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Vol 41, No 12 • DECEMBER 2007 Php 70.

Quote in the Act
ISSN 0300-4155
“Selling atheism to kids.” Asian Magazine for Human Transformation
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights (New York), curtly criticizes Through Education, Social Advocacy and Evangelization
“The Golden Compass” which is based on the award-winning trilogy by P.O. Box 2481, 1099 Manila, Philippines
religious skeptic Philip Pullman, “His Dark Materials”; conservative
Copyright 1974 by Social Impact Foundation, Inc.
Roman Catholics and evangelicals have joined the condemnation chorus.
But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops rates the film “intelligent and REMITTING ADDRESSES
well-crafted entertainment.”
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2 IMPACT • December 2007

IMPACT December 2007 / Vol 41 • No 12

GROWING up in a predominantly Christian nation,
it never occurred to me that Christmas is not EDITORIAL
everybody’s business—until lately when inter-reli-
gious concern became a contemporary issue as the Truth, Justice, Change ........................................... 27
environment and gender sensitivity are. Celebrating
Christmas came as naturally as the changing of the COVER STORY
seasons that are remarkably studded with various
Christian observances.
This issue opens with Carolyn Moynihan’s Merry
Christmas and Happy Holidays, too, just to cover the bases.
Interestingly, she posits that the present global village

Cover photo courtesy of Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

with multi-religious sentiments and convictions, in
fact, may just do well with Christmas around. For,
how could one imagine a year without it—despite
Christmas having been defrocked, but understand-
ingly enough among those of different religious back-
grounds and those in the business and entertainment
community, of its real Christian significance.
Like it was originally in Bethlehem, the birth of the
Son was intended not only for the children of Israel,
but also—and especially so—for those who closed
their doors in the faces of Joseph and Mary which led THEOTOKOS: The Love, Veneration, and
them ultimately to the simplicity and poverty of the
manger. Imitation of Mary, the Mother of God ............. 16
By reason of its intention, Christmas indeed is univer- ARTICLES
sal. Which is why, it is not very missionary to keep
saying that people are removing Christ from Christ- Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, too, just
mas. It is just that Christians are rather slow in their
mission “of giving birth to Christ” among their com-
to cover the bases ................................................ 4
munities and in their circle of influence. Demystifying Biofuels ............................................ 6
This issue hastened to add the story about the Sumilao
Farmers who have been trekking on foot for almost
Love to Feed, Feed to Love ..................................... 9
two months now all the way from Bukidnon in Walk for Sumilao.Walk for Justice ...................... 12
Mindanao to Manila. They did this in order to push
their claim of a 144-hectare land that has been awarded The corruption of power ........................................ 23
to them under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Program. It is good to note that the original conversion Why a National Rural Congress II? .................... 24
of the land, was approved by Malacañang in 1996
and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1999.
But by sudden twist of fate which anyway unfolded DEPARTMENTS
through legal—or was it illegal?—machinations of
the rich and influential, the land landed on the soiled Quote in the Act ...................................................... 2
hands of San Miguel Foods Inc. (SMFI) that bought
this land in bad faith, if not really in the ambit of
News Features ......................................................... 14
deception, despite their due diligence of the property
in question. What happened to the social responsibil-
Statements ................................................................ 20
ity that San Miguel Foods Inc. (SMFI) has been mouth- From the Blogs ......................................................... 26
ing all these years?
From the Inbox ........................................................ 28
Contemplating on Mary this Christmas is the lead of
our cover story. Tarlac priest, Fr. Melvin Castro, who Book Reviews .......................................................... 29
is the Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commis-
sion on Family and Life, writes, “Theotokos: the Love, CINEMA Review .................................................... 30
Veneration, and Imitation of Mary, the Mother of God.”
Mary is the perfect icon of Christmas. It is in this sense Quotes in Quiz ........................................................ 30
that every Christian is to be a “theotokos”, not in the
way of “divine maternity”, but as an itinerary of faith News Briefs .............................................................. 31
by giving birth to Jesus in every one’s life. Read on.
Volume 41 • Number 12 3

Merry Christmas and A

ll my life I have looked on Christmas
as a celebration that united people.
Even if it only amounted to a lighted
tree in a window, presents and a family
dinner, it was something that made every-
one happy. The fact that, in my part of the

Happy Holidays, too,

world, it was the start of the long summer
holidays certainly helped to put people in
a relaxed and expansive mood, but it was
the magic of Christmas itself that seemed
to make people smile and greet perfect

just to cover the bases

Of course, there were exceptions: lon-
ers and drifters always stood out more at
Christmas, and still do, disturbing any
feelings of smug well-being and reminding
us to open the family circle to the elderly
neighbor or the new immigrant and give of
ourselves. But there was no sign that people
of other faiths were offended by the Chris-
tian character of the festival. I never heard
By Carolyn Moynihan that the Jewish community might be un-
happy or that Chinese and Indian shop-
keepers might regard the holiday as an
Can the West celebrate Christmas without imposition.
Until recently. Distant rumblings of a
offending its non-Christian minorities, or culture war over Christmas finally reached
do we have to settle for mere holiday spirit? our shores early this month as a clear salvo
in the form of a card to householders from
And what will happen if we do? the New Zealand postal service wishing

4 IMPACT • December 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, too, just to cover the bases

us “Happy holidays”. Perhaps they have religious minorities for whose sake we are Someone motivates us to live well, re-
done it before and I didn’t notice, but I was to abandon Christmas can all look to parts specting others, even though we do not
alerted this year by the sparks flying in the of the world where their religion is an always live up to his demands.
United States over this substitute for integral part of public life. Some even come Nothing is as persuasive in this re-
“Merry Christmas”, which has featured from theocracies where other religions, gard as Christmas—the festival of God
prominently in news bulletins from my and secularism to boot, have few or no who became a baby and was born in a cave
usual sources. rights. This is not what Christians in the in order to win the love of his creatures. It
Generic “Seasons greetings” and the West want, but are they to be the only may be true that many in the West no
like are not new. Apparently President ones with no country, only toleration? longer appreciate that the light on their
Kennedy started it for a portion of his Secondly, what would a Western na- Christmas tree comes originally from the
Christmas card list at the White House in tion celebrate apart from religion? The stable, or that the joy and hope it stirs in
1962 and in recent years even President American Thanksgiving Day would be out them could not exist without Christ. But
George W Bush has been wishing every- because it was instigated by Christians then again, many do still have an inkling
one “Happy Holidays”. This was contro- (thanksgiving to whom?) and so would that is the case, precisely because the
versial. But with national retail chains like anything similar. That leaves indepen- celebration still publicly bears his name.
Wal-Mart and Target following the trend, dence days, royal anniversaries, war me- Take that away and soon the celebration
some Christian groups believe they are morials and labor days—none of which itself will go, along with the special light-
witnessing a veritable “war on Christmas” are entirely free from controversy these ness and human warmth that it brings.
and have been returning fire. Boycotts days. In my country we struggle to make In that case, people of other religions
have proved an effective weapon, bring- our national day—marking the signing of and none would have more and not less
ing Target and Sears stores back to “Merry a treaty between the British Crown and the reason to resent the dominant culture of
Christmas”. indigenous Maori tribes—a celebration of the West. If they think Christians behave
“This is a nation where surveys show unity. It is hard to agree on what it repre- badly now, when they still celebrate their
96 per cent of the population celebrates sents apart from an extra day at the beach. religious roots to some degree, that be-
Christmas,” says Robert Knight, director Which brings me to a third question: havior is nothing to what they will see in
of the Culture and Family Institute of Con- Can holidays themselves unite us happily a future where all public reminders of the
cerned Women for America. “There is no as a nation? Everyone enjoys a holiday, so Christian Lord and his gospel are wiped
survey showing that people of other faiths perhaps the “Happy Holidays” people are out. The rest of society needs Christmas
are insulted when the majority celebrate onto something. It’s true that not every- as much as Christians do. I
Christmas or wish anyone a ‘Merry Christ- one has the same amount of holidays Carolyn Moynihan is Deputy Editor of MercatorNet.
mas’.” around Christmas and some have to work She writes from Auckland, New Zealand. This is
Yet there is no denying that things right through, but hey, everyone can enter reprinted with permission.
have changed in countries of the once- into the holiday spirit.
Christian West. Globalization and large- Hmmm. The holiday spirit:
scale immigration from non-Christian parts rest, relaxation, family together-
of the world do constitute a challenge in ness, friendship. These are all
view of the long-term secularization of good and necessary things
Europe, North America and Australasia. which can bring pleasure and
Where Christmas often seems at best a dispose people towards greater
family get-together, and at worst an ex- solidarity with their countrymen.
cuse for a spending spree, excessive feast- But enough people already de-
ing and subsequent torpor, who really pend on the “holiday spirit”—
minds if no longer masquerades in public more or less living for the next
as a Christian festival? holiday—for us to see what ef-
After all, there would be nothing to fect it has on individual happi-
stop Christians privately making as much ness and social cohesion, and
ado as they wish about the birth of the the signs are not positive. Na-
Savior. They could celebrate their feasts in tions are less united than for-
their communities just like Jews and Mus- merly and individuals suffer
lims and Hindus and all the others. They more mental illness than ever.
might even be given some public space in The truth is that we human
which to do so, like the others, and the beings need more than holidays
media could write nice feature articles on to make us happy. We need a
the interesting rituals of the Christian com- sense of purpose in life which
munity around December 25, or Easter or can only come from a sense of its
any other time. A totally secular public meaning. This is what religions
establishment could bestow tolerant at- do. The monotheistic religions,
© Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./CORBIS

tention on all alike. at least, teach us that our lives

But some questions arise about this are not an endless cycle of work
secular utopia. and holidays, but that they are
In the first place, what other culture going somewhere—and, what
has followed this path or is likely to? The is more, to Someone. And that

Volume 41 • Number 12 5

Demystifying Biofuels
By Teodoro C. Mendoza, PhD

he rising demand for oil due to the reached last year (2006) (Campbell, Colin J. President’s Bush State of the Union
winters in the North, the double and Jean H. Laherrère. The End of Cheap address (2007) pronounced that “biofuel
digit growth in China and also the Oil. Scientific American, March 1998. http:/ is a silver-bullet solution to global warm-
booming economy of India and other coun- /www.dieoff.org/page140.htm ) ing, the savior of depressed rural econo-
tries have altogether propelled the increase Briefly, how important is oil to human- mies and the key to reducing dependence
in oil consumption. (An increase of aver- ity? Oil accounts for 98% of the global on foreign oil”. Globally, biofuel as renew-
age world GDP by 0.1% leads to an in- energy used for transportation and 11% of able energy source, is considered as
crease in final energy demand of about generated electricity. It is the energy form humanity’s salvation to the energy prob-
0.2%). The reduction in Nigerian oil output used in the manufacture of many products lem. From a practical point of view, any
and the disturbance in the Middle East are (plastics, chemicals, road asphalt, cement, conceived solution by human beings will
further fueling oil supply uncertainties. In fertilizers, pesticides, to name a few) also mean problems. This paper is an at-
turn, this has led to an oil price spike of $92/ (Rodolfo, 2007. “Peak Oil”: The global tempt to demystify the general perception
barrel as of the 3rd week of October 2007. crisis of diminishing petroleum supply, that biofuels are good for humanity. A
The inflation–adjusted price of crude oil in and its implications for the Philippines). critical analyses of the more complex and
April 1980 at $101.70/barrel may be reached It is no surprise that any increase in oil interrelated problems is necessary as the
soon (PDI, 22:324). As the era of cheap oil price is triggering a chain reaction in the world suddenly jumped into this band-
is gone, the whole world is now experienc- prices of various commodities and ser- wagon-like initiative—the biofuel fad. The
ing difficulties on how to adjust to the vices. The great importance of oil in every- public needs to be properly informed on
huge mismatch between the soaring de- day life pushes both public and private what to expect should the world enter into
mand for oil (at 29 billion barrels/year) and industry leaders into frenzied search for a break-neck pace of biofuel production.
its declining supply. Peak oil has been alternative energy sources . To initiate the analysis, it must be

6 IMPACT • December 2007

Demystifying Biofuels

made clear that biofuel production is a Water Management Institute) asked energy is produced for every 1 unit of oil
typical agricultural crop production. It “Where shall we get all the water we need energy spent. Sugarcane though produces
starts from the field. It is on this basis that ?” It is obvious that agrifuels would worsen more energy than it consumes as the en-
the term biofuel is deemed inappropriate. water shortages (Alister Doyle (2006) http:/ ergy balance is 3.0 (in the Philippines) to as
The word bio is so encompassing. It is /today.reuters.com/News/ high as 8.0 (in Brazil)
clearer and more specific if the term agrifuel CrisesArticle.aspx?storyId=L18850725 8/
is used since the feedstock sources are 24/2006 ). At present, 1 in 3 people is Agrifuel and the Environment
agricultural crops. Agreeing on this basic already experiencing water shortage As claimed by the proponents, pro-
framework sets the tone of the discus- (IWMI). ducing and using agrifuel for transport is
sions. To begin with, agrifuel production environment-friendly. This should, how-
is influenced by the common resources Agrifuel and Energy Security ever, be examined further. In Brazil, more
and factors affecting agricultural food crop A US government-sponsored study sugarcane and soybean for agrifuel will
production. The immediate effect is that revealed that global energy consumption mean growing these by burning and clear-
agricultural crop production dichotomizes shall increase 71% by 2030. Including ing large forested areas of the Amazon
into two major ends: food and fuel. Any agrifuel, the contribution of renewable Jungle as shown in the picture below.
agricultural crop production venture ei- energy shall only be 9%. Agrifuel contri- More oil palms will have to be planted in
ther for food (or feed for livestocks) or bution to energy supply is miniscule, yet Indonesia by clearing the forest and dry-
agrifuel will rely on land, water and agricul- its impact on water as pointed out earlier is ing/burning their peat soils. It was esti-
tural crop production technologies. To so severe and on food supply is so enor- mated that 1 tonne palm oil emits 2-8 tonnes
produce the current supply of food, all the mous as will be discussed below. of CO2in Borneo and Sumatra.
prime agricultural lands (1.7 billion ha. As revealed by
world agricultural land) have been culti- Friends of the Earth,
vated or developed. In the Philippines, as production of palm
early as the 1970s, all the prime agricultural oil is the biggest
lands (10 Mha) have already been culti- cause of rainforest
vated. On a good yielding year, the world devastation. Grow-
is producing more than enough food for all ing crops for
(20 to 30% excess of the RDA require- agrifuel follows the
ments). But producing this food also en- industrial planta-
tails the use of large amount of resources tion agricultural
(notably water) and oil-based energy for technology now
cultivation, fertilizer, harvesting, process- proven to be the
ing/storage and transport; and also in- main factor behind
vestments in infrastructure (roads, bridges, global warming. For
factories and irrigation facilities to provide In the US, even if the entire corn instance, ethanol production from corn
irrigation water). harvest will be converted into ethanol, it uses oil at every stage. The largest source
Water is a basic resource input re- can only provide 12% of all their gasoline of greenhouse gas, are the chemical fertil-
quirement for agrifuel production. For in- needs while their entire soybean harvest izers used in growing corn. First, huge
stance, India and China use 60% of their can only provide 6% of their diesel fuels amount of oil is consumed in the manufac-
potential usable water for human purposes requirements. Even if the entire UK will be ture of Nitrogen fertilizer (1.8-2.04 li of oil
including food agriculture; 75% is their planted to agrifuel crops, the fuel energy per kg nitrogen). Second, once applied in
threshold water scarcity. By 2030, it is produced could still not run all its cars. If the soil, 3-5% of it escapes as nitrogen
estimated that Indian cereal demand will 60% of all arable lands in the European oxides (NOx). NOx has 350X global warm-
increase by 60% (equivalent to a require- domain will be devoted to agrifuels, it ing potential (GWP). For every 1 kg nitro-
ment of 80 billion tonnes of water). By could only replace 20% of the fossil fuels gen, more than 10 kg CO2 equivalent is
then, they will need 9 B li of ethanol to meet used in transport. In the Philippines, fer- emitted in the atmosphere. Also, growing
10% of their country’s ethanol + gasoline menting all sugarcane produced in the maize leaves eroded soils, pollutes both
mix, thus, increasing their water needs by 380,000ha of land into ethanol will only surface and ground waters (due to fertil-
26%. Their water needs would then be provide 17% of the gasoline requirement izer run-off and deep percolation).
11% higher than their water threshold. of the country by 2011. The greenhouse gas contribution of
They will now decide where to use water: Depending on feedstock sources, agriculture and land use change has been
for the production of sufficient food for 1.3 producing agrifuel from crops does not summed up to 32% (IPCC, 2006). Primary
billion people or ethanol for their cars? necessarily lead to more energy. For in- agriculture contributes 14% while land use
Depending on the feedstock source, stance, producing ethanol from corn con- change/ deforestation, 18%. As more
1 li of ethanol consumes about 2,000-10,000 sumes 25% more energy than it yields as agricrops will be grown, more fertilizers will
li of water. (Producing 1kg of rice con- estimated by Pimentel and his group. They be used and large land clearing/deforesta-
sumes up to 5,000 li of water). Agrifuel estimated an energy balance of only 0.75. tion will be done. In turn, this shall lead to
crops currently consume just 1% of the Other scientists refuted the low energy more GHG emission. The FAO World Food
total water used globally. If agrifuel pro- balance estimated by Pimentel. Comput- Summit (2006) Report revealed that con-
duction will increase as projected, it will be ing the average energy balance given by ventional agriculture, together with defor-
using 80% more water by 2030. David different researchers led to an energy bal- estation and rangeland burning, are re-
Molden (Sri Lanka-based International ance of 1.12. It means only that 12% more sponsible for 30% CO2 and 90% of nitrous

Volume 41 • Number 12 7

oxide emissions worldwide. Large scale Lester.March, 2007). number of people considering its effects on
cultivation of crops for agrifuel will, thus, Filling up a 25 gallon tank of SUV with food prices and the low food purchasing
add more greenhouse gases (GHG) in the pure ethanol consumed about 204 kg corn. capacity of many people in the world (OECD
atmosphere which will aggravate further This is more than enough to feed 1 person Rprt. http://www.spiegel.de/international/
global warming and global climate change in a year. 1 SUV fueled by ethanol con- europe/0,1518,508089,00.html). There are 2.7
Likewise, producing agrifuels like etha- sumes the food of 30 persons/year (1 SUV billion people in the world living on less
nol is accompanied by the generation of = 30 persons). By next year (2008), the than $2 a day (World Bank, 2001). In the
huge liquid wastes called distillery slops, at ethanol production target in US is 11.4 Philippines, about 85% of all Filipinos live
12-18 li per li of ethanol. While ethanol billon gallons. This is equivalent to the on less than $2 per day (CIA, 2007).
contains considerable amount of potash food caloric requirements of 450 million
and many other nutrients and has fertilizer people. By 2017, their ethanol production In Conclusion
value, it is highly acidic, high in biological target is about 35 billion gallons per year Agrifuels, in general, are the greatest
oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen (based on Pres. Bush’ SONA, 2007). This burden to humanity from hereon if pur-
demand (COD), and is foul smelling. It is a production level of ethanol is equivalent sued unabated and without checks and
highly pollutive waste if not properly treated to the food requirements of 1.4 billion balances. It is the single greatest threat to
and disposed. The production target of 120 people. (The production target of 120 bil- food security especially for the low in-
billion li of ethanol would yield about 1.68 lion li of ethanol by 2020 if processed from come groups in view of its influence on the
trillion li of slops. The waste from biodiesel corn only could supply the food caloric prices of staple foods.
is 3x more pollutive than ethanol waste; 1 li RDA of 3 billion people). As a whole, agrifuel does not contrib-
of biodiesel produces 3-5 li of wastes. This People of the world cannot dictate ute to energy security especially if corn
means that 9-15 li of slop waste equivalent how the US should dispose or use their and other energy-intensive crops are used
per li of biodiesel is produced. About 12 corn but what they do to their corn shall as feedstocks for agrifuel production .The
billion liters of biodiesel is the production practically affect everybody. Why? The tipping point could be seen on its effect in
target by 2030. This will produce 1.2-1.8 US produces 40% of world corn and sup- propelling water scarcity into crisis pro-
trillion liters of liquid wastes equivalent to plies more than 50% of all corn exports. portion in 2 ways: a) feedstock production
slops. A total of about 3 trillion liters of (What about Europe and Canada or China shall use tremendous amounts of water
liquid wastes will be generated. Where shall who are also producing ethanol from corn)? putting severe pressure on water alloca-
all these liquid wastes be thrown? Is etha- Their use of corn as feedstocks for ethanol tion for food or for agrifuel crop produc-
nol the answer to the world’s oil problems, is creating unintended consequences tion, b) processing shall produce volumi-
or just a green pipe dream? Asked by Mike throughout the global food chain. Adding nous liquid wastes polluting both surface
McCarthy (June 29, 2006). salt to injury, the U.S. government is and ground waters, thus, reducing further
subsidizing corn the supply of clean and potable water
farmers and ethanol which in turn, shall heighten the need for
producers at $8.9 expensive bottled water that only mon-
billion and has eyed people could afford.
granted an ethanol Agrifuel production shall further in-
tax allowance of 51 crease environmental degradation in the
cents per gallon of following ways: a) more land clearing/de-
ethanol (in 2005) to forestation to grow the feedstock source
make ethanol pro- which in turn shall lead to more soil erosion
duction from corn due to tillage; b) drying of peat soils to grow
financially viable. more palm oil which will release more CO2 in
This is like subsi- the atmosphere; c) the industrial plantation
dizing hunger of the technology that will be used in feedstock
many poor people production will lead to greater use of fertil-
Agrifuel and Food Security of the world as discussed by Ford Runge izers particularly nitrogen which shall re-
As the agrifuel industry competes and Benjamin Senaue in their paper “How lease more NOx and CO2 due to N-fertilizer
with the food industry for raw materials, it biofuels could starve the poor ?” pub- manufacture, and greater use of oil in the
is causing cost pressure to the food indus- lished in Foreign Affairs, May/June 2007, various stages of feedstock production
try and is pushing crop prices for wheat, pp. 41-53. and processing; and d) as an agri-industrial
corn, sugar and practically all commodi- The increase in demand for corn for production set-up, agrifuel production
ties (Goldman, 2006). In China, pork prices ethanol directly contributes to more hun- thrives on large scale monoculture planta-
are up by 20%, eggs by 16%, while the gry people. This year (2007), US purchased tion. This will trigger land concentration
overall food price index in India (Jan. 2007) less than half of corn for aid than it was in which shall displace agrarian reform benefi-
increased by 10%. In the United States, 2000 (Celia W. Dugger. PDI A23, Sept. 30, ciaries, thus, reversing the gains of redis-
the wholesale price of chicken is up by 2007). The political rush to produce etha- tributive agrarian reform achievements of
10%, eggs by 21% and milk by 14%. In nol, just because it is believed to be green many Third World countries. I
Mexico, the price of tortillas increased up and people have heard of it, is a mistake
Teodoro C. Mendoza, PhD., is a Professor of Crop
to 70%, pushing thousands of angry Mexi- said Dr. Venter. (http:// Science, U.P. Los Baños, Laguna and a scientist
cans to launch massive streets protest, www.economist.com/science/ awardee of the University of the Philippines Systems
Science Productivity Award Programme. He teaches
thus, forcing the Mexican government to displaystory.cfm?story_id=9861379 ) courses in farming, systems and ecological agriculture,
institute price controls on tortillas (Brown, Agrifuels could starve an enormous an advocate, and practitioner of Organic Agriculture.

8 IMPACT • December 2007


F “For he satisfies the longing soul,

ood is any substance that a person
partakes for nutrition or pleasure.
God created food with the intention
to bless us. Just as God poured Himself
into incarnation and dying on the cross, he and fills the hungry soul with
goodness. (Ps. 107: 9)”
also pours Himself into His creation. The
recognition of God’s presence in every
food we eat can give us not only a sense
of being nourished in body but also being
nourished in spirit.
Since Bread and Body are both ex-
pressions of God’s Love, it is not surpris-
ing that it is in eating together or breaking
bread that we feel nurtured, comforted and
fulfilled. It is in eating and the relation-
ships cultivated at the dining table that we
learn to accept and share God’s abundant
love, that is, that we become in “commun-
ion” with Him and with others.
But what happens when people do
not get by enough to partake of the won-
ders of food? What if eating merely be-
comes a mechanical biological imperative
in order to not feel pain and survive? What
if, in order to get food for the day, parents
and even children are forced to work long
hours or just steal? What happens when

© Diana Jean V. Moraleda

even if people do eat, they remain under-
nourished because of inadequate nutri-
The evils of hunger
In the Philippines, we only have to

Love to Feed,
look around to see faces of hunger. Street
children dot our side streets and main
thoroughfares begging for alms. We hear
stories of people having to live on just
kaninbaw daily—a mixture of rice and
soup made from scrap meat and bones. At

Feed to Love
night, we see people scavenging for left-
over food from the garbage dumps near
fast food chains in the metro. In the rural
areas, we meet people who eat just salt or
soy sauce with their rice. We are so used
to seeing hungry people that we have
become desensitized of them. To most of
us, the hungry are but permanent fixtures
in our national landscape. By Diana Jean V. Moraleda
According to The Bread of the World
Institute’s 2004 Hunger Report, 854 mil- children die from hunger-related causes. intake (hunger) and repeated infectious
lion people across the world are hungry. That’s one child every five seconds! diseases. Undernutrition includes being
Hunger incidence is most high in South When we read these facts, we imag- underweight for one’s age, too short for
Asia, Africa and East Asia and the Pacific ine extremely skinny children unable to one’s age (stunted), dangerously thin
and parts of Latin America. move due to disease or absurdly low food (wasted), and deficient in vitamins and
If you’ve experienced being truly intake. Unfortunately, those scenarios minerals (micronutrient malnutrition).” In
physically hungry, you would know that do happen. But hunger also manifests the Philippines, the 6th National Nutrition
hunger is a serious matter as it can be a itself in ways other than starvation and Survey shows that 30.6 percent of the
great source of evil. When one is hungry, famine. Most poor people who battle children aged ten below are underweight
one becomes irritable, angry, lethargic, hunger deal with chronic undernourish- and 31.4 percent are underheight. In raw
unproductive and even violent. More that ment. numbers, this means that there are 7.5
that, hunger is fatal and children are the UNICEF defines the term undernutri- million undernourished children here. Of
most susceptible. Every day, almost 16,000 tion, as “the outcome of insufficient food these, 1.5 million are wasting.

Volume 41 • Number 12 9
Love to Feed, Feed to Love

Because lack of food can stunt new strategy was

growth, slow thinking, sap energy, hinder implemented: from
fetal development and contribute to men- merely distributing
tal retardation, these 7.5 million under- the milk to running
nourished children will grow up to be a daily supplemen-
unproductive and lacking a sense of tal feeding pro-
hope and overall well-being. This will gram. The staff
have alarming economic implications in grew from one to
the future. In addition, persistent secur- four with some of
ing of food depletes valuable time and the children’s
energy of poor people, allowing less mothers volun-
time for work and earning income. teering daily to
Third world countries like the Phil- help prepare food
ippines often lack social safety nets that for the partici-
first world countries enjoy, such as soup pants of the pro-
kitchens and food stamps. When a fam- gram.
ily that lives in a poor country cannot Sagip-Bata is
earn enough in one day to buy food, currently assisting
there is nowhere to turn for help. So- 36 children ages
cially, the lack of food feeds shame so one and a half to
that those most in need of support are six years old. The
often least able to cry for it. Occasion- children are pro-
ally, the daily news tells of stories of vided morning
mothers going crazy and killing their snacks of milk and
own children because of extreme hun- biscuits around

© http://flickr.com/photos/7993462@N05/sets/72157600143940650/
ger. 9.30 a.m. and lunch
at 11.30 a.m. from
No to extreme hunger and Mondays to Fri-
malnutrition days. In between
Brad Pitt and other Hollywood stars meals, they are
have put extreme poverty in the lime- taught to pray,
light. By establishing The One Cam- sing, write, draw
paign, they aim to make hunger and and dance. The
poverty history one by one by raising children are also
public awareness, discussing issues re- given vitamins and
lating to poverty, and affecting policy undergo regular
formation in the process (www.one.org). medical check-ups
In our country, we don’t have a Brad Pitt at the Payatas
to do this but we do have many NGOs Health Center. They are dewormed ev- activities.
and parish-based groups trying to end ery six months. After Pabasa sa Nutrisyon, moth-
hunger and poverty one community at a Most of the children in the program ers are gathered to join the program’s
time. stay about three to six months depend- annual cooking contest to practice what
One example is The John J. Carroll ing on when they are able to achieve they have learned. Contestants are
Institute on Church and Social Issues’ normal body weight based on their age. grouped and tasked to come up with
(ICSI) Sagip-Bata Feeding program. Some stay longer than the others be- delicious, nutritious and affordable
Sagip Bata Feeding Program, for- cause they are treated for diseases like dishes for the whole family. This is
merly known as the Payatas Supple- primary complex (tuberculosis) which is indeed a fun way to engage the mothers
mental Milk Feeding Program, started very prevalent in the area because it is in friendly competition while learning
in 1990 as part Fr. John J. Carroll’s per- very near the garbage dumpsite. more. The winning team then competes
sonal apostolate. Fr. Jack, as Fr. Carroll To really help the undernourished, in the annual Inter-feeding Program
is more commonly known, may very well feeding them is not enough. Certain ac- Cooking Contest to represent the Sagip-
be the Brad Pitt of Payatas, albeit a more tivities must also be done to empower Bata Feeding Program.
hands-on one. Fr. Jack was able to gather families to improve their health and Last October 11 and 20, parents of
financial assistance from friends and, childcare practices. Since 2006, the Sagip Sagip-Bata kids were also invited to
after some time, through word of mouth, Bata Feeding Program has been using attend the Children’s Rights and Posi-
news of the program spread and it began the Pabasa sa Nutrisyon modules tive Discipline Workshop. The seminar
receiving contributions of people from drafted by the National Nutrition Coun- was facilitated by Ms. Melanie Ramos-
different parts of the world. cil to train mothers on health and proper Llana of ICSI and is a part of the cam-
With Ms. Marcelina Concepcion, a nutrition. The Pabasa sa Nutrisyon semi- paign against the use of corporal pun-
resident there, Fr. Jack oversaw the nars have already trained two batches of ishment at home. Instead, parents were
weighing of the children and the distri- mothers and have inspired other feeding taught more positive methods in disci-
bution of milk to the mothers. In 2005, a programs in Payatas to conduct similar plining their children.

10 IMPACT • December 2007


Spreading Hope inspires goodness and love grows ex- References:

After seventeen years, it is amaz- ponentially. Bread for the World. June 2007 Hunger
ing how the Sagip-Bata Feeding Pro- Facts: International; World Hunger
gram keeps running and improving each Eating with Jesus and Poverty: How They Fit Together.
day. Now, Sagip-Bata has evolved At this point we are reminded of a Available at http://www.bread.org/
from being a stand-alone project to being painting by Joey Velasco called Hapag learn/hunger-basics/hunger-facts-
part of a whole family program in Payatas ng Pag-asa where he portrays Jesus international.html
called the Pag-Asa ng Pamilya (PnP) sharing the last supper with very hungry Food and Agriculture Organization of
Program. Aside from feeding the chil- children. In a corresponding book that the United Nations. The Food Insecu-
dren, PnP also has the Tahanan Natural features the painter’s search for his mod- rity of the World 2006: Eradicating
Family Planning program that teaches els and his subsequent healing and trans- World Hunger, taking stock ten years
parents to plan their families using formation, he shares an anecdote wherein after the World Food Summit. 2006
modern natural family planning and the he was talking with a mentally deranged Available at http://www.fao.org/
Landas ng Pag-asa Scholarship pro- woman who took a photo of the painting docrep/009/a0750e/a0750e00.htm
gram which provides educational as- from him and observed, “You know my Food and Nutrition Research Institute.
sistance to poor and deserving stu- friend, they are actually not poor… they The 6th National Nutrition Survey.
dents. have Jesus.” 2003
For the most part, the program is Indeed, food does not only feed the Joey A. Velasco. They Have Jesus: The
made possible because of generous body. It also feeds the spirit. Sharing Stories of the Children of Hapag.
people who are kind enough to share God’s blessings, in effect, introduces Kenosis Publications. 2006
their time, effort and money. People Jesus to those whose faith is the least of UNICEF. May 2006. Progress for Chil-
send donations, and some even do so their priorities because they have to dren: A Report Card on Nutrition No.
monthly. Last October, for example, the struggle daily to survive. Sharing God’s 4. Available at http://www.unicef.org/
grade four class of St. Aloysius College blessings also makes Jesus known to the progressforchildren/2006n4/
Junior School in New South Wales, giver who is stirred enough to be able to index.html
Australia chose Sagip-Bata to be their share himself in love and humbled
enough by the outpouring of support Diana Jean V. Moraleda is a research assistant of
pet project for their school’s Arrupe Church and Family life desk of John J. Carroll
Outreach Program. The students walked from his fellow men to be able to sustain Institute on Church and Social Issues of the Ateneo
that love. de Manila University, Quezon City.
around their neighborhoods to look for
rubbish which were not disposed cor- For the Sagip-
rectly. They raised $900 in the process. Bata Program staff
These children a continent away simply and volunteers,
hoped that the money they have raised and countless oth-
will be able to help the Payatas kids get ers who are in-
a delicious and healthy meal. volved in the same
Aside from donors, the program is activity the world
also sustained by the volunteer moth- over, it is in loving
ers and staff in Payatas who never tire that they are able
of working each day to feed the chil- to feed, and feed-
dren. For them, seeing the children get ing that they are
better and happier is enough to keep able to love like
them going. Aside from increase in Jesus does.
weight, volunteers and staff report in- (The Sagip
creased stamina, attentiveness and live- Bata Feeding Pro-
liness among children who are enrolled gram accepts cash,
in the program. milk or rice dona-
The Sagip-Bata program is only one tions. You may
of the many programs that help under- send these to the
nourished children in our country. If we John J. Carroll In-
put the number of children it helps to stitute on Church
the statistic on world hunger and un- and Social Issues,
dernutrition, it would seem that our ef- 2/F Benigno Mayo
forts are but a drop in a vast area of Hall, Ateneo de
parched land. But every drop of water Manila University,
counts. If many people or groups are Loyola Heights.
stirred into contributing tiny drops of Q.C. Cash dona-
water too, then perhaps, life can actu- tions may also be
sent to John J.
© Diana Jean V. Moraleda

ally bloom and be able to sustain itself.

As Jingle Mira, a Sagip-Bata volunteer Carroll, S.J.
once said, “If people outside of Payatas through BPI Ac-
can help us, why can’t we in Payatas count no. 3085-
help each other?” Indeed, goodness 8066-36.) I

Volume 41 • Number 12 11

he Sumilao farmers are presently
walking their 60-day journey from
Barangay San Vicente, Sumilao,
Bukidnon to Manila. They began their
march on October 10, 2007 and have al-
ready crossed Mindanao and Visayas by
walking everyday beginning at 3:00 or 4:00
in the morning. At the moment, they are
traversing the highway from Tabugon to
Gumaca, Quezon amid the impending ty-
phoon Mina. They covered today what
they would have walked for two days
because of fear that they would be stranded
in a venue that is not fit for flood and heavy
rains. They are determined to walk for 52
kilometers just so they could be in Gumaca
before 5:00 pm, approximately two hours
before the center of “Mina” is expected to
hit the Quezon province.
The Sumilao farmers, who are mostly
Higaonon indigenous peoples, are taking
this long and tiresome form of campaign
because they are determined to reclaim
what is truly theirs: the 144-hectare agri-
cultural land in Bukidnon. This property
was part of their ancestral land until they
were forcefully evicted in the 1940s. In the
1970s, the land was owned by Norberto

Walk for Sumilao.

Quisumbing Jr.
In 1988, when the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) was passed,
the 144-hectare land was covered for dis-

Walk for Justice

tribution to the 137 farmers of the
Mapadayonong Panaghiusa sa mga
Lumad Alang sa Damlag (MAPALAD), all
of Higaonon lineage. They were issued
Certificates of Land Ownership Award
(CLOAs) in recognition of their ownership
of the awarded land. By Jane
By Jane Lynn
Lynn D.
D. Capacio
In a move to circumvent agrarian re-
form, Quisumbing applied for the conver-
sion of the 144-hectare land into “indus- Bukidnon Agro-Industrial Park that ally productive and irrigated. As provided
trial/institutional area.” It connived with consists of corn processing for corn oil, under the DAR’s administrative orders on
the local government of Sumilao in order to starch, and other corn products, rice pro- conversion, irrigated lands are considered
remove the property from the ambit of cessing for wine, snacks, and exportable as “prime agricultural lands” and cannot be
asset reform. Quisumbing presented his rice, cassava processing for starch, alco- converted to non-agricultural uses. In 1995,
Bukidnon Agro-Industrial Development hol, and food delicacies, processing plants instead of filing an appeal to the DAR or the
Association (BAIDA) project which con- for vegetables, cold storage and ice plant, Office of the President, Quisumbing filed a
tains the following: cannery system, commercial stores and petition at the Court of Appeals while then
Development Academy of Mindanao, public market; Bukidnon Governor Carlos Fortich, never a
which constitutes the establishment of an Forest Development including the party to the case, sent a protest letter to
Institute for Continuing Higher Educa- development of open spaces and parks for President Fidel Ramos. In the same year, the
tion, Institute for Livelihood Science, In- recreation, horseback riding, and mini zoo; CLOAs were issued to the 137 farmers.
stitute for Agribusiness Research, mu- Support Facilities including the con- In March 1996, the Office of the Presi-
seum, library, and a cultural center; struction of a 360-room hotel restaurants, dent through Executive Secretary Ruben
Mindanao Sports Development Com- dormitories, and housing facilities; and Torres treated Governor Fortich’s letter as
plex including facilities that would be used an Appeal and set aside the decision of
for international competitions such as a Commercial Mall DAR Secretary Garilao. The “Torres Deci-
track and field oval, baseball, softball, The BAIDA project was not approved sion” stated that “converting the land in
basketball, and tennis courts, swimming by the Department of Agrarian Reform question would open great opportunities
pools, equestrian court, and games of (DAR) under Secretary Ernesto Garilao in for employment and bring about real de-
chances; 1994 by stating that the land is agricultur- velopment in the area towards a sustained

12 IMPACT • December 2007

Walk for Sumilao.Walk for Justice

economic growth in the municipality. On dismissed the said petition by saying that medicines, water, and food on a daily basis.
the other hand, distributing the land to the conversion order was issued by the But it is also a very touching walk. The
would-be beneficiaries do not guarantee Office of the President and not the DAR Sumilao farmers were fed and accommo-
such benefits.” secretary. The title of the Order inadvert- dated everyday by parishes beginning in
To protest such injustice, the ently states, “Application for Land Use Mindanao up until Luzon. In Manila, par-
MAPALAD farmers staged a 28-day hun- Conversion Involving 144 Hectares from ishes and Social Action Centers have com-
ger strike in front of the DAR compound in Agricultural Lands to Industrial Uses…” mitted to extend the same assistance that
Quezon City. The hunger strike solicited indicating the DAR’s perspective that the was given by their counterparts in
the support of local governments, the House petition was a continuation of the previ- Mindanao and Visayas. The marchers were
of Representatives, and the public. At the ous Supreme Court case, instead of a sepa- also provided with financial and medical
height of the Hunger Strike, Cardinal Sin rate and noble petition for the revocation assistance, fetched at night by priests,
and Bishop Rosales visited the farmers. or cancellation of the conversion order. brought to the next venue by parishioners,
This pressured President Ramos to issue a The farmers filed an Appeal before the prayed for, and faithfully encouraged. More
“win-win” solution by dividing the 144 land Office of the President. They also decided importantly, the bishops, priests, and the
into two: Forty four (44) hectares would be to launch a campaign knowing that they are faithful of each and every town and Diocese
converted to agro-industrial purposes while up against a powerful opponent: San Miguel offered their solidarity for the cause of the
the remaining 100 hectares would be dis- Corporation owner Eduardo “Danding” Sumilao marchers. The Catholic Church
tributed to the farmers. Cojuangco, Jr. They know that their fight is provided the farmers not only their daily
Quisumbing protested against the not purely legal; as in the case of struggles needs but their support for the return of the
“win-win” solution at the Supreme Court. for social justice, theirs is also political. 144-hectare land to its true owners.
Eventually, the Supreme Pastoral messages were
Court ruled on technicalities also issued. Bishop Honesto
over substance against the "Their main issue is valid: the Pacana of Malaybalay sent a
MAPALAD farmers and it letter to President Gloria
declared that the latter were converted 144-hectare land remains Macapagal-Arroyo asking
merely “recommendee her to take heed of the Sumilao
farmer beneficiaries” and to be prime agricultural land. The farmers’ calls. Archbishop
therefore are not real parties
in interest. This is in spite of
promises of industrialization and Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan
de Oro, Archbishop Jose
the fact that the farmers are wealth did not materialize. It is only Palma of Palo, Bishop Isabelo
already CLOA holders. Abarquez of Calbayog, and
The farmers respected imperative that the land be Bishop Arturo Bastes of
the decision of the Supreme
Court, which upheld
redistributed to the Sumilao farmers Sorsogon all gave strong and
inspiring statements. The
Quisumbing’s application under the Comprehensive Agrarian Diocese of Legaspi wrote a
for conversion. However, letter of support for the farm-
ten years have already Reform Program." ers and their families. The
passed and Quisumbing’s Dioceses of Butuan, Maasin,
promises of agro-industrialization never ma- Hence, they decided to walk their way and Catarman also mobilized the parishes to
terialized. There was nothing in the BAIDA to Manila on foot. They called their cam- welcome the marchers.
project that was implemented. Worse, paign “Walk for Sumilao Land, Walk for For these efforts that warmed their
Quisumbing sold the 144-land to San Miguel Justice.” They began marching on 10 hearts and boosted their morale, the Church
Foods, Inc. which intended to put up a October 2007 from Barangay San Vicente, has become indeed a Church of the Rural
piggery in the area. This is clearly a viola- Sumilao, Bukidnon and they have crossed Poor, one that restores their dignity and
tion of the DAR’s strict rules on conversion towards Southern Leyte, Visayas on 24 actively works towards addressing funda-
which states that within a year, the imple- October. They reached the tip of Luzon on mental social justice issues in the country.
mentation of the conversion plan should 9 November and they are expected to ar- They chose to walk from Sumilao,
have begun and within five years, the plan rive in Muntinlupa City on 3 December. Bukidnon to Manila as their most peaceful
should have been fully completed. What It is never an easy walk. I coordinated and most painful form of struggle. In the
adds insult to injury is the fact that the the Visayas leg of the march and joined process, they gained companions, primary
Higaonon farmers’ ancestral land, consid- them in parts of Luzon. The weather could of which is the Church.
ered as a sacred land, would be used as a big be very hot and humid or rainy. There are Their main issue is valid: the converted
boar house. security risks as the marchers are prone to 144-hectare land remains to be prime agri-
In 2004, the Sumilao farmers be used by groups that are in conflict with cultural land. The promises of industrializa-
(MAPALAD and 90 landless farmers) filed each other. In Leyte and Samar, two to four tion and wealth did not materialize. It is only
a “Petition for cancellation and/or revoca- farmers fainted everyday and had to be imperative that the land be redistributed to
tion of the Conversion Order covering the lifted by fellow marchers in a makeshift the Sumilao farmers under the Comprehen-
144 hectares of land at San Vicente, carrier made of malong tied to bamboo sive Agrarian Reform Program. I
Sumilao, Bukidnon, with prayer for the poles. There were instances where an am-
Jane Lynn D. Capacio is the Executive Director of
issuance of cease and desist order” at the bulance had to be requested to bring march- KAISAHAN tungo sa Kaunlaran ng Kanayunan at
Office of the DAR Secretary. The DAR ers to the hospital. They were physically Repormang Pansakahan and Co-Convenor of Lakaw
through Secretary Nasser Pangandaman tired and they needed accommodation, para sa Sumilao. Walk for Justice Coalition

Volume 41 • Number 12 13

Wombs for rent, foreign demand increases

World Day against
Aids: progress in Asia
December 1, 2007—
In November a gay
Israeli couple “had”
NEW DELHI, India, twins in India, born
December 1, 2007— of one of the two
The battle against fertilized eggs do-
AIDS is gaining nated by one woman
ground in Asia. donor and brought
Particularly in to term by another.
the South West The news has re-ig-
where there were nited debate over
“only” 340 thou- so-called “wombs
sand new cases re- for rent”: thousands
ported compared to of women who, in exchange for money allow themselves to be
the 140 thousand implanted with fertilized eggs and give birth to other people’s
of 2001 (but it is on children.
the rise in Indone- Akanksha Fertility Clinic, run by Doctor Nayana Patel in
sia and Vietnam Anand (Gujarat), is famous: she currently has 50 pregnant Indian
where the number women cloistered in secret locations.
of those infected They “rent” their wombs in exchange for food, healthcare and
has doubled in 5 years), even if there are still 4 million people compensation in cash amounting to 250 thousand rupees (6.308
sufferers (out of the 33.2 million worldwide) and 270 thousand dollars).
dead in one year (2.1 million worldwide). Far more than poor women in India would earn in a lifetime,
According to the United Nations report published on the enough to buy a small home or to pay for her children’s education.
eve of today’s World Day Against Aids, the situation is stable But the price is advantageous for foreign couples, above all from
in the Middle East while it has worsened in Eastern Asia with Britain and the USA, who pay between 30 and 40 thousand dollars.
over 92 new cases of infection compared to 77 thousand in 2001, Christina Khajur, 38, who gave birth to a girl last year for an
and above all in central Asia where drug dependency is on the American couple explains “I’ve put the money in a fixed deposit.
increase. Infection rates among Asian women are also on the With the interest, I can pay my two boys’ school fees and have a
rise, now 29% are carriers (only 26% in 2001). bit of security.”
In India, although there are 2.5 million people living with Khajur said she was well looked after during her pregnancy.
AIDS, infection rates is less widespread than feared and there “The only difficulty was being totally cut off. But it was necessary.
are frequent initiatives and information campaigns on preven- If the people in my village knew, they would disapprove.”
tion, promoted both by the government and private groups. Many of these women are married with their own children; for
Today Christ Church in Bangalore, is hosting over 5 those who are single, during their isolation, Patel arranges for them
thousand young people to witness, as Archbishop Bernard to have computer and English classes so that they can enjoy better
Moras recalls, their will to “stop AIDS and promote life,” by prospects after the birth.
living the Christian values and virtues on a daily basis. Patel admits money is a consideration, but claims she also
In Mumbai the diocesan committee Human Fie and the wants to help “couples who cannot have children.” Indians
Ghandi centre of studies have organized a meeting on “the value generally tend to accept a woman bearing a child for an infertile
of human life”. relative, where infertile couples are estimated to reach 19 million,
The United Nation’s agency for the prevention of AIDS but are somewhat uncomfortable when strangers are involved
estimated that there are over 50 million people at risk of infection often resulting in protests. In Gujarat over 40% of cases are
in China and have urged the government to decisively inter- estimated to involve foreigners.
vene. But according to Health Minister Chen Zhu, the spread- Many observe that this practice could damage relations
ing of the virus is falling, with “only” 39.866 new cases of HIV between wives and husbands and fear that some husbands may
registered between January and October. Yesterday President force Indian women into accepting it in order to earn easy money.
Hu Jintao visited those dying of AIDS, shaking their hands and There are few laws regulating the phenomenon, despite its
speaking with them. He reiterated the need for “prevention and being widespread for over 5 years. Only this October Renuka
a collective commitment on a national level” against its spread. Choudhury, Minister of Women and Child Development, said that
In Thailand infection rates are falling, also thanks to the guidelines would eventually be formulated to protect the rights of
public programs for safe sex and for the distribution of both parties observing. Without rules, this will become a commer-
antiretroviral drugs; but it remains a major problem among drug cial industry, and we run the risk that women will be exploited by
addicts. In the last 20 years, between 40 and 60% of them have unscrupulous elements.”
contracted HIV, according to data Human Rights Watch. The The news is greeted with approval by Patel, who expects more
country is criticized because it treats drug addicts as criminals, and more childless couples to resort to surrogate mothers as a
without having adequate prevention and care programs. solution, so “the sooner we clarify rights and responsibilities, the
(AsiaNews) better.” (AsiaNews / Agencies)

14 IMPACT • December 2007


Religions back CBCP head

Russian elections appeals for
Labayen, lauds
MANILA, 30 November 2007—Arch-
bishop Angel Lagdameo, President of the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference has ap-
pealed for the immediate release of emeri-
tus Infanta bishop Julio Labayen.
“I am appealing to the military that he
be released on account of his age,” he
Bishop Julio Labayen was one of the
civilians nabbed yesterday following a
six-hour stand-off at a hotel in Makati
The CBCP head and Jaro Archbishop
said he is concerned with the health con-
dition of Labayen, who is already 81years
old; if he will be further detained by the
According to Lagdameo, the retired
MOSCOW, Russia, December 1, parliament or Duma, but the results bishop was also very active in his fight
2007—The appeal is always the same: from the vote will certainly influence against socio-political issues during the
“Turn up to vote!” But this time it is the nation’s entire political makeup Martial law years but he was never impris-
being launched by Members of the ahead of the crucial March 2008 presi- oned.
Russian Presidential Council for inter- dential vote. “The advocacy that Bishop Labayen
action with religious organizations— A landslide win by the “United had been doing is for the country to be
from Russian orthodox to Muslims— Russia” Party of President Vladimir restored to genuine democracy and jus-
taking part in the national campaign Putin is being cited as a given. tice which is worth fighting for,” he said.
ahead of tomorrow’s parliamentary The only real doubt surrounds Thankful for release from detention
elections. the percentage of seats he will gain in of media people in what he calls a “fore-
In an official document issued this the Chamber. If United Russia suc- taste of Martial Law”, Lagdameo lauded
morning, the Council, which also ceeds in gaining the constitutional the hardworking journalists.
groups Buddhists, Jews, Orthodox, majority—two thirds of Parliament— “Thank God, our hardworking media
Muslims and Protestants, invites “all it could change the constitution by men have been released; were it not for
believers and compatriots to express itself. them the nation would be in the dark as to
their maturity and to take part in the In practical terms this means that what our country is undergoing at this
elections”, underscoring the impor- it could modify the law banning a third point in time,” said Lagdameo.
tance of thus “defending the Mother- consecutive presidential mandate leav- “In this moment of national crisis,
land”. ing Putin eligible to be candidate him- may there be sobriety, calmness, mutual
Mobilization across various sec- self for March 2nd. understanding among the people in op-
tors of society to urge voters to the According to recent sociological posite camps. Let us pray for our coun-
polls has been massive, with religious data just four of eleven parties still try,” he added.
representatives doing their part. Met- have a chance to overcome 7-percent CBCP Media Director Msgr. Pedro
ropolitan Kirill, number two of the barrier during the parliament elections Quitorio said the work of the media is
Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian of December the 2nd. There are paramount, adding that even in war jour-
Orthodox Church, and head of the De- “Edinaya Rossia” (United Russia) nalists are respected in view of their mis-
partment for External Church Relations, which could obtain approximately 62% sion to inform the public.
stressed “Forthcoming elections will of votes, Communist party (KPRF)— “They are like missionaries, who
be ‘key event’ that is why the duty of 12%, Liberal Democratic party (LDPR) should be in the thick of things for the
each believer is to come and to vote”. – 9%, and “Fair Russia”—7%. (Maria sake of people’s inherent right to infor-
Tomorrow’s elections are for the Anikina / AsiaNews) mation,” said Quitorio. (Roy Lagarde /

Volume 41 • Number 12 15

The Love, Veneration, and Imitation of
Mary, the Mother of God
By Fr. Melvin Castro

ith the worldwide revelry of ush- it is actually a Christological truth. woman, between your seed and her seed:
ering in the New Year every Janu- Let us take a look, albeit briefly, on he shall crush your head, has been tradi-
ary 1st, the Church, as it were, Sacred Scriptures, the Fathers of the tionally pointed out as the most basic of
silently but gloriously celebrates the So- Church, and the Church’s Teaching on the Old Testament text referring to Mary.
lemnity of the Divine Maternity of Mary. dogma of the Divine Maternity, and in the It was also made as the basis for the
The other privileges of Our Lady derive final part, let us take a look into our hearts dogmatic bull Ineffabilis Deus (Pope Pius
from this singular grace granted to her by and see what this Marian privilege chal- IX, 08 December 1854) defining the dogma
God, that of being the Mother of Our Lord lenges us to be and to become. of the Immaculate Conception: taught that
Jesus Christ who is God-Man at the same Come and see, the Bearer-of-God, by this divine prophecy the merciful Re-
time. Theotokos, as she was and is continued to deemer of mankind, Jesus Christ, the only
Her being called Mother of God stems be loved, venerated, and imitated, down begotten Son of God, was clearly foretold:
from the basic truth that she is the Mother though the ages… That his most Blessed Mother, the Virgin
of Jesus Christ whose divine and human Mary, was prophetically indicated; and, at
natures cannot be separated and are abso- I. The Sacred Scripture the same time, the very enmity of both
lutely united in his one Person. Hence, The Protoevangelium, Genesis 3, 15: I against the evil one was significantly ex-
rather than being a mere Marian privilege will put enmity between you and the pressed. Hence, just as Christ, the Media-

16 IMPACT • December 2007

OKOS: The Love, Veneration, and Imitation of Mary, the Mother of God

tor between God and man, assumed human Mary in the way of birth and growth, and ing the good tidings to Mary. The Virgin
nature, blotted the handwriting of the de- the manner of his life and conversation Mother of God bears witness”
cree that stood against us, and fastened it with men, and his manifestation by bap- (Catechetical Lectures 10:19 [A.D. 350]).
triumphantly to the cross, so the most holy tism, and the new birth that was to be to all
Virgin, united with him by a most intimate men, and the regeneration by the laver [of Ephraim the Syrian
and indissoluble bond, was, with him and baptism]” (Discourse on the End of the “Though still a virgin she carried a
through him, eternally at enmity with the World 1 [A.D. 217]). child in her womb, and the handmaid and
evil serpent, and most completely tri- work of his wisdom became the Mother of
umphed over him, and thus crushed his Cyril of Jerusalem God” (Songs of Praise 1:20 [A.D. 351]).
head with her immaculate foot.[i] “The Father bears witness from heaven
Here we see even the union between to his Son. The Holy Spirit bears witness, Athanasius
Christ and Mary, the Redeemer and the coming down bodily in the form of a dove. “The Word begotten of the Father
Mother of the Redeemer, the Mediator and The archangel Gabriel bears witness, bring- from on high, inexpressibly, inexplicably,
the Mediatrix.
Behold a Virgin shall conceive and
bear a Son, and His Name shall be called
Emmanuel (God with us), Isaiah 7,14.[ii]
Later in the New Testament, both St.
Matthew and St. Luke will cite this same
Biblical passage as having come true in the
Annunciation of the Angel to Mary that
she would conceive a Son.
Consistently, this particular proph-
ecy by Isaiah has been interpreted as in
direct reference to Christ and to Mary, the
There are many women in the Old
Testament that are considered to be fig-
ures of Mary, let us just take a look on one
figure, among many others. She is Esther.
This young Hebrew girl was noted above
all for her beauty, for which she found
favor in King Ahasuerus’ sight, such that
he chose her to be queen. Moreover, Esther
was the sole person excluded from the
decree of death passed against her people.
Esther’s most glorious deed was that of
having saved her people by the wicked
scheming of an enemy. [iii]
And once again, we see how a woman,
and the Queen at that, acts as Mediatrix on
behalf of the people so that they would be
II. The Church Fathers
Let us take a few words from the
Church Fathers—these holy men who were
so full of wisdom and holiness:

“The Virgin Mary, being obedient to
his word, received from an angel the glad
tidings that she would bear God” (Against
Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).

“[T]o all generations they [the proph-
ets] have pictured forth the grandest sub-
jects for contemplation and for action.
Thus, too, they preached of the advent of
God in the flesh to the world, his advent by
the spotless and God-bearing (theotokos)

Volume 41 • Number 12 17

incomprehensibly, and eternally, is he that Cyril of Alexandria man Jesus; this Council emphasized the
is born in time here below of the Virgin “I have been amazed that some are essential meaning of the motherhood of
Mary, the Mother of God” (The Incarna- utterly in doubt as to whether or not the the Virgin Mary.
tion of the Word of God 8 [A.D. 365]). holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother
of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, Council of Ephesus
Ambrose of Milan how should the holy Virgin who bore him “We confess, then, our Lord Jesus
“The first thing which kindles ardor in not be the Mother of God?” (Letter to the Christ, the only begotten Son of God,
learning is the greatness of the teacher. Monks of Egypt 1 [A.D. 427]). perfect God and perfect man, of a rational
What is greater than the Mother of God? “This expression, however, ‘the Word soul and a body, begotten before all ages
What more glorious than she whom Glory was made flesh’ [John 1:14], can mean from the Father in his Godhead, the same
Itself chose?” (The Virgins 2:2[7] [A.D. nothing else but that he partook of flesh in the last days, for us and for our salva-
377]). and blood like to us; he made our body his tion, born of Mary the Virgin according to
own, and came forth man from a woman, his humanity, one and the same consub-
Gregory of Nazianz not casting off his existence as God, or his stantial with the Father in Godhead and
“If anyone does not agree that holy generation of God the Father, but even in consubstantial with us in humanity, for a
Mary is Mother of God, he is at odds with taking to himself flesh remaining what he union of two natures took place. Therefore
the Godhead” (Letter to Cledonius the was. This, the declaration of the correct we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord.
Priest 101 [A.D. 382]). faith proclaims everywhere. This was the According to this understanding of the
sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore unconfused union, we confess the holy
Theodore of Mopsuestia they ventured to call the holy Virgin ‘the Virgin to be the Mother of God because
“When, therefore, they ask, ‘Is Mary Mother of God,’ not as if the nature of the God the Word took flesh and became man
mother of man or Mother of God?’ we Word or his divinity had its beginning and from his very conception united to
answer, ‘Both!’ The one by the very na- from the holy Virgin, but because of her himself the temple he took from her” (For-
ture of what was done and the other by was born that holy body with a rational mula of Union [A.D. 431]).
relation” (The Incarnation 15 [A.D. 405]). soul, to which the Word, being personally And to commemorate this dogmatic
united, is said to be definition, the first Basilica in the West
born according to dedicated to Mary was constructed, the
the flesh” (First Let- Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.
ter to Nestorius Hence, we should never forget that
[A.D. 430]). just as the very first Marian dogma is
“And since the rooted in a Christological truth, true devo-
holy Virgin corpo- tion to Mary is also rooted in and leading
really brought forth to Christ.
God made one with
flesh according to IV. Devotion to Mary
nature, for this rea- From what we have learned from Sa-
son we also call her cred Scripture, the Church Fathers, and
Mother of God, not the Church Magisterium, what springs
as if the nature of forth from our heart is true love and ven-
the Word had the eration of Mary. And of this, St. Louis
beginning of its ex- Grignon di Montfort has these wonderful
istence from the words:
flesh” (Third Letter Jesus, our Savior, true God and true
to Nestorius [A.D. man must be the ultimate end of all our
430]). other devotions; otherwise they would be
false and misleading… If then we are es-
III. The Church tablishing sound devotion to our Blessed
Teaching: The Lady, it is only in order to establish devo-
Dogma Defined tion to Our Lord more perfectly, by provid-
And it was at ing smooth but certain way of reaching
the Council of Jesus Christ. [iv]
Ephesus that the Probably for us Filipinos, this descrip-
Church finally and tion of true devotion to Mary by St. Louis
definitively defined is all the more challenging. Our being Pueblo
the dogma of the Amante de Maria is unquestionable yet at
Divine Maternity of the same time, such devotion to Mary
Mary. It was de- should lead us closer and into deeper
fined in opposition intimacy with Christ, her Son. That is the
to the opinion of ultimate goal of authentic Marian devo-
Nestorius, who held tion: to be with Christ.
that Mary was only St. Louis lists for us the marks of True
the mother of the Devotion to Mary: [v]

18 IMPACT • December 2007

OKOS: The Love, Veneration, and Imitation of Mary, the Mother of God

terested. It inspires human being. But this entrusting con-

us to seek God cerns women in a special way¯precisely
alone in his Blessed by reason of their femininity¯and this in
Mother and not a particular way determines their voca-
ourselves… He tion. A woman is strong because of her
does not serve her awareness of this entrusting, strong be-
for temporal or eter- cause of the fact that God “entrusts the
nal well-being but human being to her,” always and in every
simply and solely way, even in the situations of social dis-
because she has crimination in which she may find herself.
the right to be This awareness and this fundamental
served and God vocation speak to women of the dignity
alone in her. which they receive from God himself, and
this makes them “strong” and strength-
V. Mary and the ens their vocation. [vii]
Dignity of the
Woman VI. Ad Jesum Per Mariam
From this true In conclusion, we ask ourselves how
devotion to Mary “mature” really is our love, veneration,
comes our true love and devotion to Mary. It is certainly a
of neighbor as well. matter of the heart, so to speak, but a
From this true de- matter of the mind as well. Rooted in
votion as well we Scripture and in sound doctrine, our
realize the great Marian devotion will be very strong. And
dignity accorded equally as well, our devotion to Mary
by God to the leads to true love of neighbor, and even
women. However, true love of ourselves.
in this time and age Mary leads us to Jesus. In Jesus, we
of ours when it is love. I
politically correct ———————————
to ride on the issue [i] Let us also take a note that recent
of gender equality, Biblical studies show that the one to
the Church gives crush the head of the serpent is the
us the true face of He, which refers to the seed of the
feminism: Woman. Nonetheless, it should not
Thus the “full- be viewed as contradictory to tradi-
ness of time” mani- tional belief that it is the foot of the
fests the extraordi- Immaculate that will crush the head of
First, true devotion to our Lady is nary dignity of the “woman”. On the one the serpent. The Woman and her
interior, that is, it comes from within the hand, this dignity consists in the super- seed are intimately bound, always
mind and heart and follows from the es- natural elevation to union with God in and forever.
teem in which we hold her, the high regard Jesus Christ, which determines the ulti- [ii] The person in question is ‘almah,
we have for her greatness, and the love mate finality of the existence of every that is a young girl, a girl of marriage-
we bear her. person both on earth and in eternity. able age, maiden, virgin. The Hebrew
Second, it is trustful, that is, it fills us From this point of view, the “woman” is term, however, directly connoting
with confidence in the Blessed Virgin, the the representative and the archetype of sexual integrity is betullah (Fr. Stefano
confidence that a child has for its loving the whole human race: she represents the M. Manelli, FFI, All Generations Shall
Mother. It prompts us to go to her in humanity which belongs to all human Call Me Blessed, p. 34)
every need of body and soul with great beings, both men and women. On the [iii] Ibid., p. 58
simplicity, trust, and affection. other hand, however, the event at Nazareth [iv] St. Louis Grignon di Montfort, (True
Third, true devotion to our Lady is highlights a form of union with the living Devotion to Mary, nos. 61-62)
holy, that is, it leads us to avoid sin and God which can only belong to the [v] Ibid., nos. 105-110
to imitate the virtues of Mary. “woman”, Mary: the union between [vi] Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter,
Fourth, true devotion to Our Lady is mother and son. The Virgin of Nazareth Mulieris Dignatatem, 15 August 1988,
constant. It strengthens us in our desire truly becomes the Mother of God.[vi] no. 4
to do good and prevents us from giving The Servant of God, the Great John [vii] Ibid. no. 30
up our devotional practices easily. It gives Paul II, states further:
us courage to oppose the fashions and The moral and spiritual strength of a Fr. Melvin Castro is a priest of the Diocese of Tarlac
maxims of the world, the vexations and woman is joined to her awareness that and the President-Founder of the Confraternity of
unruly inclinations of the flesh and the God entrusts the human being to her in a Mary Mediatrix of All Grace. He is also a member
temptations of the devil. special way. Of course, God entrusts ev- of the Pueblo Amante de Maria Mariological Society
Fifth, true devotion to Mary is disin- ery human being to each and every other of the Philippines.

Volume 41 • Number 12 19

Thank God, It’s over Moral Revolution?

THANK God, the curfew is over. Thank God, our
hardworking media men have been released; were it not for
Do It
them the nation would be in the dark as to what our country
is undergoing at this point in time. Yesterday and last night, GOD help us! God have mercy “social volcano” (Heaven help
the people holed-in at Peninsula Hotel had a “foretaste” of on the Filipino people. The list us!), we support the ideal of a
what Martial Law could be. God save us from the worse! of unresolved cases of social, “moral revolution”—moral
Bishop Julio Labayen, Bishop-Emeritus of Infanta, economic and political con- transformation, moral renewal,
experienced in the hands of the military what he did not cerns keeps piling up. Suicides moral reform. The CBCP has
undergo even in the time of Marcos dictatorship. Bishop and homicides have been com- proposed it before in many ways
Labayen is already 81 years old. I am appealing to the mitted because of extreme un- through the years. And we
military that he be released on account of his age. The resolved poverty—and these would like to say it again. Noth-
advocacy that Bishop Labayen had been doing is for the at a time when the peso is ing new, but the resolve may be.
country to be restored to genuine democracy and justice claimed to be gaining ground. We are consoled by the
which is worth fighting for. How long have the poor to fact that some of our public
In this moment of national crisis, may there be sobri- wait? And then, the murder of officials and different sectors
ety, calmness, mutual understanding among the people in a COMELEC official—at a time of civil society are seeing such
opposite camps. Let us pray for our country. when COMELEC is facing re- a need for “moral revolution”.
newal of its institution. Sana magpatuloy ito… sana
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD The alleged bribery of dumami pa ang bilang nila.
Archbishop of Jaro government officials, the May this attitude prevail… may
CBCP President deaths resulting from the ex- the number of good-willed
November 30, 2007 plosion at the Glorietta and more people increase. Not only in-
recently the bomb explosion at vestigations one after another.
the Batasan Pambansa: these In our country where 57%
are the social concerns and are not affected by the gained
Statement nagging issues that are crying
our for solution and closure.
power of the peso, where graft
and corruption by the mighty
Add to this list the multi- in power and influence still hold
Committee on Women, Justice, Peace and Integrity of million peso projects sprawl- sway, we are in search for
Creation. Philippine Province of the Good Shepherd ing like white elephants be- people who would be humble,
cause of substandard qualities courageous and decided
GATHERED in our Province good and well being and and questionable arrange- enough to do a Zacchaeus,
Assembly in Quezon City security of the Filipino people ments. “Here and now I give half of my
from November 12-14, 2007, should be a great concern of These are not purely socio- possession to the poor, and if
we, the undersigned Good the national leadership. The economic issues. The Church’s I have cheated anybody out of
Shepherd Sisters, coming fact is the majority of Filipi- social doctrine (Compendium anything, I will pay back four
from different parts of the nos are insecure and fearful 330-331) insists on their moral times the amount.” (Lk. 19:8).
country decry the recent in the face of grinding pov- connotations. The relationship This is the only violent revolu-
bombing of Batasan erty they suffer from. between morality and econom- tion worthy of the name—it
Pambansa causing the loss Who will deny that the ics and poverty is necessary, “kills” selfishness.
of lives and severe injury to national government has intrinsic and reciprocal. On the Let us do it. “To start this
many. This recent event, lost the moral ascendancy to one hand, it will be unfair to the moral revolution, I must cease
added to the long list of govern this country? We victims if the real and ultimate to be dishonest, unjust and
suspicious events and scan- don’t! Therefore, we culprits are not investigated and unfair to my fellow Filipinos. I
dalous deals and scams al- strongly ask the Chief Ex- made to answer for their ac- will tell and act on the truth that
legedly attributed to the ecutive Gloria Macapagal- tions. On the other hand, each I confess or affirm. I will return
present national administra- Arroyo to step down. case carries a strong statement what I have unjustly and de-
tion. about the different levels of lead- ceitfully acquired. Only then
Inspired and challenged Signatories: Eighty Two ership as well as about the na- can I ask pardon from God and
by our mission to continue (82) Good Shepherd Sisters tional state of affairs. the people I have wronged.”
to be “Life-bearers with and As a response to the state Speaking of reconciliation?
for the Poor” and called to of moral bankruptcy in public This is!
(For Reference: Sr. Maureen life, of probably irremediable loss
heed Micah 6:8 “to act justly, Catabian, RGS – Chairperson of the
to love tenderly and to walk W-JPIC Committee of the Sisters of credibility and trust, a call has +ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO
of the Good Shepherd (Philippines. been made for “moral revolu- Archbishop of Jaro
humbly with our God”, we Telephone: 913 64 07 Email :
believe that the common maurgs@yahoo.com) tion”. If only to stop our coun- CBCP President
try from continuing to become a November 20, 2007

20 IMPACT • December 2007


Military Operations
Threaten Lumad
SINCE the start of this month, persons mostly women and
around 500 military men, some children who braved the heavy
belonging to the 58th IB PA rains, and endured the long
have arrived in Lumad com- walk to the town proper, are
munities in Diatagon, Lianga now housed in the evacuation
and San Agustin, Surigao del centers. No action has been
Sur. They brought with them taken by the local government
two 6x6 military trucks, one of units up to this time, while Col.
A Fraternal Statement in which was loaded with rice Jose Vizcarra, commander of
Support of the Sumilao Farmers’ and other food stuff, two ar-
mored personnel carriers
the Army’s 401st Infantry Bri-
gade, has declared that opera-
March for Land and Justice (APCs) and two 105 howitzer tions allegedly in pursuit of
cannons. The military men NPAs will continue until nec-
ON behalf of my brother priests and the faithful of the stayed in the houses of civil- essary.
Diocese of Calbayog, I welcome you, dear brothers and ians, and occupied Lumad Lit- The Rural Missionaries of
sisters from San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon, to Samar. I am eracy Schools. They also put the Philippines (RMP) strongly
a witness to your journey and I saw how tired and hungry up makeshift tents near the denounce this unwanted in-
you are, not only for food and rest but more importantly for houses of the residents. trusion to the once peaceful
social justice. Checkpoints to monitor the communities of our indigenous
I join you in prayer so that you will achieve the cause activities of the residents were brothers and sisters, and calls
for which you marched: to reclaim the 144-hectare land that set up. When passing these for the immediate withdrawal
is yours in the first place. You were once robbed of your checkpoints, residents are of military troops in the above-
land for which your life and future depend on, and deprived asked to present their IDs or mentioned areas. Military op-
of the comfort of your families, homes, and livelihood, so cedulas, their names and mo- erations have always posed
you march for land and justice. You remind me of the bile phone numbers are listed, great danger to the lives of
injustice, oppression, toil, and friendlessness in Ecclesiastes and their belongings are in- helpless civilians. We must not
4:1-4, “Then I looked again at all the injustice that goes on spected. The military men in- wait until someone is hurt or
in this world. The oppressed were crying, and no one would terrogated teachers and stu- even killed in the course of
help them. No one would help them because their oppres- dents of tribal community these operations before con-
sors had power on their side.” schools, telling them that if crete actions are taken to nor-
I therefore hope that there will be a favorable end to they have relatives who joined malize the situation. We call on
your long walk. I pray that the conversion order on the the NPA, they must surrender. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as
Sumilao land be revoked and the land be returned to you. The ongoing military op- Commander-in-Chief of the
May the Lord give you a fresh supply of strength to do your erations have greatly affected Armed Forces to immediately
tasks, anoint your works, and bless your plans so that even the lives of residents in 12 look into the plight of the af-
your smallest accomplishments will glorify God and sanc- Lumad communities. They fected residents, and to order
tify yourselves. have stopped going about with that the military operations be
The Lord will be with you in your walk for land and their normal daily activities for stopped. The safety of civil-
justice. Take comfort for the Lord upholds the cause of the fear of their safety. Classes in ians is already at risk, and turn-
oppressed. He gives sight to the blind and sets prisoners 7 Lumad Primary Literacy ing a deaf ear will surely aggra-
free. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, watches Schools with more than 500 vate the situation. The RMP
over the strangers and sustains the fatherless and the pupils, and a Lumad High also calls on all church people
widow. But He frustrates the ways of the wicked (Psalm School with 177 students have to voice out their concern in
146:7-9). been disrupted as the military the light of these develop-
We keep you all in our prayers. Kaming tanan sa also stayed in these schools. ments, and hold GMA and the
Diocesis sa Calbayog usa ug uban kaninyo, among More than 200 families have military accountable for any and
igsoong mag-uuma, sa kawsa nga inyong gibarugan. already fled their homes, and all violations of human rights.
Abante Bukidnon! Sulong Igsoon! Ang Dios magauban are now staying in evacuation
kanunay kaninyo! centers set up by Karapatan in Sr. Elenita Belardo, RGS
the town proper of Lianga, RMP National Coordinator
Most Rev. Isabelo C. Abarquez, DD some 15 kilometers away from
Bishop of Calbayog the Lumad communities. Ac- Fr. Jesus Malit, SSS
cording to Karapatan, 1,512 AMRSP Co-chairperson

Volume 41 • Number 12 21

“Peace, Prosperity and Respect for Human

Rights Are Inseparably Linked”
Address of Pope Benedict XVI to the members of the U.N. Food and
Agriculture Organization (Nov. 22, 2007)

Mr. President,
Mr. Director General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you gather for the Thirty-fourth

Conference of the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations, I am
pleased to welcome you to the Vatican.
Our meeting today is part of a tradition
reaching back to the time when your Orga-
nization first set up its headquarters in
Rome. I am happy to have yet another
occasion to express appreciation for your
work to eliminate the scourge of global
As you know, the Holy See has al-
ways maintained a keen interest in every
effort made to rid the human family of
famine and malnutrition, in the awareness
that resolving these problems requires not
only extraordinary dedication and highly
refined technical training, but above all a
genuine spirit of cooperation uniting all The obstacles standing in the way of which the Holy See established regular
men and women of good will. overcoming this tragic situation can at times diplomatic relations. On 23 November 1948,
This noble goal calls for unwavering be discouraging. Armed conflicts, out- during the Fourth Session of your Confer-
acknowledgement of the inherent dignity breaks of disease, adverse atmospheric and ence, the Holy See was granted the unique
of the human person at every stage of life. environmental conditions and the massive status of “Permanent Observer”, thus en-
All forms of discrimination, and particu- forced displacement of peoples: all these suring its right to participate in the activities
larly those that thwart agricultural devel- obstacles should serve as a motivation to of FAO’s various departments and affili-
opment, must be rejected since they con- redouble our efforts to provide each person ated agencies in a way consonant with the
stitute a violation of the basic right of with his or her daily bread. For her part, the Church’s religious and moral mission.
every person to be “free from hunger”. Church is convinced that the quest for more The united effort of the international
These convictions are in fact demanded effective technical solutions in an ever- community to eliminate malnutrition and
by the very nature of your work on behalf changing and expanding world calls for far- promote genuine development necessarily
of the common good of humanity, as ex- sighted programmes embodying enduring calls for clear structures of management
pressed so eloquently by your motto— values grounded in the inalienable dignity and oversight, and a realistic assessment of
fiat panis—words that are also at the heart and rights of the human person. the resources needed to address a wide
of the Gospel which the Church is called to FAO continues to play an essential range of different situations. It requires the
proclaim. role in relieving world hunger, while remind- contribution of every member of society—
The data gathered through your re- ing the international community of the press- individuals, volunteer organizations, busi-
search and the extent of your programmes ing need constantly to update methods and nesses, and local and national govern-
for supporting the global endeavor to de- to design strategies adequate to today’s ments—always with due regard for those
velop the world’s natural resources clearly challenges. I express my appreciation for ethical and moral principles which are the
testify to one of the most troubling para- the generous efforts made in this regard by common patrimony of all people and the
doxes of our time: the relentless spread of all associated with your Organization. The foundation of all social life. The interna-
poverty in a world that is also experiencing Holy See has closely followed the activities tional community must always avail itself of
unprecedented prosperity, not only in the of FAO over the last sixty years and is this precious treasure of common values
economic sphere but also in the rapidly confident that the significant results al- since genuine and lasting development can
developing fields of science and technol- ready achieved will continue. FAO was one only be furthered in a spirit of cooperation
ogy. of the first international organizations with and a willingness to share professional and

22 IMPACT • December 2007


technical resources.
Indeed, today more than ever, the hu-
man family needs to find the tools and
strategies capable of overcoming the con- The are never lacking.
But these cannot misrepresent the

flicts caused by social differences, ethnic truth that any earthly power is from God
rivalries, and the gross disparity in levels of and has to be used according to God’s
economic development. Mankind is thirst- will. One’s proper attitude toward power

of power
ing for true and lasting peace—a peace that should be that of being a minister, a
can only come about if individuals, groups servant, not the author or owner, much
at every level, and government leaders cul- less, a tyrant.
tivate habits of responsible decision-mak- We have to find a continuing way of
ing rooted firmly in the fundamental prin- educating everyone about the nature and
ciples of justice. By Fr. Roy Cimagala purpose of power. We have to actively
It is therefore essential that societies inculcate the proper attitudes and dispo-
dedicate their energies to educating au-

E have been amply warned sitions, especially rectitude of intention.
thentic peacemakers: this is a task which about this danger. Our Lord We have to be aware that we are
falls in a particular way to organizations like himself said: “You know that doing God’s work even as we pursue our
your own, which cannot fail to recognize as the princes of the Gentiles lord it over earthly activities. These are not purely
the foundation of authentic justice the uni- them, and they that are greater, exercise earthly as in being strictly politics. They
versal destination of the goods of creation. power upon them. It shall not be so can and should be part of God’s designs.
Religion, as a potent spiritual force for among you. But whosoever will be the Aside from being competent, we
healing the wounds of conflict and divi- greater among you, let him be your min- need to be humble always, conscious
sion, has its own distinctive contribution to ister. And he that will be first among you, that we are mere servants and instru-
make in this regard, especially through the shall be your servant.” (Mt 20,25-27) ments though vested with the dignity of
work of forming minds and hearts in accor- We have to understand that any being God’s children. We have to be
dance with a vision of the human person. power that we have in this life is always prudent, more of the spirit than of the
Ladies and Gentlemen, technical a participation of God’s power. St. Paul flesh and of the world.
progress, important as it is, is not every- said so: “There is no power but from We have to continually practice
thing. Such progress must be placed within God, and those that are, are ordained of detachment, seeing to it that our heart is
the wider context of the integral good of the God.” (Rom 13, 1) fully attuned to God’s will. We should
human person. It must constantly draw Though we are always free to use not allow the many privileges and perks
nourishment from the common patrimony that power as truly our own, it would be given to holders of power to spoil us.
of values which can inspire concrete initia- very funny to use it as if it is entirely ours, We have to learn to distinguish in
tives aimed at a more equitable distribution without due reference to God, its source the course of using power between what
of spiritual and material goods. As I wrote and purpose, and to the others for whom is of absolute value that has to be upheld
in my encyclical “Deus Caritas Est,” “those it is used. always, and what is of relative value that
who are in a position to help others will And yet that is what we see around can be open to many interpretations and
realize that, in doing so, they themselves quite abundantly. Leaders, political and therefore should be respected even as
receive help; being able to help others is no even ecclesiastical, many times act out we try to make a consensus.
merit or achievement of their own” (No. 35). this “lording it over,” eager to dominate Problems start when people fail to
This principle has a special application to and control others, being bossy and recognize the source and aim of power,
the world of agriculture, in which the work even arrogant and insolent. and then develop the corresponding
of those who are often considered the “low- Because of this error, they open inappropriate attitudes and habits.
liest” members of society should be duly themselves to other irregularities: hypoc- Worse, without God and on our own, we
acknowledged and esteemed. risy, greed, lust, envy, hatred, etc. Some tend to weave a web of deceit that even-
FAO’s outstanding activity on behalf even go to the extent of getting detached tually will incriminate us.
of development and food security clearly from reality and lapsing into insanity. We cannot underestimate the many
points to the correlation between the spread It’s truly painful to see someone dangers that threaten the proper use of
of poverty and the denial of basic human who at the beginning of a political career power. First, we have right now an envi-
rights, beginning with the fundamental right appears meek and then morphs himself ronment filled with bad examples of how
to adequate nutrition. Peace, prosperity, through years of wielding power into an power ought to be used.
and respect for human rights are insepara- insufferable monster, tinkering with mo- There also are serious efforts now to
bly linked. The time has come to ensure, for rality and getting inured to rational twist- discredit the role of God and of Christian
the sake of peace, that no man, woman and ing, grand lying, hatching plots and con- morality in the use of power. The religious
child will ever be hungry again! spiracies. dimension is often viewed as irrelevant,
Dear friends, in renewing my esteem It’s hard to understand why some an unnecessary burden, a mere luxury
for your work, I assure you of my prayers leaders act in that ridiculous way. Of that can be discarded anytime.
that Almighty God will enlighten and guide course, there are reasons. Like, they That’s why we have many reasons
your deliberations, so that the activity of have been elected or appointed, have to embark on a systematic campaign to
FAO will respond ever more fully to the superior qualities, have been born lucky, clarify the issue on the use of power.
human family’s yearning for solidarity, jus- etc. Outside pressures and temptations This is an urgent call of our times. I
tice and peace.

Volume 41 • Number 12 23

iven the historical background of
the current land issue in the Philip-
pines and the set of specific con-
cerns around land policy, it is important
now to ask the question why celebrate a
Second National Rural Congress? I pro-
pose that some principles from the
Church’s Social Teaching (CST) can be
helpful in providing the framework for our
By CST, I mean the body of social
wisdom about the human person in commu-
nity and the structures and practices that
enable the person to come to full human
development. That wisdom is found in our
scriptures, in the reflections of theologians,
in the statements of church organizations
and in the witness of committed men and
women. The CST is not so much a set of
answers or detailed plans as a frame of
questions and guiding principles and norms.
It has been described as “a light for our
paths, not a roadmap for our journeys.”
It is my thesis that this CST does indeed
provide a “value-added element” to public
discussions, debates and decisions such as
those going on now in the Philippines (and

Why a National
elsewhere) over land policy. By that I mean
that this public process is enhanced by
injection of the principles, norms and direc-
tives found in the Social Teaching. The

Rural Congress II?

“value-added element” provides a frame-
work within which to focus on what should
be the policy based on the priorities of hu-
man society.
Selected Principles Land: A critical Issue for the Philippines
Before highlighting some elements in
this CST frame, I want to draw attention to a
list of values set down in the Comprehensive By Fr. Archie Casey, SX
Agrarian Reform Programme (CARP) that
still has to be completed. The CARP has needed support services that will enable I believe that this list is a very good
been hailed as a centerpiece programme of them to make the land productive. It is the summary of the CST principles to be
the Philippine Government from the time of policy of the State to pursue a Comprehen- summarised below.
President Corazon Aquino. As a major as- sive Agrarian Reform Programme (CARP). It is important to note, of course, that for
set-reform programme, the CARP seeks to The welfare of the landless farmers, farm Indigenous Peoples (IPs), the tradition is
address the problem of inequitable distribu- workers and other qualified beneficiaries will that land is something sacred. It is part of the
tion of land. As a poverty-alleviation mea- receive the highest consideration to pro- gracious gift of God who provides for the
sure, CARP seeks to transform agrarian re- mote social justice and to move the nation people. Thus traditionally the land belonged
form beneficiaries into more productive mem- towards sound rural development and in- to the community, under the guardianship of
bers of society who can use the land to dustrialization, and the establishment of the tiller. Individual families could use part of
generate more income for their families. owner cultivatorship of economic-sized the communal land, with the expectation that
After the lapse of almost twenty years farms as the basis of Philippine agriculture. they would cultivate it and stay there from
from the passage of the Comprehensive The CARP underlines the following one generation to another. Other parts of the
Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), however, the values: communal land were for the service of all or
CARP remains an incomplete dream. While • Rural poor people’s participation a reserve for future needs.
the implementation of the programme has • Accountability In Judeo-Christian biblical terms, the earth
produced significant gains in terms of distri- • Commitment belongs to God the Creator and people are
bution of agricultural lands, there remains a • Self-reliance only stewards. Leviticus 25:23 reminds the
large area that should still be covered under • Equity and fairness people that, “Your land must not be sold on
the CARP. Furthermore, farmer beneficiaries • Justice and human dignity a permanent basis, because you do not own
who now own the land should be given the • Impartiality it; it belongs to God, and you are like foreign-

24 IMPACT • December 2007

Why a National Rural Congress II?

ers who are allowed to make use of it.” conscience of the nation. To opt for them, to and decisions about public policy.
Moreover, land and its fruits should be share with them is a requirement of the First, the land policy must be grounded
equally and equitably shared. Hence the Kingdom of God. on the recognition that land is not simply
practices such as the redistribution of land Therefore, under this perspective of a another economic commodity, but something
every Jubilee Year (Leviticus 25:28) and the loving faith that does justice, we, your bish- very central to the well being of human soci-
leaving of some fruits for the poor after ops, have no alternative as far as the ques- ety. It is not to be bought and sold on simple
harvest (Deuteronomy 25:19-22). Jesus’ re- tion of agrarian reform is concerned: market principles. It is, indeed, something
spect and appreciation for land is evident in We are for as comprehensive a sacred since it is so essential to the well being
his many agricultural-based parables and in programme of agrarian reform as possible – of every woman and man. This means that
his special concern for the poor, most of one that will make it possible for all, the 70% economic reform measures such as globalized
whom were landless. who live below the poverty line especially, to agri-business programmes cannot be the pri-
In the documents of the Church, the have more in order to be more (Cf. Paul VI, mary determinant to land policy in a country
topic of land is usually treated in the discus- Populorum Progressio, 6). like the Philippines. This calls, therefore, for a
sion of property. To briefly recall the basic We believe furthermore that a genuine thorough review of the 1988 CARP Law with
teaching, the CST perspective is that prop- agrarian reform programme must be realis- extension and reform and all its implications.
© Ian aOng - http://flickr.com/photos/ianong/419710280/

erty is subject to the common purpose of all tic. No programme can be successful if it Second, a primary concern for the poor
created things, namely the benefit of all transcends the capabilities of government to in the Philippines (the overwhelming majority
people. The Second Vatican Council in its manage and finance.” (Ricardo J. Cardinal of Filipinos!) must guide the land policies.
main document, The Church in the Modern Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu, CBCP President) Land tenure must always be designed in ways
World, stated quite plainly: “God intended One very clear summary of the CST on that do not discriminate against the poor—
the earth and all that it contains for the use land is found in the 1980 statement of a group either because of cumbersome and expensive
of every human being and people” (GS 69). of Bishops from the mid-western part of the legal and management requirements to fulfil or
Paul VI followed that up in his The United States. I believe it has great relevance because available good CARP-able land is
Development of People (1967) with the re- to the current discussion in the Philippines. possessed by landlords or investors who
affirmation of a long-held principle that large In response to problems raised by land have access to ready cash. Allocation of titles
landed estates that “impede the general ownership and use, the Bishops recom- to land, whether Customary or State, must
prosperity because they are extensive, un- mended ten principles of land stewardship— respect the rights and needs of local commu-
used or poorly used, or because they bring principles clearly biblical and in accord with nities and especially the rural poor—of whom
hardships to people or are detrimental to statements of the Popes mentioned above: the largest number are women.
the interests of the country,” can in the name • The land is God’s. Third, land policies must be holistic,
of the common good be expropriated by • People are God’s stewards on the land, that is, they must be integrated into larger
national authorities (PP 24). John Paul II co-creators with God in guiding the development planning that takes account of
clarified that further by stating in his The land’s productive power and in con- issues like food security, employment, envi-
Social Concerns of the Church (1987) that serving the land’s natural gifts. ronmental concerns, community identity,
“Private property, in fact, is under a ‘social • The land’s benefits are for everyone – regional infrastructure, etc. For example, when
mortgage,’ which means that it has an in- both for the present and future genera- the CARP Law states that “By means of
trinsically social function, based upon and tions. appropriate incentives, the State shall en-
justified precisely by the principle of the • The land should be distributed equita- courage the formation and maintenance of
universal destination of goods” (SRS 42). bly. economic-sized family farms to be consti-
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of • The land should be conserved and re- tuted by individual beneficiaries and small
the Philippines (CBCP) has also advocated stored. landowners” plans should be designed in
Land Reform. The bishops reiterated the call • Land-use planning must consider social this holistic fashion.
for a Comprehensive and Effective Land Re- and environmental impacts.
form Programme in their exhortation “Thirst- • Land use should be appropriate to land Conclusion
ing for Justice.” on 14 July 1987, (Eight days quality; for example, prime farmland As the Philippine Government now evalu-
later, President Aquino signed Proclamation should not be used unnecessarily for ates whether agriculture is the number one
131 and Executive Order No. 229 which dealt urban expansion or highways. national priority, it is clear that land policy
with the implementation of the Comprehen- • The land should provide a moderate moves to the forefront in addressing current
sive Agrarian Reform Program): livelihood. burning issues like poverty and hunger. The
“This year we celebrate a National • The land’s workers should be able to Church’s Social Teaching has many signifi-
Eucharistic Year. The heart of the Eucha- become the land’s owners. cant things to say about these issues provid-
rist is sharing - Christ sharing himself with • The land’s mineral wealth should be ing a framework for making decisions, taking
us totally. shared. action and achieving the Common Good.
In this celebration God is asking us to do How men and women appear in the light of
what we celebrate: to share to the utmost of Policy Applications belief in Christ and his love is the root cause
ourselves with others, especially with those Guided by these principles and by the why the NRC II process can help re-awaken
with whom Christ himself identifies: the biblical and documentary references out- our Gospel Concern for the dignity of the rural
thirsty, the hungry, the naked, and the home- lined above, there are at least three major poor and fulfil “the joys and hopes, the griefs
less (Mt. 25:35-46). In the Philippines today, emphases that are relevant when we con- and anxieties” envisioned forty years ago on
these are the landless, the exploited, the sider policy land issues of the Philippines. February 5th 1967 by the first National Rural
disadvantaged, and the powerless. These This is where I return to the “value-added Congress and encapsulated in its slogan
have the single most urgent claim on the element” crucial to the discussions, debates “THE CHURCH GOES TO THE BARRIOS.” I

Volume 41 • Number 12 25

looked at it with reservation, apprehen-

Lessons Learned
sion if not condemnation—especially
those who might suddenly lose their pub-
lic profitable offices or juicy positions. It is
however true that there are definitely big
lessons learned from the sobering if not
The tension in Makati is over. The tear gas that caused the riveting drama remain the chilling episode witnessed here and abroad
is gone. The guns are silent. The soldiers, same. The perceived morally bankrupt and by millions of people in living colors and
police and their tanks are back in the camps. callous government continues to be in real time.
A plush hotel suffered some damage. The power. The same markedly questionable First lesson: The present government
lead personalities are held secure. Makati individuals with busted values system is the problem and the culprit. It is the
appears calm and quiet. But as sure as the remain holding the high critical public of- principal author of corrupt acts and prac-
sun will rise tomorrow, the saga is defi- fices. tices, the fearsome killing machine of cause
nitely not ended, the last chapter of the What thus took place in a key city in oriented men and women, the primary ori-
story is certainly not yet written. The na- the country must mean many things to gin of deceit and injustice. It is a govern-
tional realities behind the event are still many people. Just as there were those who ment that effectively divides people and
alive and about. The fundamental factors welcomed and cheered it, so did others amply gives them strong reasons to dis-
trust and disapprove. It makes money from
even the poorest of the poor while
nonchalantly appropriating huge public
funds to promote its own political interest
Grand Gambling Lord of the Philippines and concerns. With such a government,
reconciliation is an empty word, national
It is not an exaggera- trumpet its alleged social tal Disorders. Gambling development is but a dream, and social
tion much less a fabri- welfare projects presum- wherefore caused the peace remains a moral impossibility, hence
cation to say that the ably all over the land. Re- establishment of “Gam- the long existing unrest on the part of the
present government is cently, it even announced blers Anonymous” in all governed from the left, from the right and
the biggest gambling its glorious and visionary places where the vice from the center as well. It is the present
lord in the country. This intention of putting up a reigns—as there is one government itself that foments continu-
has no reference to the veritable gambling city cum regularly meeting in a ous dissent and big resentment to the
long standing and per- some amusement compo- known Hotel some- point of the Makati attempt.
vasive illegal numbers’ nents for cosmetic pur- where in Roxas Boule- Second lesson: there are more and
game that it poses. Lately, it is staging vard. more people who are alienated by the ex-
nonchalantly tolerates if certain entertainment fea- In addition to its isting government that does as a matter of
not openly promotes. tures with a vague claim medals of dishonor such course what it should not, and avoid doing
Neither has this any- that it intends to embark in as in the area of graft what it is precisely paid for and expected
thing to do with the infa- some kind of a vague cul- and corruption, in the to do. The dissatisfied and downright dis-
mous gambling opera- tural development. sphere of extrajudicial gusted people are numbered among the
tors individually well There are some stand- killings and forced dis- elite and the miserable, the professionals
identified practically by ing facts that remain be- appearances, in the mat- and the unlettered. They are found in the
everybody except the yond debate in the gam- ter of high distrust and academe and the slums, the world of busi-
supposedly competent bling world. Gamblers are disapproval ratings, and ness and labor—even in the ranks of the
and concerned govern- ultimately losers, and gam- similar socio-moral AFP. While most of them do not actually
ment agencies. Needless bling operators are the final handicaps, there is join protest marches and rallies, they are
to say, this is about the winners always. Gamblers wherefore the added neither that happy much less contented
somehow omnipotent as are continuous liabilities to distinct title duly earned with the present administration. But even
well as omnipresent Phil- their work or profession, to by this government, viz., these will not “stand down” forever.
ippine Amusing Gam- their business or employ- “Grand Gambling Lord Third lesson: The great majority of
bling Corporation ment, not to mention their of the Philippines”. the Philippine media persons remain the
(PAGCOR) placed di- families and close friends. Meantime, there is hun- sign of courage and the voice of truth.
rectly under no less than Gamblers resent being ger and misery in the That is why they are hated by people who
the Office of the Presi- called what they are, and land. There is a big exo- wield power simply through weaponry—
dent as a staff entity. thus hide their identities as dus of workers. The Phil- a symbol of brute power and the tool of
In order to some- much as possible. Gambling ippine pesos buys less dictatorial figures. They are a constituent
way disguise its omi- is a vice—a bad habit that and less, and the cost of element of the hope of the country, a
nous reality and camou- dictates thought processes living is becoming much appreciated partner in confronting
flage its deleterious op- and directs action patterns. higher and higher. the abuses of public officials. May their
eration, the same gov- Gambling is addictive to the And this is the tribe increase. May they remain firm and
ernment gambling Cor- extent that it has acquired a “PHILIPPINES, MY stay whole
poration spends no place in the Diagnostic and PHILIPPINES.” Meantime, the crusade for truth, jus-
small money to loudly Statistical Manual of Men- ovc.blogspot.com tice and peace continues.

26 IMPACT • December 2007


Truth, Justice, Change

OW much lie, injustice and stagnancy can the is categorically barred from aspiring for the same
adult bear, the young witness, the children inherit? office. The rationale of this formal and expressed
When will the people say enough is enough and constitutional provision is rather plain and simple: six
wherefore act to let the truth out, to make justice reign, to continuous years are long enough for the highest public
effect a change for the better? What must the Filipinos do official in the country to demonstrate the national good
lest they find themselves already irredeemably buried in which it can actualize for the benefit of the people—or
a deep ethical morass the present government keeps sadly evidence national harm when it has the gall to
digging for them, from the high pile of moral garbage it has inflict upon the country.
been heaping on them in the course of time? It is already tiring and nauseating even to but recall
How long will they endure their inculturation into and list down the long litany of blatant socio-immoral
graft and corruption, in the nonchalant waste of human postures adopted by the present government whereby
lives and wanton violation of human rights? What on money and power are worshipped; ego and loyalty
earth will bring about a public outrage, a national move, politics are held supreme. Thus rests the unavoidable
a concerted action to end a continuously and consis- and unpleasant verdict recently rendered by a Church-
tently distrusted and disapproved government? They man known for his command of moral theology, for his
have done it peacefully, steadfastly and successfully pastoral prudence and personal goodness. The incum-
before. They can once more surely do it again the same bent government is morally bankrupt! Among other
way, with the same resolve and spirit. things, such a painful evaluation means that together
The fundamental law of the land provides that head with its cohorts, the head has lost the moral authority to
of government is given six long years to deliver what the lead, the moral ascendancy to govern. It will take a good
people clamor for, to actualize what is promised to the amount of vain amoral gymnastics to arrive at a con-
governed. Thereafter, the said national governing figure trary conclusion.

Volume 41 • Number 12 27

her to give to my sister. And he heard my

A Christmas Story prayer. I wanted to ask him for enough to

buy my Momma a white rose, but I didn’t
ask him, but he gave me enough to buy the
doll and a rose for my Momma. She loves
He looked at me with the saddest eyes white roses so very, very much.”
and said “She has gone to be with Jesus”. In a few minutes the aunt came back
My Daddy says that Momma is going to and I wheeled my cart away. I could not
have to go to be with her. My heart nearly keep from thinking about the little boy as
stopped beating. Then the boy looked at I finished my shopping in a totally differ-
me again and said, “I told my Daddy to tell ent spirit than when I had started. And I
Momma not to go yet. I told him to tell her kept remembering a story I had seen in the
to wait till I got back from the store.” Then newspaper several days earlier about a
he asked me if I wanted to see his picture. drunk driver hitting a car and killing a little
I told him I would love to. He pulled out girl and the Mother was in serious condi-
some pictures he’d had taken at the front tion. The family was deciding on whether
of the store. He said “I want my Momma to to remove the life support.
take this with her so she doesn’t ever Two days later I read in the paper
forget me.” “I love my Momma so very where the family had disconnected the life
much and I wish she did not have to leave support and the young woman had died. I
me.” “But Daddy says she will need to be could not forget the little boy and just kept
with my sister.” wondering if the two were somehow con-
I saw that the little boy had lowered nected. Later that day, I could not help
his head and had grown so very quiet. myself and I went out and bought some
While he was not looking I reached into my white roses and took them to the funeral
purse and pulled out a handful of bills. I home where the young woman was. And
asked the little boy, “Shall we count that there she was holding a lovely white rose,
money one more time?” He grew excited the beautiful doll, and the picture of the

hurried into the local department store and said “Yes, I just know it has to be little boy in the store.
to grab some last minute Christmas enough.” So I slipped my money in with I left there in tears, my life changed
gifts. I looked at all the people and his and we began to count it. forever. The love that little boy had for his
grumbled to myself. I would be in here Of course it was plenty for the doll. He little sister and his mother was overwhelm-
forever and I just had so much to do. softly said, “Thank you Jesus for giving ing. And in a split second a drunk driver
Christmas was beginning to become such me enough money.” Then the boy said, “I had ripped the life of that little boy to
a drag. I kinda wished that I could just just asked Jesus to give me enough money pieces.
sleep through Christmas. But I hurried the to buy this doll so Momma can take it with rowena.dalanon@cbcpworld.net
best I could through all the people to the
toy department.
I found myself in the doll aisle. Out of
the corner of my eye I saw a little boy about
five holding a lovely doll. He kept touch- The Mountain their gear for the descent,
ing her hair and he held her so gently. I

here were two war where to find the mountain walkingtowardthem.They
could not seem to help myself. I just kept ring tribes in the people or how to track them in realized that she was com-
looking over at the little boy and wondered Andes, one that the steep terrain. ing down the mountain
who the doll was for. I watched him turn to lived in the lowlands and Even so, they sent out that they hadn’t figured
a woman and he called his aunt by name the other high in the moun- their best party of fighting men out how to climb.
and said, “Are you sure I don’t have tains.Themountainpeople toclimbthemountainandbring And then they saw
enough money” She replied a bit impa- invaded the lowlanders the baby home. that she had the baby
tiently, “You know that you don’t have one day, and as part of their The men tried first one strapped to her back. How
enough money for it.” The aunt told the plundering of the people, method of climbing and then could that be?
little boy not to go anywhere that she had they kidnapped a baby of another. They tried one trail One man greeted her
to go get some other things and would be one of the lowlander fami- and then another. After sev- and said, “We couldn’t
back in a few minutes. The boy continued lies and took the infant eral days of effort, however, climb this mountain. How
to hold the doll. with them back up into the they had climbed only several did you do this when we,
After a bit I asked the boy who the doll mountains. hundred feet. the strongest and most able
was for. He said, “It is the doll my sister The lowlanders Feeling hopeless and men in the village, couldn’t
wanted so badly for Christmas. She just didn’t know how to climb helpless, the lowlander men do it?”
knew that Santa would bring it.” I told him the mountain. They didn’t decided that the cause was She shrugged her
that maybe Santa was going to bring it. He know any of the trails that lost, and they prepared to re- shoulders and said, “It
said “No, Santa can’t go where my sister is... the mountain people used, turn to their village below. wasn’t your baby.”
I have to give the doll to my Momma to take and they didn’t know As they were packing rowena.dalanon@cbcpworld.net
to her.” I asked him where his sister was.

28 IMPACT • December 2007


Before and Beyond “I do”

Matrimonial Advisories
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, JCD, DD
Another instructive volume from a to speak, for anyone who is intend-
prolific writer, this book is already ing to get married. And even for
the 26th in a roster of publications someone who has already tied the
written and published by Arch- knot, the “words of wisdom” scat-
bishop Oscar Cruz, DD. As the tered through the pages surely are
subtitle suggests, and the author effective suggestions to keep
acknowledges in his foreword; one’s relationship before and af-
what is found inside the pages are ter marriage fruitful and alive. Both
but matrimonial advisories, and interesting and informative, this
the author does not intend to pass volume is truly a helpful guide to
judgments but merely counsels. couples who want to make their
Nonetheless, the counsels and marriages work and achieve a
recommendations found in this truly rewarding relationship with
volume are “nuggets of gold,” so their loved ones.

The Way of Love

Reflections on Pope Benedict XVI’s Encyclical
Deus Caritas Est
Edited by Livio Melina and Carl reality that the Pontiff carefully
Anderson, this book contains the crafts so that one realizes that
reflections on Pope Benedict Christianity does not detach from
XVI’s first encyclical Deus Caritas human existence, but accepts
Est by professors from the Pon- the whole person in his search
tifical John Paul II Institute for for love in order to purify it and
Studies on Marriage and the reveal its news dimensions.
Family who treated the themes “These pages offer the theologi-
raised by the encyclical from vari- cal context for some of the in-
ous theological and philosophi- sights of the document as well
cal perspectives. It open with the
Pope’s words: “I wish in my first
as the new horizons that the en-
cyclical opens up for Church’s
Formative Spirituality
Encyclical to speak of the love evangelizing mission. They are in-
which God lavishes upon us and tended to be a starting point for a The collected writings of Venancio
which we in turn must share with renewed reflection on human love Calpotura, SJ
others.” It is from here that the that shows how to experience love
reflections in the volume depart, and in this way to cause the light Edited by Virginia not only the thoughts and
probing into the “eros” and of God to enter into the world,” Calpotura, RSCJ, this vol- methods of formative spiri-
“agape” in its differentiated and writes Camillo Cardinal Ruini at ume is the first of two vol- tuality, but gradually the
complex but ultimately unitary the book’s introduction. umes of the writings of Fr. witness of a person who
Venancio Calpotura, SJ, has maximized his years
grouped into “Formative forming spiritual
The Gospel of the Cross Spirituality” (Vol. 1) and
“Ignatian Spirituality” (Vol
formators. At his wake in
May 2005, Fr. Daniel
2). This is a collection of Huang, SJ, said: “Benny
Reflections for Lent and Easter papers he submitted and brought to the Philippine
talks he delivered to vari- Church, to seminaries and
Fr. Gil A. Alinsangan, SSP ous groups, mostly to religious formation
priests and religious houses, to lay people en-
The Gospel reflections found in thus drawing readers reflectively formators who underwent gaged in ministry, a new
this volume have been written for into the mystery of the cross, the learning process at formative spirituality, that
and originally published in differ- which is the fount of salvation. So Emmaus Center, the Insti- blended modern psychol-
ent times in the liturgical–biblical profound in insights and deeply tute of Formation he ogy and classic
diary 365 days with the Lord. This rooted in biblical exegesis, this founded. All through the spirituality…that brought
book, which is the second volume volume indeed “will lead people pages of this book run an profound healing in
of a series of reflections written to know and love the Gospel of interplay of academic psyche and at the same
by Fr. Gil Alinsangan, SSP does the Cross, and to mirror it in their systems of formation and time, profound closeness
not fail the interest generated by lives.” The author, who holds a nuggets of insights that to the God of love and call.
his first volume which was about Licentiate in Sacred Scriptures may have naturally flowed The Church in the Philip-
Advent and Christmas. This time, from the Pontifical Biblical Insti- out of years of profound pines owes much to
the gospel reflections cover the tute, is currently the Rector of St. spiritual experience of liv- Benny. It will take years
seasons of Lent and Easter aptly Paul Seminary Foundation in ing the “Ignatian way”. At for us to understand how
titled “The Gospel of the Cross,” Silang, Cavite. the end pages, one sees much.”

Volume 41 • Number 12 29

talking. The journalist real- ters whatever the cost. The

CATHOLIC INITIATIVE izes that she had helped the media may thus be used for
FOR ENLIGHTENED government on occasions to that purpose: preserving the
MOVIE APPRECIATION spread its propaganda, be-
fore this meeting, which has
image of power and party
interest. Roth struggles with
been a costly and tragic mis- her conscience, and prag-
take. She is now reluctant to matism: she wants to write
Title: Lions for Lambs Music: Mark Isham do what Irving wants her to the truth but not at the cost
Running Time: 98 min. Editor: Joe Hutshing do. Still she has her editor of losing her job. Arlan and
Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Genre: Action/ Drama to bring her dilemma to. In Ernest were brave enough
Cruise, Robert Redford, Cinematography: Phillippe Afghanistan, the two bud- to follow their conscience,
Andrew Garfield, Derek Rousselot A/FC/ASC dies, who were Dr. Malley’s while Todd lacked commit-
Luke, Michael Peña, Distributor: United Artists idealistic students and who ment and does not have a
Kevin Dunn Peter Berg Location: Washington DC, still had faith in the way direction in his life. Dr.
Director: Robert Redford California, USA; things are in their country, Malley is such a competent
Producers: Robert Redford, Afganistan became “the sacrificial and conscientious profes-
Matthew Michael Technical Assessment: lambs that fed the pride of sor that he could light up
Carnahan, Andrew ½ the lions”. Political ambition one’s idealism and remove
and pride lead to the idea apathy from his students.
Hauptman, Tracy Falco Moral Assessment: zz½
Screenwriter: Matthew that winning is what mat- Lions for Lambs
CINEMA Rating: For viewers
Michael Carnahan 14 and above

is taken by helicopter to a
strategic point in the Af-
ghanistan mountains to pre-
vent the Talibans from ad-
vancing into the territory.
Among the soldiers in the
air lift are two students of
Dr. Malley: Arlan (Derek
Luke) and Ernest (Michael
Peña) friends and idealistic
The three lead actors
and actress are very con-
vincing in their roles.
Though they handled
mostly talky parts, they
clearly delivered what their
verbal interchange is all
about, that include effective
Three separate events are body language and facial ex-
going on at the same time. In pressions. The three differ-
Washington D.C., Janine ent events are so effectively
Roth (Meryl Streep), a vet- paced, edicted and directed
eran journalist has a one- that these could be easily
on-one interview with Sena- put ogether in relation to
tor Jasper Irving (Tom each other for the viewers
Cruise) who wants her to air to see and get the central
an exclusive news material idea of Lions for Lambs.
he is passing on to her. In the one-on-one inter-
Around the same time in a view Janine sees that she is
California University, pro- to write about the adminis-
fessor Dr. Stephen Malley tration having a “new plan”
(Robert Redford) is seri- to end the deadlock in Af-
ously confronting his stu- ghanistan by sending small
dent Todd Hayes (Andrew military groups to secure
Garfield) about his frequent their positions before a real LIGHT OF CHRIST INCREASE THE DARKNESS -- MOTHER TERESA
absences from his class and battle begins. When would
is given a severe reprimand. this “plan” be put into ac- QUOTES IN QUIZ Booklets available at BOOKSALE stores in SM, Robinsons and
selected malls in Manila. For mail order text 0919 2803036.
Also around this time, a tion; Irving informs her, “ten
small band of U.S. soldiers minutes ago” as they were

30 IMPACT • December 2007



MPs stage walkout over Poor mental health side Writer accused of blas- Leader’s guards accused
bombing effect of rising economy phemy of handling explosives
A car loaded with bomb, This country’s economic Troops have been de- The Iraqi government
aimed at US-led coalition growth is having an unfortu- ployed in the Indian city of said that seven detained
armed forces exploded in nate side effect. Authorities Kolcutta after protests guards of Sunni leader
the Afghan capital early this are concerned at the rise in against controversial Adnan al-Dulaimi have been
month, killing at least two the incidence of stress and Bangladeshi writer, Taslima tested “positive” for han-
people. The incident oc- depression among the popu- Nasreen, turned into riots. dling explosives after troops
curred a day after eighty lation, including children. It’s The demonstrators are call- found two car bombs at the
MPs walked out of parlia- adding considerable strain ing for Taslima Nasreen to politician’s Baghdad office.
ment—hitting the govern- on a system with an ac- leave India, for allegedly hurt- Government spokesman Ali
ment of not cooperating in knowledged poor record in ing Muslim sentiments. al-Dabbagh said one guard
an inquiry into the nation’s the treatment of mental Nasreen has denied making also had the key to the car
worst suicide bombing. health and serious psychiat- the comments. It’s not the that was rigged with explo-
ric disorders. The situation first time, however, that she sives.
BANGLADESH is beginning to change as a has angered Islamic radicals.
national program kicks in. INDONESIA
Aid pours on cyclone PHILIPPINES
victims PAKISTAN
Muslim groups blast
Mutineers face more scholar’s ostracism
Relief efforts are being Opposition split on charges
stepped up to bring aid to Two main Islamic orga-
thousands of cyclone vic- Musharraf’s olive Authorities are hunting nizations here criticized the
tims in southern branch suspects including civilians Religious Affairs Ministry
Bangladesh, as the US mili- accused of helping a foiled for “pressuring” a liberal
tary joined aid operations. Pakistan’s President coup last Nov.29. Renegade Egyptian scholar to cancel a
A new problem, however, Pervez Musharraf has of- soldiers holed up themselves planned address. Nasr
has emerged in the after- fered another olive branch inside a Makati City hotel, and Hamid Abu Zayd was con-
math of Cyclone Sidr—with to his political opponents by urged other soldiers to join troversially declared a her-
around three million victims declaring he will end his state them in an uprising against etic by the Egyptian govern-
reportedly facing the risk of of emergency next month. President Gloria Arroyo. The ment in the 1990s for his
food shortages. Add to the But while international lead- group had walked out from research into Islam. He was
list is over 92-thousand ers have welcomed the an- court where they were stand- due to speak at an Islamic
hectares of crops destroyed nouncement, there has been ing trial over a failed 2003 seminar in east Java this
and 350 thousand livestock a mixed response from mutiny. But now it looks like week, but has since can-
lost. Pakistan’s opposition politi- they’ll be facing more charges celled the plan.
cians. after the government charged
LEBANON them with rebellion. MALAYSIA

Army chief can be presi- EAST TIMOR VIETNAM PM seeks probe vs. cor-
dent Male seeks end to vio- Abortions blamed for ruption
Lebanon’s western- lence vs. women glut of sons Malaysia’s Prime Minis-
backed governing majority ter has vowed to form a
announced early this month A UN-led campaign Authorities here are wor- Royal Commission to probe
that it would accept army against domestic violence is ried about a growing imbal- allegations of judicial cor-
chief Gen. Michel Sleiman being taken up with enthusi- ance in the ratio of boy to girl ruption. It all centers on an
as a compromise candidate asm in East Timor. The UN children. There are concerns 8-minute video clip showing
for the vacant presidency, Development Fund for Vietnamese parents are re- a prominent lawyer talking
clearing the way to an end to Women has launched a new sorting to selective abortion on his cell phone, telling a
a year-old stand-off with the media campaign against do- to make sure they have at judge he’ll recommend him
opposition. mestic violence. least one son. for a senior appointment.

Volume 41 • Number 12 31