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Vol 42, No 7 • JULY 2008 Php 70.


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Quote in the Act
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2 IMPACT • July 2008

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CONTENTS IMPAC T July 2008 / Vol 42 • No 7

EDITORIAL Agrarian Reform and Economic Development ... 8

Abominable contrasts ... ........................................ 27 The shameful history of population control ...... 12
COVER STORY ‘The Church goes to the barrio’ ............................ 20
Is the Church interested in rural progress? ....... 21

Quote in the Act ....................................................... 2

News Features .......................................................... 22
Statements ................................................................ 25
From the Blogs ......................................................... 26
The Second National Rural Congress ............... 16
Towards a preferential listening for the poor
From the Inbox ........................................................ 28
Book Reviews .......................................................... 29
The Specific Character of Food Insecurity in the CINEMA Review .................................................... 30
Philippines Today .................................................. 4 News Briefs .............................................................. 31

WE have reprinted liberally in this issue the Editorial

of Impact of March 1967—which was especially is-
sued for the First National Rural Congress, Impact
being its official organ; not for a comparative note or
nostalgia, but simply to establish cursory point of vails—for this is the way to earthly peace first and
departure. foremost with God in the hereafter.”
Like in the movies, sequels or recalls are seldom any The rural congress “marks a beginning of a consoli-
better than the original. The old editorial describes the dated response of the Church in the Philippines to the
first: “In terms of impact on the public consciousness, needs, the anxieties, the difficulties of the people living
the recent Rural Development Congress, sponsored in our rural areas,” wrote Zamboanga Archbishop
by the Catholic Hierarchy, was undoubtedly one of Lino Gonzaga, then President of Catholic Welfare
the most successful held in the Philippines in recent Organization (the forerunner of CBCP).
In his message, Gonzaga said: “May God bless this
Impact has captured all the preparations, consulta- Congress with a realization by our people that if we
tions, programs and speeches, but most specially the hope to find sound solutions to our social problems,
mind and the perspective of the times—enthusiastic as we must rouse ourselves to action and build without
the Church was about social activism which was a delay an unshakable national and social structure set
happy departure from a baroque ecclesiology that was firmly on justice as a foundation and brought to perfec-
“aggiornamentoed” by the Second Vatican Council. tion by charity.”
“The Church goes to the barrio” was not only a theme But how about the Second National Rural Congress?
of the National Congress for Rural Development—its The blueprint is beautifully enshrined in a Pastoral
was a new ecclesiology flowering from a very potent Statement “The Dignity of the Rural Poor—A Gospel
document of Vatican II, “Pastoral Constitution on the Concern.” The overarching thought is: “But this time
Church in the Modern World” (Gaudium et Spes) which our farmers must do that speaking by themselves, the
was promulgated in December of 1965 by Pope Paul discerning, the proposing of their own ideas, the plan-
VI, upon whose prodding and initiative the first Rural ning of how we must as a people come together to work
Congress was held in the Philippines in February of for the common good of the country and ourselves.”
Sister Pinky Barrientos, FSP, asks in our cover story,
There was some urgency as maybe gleaned from the “Is the Church really listening to the cry of the poor?”
message of Rufino Cardinal Santos, then Archbishop Whether by rhyme or reason, the poor of today have
of Manila: “For time is of the essence. We must mediate learned to express themselves in a wide spectrum of
between the rich and the poor and, with God’s unfail- perspectives. Is the Church willing to accept plurality
ing grace, let us go hand in hand toward the Kingdom as it does in initiatives of inter-religious dialogue?
of heaven. But meanwhile let charity and justice pre- Read on.

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heworld converged in Rome early
June for an international summit on
food security. In that summit, the
message from churches and faith commu-
nities was unequivocal: feed the hungry.
‘Give food to those who are dying of
hunger because if you do not, you shall
have killed them,’ warned Pope Benedict

The Specific
XVI in his message read by Tarcisio Car-
dinal Bertone.
Ten million hunger-related deaths
every year, half of them children, testify to

Character of
our failure to achieve global food security,
defined as “the condition in which every-
one has access to sufficient and afford-

Food Insecurity
able food.”
In a briefing paper produced by the
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace,
the Vatican said that the current food crisis

in the Philippines
began in 2005, and is extraordinary be-
cause the price increases have affected
almost all agricultural products, hitting

many countries and enduring over a long
stretch of time. It identified circumstantial
causes of the food crisis: bad weather in
many cereal-producing countries, the rise
in energy prices that make production and
transportation more costly, and specula-
tion by commodity investors who have
bought low and sold high. It did not regard By Charles R. Avila
population increase as central because it
is a fact, for instance, that while overall
population growth creates pressure on per annum. God is allowing the making of has been so good that the producers can’t
food security, it is a relatively minor factor. more people. But he is not making new get good enough prices for their products.
Since 1961 world production of food has lands. From Trinidad Valley in Benguet to the
trebled whilst the population has doubled. More significant, however, is the fact fertile lands of typhoon-free Mindanao
that we hardly use the lands he has given there is so much abundance and the result
The Philippine situation us. We are bad stewards. We abuse those is big losses for the producer. That’s why
lands, we misuse them, we destroy them; he will not plant in the next round. What
But in the case of the Philippines, we divide them up in the name of agrarian for? He just lost! And the consumer will be
what is the real situation? Well, for starters justice and we hardly use them properly. forced to import again, in a country that
let us underscore the obvious: the Philip- After harvesting one crop, do we plant should logically be No.1 exporter of all
pines has no comprehensive food master another one? kinds of agricultural goods.
plan, certainly no comprehensive rice It is still not common practice to multi- This is the specific character of food
master plan despite all the talk to the con- crop, or to crop-rotate. After one use, we insecurity in the Philippines today. We
trary in all the instant food summits con- are done. In that one use, which maybe sure know how to produce—there’s no
vened every time there is a temporary more accurately termed “abuse,” we pour question about that. It is settled doctrine
shortage in rice supply or an unpredicted in the synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesti- that we have taught Southeast Asia and
surge in fuel-fueled rice prices. So, let’s cides and other toxin-generating chemi- many other countries to produce. Interna-
take a good look, get on an imaginary cals made from scarce, non-renewable, tional agencies are over-populated with
flying vehicle and, as Catholic Social and increasingly expensive fossil fuel. We Filipino experts from Los Baños who have
Teaching (CST) always advised: “see, reject the native, renewable, less-expen- organized the food technology systems of
judge, and act.” sive-to-produce and healthful humus-en- many nations. Production know-how is
From an imaginary standpoint, let us hancing organic type because there is not our problem. When you talk of sys-
take a good look at the islands (yes, is- little government subsidy there. Year in tems of rice intensification, and miracle
lands, we are not a land mass, unlike Thai- and year out we have done this, until there seeds and wonderful hybrids, why, our
land or China, and our population-to-ar- is very little humus left in many of our scientists and technologists always take
able land ratio is much lower) and some 90 lands. We are, indeed, a funny lot. the gold medal. Our problem is not produc-
million people hoping to be regularly fed Going back to our imaginary observa- tion but, rather, it is our almost complete
from some 12 million hectares of arable tion post, let’s look again at the lands and ignorance or neglect of pre- and post-
land. The people are increasing in num- people. They are throwing away fruits and production actions and structures – our
bers rather persuasively–at 2.5 percent fish and vegetables. Why? The harvest failure to install a food-security system.

4 IMPACT • July 2008

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The Specific Character of Food Insecurity in the Philippines Today

Our post-harvest losses in food are a tion Act—because we all agreed that the prevent so much unnecessary importa-
whopping 35 percent, much more than Filipino farmer has to know what to plant, tions. In fact, with the correct and timely
what we end up importing. when to plant, how much to plant, where or information on soil and seed and market
on what soil, with what, what prices to outlets the Filipino farmer can produce up
Time to go back to the basics expect for his produce, where to bring the to 6 tons of rice per hectare rather than the
product to in the immediate—in sum, to 2.8 average that he does today. And that
It is time now—no one can disagree— feel and act like a part of a real food system is just for starters. Hundreds of master
that we start going back to basics and that goes beyond the agriculture sector to farmers are already doing this with very
focus on the whole process from A to Z, to other sectors of the economy like trans- little external support.
include not only production but also post- portation and construction and communi-
production stages. Of course, with the cation—with the goal of producing at lower The need for an agricultural mar-
current “crisis” there will be again a super- costs and therefore selling at lower prices keting service
abundance of talk along these lines, as for consumers. Food, then, produced in
already happened many times in the past, that context anywhere in this country can The information system that has still to be
but there seems to be no power existing to be made available everywhere at almost put in place is oftencalled elsewhere the
really walk the talk. the same prices, or with minimum vari- Agricultural Marketing Service or AMS.
In this age of information, govern- ance—simply because information can This is the secret of countries like capital-
ments endeavor to keep their farmers well lead to appropriate actions. ist America, or communist China, or mixed
informed in real time. Ours does not. We Information can lead to timely orders, economy Thailand, Taiwan, Korea, Ma-
passed a law a decade ago called AFMA— timely preparations for storage and trans- laysia, India, and even Indonesia—an
the Agriculture and Fisheries Moderniza- portation—the works. Information can open secret hitherto hardly understood

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The Specific Character of Food Insecurity in the Philippines Today

by Filipinos and known in those countries

by almost the same name: the Agricultural
Marketing Service. It is really—and
should be—an agricultural and food intel-
ligence agency: something our text-ad-
dicted population could really get into.
India has done so with lots of success.
For our part, however, we are only
always beginning to organize this service
in our country: to look at the supply-
demand situation in the Philippines as a
whole and in the context of the world we
live in; to value and seek and disseminate
market information in a way that makes
possible rational production; to construct
cold chains of freezers and chillers in key
localities so that our fish can be fresh-
frozen and made available for consump-
tion even months after they are caught; to
establish a grain highway of silos and
warehouses and dryers and to establish a
nautical highway of ro-ro friendly ports in
a country that is not a land mass but an
archipelago—in sum, to have a national
post-production system that liberates
agriculture from a merely subsistence mode
to one that is integrated with the larger
economy and serves as the solid founda-
tion of industrialization, itself the founda-
tion of a strong republic. In all these mat-
ters we are perpetually inchoate. Follow
through that is a mark of enlightened and
© Rolex de la Pena / Corbis

strong governance hardly exists.

In rice and white corn, our staples, the
government idea of food security is theo-
retically quite clear and correct: it is the
attainment of self-sufficiency. But that is
pure paper theory. Time was when we were
all scandalized with the importation of a ment, of course, and, ah, there is the rub. are. And yet our limited irrigated lands
hundred metric tons of rice. When we The results speak louder than words. already produce 60 percent of all the rice
reached 300 thousand in the mid-nineties, And not quite underscored enough, too, produced in the country. So, with a little
the Secretary of Agriculture and the Ad- is the fact that more than 80 percent of cash focus on the matter of irrigation, we should
ministrator of the NFA lost their jobs. Now costs incurred by the small rice farmer go be looking to exporting rather than import-
we import more than two million metric to chemical fertilizers that deplete the or- ing rice in no time at all, rice being a short-
tons and we only recently began to panic ganic matter of his soil and make him more term crop. But do we even have that focus
over such an anomalous situation when dependent, in a manner worse than drug now? No?
we should have always known that when addiction, on more and more of the same Then we should wonder: there must
it comes to rice there is very little tradable chemical fertilizers that cause a little in- be something quite profitable in import-
surplus internationally. Well, we have crease in production and much greater ing rice or how explain the phenomenon of
achieved No. 1 status again: we are the increases in production costs making increased importation from 150 metric tons
biggest rice importer on planet Earth. And many of such farmers conclude how all- in 1995 to 620 metric tons in 2000 to 2.2-
every importation deal is announced with too-often working so hard and spending million metric tons (required) in 2008. Can
glee like it were a glorious achievement, so much may not be worth it at all. And are we believe the former Speaker (Congress-
including the possibility of importing rice we still surprised with our massive impor- man Jose de Venecia) when he alleges that
from industrial Japan! tations and food insecurity? there is an automatic $50/ton commission
After CARP, rice became a small farmer for the powers-that-be in buying rice
industry, for better or for worse. Timely Non-maximized irrigable lands abroad?
and low-interest credit, mechanization, Many people say the former Speaker
drying and warehousing and, before all Only about twenty-nine percent of all should know—from experience. In that
that, irrigation—where would the “newly actually irrigable rice lands are effectively case, who is getting a bonus of at least a
emancipated” farmer turn to now that his irrigated. This is about 1.34 million hect- hundred million dollars this year? Not Mang
former landlord is gone? To the govern- ares in all. Thailand’s 7-million hectares Ando, not Aling Sion, not me—you?

6 IMPACT • July 2008

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In theory, all our food and agriculture-

related laws talk about this necessary nexus
making rural development and
industrialization the very purpose, say, of
agrarian reforms. In practice, however, there
has been very little understanding and
therefore very little effort systematically to
bring that nexus about. Until we have
achieved this quite sorry to say, chronic
food insecurity will be our lot.

and more particularly in the globalized Rural industrialization

service sector better known as the world of
overseas workers. We call this the heroic How to grow more crops and get
zone, the area for our “new heroes”. The better yields is one thing: soil-water man-
world needs and welcomes us in this re- agement, better seeds, fertilizers, pesti-
gard—to be their professional servants cides and farming techniques have in-
and maids, but for how long? How long creased production. But these often in-
can the world absorb the Filipino unem- volved high-energy inputs and great
ployed and at what social costs for Filipi- costs to environmental integrity and the
nos themselves? integrity of creation. The emerging tech-
nologies like tissue culture, genetic engi-
Development of people neering etc. likewise, offer great promise.
Nonetheless, the perception re-
The goal of our country is develop- mains regarding the predicament of di-
ment—”populorum progressio,” to quote minishing returns to labor in agriculture
the famous encyclical of 40 years ago. Devel- on one hand and low employment elas-
Funny—when you look outside your opment is development of people: our in- ticity in large-scale manufacturing on
territorial boundaries: you notice it is the creased living standards and improved qual- the other hand. It is rural industrializa-
industrial countries that register the big- ity of life—”to have more and be more”. tion that will provide an escape from this
gest growth in agriculture. They subsidize Admittedly, as the history of civiliza- predicament—and, again, our laws, like
their agriculture because they know the tions has shown, it is industry that pro- the CARL, provide this in pure theory—
latter subsidizes industry as the very foun- vides goods, services and material com- something never meant to be put into
dation thereof. Weaken the foundation forts to improve living standards. And it is practice.
that is agriculture and the building of in- the complex of social values such as hu- Rural people live on land and agri-
dustry collapses. man dignity, self-reliance and gainful em- cultural development should have a
In the aftermath of the Second World ployment for every person that sets the nexus with industry and transform the
War they called it the European Common quality of life. But this kind of develop- industrial mode of production to one
Agricultural Policy and the US Farm Bill ment can only come by generating, mobi- that is friendly with Earth.
that combined subsidies and tariffs to lizing and optimally utilizing natural and In theory, all our food and agricul-
support the pattern of small family farms human resources, natural genius and skills ture-related laws talk about this neces-
which were dominant at that time. These and maximizing their returns. sary nexus making rural development
policies proved successful, generating co- The majority of people in our country and industrialization the very purpose,
lossal internal food surpluses. And they are, even now, still in rural areas. The say, of agrarian reforms. In practice,
are still intact. Of course, neither Europe question then arises as to how to maxi- however, there has been very little un-
nor America would want countries like the mize the returns, let us say, for a hectare derstanding and therefore very little ef-
Philippines to follow in their footsteps. of land. On land, we have soil, water, fort systematically to bring that nexus
Thus, all reports of economic growth forest or agricultural crop, animals and about. Until we have achieved this quite
in the Philippines lately frankly admit that people—under a given climate. How to sorry to say, chronic food insecurity will
the increase of activity is not in agriculture maximize the returns for these resources be our lot. And with food insecurity, can
nor in industry but in the service sector, is an issue. national insecurity be far behind? I

Volume 42 • Number 7 7

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Agrarian Reform and Economic

By Christian S. Monsod

Why Agrarian Reform? nomic growth have a dynamic, equitable In turn, agricultural development is a
and progressive agricultural sector. Agrar- necessary, but is not a sufficient condi-

he Philippines, dating back to the Span- ian reform is a necessary, but is not a tion, to address the poverty problem.
ish regime, has one of the worst in sufficient condition, for agricultural de- Agricultural development should be
equalities in the East Asian Region velopment. Thus, the factors for agricul- complemented by measures on education,
with the richest 10 percent capturing 36 tural development are: health, industrial development, political
percent of total income and the richest 20 (1) land redistribution (CARP) – leads empowerment.
percent capturing 52 percent of total income. to better rural land and income distribution In other words, agrarian reform is not
The Philippines is comparable to Latin Ameri- which directly addresses poverty, and part of the problem, it is part of the solution.
can countries. But within the Philippines stronger economic incentives for the farmer
there are big disparities among provinces, beneficiaries as owner-cultivators to in- How does agrarian reform impact on
with Ilocos Sur being similar to East Asian vest in and improve productivity in their growth and the reduction of poverty?
countries and Negros Occidental and Davao landholdings. But, there are other equally
more similar to the Latin American countries. important factors: (1) Early empirical work using cross-
Poverty in the Philippines is largely (2) support services (credit and mar- section national data shows that an initial
rural and agricultural; 70 percent of the keting, skills development, technical as- high inequality in income distribution tends
poor live in rural areas; 66 percent of the sistance and technology transfer); to slow down subsequent growth;
poor have household heads engaged in ( 3) infrastructure development (2) Later work using more comprehen-
agriculture. (4) appropriate agricultural and rural sive data, suggests that it is not the in-
It is no longer debatable that eco- development policies such as pricing of equality in income distribution per se
nomic growth is required to reduce pov- agricultural output (i.e. low price of palay) that is systematically related with growth,
erty. Countries doing well in poverty re- (5) measures to address demographic but rather the inequality in the distribu-
duction have also done well in economic (like migration) and climate (environmen- tion of physical assets, particularly land.
growth. And those who do well in eco- tal and natural disaster) factors In fact the studies by the Asia-Pacific

8 IMPACT • July 2008

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Agrarian Reform and Economic Development

Policy Center demonstrates that 82 per- positions.” (Tim Harford – The Under- and undertaken by UPLB, was an impact
cent of the provinces could attain higher cover Economist) assessment of CARP and concluded that
economic growth with lesser inequality. Adjusting starting positions is ad- CARP in general was beneficial to agrar-
(3) Political economy considerations: dressing structural problems in the politi- ian reform beneficiaries. Furthermore, the
(a) Concentration of assets may lead cal arena, mainly through electoral reform studies showed that the Agrarian Reform
to concentration of power and ability to and other measures such as the anti-dy- Community (ARC) approach of integrat-
produce political outcomes reflective of nasty provision, term limits, universal suf- ing agrarian reform with support services
sectoral or personal preferences. frage through absentee voting, and social in partnership with other agencies and
(b) High inequality breeds social dis- structural problems through, among oth- LGUs significantly increased the eco-
content, leading to political instability, ers, agrarian reform, urban land reform and nomic and social welfare of the beneficia-
reducing investment and therefore growth. housing, education and health. ries (micro) and communities (meso).
(4) Credit market imperfections – “To The constitutional agenda = agrarian Another study, Phase II, in 2007 under-
the extent that physical assets are com- reform, agriculture, industrialization: taken by the Asia-Pacific Policy Center
monly accepted as collateral, the poor, • Art XII, Sec. 1, second par. “The (APPC) for DAR was done to determine if
who do not have these assets, may be State shall promote industrialization and the benefits found in the earlier impact
unable to access credit and hence take full employment based on sound agricul- analyses are sustained and validated and
advantage of income-enhancing technolo- tural development and agrarian reform, what things should be considered in the
gies and production processes. They may through industries that make full and effi- extension of CARP. (Lim, Ateneo U.).
also not have the means to smooth house- cient use of human and natural resources, Another study by DAR and the German
hold consumption ¯ especially food and and which are competitive in both domes- Technical Assistance (GTZ) evaluated
health and education services for children tic and foreign markets….” the performance of CARP and the options
— in the event of downside risks, effec- • “Sec. 15. The State shall, by law, for the future of CARP. It was a positive
tively preventing them from escaping the undertake an agrarian reform program assessment, and not as others imply
poverty trap from one generation to the founded on the right of farmers and regular through selective quotes, an indictment
next. Investment in human capital forma- farmworkers, who are landless, to own of CARP.
tion and economically profitable opportu-
nities may thus be confined to owners of
land assets.”
Thus, the objectives of agrarian re-
form are: (1) equity – as mandated by the
“Land reform is not a panacea for
Constitution; (2) economic efficiency/ poverty reduction. No land reform
growth – “improvement in land inequality
is not just about advancing equity goals;
program can be effective in achieving its
it is also about raising the trajectory of goals unless the economic and political
income growth by improving overall eco-
nomic efficiency.”
environment is conducive to sustained
economic growth and development.”
Equity Objective

• Social Justice is the heart of the new

Constitution directly or collectively the land they till or, Findings–Phase I Study:
• Art. XIII – Sec. 1 “Congress shall in the case of other farmworkers, to receive
give the highest priority to the enactment a just share of the fruits thereof. To this 1. Tenurial status . Between 1990 and
of measures that: end, the State encourages and undertakes 2006 (incl. Phase II), there has been a
•• Protect and enhance the right of all the just distribution of all agricultural lands, significant increase in the share of respon-
the people to human dignity subject to such priorities and reasonable dents that are owner-cultivators (more than
•• Reduce social, economic and politi- retention limits as the Congress may pre- 60 percent) compared to 30.5 percent in
cal inequality scribe, taking into account ecological, 1990. (Lim, Ateneo). Census of Agricul-
••Remove cultural inequities developmental or equity considerations ture and Fisheries 1990 and 2002 show (a)
•• By equitably diffusing wealth and and subject to the payment of just more farmers owning and operating the
political power for the common good. compensatio…” lands they till; (b) improved tenure secu-
• Kenneth Arrow (Nobel Peace Prize It was going to be probably the first rity through leasehold, and (c) reduction
economics) – “…who wrestled with the time that such a revolutionary program in share tenancy among farmers.
tension between the unerring efficiency of would be tried under a democratic setting. 2. Social Capital. In 1993, average
the free market and the imperative that membership in cooperatives or organiza-
some kind of fairness should prevail. His Has agrarian reform contributed sig- tions in Agrarian Reform Community (ARC)
solution was brilliant, twisting the tradi- nificantly to the twin objectives of barangays was 54. As of 2006, the average
tional thinking about competitive markets equity and economic efficiency? increased to 78 farmer-members per
and efficiency on its head. He proved that barangay, even when the number of
not only are all markets efficient, all effi- There have been three main studies barangays covered also increased.
cient outcomes can be achieved using a on CARP. One in 2000, sponsored by 3. Higher investment. ARBs with firm
competitive market, by adjusting starting DAR and the Foreign Donor Community titles invest more on farm assets com-

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pared with non-ARBs or beneficiaries

with pending LADS
4. Non-monetary welfare. House-
holds in the ARC barangays are slightly
better off than those in the non-ARC
barangays, as demonstrated by the higher
proportion of better houses, such as
strong roofs
5. Education. Higher educational at-
tainment of ARC household members
aged 6 to 24 years.
6. Monetary welfare. (a) Estimates
indicate that in 1990, the per capita expen-
diture in ARC barangays was slightly
lower than in non-ARC barangays. By
2000, both figures have increased, with
ARC barangays having a per capita ex-
penditure higher than non-ARCs; (b)
Poverty incidence in ARCs decreased
from 40 to 25 percent over the period 1990
and 2000. This reduction is slightly higher
than that experienced by those in the
non-ARC areas.
7. Better perceptions of the future.
ARBs have better perceptions of their
economic and social conditions and are
more optimistic about their future than
ARBs. Both are, however, optimistic about
the future of CARP
8. Benefit-Cost Analysis of ARC vs.
non-ARC areas. While both yield posi-
tive net present values (NPV), the ARC
strategy yielded benefits of P5.41 for every
peso invested while benefits in non-ARC
areas yielded P3.41 per every peso in-
9. It is not just being an ARB that
reduces the chances of being poor (com-
pared with an non-ARB) but the length of
time being an ARB, and being in an ARC
reduces the chances of being poor from ARBs (validates previous invest- population growth and/or conversion of
10. Ownership of land matters. Ef- ments and expenditure findings). In both agricultural lands may be mitigating the
fect of Land Ownership and the ARC the 2000 and 2006 studies, ARBs used positive results.
strategy (controlling for other factors): more four-wheeled tractors, chemical fer- 5. Productivity. The macro study also
(a) Per capita expenditure, per capita tilizers, chemical pest controls, certified gathered data on yields on the three main
income, and per capita net farm incomes seeds, labor and crop rotation. Owner- crops – rice, corn and coconut using data
of farmers with no lands (whether in cultivator status appears to be an effective from BARBD and BAS. The data showed
ARCs or non-ARCs) are significantly incentive for more intensive agriculture. that average yields for rice and corn are
lower than their counterparts owning 2. Poverty incidence from 2000-2006, much higher in ARCs, but not for coconut
land; (b) ownership of land implies that poverty incidence among ARB declined and sugarcane. The yields particularly of
the odds that you are non-poor are at slightly from 45.8 to 44.8 percent ARBs sugarcane lagged because these are areas
least 1.76 to as much as 2.6 times that of remained the same (53.1 percent). where land distribution through compul-
being poor. 3. Real Income per capita – ARB sory acquisition is low. It may be that the
11. In addition: with irrigation, the households = P 4,776 (1990), P 16,008 (2000) more fertile coconut and sugar lands still
probability of being non-poor increases and P18,852 (2006) compared to non-ARB have to be distributed.
by 24 percent; with credit, the probability households of P3,544 (1990), P11,257 (2000) What about the low productivity of
of being non-poor increases by 15 per- and P 15,594 (2006). Philippine farms, i.e. rice? The Philippines’
cent. 4. The macro study shows that aver- 3.5 tons/ha is lower than the yields in
age farm size is declining. But ARBs are Japan, Korea, PRC, Taiwan, Vietnam and
Findings–Phase II Study maintaining their landholdings shares since Indonesia although higher than Malaysia,
1990. CARP may be delivering its land India and Thailand.
1. More intensive agricultural inputs transfer mandate but external factors like It is no coincidence that Japan, Korea,

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Agrarian Reform and Economic Development

rice, corn, coconut and sugar have higher “The agricultural trade balance has
yields. And contract growers in pineapple/ been deteriorating since the enactment of
bananas are not inferior to corporate farms CARP … but this development is not nec-
supplying Dole and MNCs. essarily the result of CARP, but comes
Conclusions of Phases I and II - It is from a confluence of more open trade re-
(a) possessing land, (b) being located in an gime, inherent inefficiencies resulting from
ARC and (c) being an ARB in an ARC that historical protectionism, rigid institutional
increases farmer household income, ex- guidelines in commodity trading and even
penditures, welfare and being less likely to weather disturbances….”
be poor. With land transfer, the ARC ap- “Global framework conditions have
proach, according to these studies, ap- had an important impact on CARP and on
pears to be working. With concentrated the agricultural sector in general and will
inter-agency and LCU support services, play an even larger role in the future. So far,
the ARCs should perform better. negative influences have been the pre-
BUT, ARCs cover only about 47 per- dominant effect of globalization and many
cent of the LAD (Land Acquisition and of its inherent advantages have not been
Distribution) program and 42 percent of realized.” (GTZ study)
beneficiaries. One of the main problems Balisacan: “The fact that over-all rural
according to the farmers themselves is poverty and income inequality have per-
the low pricing of agricultural products. sisted although at a declining rate, is not by
Another is the lack of irrigation. In effect, itself, evidence that CARP is a failure. Stud-
successive governments have placed ies have revealed the contribution of CARP
more priority on the urban poor rather in the observed changes in rural welfare in
than the rural poor. And have followed ARCs and amongst landowning farmers.”
policies that have a bias against agricul- “Land reform is not a panacea for
ture. poverty reduction. No land reform pro-
On the problem of poverty – “It is gram can be effective in achieving its goals
paradoxical that despite the very signifi- unless the economic and political environ-
cant impact of agrarian reform as estab- ment is conducive to sustained economic
lished in various studies and reports the growth and development.”
country still remains in a state of distress. In other words, a correct policy envi-
The assessment at the micro levels indi- ronment can turn agriculture around and
cated that CARP has made positive con- enhance the benefits of agrarian reform.
tributions to the over-all social and eco- Terminating CARP is not the solution to
nomic welfare of the ARBs. However, at the lack of that policy environment. It
the macro level, the social and economic would be punishing the poor for the mis-
conditions are no better than they were at takes and inaction of government and the
least ten years ago.” (GTZ study) leadership elite of the country. I

Taiwan, China and Vietnam have under-

gone agrarian reform, either through dis-
tribution or socialization of farms (China
and Vietnam). In both cases, there was an
abolition of large landholdings, even if
meant shooting the landowners. China’s
yield took a dramatic increase from 1978
when farmers were given the attributes of
owner-cultivators by allowing them to keep
the increased productivity above state
The productivity of Philippine farms
can be significantly increased by the same
owner-cultivator approach plus irrigation,
credit, market-oriented pricing, and with
the ARC approach.
1. Small-scale farming. – There is no
contradiction between large-scale produc-
tion and small-scale ownership of land, i.e.
contract growers, joint ventures, coopera-
tives. Example of Thailand. Previous stud-
ies have also shown that smaller farms in

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The shameful
history of
By Rosa Linda Valenzona

he tragedy of population control, Connelly, an associate professor of
the fatal misconception, was to think history at Columbia University in the United
that one could know other people’s States, set himself a task that has been
interests better than they knew it them- avoided by mainstream academics; the
selves,” says Matthew Connelly, sum- result is what his publishers call “a wither-
ming up one of the major global forces of ing critique [that] uncovers the cost in-
the last 50 years. Although that assess- flicted by a humanitarian movement gone
ment comes nowhere near my own sense terribly awry”.
of outrage at the movement that has filled In spite of my familiarity with human
the world with aborted fetuses and steril- rights violations committed in the name of
ized men and women, Connelly’s book as population control in the Philippines, I am
a whole is an unprecedented admission, still appalled by what this movement has
from a supporter of what is now known as done in India, China, Bangladesh and other
“reproductive rights”, that the movement, Third World countries. try to adopt a population control policy—
historically at least, has trampled whole- 1952—with more than a little encourage-
sale on the rights of Third World people. India first ment by the US and other world powers. In
As a citizen of a developing country I can the 1960s US President Lyndon Johnson
breathe a sigh of relief: finally, the truth is Many people are probably unaware leveraged food aid for the family planning
coming out. that India was the first Third World coun- cause during crop failures in India, thus

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The shameful history of population control

as bicycles, transistor radios were used to

bribe rural people to accept sterilization.
Under Indira Gandhi in the mid-1970s
sterilization became a condition not just
for land allotments, but for irrigation water,
electricity, ration cards, rickshaw licenses,
medical care, pay raises and promotions.
Everyone, from government officials to
train conductors and policemen, was given
a sterilization quota. The oppressive na-
ture of the program is described in one
report: “Obviously, the stories ... on how
young and unmarried men more or less are
dragged to sterilization premises are true
in far too many cases.” In the course of one
year, eight million sterilizations were re-
corded: 6.2 million vasectomies and 2.05
million tubectomies.
In India the Dalits (untouchable caste)
were ignominiously targeted for family
planning. They were entitled to scholar-
ships and other assistance as minorities
who needed to integrate into Indian soci-
ety, but Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh
states stripped Dalits with more than three
children of these entitlements. At the
grassroots level in Uttar Pradesh, where
Dalits made up 29 per cent of the popula-
tion, they constituted 41 per cent of those
vasectomized. In some states in the US the
eugenics movement successfully targeted
“degenerative” segments of the popula-
tion for sterilization, but never at the scale
that the International Planned Parenthood
Federation achieved in India.
Human rights violations in
Bangladesh make another shameful chap-
ter of coerced birth control. During a fam-
ine, field workers fearing loss of salary or
dismissal would deny food to destitute
women who did not help them meet steril-
ization targets. The Bangladesh army
would round up hundreds of people for
forcible sterilization. Emergency aid from
© http://www.flickr.com/photos/azlijamil01/1558668456/

the World Food Program meant to feed

people made destitute from floods was
denied to those who would not agree to

The Dalkon Shield scandal

When the manufacturer of the Dalkon

Shield (A H Robbins Corporation) was hit
with lawsuits in the First World it sold its
entire inventory to USAID at half price;
440,000 women in 42 countries had used
creating an incentive for the sterilization not starving, they were blatantly so. India’s them before the recall order was issued in
program. Incentives are subtly coercive Ministry of Health and Family Planning 1975. The Dalkon IUD involved a painful
even in the best of times; but when Indians would admit: “The large number of steril- insertion and high risk of scratching or
were subsisting on less than 900 calories izations and IUD insertions during 1967- piercing the interuterine walls; of pelvic
a day, and accepting IUDs or sterilization 68 was due to drought conditions.” Even- inflammatory disease, of ectopic preg-
meant the difference between starving and tually more sophisticated incentives such nancy and host of infections. In the Phil-

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how to further simplify and speed up ster-

ilization procedures. It was argued that
considering the high rate of maternal mor-
tality in most developing countries, even
risky contraceptive methods imperfectly
administered would save lives.

China: forced sterilizations and

abortions by the million

Knowledge of how coercive China’s

population control program was did not
prevent IPPF and the United Nations Popu-
lation Fund (UNFPA) supporting it—after
all, both had had previous involvement in
coercive programs in India. Connelly states
that as the two super-agencies stepped up
support, China’s program became ever
more coercive. Vehicles transporting
Cantonese women to hospitals for abor-
tions were “filled with wailing noises”.
Some pregnant women were reportedly
handcuffed, tied with ropes or placed in
pig’s baskets. This type of news caused
IPPF donors to be uneasy; but their wor-
ries were easily placated by repeated reas-
surance of Chinese officials.
In its most coercive phase the China
program required all women with one child
to have a stainless steel, tamper resistant
IUD inserted; parents with more than two
children were sterilized and all unautho-
rized pregnancies were aborted. In 1983,
16 million women and more than 4 million
men were sterilized, 18 million women had
IUDs inserted and over 14 million under-
went abortion. Well aware of what was
going on, UNFPA that year bestowed its
Population Award gold medal on Qian
Xinzhong, head of China’s military-style

Humanitarianism gone wrong–or

plain racism?

In the forefront of this movement were

the most prominent industrialists of mid-
twentieth century America: the likes of
ippines there are countless stories of the context this is hardly anything compared Rockefeller, Ford, Gamble, Packard and
suffering of women who had trouble with to what the Indians and Chinese suffered McCormick–”well meaning people” who,
the IUDs and were refused any assistance through forceful and often violent steril- decades before governments of affluent
by family planning workers who feared izations. countries began giving development aid,
having to report them as drop-outs from Poor women, especially vulnerable in gave huge amounts of money to “preserve
their acceptor rates. the twilight of recovery from a painful deliv- the quality of life” that could be endan-
Just a few years ago, health authori- ery are often coerced to accepting tubal gered by overpopulation. It was not the
ties in the Philippines promoted an anti- ligation. In the sorry saga of Third World baby boom in America and other parts of
tentanus vaccination drive that was curi- “family planning”, non-medical personnel the West that worried them but “the rising
ously only for women from ages 15-45; the were often permitted to dispense pills with- tide of color” in the rest of the world.
vaccine turned out to contain an anti- out prescription; illiterate midwives were Despite avowals to the contrary,
pregnancy vaccine. But in the broader taught to insert IUDs; and doctors learned Connelly’s book provides proof beyond

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The shameful history of population control

doubt of the racist roots of population lation control front. Eventually countless Connelly has done well to expose the
control. millions of dollars were lost—and con- failure of the population control move-
Connelly’s thorough documentation tinue to be lost to development aid, swal- ment to get the consent of its victims, but
of these and other leading promoters of lowed by birth control programmes. to see this alone as its “fatal misconcep-
population control is particularly interest- And yet, says Connelly, family plan- tion” is to fail to get to the heart of the
ing, although it strains the evidence to ning efforts explain “less than five per matter. The historian does not see, or at
claim that they were basically well-mean- cent of fertility levels in developing coun- least acknowledge, that the “reproductive
ing. The book is replete with documenta- tries”—a reference to the 1994 analysis of rights” he champions involves the sys-
tion of instances where major protago- World Bank economist Lant Pritchett. tematic violation of the rights of the un-
nists of the movement admitted to harbor- Pritchett argued that fertility levels are born child through abortion, the unbreak-
ing one agenda while pretending to be related to demand factors the fact that able link between abortion and contracep-
dedicated to another. But in spite of this, people in developing countries typically tion, and the disastrous personal and de-
the author concludes that unfettered ac- want many children—and not to the sup- mographic effects of the culture of birth
cess to archives (including both Interna- ply of contraceptives. This realization control.
tional Planned Parenthood and newly was behind the rebirth of the population And all for what? The population
opened Vatican archives) belies accusa- control movement as the “holistic” repro- control/reproductive rights movement has
tions of conspiracy. Well, conspirators ductive health movement at the world never produced one single piece of evi-
they may not have been, but there was a population conference in Cairo in 1994. dence showing the direct connection be-
convenient convergence that united many Where bullying could no longer be coun- tween family planning and economic de-
forces—racists, eugenicists, feminists, tenanced, persuasion in the form of edu- velopment. But if Connelly is neither an
colonial imperialists—in a common en- cating and looking after women might economist nor a moral philosopher we
deavor. Strange bedfellows considering succeed. must be grateful that at least he has used
how family planning victimized so many Thus the language of the movement his historical skills to salutary effect. As
women in the Third World but ultimately changed but the goal remained, and re- the saying goes, those who do not ac-
the demographic implications of the femi- mains, the same: to persuade entire na- knowledge their history are condemned to
nist agenda made this coalition acceptable tions and non-white nations at that—to repeat it. I
for the latter. commit demographic suicide. Whether it Rosa Linda Valenzona is currently General Manager
Surprisingly, Connelly does not make is called eugenics, or birth control as Mar- of the Ayala Multi-purpose Cooperative in Manila. She
any mention of NSSM 200—the popula- garet Sanger first named it, or family plan- is a former lecturer in economics at the University of
the Philippines and a former Assistant Secretary for
tion policy paper authored by Henry ning, or maternal and child care, or, as now, Legislative Affairs, Department of Social Welfare and
Kissinger that marked the US Population, Health and Environment, an Development. She is also a consultant to Pontifical
Council on the Family.
government’s official debut on the popu- element of deceptive imperialism remains.

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The Second National

Rural Congress
Towards a preferential listening for the poor
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP

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The Second National Rural Congress

he Second National Rural Congress ated on the concerns of the poor. lion that until now has not been fully
set to convene on July 7-8, 2008 at Rightly so, this attempt of the Church quashed although has lessened its
the San Carlos Seminary in to give voice to the poor bolsters her strength in terms of ideology and man-
Guadalupe, Makati opens a door for the desire to live out the call of the Second power.
rural poor to speak out and bring their Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) When Corazon Aquino became presi-
concerns to the national consciousness held in 1991 to become the “Church of the dent, she signed the Comprehensive
of the Filipino people. Poor.” Agrarian Reform Law paving for millions
In a January 2007 Pastoral Statement PCP-II described the poor sectors of hectares of arable lands to become eli-
of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the (peasant farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous gible for Agrarian Reform Program. But a
Philippines, the bishops called for a hold- people, elderly, women, youth, disabled, landlord dominated Congress had totally
ing of a Second National Rural Congress urban poor) as the “minorities” because of emasculated the law and an indifferent
(NRC-II) to commemorate the 40th anniver- the scant attention given to their plight by government bureaucracy failed to push
sary of the First Rural Congress of 1967. the government and the Church to some the proper implementation of the program.
That same statement pointed out the “in- extent. The same Council document noted Considered the centerpiece of Aquino
equitable distribution of the nation’s that the imbalance in the distribution of the administration, the comprehensive agrar-
wealth and the endemic social injustices” country’s resources contributes in making ian reform program was touted to be the
as the root cause of the prevalent evil of the countryside remain mired in poverty. solution that would bring peace and de-
poverty that stalks majority of Filipinos, Meanwhile, that same January 2007 velopment in the countryside that had
particularly those in the rural areas. CBCP statement cited the comprehensive long been overdue. However, twenty years
NRC-II will mostly comprise the rural land reform program as a means to alleviate after the law was signed, still millions of
poor who will do the talking themselves, as rural poverty—an effort which the gov- hectares of lands remain undistributed,
the pastoral statement avers—a stark de- ernment pursued only half-heartedly to mostly haciendas owned by rich landown-
parture from the 1967 Rural Congress com- the consternation of poor farmers. ers, including those owned by the families
posed mostly of intellectuals who deliber- The problem of landlessness adds to of former President Aquino and husband
a host of other factors that define rural of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
poverty. Meanwhile, the peasants have found

Will the farmers, the poor, really do the

speaking by themselves, the discerning,
the proposing of their own ideas, the
planning of how we must as a people
come together to work for the common
good of the country and of ourselves?

Landlessness – a continuing prob- their voice and become active advocates

lem of land reform programs with the support
of non-government organizations and
Land problem in the country traces its people’s organizations who have taken up
roots as early as the Spanish era. Then the their cause and advocacy.
political elite comprising a tiny percentage
of population owned large tracts of agri- The Agrarian Reform Program
cultural lands tilled by paid laborers who (CARP)
work either as tenants or sharecroppers.
Philippine society has long been char- The Agrarian Reform Program was
acterized by a glaring divide between the mandated by the Comprehensive Agrar-
haves and the have-nots. The poor ten- ian Reform Law issued on June 10, 1988
ants who have no resources of their own with the goal to distribute lands to land-
rely heavily on the landlord’s magnanim- less peasants in 10 years. But due to vari-
ity to provide for their needs, thus forever ous constraints, lack of budget alloca-
keeping them indebted and unable to break tions for one, the full implementation was
the cycle of dependency and poverty. extended for another 10 years.
During the presidency of Ferdinand The agrarian reform program aimed
Marcos in the 1970’s, land reform was for a more equitable distribution and own-
instituted to address the problem of pov- ership of land with a provision of just
erty and inequality. The program how- compensation for landowners. Thus un-
ever, was regarded as a total failure. It dertaken, it was seen as a better way “to
eventually spawned a Maoist-style rebel- provide farmers and farmworkers with the

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The Second National Rural Congress

But has the Church’s “going to the

barrio” done enough to help alleviate the
plight of the rural poor? Forty years since
the first rural congress, the situation of the
rural poor remains in its pitiful state and
begs to be addressed. Still the same chal-
lenges confront us: injustices, landless-
ness, environmental destruction, lack of
decent housing, exploitation and extra-
judicial killings.
This reality was well summed up in a
message delivered by Pope Paul VI on the
occasion of the first rural congress which
still rings true even up today. “In many
underdeveloped regions there are large or
even extensive rural estates which are only
slightly cultivated or lie completely idle for
the sake of profit, while the majority of the
people either are without land or have only
very small fields, and, on the other hand, it
is evidently urgent to increase the produc-
tivity of the fields. Not infrequently those
who are hired to work for the landowners or
who till a portion of the land as tenants
receive a wage or income unworthy of a
human being, lack decent housing, and are
opportunity to enhance their dignity and The First Rural Congress exploited by middle men. Deprived of all
improve the quality of their lives through security, they live under such personal
greater productivity of agricultural lands.” When the National Congress for Ru- servitude that almost every opportunity of
During the Plenary Assembly of the ral Development was conceived in 1967, acting on their own initiative and responsi-
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Phil- the Philippines was chosen as a venue bility is denied to them and all advancement
ippines last January 2007, the CBCP is- because of the social problems existing at in human culture, sharing in social and
sued a call for the extension of CARP with that time. As Pope Paul VI suggested political life is forbidden to them.”
necessary reforms to ultimately meet its then, the Philippines being the only Chris-
objectives. The same Pastoral Statement tian nation in Asia, it may, “more consci- Bottom-up approach
also called for the convening of a Second entiously bear witness to Christ in the
National Rural Congress (NRC-II) in time midst of Non-Christian and predominantly Changing its paradigm from that of
for its 40th anniversary to address the Rural Asia.” The late Pope also under- the first rural congress, the NRC-II plan-
prevailing problem of landless peasants. scored the fact that being a Christian ning committee, right from the beginning
Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, nation, the Philippines becomes an ideal had adapted a see-judge-act methodol-
chairperson of NRC-II, together with other catalyst for deliberations and generation ogy following a bottom-up approach car-
bishops met with legislators in three sepa- of ideas that could help in finding an- ried out in three stages. The first stage
rate caucuses to discuss the extension of swers to solve the problems that over- involved local consultations done in two
the CARP with necessary reforms. whelm the rural and agricultural commu- parallel tracks. On the diocesan level, (ad
“As Catholic bishops, pastors, and nities. intra) 80 consultations were completed
teachers, we listened to the voices of the The Rural Congress whose theme on the role of BECs in rural development
rural poor and civil society organizations “Man and the land in the Philippines in the facilitated by the National Secretariat for
(CSOs) working with them and, as we sat Light of Vatican II” drew heavily from the Social Action (NASSA), CBCP-BEC Of-
in dialogue with legislators, we sought to teachings of the Church as a guide in its fice and Episcopal Commission for Indig-
address CARP and Agrarian Reform reflections and discussions. The congress enous Peoples (ECIP). Parallel to it was
through the lens of our faith, because so also adopted the slogan “The Church goes the 13 sub-regional consultations (ad
much is at stake in moral and human terms,” to the barrio”, a call on the Church to a extra) that dealt on rural poverty issues
Ledesma said in a reflection delivered at a deeper involvement into the plight of the among basic sectors handled by the Phil-
mass during the 20thanniversary of CARL poor. Then as it is still now to some extent, ippine-Misereor Partnership (PMP), the
at the National Shrine of St. Michael and the rural areas were the spots often over- Association of Major Religious Superi-
Archangels in Malacañang last June 10. looked by the government’s development ors of the Philippines (AMRSP), and the
On June 10, the 20 years of CARP programs and services and Church’s pas- Rural Poor Solidarity (RPS), an alliance of
reached its end with Congress failing to toral concern. The call for the Church’s non-government and people organiza-
act on its extension, this despite the com- involvement in rural issues spawned the tions engaged in rural issues. These par-
bined efforts of the Catholic Church, NGOs formation of diocesan social action cen- allel consultations were accomplished in
and people’s organization in lobbying for ters, rural cooperatives, advocacy groups a span of six months, from November 2007
the extension of CARP with Reforms bill. for agrarian reforms, and others. to April 2008.

18 IMPACT • July 2008

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Regional Congresses and have diverse experiences, certain com- be invited to the congress so they will hear
monalities emerged in their sharing: lack of first hand the concerns of the poor. It is also
The first stage laid down the ground social services, no land to own and till, in view of a post NRC-II scenario of engag-
work for the regional congresses which youth having no access to education, ing government, business leaders and other
constitute Phase Two of the NRC II. Con- environmental degradation, injustices, il- sectors to work together for the realization
sidered the most important part of the NRC legal encroachment, etc. of the outcome of the congress.
II, as it is in here that the consolidated The consultations centered on the Without doubt the statement that will
reports collated at the first stage will be following questions: First on the prevail- be formulated at the end of the congress will
discussed and participants will be able to ing situation in the community and the propose a challenge to both Church and
center on localized issues and action plans. factors that contribute to the situation. government who certainly have the greater
The regions were divided into five These questions comprise aspects of land, responsibility to respond positively to meet
clusters—two in Luzon (Luzon North and produce, programs and social services, the basic needs of the poor sectors of
Luzon South), another two in the Visayas marketing and other areas not specified. society. The same argument can be applied
(Western Visayas, Central and Eastern The second question deals on the re- to our poor brothers and sisters who are
Visayas) and one in Mindanao. sponse of government, Church, and NGOs also in constant struggle to live a dignified
True to its commitment of giving a and POs. The third aspect of the workshop life befitting a human being.
chance to the poor to speak out their dealt on recommendations and proposals Indeed, the congress is an opportu-
concerns and be heard, participants to the from delegates. nity for the Church and the rest of Filipinos,
regional congresses represented various especially the rural poor to tackle head on
sectors among the rural poor – farmers, High expectations the root cause of rural poverty. But still,
fisherfolks, indigenous people, women, some nagging questions beg to be asked.
elderly and youth. The NRC-II will convene a nationwide Will this second National Rural Congress
The Social Teachings of the Church assembly at the San Carlos Seminary in bring about the desired change all of us
served as a framework in the analysis of Guadalupe, Makati for its third phase. It aspire for? Will it truly lead to the social
the consultation outputs. expects to gather close to two hundred transformation of our rural society so deeply
delegates all over the country, half of which mired in poverty because of indifference
Realities will be representatives of the rural poor. and neglect of those who have the capacity
High expectations are being gener- to do something positive to address the
Indeed the regional consultations ated by the National Rural Congress. Vari- situation? Will the poor peasants for whom
gave an opportunity to the rural poor to ous non-government and people’s orga- this Congress was organized to give them
voice out their issues and show the reality nizations that have not been part of the a voice will go home convinced they have
of their existence. The workshops output entire process have expressed their desire been listened to if ever they had been given
highlighted their pitiful social condition as to participate in the final phase of the the chance to speak?
well as their struggle to live a life befitting congress. And the most important question of
a human being with dignity. Although In fact, representatives from various all—is the Church really serious in her
representatives came from different regions sectors as well as government officials will preferential option for the poor? I

Volume 42 • Number 7 19

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year in office and was ill at

the hospital).
Towards the end of the
7-day Congress, the differ-
ent work groups each sub-
mitted their recommenda-
tions and proposals. These
were gathered and incorpo-
rated in a list of General Con-
clusions and Proposals.
Forty-one years had
come and gone, and it is good
to review the proposals pre-
sented by the delegates.
They had offered much hope
for the poor and the rural
folks forty-one years ago.
How much of these propos-
als were translated into ac-
tion, and how great was the
impact made on the lives of
the very poor? The message
of Pope Paul VI whose initia-
tive made the Congress hap-
During one of the sessions of the First National Rural Congress in February 1967.
pen can inspire today’s gen-
eration of Filipinos as we
grapple with our present
‘The Church goes to the barrio’ problems related to rural de-
“In the age-old civili-
zations of the Asian nations,
By Paul J. Marquez, SSP deep and rapid transfor-
mations are taking place,

orty-one years ago, on to the Barrio”, the delegates did Batanes to Cotabato. due to the impact made
February 5-11, 1967 to not only meet in Manila but also The Vatican sent two del- upon them by scientific and
be exact, the Philip- traveled to Los Baños and egates to the Congress, namely technical progress, with its
pine Catholic hierarchy Cagayan de Oro. The delegates Msgr. Giovanni D’Ascenzi, the repercussions in every
hosted the National Con- dwelt on the problems affecting Ecclesiastical Adviser to the sphere of social life. The
gress for Rural Develop- people in the rural areas, and International Rural Associa- present hour is an impor-
ment with the theme “Man they also had the opportunity tion, and Msgr. Joseph tant one for the Philippine
and Land in the Philippines to interact with and to listen to Grimilion, Executive Director, Nation, called as it is by
in the Light of Vatican II”. rural folks like farmers, fisher- Commission for International Divine Providence to mani-
Vatican Council II gen- men, business people, artists Justice and Peace. There were fest by ideas and facts that
erated much hope on the part (like Nick Joaquin) and laborers also delegates from Australia, a sincerely-lived faith in
of the clergy and laity alike, who joined in as observers to Canada, Ceylon, India, Indo- Christ, while being a ray of
so they eagerly heeded the the Congress. The Congress nesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Ma- light which leads beyond
suggestion from Pope Paul also opened its doors to non- laysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, the confines of time to the
VI that such a Congress be Christians, then a new practice joined in by U.S. observers. possession of the true God,
held in the Philippines. The brought about by Vatican II. His Eminence Rufino J. is also the ferment which
Pope had chosen the Philip- A host of diverse and emi- Cardinal Santos, then Arch- leavens all the genuine
pines, the only Christian nent speakers, panel chairmen bishop of Manila, presided in human values upon which
country in Asia, as the ideal and resource persons had been the Mass at the Manila Cathe- the various civilizations
springboard for the launch- chosen to spearhead the delib- dral to mark the opening of the are nourished.”
ing of ideas and committed erations (the likes of Horacio Congress. The Civic Opening The call by Pope Paul VI
action to address the many de la Costa, SJ, Benigno was held at the Philamlife Au- continues to ring in our hearts
problems that beset the rural Aquino, Jr and Ferdinand ditorium graced with the pres- as it was made forty-one
and agricultural population Marcos). The biggest bulk of ence of First Lady Imelda years ago, and the great chal-
in Asia. the Congress was composed Romualdez Marcos and Vice- lenge remains. May we sin-
In keeping with the spirit of the local delegates from dif- President Fernando R. Lopez cerely live our faith in Christ
of the slogan adopted by the ferent dioceses spread across who read the speech for Presi- so it can truly be a ferment to
Congress “The Church Goes the archipelago—from dent Marcos (then in his first leaven our own time.

20 IMPACT • July 2008

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Impact editorial: March 1967

Note: We saw the wisdom of reprinting this editorial of Impact (Vol. 2 No.
1, March 1967) on the First National Rural Congress. Impact was the
official organ of the Congress—eds

Is the Church
interested in
rural progress?
Civic opening of the First National Rural Congress. Mrs. Imelda Marcos, His Eminence Rufino Cardinal Santos, Archbishop Lino Gonzaga, Msgr. Luigi Ligutti, and
Dr. Abraham Weisblat, at the Philam Life Auditorium, February 5, 1967.

n terms of impact on the public con- All these, again, the Church, through pletely forsaken them.
sciousness, the recent Rural Develop- the Rural Development Congress, the first It is indeed during these times that the
ment Congress, sponsored by the of its kind to be held in this part of the world, motherhood of the Church, its tenderness
Catholic Hierarchy, was undoubtedly one has dramatically shown to the public. and solicitousness, is most imperative.
of the most successful held in the Philip- This is well and good. We have gone Her children in rural Philippines are des-
pines in recent years. one step forward. perately crying for help and it will just be
The coverage of the press was spon- But, the Church, of course, is the first felicitous if the Church will be the first one
taneous and wide; the cooperation of both one to admit that first steps, by them- to come to their succor.
the government and private agencies con- selves, don’t tell the complete story. First The Church can take comfort from the
cerned was heartwarming. steps are just that—starters, which could fact that she has the goodwill and the
The Congress, days and even week be dismally meaningless without the fol- prayers of the whole nation which fol-
before it began, had caught the imagina- low-up. lowed the proceedings of the Congress
tion of the public and elicited a lot of The vital thing now is to pursue, vig- with vivid interest.
interest among all sectors of the popula- orously and organizedly, the excellent The government and the private sec-
tion. beginning that the Congress has made. tor have pledged to cooperate to the best
The results of the deliberations of the The Congress has lucidly defined the of their ability.
Congress constitute a wealth of informa- problem; it even came up with some very The priests, intellectuals, the farmers
tion and observations, from both the ex- feasible recommendations: what remains and fishermen and all the men of love and
perts as well as laymen, whose thinking on to be done is act. Act promptly and reso- goodwill in this fair land of hope will extend
the matter of rural progress, is, indeed, as lutely. to the Church all cooperation that it will
pertinent and vital. The Church, through the Congress, need for this momentous undertaking.
The Congress, therefore, was an in- has imposed upon itself a gigantic task So for the next several months, the
spiring success. It quite ably achieved its which it cannot shirk. A lot is at stake in public attention will still be on the Church.
aim of crystallizing thinking on the chal- this endeavor: not only the prestige of the With bated breath, so to speak, it will
lenge of rural development. It succeeded Church, but also the welfare and stability wait for what it will do towards helping the
in putting across the message that there is of the rural masses that the Church so rural areas. The people will be asking, is the
a lot to be done in the rural areas. deeply cares for. Church genuinely interested in rural
In not so many words, the Congress The Church again has no alternative progress? What will happen to all that
said that unless something is done to but to move forward with this undertaking they talked about in the Rural Develop-
alleviate the misery of our long economi- on its shoulders. Disenchantment in the ment Congress? Is there anything con-
cally neglected rural people, the results rural areas is widespread. A lot of our crete that we can expect from the Church?
may be something that we will regret. people have become bitter and hopeless, These are the all-important questions
The situation, in short, is explosive. thinking that their government has com- that the Church will now have to answer.

Volume 42 • Number 7 21

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Bishop seeks justice for

‘Princess’ victims
MANILA, July 1, 2008—Al- Authorities yesterday
though the government says it kicked off their investigation
is doing its best to determine on Saturday’s ferry sinking off
those liable in the sea mishap Sibuyan straight by question-
involving another Sulpicio ing officials of Sulpicio Lines.
Lines’ vessel, for a Catholic The inquiry coincided
bishop, that’s of little comfort. with President Gloria Arroyo’s
The shipping company pronouncements that her gov-
has been involved in several ernment is holding the belea-
fatal accidents in the past but guered shipping firm account-
its operation continued like able for the tragic event.
nothing happened, thus the Pabillo also appealed to
need for vigilance, said Manila the management of Sulpicio
Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Lines to cooperate with the
Pabillo. investigation for the immedi-
Pabillo is hoping the on- ate resolution of the case.
going government investiga- “We are hoping that they’ll
tion into the sinking of Prin- be open for the investigation
cess of the Stars would bring and whatever is the result, they The shipping company from the authorities that
justice to those who perished must respect it. They should assured P200,000 to be given chances of getting survivors
in the sea tragedy. also carry out their promises to to every family of those who are slim.
“We should really focus families of the victims,” he said. died as well as medical assis- “This is really a tragic event
on the investigation that’s cur- Sulpicio Lines earlier re- tance to those who were in- but we should not lose hope.
rently being done so that we jected to fully take responsibil- jured. And we should also remain
would know who should be ity of the tragedy and instead Pabillo also called on the steadfast in prayer for their
held accountable for this (trag- described the incident as “an families of the victims not to (victims) safety,” he said. (Roy
edy),” he said. act of God.” lose hope despite declarations Lagarde)

Korean bishops launch inter-faith meetings

SEOUL, Korea, Bishop’s Conference for with other religions as
July 1, 2008—The Ecumenism and Inter-religion shown by the friendly rela-
Catholic Bish- Dialogue, the series is meant tions and exchange between
ops’ Conference to be open to members of all Card Stephen Kim Sou-
of Korea (CBCK) faiths and held annually in late hwan and Rev Beupjeung,
began a series of June. Buddhist monk, as well as
inter-faith meet- To start this program, Fr the well-wishing messages
ings with Bud- Lee Jeong-ju and 20 Catholic exchanged on the occasion
dhists, Confu- seminarians will visit the Chris- of the various religious holi-
cians, Protes- tian Conference of Korea (Prot- days.
tants, Anglicans, estants), Seoul Diocesan Of- The Bishops’ program
Orthodox and fice of the Anglican Church in was positively welcomed
representatives Korea, the Diocesan Office of by other religions whose
of Korea’s tradi- the Orthodox Church in Korea, leaders hope to see these
tional religions. the Jogyae Buddhist Office and meetings bear fruit and
Called A Seonggyungwan (Confucian). favour dialogue and har-
Journey with the The Catholic Church has mony in the country.
C a t h o l i c developed a good relationship (AsiaNews)

22 IMPACT • July 2008

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Catholic Priest
assassinated: the first
in the history of Nepal
KATHMANDU, Nepal, July 1, the complex. Twice in the past
2008—A Catholic priest,
Salesian Fr. John Prakash, 62
the group had demanded
money from the school princi- More than 1,500 people
die of torture in Indian
years old was killed in Sirsiya pal. Police reported that there
(Morang district), in east Nepal. were bills amounting to 600 US

prison, human rights

He is the first priest to be killed dollars as well as Indian Ru-
in the country. Police have pees and Nepalese coins lit-
opened an inquest into his tered on the ground at the scene
death, their suspicions falling
on a terrorist group.
of the crime.
Fr. Benjamin Pampackel, activist says
Fr. John Prakash, a native another Salesian speaking to
of Kerala India had worked in AsiaNews, warns against hur-
Nepal for over 10 years (see ried conclusions: “We can only NEW DELHI, India, July 1, The report analyses
photo). He was the principal of say that Fr. John is no longer 2008—”Torture is legalized patterns and practices of
Don Bosco School and lived here. We will wait for the police state terrorism,” said Lenin torture in police custody
along with two other Salesians inquiry to do its job, in order to Raghuvanshi, director of the with special focus on tor-
in their residence attached to understand what really hap- People’s Vigilance Commit- ture by prison guards, the
the school. Fr. George pened and who were respon- tee on Human Rights military, armed opposition
Kalangara, the parish vicar told sible”. (PVCHR) as he commented groups like the Naxalites (In-
AsiaNews that during the night Msgr. Anthony Sharma, a report by the Asian Centre dian Maoists) in north-east
a group of armed men broke Nepal’s first bishop, has con- for Human Rights titled India, other public officials
into the priest’s residence and demned the incident. He told Torture in India 2008: A and non-state actors like
immobilised Fr. Mathew who AsiaNews that he had no State of Denial which found upper castes, recovery
had only just joined the com- knowledge of the group be- that 7,468 persons, at an av- agents of the Banks,
munity in Nepal. lieved to be behind the attack. erage of 1,494 persons per Panchayats and so-called
Another resident priest Fr. The Private Boarding year, died in prison and civil society organizations.
Lazarus Maradi was travelling School Association of Nepal, police custody between Lenin Raghuvanshi, re-
abroad at the time. The group Pabson, has also condemned 2002 to 2007. cipient of the 2007 Gwangju
then turned on Fr. Prakash de- the murder and has asked for An equal number of Prize for human rights,
manding money. “Then we urgent government action to persons, if not more, were stressed that reported cases
don’t know really what hap- bring those guilty to justice. killed by the army and state of abuse is highest among
pened”—says Fr. Kalangara— The Salesian fathers who paramilitary forces custody Dalits, Tribals and minority
”we only know that there was work in Morang district, are in insurgency affected ar- communities.
an explosion. When the police not only committed to educa- eas, a large number of these The Indian system
arrived there were signs of a tion projects but also to devel- deaths the result of torture. based on castes is diabolic
struggle. On one side of the opment of rural villages, In the country’s 12,000 and perpetuates discrimina-
room the windows were healthcare for mothers and police stations all over the tions and crimes against the
smashed and broken glass was children, and training of country there is frequent weakest.
everywhere”. healthcare professionals as well use of torture and use of The system is guaran-
Police have confirmed that as pastoral work. deadly force at local police teed by collusion between
the bomb has led to widespread This assassination—per- stations in India. police and upper castes,
damage of the buildings, formed by a terrorist group¯is India has the highest which favor the stronger ac-
opened just one year ago. At the first to mark the history of number of cases of police cording to a semi-feudal
the scene of the crime the fur- the Catholic Church in Nepal. torture and custodial deaths order of things.
nishings were completely de- In the past however, other among the world’s democ- “India,” said the activ-
stroyed. priests and religious have been racies and the weakest law ist, “has to immediately rati-
The security forces sus- subjected to threats and rob- against torture. fication the UN Convention
pect an underground terrorist beries. In 1997 a Jesuit priest The police often oper- Against Torture,” but sadly
group, the Terai Defence Army, was killed in a robbery. ate in a climate of impunity, it wants to preserve the
of being behind the attack. A Nepal’s Catholics count where torture is seen as rou- “nexus between police and
policeman confirmed to seven thousand out of a popu- tine police behavior to ex- feudal of upper-caste.”
AsiaNews that leaflets belong- lation of 25 million. (AsiaNews) tract confessions. (AsiaNews)
ing to the group were found in

Volume 42 • Number 7 23

vol42_no07.pmd 23 7/3/2008, 4:09 PM


Expatriate finds challenges running

social services in Muslim area
among the 160 students. Other
students are mostly Protes-
tants, with some Catholics.
Last Christmas, he re-
called, the foundation received
several boxes of towels and T-
shirts from the British women’s
association, but “that dona-
tion was accused as means of
proselytism.” A similar accu-
sation, he added, led him to
stop paying school fees for 30
children of his driver’s village.
The couple said they suspect
certain people are jealous of
the foundation’s fast growth.
Maulina Wati, the Islamic
religion teacher, told UCA News
she is happy to associate with
people of other religions of vari-
ous ethnic groups. “I am a resi-
dent of the area. These schools
are useful here,” she said.
JONGGOL, Indonesia, June 30, The party that started at 4 Jonggol reportedly pressured Markus, an orphan from
2008—More than 200 stu- p.m. that day marked the gradu- the authorities not to give their Kalimantan, told UCA News
dents, parents and teachers at ation of 42 kindergarten, pri- approval, she added. he is thankful the foundation
a school graduation and fare- mary, junior high and senior Lengkong said the men gives him free education and
well party were surprised when high students. The rumored never openly protested but the opportunity to associate
school authorities suddenly attack, however, did not hap- sent letters accusing the with urban people. Harry
asked them to leave. pen. schools, especially the kinder- Djatmiko, a student’s father,
It was 6 p.m. on June 19 According to Reverend garten, of being a means of said: “The school must keep
when Reverend Mike Hilliard Hilliard, he and his wife have evangelization. “To explain our running because it is better than
asked his Indonesian wife, lived in Jonggol since 2000. In activities, we held a meeting others. Residents here support
Jeveline Lengkong, to make the May 2003 they founded Talitha with local people, including the the school.”
announcement for the people Cumi Foundation to run social eight men. Things looked fine Reverend Hilliard, recall-
to leave. Lengkong heads and religious activities. during the meeting but after- ing his trip to West Kalimantan,
Talitha Cumi Foundation that While waiting for the li- ward the men kept opposing said: “We could not believe
runs Mama Sayang Orphan- cense to operate schools, our activities.” the poverty we saw. Many chil-
age and St. Enoch schools in which they got in 2004, the Five months ago, Rever- dren did not go to school. Some
Jonggol village, about 40 kilo- couple founded the orphan- end Hilliard added, the same schoolchildren did not have
meters southeast of Jakarta. age in 2003 after visiting sev- eight men invited radical Mus- even pencil or paper. So we
Reverend Hilliard, of the eral poor villages in West lim groups from outside the decided to help them, and a
Assemblies of God, said they Kalimantan province. area to destroy a Protestant pastor there helped send the
had to discontinue the program In 2006, they opened the church in Jonggol. “They might children to us.”
after hearing from the school’s St. Enoch kindergarten and come to attack our schools and He also said his orphan-
security guard that a group of primary, junior high and senior orphanage,” he worries. age now has 112 residents aged
Muslims would attack the high schools. The same year The pastor rejected accu- 3-19 years from all over Indo-
school after magrib, the daily they also founded a clinic, “but sations that the foundation nesia, but 80 percent from
Islamic sunset prayer. “Fear- we have not run it because aims at evangelization. He Kalimantan. Two of them are
ing the attack we stopped the local village authorities did not pointed out that it has em- studying at university and one
program,” the Scottish pastor allow us to,” Lengkong told ployed an Islamic religion is working, but they still stay at
told UCA News on June 19. UCA News. Eight men in teacher for the 15 Muslims the orphanage. (UCAN)

24 IMPACT • July 2008

vol42_no07.pmd 24 7/3/2008, 4:09 PM


Towards a Second
National Rural Congress
orty years ago, the Church in the The timetable comprises two phases
Philippines convened a National Phase I: (July-November 2007) in two
Rural Congress highlighting the call parallel tracks:
that “the Church must go to the barrios.” A. Diocesan consultations on BECs
The involvement of the Church in rural in rural development (to be conducted by
issues was concretized in the formation of the National Secretarial for Social Action
diocesan social action centers, rural coop- (NASSA), and the Offices for BECs and
eratives, advocacy groups for agrarian Indigenous People);
reform, and others. B. Sub-regional consultations on ru-
To commemorate that event held in ral poor sectors and rural issues (to be
1967, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of conducted by the Philippine-Misereor
the Philippines issued early this year the Partnership (PMP), the Association of
pastoral statement, “The Dignity of the Major Superiors of the Philippines
Rural Poor - A Gospel Concern”. We made (AMRSP), and the Rural Poor Solidarity
a call for a Second National Rural Con- (RPS) coalition of non-government and Moreover, from time to time, there will
gress (NRC II) to review the continuing people’s organizations. be periodic consultations of notable lay
issues confronting the majority of our Phase II: (First Quarter of 2008) - con- advisers, research centers, and other Epis-
people living in rural areas. vening of NRC II to discuss the collated copal commissions. (cf. the organizational
“But this time,” we said, “our farmers inputs from the diocesan and sub-regional flow of NRC II in the Appendix.)
must do the speaking by themselves, the consultations. The Congress itself may It is in this light that we make an appeal
discerning, the proposing of their own take two-to-three days. to all our diocesan social action centers,
ideas, the planning of how we must as a Overseeing the entire process under schools, and research centers as well as
people come together to work for the com- the CBCP Plenary Assembly is the NRC farmers’ organizations, NGOs, and gov-
mon good of the country…” Central Committee with Archbishop An- ernment agencies to participate actively in
In this light, we are adopting a SEE- tonio Ledesma (Executive Chairman), a spirit of solidarity in the various activi-
JUDGE-ACT methodology in convening Bishop Broderick Pabillo (Vice Chairman), ties outlined for the NRC II process.
this Second National Rural Congress. Bishop Socrates Villegas, Bishop Sergio The expected outcome of this NRC
There are five objectives: Utleg and Sr. Rosanne Mallillin, SPC (mem- process, including Phases I and II, are:
To describe the current situation of bers). SEE: a fuller description, both quanti-
various sectors of the rural poor–e.g., small The Central Committee is to be as- tative and qualitative, of the rural poverty
farmers, landless workers, indigenous sisted by the Episcopal Advisory Council, situation;
people, small fishermen, rural women and which is composed of Gaudencio Cardinal JUDGE: a deeper analysis of the situ-
youth, etc.; Rosales (Luzon), Ricardo Cardinal Vidal ation in the light of the Social Teachings of
To describe the role of Basic Ecclesial (Visayas), Archbishop Orlando Quevedo the Church; and
Communities (BECs) and church-based (Mindanao), and Archbishop Angel ACT: concrete proposals for action
programs in rural development; Lagdameo (CBCP). The ad intra secretariat addressed to the rural sectors, local
To review the impact of key social for the diocesan consultations on BECs churches, government agencies, NGOs,
legislation and to engage government includes: Sr. Rosanne Mallilin of CBCP- and others.
agencies in the implementation of ongo- NASSA (Coordinator), Msgr. Elmer Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit–
ing social reform programs under the Com- Abacahin of the CBCP-BEC Office, and a the Spirit of Truth, Justice, and Love–and
prehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), representative of the Episcopal Commis- through the intercession of Our Lady of
the Indigenous People’s Rights Act sion on Indigenous Peoples. The ad extra the Immaculate Conception, may we carry
(IPRA), etc.; secretariat for Sub-regional consultations out these proposed activities in solidarity
To apply the Social Teachings of the on rural issues includes: Ms. Lourdes with our brothers and sisters in the coun-
Church to the concrete problems of Philip- Cipriano of PMP (Coordinator), Bro. Hansel tryside.
pine rural society and to arrive at recom- Mapayo of AMRSP, and Ms. Belinda
mendations and action plans; and Formanes of RPS. For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
To collate and disseminate research An auxiliary arm of the NRC Central the Philippines,
findings through media channels, and to Committee will be composed of the CBCP
promote continuing dialogue among local Offices of Research (under Abp. Antonio +ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
churches, NGOs and academe in the social Ledesma), Media (under Msgr. Pedro Archbishop of Jaro
transformation of rural–as well as urban Quitorio), and Secretariat (under Msgr. President, CBCP
poor–communities. Juanito Figura). 16 July 2007

Volume 42 • Number 7 25

vol42_no07.pmd 25 7/3/2008, 4:09 PM


It’s an agricultural
country, Stupid!
Food. Shelter.
t may sound strict and stern,
uncouth and unprofes-
sional. But it is an expres-
undertakings are acceptable—
on condition however that they
neither undermine the agricul-
sion only meant to drive home tural constructs of the coun-

ne of the most ominous realities that loudly an
a reality that stares Filipinos at try, much less destroy the en- nounces that there is a fast brewing social volcano
the face, a truth that especially vironment of the land. This in a country, is the fact that a good number of its people
people in the rural areas readily conditionality is definite and lack basic food to eat, have no decent shelter nor enough
understand. The Philippines is defined. Otherwise, the Philip- clothing to wear. And this is exactly the composite socio-
an agricultural country— pines would stay where it is economic plague that is now causing anger and resentment
where “super–regions” do not now—nowhere! It is half– among many Filipinos. Hungry men, women and children in
make much sense, and where baked agricultural and half– extra long queues for rice. Miserable families either squatting,
super-farmers are needed to cooked industrial. Balance: living under bridges or sleeping in the streets. Imported
stay, instead of preparing “su- Neither here nor there. discarded and dubious clothing items on sale here and there.
per–maids to go”. Even a Fili- Provided the People of the What makes this ugly phenomenon even more odious
pino with a doctoral degree in Philippines would not be sub- to see and detestable to even but think about, is that there
economics from foreign uni- servient to the confused and is a Malacañang Palace that stands for affluence unlimited
versity, should know this con- confusing present administra- and enormous power, that looks like a fortress where
struct of nature, viz., with its tion, would neither mind the ordinary people, the poor in particular, are most unwel-
many islands and rivers, its vast empty promises nor listen to come. In fact, its occupant travels with every expensive
fields and farmlands, it seasons the visionary pronouncements entourage and acts like royalty pleased with big bows and
of rain and sun, the Philippines of the Malacañang occupant, lavish homage from its subjects. Incidentally, these hun-
makes a country designed by there is still realistic hope for gry and miserable subjects are the ones paying for all the
nature itself to be by and large them to have a more salutary lavish expenses and regal perks of the leadership.
agricultural in constitution and present and to look forward to This pitiful situation in the country is made even more
finality. a more promising future. Agri- painful to the simple people and horrible to those in the
In its elementary series, fol- cultural development is the know, by the proud and loud claim of socio-economic
lowing is the more relevant suc- answer to the national predica- expertise on the part of the national leadership with its
cessive reality flow in the con- ment. Green revolution is the grand “super” developmental visions and progressive
text of agriculture: First, agricul- call of the times. Food is wealth. projections. Not long ago, it foresaw the Philippines as a
ture means food. Second, food It brings contentment. It means first world country soon. Now, it is not even a developing
nurtures life. Third, life promotes health and wellbeing. And but simply stagnating nation—not really going forward
action. Fourth, action forwards when more than enough, food but actually backwards.
progress and development. Fifth, is profitable for export and even This miserable state of affairs all over the land is precisely
progress and development ad- convertible to fuel. what causes long protest marches, angry rallies, inclusive of
vance human dignity. Sixth, hu- Hence: Improve and en- fuming moves from cause-oriented groups and organiza-
man dignity confirms human large irrigation systems. tions. As the heartbreaking national situation continues or
rights. Seventh, human rights Mechanize farming. Put up stor- even worsens, it is to be expected that more and more sectors
affirm democracy. Eighth, democ- age buildings. Provide food of the Philippine society will go to the streets, make denounce-
racy confers national pride. packing/caning facilities. Build ments, burn effigies. As usual, the only exception to these
Ninth, the pride of a national is a more farm to market roads. Fund demonstrations of anger and frustration will be the close
blessing of a people. Tenth, a research centers for rice and relatives and big beneficiaries of the key character popularity
blessed people are the funda- corn, vegetables and root censured for both errant and incompetent leadership.
mental element of a united and crops, coconuts and sugar- Thus also stands the rationale of the long standing
peaceful nation. cane, and other widely native nervousness mixed with hallucinatory factors on the part
Making electronic compo- cultivated food items. Among of the ruling administration that continues to see destabi-
nents, manufacturing equip- other things, these mean a real- lization plans and moves in practically all nooks and
ments, having Call Centers and istic investment in agriculture, corners of the country—specially in Metro manila. No
many other economic agenda a just and fair agricultural re- wonder that seeing ghosts of rebellion around itself, the
are good. Running stock mar- form, a more favorably treated national leadership has been decidedly surrounding itself
kets, producing building mate- farming people, duly pursued with all available and willing military and police ex-Gener-
rials, investing in housing and developed foreign markets als, fervently hoping that they would go to its defense
projects and similar financial for Filipino food products. when actually undergoing popular assault—forgetting
ventures are all right. Even Again—with feeling: THE the wisdom behind the saying “When the going gets
downing trees, looking for pre- PHILIPPINESISANAGRICUL- tough, the tough ones get going.”
cious metals, developing en- TURAL COUNTRY, STUPID! www.ovc.blogspot.com
ergy sources and such other www.ovc.blogspot.com

26 IMPACT • July 2008

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Abominable contrasts

THERE must be a thousand and one substantial and impoverished millions of people all over the land. The
incidental contrasts existing in the country. The most supreme ruler is not only known for being endowed
distinct and appalling one being the great divide between with the wide and thick mantle of immunity, but also
the powerful and the helpless, the wealthy and the stands over and above the law premised on truth,
impoverished, the shrewd and the naïve, the exploiters integrity and honesty—and furthermore acts outside
and the exploited. Truth to say, the most notable and the sphere of ethics plus the moral order marking the
detestable contrast in Philippine society is one so obvi- difference between right and wrong, between good
ous to still point out and dangerous to seriously dwell and evil. The people are looked upon as lowly subjects
on, viz., the deep and wide contrast between those few to be treated with patronizing disdain and periodically
who govern and the millions who are governed. The thrown charity crumbs to appease their hunger and to
contrast is not only devious but also odious. show them who is their boss-chief and some kind of
This disgusting and repulsive socio-political phe- petty divinity of “Perpetual Help”. Such is the opera-
nomenon in this supposedly “Bayan Magiliw” has in tive premise of the cryptically called “Katas ng Vat”
fact become more gross and lethal particularly in the in addition to the loudly proclaimed and acclaimed
past seven years. This is not to say that it was very much grocery grants here and there, to this and that chosen
better than before. But it is certainly much worse this community.
time. And given the big distrust and high disapproval This stark contrast has just been so realistically and
rating of the ruling administration not only among shamelessly illustrated when the highest officials of the
Filipinos but also before the international community, it land together with amply blessed and loyal court of
is extremely hard to believe that the national psyche followers, happily left the country with class, proudly
could even realistically think of better days ahead met with influential individuals, threw lavish parties,
especially come 2010 which is foreseen as an ominous occupied luxurious hotels—while thousands of Filipinos
year. met devastating calamities, lost their lives and proper-
The contrast is like an enormous and bottomless ties and to this writing have neither enough food to eat
abyss particularly between the one gloriously reigning nor clean water to drink. The contrast cannot be more
chief-commander and the miserably suffering lowly horrible and abominable.

Volume 42 • Number 7 27

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Farmer Fleming and a nobleman

Fleming had saved. you can be proud of.”
“I want to repay you,” said And that he did. In time,
the nobleman. “You saved my Farmer Fleming’s son graduated
son’s life.” from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical
“No, I can’t accept payment School in London, and went on to
for what I did,” the Scottish farmer become known throughout the
replied, waving off the offer. world as the noted Sir Alexander
At that moment, the farmer’s Fleming, the discoverer of Peni-
own son came to the door of the cillin.
family hovel. “Is that your son?” Years afterward, the
the nobleman asked. nobleman’s son was stricken with
“Yes,” the farmer replied pneumonia. What saved him?
proudly. Penicillin. The name of the noble-
“I’ll make you a deal. Let me man? Lord Randolph Churchill.

is name was Fleming, screaming and struggling to free take him and give him a good His son’s name? Sir Winston
and he was a poor Scot- himself. Farmer Fleming saved education. If the lad is anything Churchill.
tish farmer. One day, the lad from what could have like his father, he’ll grow to a man rowena.dalanon@cbcpworld.net
while trying to eke out a living been a slow and terrifying death.
for his family, he heard a cry for The next day, a fancy carriage

Stone soup story

help coming from a nearby pulled up to the Scotsman’s
swamp. He dropped his tools sparse surroundings. An el-
and ran to the swamp. egantly dressed nobleman
There, mired to his waist in stepped out and introduced him-
black sewage, was a terrified boy, self as the father of the boy Farmer

any years ago three left!” And off she ran, re-
soldiers, hungry turning with an apronful of
and weary of parsley and a turnip.
battle, came upon a small vil- As the kettle boiled on,
lage. The villagers, suffering the memory of the village
a meager harvest and the improved: soon barley, car-
many years of war, quickly rots, beef and cream had
hid what little they had to eat found their way into the
and met the three at the vil- great pot, and a cask of wine
lage square, wringing their was rolled into the square
hands and bemoaning the as all sat down to feast.
lack of anything to eat. They ate and danced
The soldiers spoke qui- and sang well into the night,
etly among themselves and refreshed by the feast and
the first soldier then turned their new-found friends.
to the village elders. “Your In the morning the three
tired fields have left you soldiers awoke to find the
nothing to share, so we will entire village standing be-
share what little we have: fore them. At their feet lay a
the secret of how to make satchel of the village’s best
soup from stones.” breads and cheese. “You
Naturally the villagers have given us the greatest
were intrigued and soon a of gifts: the secret of how to
fire was put to the town’s make soup from stones,”
greatest kettle as the sol- said an elder, “and we shall
diers dropped in three never forget.” The third
smooth stones. “Now this soldier turned to the crowd,
will be a fine soup”, said the and said: “There is no se-
second soldier; “but a pinch cret, but this is certain: it is
of salt and some parsley only by sharing that we may
would make it wonderful!” make a feast.” And off the
Up jumped a villager, crying soldiers wandered, down
“What luck! I’ve just remem- the road.
bered where some has been rowena.dalanon@cbcpworld.net

28 IMPACT • July 2008

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Glimpses of Paul and His Strategies for Preaching Paul

Message Frank J. Matera
Bernardita Dianzon, FSP For preachers who lack familiarity in using the Pauline texts
for preaching, this book is for you! Here, Matera provides
Right in time for the opening of the celebration of the Apostle’s some strategies on how to go about preaching the Pauline
bi-millennium anniversary of birth, this book offers a fitting texts from the Sunday
tribute to the great Apostle who had worked zealously for the Lectionary. First, by making
proclamation of Christ’s saving use of the historical and liter-
message. The book is a collec- ary setting of the text, the sec-
tion of short articles on Paul, of ond is interpreting the text
which, according to the author’s within its broader literary con-
own description, are like snap- text, while the third is propos-
shots; although taken at various ing key ideas that should be
angles, “are supposed to give preached. Paul is the most
the readers a more or less co- prolific and profound of New
herent image of the Apostle and Testament writers and yet it is
show at least the major contours rarely that his epistles are
of his message.” Thus the first used as text for preaching. Of
section, aptly called Glimpses, course, central to the New
provides but a quick look on vari- Testament is the Gospel, the
ous Pauline topics presented. word of Christ. But it is Christ
The second section, called and the Gospel that Paul
Gazes, nonetheless offer a more writes about. The author who
substantial treatment and expo- is as passionate about Paul
sition of other Pauline themes. as any Pauline disciple
The book is an interesting read should be claims that in read-
as it offers an easy understand- ing Paul he “encounter[s]
ing of Paul and his message, someone who has under-
which is summed up as the stood how the proclamation of
Good News. Thus reading this the gospel illumines the hu-
volume should entice readers man situation and solves the
to explore further, the author most mundane problems…
hopes, that they may discover and [one who] knows what it
by themselves the richness and means to live with, for, and in
the saving power of God’s word. Christ.” Matera is a professor
Dianzon, a Biblical scholar who of New Test ament from the
holds a Licentiate in Sacred Catholic University of America.
Scriptures from the Pontifical An excellent resource to
Biblical Institute and a Doctor- deepen one’s knowledge on
ate in Sacred Theology from the the epistles of the great
Loyola School of Theology, is a Apostle in this bi-millennium
member of the Daughters of St. jubilee of his birth, this book
Paul. This volume, just off the is published locally by
press, is her first book. Paulines.

Reconciliation The Shepherds’ Voice

From the Sacramental to Societal The Juridic Dimension of the Teaching Office
of the Church
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, JCD, DD
Jaime B. Achacoso
The book brings to fore the reconciliatory nature of the sacra-
ment of confession—hence the term reconciliation. The book This volume, second in a series of Canon Law Notebooks
posits that the sacrament of reconciliation involves a two-way published by the Canon Law Research & Communication
action between a sinful human being and a forgiving and lov- Foundation talks about the teaching aspect of the Church as
ing God. Man moving towards God asking for forgiveness and prescribed by Canon Law. Through the mandate given by Christ
God moving towards man offering his love. Part and parcel of to the Apostles, the Church is called to fulfill the threefold task
our being human is to commit the same mistakes over and of teaching, sanctifying and ruling. Achacoso explains though
over again. Reconciliation shows the reality of the “sinning- that there is an order to follow in fulfilling these functions, with
forgiving [action] between man and God” that is done repeat- teaching taking priority before the other two roles. Presented
edly. Divided into five articles, the book discusses the Scrip- in three chapters, the first explains the juridic dimension of the
tural foundation of the sacrament, its theological connotation, teaching office of the Church. Chapter 2 elucidates the basic
provisions according to Canon Law, its natural ordination and forms of the ministry of the word—preaching and catechesis,
social application. In the present context of our socio-political while Chapter 3 discusses the importance of Catholic Educa-
reality, where there is so much enmity and discord because of tion in evangelization. The author is a priest of the Personal
varying ideologies, this book offers a refreshing insight on Prelature of Opus Dei and a Consultor of the Episcopal Com-
how to go about making peace with God, with ourselves, and mission on Canon Law of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference
others. of the Philippines.

Volume 42 • Number 7 29

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Title: Serbis
Cast: Gina Pareno, Jacklyn Jose, Coco Martin, Kristofer
King, Julio Diaz, Dan Alvaro
Genre: Drama
Director: Brillante Mendoza
Screenplay: Armando Lao
Producer: Ferdinand Lapuz
Location: Manila
Running Time: 90mins

Technical Assessment: 3.5

Moral Assessment: 2.5
Rating: For viewers 18 and above

naparangalan ng rin ang pagmamalasakit at

Serbis sa ibang bansa. pagmamahalan sa isang
Matapang nitong tinalakay pamilya. Tahimik din nitong
ang maraming sakit ng ipinakita ang kakayahan ng
lipunan na naglalarawan sa isang taong kumawala sa
kalagayan ng mga bansang isang masalimuot na
nasa “Third World” katulad sitwasyon kung kanyang

P atuloy na itinataguyod
ni Nanay Flor (Gina
Pareno) ang kanilang
negosyong lumang sinehan
na nagpapalabas ng mga
pagse-“serbis” ng mga
kalalakihan sa mga
parokyanong bakla ng
sinehan. At dahil sa sinehan
na nakatira ang buong
ng Pilipinas. Walang itulak
kabigin at hindi matatawaran
ang galing ng lahat ng
nagsiganap. Maraming
nais. Nakababahala nga
lamang dahil hindi malinaw
kung para saan ba ang
pagtakas. Sa pagbabagong
biswal na simbolismo na tungo sa kabutihan o sa higit
lumang “bold” na pelikula pamilya at kaanak na epektibong naisalarawan pang kasamaan? Sadyang
sa kabila ng samu’t saring nagpapatakbo ng sinehan, ang dilim, kasalanan at nakababahala ang biswal at
problema nito. Kasama namumulat ang mga batang kasamaan na naikulong sa grapikong pagpapakita ng
niyang namamahala ang apo ni Nanay Flor sa mga isang lugar. mga eksenang hubaran, seks
anak na si Nayda (Jacklyn bisyo at kalaswaan. Malinaw ang layunin ng at homosekswalidad.
Jose) at manugang na si Isang "cinema verite" Serbis: ang isalarawan ang Bagama’t hindi sinasabi ng
Lando (Julio Diaz). Sa ang Serbis na nakaririmarim na kalagayan pelikula na ito ay mabuti,
sinehan na sila nakatira makatotohanang ng isang naiibang uri ng maari pa rin itong
kasama ang iba pang naglalarawan ng tila pamilyang nasadlak sa makaapekto sa sensibilidad
kaanak: sina Allan (Coco pinaglipasan na ng panahon kahirapan. Ipinasilip ng ng mga manonood. Ang
Martin) at Ronald (Kristofer na kultura: ang mga sinehan Serbis ang isang mundong pagkakaron ng batang
King) na projectionist. Labis at teatro. Naging lugar na hindi madalas na makita ng karakter bilang saksi sa lahat
na dinaramdam ni Nanay lamang ito ng madidilim na Pilipinong manonood. Isang nang bisyo at kasalanan sa
Flor ang panloloko sa kanya sikreto ng nakaraan at lugar na alam nating nariyan lugar ay isang epektibong
ng kanyang asawa, kasabay kasalukuyan. Pinamahayan ngunit hindi binibigyang device na nagsasabing
ng pagpasan niya sa na rin ang sinehan ng mga pansin. Sa kabila ng mga malayo pa ang ating
problema ng lahat ng baho, problema at bisyo ng bisyo, kalaswaan at lalakbayin sa pagbabago
kanyang kaanak na tauhan isang pamilyang nasadlak sa kasamaan, isang bagay ang sapagkat iminumulat na natin
na rin sa sinehan. Si Allan kadiliman. Mahusay ang labis na pinahahalagahan ng ang ating mga kabataan sa
ay makakabuntis na pagkakagawa ng mga mga karakter sa pelikula: ang isang mundong nagdidilim na
makakadagdag sa pasakit eksena na parang nanonood pamilya. Bagama’t hindi ang pamantayang moral at
ni Flor. Lingid din sa kanyang ka lamang ng tunay na perpekto at puno ng depekto, bumababaw ang pananalig
kaalaman ang nangyayaring buhay. Kung kaya’t dalisay pa rin ang sa Diyos.

30 IMPACT • July 2008

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India to rival Statue Indonesia wary of Complaints lodged vs Rights group urges
of Liberty raising fuel prices poll campaign release of an activist
The government here Energy minister Purnomo With just five days be- The military government
plans to build a 309-foot-tall Yusgiantoro said the gov- fore the official campaign here should release detained
statue off the Mumbai coast ernment is wary of raising period, Cambodia’s National activist Zargana and let him
rivaling New York’s Statue fuel oil prices again ahead of Election Committee has al- continue giving aid unhin-
of Liberty. The $4.5 million- elections next year. With ready received 15 com- dered to communities af-
worth project, which will in- general elections due next plaints, with most lodged by fected by Cyclone Nargis,
clude a library, a museum April and presidential elec- the Sam Rainsy Party, the Human Rights Watch said.
and an amphitheatre, will tions in June, Yusgiantoro main opposition party. Re- The group said to nab one of
depict the 17th century said the government would ports said most of the com- Burma’s famous public fig-
Maratha warrior king, “shoulder” higher global oil plaints are related to vandal- ures for talking to the media
Shivaji, who is hero in prices in the state budget. ism of rival party’s signs, or while he was distributing aid
Maharashtra state for defy- about the use of loudspeak- shows “the Burmese gov-
ing Mughal and British ers. ernment is more concerned
forces. with controlling its citizens
IRAQ than assisting them.”
House explosion kills
seven Gov’t sues over ‘oil- SRI LANKA
China, UAE make big for-food’ program
An explosion destroyed British diplomat
progress in ensuring the house of a militant in The Iraqi government has
safe blood donation Pakistan’s Khyber region filed a civil lawsuit in a US beaten
June 30, killing seven, on the federal court against
China and the United third day of an offensive Australia’s former monopoly Senior British High Com-
Arab Emirates (UAE) have against Islamists threaten- wheat exporter and dozens mission officer in Sri Lanka,
made impressive strides in ing the city of Peshawar. A of other companies over the Mahendra Ratnaweera has
tackling the risk of contami- militant chief said the blast now discredited United Na- been beaten and his car
nation from unsafe blood by was caused by a missile, but tions oil-food program. They smashed by unidentified as-
reaching close to 100 per- an official in the region said alleged that kick-backs and sailants recently. The attack-
cent voluntary blood dona- explosives stored at the corruption robbed billion of ers also tried to grab a jour-
tion, said WHO. Their ef- house in the town of Bara dollars from the Iraqi nalist traveling as a passen-
forts to increase their safe went off accidentally. Se- through the said program ger in the vehicle.
blood base were promoted curity forces launched the between 1996 and 2003. Ratnaweera was severely
as models for other coun- offensive on the country’s injured in the attack.
tries to follow on the occa- northwestern border with PHILIPPINES S. KOREA
sion of World Blood Donor Afghanistan to push back
Day last month. Taliban militants. Owners of sunken Gov't gears upgrade
ferry sue weather ser- of naval forces
South Korea plans to trade
Afghan suffers under ‘Zero tolerance drug The owners of a ferry its 1, 300 tonne diesel-electric
global food crisis policy’ which sank during a raging attack submarines for Indo-
typhoon with the loss of nesian-built patrol aircraft.
International relief Chinese officials said a some 800 lives has filed a Military officials said the deal
agency World Vision says lifetime ban on one of their civil suit against the Philip- will be discussed when arms
the global food crisis is forc- swimmers for taking drugs pines weather service for procurement officials from
ing some of the poor in Af- shows that a “zero toler- allegedly failing to issue an both nations meet in Jakarta
ghanistan to sell their daugh- ance” policy is in place for updated storm bulletin. this month. They, however,
ters into early marriages. the Beijing Olympics follow- Sulpicio Lines, owners of refused to confirm news re-
The group says meals are ing the banning for life after the Princess of the Stars ports that the two nations
becoming a luxury for many failing an out-of-competition which sank off Sibuyan Is- would sign a $1 billion deal to
in Afghanistan where half drug test. The swimmer was land June 21 are seeking trade two S.Korean subma-
of the population live below found to be using the muscle- damages for a wrongful rines for eight Indonesian-built
the poverty line. building drug Clenbuterol. storm forecast. CN-235s.

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