Blankenhorn said there so much is one of the worst feelings.” I
should be some develop-
(Gerald Mercer is editor of the Australian magazine
ment of the rights of chil- Social Action. This article is lifted from MercatorNet
dren with respect to mar- with permission).

20 IMPACT • November 2007


Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral
Conference (MSPC) XIII

The Call for

Restoration of
Moral Values
The Bigger Picture in the
e, the 208 delegates ration with other Church insti-
composed of arch- tutions and agencies. We are
bishops, bishops, committed to truly make it a
Presidential Pardon priests, religious and lay lead-
ers, representing the 21 local
catalyst of moral renewal in
Church and society by trans-
churches in Mindanao-Sulu, mitting the faith and perform-
gathered together for the 13th ing it through Christian vir-

president granting ab- der the statue of justice has
solute pardon to a covered eyes, ‘para walang Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Con- tues and moral values. Despite
convicted and im- favoritism.’ ference held at Pope John some lapses and limitations,
peached predecessor is his- The pardoning presi- XXIII Pastoral Complex in the we strongly affirm the impor-
toric indeed. It will give people dent has spoken; the case Diocese of Surigao, Surigao tant role of the BEC as a new
today and future generations ends there. But where is “re- City from October 22 to 26, way of being Church, helping
the opportunity to debate and storative justice?” Where is 2007, convey this message to to identify, intensify and cul-
evaluate. The pardon covers the justice capable of restor- all the faithful and people of tivate the core Gospel values—
a multitude of sins which are ing harmony in social rela- goodwill. a potent force for social trans-
now left to Divine Justice— tions disrupted by the crimi- We now find ourselves formation.
cum—Mercy to resolve. In a nal act committed (cf. Com- within the era of globalization. We challenge ourselves,
death-bed scene, a dying per- pendium of the Social Doc- Conscious of the identity, vo- all the faithful and people of
son might hear God saying: “I trine of the Church, No. 403) cation and mission of the goodwill in Mindanao-Sulu to
will forgive you, I know you We appeal for the many Church, we have been reflect- recover and protect the Gospel
have already suffered, but you prisoners who may also de- ing on the restoration of moral values of love, peace, justice,
should be purified some more serve the same clemency for values through the Basic life, and the common good. We
in purgatory.” the sake of their poor families. Ecclesial Communities (BECs). also challenge all the BECs to
On this occasion we are A president pardoning a con- In Mindanao, we are con- become real moral agents of
thinking of the many prison- victed president may have fronted with issues such as productive dialogue, uphold-
ers whose crimes of lesser bigger implications than meet environmental degradation ing the virtues of truthfulness
gravity have not been proven our eyes now. And so reflec- and corruption in political gov- and honesty, solidarity and
and yet continue to suffer tion must continue, but this ernance. We are facing the compassion, simplicity of life
from the fact of “justice de- time with civil society. May it truth about our pastoral situ- and servant-leadership arising
layed justice denied.” Will bear the desired fruit of unity ation: the opportunities and from the imperatives of the
they be given the same privi- and reconciliation. I enjoin all challenges, success stories, Christian faith.
lege or consideration? The the faithful to pray that our and painful realities about our May Christ the head of
pardoned president could not country will be guided along shortcomings—the erosion of the Church, who calls us to be
be more privileged, consider- the path that is “maka-tao, moral values in Church and salt (Lk. 14:34-35: Mt 5:13; Mk
ing the many prisoners with maka-bayan at maka-Dios.” society. 9:50), light (Mt 5:14-16), and
lesser crimes of plunder and It is in this light that we leaven (Mt 13:33; Lk 13:20-21)
injustice who are rotting in MOST REV. ANGEL N. thereby reiterate the impor- of the world, make us witness
jail only because they have LAGDAMEO, DD tance of BEC as locus, focus, to this real presence in the call
no influence with the gov- Archbishop of Jaro and strategy of integral evan- for spiritual and moral regen-
ernment, justice system and CBCP President gelization. We reaffirm our eration. May Mary Mother of
even with the media. No won- October 26, 2007 commitment and our resolve the Church and of BECs inter-
to support the BEC in collabo- cede for us.

Volume 41 • Number 11 21

Our Firm Stand

Mentality Cash Gifts or Bribes?
“THE more people and social groups strive to resolve
social problems according to the truth, the more they

e hope it is not true the couple to exercise sexual distance themselves from abuses and act in accordance
that congress plans and family morality according with the objective demands of truth…The unscrupulous
to appropriate one to their religious conviction, use of money raises ever more pressing questions, which
billion pesos for the purchase are respected. Since the Church necessarily call for greater transparency and honesty in
of condoms, birth control pills objects to the use of artificial personal and social activity” (Compendium of the Social
and other “reproductive contraception, the church like- Doctrine of the Church, No. 198).
health” products to control wise objects to their dissemi- In the News too many question marks surround the
population growth. It if is true, nation, creating thereby a con- recent distribution of 500,000 pesos each to governors
we categorically object to it traceptive mentality towards a among whom, appearing like a hero, is Pampanga Governor
and instead strongly recom- culture of death. Ed Panlilio. What was the purpose of the cash gifts? Where
mend that the one billion pesos It is not true that the Phil- did they come from? Who was the personal source of the
be directly appropriated and/ ippines growth rate is 2.36%. cash? Were they for local government projects? Were they
or added for hunger and pov- The United Nations using the for the forthcoming Barangay Elections? Why were they
erty alleviation projects, as well same census data has arrived distributed only to pro-administration local officials? Why
as for free education of ex- at a very much lower rate. The not also to the opposition? Who ultimately will profit from
tremely poor children. National Statistics Office has these cash gifts? Are they really gifts or bribes?
The use of abortifacients, already projected a Philippine “The unscrupulous use of money raises ever more
contraceptive pills and de- population growth rate of pressing questions, which necessarily call for greater trans-
vises, sterilization, directly 1.99%. These notwithstand- parency and honesty in personal and social activity” (Com-
willed abortion are wrong in ing, we do not subscribe to the pendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 198).
themselves. They are against allegations that population Bribery is not an acceptable word even to culprits: so,
nature and God’s law. They are must be controlled because it it is better called “gifts.” And so, in order to feel good and
wrong not because the Catho- is the main cause of poverty; escape the blame of conscience …bribe is also called a “gift.”
lic Church forbids them; rather there are other grave factors. With this sort of thing happening, our country is not
the Church forbids them be- We will not join countries with only suffering from economic bankruptcy but also moral
cause they destroy the fruitful- collapsing population growth bankruptcy, disappointingly being shown by our leaders.
ness of human reproductive rate. We are very much concerned with our youth who are
capacities given by the Creator We exhort our clergy to looking at our leaders for models in honesty, integrity, and
and hence are morally wrong. proactively preach the doctrine transparency.
(CBCP said this already in 1990 of the Church on principled From the moral standpoint, one should not accept
and at other times!). It is not population control. We money about which questions can be asked because it
just a matter of being conser- strongly encourage and sup- renders responsibility, accountability, and transparency a
vative, but also of being mor- port our legislators in Congress dubious subject matter.
ally upright. and the Senate who promote I encourage and support the plan of our respectable
The church advocates the moral teachings on life, fam- senators to make the appropriate inquiry on the matter of
Natural Family Planning as the ily and population. distributing said cash gifts.
only morally acceptable way of
practicing responsible parent- MOST REV. ANGEL N. MOST REV. ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD
hood. The Church does not LAGDAMEO, DD Archbishop of Jaro
forbid the advocacy of the in- Archbishop of Jaro President, CBCP
crease or decrease of popula- CBCP President October 16, 2007
tion provided the freedom of October 6, 2007

22 IMPACT • November 2007


Pastoral Letter

Indigenous Peoples Sunday 2007

“ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1-2, 14)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, the passage of the Indigenous Peoples Zamboanga del Norte due to the
Rights Act in 1997. Through this law, as - failure of NCIP to register their CADT

his coming 14th of October, we will well as through the UN Declaration on with the Register of Deeds,
celebrate INDIGENOUS PEOPLES Indigenous Peoples Rights that was re- - procurement of an invalid Free Prior
SUNDAY. We consider this year cently approved by the United Nations and Informed Consent (FPIC) by a
particularly important because it is the 30th General Assembly, IP communities in our mining company, namely, Toronto
year of the creation of the Episcopal Com- country have gained recognition to their Ventures Inc. (TVIRD SCAA),
mission on Indigenous Peoples (ECIP). rights as peoples and have been able to - food blockade and forced eviction of
The ECIP embodies the official and con- assert their title to their ancestral domains. the communities by TVIRD SCAA.
scious Apostolate of the Church, together In the socio-economic arena, there is Historical circumstances have created
with the Dioceses and Religious Congre- a growing effort to protect and recover the mindset of majority of us of looking
gation, for our Indigenous brothers and indigenous knowledge which can be used down on our indigenous brothers and
sisters. For thirty years, the Church has in the present times to be a basis of their sisters, bringing about their
lent her moral authority and her human and economic activities. There is also greater marginalization and oppression. This same
material resources to support the struggle awareness now about their need for a kind mindset has erased from our historical
of our Indigenous Peoples for justice and of education that is appropriate for them. memory the fact that all Filipinos alive
self-determination. Despite these gains, the deep seated today have an indigenous heritage. Only
Last September 18-21, 43 dioceses all prejudices and biases against IPs that recently are we learning to remember this
over the Philippines participated in the 25th have been instilled in us over the centuries heritage and to appreciate that the seeds
ECIP-IPA National Convention in Baguio continue to inflict neglect, deprivation, of God’s Word are present in the IPs’ way
City, reflecting on the theme: The Word of injustice and even death to many indig- of life and culture. The Word of God is
God and the Indigenous Communities. enous communities and cultures. These enfleshed, albeit unknowingly, in their con-
We realized that the Word of God is alive in situations of violence have uprooted IPs nectedness to and deep respect for cre-
our indigenous peoples’ life and culture as from their territories, severing their life- ation as they care for their ancestral do-
manifested in their relationships with cre- giving relationships and sense of identity. mains. It is also present in their rituals and
ation, their ancestors and their community. Until today, acts of aggression continue in community life, which is their way of ex-
These relationships are living witnesses to the form of land-grabbing, human rights pressing their connectedness to God and
the ways they feel and hear the presence of violations, militarization and displacement to one another.
God articulated in epics, chants, prayers, of IP communities. In this year’s celebration of IP Sun-
and the community’s way of life particularly A few of the demands of IPs that day, therefore, I am inviting you first of all
through life-giving customs and traditions. surfaced during this convention are these: to value our own indigenous heritage as
In the Convention, we saw the many • that the National Commission on Indig- Filipinos. Instead of condemning and judg-
significant advances that IP communities enous Peoples (NCIP) speedily pro- ing our IP brothers and sisters as back-
have gained since thirty years ago. As our cess and award the Certificate of An- ward or pagan let us learn to listen to the
country’s IPs continue to listen to the cestral Domain Titles (CADTs) to the presence of God in their lifeways and cul-
wisdom of their ancestors and heritage, Ati of Boracay and similarly situated ture. Let us condemn the injustices they
they have been asserting their views about IP communities; are subjected to and support their legiti-
the detrimental effects of development • that the armed forces of the Govern- mate struggle for self-determination. Let
aggression and irresponsible extraction of ment and the New Peoples’Army re- us, above all, strive to live out God’s love
our natural resources. They have been spect the dignity of the indigenous in whatever culture and expression of faith
involved in bringing these concerns into peoples and stop their widespread we find ourselves.
the national consciousness and the Church recruitment as Citizens Armed Forces
has partnered with them in advocating for Geographical Units, CVOs or “Bagani”, For the Episcopal Commission on Indig-
more environment friendly practices. and that their areas be proclaimed as enous Peoples:
In the legal arena, they have pushed Peace Zones;
for the recognition of the distinctiveness • that everything must be done to stop +MOST REV. SERGIO L. UTLEG, DD
of their communities in the 1987 Philippine the injustice done to the Subanon Bishop of Laoag and ECIP Chairperson
Constitution and successfully lobbied for community of Mt. Canatuan in Siocon, October 14, 2007

Volume 41 • Number 11 23

ECIP-IPA National Convention

A call to discover September 18-21 2007
Sta. Catalina Spirituality Center, Baguio City

the face of Christ STATEMENT

among the
e the 93 representa- The case of the Subanon

prisoners tives of the 43 dio-

ceses, who partici-
pated in the 25th ECIP-IPA Na-
communities in Siocon,
Zamboanga del Norte against
Toronto Ventures Inc. (TVIRD
tional Convention held on Sep- SCAA)
tember 18-21, 2007 at Santa • Failure of NCIP to register the
Catalina Spirituality Center, CADT of the Subanon com-

n every society, crime and issues of law and order loom Baguio City, Philippines, have munities with the Register
large in public consciousness. The Philippines is no reflected on the theme “The of Deeds;
exception. Fair and just dealings between and among Word of God and the Indig- • Procurement of an invalid
people constitute the heartbeat of a good society. We all enous Communities”, and are FPIC by TVIRD SCAA;
need to feel safe in our homes, on our streets, in our united in declaring that: • Food blockade and forced
communities. The Word of God is alive in eviction of the communities
Recent events show that crime has escalated. Murder, indigenous peoples’ life and by TVIRD SCAA.
rape, robbery, drug trafficking, and graft and corruption culture as manifested in their And strongly support:
have become more widespread. Yet the traditional means relationships with creation, their The demand of the Ati of
of dealing with such crime seem unable to bring about ancestors and their community. Boracay and similarly situated
reconciliation and healing. The prison industry is expand- These relationships are living IP communities for a speedy reso-
ing. Fear of crime dominates too many lives. witnesses to the ways they feel lution by the NCIP in favor of the
The CBCP-ECPPC in celebration of the 20 th Prison and hear the presence of God processing and awarding of their
Awareness Sunday on October 28, 2007 re-affirms that articulated in epics, chants, CADTs;
from our Christian perspective criminal justice system must prayers, meaningful silence and The call on the government
not be built upon a philosophy of retribution, focusing the community’s way of life par- and the NPAs to respect the
primarily upon punishment flowing from feelings of re- ticularly through life-giving cus- dignity of the Indigenous
venge; a negative philosophy that produce negative re- toms and traditions. Peoples, who are sons and
sults. An adversarial system by definition does not seek Over the centuries, deep daughters of God, by stopping
always to find the truth of a particular matter, but rather seated prejudices and biases their widespread recruitment;
seeks a victory for one or other party. Such a system does against IPs have wrought ne- The efforts of IP communi-
not encourage offenders to take personal responsibility for glect, deprivation, injustice and ties to make their areas Peace
their actions and can leave victims feeling that they are on even death of many communi- Zones;
trial too. It does not bring peace in the community. ties and cultures. These situa- The filing of the case of the
The CBCP-ECPPC challenges this philosophy of ret- tions of violence have uprooted Subanon community of Mt.
ribution on the basis that it is negative and usually coun- IPs from their territories, sever- Canatuan, Siocon, Zamboanga
terproductive. We hold that compassion, mercy, healing, ing their life-giving relationships del Norte, on racial discrimination
sanction where appropriate and forgiveness leading to and sense of identity. and human rights violations in
reconciliation lie at the heart of a fair and just criminal justice Until today, these acts of Geneva, Switzerland adopted by
system. Even the worst of offenders remain children of aggression continue in the form the CERD on its 71st session held
God. We are called to discover the face of Christ among of land-grabbing, human rights from 30 July to 17 August 2007;
them. violations, militarization and dis- Let us recognize that Jesus,
The CBCP-ECPPC believes that victims need to be placement of IP communities. the Word of God, identified Him-
more actively engaged in the criminal justice system, pro- We, therefore, protest the self with the IPs when he said
vided that healing and reconciliation are the focus of such following incidents: that: “Whatsoever you do to the
engagement. The slow implementation of least of my brothers and sisters,
The CBCP-ECPPC strongly urges our society to adopt the resolution on the CADT you did it to Me.” (Mt. 25, 40)
a more restorative intervention in our criminal justice application of the Ati commu-
system and work for justice that heals. nity in Boracay; For the participants of the 25th
The systematic recruitment ECIP-IPA National Convention,
+MOST REV. PEDRO ARIGO, DD of the indigenous people to be-
Bishop of Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan come members of the CAFGUs, +Most Rev. Sergio L. Utleg, DD
Chairman-ECPPC CVOs and other para-military Bishop of Laoag
groups like “Bagani”; ECIP Chairperson

24 IMPACT • November 2007


e, concerned Church people from
the Association of Major Reli-
gious Superiors in the Philippines
(AMRSP), the Catholic Educational Asso-
ciation of the Philippines (CEAP-NCR),
the Manila Archdiocesan Parochial School
Association (MAPSA) and the Parish
Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting
(PPCRV) gathered today, October 4, 2007,
at the Sta. Isabel College, Manila to reflect
on the present turbulence in the Philippine
society caused by the unfolding of events

‘Watch and Pray’

in the on-going Senate hearings. We gath-
ered credible information on the events
and issues and sought to reflect on these
in the light of our faith.
The present controversy has af-
fected us deeply and awakened many
• Confusion because amidst charges
and counter-charges, the truth behind October
the latest NBN controversy still elude
us, and government leaders involved
refuse to be accountable and transpar- 1) ADVOCACY FOR TRUTH AND are accountable, competent and commit-
ent to the people who have a right to ACCOUNTABILITY: ted to the real service of our people espe-
know Despite our weariness, we resolve to cially the poor. This will involve working
• Anger and outrage at the potential advocate the continued search for truth toward electoral reform and revitalizing
harm done to the Filipino people, by a behind what seems like a cover up aimed at voters’ education and advocating a cred-
contract, now mercifully already misleading the Filipino people. We refuse to ible COMELEC. This also means educat-
scrapped, that would have placed an “move on” in the name of a promised ing the young towards political participa-
enormous economic burden on the progress, because we know that unless a tion and holiness.
Filipino people, for the sake of the culture and the protocols of transparency Despite the magnitude of the chal-
vested interests of a few. and accountability are in place, no progress lenges we face, we dare to hope extrava-
• Even greater anger when we glimpse, will be real and lasting. This resolve includes gantly, because we believe in the good-
that this project, carried out with great a demand to bring to justice those whom a ness of our people and the power of the
secrecy, involved corruption on a very credible process of inquiry reveals to be Lord working in and among us.
large scale, apparently among leaders guilty of crimes against the Filipino people. We call to mind the teachings of the
in very high places. How high this Church: “Men and women have the spe-
corruption goes still remains to be 2)CULTURALREGENERATION: cific duty to move always towards the
discovered. We acknowledge that corruption is truth, to respect it and bear witness to it.
• Deep dissatisfaction and loss of trust, ingrained in our culture, indeed in our- Living in the truth has special signifi-
because this is but the latest instance selves. We commit ourselves and our In- cance in social relationships…” (Com-
in a long series of still unresolved stitutions to cultural renewal. We will pendium of the Social Doctrine of the
cases of apparent corruption among examine ourselves in humility and hon- Church #197). Bearing this in mind and
public officials, in which the truth is esty and find ways to heighten our aware- carrying hope in our hearts, we will seek to
hidden from the people who have the ness of the taint of corruption in our lives create “islands of excellence and light”
right to know. and institutions as well as finding ways of amidst a sea of darkness in our country.
• Sadness and disillusionment, because correcting that which we find to be cor- However modest these beginnings, we
this new controversy, is just the latest rupt. We will proactively promote a culture believe that when these “islands” are joined
manifestation of the culture of corrup- of integrity and practices of transparency together in a network, we will have built up
tion, non-accountability and impunity, and accountability in our own lives and in a country of excellence and light, of integ-
which plagues government but also our institutions. We will reinvigorate and rity and truth.
much of our Philippine culture (and strengthen values formation and educa-
indeed the Church) and which exacer- tion at all levels. - Association of Major Religious Supe-
bates the already terrible poverty of riors in the Philippines (AMRSP)
our people. 3) ENGAGEMENT TOWARD GOOD - Catholic Educational Association of
Moved by our Christian faith in the LEADERSHIP: the Philippines-the National Capital
Lord who is Truth and our adherence to We will help train leaders, work to- Region(CEAP-NCR)
the Catholic social vision which calls all ward the emergence of alternative leaders - Manila Archdiocesan & Parochial
and especially those in public office to and work so that the electoral exercises of Schools Association (MAPSA)
work for the common good, we commit 2007 and 2010 will result in honest elec- - Parish Pastoral Council for Respon-
ourselves to the following: tions that will place in power leaders who sible Voting (PPCRV)

Volume 41 • Number 11 25

Forgive Us The Makati Explosion

he pacing of the dis-
gusting and disturb-
ing events in the coun-
downright war material kept
and used by the armed forces.
Who were the charac-
try that infallibly involves ters who had in possession

o forgive us please, lives really miserable.
young people of today. In your goodness, please Malacañang is too fast that the devastating bomb, who
Our national hero said do not be afraid of us as we are people hardly have enough deliberately carried, carefully
with hope and pride that you not worth your fear. Do not time to think and make rea- planted and decidedly staged
were the hope of the country. tolerate us much less allow us sonable conclusions about its deadly explosion? Were
One very distinguished and to exploit the people much them. It all began in May they but thugs and ruffians?
much loved Pope also affirmed longer, to pocket more of their 2004 and the list of such Were they merely publicity
that the young people of the hard earned money paid as messy and nauseous hap- hungry individuals, plain
world were the strength and taxes. We are prepared not to penings goes on. And there mentally disturbed persons
hope of the universal Church. expect much less demand your are no promising signs so or highly paid mercenaries?
This truth has acquired spe- respect when we are down- far that such moral, social Or were they in fact chosen
cial relevance during these right disrespectable, for you and political gross aberra- members of the military or
times when we your elders to honor us when we have tions will stop soon. para-military personnel?
have failed in teaching you by become so dishonorable and Even but a brief look at Why was the bombing
the lives we live, by the ex- even despicable. the recent past is enough for and killing, the burning and
amples we give. We have Would that once fallen from many concerned citizens to destruction done? Was it to
wronged you in so many ways, our self-made glorious pedes- feel depressed, to pity the simply prove that murder
for so many years. tals and brought down from our country, to ask questions. and devastation were a reli-
We have made lying, empty and deceiving visionary The ZTE fiasco. The ques- gious commitment? Was it
cheating and stealing as stan- projections, we your corrupt and tionable cyberspace educa- purely accidental, inciden-
dard actuations of supposedly corrupting elders would find the tion. The much over-priced tal or coincidental? Or was it
educated individuals. You see opportunity to return what we Call Center Lab. The unac- in truth but to stage a cover-
us making graft and corrup- stole, to tell the truth as it is, and counted multi-million Palace up, to engage in a basically
tion, bribery and callousness to make amends for our practi- Fund, The Malacañang brib- diversionary tactic? The
as our daily bread. We teach cally countless misdeeds ery adventure. And all these way the investigations are
you that might is right, that against you, your beloved fami- were immediately followed going on, there might not be
wealth and power are all that lies, you dear country. Would by the destructive and a really acceptable answer
count, that money buys not that you continue to hold on to deadly explosion. It killed or to the said questions.
only values and principles but the saying that, “Hope springs hurt innocent men and One thing is certain:
persons as well. And in addi- eternal.” women, helpless young there are those who are in
tion to all these, you behold You cannot and should people and children. Need- effect blessed by the explo-
how human lives have become not indulge in despair. This is less to say, the nation cries sion in no less than the busy
cheap, how human rights are bad for your present and fatal with their families, relatives place and business center
only true for those who can for your future and that of the and friends, as people pray of Makati. For the moment
afford to pay for them. country. Otherwise, you for the eternal repose of at least, they deflected the
As the youth of the coun- would prove our national hero those who died and for the attention of people whose
try, you have all the reasons to as well as the saintly Pope all full recovery of those hurt in sound value system and ba-
look down upon us, your el- wrong if you lose hope—you the big blast. sic sense of decency have
ders, to hold us in disdain and who are precisely the hope of Meantime, the ques- been long offended and in-
contempt. You are well aware the country and of the Church tions: censed by big successive
of how we sell your natural as well. No matter how evil and What was really used to Malacañang money scan-
patrimony, how we success- odious we your elders are, no kill and hurt people, to blow dals.
fully divide the people and im- matter how powerful and up and destroy the place, to Terrorism! If this were
poverish your families. Many wealthy we have become cause much commotion and the real reason behind the
of you have no means even to through vicious means, we go apprehension? Even the offi- bombing and devastation,
go school, to have sufficient by the wayside and eventu- cial answer given is in fact while people in general would
meals, to look forward to your ally die sooner or later, con- more appalling and much have reasons to be afraid,
future. In fact, some of the verted from our sins or pre- frightful: Military ordinance! Malacañang on the other
members of your families even cisely condemned in them. No. It is not a bomb made here hand might find the rationale
sell their organs in exchange And then you take over. and there. It is not even ordi- to rejoice. This is the big para-
for some food, clothing and Meantime, forgive us! nary explosive that is used dox of the Makati explosion.
ovc.blogspot.com every now and then, it is a ovc.blogspot.com
shelter. Our greed has impov-
erished them and made their

26 IMPACT • November 2007


Nationalism vs. Partnership

truly big and often fatal enemy of nationalism is “My loyalty to my party ends when my fidelity to my
political partisanship. This can be readily equated Country begins.” This known pronouncement of a distin-
with partisan biases and prejudices, given political guished political leader says it candidly and well. The
concerns and interests. While the principle of nationalism wanton disregard and repeated violation of the substance
is basically to think, speak and act for the benefit and and implications of the admirable maxim are precisely the
development of the country, the norm governing partisan- causal factors of profound division and dissent, the
ship is primarily to consider, decide and move in favor of pervasive misery and poverty, the pitiful and critical
the advancement of the political party—over and above situation now obtaining in the Philippines.
the public welfare, outside and beyond the common good. A concrete case in point is the serious issue of
Partisanship is a way of life of a political community. impeachment. The way partisan politics presently work
Political parties come and go in terms of the majority and in the country, any and all impeachable complaints are
the minority, the pro-administration and opposition party. considered fully resolved merely by the count of hands
As such, the political system is a blessing to a country raised in favor or against them. As of now, no impeach-
when purely political issues are concerned, if simply ment complaint submitted to the Lower House of
partisan questions are raised. This reality is specially Congress would prosper no matter how meritorious it is
relevant to and significant for general advantage of the in substance and how perfect it is in form. In other
country when partisan politics serve by way of checks words, what is right or wrong, what is according or
and balances in the resolution of secular matters. against the Fundamental Law of the Land, gets decided
There are however distinct and significant problems by sheer partisan politics.
that should be responded to beyond partisan politics Politics are not beyond the rule of good or evil, above
particularly when nothing less than the national present the norm of what is virtuous or vicious. Politicians for that
and future of a country are already at stake. This is matter are neither exempted from the socio-moral man-
specifically true when such questions already enter the date against lying, cheating and stealing. Thus is it that
sphere of ethics or the area of morals. Between lie and partisan politics still remain subordinate to the elementary
truth, integrity and corruption, honesty and thievery— principle of right over wrong, honor over profit, truth over
these and similar social concerns should be responded to injustice. In instances such as these, “crossing party
by adherence to basic principles of right living—not lines” becomes in order. Otherwise, partisanship be-
merely according to political partisan affiliation. comes a curse to nationalism.

Volume 41 • Number 11 27

A trip to Israel

homas Edison
homas Edison tried
tried two
two thou-
sand different
sand different materials
materials in in

Jewish businessman in Chicago home a Christian.” Perhaps we should go search of
search of aa filament
filament for for the
sent his son to Israel for a year to see the rabbi. So they did, and they ex- light bulb.
light bulb. When
When none
none worked
worked sat-
absorb the culture. When the son plained their problem to the rabbi. isfactorily, his
isfactorily, his assistant
assistant com- com-
returned, he said, “Papa, I had a great time “Funny you should ask,” said the plained, “All
plained, “All our
our work
work is is in
in vain.
in Israel. By the way, I converted to Chris- rabbi. “I, too, sent my son to Israel, and he We have
We have learned
learned nothing.”
tianity.”” also came home a Christian. What is hap- Edison replied
Edison replied very
very confidently,
Oy vey,” said the father. “What have pening to our young people?” “Oh, we
“Oh, we have
have come
come aa long
long way
way and
I done?” And so they all prayed, telling the Lord we have
we have learned
learned aa lot.
lot. We
We now
now that
He took his problem to his best friend. about their sons. As they finished their there are
there are two
two thousand
thousand elements
“Ike,” he said, “I sent my son to Israel, and prayer, a voice came from the heavens... which we
which we cannot
cannot useuse toto make
make aa
he came home a Christian. What can I do?” “Funny you should ask,” said the good light
good light bulb."
“Funny you should ask,” said Ike. “I too, voice. “I, too, sent my son to Israel.” rowena.dalanon@cbcpworld.net
sent my son to Israel, and he also came rowena.dalanon@cbcpworld.net

young lady was ing. She just thought: and, to her surprise, her
waiting for her “What a nerve! If I was in packet of cookies was there,
flight in a board- the mood I would punch untouched, unopened!
ing room of a big airport. him for daring?” She felt so ashamed!!
As she would need to For each cookie she She realized that she was
wait many hours, she de- took, the man took one too. wrong… She had forgot-
cided to buy a book to This was infuriating her but ten that her cookies were
spend her time. She also she didn’t want to cause a kept in her purse.
bought a packet of cook- scene. When only one The man had divided
ies. cookie remained, she his cookies with her, with-
She sat down in an thought: “ah… what this out feeling angered or bit-
armchair, in the VIP abusive man do now?” ter. While she had been
room of the airport, to Then, the man, taking the very angry, thinking that
rest and read in peace. last cookie, divided it into she was dividing her cook-
Beside the armchair half, giving her one half. ies with him. And now there
where the packet of Ah! That was too was no chance to explain
cookies lay, a man sat much! She was much too herself… nor to apologize.
down in the next seat, angry now! In a huff, she There are four things
opened his magazine took her book, her things that you cannot recover. The
and started reading. and stormed to the board- stone… after the throw. The
When she took out ing place. When she sat word… after it’s said. The
the first cookie, the man down in her seat, inside the occasion… after the loss!
took one also. She felt plane, she looked into her And the time… after it’s gone.
irritated but said noth- purse to take her eyeglasses, rowena.dalanon@cbcpworld.net

28 IMPACT • October 2007


Alfredo Loving, Our The Tickle your

Verzosa, Way of Living Martyrdom of Soul
Obispo Bp. Teodoro C. Bacani, Jr. Lorenzo Ruiz Anne Bryan Smollin, C.S.J.
Ericson M. Josue At his foreword, Gaudencio A historical Novel With a doctorate in counsel-
Cardinal Rosales of the Arch- ing, the author is an interna-
“‘Alfredo Verzosa, Obispo’ was diocese of Manila aptly says Susan Tan tional lecturer on wellness
the pastoral and spiritual that this work is the author’s and spirituality. That may be
guide of his auxiliary, the Ser- “suggested ‘small-small There are many ways in writ- a handy assurance that all the
vant of God, Bishop Ma. Obviar, steps approach to the life of ing history. The traditional his- entries in this volume are
the “holy fruit” of his ministry in love,’ to be lived easily by any toriography unfolds with the battle-tested, coming as they
Lipa. If such was the fruit what and everyone. The numerous chronology of events, the probably are from years of
must the vine have been? Both examples cited…truly encour- movement of the times, and experience and interaction
were catechists ‘of the high- age the reader to discover that the achievements and failures with warm bodies. This vol-
est caliber,’” thus comments in daily life there are golden of its leaders. Another is to ume can easily become the
Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, opportunities to give approach history from the “soundtrack” of her career as
CBCP president on the book— love…that Jesus was sent to point of view of the philosophi- a family counselor. She
which maybe a good way of show us that love is easy to cal interpretation of protago- writes: “There is nothing like
telling what this biographical practice, if done in little acts nists as in the case of the Marx- a good laugh. It tickles our
work is all about. Fr. Ericson and lived in simple ways.” ist theory of class struggle. very souls. Laughter is an ac-
Josue started his research out Love, of course, is the most Susan Tan uses none of tivity of the heart. We scrunch
of mere curiosity which was talked-about topic across the these. She presents the mar- our souls with negativity and
triggered after noticing a for- centuries so that one would tyrdom of Lorenzo Ruiz with the a lack of enthusiasm, but
gotten tomb at the crypt in the agree with Qoheleth that noth- literary vigor of a novelist and laughter smoothes them out.
Vigan Cathedral which turned ing more is new under the the historical accuracy of an Laughter makes a noise so
out to be that of the “Obispo”. sun. But what makes this vol- obsessed researcher. Not un- others can hear our feelings.”
Writing as a fulfillment of a ume different from all the oth- like the Jewish midrash, the This obviously is an easy
seminary requirement, this ers is that it moves at the purity of the historical truth is reading that can be tucked in
has earned him a degree in breath of Deus Caritas Est and recreated and sustained with one’s pocket on the way to
theology—and enthusiasm Sacramentum Caritatis of the depth of a master story the airport or simply a light
among those pursuing the Benedict XVI and finds con- teller. The story opens on a companion on some lazy
cause of Bishop Obviar which crete expressions in the ex- bleak autumn that symbolically rainy days. Simple, crisp and
graduated from a research periences, however modest, caricatures a 17th century Ja- short, each chapter is clad
paper into a full-blown bio- of “ Pondo ng Pinoy”. At the pan characterized by a closed with anecdotes and real sto-
graphical book. Bishop Alfredo end of the book, the author shogunate (Closed Country ries and a punch line that al-
Verzosa, the fourth Filipino renders his personal credo Edict of 1635) that expelled lows you to pause before
Roman Catholic Bishop, is and concludes with a prayer missionaries and executed navigating on to the next
exceptional, notes Cardinal “that God-Love will consume numerous converts to Chris- pages.
Gaudencio Rosales in his all my selfishness, pride, in- tianity. Published by Paulines
Foreword. He was chosen difference and hatred, and publications, this one is an in-
from among many to become turn everything in me to love, teresting read.
the second bishop of Lipa af- so that like God-Love I may
ter Msgr. Giuseppe Petrelli always love, always be in love
who concurrently held the of- with Love.”
fice of Apostolic Delegate to the

Volume 41 • Number 10 29

Title: Knocked Up Editors: Craig Alpert, Brent
Running Time: 132 min White
Cast: Robin Seth Rogan, Genre: Comedy
Katherine Heigl, Paul Cinematography: Eric Alan
Rudd, Leslie Mann Edwards
Director: Judd Apatow Distributor: UIP- Solar
Producers: Judd Apatow, Location: LA. California
Shauna Robertson, Technical Assessment:
Clayton Townsend zzz
Screenwriter: Judd Apatow Moral Assessment: 
Music: Joe Henry, Loudon CINEMA Rating: For mature
Wainwright III viewers 18 and above

O n the day she got pro- and a series of pregnancy

moted as an on-cam tests. She decides to con-
host of E! Television tact Ben whose phone num-
Network, 24-year old Alison ber she didn’t even bother
Scott (Katherine Heigl) to get. Ben’s initial response
spends the night in bar with of shock and anger mixed curities truthfully, not mali- guaranteed to challenge the
her sister Debbie (Leslie with Alison’s frustration ciously. Although well told most stable of couples, much
Mann) to celebrate. She ac- creates tension, resulting in and developed, the movie less a duo who’ve only re-
cidentally meets Ben Stone Ben agreeing to take Alison could have tightened up a cently become acquainted.
(Seth Rogan), a 23 year old to the OB-GYN to confirm little bit more especially in On the positive side, the
slacker and bum who is also the pregnancy. Once con- the middle part. The perfor- movie shows that despite our
in the same bar with his firmed, they decide to live mances are well delivered and flaws, weaknesses, and
equally jobless friends. together and try to make a characters are convincingly struggles, there remains in
They Chat, get drunk and relationship happen. But truthful. However, presenta- every person the capacity to
enjoy the night dancing and their differences soon sur- tions of some scenes sup- love unconditionally, forgive
eventually end up for a one face and create friction and posedly for comedy are done when we are wronged, rec-
night stand. Come morning, complexity throughout the in poor taste. The movie has oncile when there is division
they discover how different pregnancy. its moments, but not enough and, ultimately, to rejoice in
their lives are and decide The movie is funny and of them to make it great. the gift of life. It demon-
that this is about how far it entertaining technically with The movie illustrates strates the downside of be-
will go. Eight weeks later its bittersweet realism. The how parenthood, now mat- ing too liberated in having
though, Alison realizes she performances are likeable and ter how well it works out in intimate relations and the
is pregnant after several the director portrays their the end, is a frightening pro- struggles and difficulty of
morning sickness episodes shortcoming, fear, and inse- cess, and childrearing if trying to create a relation-
ship because of a pregnancy.
It also presents the complexi-
ties of married life and how
at the end of the day, couples
who are truly in love and are
determined to make the mar-
riage work will always find a
way to stay together despite
personality differences and
biases. However, the film
comic scenes are a bit vulgar
and offensive. Repeated ref-
erences to drugs, pre-mari-
tal sex, nudity, pornography,
abortion, living-in although
QUOTES IN QUIZ Booklets available done for humor may offend
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NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR. DO YOU KNOW YOUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR? - and selected malls in Manila. For mail culture and give bad role
- MOTHER TERESA order text 0919 2803036. models for the young.

30 IMPACT • November 2007



Suu Kyi in talks with Communist Party Delhi’s monkey menace Olmert to have sur-
gov’t unveils leadership Thousands of mon- gery for cancer
Generals here have kept line keys are making life dif- Israeli Prime Minister
their promise to hold talks ficult in the Indian capital Ehud Olmert said he had
China’s Communist as they roam free, rou-
with the country’s oppo- Party has unveiled the been diagnosed with an
sition leader, Aung San tinely invading govern- early stage of prostate
leadership line-up that ment buildings. But city
Suu Kyi. Labour Minis- will steer the country for cancer and would un-
ter, General Aung Kyi has planners are yet to de- dergo surgery, but re-
the next five years. Presi- cide what to do about
been given the task of im- dent Hu Jintao has won a portedly his condition
proving relations with the the scourge of violent was not life threatening
second term as party and monkeys, especially af-
opposition. What was said army chief. The four new and he would stay on the
remains unknown, al- ter the city’s deputy job. Mr. Olmert said that
members of Chinese mayor died this week
though it was seen as a cabinet include only one surgery was planned “in
positive step. Pro-democ- while fighting off a horde the next few months.”
obvious supporter of of wild simians.
racy activists, however, President Hu. That has Olmert, 62, took office
remain cautious. left observers wonder- in January 2006 after his
ing if he will be able to PHILIPPINES predecessor, Ariel
alter China’s economic Sharon, suffered a mas-
THAILAND policy in any drastic way. HRW urges gov’t to sive stroke.
stop ban on critics
A third of primates
endangered The Arroyo adminis- PAKISTAN
tration should stop
Almost a third of all blacklisting peaceful Benazir’s niece criti-
apes, monkeys and other Selective abortions critics and banning them
primates are in danger of from entering the coun- cal of her homecom-
going extinct due to ram- blamed for glut of try, Human Rights Watch ing
pant destruction of their sons (HRW) said. The group
tropical habitat, the com- has obtained the The Pakistan govern-
mercial sale of bush meat Authorities are wor- government’s blacklist ment is proposing ban-
and the trade in illegal ried about a growing im- banning 504 people from ning large rallies ahead
wildlife, a report said. 25 balance in the ratio of entering the country in of January’s parliamen-
of the most endangered boy to girl children. A July and August with, ac- tary elections to avoid a
primates are singled out new study has found the cording to the document, repeat of last week’s
in the report, which was number of surviving male “Al-Qaeda/Taliban deadly suicide bombings
to be presented at the In- children compared to Link.” HRW said the during Benazir Bhutto’s
ternational Primatological girls is considerably government has rights to homecoming. Ms. Bhutto
Society in Hainan, China. higher than the interna- protect its people “but has now suggested tak-
Among those most at risk tional average of 104 labeling peaceful critics ing her campaign online.
are the Miss Waldron’s boys for every 100 girls. as Al-Qaeda or Taliban But her opponents, in-
red colobus of Ivory There are concerns Viet- only serves to sap public cluding members of her
Coast and Ghana and namese parents are re- confidence in counter- family, say that will not
Chi-na’s Hainan gibbon, sorting to selective abor- terror measures and ex- wipe away the blood on
whose numbers have tion to make sure they poses them as a cover her hands from last
dwindled to 17. have at least one son. for suppressing dissent.” week’s carnage.

Volume 41 • Number 11 31