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Poverty that dehumanizes, poverty that sanctifies


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The Cross


Stories from Ground Zero


Bishop gives thumbs down to Aquino rehab efforts

THE government has failed to provide adequate help for typhoon Yolanda survivors that devastated several towns in Eastern Samar three months ago, a Catholic bishop said. Aside from the controversial bunkhouses, Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez said the governments concrete rehabilitation programs are yet to be seen. I always visit the affected areas but so far, Ive only seen bunkhouses. Thats so far the concrete thing that the government did here (in Eastern Samar), Varquez said.

Work against poverty that dehumanizes CBCP

By Jennifer M. Orillaza

March 3 - 16, 2014

Vol. 18 No. 5

Php 20.00

Efforts / A7

CONDEMNING poverty as a social scandal that degrades and dehumanizes humanity, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) exhorted the lay faithful to shun the economy of exclusion by living simply and in solidarity with less fortunate individuals.
In a Lenten message issued two days before Ash Wednesday, bishops called on the laity to fight degrading and dehumanizing poverty. This Lenten season, Christ invites all, but especially the laity, to oppose degrading and dehumanizing poverty and to embrace humanizing and sanctifying poverty. In other words, He invites us to imitate His example, the CBCP said in a statement issued by its president, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. We are invited to practice material poverty by taking up a simple lifestyle and works of mercy and justice that attend to the poor and aim for an economy of inclusion, Villegas said. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day religious tradition of Christians where they observe a period of fasting and spiritual discipline as a means to sacrifice and repent from their sins. We are to exercise moral poverty by strengthening our resolve to practice solidarity with the neglected and to denounce injustice and all forms of radical inequality, he said.
Poverty / A7

Redemptorist priests celebrate Mass last February 21 with survivors of typhoon Yolanda in Anibong district, a coastal village in Tacloban City, in the midst of several cargo vessels that were swept inland by storm surges during the onslaught of the typhoon. At least eight vessels are still stuck in the area over three months after the super typhoon.

Cardinal Quevedo: I want to work for peace

Keep EDSA spirit alive, Villegas urges Filipinos

LINGAYEN Dagupan archbishop Socrates Villegas urged the people to keep the spirit of EDSA alive in their hearts and learn wisely from its lessons during a Mass he celebrated at the Mary Queen of Peace shrine to mark the 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power on Feb. 25. Coming all the way from Dagupan to celebrate the thanksgiving Mass, the prelate couldnt help but express his sadness in seeing that so few people came to celebrate. After 28 years is this all that we can gather to thank the Lord for an event that made Filipinos 10 feet tall in the family of nations. I cannot resist returning to the Gospel, and returning to the question of the Lord after he cured 10 lepers and only one returned, and said, Where are the other nine? Villegas said. But I am not here to accuse you. I am not here to make you sad. I am not here to contaminate you with my sadness and loneliness. I am here to bring you joy, the joy of the Gospel, the joy of the Lord, he said. President Benigno Aquino had this years EDSA anniversary celebration transferred to Cebu, where he visited typhoon-ravaged areas and spent time with victims of typhoon Yolanda. Villegas lamented how the EDSA spirit has been manipulated, abused, raped, [and] prostituted through the years. Nonetheless, he said, we must always return

Photo courtesy of PCF

to it [as] EDSA was a gift from God and it will always be so. The EDSA celebration can take on many forms and its story may be retold in many ways but there is one element in its history that cannot be erased, and that is God, Villegas pointed out. You can tell the story of Tita Cory but dont
Spirit / A6

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo poses with members of the Filipino community in Rome after he was installed cardinal in the Vatican on Feb. 22.

Tagle urges faithful to fast, donate money to calamity victims

In Yolanda-hit areas, Jesus is the face of suffering

LENTEN activities in typhoon stricken province of Leyte will be focused in preparing the faithful spiritually, a Church official said. Palo Archbishop John Du said that in the midst of all these crises, now is the time for seeking the spiritual well-being of everyone within the Church. We really have to prepare the people spiritually that they would be strengthened and nourished not only in terms of material assistance there should also be spiritual component, Du said. In Leyte and other devastated
Face / A6

WITH many calling him Cardinal Peace because of his involvement in the Mindanao peace process, Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo said it is his desire to work for peace in the southern region, but would prefer that he does it behind the curtain. When they say Cardinal Peace, I am not in front. I am behind. I am behind the curtain. [Both sides] would consult me, but my name does not appear. I want to work for peace, yes, but not in the forefront. I want to stay in the background, Quevedo said during a conference he gave at the Collegio Fillipino in Rome on Feb. 23. Quevedo, who have been silently involved in a dia-

Peace / A7

MANILA Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle called on the Filipino faithful to participate in a fund-raising program that aims to

feed children of disaster-stricken areas this Lenten season. In a pastoral statement for Ash
Donate / A6

God first, solutions follow According to Fr. Sobrejua-

Success / A6

Illustration by Brothers Matias

Dialogue on three levels Quevedo said he carries out his role in the interreligious dialogue on three levels. First, in my dialogue with students in my university, we have a dialogue of life, he said. The Cardinal described

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle imposes ashes on the forehead of a parishioner on Ash Wednesday, which begins the 40-day period of fasting and repentance for Christians before the Holy Week and Easter, on March 5 at the Arzobispado chapel in Intramuros, Manila.

Noli Yamsuan/RCAM

logue for peace in conflict ridden Mindanao for many years, said mutual mistrust that creates all the misinformation is at the root of the Mindanao conflict. The fear of the Christians and the fear of the Muslims towards each other are fed by these misunderstandings and mistrust, the newly-installed cardinal explained.

Secret to success: put God firstpriest

APPARENTLY, the self-help books got it wrong. The secret to success in life is putting God first, a priest said. You want to be successful, put God first. And for sure, success will follow, Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite, SSP said during a private celebration of the holy mass for the Garden Prayer Partners of Mahal na Ina.

Roy Lagarde

Vatican Briefing
Walk with those who suffer failed marriages, Pope exhorts

World News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

Belgiums child euthanasia move lamented as unbelievable

In the wake of Belgiums recent decision to legalize euthanasia for children, several members of the Vaticans Pontifical Academy for Life voiced their dismay at the new practice. John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, Pa. and governing member of the academy, called the development dreadful.They are appealing to rights of children to make these determinations, but children arent capable of making those types of self-determinations, Haas told CNA in Rome Feb. 21. So what is really going to happen is that, under the rules of children making these decisions for themselves, parents and physicians are going to be making those decisions, for children, to eliminate them because theyve become excessive burdens on them and on the rest of society.Its a terrible situation. Unbelievable, if I may say so. (CNA)
Pope: Inconsistency in our actions causes Church scandal

A Divine Liturgy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church celebrated during protests in Kyiv earlier this month.

In his daily homily Pope Francis spoke of the harm done when Christians dont practice what they preach, noting that this incoherence leads others away from the Church and often brings scandal.When there is no Christian coherency, and you live with this incoherence, youre giving scandal. And the Christians that are not coherent are giving scandal, the Pope said in his Feb. 27 Mass.Speaking to those gathered in the chapel of the Vaticans St. Martha guesthouse, the pontiff began his reflections by drawing attention to a person to whom he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation during the Mass, observing that they had manifested the desire to be a Christian.To be Christian means to bear witness to Jesus Christ, he said, adding that to a Christian person thinks like a Christian, feels like a Christian and acts like a Christian. And this is coherency in the life of a Christian. (CNA)
Cardinal Pell to head new Vatican office for economic oversight

Today Pope Francis announced the establishment of a new entity for oversight of Vatican economic and administrative affairs, headed by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia. According to Feb. 24 statement issued by the Holy Sees press office, the new Secretariat for the Economy will have authority over all economic and administrative activities within the Holy See and the Vatican City State.Cardinal Pell has been appointed Prefect of the new Secretariat. His role includes the implementation of policies decided upon by a new 15-member Council for the Economy, made up of 8 Cardinals or Bishops reflecting different parts of the world and 7 lay experts of different nationalities with strong professional financial experience.According to the Holy See Press Office, the Council for the Economy will replace the now obsolete Council of 15, composed only of cardinals. (CNA)
Pope Benedict says its absurd to question validity of his resignation

In a letter to an Italian journalist, retired Pope Benedict XVI said questions about the validity of his resignation are absurd. There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my renunciation of the Petrine ministry, the retired pope wrote in a letter to Andrea Tornielli, a Vatican correspondent for the newspaper La Stampa and the website Vatican Insider. Tornielli said he wrote to the retired pope Feb. 14 after reading articles questioning the canonical validity of his announcement Feb. 11, 2013, that he was stepping down. In the letter, Pope Benedict described as simply absurd doubts about how he had formulated his announcement to cardinals gathered for a meeting about canonization causes. (CNS)
Pope: Anointing the sick doesnt bring bad luck, it brings Jesus

VATICAN City, Feb. 25, 2014The three months of protests in Ukraine that ended with government snipers killing dozens of people strengthened the commitment to democracy of many Ukrainians, but also left the country vulnerable to further violence and division, said the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. The danger that our neighbor (Russia) will provoke a civil war has not passed, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych told reporters in Rome Feb. 25, adding that the protests have solidified the Ukrainian peoples commitment to independence, freedom and democracy. Bishop Hlib Lonchyna, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy in England, told Catholic News Service, Our church stayed with the people as the struggle widened from a political one over integration with Europe into a larger one for basic human rights and dignity. We hope the Russians wont try to meddle, since this would create a situation even worse than before. Having once seemed immutable, conditions have suddenly changedand although dangers still lurk ahead, solutions must be worked out by Ukrainians. Snipers opened fire on protesters in Kievs Independence Square Feb. 19, killing at least 70 people. President Viktor Yanukovich, who sparked the protests by deciding not to sign an agreement with the European Union but forge closer ties with Russia, left Ukraines capital Feb. 21, and the countrys parliament voted to remove him from office the same day. Yanukovich saw his support melting away like the snow when the sun comes out, Archbishop Shevchuk told reporters at the Vatican. The security forces disappeared and so did the president. The archbishop described himself as an eyewitness to the protests and insisted it was untrue that the protesters were extreme nationalists. At first, he said, they were students who dreamed of living in a free, democratic and European Ukraine. When the government tried to use

force to end the protest in December, he said, people from all walks of life started joining the students to say, No to corruption, no to dictatorship, no to the denial of human dignity, and yes to citizens right to decide the future of their country. Throughout the protest, the archbishop said, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations supported the protesters objectives, pleaded for them to remain peaceful and tried to mediate between them and the government. The council, he said, includes Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim representatives. Ukraine is diverse, he said. Regions in the East tend to have more people who are Russian speakers or ethnic Russians and belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church. Ukrainian speakers are concentrated in the West, as are the members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The diversity, he said, is natural for any large country. Each region has its own history, but all of the people saw themselves as Ukrainians. Those seeking power, however, see the diversity as something to exploit for their own purposes, he said, which is why the council of churches issued an appeal for unity and has clearly defined as morally unacceptable and a crime the attempt to use religious or cultural differences for political gain. Archbishop Shevchuk said there is no desire within Ukraine to split the country, but maybe someone from outside, seeing that he cant eat the whole pie, would want at least part of it. The evening before he met the press, Archbishop Shevchuk and Ukrainians working in Rome joined the SantEgidio Community for a prayer service for peace. In a packed Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, tears flowed as the archbishop led the singing of the Lords Prayer in Ukrainian. (CNS)

Jesuits start school in poor Cambodian province

BANTEAY MEANCHEY PROVINCE, Feb. 28 2014The Jesuits have started a school in a poor areas of Cambodia, with a clear idea that Jesuits should serve poor children, an official has said. The Jesuit education project will be in Sisophon, Banteay Meanchey Province. it was very clear that we Jesuits should serve poor children first, said Jesuit Father Francisco Oh In-don, delegate of the Korean provincial to the Cambodia Mission. Father Oh explained in a letter to members of the Cambodia mission and collaborators that he chose Sisophon over Battambang because it has many fewer educational opportunities. The city itself is poorer. Battambang is already the location of two reputable schools, Salesian School and Borey School. In Sisophon there is nothing. This is the most important reason for my decision. The school will be named Xavier Jesuit School, named after St. Francis Xavier the Patron Saint of Sisophon Parish. Also, Xavier is the name of many Jesuit schools and institutions across the world and, as Fr Oh said, Anyone who hears this name recognizes that it is affiliated with the international Society of Jesus. In November 2013, Jesuits met with Provincial Director of Education, Mr. Chheuy Vanna, who welcomed the proposal to develop a primary school, secondary school and teacher resource centre. On January 21, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport expressed its support for the project and on February 6, the Governor of Banteay Meanchey province, also approved and signed a letter of support for the project. The land is already being bought at the cost of half a million US dollars and was paid


In his daily homily Pope Francis reflected on the beauty of marriage, emphasizing that when it fails, we should not condemn the couple, but accompany them on a path of healing in the Church. When this love failsbecause many times it failswe have to feel the pain of the failure, (we must) accompany those people who have had this failure in their love. Do not condemn. Walk with them, the Pope encouraged in his Feb. 28 daily Mass.Directing his homily to those present in the chapel of the Vaticans Saint Martha guesthouse, the pontiff began by referring to the attitude of the Pharisees in the days Gospel, taken from Mark, in which they question Jesus on divorce, trying to make him fall into a trap with the law. Although the question is important, the Pope warned against falling into the temptation of special pleading regarding questions of marriage, and noted that the Pharisees method is always casuistryis this licit or not?It is always the small case. And this is the trap, behind casuistry, behind casuistic thought, there is always a trap: against people, against us, and against God, always, he explained. (CNA)

Ukrainian archbishop sees lingering threat of war, but signs of hope

Ukrainian Catholic archbishop prays for Crimea
KYIV, Ukraine, Mar. 1, 2014The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church issued a statement Feb. 28 praying for the people of Crimea and appealing for the unity of Ukraine, as Russia has reportedly deployed troops in the peninsula. The entire family of the UGCC faithful pleads to the compassionate Lord for his protection and assistance to peacefully overcome the deteriorating situation in Crimea, and that the unity of our country might be preserved, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halyc said. Earlier that day, armed men in unmarked military uniforms took control of airports in Crimea, as well as the autonomous republics parliament building and state telecommunications and television centers. Flights from Crimean airports have been grounded. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Russia has flown hundreds, or even thousands, of troops into Crimea. Russias U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said any of his countrys military movements in Crimea are within the framework of long-standing agreements between Moscow and Kyivalso known as Kiev; Russias Black See fleet has a base at the Crimean city of Sevastopol. Oleksander Turchynov, Ukraines acting president, accused Russia of deploying its troops in Crimea, trying to provoke armed conflict. The UGCC faithful pray for the Krym exarchate and for the preservation of the unity of Ukraine, said a statement from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. In these days, we pray for peace and security for all residents of the Crimean peninsula, especially the clergy and laity of our Krym exarchate. The Krym exarchate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was established only two weeks ago, on Feb. 13. It was split from the exarchate of Odesa, and serves the Ukrainian Catholics in Crimea. These developments in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church come among profound political transition in the nation. Protests in Kyiv began in November, when the government announced it would not sign a major economic partnership agreement with the European Union, in favor of a $15 billion bailout agreement with Russia. Tens of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Kyiv, at times occupying government buildings. Protests continued through February, until more than 80 people were killed some of them by snipersduring protests at Maidan in Kyiv. On Feb. 21, Viktor Yanukovych, then the president of Ukraine, fled Kyiv; the next day, parliament voted to remove him from power. Turchynov was appointed acting president Feb. 23 by parliament. Turchyov has already announced his desire to strengthen ties with the European Union, and formed a government Feb. 27, with Arseniy Yatsenyuk appointed as prime minister. Elections have been scheduled for May 25. Ukraines acting president quickly warned against the dangers of separatism, a risk from the majority-Russian areas of eastern Ukraine, particularly Crimea. Crimea is a southern peninsula of Ukraine where nearly 60 percent of the population are ethnic Russians, and more than 50 percent of the population speak Russian as their first language. The territory was transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 under the Soviet Union. (CNA)

Never hesitate to call a priest to bless and anoint sick or elderly family members, Pope Francis said. Some people worry receiving the sacrament of the anointing of the sick brings bad luck and the hearse will come next, the pope said. This is not true! The sacrament brings Jesus closer to those in need, strengthening their faith and hope, he said Feb. 26 during his weekly general audience in St. Peters Square. The pope thanked the estimated 50,000 people who attended the outdoor audience despite weather forecasts of rain. You came anyway; youre courageous. Way to go! he said, as the wind blew big gray storm clouds overhead. (CNS)

for entirely by the Korean Jesuit Province. The whole project is estimated to cost US$8 million dollars. The first educational activities will begin in June 2014 using borrowed facilities. The team will run an enrichment course for 160 disadvantaged primary school students from four local primary schools. (JCAP/UCAN)

Iraqi patriarch urges prayer, fasting that Christians remain

ROME, Italy, Feb. 27, 2014 Archbishop Louis Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, has issued an urgent appeal to mark the beginning of Lent, calling for prayer and fasting that Christians not leave Iraq. Our Christian identity has had profound roots in the history and geography of Iraq for 2000 years, Patriarch Sako said, according to the Fides news agency. Our roots and our clear sources are found in our country, and if we leave, we would be separated from our roots. Christians in Iraq need to persevere and wait, and avoid listening to those who instill fear and to those who in different ways invite or encourage Iraqi Christians to abandon their country, he said. We are here because of Gods will and we are h e r e w i t h Iraq Archbishop Louis Sako. the help of his grace to entire region for an end to build bridges and work with the unrest. our Muslim brothers and sisIt is urgent that the page be ters for the development of our turned in Iraq with the upcomcountry. ing elections, he added, so that In his message, Patriarch the country can return to peace Sako also called for prayers and security for the good of all for Syria, Lebanon and the citizens. (CNA)
Aid to the Church in Need UK

PATTAYA, Thailand, Feb. 27, 2014This months introduction of Sunday Masses celebrated in Korean at a parish in the Thai city of Pattaya has united both emigrants and tourists from South Korea. This regular Korean language Mass unites, strengthens, and revitalizes faith life in the parish, Fr. Giovanni Lee Sunghyun, chaplain at St. Nikolaus parish in Pattaya, about 80 miles southeast of Bangkok, told CNA Feb. 24. He added that the other sacraments are also offered in Korean, in response to a growing influx of Korean emigrant workers, as well as tourists, to the port city. Understanding and interiorizing the Word of God is very important, Fr. Lee commented,

Korean Masses strengthen migrant community in Thailand

adding that the Thai language is a major impediment for Koreans participation in the liturgy, which hinders their spiritual growth. Celebration of Mass in Korean makes for a participatory church, and also connects to the nostalgia of Korean liturgy, added Fr. Lee. St. Nikolaus has also established a volunteer center and a womens league; Fr. Lee said, we affirm our responsibility and role in the mission of the Church, and march forward for a new evangelization and interreligious dialogue. The community of Catholics from Korea is also active in Bangkok, where there are some 200 members. The need of the Church in

Thailand to provide for immigrant communities is likely to increase in the future, as the nation prepares to implement the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. The economic community will produce a free-trade region in east and Southeast Asia, allowing more flexible migration of laborers. The Church in Thailand has to prepare for new pastoral challenges and interreligious dialogue, Msgr. Andrew Vissanu Thanya Anan, deputy secretary-general for the Thai bishops conference, told CNA. Thailand is also home to a community of Catholics from Vietnam, and hosts a large number of Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group from neighboring Burma. (CNA)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

News Features


Pope says bishops should be evangelists and men of prayer, not CEOs
VATICAN City, Feb. 27, 2014 Pope Francis said bishops should act not like ambitious corporate executives, but humble evangelists and men of prayer, willing to sacrifice everything for their flocks. We dont need a manager, the CEO of a business, nor someone who shares our pettiness or low aspirations, the pope said Feb. 27. We need someone who knows how to rise to the height from which God sees us, in order to guide us to him. Pope Francis words came in a speech to the Congregation for Bishops, the Vatican body that advises him on the appointment of bishops around the world. He stressed the importance of self-sacrifice in a bishops ministry, which he described as a kind of martyrdom. The courage to die, the generosity to offer ones own life and exhaust ones self for the flock are inscribed in the episcopates DNA, he said. The episcopate is not for itself but for the church, for the flock, for others, above all for those whom the world considers only worth throwing away. Pope Francis listed several desirable virtues in potential bishops, including a capacity for healthy, balanced relationships, upright behavior, orthodoxy and fidelity to church doctrine; and transparency and detachment in administrating the goods of the community. The pope laid special emphasis on a bishops ability to evangelize and pray. In preaching the Gospel, bishops should be appealing rather than censorious, upholding church teaching not in order to measure how far the world falls short of the truth it contains, but to fascinate the world, enchant it with the beauty of love, seduce it by offering the freedom of the Gospel. The church doesnt need apologists for their own causes, nor crusaders for their own battles, but humble sowers who trust in the truth ... bishops who know that even when night falls and the days toil leaves them tired, the seeds in the field will be sprouting. As models of prayer for bishops, Pope Francis cited Abraham and Moses, who argued with God to dissuade him from destroying their sinful people. A man who lacks the courage to argue with God on behalf of his people cannot be a bishop, the pope said. Quoting from an address he gave to Vatican diplomats last June, Pope Francis said bishops should be meek, patient and merciful, embracing both spiritual and material poverty, and renouncing any ambition for appointment to more important dioceses. The pope voiced anew his concern about bishops, in this time of meetings and conventions, traveling too much to fulfill their pastoral duties at home. He suggested the congregation study the latter-day relevance of a decree by the 16th-century Council of Trent requiring bishops to live in their dioceses. Pope Francis also stressed that
Elise Harris/CNA

Cardinals bring voice of poor to Vatican

VATICAN City, Feb. 23, 2014Pope Francis appointment of new cardinals from distant and impoverished countries has helped bring the topic of pastoral care for those struggling in poverty to Vatican discussions. I suppose looking back now, its not surprising that he chose cardinals from the poorest countries in the world. Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, and Haiti - to have cardinals from those countries, wed never have thought in the past of having those cardinals, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-OConnor of the United Kingdom told CNA Feb. 22. But he said, no, I want to hear the voice of the poor. So it was surprising, but I think I understand. Cardinal Chibly Langlois of Haiti, who was appointed in yesterdays consistory, said that he felt that his new office helps continue to show the importance of our Pope for the people of Haiti. That means to be with him, to bring to our Pope the situation of our country, he told CNA. Haiti is one of worlds poorest countries. It is still recovering from a devastating 2010 earthquake that killed over 200,000 people and left over one million homeless. For Cardinal Langlois, being given the red hat means to be in the service of God, (and) of the people. So for us in Haiti, that means we have to continue to serve the people, and serve the Church around the world. Pope Francis homily at Mass this morning also focused on the importance of serving God and the Church, particularly through a life of sanctity. Dear brother cardinals, the Lord Jesus and mother Church ask us to witness with greater zeal and ardor to these ways of being holy, he said, encouraging them to have a spirit of goodness, forgiveness, service. The Pope went on to stress that entrance into the College of Cardinals means a life of service, not privilege. A cardinal enters the Church of Rome, the Church, not a royal court, he insisted. May we always allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit of Christ, who sacrificed himself on the Cross so that we could be channels through which his charity might flow. This is the attitude of a cardinal, this is how he acts. After Mass during his Angelus mes-

bishops should be suited to the particular local needs of their dioceses. There is no standard pastor for all the churches, the pope said. Christ knows the singularity of the pastor every church requires, able respond to its needs and help it realize its potential.

Where can we find such men? It is not easy. Do they exist? How can we choose them? Pope Francis asked in closing. I am sure they exist, because the Lord does not abandon his church. Maybe it is we who do not spend long enough in the fields looking for them. (CNS)

Pope urges families to pray for upcoming bishops synod

VATICAN City, Feb. 26, 2014 In a letter written to families, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of family life in the Church, stating their prayers are crucial for the upcoming synod which is dedicated to the unique challenges they face. I ask you, therefore, to pray intensely to the Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit may illumine the Synodal Fathers and guide them in their important task, the Pope Pope Francis greets a family of pilgrims in St. Peters requested of families in his Feb. 25 Square, Dec. 4, 2013. letter, adding that your prayer for the Synod of Bishops will be a precious comes from the Gospel. Highlighting how he chose to write treasure which enriches the Church. Announced by the Vatican last au- this letter on the Feast of the Presentatumn, this years Synod of Bishops is tion, Pope Francis recalled how Simeon slated to take place Oct. 5-19, and will took Jesus in his arms and thanked explore the theme of pastoral chal- God that he had finally seen salvalenges of the family in the context of tion, and how Anna, despite her advanced age, found new vigor and began evangelization. Established by Paul VI in 1965, the Syn- to speak to everyone about the Baby. It is a beautiful image, he reflected: od of Bishops meets in an extraordinary general assembly when the matter under two young parents and two elderly consideration requires a rapid definition. people, brought together by Jesus. He is Referring to the urgent pastoral the one who brings together and unites needs facing the life of the family generations! He is the inexhaustible font of that today, the Roman Pontiff highlighted that the meeting will consist of bishops, love which overcomes every occasion of priests, consecrated men and women, self-absorption, solitude, and sadness. In your journey as a family, you and lay persons, who are all preparing through practical suggestions and the share so many beautiful moments: meals, rest, housework, leisure, prayer, crucial support of prayer. Such support on your part, dear fam- trips and pilgrimages, and times of ilies, is especially significant and more mutual support, continued the Pope, necessary than ever, he emphasized, emphasizing that if there is no love noting that the synod is dedicated in a in these acts then there is no joy, and special way to you, to your vocation and authentic love comes to us from Jesus. Concluding his letter, the Bishop of mission in the Church and in society. Drawing attention to the Ordinary Rome explained to families that their Assembly which will take place one prayers for the upcoming events are a year after the Synod of Bishops, and precious treasure for the Church, and which will also focus on the theme of thanked them for their offerings. I ask you to pray also for me, so that I the family, as well as to the World Meeting of Families which is to take place in may serve the People of God in truth and Philadelphia in September 2015, Pope in love, he stated, asking that the Blessed Francis called on families to pray that Mother and St. Joseph always accompany through these events the Church will all of you and help you to walk united in undertake a true journey of discernment love and in caring for one another. I willingly invoke on every family and adopt the necessary pastoral means to help families face their present chal- the blessing of the Lord. (CNA/EWTN lenges with the light and strength that News)

Cardinals at the Feb. 23, 2014 Mass at St. Peters Basilica.

sage, Pope Francis said the Church entrusts the testimony of this pastoral lifestyle to the new cardinals, adding that their presence at the consistory offered a valuable opportunity to experience the catholicity, the universality, of the Church. Cardinal Murphy-OConnor expressed a similar feeling regarding the series of meetings that took place among the cardinals in the days preceding the consistory. One or two of them have spoken, these cardinals who are coming from these very poor countries. Theyll get used to these meetings in time and be able to speak, as it were, with more experience. But even to see them there, it was very good. The pastoral concerns for those in very impoverished circumstances are often different than in other areas of the Church. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila told CNA that the biggest challenge facing families in the Philippines is poverty. We dont have any divorce, but what separates families is poverty. People look for jobs elsewhere. They leave their villages, they go to the big cities, they go abroad, so even without the divorce law, de facto there is separation because of migration, he explained. I have appealed to dioceses that have accepted Filipino migrant workers to support them pastorally, he said, noting that the pastoral care of family, of a person, who is married, but whose fam-

ily is not physically present, presents a special challenge. How do you provide pastoral care so that they will remain faithful to their spouses and their children left behind? Its an approach to family life which is quite unique. Cardinal George Alencherry, who heads the India-based Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, also expressed concern for migration due to poverty. The families are split up, the childreneither for studies, or for a job, etc. are going in different parts of the world, and that unity of the family is broken, he said. Thats a big problem. There are many who are poor, in our country, and how to attend to the needs of the poorall these are problems, he added. When asked if there was hope of a solution, Cardinal Alencherry replied, God is always rich, and we will find waythey may not be 100 percent perfect ways, but we will try in our own way what we can do. Cardinal Tagle also expressed hope in the face of difficulties, explaining that in the Philippines, you also see how the extended family supports especially the children who are left behind, so the traditional clan, the traditional extended family, is serving its purpose. And we rejoice where something, in a way disappears, another reality is present to take on responsibility, especially for the children. (CNA/EWTN News)

Lauren Cater/CNA

CEAP member-schools to discuss Bangsamoro Framework Agreement

MANILA, Feb. 26, 2014Administrators of Catholic schools, colleges and universities are convening next month to study the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and to map out programs to promote and enhance peace in their respective communities. Members of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines will meet in Manila on March 19 and in Cebu in March 20 for a convocation that is meant to gain critical awareness and contextualized understanding of the implications of the FAB in the outstanding pursuit of peace in Mindanao. In an invitation, Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, chairman of CEAP-National Advocacy Commission, said the signing of the last of the four Annexes of the FAB has completed the long hopedfor comprehensive agreement. This milestone certainly warrants for elation. But it also signals a greater challenge to all in our nation to be involved in this quest for peace, which is our shared responsibility, he said. Tabora said school communities can help achieve peace by being spaces of dialogue and reconciliation, to be actively involved in the healing processes in our communities, and to be the vanguards of the common good and faith that does justice. The priest likewise called on both the government panel and the representatives of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to include other stakeholders in their dialogue. We call on negotiating parties to strengthen their dialogues by insuring profound inclusivity, hearing all the voices who have a stake in peaceindigenous peoples, the religious communities, the different ummahs, non-government organizations, academe, the poor, the dissidentsto ensure that the road we are taking is not motivated merely by political ambitions, but by genuine and sustainable peace for all peoples, Tabora added. To recall, the government and MILF panels formally signed the last annex to the FAB during talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last month. The annexes will be used as guides for the formulation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which the Bangsamoro Transition Commission is now drafting. The Congress has to enact the Bangsamoro Basic Law before a plebiscite is held for the ratification of the law. The Bangsamoro Transitional Authority is created to replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The BTA will be replaced upon election and assumption of the members of the Bangsamoro legislative assembly and formation of the Bangsamoro government. (Kris Bayos)

100 professionals, young students choose to be brave

PARAAQUE City, Feb. 19, 2014About a hundred young professionals, college students, and school kids ages 10 and up will intersect in a monthly catechism called Jesus Got Mail under the dioceses challenge for the young to Choose to Be Brave in faith at San Antonio de Padua Parish Church on February 22, Commission on Youth Coordinator Marie Joy C. Lumbad, said. You will get a mail from Jesus in our activities, she said in vernacular. Jesus Got Mail is composed of Bible study, fellowship, and worship as core activities of the monthly gathering. The topics mainly touch on the challenge to the young people to Choose to Be Brave, in contemporary time. The participants are asked with thoughtprovoking questions like Are you brave enough for your faith and Have you already found your true love, who is Christ, Lumbad said. Choose to Be Brave because love knows no fear, she said. Young professionals, college students, as well as children can become missionaries of Christ in their own simple ways, Lumbad said. One can be a good Christian without taking the course to martyrdom, the way taken by saints, who were beheaded and burnt at the stake for faith. By simply becoming a good employee, a good student, a good child, a good neighbora good person in general, one is brave enough in his faith, she said. One can be a good Christian without being persecuted to death, the way saints died. As simple as that, we can be good Christians. To communicate in the tongue of the young people of today, the group takes on the usage of creative semantics to capture attention and elicit response, Lumbad said. One example, since February is the month of love, the group calls it the month of PegIbig. Lumbad wishes to share with young women that masarap magmahal [to love is wonderful] if one is brave enough. Brave enough because one will come to it after graduation from college, a time when her parents will likely approve. Hindi naman masama magmahal, pero dapat ang tama, Lumbad said. [Nothing is wrong in having a boyfriend as long as it comes with propriety.] This is one of the lessons participants to Jesus Got Mail will learn. Jesus Got Mail also binds together members of Youth for Christ (YFC), sacristans, usherettes, alms collectors, members of the churchs theater performers, and other young people seeking more of God, she said. Jesus Got Mail catechism starts at 6:00 pm every fourth Saturday of the month, Lumbad said. Time aptly chosen, and dubbing it Sabado Night with the Lord, the young warriors of faith join the gathering after work and school. We do this to encourage the youth to get closer to God, she said. At the same time, they can share with others their experience of God. And wherever we go, we shall share the love and experience of God with others. This is to evangelize the youth. Rev. Fr. John Francis Frederick K. Manlapig, San Antonio de Padua parish priest, is the oversight of the group, who is also in charge of the youth in the diocese. (Oliver Samson)

Kyle Burkhart/CNA


Centrality of the poor

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

IN most, if not all, of his statements and daily engagements, Pope Francis has always unequivocally placed his concern for the poor at the center stage. In his Lenten Message for 2014, for instance, he exhorts the faithful to follow and imitate Jesus who sought out the poor and sinners as a shepherd lovingly seeks his lost sheep so that in doing so we can open up new paths of evangelization and human promotions. But even more directly in his first apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, he sees faith in Christ who became poor and who has always been close to the poor and the outcast as the basis for our concern for the integral development of societys most neglected members. He posits that a mere glance at the Scriptures is enough to make us see how our gracious Father wants to hear the cry of the poor. Which is why, each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society which demands that every Christian be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid. The Episcopal Conference of the Philippines has been along the path for quite some time already. In 1975 it launched a Lenten campaign called Alay Kapwa precisely to substantiate all religiosities during Lent with concrete offerings for the poor. The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) of 1991 has canonized preferential option for the poor. And a good number of pastoral letters had been issued in pursuit of the cause of the poor. In their Lenten Message issued two days before Ash Wednesday this year, the bishops exhorted the faithful to reflect on poverty, particularly the types that contradict Gods Kingdom as well as those other types that promote and establish the Kingdom. With this premise, a rather thick shadow surrounds the plight of the poor in this country for ages now. Admittedly, the poorest majority in this land are the farmers whose bigger segment, ironically, still do not own the land they till. Last February 6 a good number of farmers again trooped to the national headquarters of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for the nth time. Their legitimate cry is for the government and the citizenry to do something for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) which is set to expire on June 30 this year. If nothing is done about it, this program will fold up with still over a million hectares of agricultural land covered by CARP that will not be transferred to legitimate beneficiaries. Cases such as this makes the cause of the poor not central but, sadly, peripheral.

2014 CBCP Pastoral Exhortation

WITHOUT any malice or ill-will, it is neither improper nor irrelevant to take note of a phenomenon in the history of the People of the Philippines that is both lamentable and unique. This: The good father was killed and the wife unwillingly became the President whose genuine and lasting accomplishments, if any, are rather difficult to count with sincerity and to appreciate with candor. Then, the wife died and the son surprisingly became President whose words are far from ground realities, whose claims are distant from objective truths, whose thinking process is doubtful in premises and conclusions. Quite recently, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued its first official Pastoral Exhortation for Year 2014. So it is that after some four long years of the present presidential reignexpected to right the wrong, to raise up the pitiful Filipinos from the quagmire of misery, to give them a salutary present and a promising futurethe Exhortation instead

Oscar. V. Cruz, DD

Views and Points

ment business of continuously rising and collecting direct and indirect taxeswithout really promoting public welfaresuch is business as usual in the country. 4. Truth: It is truth that suffers. To have money and to get into power, to keep power and to have more moneyindividuals with such self-serving aspirations usually aim at having and keeping elective public offices through lies and cheating, through deceptions and misinterpretations. 5. Common Good: The first and foremost casualty of the above said pervasive poverty and bad politics, notorious business and disservice to truth, is the common good. Egoistic agenda and selfish goals, consummate greed and covetousnessthese are the enemies of the common good. Is the Philippines a hopeless case? Are the Filipinos beyond redemption? No! No! No! But those who so believe, may not remain blind, deaf, and dumb.

Laity: called to service and evangelization

A THIRD aspect of Church life that helps us understand the life and role of the laity is the universal call to service and evangelization. Each Christian receives a charism of the Spirit for the common good. In the New Testament, St. Paul indicates the diversity of the ministries for the building up of the People of God in order that it may grow to the stature of the fullness of Christ: grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christs gift. (Eph 4:7, 11-13) This variety of Gods grace enriches the Church with a wonderful diversity. But while there is diversity of ministry, there is unity of mission. (Lumen Gentium, 32). The laity must not be deprived of the exercise of their charisms. By this exercise, they fulfill their baptismal responsibilities. In fact, priests and religious must ensure the development of lay apostolate, and not be an obstacle to this development. This lay apostolate is realized often in the service of the Word and of the Eucharist. When lay involvement is lacking, the apostolate of the pastors will frequently be unable to obtain its full effect. (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 10) Where lay responsibility is absent the Church is incomplete. Success in bringing renewed vigor to the Church depends greatly upon the total mobilization of the laity in the work of evangelization as their basic personal and communitarian responsibility. The whole Church is missionary, and the work of evangelization is a basic duty of the People of God. (AA, 21) Speaking about the lay faithful in particular, Pope John Paul II states: The lay faithful precisely because they are members of the Church, have the vocation and mission to proclaim the Gospel The entire mission of the Church then is concentrated and manifested in evangelization (Christifideles Laici, 33) Evangelization is the fundamental apostolate of the Church. (CL, 51) The laitys involvement in the work of evangelization does not in any way diminish the character of the proclamation of the Gospel as the primary duty and function of the priests and bishops. The lay faithful do not limit their apostolate and mission to a general witnessing through a good life not to volunteer work in some liturgical or sacramental activities of the Church. (CL, 28) A number of them are called by God to a stable commitment in a form of apostolate exercised either on a full-time or part-time basis for the service of the Church. Such, for example, is the work of catechists and personnel in Church offices, Church hospitals, and Catholic schools. The laitys field of evangelizing activity is the vast and complex world of education, politics, society and economics, as well as the world of culture, of the sciences and arts, of international life, of the mass media. In this vast arena of pastoral engagement the Church needs the special gifts, individual and collective, of farmers, fishermen, workers, mass media practitioners, educator and lawyers, civil servants, of those in the medical and nursing services and professionals in the various strata of societyof all the lay faithful, rich and poorto fulfill the mission of communicating Christ. (PCP-II Acts of the Council Nos. 428-434) Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991

noted with sorrow and pain the following more felt deplorable social factors now obtaining in the country, notwithstanding all wonderful surveys and loud claims to the contrary by the Palace and its ever faithful allies: 1. Poverty: A big and deep social problem, poverty accompanies and explains the miserable living standard of multi-million Filipinos. And while these wallow and suffer in blatant want, the truth is that there is big wealth in the country yet kept and enjoyed but by a few wise families. 2. Politics: Politics has become a big problem in the country. It is the biggest obstacle to economic development. Riddled with graft and corrupt practices, the government is now the distinct cause of unrest, injustice, and social disorder. Politics stands for wielding power backed by much money. 3. Business: Deregulation of the prices of necessary commodities, privatization of public utilities not to mention the govern-

Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

and thats the truth

AT Mass earlier today, Ash Wednesday, the priest talked about (among other things) the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. To illustrate hope, he asked the crowd, Do you hope when you have everything? (Silence). He continued, No, you hope only in time of want you hope for better times. Then he related how they fasted during Lent in his seminary days. He said they would have a regular breakfast, but at lunch they only took bread and water. And thrived on hope. He said hunger strengthened their hopehope for what was to come at dinnertime. After that stretch of hunger pangs, he animatedly added, We would have lobster, seafood, paella while somebody read from scriptures to us, but I wasnt paying attention because I was so hungry I was busy filling up my stomach Lobster, seafood and paella in the seminary during Lent? Nobody laughed but I suspected the priest was just joking to stress his point about hope. But whether or not he was joking, his account reminded me of what I had heard much earlier from an archbishopthat as seminarians they invariably had for breakfast rice, half a hardboiled egg, a banana, and coffee. The older priest (actually an archbishop) said he was later on grateful for that frugal morning meal because he realized it was meant to inculcate in them the value of self-mortification, which, as faithful Christians can attest to, spawns virtues such as temperance, gratitude, content-

Priests and smoking

ment, self-control, and others much needed by priests in their ministry. Now, if this priest wasnt joking this morning, his recollection certainly reveals a wide gap between the seminary diet of his days and that of the archbishops. The priest went on to say there are many things to fast from, not just food; fasting is saying no to yourself, having less of the things you enjoy, like if youre fond of movies, see fewer movies during Lent; if youre fond of clothes, be less concerned with what to wear. If you like soft drinks with your meal or cigarettes after, you may also try to cut down on them. If its gossip you enjoy, then you try to refrain from idle talk We fasthe continuedbecause essentially it is a kind of emptying in order to make more room for the Lord in ourselves. What a beautiful and strong image that presentedmore room for the Lord in ourselves. But again, his words gossip and idle talk led me in a flash to ask inwardly, Are jokes idle talk? It was a thought that would revive itself as I walked home after the Mass. If jokes are indeed idle talk, then perhaps certain priests can refrain from cracking jokes in their homilies during Lent? Or at least be selective about themin order to make more room for the Lord in themselves. I do agree that humor is an effective tool to keep most people tuned in to the homily, but certain limits should be set, otherwise, they become counterproductive.
And Thats The Truth / A5

Spirit of recollection in the world

THIS is a skill we have to cultivate and practice all the time. Remember St. Paul telling us: If you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. (Col 3,1-2) This is the essence of the spirit of recollection that is meant for all of us, since we are all supposed to live our life with God. Our life, like that of all other creatures, cannot be without its Creator, the provider of everything that we need. In fact, he is the ultimate and constant provision we need, more than anything elsefood, money, air, etc. In our case, since we are humans with intelligence and will, we need to be aware of this reality about ourselves and correspond to it knowingly and willingly. God is actually in us always, at the very core of our life, since he is the fundamental maintainer of our existence. But more than keeping us in life, he gives us everything else proper of a creature created in his image and likenessknowl-

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
it shall be opened to you. (Mt 7,7) We have to learn to discern the omnipresence of Godwithin us in our mind and heart as well as around us. We have to train our senses and our spiritual faculties of intelligence and will to go beyond the dimensions of the sensible and intelligible world. They have to capture the inputs of faith, hope and charity. We should go beyond the physical, material and temporal, to enter into the world of the spiritual, eternal and supernatural. We should go beyond the merely practical and convenient, to be able to live the values of morality and piety of being children of God. We should be able to be in constant intimate relation with Godtalking to him, asking him for light, strength, taking advantage of everything that happens in us and around us. Everything that we see, hear, feel, learn and know, everything that happens, whether good or bad, is always an occasion to be with God.
Candidly Speaking / A7

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The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940

edge, wisdom, power, etc. And since we cannot help but sin, he is also ever eager to give us his mercy, his ultimate gift before we can fully identify ourselves with him, our goal. This spirit of recollection means we are constantly aware of his presence, vitally doing things with him and for him. Its not supposed to keep us always passive, though a certain passivity and receptivity is involved. But its what supposed to give us impulse, energy and direction in our life. This spirit of recollection can only be lived if we activate the gifts of faith, hope and charity that God constantly and abundantly gives us. People who are curious to know more things as well as lovers who always want to be with their beloved can offer us the template for developing this spirit of recollection. We need to seek God, even if we have to deal with great difficulties. Christ himself told us clearly: Ask, and it shall be given you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and

Illustration by Brothers Matias

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

Habemus Cardenalem!
Christian religious leaders have a major role in this as both the Koran and the Bible teach respect, understanding, reconciliation, and love. *** Bro. Frank Padilla of Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life was the guest speaker during the Clergy Recollection of the Diocese of Kalookan. Bro. Frank talked about the Year of the Laity, particularly the disgruntled Catholics; those who left the Church and were converted to other religion; those who never go to Church anymore; and, those who are considered the least, the last, and the lost. *** The Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Council of the Laity of the Philippines) or Laiko is inviting everyone to join the Pilgrimage to the Canonization of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII in the Year of the Laity. The canonization will take place on April 27, 2014 (Divine Mercy Sunday) at St. Peters Square in Vatican. The pilgrimage covers the moving pilgrimage sites, historical monuments and scenic vistas of Eastern Europe from April 24 to May 08, 2014. The pilgrimage chaplain is Rev. Fr. Rico Ayo of the Diocese of Paraaque. Please contact Joseph or Kate at 527-5388 or telefax 527-3124 or mobile numbers 0919-863-4218 or email address *** Happy Birthday to Fr. Ruben Maybuena and Fr. Constantino Conti; also Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr. Nestor Fajardo, all of the Diocese of Kalookan.

Sean Murphy Does having a conscience make a doctor unprofessional?
ON the morning of January 29 this year, a 25-year-old married woman went to Care-Medics Medical Centres in Ottawa, a walk-in clinicthat she claims she hadfrequented for about two years. She wanted a prescription for birth control pills. After giving her health number to the receptionist, she sat down and waited until she was called. When she told the receptionist why she was there, she was advised that it was not possible to have the prescription filled. The young woman was surprised and asked why. The receptionist pointed to a stack of letters on the desk. The woman picked one up and began to read it. Dear Patient: Please be advised that because of reasons of my own medical judgment as well as professional ethical concerns and religious values, I only provide one form of birth control, Natural Family Planning. In addition, I do not refer for vasectomies, abortions, nor prescribe the morning after pill or any other artificial contraception. If you are interested in the latter, please be aware that you may approach your own family doctor or request to be seen by another physician Although she had attended the clinic for two years, this was the first time that this had happened, and she was understandably surprised. The receptionist told her that she could return the next day and see a different physician, but the woman explained that she could not do so because she was working. The receptionist advised her that she would have to go elsewhere if she wanted the prescription filled, as the physician was the only one available that day. The patient described her reaction on a blog: It almost felt like I was doing something wrong. I felt truly embarrassed having to leave in front of a group of people because of something that someone thinks is shameful and not right. I had to go out of my way and find another clinic. Luckily for me, there was one not too far away. I still couldnt even believe what happened. I even mentioned it to the receptionist at the other clinic, and she was just as shocked as I was. The other clinic was the Sunrise Medical Centre in the Loblaws Store across the street on Merivale Roada two minute drive. There was a pharmacy in the store, so presumably she had the prescription filled there. In brief, a young woman was refused a birth control prescription at one clinic, but obtained the prescription and pills at another clinic and pharmacy two minutes away. A crusade on social media was started against the physician and two colleagues with the same views. Crusaders argued that in a secular state health care system, physicians should be forbidden to act on their moral or religious beliefs. Outraged Facebookers called the physician a jerk, a complete anachronism, disgusting, incompetent, unethical and unprofessional, a worthless piece of ____, a crummy doctor, an idiot, and described him as judgmental. Goofballs like this, wrote one, are the best walking arguments for the birth control they dont believe in. He should move to the States, or maybe Dubai, where he will be among his own kind. *** Physicians who refuse to prescribe contraceptives face a difficult challenge, since aggressive contraceptive promotion has left most people unaware of alternatives. Further, the social progress of women is widely attributed to contraceptives, so that failure to provide them risks an adverse reaction. Nonetheless, based on a respectful understanding of female fertility cycles and other factors, plausible reasons can be given to justify refusal to prescribe contraceptives and recommendation of Natural Family Planning. The Supreme Court of Canada has acknowledged that secularists are believers, no less persons with religious beliefs. There is no legal warrant for the idea that a secular state must be purged of the expression of religious belief. The claim that a secular state or health care system is faith-free is radically false. Both religious belief and secularism can result in narrow dogmatism and intolerance, as demonstrated by the crusade against the physicians. Since the practice of medicine is an inescapably moral enterprise, every decision concerning treatment is a moral decision. Since the practice of morality is a human enterprise, the secular public square is populated by people with many moral viewpoints. To discriminate against religious belief is a distortion of liberal principles. Moreover, if religious believers can be forced to do what they believe to be wrong, so can non-religious believers. This would establish a destructive and dangerous duty to do what is wrong. It is essential to maintain the integrity of physicians and well-being of patients. After abortion was legalized, a difficult compromise emerged that safeguards both, while protecting the community against a purported duty to do what is wrong. However, some people are trying to entrench that duty in medical practice, moving from a purported duty to provide or facilitate abortion to a duty to kill or facilitate the killing of patients by euthanasia. It is unacceptable to compel people to commit or even to facilitate what they see as murder, and punish or penalize them if they refuse. It is equally unacceptable to insist that physicians must not act upon beliefs, because it is impossible; one cannot act morally without reference to beliefs. Such policies are inconsistent with the central place occupied by individual conscience and judgment in a liberal democracy. Freedom of conscience can be adequately accommodated in a society characterized by a plurality of moral and political viewpoints if appropriate distinctions are made. The first of these is the distinction between the exercise of perfective freedom of conscience: pursuing an apparent good and preservative freedom of conscience: refusing to participate in wrongdoing. The state can sometimes legitimately limit perfective freedom of conscience by preventing people from doing what they believe to be good, but it does not follow that it is equally free to suppress preservative freedom of conscience by forcing them to do what they believe to be wrong. To force people to do something they believe to be wrong is always an assault on their personal dignity and essential humanity, and it always has negative implications for society. It is a policy fundamentally opposed to civic friendship, which grounds and sustains political community and provides the strongest motive for justice. It is inconsistent with the best traditions and aspirations of liberal democracy, since it instils attitudes more suited to totalitarian regimes than to the demands of responsible freedom. Even the strict approach taken to limiting other fundamental rights and freedoms is not sufficiently refined to be safely applied to limit freedom of conscience in its preservative form. Like the use of potentially deadly force, if the restriction of preservative freedom of conscience can be justified at all, it will only be as a last resort and only in the most exceptional circumstances. That a young woman had to drive around the block to fill a birth control prescription does not meet this standard. (Sean Murphy is the administrator of the Canada-based Protection of Conscience Project. This piece is lifted from MercatorNet, with permission.)

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

Duc in Altum
CONGRATULATIONS to the Philippines newest Cardinal, His Eminence Orlando Beltran Cardinal Quevedo, OMI, the Archbishop of Cotabato, on his appointment to the College of Cardinals. He is among the 19 new Cardinals, from 12 countries in five continents, appointed by His Holiness, Pope Francis, on January 12, 2014. The new Cardinals were installed in a Consistory last February 22, 2014, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, at Vatican City in Rome. Pope Francis presented them with scarlet-red birettas and gold rings. The Pope called on to them to be peacemakers, building peace by our hopes and our prayers x x x The Church needs your courage, to proclaim the Gospel at all times, both in season and out of season, and to bear witness to the truth. The Church needs your compassion, especially at this time of pain and suffering for so many countries throughout the world. Pope Francis seeks prayers from the faithful that the new Cardinals may be able to help more effectively the Bishop of Rome in the service of the universal Church. Cardinal Quevedo is the first appointee from the Philippines by Pope Francis, the first Cardinal from Mindanao, and the 8th Cardinal in the country. This brings to 4 the living cardinals in the Philippines where the 3 islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are represented in the College of Cardinals Antonio Luis Cardinal Tagle and Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales from Luzon, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal from Visayas (Cebu) and Orlando Cardinal Quevedo from Mindanao. The cardinals who passed away were Rufino Cardinal Santos, Julio Cardinal Rosales, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Jose Cardinal Sanchez.

The appointment of Cardinal Quevedo is the Popes recognition of the marginalized sector in Mindanao and the strength of Catholic faith in the South. The good Cardinal was born in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, on March 11, 1939, active in promoting the basic ecclesial communities (BEC) in the region. He belongs to the order of Oblates of Mary Immaculate; was ordained on June 5, 1964; had his Episcopal Ordination in Kidapawan, Cotabato in 1980 when he was appointed Kidapawan Bishop on October 28, 1980; was also appointed the Archbishop of Nueva Segovia on March 22, 1986, and Archbishop of Cotabato on May 30, 1998. He served as CBCP President from 1999 to 2003. He helped organize the Federation of Bishops Conference of the Philippines. He was elected to the General Council of the Secretariat of Synod of Bishops in Rome. Advance Happy Birthday Your Eminence Cardinal Quevedo! We wish you all the best, good health, and success in your mission as shepherd of your flock. *** Cardinal Quevedo presided in the Thanksgiving Mass last March 1, 2014 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace, Diocese of Kalookan, with concelebrant Most Rev. Francisco de Leon, D.D., Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese and the Diocesan and OMI clergy. Cardinal Quevedos central conviction is that the root cause of insurgency in the South is injustice. He added that three injustices fuel the conflict: injustice to the Moro identity, injustice to the Moro political sovereignty, and injustice to Moro integral development. He also said that Muslim and

Reaction and relation

EVERY action, in physical mechanics, produces an equal and opposite reaction. A classical example would be the expanding gases from the burning fuel of a rocket. This powerful reaction causes the rocket to move forward. A simpler experiment would be throwing a ball against a wall, and catching it as it bounces back (hopefully not hitting you)! Thats physics for you! This very basic physical law actually has some useful lessons for our spiritual and ascetical life. There are two actions possible for the person: good and bad ones. When either of these are executed we could react to them in different ways. We are naturally happy when we do good things or virtuous acts, and we become sad and guilty when we fall into sin or are enslaved by some vices. Disordered inclinations, because of mans natural tendency to do good and avoid evil, often have a stronger effect on us. Good acts will always result with personal fulfillment and spiritual integrity. But our errors and faults decompose us psychologically and spiritually. But it is precisely how we react to these events in our life that I would like to examine deeper. The way we react to either good or bad choices in our life is important. When the going is good, we could be merely content that we fair quite well in our family, professional, and religious duties. And this contentment may lead to a mediocre perception of how to carry about ourselves before God and others. One could easily end up like the Pharisee in Jesus parable: comfortable about fulfilling his own duties, down to their strictest requirements, and avoiding the lot of the Publican whom he even judged to be a greater sinner than himself. This is the ever-present danger of being satisfied with simply being good and not striving for being better. When the going gets rough, however, our reactions may either be a strong repulsion to sin and temptation, intense prayer and penance and recourse to confession. On the other hand, when the panorama remains unchanged, some may succumb to depression, disappointment and despair. So what kind of reaction are we looking for exactly? The answer is similar to the abovementioned physical law of action-reaction, but instead we would have to rephrase it as: with every moral action either good or bad there has to

Fr. Francis Ongkingco

be an opposite relation. In other words, whatever moral condition we may be in must draw ourselves deeper into a relationship with Christ. This is why our Lord praised the Publican in His parable. The man was truly sorrowful about his sins and could not even detail them like the Pharisee enumerated his good deeds. The essential difference is that from the awareness of his own miseries, this man did not sulk within the trap of his own wretched ego. Sometimes, we think that analyzing our faults and sins is a wise thing to do. Indeed, it has its merits. But over-analyzing to the point of being surprised or dismayed at ourselves at being capable of this or that mistake, despite all this or that knowledge, etc. is nothing more than a deep-seated pride which puts more trust in ones will and experience more than in Gods grace. We must follow the Publicans reaction. It led him to prostrate and present himself personally before God asking for forgiveness. This sincere reaction justified him and forged a new relationship between him and the Author of grace. Let us not forget that our reaction to virtue or sin must be the beginning of building a newer and firmer relationship with Jesus Christ. St. Josemara in The Way says, To begin is easy; to persevere is sanctity. Let your perseverance not be a blind consequence of the first impulse, the work of inertia: let it be a reflective perseverance. (no. 983) St. Josemara reminds us that when we fall we should not generically react to it by applying a quick fix to simply appease our consciences. We must be reflective about our thoughts, words and actions. This means not a simply pondering or introspection which would be a mere intellectual recalibration or humble admittance of our limitations. Being reflective entails openness to conversion that puts us before our Lords presence. It means slowly realizing how our sinful choices affect our relationship with Him and our neighbors. This will not simply be the effect of inertia, but a loving beginning that forges the Christians relationship with God. In this manner of reacting, we literally bounce back not to our old selves, but into the arms of our loving Father. There we will learn to trust, hope and love in a deeper way.

Melo M. Acua

Issues and Concerns

AT the recently-concluded Arangkadas Third Anniversary assessment held late last month, World Banks lead economist in the Philippines Dr. Rogier J. E. van den Brink said rice in the country is being sold 40% higher than world market price. I could hardly believe my ears so I opted to talk to the resource person during the break. He said its true because the government has not been clear in its regulation on rice importation. The same government has not spent on agricultural extension, research and development, irrigation and some other important factors that would make rice selfsufficiency a reality. Dr. van den Brink even said once the Philippines achieves rice self-sufficiency, then we would have solved a great portion of poverty.
And Thats The Truth / A4

Random facts
households have savings. Still, 60% of those who have savings in various banks, have a prevailing balance of P 5,000 and below. A couple of days ago, United Nations Under-Secretary General Valerie Amos addressed foreign and local media. Asked of casualty figures, she knew there are some 6,200 who died due to Yolanda. What disturbed me was her own account that she saw casualties recovered by local residents during her visit. Whats the logic in keeping the figures at 6,200? Sometime ago, a friend from Nepal asked why despite the continuous growth of revenues from BPOs amounting to some US$ 11 billion at that time and foreign remittances of over US$ 20 billion in the country, we cant even address the basic needs of victims from natural disasters.

If rice is priced 40% more than world prices, one gets to tax the poor and such burden would lead to a lot more problems. In another event, Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco, in his speech before public school teachers awarded for their dedication in educating elementary pupils on the importance of savings and money management, said not all Grade 1 pupils get to reach Grade 4 because most parents believe their children, knowing how to read and write, could already help them make a living. He went on to say for every 100 Grade 6 pupils, only half of them pursue high school education. Mr. Tetangco cited a recent BSP study, which revealed 20% of the countrys total

Theres this one particular homily I heard where the priest was speaking about vices. He seemed to be doing all right until his talk slid into a pathetic defense of his own weakness: smoking. And it climaxed in an unforgettable line: Huwag naman kayong masyadong mahigpit sa aming mga pari; wala na ngang asawa, wala pang sigarilyo! (Please dont be too strict with us priests; its bad enough that we have no wives, why deprive us of cigarettes, too?) Im no Little Miss Goody

Two-shoes; I laugh over off color jokes, too, on occasion, or even crack some naughty ones myself, depending on the audience. But with all due respect, ladies and gentlemen, let me say that the priests unforgettable line in that homily for me somehow reflected poor taste and a flawed formation. I was sorry for the people he disappointed, those who laughed outwardly but secretly mocked him, and those whose bad habits he justified by that thoughtless statement issued from a pulpit. He prob-

ably was not aware either that what he had meant as a funny remark would lead impressionable minds to doubt the validity of priestly celibacy. I wish (and pray) that priests would be more concerned about the effect of their words on the faithful; that more priests would realize how much the laity count on their homilies to find meaning in this weird wild world. Most people only get to hear about the Word of God during that one hour every Sunday, and they really hope that what the priest says

will enrich their lives somehow. Priests deprive the people of opportunities to grow in spirit if the humor in their sermons smack of noonday television shows. Going back to hope and fastingallow me to address myself to priests who have difficulty weaning themselves from cigarettes: Smoking is dangerous to your parishioners health, so I hope and pray for the grace to help you fast from cigarettes, not only for Lent, but forever. I love you! (Smile!) And thats the truth.

BEING a shepherd in a Muslim dominated territory is a very challenging task, a Catholic bishop said. Bishop Angelito Lampon of the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo said it has always been a challenge for him to be in Jolo, the capital town of Sulu Province. Lampon describes the situation in his area as medyo masalimuot (quite complex) as he emphasized the need for the Catholic church, local government units, the police and the Marines to work together. We have to work harder and be pro-active with the required political will from local government officials, (to put an end to the kidnap-for-ransom activities), the 64-year old prelate said. However, he also cautioned everyone to be extra careful as the possibility exists that armed intervention or military operations may end up in rido or clan war. Lampon is one of the countrys two bishops from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The other OMI bishop, Archbishop of Cotabato Orlando Beltran Cardinal Quevedo was recently appointed by Pope Francis as the first Cardinal from Mindanao. Lampon said still unidentified armed men involved in kidnap-for-ransom activities have again made their presence felt when two Moslem girls, aged nine and 11 years old from Notre Dame of Jolo School for Girls were kidnapped yesterday morning.

Local News
Last February 16, our special minister for the Eucharist Engr. Bonifacio and his wife Claire Salinas were kidnapped at 5:30 a.m., the bishop said. There are about 16 kidnap-for-ransom victims kept in a town somewhere in the province, some of whom were taken about two years ago. Several of the victims were foreign bird watchers. Lampon was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Jolo on November 21, 1997 by Pope John Paul II. He was at that time working at the OMI Generalate in Rome. He succeeded fellow OMI Bishop Benjamin D. De Jesus who was shot dead outside the Mt. Carmel Cathedral in downtown Jolo. Two other Oblate missionaries have been killed while serving the Vicariate Apostolic of Jolo in separate incidents, the most recent of which was in 2008. Fr. Jesus Reynaldo Roda resisted kidnappers and was stabbed and hacked dead in Tabawan town. The Oblates have maintained close relations with Tabawan residents despite the incident. It was learned later Fr. Rodas killers were not legitimate residents of Tabawan town. Fr. Benjie Inocencio was also killed in Sulu province in 2000. Lampon said they will remain in Sulu and TawiTawi provinces and serve the communities. We will celebrate our 75th anniversary in September this year, he added. Lampon, who serves as chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on InterReligious Dialogue, said the Bishop-Ulama Conference have been engaged in dialogue for the more than a decade. However, with the rash of kidnap-for-ransom incidents which have been almost a regular fare, he acknowledged it is in a way difficult to just sit down and talk. Being bishop to a place where 97% of the residents are Moslems is doubly hard because the Apostolic Vicariate still subsidizes the six parishes and five mission stations. The ecclesial province also extends services to physically-challenged chilSuccess / A1

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

Its always challenging to be in Jolo, Bishop Lampon says

Bishop Angelito Lampon says the complex situation in his territory makes shepherding all the more demanding.

dren, most of who are Moslems. Despite the difficulties and security concerns that go along with their priestly functions, the bishop looks

forward to a more peaceful vicariate which he described as rich in natural resources and potential tourist spots. (Melo M. Acuna)

Pinoy expats huge welcome overwhelms Cardinal Tagle

THE Filipi n o c o mmunity in Milan, Italy came out in full force to welcome Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle who came to celebrate Mass at Milans famous landmark, the Duomo (Cathedral) on February 23. The Duomo was full to capacity at 8,000 people with another 5,000 standing outside at the piazza who followed the Holy Mass through a wide screen set up by the Filipino Catholic community of Milan, according to a press release from the Consulate General. In his homily, Tagle reminded the community to never forget to pray, always love one another and continue to lead good lives. The cardinal was visibly moved at seeing a huge turnout of Filipinos and children who flocked to him after the Mass. The Filipino Catholic community coordinated the event, together with the Philippine Consulate General and other

PCG - Milan

nite, often, people get engrossed with personal concerns like getting a job, earning a lot, problems with children, all the while forgetting that God should remain first in life. A truly pleasing prayer is one that asks that the kingdom of God will rein in my heart and in my family, he added, instead of demanding solutions from God. Fr. Sobrejuanite, who has a healing mass televised over Solar News Channel every Sunday, also intimated that when God is put first, people are more free to help others. Heart that gives The priest also told the story of a man who met him in tears because he was so moved by the stories of Yolanda survivors the priest would tell during his homilies. The man, according to Fr. Sobrejuanite, was also pained because he had
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Cardinal Tagle blesses the people outside the Duomo in Milan.

Foundation rolls out values formation across the country

EDUCATION Foundation Inc. (EFI), one of the gatherings of laypeople under the 12 sectors of the Choose to be Brave call in this Year of the Laity, is pushing its values formation program in public schools in the country to edify young people being threatened by the moral collapse of society, EFI President Naomi A. David said on Monday. Accredited by the Department of Education (DepEd) to integrate this values formation program in the mainstream education, the foundation, with well-trained workers and confederate groups of laypeople backing its thrust, enters different public schools to effectively form the values of children by forming the values of parents and teachers as well. The foundation has only 4 people, David said. Since eyeing to take the program to public elementary and high schools in different regions, which execution requires a long line of workers, they trained volunteers to help them push the program across the country. The Year of the Laity calls for values formation work in as many areas as the foundation can reach, she said. Very providential, at the right time we got this. We will be going out to public schools nationwide. The foundation particularly binds with Live Pure Movement (LPM), a group of Catholic young people whose apostolate is to lead the youth to a life of chastity, in its values formation program, David said. Children, their parents, and their teachers undergo the same formation, she said. And then they are invited to join the Live Pure Movement. These young people (LPM members) believe that they have to be pure before marriage. David observed that moral values among people, especially the young, have long since been eroding. She also mentioned a number of high school students getting pregnant even before graduating, which incidence is high in Metro Manila, but happening in different segments of the country. Worst, a grade 5 pupil had carnal knowledge as young as that. Its sometimes surprising that what you see in telenovelas are happening in reality, she said. All the more that is what pushes us real hard. The work is difficult, but who else will do it? She stressed that now is the right time to enter public schools to give values formation, especially in the Year of the Laity, and the call is to lead lapsed Catholics retrace their way back to church. The foundation prioritizes public schools, which are more in need for values formation program than their private counterparts, David said. About 90 percent of children in public schools, or even more, are Catholics. Most private schools are also Catholics and have similar program for students. Davids group sees moral decadence among young

Filipino organizations. Consul General Lourdes Tabamo, in her message after the Holy Mass, praised

the Filipinos for being exemplary apostles of Christ in spreading and living their faith and asked the cardi-

nal to enclose their hopes and aspirations in your heart and with your daily prayers. (CBCPNews)

not, until that time, been able to personally help them by donating something. In pain because others are in pain thats a beautiful heart, he added. Despite describing him as an ordinary-looking man, probably a laborer, the man gave Fr. Sobrejuanite, who was on his way to Iloilo, P10,000 as a donation for the victims of Yolanda. Then, as he recounted, it was the priests turn to cry because of the mans generosity. He prayed, Teach me, Lord, the same kind of love [as the mans]. This is a great man. This is no ordinary money, this is sacred moneyThis is money coming from a heart that is in pain, a heart that wants to reach out to others, Fr. Sobrejuanite said. (Nirvaana Ella Delacruz)

people has been around for quite some time, and the mainstream education failed to triumph over it. The foundation is in a mission to help collective effort rebuild moral structure. She also observed integrity has long been taking an alarming slide. Everybody knows that, she said. The glaring examples of this collapse are the shrill scandals associating government officials to embezzlement of public funds. The foundation is strongly bent to deter young people from taking the course to moral corruption by grooming them early on as good citizens who possess integrity, honesty, and who value work. Values formation will not do well if parents and teachers are not directly part of the process, David said. Parents and teachers shall not only remind children. More importantly, they shall serve as examples. Only by then, the prospect of restoring values may have chance to prosper. (Oliver Samson)

Wednesday, Tagle urged Filipinos to support Fast2Feed, the fund campaign for Pondo ng Pinoys Hapag-Asa feeding program, and contribute to its cause of feeding children in Zamboanga, Bohol, Cebu, and other areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) in Central Visayas. Tagle said that the series of natural and man-made calamities that struck the country has brought about widespread hunger and misery among the people, a situation that calls for charitable acts to reign supreme in the hearts of Filipinos. To live charitably means carrying the burdens of the weakSpirit / A1

est and poorest among us, to be in solidarity with them, Tagle said, noting that the Season of Lent is an opportune time to live charitably while abandoning sinful acts and habits. Through Fast2Feed, the faithful are urged to fast during the entire Lenten season and donate the money they are supposed to spend on food to feed the children. Hapag-Asa has fed more than one million hungry and undernourished children since it started in 2005. It feeds children six months to 12 years old once a day, five times a week for six months. Pondo ng Pinoy provides food subsidy of P5 to P10 per day or P600 to P1,200 for six

months per child. Parents of HapagAsas children beneficiaries will also be provided with livelihood and skills training to give them access to employment and income-generating activities. Aside from doing charitable acts to the poor, Tagle also called on the laity to offer prayers to those who suffered the wrath of recent calamities that struck the country. As we start our spiritual journey todayLet us also remember in our prayers our brothers and sisters who perished from the recent tragedies and let us continue giving help to those who lost their homes, livelihood and loved ones, Tagle said. (Jennifer Orillaza)

Life advocate denounces RH law as evil to be resisted

RECOGNIZING the secularist influences that pose threats to the ideals of the Catholic Church, a life advocate urged government and church leaders to uphold the sanctity of life by going against the Reproductive Health (RH) law that is now pending before the Supreme Court. Catholic speaker Michael Voris, president of St. Michaels Media and senior executive producer of, called on Filipinos to act in solidarity as they fight the controversial measure, which he branded as a form of evil to be resisted. You have to resist evil whenever you see it. And if something goes wrong and the Supreme Court supports RH, then you must be prepared to go to prison, Voris said in a recorded video posted in, urging the Filipino faithful to act against the meaFace / A1

sure whatever odds are at stake. The RH law (Republic Act No. 10354), which was signed by President Aquino last 2012, is still pending implementation due to an indefinite status quo ante order issued by the Supreme Court last July. Truth is always, always the most important thing and you have to resist evil no matter how you find it. Even if the government says evil is good, evil is never good. Evil is evil and you must fight it, Voris said. Role of church leaders Voris, who visited the country for a series of talks for the prolife month celebration in February, also called on Philippine Church officials to be strong leaders who are in-charge of giving moral guidance to their flock. For the leaders of the church here in the Philippines, you have to bear one

thing in mindyou are responsible for the souls of all these people and that means you have to be strong men. You have to be strong leaders. You have to be men who love their children even if it costs you your own life, prestige, or your own popularity, he said. The renowned speaker also reminded church officials of the role they play as successors of the apostles, urging them to always stay truthful and faithful to Holy Mother Church. You have been appointed by Jesus Christ to be the successors of the apostles and you must take that responsibility as the most solemn responsibility you have, Voris said. You will stand before the throne of God and you have to give an account on how much you told (the people) the truth and how much you led them to have it, he added. (Jennifer Orillaza)

areas, like everywhere in the world, the archbishop said that Jesus Christ is the face of the suffering. We would like to at least give meaning to the situation and that the Lord is going to be seen in this situation. The face of Jesus would be seen in the face of poverty, he said. The Catholic and other Christian Churches will begin the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent is the period of repen-

tance, fasting and reflection that prepares the faithful for celebration of Jesus Christs resurrection on Easter Sunday. While Catholics are called to sacrifice their excessive lifestyle, Du said typhoon victims already have their share of sufferings. Nevertheless, he said they still have some work to do during the 40-day yearly religious occasion. Suffering without offering is different The sacrifice is

already there. But (we need) to incorporate that into the kind of redemptive, to make it into an offering, Du said. One good offering, according to him, would be for the salvation of the country, including the public officials. We are making our suffering now as an offering for the purification of our country, our government officials, our church people, everyone, he added. Du also said that the repair

of about 70 parish churches in the archdiocese that were destroyed has been ongoing since early this year. He said that utmost priority is given to those churches whose roofs were blown away by the typhoon. Our rough budget is almost P500 million if we are to restore everything but we cannot do it yet. We will start with the roofs first then one by one, part by part, said Du. (CBCPNews)

forget that she prayed the rosary with us. You can tell the story of Cardinal Sin but do not forget that he was first man of God and the Church before being a man of the streets. You can tell the story of the military, of the businessmen, of the professionals, of the soldiers, of the nuns, but please remember all the time, that the soldiers, the nuns, the businessmen, politicians, cardinals, bishops and priests, all of them will be nothing if God did not walk with us on this hallowed ground in 1986, Villegas noted. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter how you retell the story of EDSA, I plead with you on bended knees, do not forget the rosaries you prayed; do not forget the image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Heart that we put on top of tanks. Do not forget the bibles that we read, the prelate added. Stressing that God is the main protagonist in the EDSA story, Villegas lamented that sometimes we forget, and sometimes we claim the honor that belongs to God as our own. But our country, our government cannot move on if it continues to ignore God, he said. Villegas noted that 20 years of dictatorship and four days of EDSA should be more than enough for Filipinos to learn to never repeat the mistakes of history. He said it is the Filipinos faith in God that made EDSA 1986 extraordinary in the eyes of the world. Our faith in God got married with our love for country. At EDSA love of God and love of country

came together. That love of country is not alien to somebody who follows the Lord. And love of country would be empty unless it is grounded on the love of God, he stressed. Villegas urged the people to remain established in their faith as they have shown the entire world during the 1986 EDSA revolt. He noted that the issue hounding EDSA today is that the people seemingly have forgotten that God is central in its history. The issue is not God is with us. The issue is: Are we with God or have we strayed from the path of God, Villegas asked. Reminding that the EDSA shrine is a hallowed ground, the prelate urged the faithful to tell the story of Gods encounter among his people at EDSA to their children and succeeding generations. Please tell your children and your childrens children that EDSA is holy and it is people that will keep it holy, and that is you. And even if celebrations of EDSA are done in other places, Villegas told the community to faithfully celebrate at the EDSA shrine because here on this ground, you and I and God had a brief loving encounter for four days and history cannot be changed anymore. On this hallowed ground, for four sacred days the blessed Virgin Mary walked with us; the Lord of Peace walked with us. Keep it sacred, no matter where you go, because here you will always find the living God, he added. (CBCPNews)

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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

Diocesan News
cording to St. Louis de Montfort, was intentionally made more participative, Padilla said, with a lot of parts for question and answer to better explain the concept of consecration to a younger set. The talk focused on the evils in the world today and how various forces attack the Christian faith; their identity as children of God; Jesus Christ, as well as the gift of a heavenly mother in the Blessed Virgin. They have to know that yes, there are evil spirits roaming around who would want to create chaos in their lives. Of course I was really surprised, a lot of them had problems. These are the problems of the times that we probably dont realize, Padilla added. The kids, aged 10 to 11 years old, also got to write a personal letter to the Blessed Virgin before their consecration. Consecration is powerful For Fr. Melvin Castro, who imposed the Miraculous Medal on students after their consecration, said the consecration of children to the Blessed Virgin is powerful. It is so beautiful to see these little children. Starting them young as it were [in] the spirituality of total consecration, we see hope in them. For the present and in the future [we see hope] in these children that are consecrated to Our Lady, explained Fr. Castro, who is also the founder of the Confraternity. Around 234 high school students of the same school also consecrated themselves to the Blessed Virgin on the same day. The Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All-Grace is dedicated to spreading true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary as prescribed by St. Louis de Montfort. The group is open to invitations for talks on the consecration. Interested parties may emailbrendabpadilla@gmail. com. (Nirvaana Ella Delacruz)


Teary-eyed grade-schoolers consecrate selves to Mary

TAGAYTAY CitySaying yes to be children of Mary, more than a hundred Mater Dei Academy grade school students entrusted themselves to the Blessed Virgin last Feb 24, many of whom were in tears. They readily prayed the consecration prayer. I asked them, Do you want to belong to Mama Mary? And they all said yes. It was a loud yes, Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All-Grace president Brenda Padilla said, also noting how many of the 110 gradeschoolers could not help but cry during the short session. The session, which was based on the 33-day consecration to Mary ac-

Gradeschoolers wear the Miraculous Medal of Our Lady as a sign of their consecration to Mary.

Dumaguete protest vs RH law draws thousands

DUMAGUETE CityOver 4,000 placard-bearing protesters from over 40 parishes in the Diocese of Dumaguete trooped to Lamberto Macias Sports Center Feb 27 in a fresh bid to ask the Supreme Court to rule against the Reproductive Health (RH) law. Dubbed, Laity: We Love Life, No to RH Law the protest was organized by Msgr. Gamaliel Tulabing of the Diocese of Dumaguete. The rally drew the support of Gov. Roel Degamo of Negros Oriental and Dumaguete City Mayor Manuel Sagabarria. The protesters also denounced the extra-judicial killings that are presently happening in the city of Dumaguete and within the province of Negros Oriental. In February alone, six have already been shot dead which is sowing fear among Dumaguetenos. According to Diocesan Vicar General Msgr. Gamaliel Tulabing, the wanton destruction of life can either be during pregnancy by illegal abortion, or, during adulthood through criminal extra judicial killings. On March 22, Manila based pro-life organizations headed by the Knights of Columbus and other various Pro-Life groups will troop to the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule anytime on the controversial RH law. Catholic Vote Philippines spokesperson and convenor Dr. Ricardo Boncan citing the Year of the Laitys theme, urged lay people to join the protest rally and Choose to be Brave.
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Mariologist on Mary: Love whomever Jesus loves

asked in rhetoric. It is just proper, Llasos pointed out, that if God truly loves Mary, so should Catholics. Telling the story of his own journey of faith, Llasos said, it was trying to reconcile a Protestant Jesus alone belief with his childhood devotion to Mary that pushed him to seriously study Catholics beliefs about the Blessed Virgin. He eventually left the Born Again church after joining in his younger years and returned to At the recent Singles for Christ International Conference 2014, Catholic apologist Atty. the Catholic Church, becoming Marwil Llasos explained why a true love a true blue Catholic apologist. of God is expressed through a devotion His brief separation from the to Mary. Catholic Church only seemed to draw him to seek the truth more. You will really see the beauty CAGAYAN DE ORO CityWith a theological karate chop of sorts, of the Church if you see it from the a Mariologist tackled what is a outside. Love is lovelier the second lingering question for many: Why time around, Llasos said. According to Llasos, knowing are Catholics devoted to Mary? The answer is simple and traces back to how Protestants think and use the Bible specifically helps him as an Gods own love for her. Love is not retail, it is wholesale. apologist because he knows how to If I love Jesus, then I have to love debunk their arguments. Apparently, Llasos said, the key whomever He loves, that includes the Blessed Virgin Mary, Catholic to understanding the role of Mary apologist Atty. Marwil Llasos told in the Church is God Himself. This is my advice [to those who some 200 Singles for Christ International Conference (SFC ICON) 2014 question Mary], never disassociate delegates attending the workshop the Blessed Virgin Mary from God. The greatness of Mary lies in her reDefending Mary last Feb 15. According to Llasos, a very human, lationship. Without God, she is nothyet also divine way of looking at Cath- ing, but because she is with God, she olics relationship with Mary will help is something, he explained. The SFC ICON 2014 was held many understand Marian devotion. Can you pray at night, saying, I from February 14 to 16 with 6,000 love You, Jesus, but I cannot stom- delegates in attendance. (Nirvaana ach the face of your mother!? he Ella Delacruz)
Ruel Tenerife

Thousands of Dumaguete faithful call anew for the junking of RH law during a recent rally organized by the diocese.

Boncan warned that if declared constitutional, that law will embolden the pushing of [other] laws that will be detrimental to our culture of family and life, like divorce. Later on, they will relax the RH Law to include abortion, Boncan added. Last month, Asias top abortion advocates coverged at the Philippine Interna-

tional Convention Center for the 7th Asia Conference on Reproductive Sexual Health and Rights. Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCPs Episcopal Commission on Family and Life boldly criticized the conference saying, it proves the real agenda of RH is population control and abortion. (Paul de Guzman)

Bishops teleradio program returns after two-month break

hosted by Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona is shown via PBN TV 5 every Sunday at 7:00 a.m., and also heard via 98.3 the Mothers Touch, three hours after. Already in its second season, the program aired the first epCaceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona hosts the teleradio program isode with a few Kumusta po, Bishop, aired every Sunday at 7 am. changes. Aside from providing NAGA CityA popular and well-loved the lay faithful teleradio program in the Archdiocese of get a glimpse of the pastoral ministry Caceres returned to the local screen on of the head of the archdiocese, the profirst Sunday of March. gram also educates as it has segments The program Kumusta po, Bishop? on Catechesis and Bible evangelization.
Fr. Louie Occiano

In this Year of the Laity, the program also brings to the forefront the Laity of Caceres, whose Congress was held on February 23. Running for ten months, the onehour show is co-hosted by Tess Baares Delfin and is carried out in partnership with the Caceres Commission on Communications (CCCom) and the Catholic Renewal Communities (CRC). According to CCCom Director Fr. Luisito Occiano, Kumusta po, Bishop? is made available in social media through YouTube under Cccom Caceres account and via its Facebook page, Kumusta Po Bishop? Many Bicolanos across the globe watch and support the program, Occiano said. Debuted on March 2, the first episode featured the Parish of St. Rose of Lima in Anayan, Pili, Camarines Sur with its Parish Priest, Fr. Jomar de Hitta. (Natalie Hazel Quimlat)

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CBCP officially recognizes new Marian group

MUNTINLUPA CityA Marian group dedicated to spreading the consecration to the Blessed Virgin was one of the first organizations to be officially recognized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) this year. This Year of the Laity, I think it is no accident that your recognition as a lay association would be one step towards recognizing [that you are] following the Lords will, Episcopal Commission on the Laity (ECL) chairman Bishop Jesse Mercado said during a thanksgiving dinCandidly Speaking / A4

ner last February 24 for the recognition of the Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All-Grace as a new member organization of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Council of the Laity of the Philippines) Bishop Mercado, who also heads the Diocese of Paraaque, praised the group for being rooted in Mary, Our Mother and in Jesus, who is the Son of Mary. The ECL awarded the Confraternity official status as a member of Laiko last January 24. Confraternity of Mary Me-

diatrix of All-Grace president Brenda Padilla expressed a lot of hopes for the future. May the Confraternity thrive and may it live and may it spread to the whole world...May the world be consecrated to Mary, so that we can all be warriors for our Lord Jesus, Padilla said during the dinner celebration at the Padilla residence with Bishop Mercado, Fr. Enrico Emmanuel Ayo, Fr. Melvin Castro, as well as several Confraternity members. In closing, Bishop Mercado encouraged the group to

continue with its apostolate after hearing about its having facilitated the consecration of grade school students to the Blessed Virgin earlier that day. I think the little miracles that you have been sharing a while are signs that you are on the right road, he said. Aside from promoting total consecration to the Blessed Virgin as prescribed by St. Louis de Montfort, the Confraternity also aims to spread devotion to Our Lady under the title Mary Mediatrix of All-Grace. (Nirvaana Ella Delacruz)

how Muslims and Christians would study, play and even pray together. We pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, then we say Notre Dame, pray for us. The Muslims might not pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, but when we say Notre Dame, they also say, Pray for us, he said. The second level of dialogue, according to Quevedo is sharing of religious experiences, noting that even NGOs that are Christians and NGOs that are Muslims share their religious experiences. And the third level, in which I am engaged, is the level of Theological discussion, Quevedo said, explaining that when a Muslim scholar presented what the Koran said, you would see that there are convergences between the Biblical and the Koran views. Their discussion also included such varied topics as creation, environment, and climate change involving Protestant bishops and Pastors, the Catholic Bishops of Mindanao, and the Imams and Muslim scholars. BECs Quevedo, who served as chair of the CBCP Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities, also expressed his hopes on basic ecclesial communities and what BEC members can contribute in the building up of the Church and society. My hopes are from the bottom up, in the BECs Make sure there is no corruption among the leaders of the BECs, he said. Myths Quevedo also took the opportunity
Efforts / A1

We have to disabuse ourselves from our tendency to think that dealing with God can only take place in some special moments 7of our life. All events and circumstances of our lifeeven our worst condition of committing a grave sincan and should be a moment with God, praising him, thanking him, asking for pardon, asking for help. If we have these truths well in place in our mind and heart, then we would
Poverty / A1

be in the proper condition to develop this spirit of recollection. Of course, to prosper in this effort, we need to constantly mortify and purify our senses. That means dealing some kind of death to our senses, and even to our intelligence, so that the life of faith, hope and charity can take root, grow and blossom in us. It does not mean to do away with our senses and faculties, since that would be inhuman, but to mortify and

purify them so as to be led and guided by faith, hope and charity. This effort will take time, and we should learn to be patient. We should not forget that we are ranged against tremendous weaknesses, temptations, etc. But theres always hope. We just have to persevere until this spirit of recollection becomes second nature to us, enabling us to be with God in the middle of the world.

to correct what he claimed as myths being said about him and reported on the papers. The first myth, according to him is that he is the architect of the Asian Pastoral Churches. I hope this is true, but it is not true. What I actually did was when there was an insight in the FABC in 1974, on the local Church. The Church is incarnate in the people, Quevedo said. He said he just made a synthesis of those ideas which developed in the subsequent conferences, and that will be my contribution to the Church in Asia. The second myth, Quevedo said, is that I got the highest vote in the Synod of Bishops for Asia in 1974. They voted for 3 candidates for America, 3 for Europe, 3 for Africa, 3 for Asia and Oceania. It so happened that for Asia-Oceania, the Bishops voted for me as number 1. And it so happened that I got the highest. But they had to vote for three from every region, he explained. The third myth, he said, is that I graduated with a Doctorate in Educational Management from UST. Quevedo explained that he was writing the second to the last Chapter of his thesis when his provincial told him to come home. You come home now. You will be the president of Notre Dame University. I told him, do you know that if I come home now, I will not finish the thesis? Come, he said. So I was happy. So, instead of a graduate, I am a drop-out. A total dropout, since I went to become President of Notre Dame, he said. (CBCPNews)

Economy of exclusion Villegas also denounced consumerism, together with material, moral and spiritual destitution, noting that these practices undermine and threaten (human) existence. On the level of a global ethos, the scandal of material poverty shows itself in the ever-growing influence of consumerism In the end, such poverty leads to a self-inflicted emptiness, he said. Material destitution, which according to the bishops is tantamount to ones exclusion from the basic needs of life, remains as an unacceptable scandal that has to be resolved. The CBCP emphasized that the

appalling poverty rate is aggravated by the exclusion of many Filipinos from gainful livelihood, sufficient shelter, rural development, adequate health care, quality education, and sustainable environment. The prelates also bewailed the moral destitution as manifested by slavery to vice or sin, corruption, and inequality, urging the faithful to seek the truth and restore integrity. We are not just victims of a corrupt system. We have all, in one way or another, contributed to this worsening social cancerthrough our indifferent silence or through our

cooperation when we were benefiting from the sweet cake of graft and corruption, the CBCP said. Call for simplicity, commitment The CBCP emphasized the need for humans to live in simplicity through detachment from worldly goods and complete surrender to the Divine, noting that material poverty that humanizes and sanctifies is experienced in simplicity of life. All are called to live lives that are marked by a consistent and liberating detachment from such worldly goods as material possessions, resources, power, and social

statusa detachment that allows us to be sensitive and to respond to those with less possessions, less resources, less power, lower status, the CBCP said. Such a readiness and ability to respond to those in need finds a stable expression in the moral poverty of a commitment to the Good, the Just, and the True, the prelates said. It is a sustained yearning to participate in the establishment of the Kingdom manifested in concrete decisions and patterns of behavior that always look beyond the private realm of self and family toward the public world of neighbor and society, they added.

The bishop said the typhoon victims are yet to see other programs despite the appointment of former senator Panfilo Lacson as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery. Theres no housing yet and livelihood, he said. Varquez also lamented that the government is keeping the affected families clueless on the status of their rehabilitation program. I dont know when it will start of if they

are still in the planning stage. We have no idea, he added. It was in Guiuan, Eastern Samar when Yolanda made its first landfall and subsequently run roughshod over different parts of Leyte and provinces in Visayas. Tindog Peoples Network, a group of typhoon survivors, is also planning to file a class suit against the Aquino administration for its supposed failed relief and rehabilitation efforts. (CBCPNews)

Chita Araw

THE National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) led by its head Dr. Maria Serena Diokno unveiled a historical marker at the Saint Joseph Parish Church in Las Pias on Feb. 28 bolstering the churchs reputation as a leader in Philippine arts and culture. The NHCP cast-iron plaque also formally designates the St. Joseph Parish Church as a Philippine national historical treasure, St. Joseph Parish secretary Miles Bustamante explained. The church received its first NHCP historical marker in 1995 which officially recognized the building as a historic structure, Bustamante shared. Also present to witness the occasion were Las Pias Rep. Mark Villar, Las Pias first lady Imelda T. Aguilar, who represented her husband Mayor Vergel Aguilar;

People, Facts & Places

NHCP deputy director for administration Carminda R. Arevalo; St. Joseph Parish priest Msgr. Mario Josefino F. Martinez; and Vicar General Msgr. Felipe Ocol of the Diocese of Paraaque, who represented Bp. Jesse Mercado. Home to the world-famous Bamboo Organ, the only musical instrument of its kind in existence, the church also hosts the yearly Bamboo Organ Music Festival which attracts musicians and concert aficionados from the Philippines and elsewhere. St. Joseph Parish Church was established in 1795 by the Spaniard Fr. Diego Cera de la Virgen del Carmen, a talented Augustinian Recollect friar who, like many other friars of his time, doubled as a natural scientist, community leader, chemist, architect, organist, and organ builder. Las Pias under the care of the Augustinian Recollet friars on November 5, 1795. Originally made of bamboo, the stone church was completed in 1816 in the Earthquake Baroque style, after which Cera started building the organ that made him a legend in Las Pias. Cera served as parish priest of Las Pias until May 1832 when he could no longer carry out his duties after a severe illness. He died on June 24, 1832 in Manila. A major thoroughfare in the city now bears Ceras name. Three earthquakes hit the area from July 18 to 20, 1880 which flattened several buildings and churches between Nueva Ecija to Cavite including the St. Joseph Church and the bamboo organ inside it.

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 5

March 3 - 16, 2014

Bamboo Organ Church gets historical recognition

A super-typhoon in 1882 blew off the churchs roofs which worsened the condition of the organ. The church was reconstructed in 1888. From 1971 to 1975, the church was restored back to its 19th-century look by architect Francisco Maosa, with architect Ludwig Alvarez, and the help of Las Pias residents and neighboring communities. The restoration event coincided with the return of the bamboo organ on March 13, 1975 after three years of rehabilitation work in Bonn, Germany which aimed to return it to its original state. On May 9, 1975, the bamboo organ made its inaugural concert within the newly renovated church and surrounding buildings. (Raymond Sebastian)

The faade of the historic St. Joseph Church, home to the world-famous bamboo organ, in Las Pias City.

Cera had been transferred to the then village of Las Pias from

Mabalacat, Pampanga when the Manila archbishop reassigned

Family and Life Quad Media TV shows on World Wide Web

them to apply the learnings in their day to day life. The second season has just started last Feb. 22, and the group is eyeing to take the show in the World Wide Web as more often as they can. We hope to do it everyday, Relucio said. Those are five-minute news updates everyday. It comes out on FLiQ Media Channel on YouTube every 8 oclock in the evening. Family and Life Quad Media (FLiQ Media) team. Their FLiQ Media covers stoonline TV shows bring stories on family and life across ries on family and life Catholic communities in the Philippines and other countries speaking different tongues through FLiQ Media in the country, Asia and other parts of the world on Channel on You Tube. the issues of abortion and THE Family and Life Quad Media (FLiQ reproductive health. The main thrust Media), media ministry of the Couples is to achieve widespread awareness for Christ Foundation for Family and on the sanctity of family and life, and Life (CFCFFL), has leaped onto the to protect both from individuals and World Wide Web to bring across Catho- groups who bend the teachings of the lic communities here and abroad issues Roman Catholic Church for their own agenda, and who propagate and push affecting both family and life. Run by young laypeople committed views and campaigns, railroading the to the promotion and defense of the sanctity of family and life. We try to monitor the latest news on sanctity of family and life, the FLiQ Media on YouTube, in response to the family and life, Relucio said. Right call of new evangelization, produces now because we have just started, we online TV shows to promote Family are building up the audience. We hope and Life advocacy, FLiQ Media update that there will be more people who will promote and watch the show and beproducer Marie Relucio said. Relucio, on her part, produces the come aware of Family and Life issues. Aware that the new evangelization Family and Life Update. Its just one of the several online TV shows that we shall harness capabilities of World Wide Web, where youth, as well as the other produce. The Family and Life Update started ages, intersect and communicate, the as a website, where stories about both group will concentrate on the producwere posted, Relucio said. Such stories tion of online TV shows to bring more seldom interest mainstream media. stories that promote and defend the Later on, in an effort to gain a larger sanctity of family and life. FLiQ Media calls on Catholics to get number of viewers, the group decided aware on issues affecting family and to produce online shows. In the first season, FLiQ Media life and make a stand, especially on the Channel has 5 shows on YouTube she current issue of reproductive health bill. With better awareness they can have said. Twelve episodes were produced for the first season, coming out once a conviction on family and life, Relucio said. We want to make them aware a week. One of the programs is called High that we cannot support reproductive Time, covering issues of the youth. health bill. We should be aware of its Another is The Review, an assess- implications for the youth and future ment of the current trends among young generations. And as a nation, the Filipino Catholics people, which include books, movies and fashion in the context of the teach- shall be aligned with other countries in Asia on Family and Life issues, ings of the church. One more is Modern Day Prophet and that Filipinos shall preserve their a catechism online show that assumed Catholic faith and values and set an excontemporary form to interest young ample for the other countries as well, people in Catholic issues and enthuse she said. (Oliver Samson)
FLiQ Media

Ateneo Relic exhibit educates faithful

IN what became a sacred museum of sorts, the saints relic exhibit which the Ateneo Campus Ministry Group (ACMG) held from February 24 to February 27 educated both Catholic and non-Catholic guests on the veneration of relics, ACMG apostolate coordinator Meynard Espinosa shared. Espinosa told the CBCPNews that more than 300 visitors, not only from within the Atenean community but also from elsewhere, lined up for the one-ofa-kind exhibit. It was the first of its kind in Ateneo and we are looking forward to organizing a repeat of this, Espinosa said. The exhibit aimed to broaden the knowledge of Ateneos own Jesuit saints and blessed, and spread awareness and devotion to them who are the central pillars of Jesuit education, explained Espinosa. Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) president Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, who opened and blessed the exhibit commented, I hope as a group, we can lead people to experience Gods love create the space, the time to first of all, receive love because once you receive love, its a natural step to love God in return. Apart from inspiring piety among visitors, the exhibit also served as instructional tools for the faith. Each of the 40 relics on display came with a label which provided background information on the item. Most of the relics are from Jesuit saints with a replica of St. Ignatius of Loyolas sword being the most popular. Espinosa shared that a fragment of the True Cross also piqued the curiosity of the lay faithful. Also featured were relics of some of most beloved saints like Francis Xavier, Aloysius Gonzaga, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine of Hippo, Anthony of Padua, Martin de Porres, and Padre Pio, and various religious statues. The relics were The exhibit features relics from Jesuit saints and statues of other l o a n e d t o t h e saints. ACMG by private groups like the various forms of piety surrounding the Works of the Saints Apostolate and the Churchs sacramental life, such as the San Jos Seminary, and various indi- veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, vidual relic collectors. pilgrimages, processions, the stations of Many lapsed Catholic, Protestant, and the cross, religious dances, the rosary, non-religious guests who dropped by medals, etc. (1674) the exhibit left Peter Faber Hall with a But the CCC also stresses that the more enlightened opinion of the Catho- faithful should always be rightly lic veneration of relics, Espinosa added. guided in this regard. It explains: The veneration of relics has been a Pastoral discernment is needed to touchy subject among non-Catholic sustain and support popular piety Christians since the earliest days of and, if necessary, to purify and correct the religious sense which underlies Christianity. Catholics have been accused of idol- these devotions so that the faithful worship because of their attachment to may advance in knowledge of the mystery of Christ. Their exercise is what are generally called sacramentals. The official Catechism of the Catholic subject to the care and judgment of Church (CCC), which outlines every- the bishops and to the general norms thing that the Catholic faithful should of the Church. (1676) Espinosa thanked everyone who believe in, makes this point clear in its treatment of popular piety and patronized the exhibit, and those who the use of sacramentals. It states that helped make it a success. Until the next relic exhibit, EspiThe religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in nosa said. (Raymond A. Sebastin)
Ateneo Campus Ministry Group (ACMG)

Parish youth group to stage play on Lorenzo Ruiz life

THE San Antonio de Padua Parish youth in the Diocese of Paraaque will recount the life of St. Lorenzo Ruiz in a theatrical production in a bid to attract young people back to church, Youth Commission Coordinator Marie Joy C. Lumbad said. We came across with an image of his (Lorenzo Ruiz) on our visit to St. Padre Pio in Batangas, she said in Filipino. We also saw his name (in San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps) on our trip to Taal Heritage Village. We feel he is after our trail. Lumbads group had already staged a play on the life of St. Pedro Calungsod. They feel it is also about time that they present a similar play on the first Filipino saint. Lumbad admitted it took them a while before the idea to depict his life in a theatrical performance crossed their mind. The group, whose hashtag #Choose to be Brave is gaining thousands of followers on the web, anticipates to also draw a long line of unchurched young people into the encounter with San Lorenzo Ruiz through the theatrical play. Lumbad hopes the experience may inspire youth to retrace their way back to God. With a theater group called Theatre of the Word, the Youth Commission is eager to tell young people, who for one reason or another have lost hope and accepted a life without direction and isolated from God, that only by choosing to be brave in faith can they find the right direction. They also wish to tell young people, as well as other ages, that since most people may not parallel the martyrdom of San Lorenzo Ruiz, they can be good Christians and heroes in their own ways. Eyeing to lead more unchurched young people back to the fold, Lumbads group is outlining a plan to reach out to them in the remotest segments of the parish. We are contemplating on going out to evangelize young people through theater, she said. San Lorenzo Ruiz was born in Binondo, Manila to a Chinese father and a Filipina mother, who were Roman Catholics. He was taught to speak in his fathers tongue. He was an altar boy in a church in Binondo. He married Rosario, who gave him two sons and a daughter. The Dominican friars schooled him for a few years. By mistake, the killing of a Spaniard in 1639 was blamed on him, forcing him to seek asylum in Japan. Backed by Dominican fathers, he left for

Raymond Sebastian

Priest stresses teaching of Catechism in parish

SEEING the need to educate the laity on the doctrines of the faith, a priest in a parish in the Diocese of Novaliches is giving priority to the teaching of catechism. Fr. Joel Saballa, a missionary from the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception (CFIC), regretted that many Filipino Catholics know very littleif not completely ignorantof even the basic tenets of the Roman Catholic Church. In an interview with the CBCPNews, Saballa, who had been raised in a Protestant environment, observed that Catholics are lagging behind members of other Christian denominations in regard to religious literacy. This embarrassment prompted the priest to come up with his weekly programs Kura Katekista and Itanong Mo Kay Father at the Immaculate Conception Parish in a bid to make his parishioners better Catholics. During the Kura Katekista program which he holds before the Holy Mass proper, Saballa spends about five minutes every Sunday expounding on a particular Catholic doctrine, or any other topic relating to the faith like the nature of the Trinity and the Sacraments. In his Itanong Mo Kay Father program after the Holy Communion, he will answer two to three questions of

the parishioners own choosing about anything and everything Catholic. In both cases, Saballa uses the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) and Catechism for Filipinos (CFC) for reference. Parishioners would often ask me what the fish in Catholic symbology is supposed to represent, Saballa shared in the vernacular. They would also wonder why the Virgin in the Tagalog version of Hail Mary is addressed as Ginoo I would explain to them that it only reaffirms her dignity as the Immaculate Conception and Theotokos, and that it has nothing at all to do with gender, he added. Saballa also told the CBCPNews that starting June this year, his Parish is intending to launch Sunday school which will aim to deepen what young churchgoers already know of the faith through catechism and Bible study. This Sunday school will have morning and afternoon sessions, he explained. To further this task, Saballa shared that he will also be training volunteer catechists who will cover mission areas in the Diocese of Novaliches. Most of these future catechists, the priest hopes, would come from the youth sector, but he assured that he also welcomes adults willing to become evangelizers. (Raymond A. Sebastin)

120 kids receive spiritual seal

ABOUT 120 pupils from a public elementary school received the spiritual seal and opened themselves to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit through the sacrament of Confirmation solemnized by Novaliches Bishop Antonio R. Tobias, DD, at the Our Lady of Annunciation Parish (OLAP) last week, OLAP catechist Razil S. Galletis said. The children, who attend Tandang Sora Elementary School, were not simply invited and enlisted to receive the sacrament, she said. They are elementary pupils who undergo regular catechism at school, and were primed for confirmation in a series of religious instructions before receiving the sacrament. They were taught to accept the spiritual seal not as told by their parents, but because they are at the right age, fully understanding the necessity of a Roman Catholic for the sacrament, and completely inclined to receive it at their own will, Galletis said. Do not receive the sacrament of Confirmation if you were just told by your parents. It should be your own

Okinawa on June 10 of the same year. During the dark moments of Christians in Japan in the 17th century under the Tokugawa Shogunate, Ruiz was killed for refusing to leave Japan and abdicate his Roman Catholic faith. Before he was executed, he was tried and tortured in Nagasaki, hung upside down a pit at Nishizaka Hill. Refusing to turn his back from his faith, his persecutors let him die from blood loss and suffocation. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II during his visit in the Philippines, and canonized in Vatican on October 18, 1987. The play recounting his life will run in September this year, Lumbad said. About 300 to 500 people of all ages, especially youth, are expected to come. Viewing is free. (Oliver Samson)

decision. As the childrens catechist, Galletis taught them that, while the ceremony requires proper attire, it should not be an occasion for parading the latest in the kiddie fashion. It should not also be an occasion for sponsors to socialize with a show off of the latest and expensive trappings. Conversely, the sponsors shall lead the children to grow in the teachings of the church. I also gave an orientation to parents. The persons who will stand as sponsors to the children should also have been confirmed themselves. Its not proper that the children will receive the sacrament sponsored by persons who have not received it. Any Roman Catholic, regardless of age, can receive the sacrament, she said. The sacrament of Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of the grace received at baptism. The sacrament strengthens ones relationship with Christ, and also asks for discernment of the responsibilities of a member of the Roman Catholic Church, she said. As a maturing faith-

ful, one should live by the teachings of the church. Through the sacrament, one becomes aware of and receives the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the catechist said. I hope after their confirmation they will continue to observe the teachings of the church, Galletis said. The catechist also expects that the children who received the spiritual seal will not allow any mark, like tattoo and other smudges of vanity, stain their body. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, she said. If you do harm to your body, you also harm your Creator, she said. Merely dissuading children from doing bad things is not enough, Galletis said. One should explain to them well why the things are bad. About 70 elementary pupils, children under the tutelage of a religious community (five of whom are handicapped), and walk-in candidates, that include high school and college students, and working professionals, will also receive the sacrament of Confirmation at OLAP on Feb. 22. (Oliver Samson)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

Pastoral Concerns


Poverty that dehumanizes, poverty that sanctifies

Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
AS we begin this Lenten Season in the Year of the Laity, we invite you, our brothers and sisters, to reflect on poverty, particularly the types that contradict Gods Kingdom as well as those other types that promote and establish the Kingdom. We do this following the lead of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, whose own Lenten Message takes its inspiration from St. Paul writing about our Lord Jesus Christ: He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). There are many forms of poverty. Those that degrade and dehumanize, we are to reject and work against. Those that paradoxically humanize and sanctify, we are to embrace and through them, by Gods grace, be transformed. We encounter such opposing forms of poverty on three dimensions of human existence: material, moral, and spiritual. Allow us now to describe them in a framework that may help us all observe this season of grace more generously and fruitfully. Poverty that degrades and dehumanizes In his earthly life, Jesus was no stranger to poverty. He knew well how people suffered from it and he tirelessly went about lightening their burdens: Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness (Mt. 9:35). He worked against this kind of poverty because it degrades and dehumanizes humanity; deforming the very ones created lovingly in Gods image and amounting to a grave insult hurled at God. Such poverty continues to undermine and threaten our existence. In his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis declares in no uncertain terms, No to an economy of exclusion! (EG 53) This exclusion is the defining characteristic of poverty in our country and in the world today. As the Pope has stressed, Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons. Poverty today is a cry.1 Indeed, it is a great scandal that takes us all to task.2 No to Material Destitution In the material dimension, poverty that degrades and dehumanizes exists for individuals and families as destitution, which is an exclusion from the basic needs of life. In the past few years the poverty rate of the country has hovered at over 20% according to the National Statistics Coordinating Board (NSCB). This means that one in every five Filipinos are in households earning less than the level of income needed for a family to meet its minimum food and non-food requirements. While the poverty rate has gone down from its peak of 29.7% in the early 90s, to have such a huge segment of our population living in such abject poverty is an unacceptable scandal. These official figures are further enhanced by the real life perceptions of people. In its survey on poverty for the last quarter of 2013, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) reports that 55% of respondents actually consider themselves poor, up from 50% the previous quarter. Clearly, many people see themselves as being excluded from opportunities to live a decent life. No to various faces of the Economy of Exclusion On the societal level, the scandal of material poverty can be seen in various faces of the economy of exclusion. Exclusion from gainful livelihood. The appalling poverty rate is aggravated by the exclusion of many Filipinos from opportunities for economic advancement. The latest Labor Force Survey pegs unemployment at 6.5% of the national workforce and, more tellingly, underemployment at 17.9% (the latter being the percentage of the workforce that is employed but looking for additional work). Exclusion from sufficient shelter. Shelter is another basic right to which people are denied when poverty strikes. The Subdivision and Housing Developers Association has estimated that the housing shortfall between 2001 to 2011 has reached 3.93 million units. The estimates of informal settlers alone run from anywhere between 1 to 3 million households, not counting those rendered homeless by recent natural and man-made calamities. Exclusion from rural development. Centuries of inequitable land ownership, peace issues, and lack of livelihood opportunities have excluded poor rural folk from genuine progress, driving them into the cities in search of a better life. Sadly, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) is set to expire this June 2014, with land acquisition and distribution targets still unmet. Exclusion from adequate health care . The poor, who can avail of health care at only public hospitals and local government health centers, are at risk of being further excluded from access to basic health care with the proposed privatization of leading public health institutions such as the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital and the National Orthopedic Hospital. Especially vulnerable are children and the elderly, unless government continues to aspire for the ideal of universal health coverage. Exclusion from quality education. While we have had good progress in battling illiteracy, further improvements can be made. The International Labor Organization reports that, in 2010 to 2012, out of every ten grade 1 pupils six finish elementary school and only four are able to finish high school. Overcrowding in schools, large classroom sizes, and double to triple shifts are chronic problems in basic and secondary education. Quality higher education, in particular, is an elusive dream for many. Our Catholic schools in the rural areas continue to suffer from the departure of our well trained teachers in the pursuit of higher monetary gain. Other faces of poverty. The foregoing are some of the most familiar faces of poverty, but other aspects of poverty also cause concern. In the aftermath of typhoons, droughts, and earthquakes, it is poor Filipinos who are most profoundly affected and further excluded from a decent life. Despite recent progress in the peace accords between the MILF and the Philippine Government, the ravages of war (as seen in the MNLF Zamboanga incursion and the long standing NPA rebellion) continue to affect the poorest who are often caught in the crossfire. The destruction of the environment due to illegal logging and both large and small scale mining disadvantage the poor, especially our indigenous communities, who are often excluded from the benefits of such economic activities. We suffer from ecological poverty due to our neglect of the gifts of creation entrusted to us by God. No to Consumerism On the level of a global ethos, the scandal of material poverty shows itself in the ever-growing influence of consumerism. Pope Francis laments that The great danger in todays world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience (EG 2). In the end, such poverty leads to a selfinflicted emptiness. No to Moral Destitution In the moral dimension, poverty can be debilitating on the same three levels. Individually, one can experience dehumanizing poverty as a slavery to vice or sin. How much pain is caused in families because one of their membersoften a young personis in thrall to alcohol, drugs, gambling or pornography! How many people no longer see meaning in life or prospects for the future, how many have lost hope! And how many are plunged into this destitution by unjust social conditions, by unemployment, which takes away their dignity as breadwinners, and by lack of equal access to education and health care. In such cases, moral destitution can be considered impending suicide.3 On the societal level, moral poverty confronts us everywhere as the malady of corruption. As we have written repeatedly, We face today a crisis of truth and the pervading cancer of corruption. We must seek the truth and we must restore integrity.4 More recently, on the pork barrel issue, we renewed the call for vigilance and selfcritique, Our protests should not just emanate from the bad feeling that we have been personally or communally transgressed, violated or duped. It should come rather from the realization that God has been offended and we have become less holy as a people because of this. We are not just victims of a corrupt system. We have all, in one way or another, contributed to this worsening social cancerthrough our indifferent silence or through our cooperation when we were benefiting from the sweet cake of graft and corruption.5 Most widely, as a global ethos, we experience moral destitution as inequality. We see this in the critique of capitalism that Pope Francis makes: In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and nave trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting (EG, 54). No to Spiritual Destitution Material destitution constitutes a scandal. Moral destitution frustrates our striving to respond to Gods call of love. But spiritual destitution is the form of poverty that threatens the core of our relationship with God. Individually, we experience it as loneliness and hopelessness. Mother Teresa declares from her vast experience of being among the poorest of the poor that the most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved. Moreover, she is convinced: We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of povertyit is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. Theres a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.6 Then, as a society, we see this poverty in religious intolerance. The Pope has spoken out adamantly against it, which exists even within the Church: The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. But, Father, this [person] is not Catholic! He cannot do good. Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. [T] his closing off that imagines that those outsidecannot do good is a wall that leads to war andkilling in the name of God [which] is blasphemy.7 Globally, spiritual destitution appears as relativism and the loss of a sense of transcendence. According to Pope Francis, It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples. There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.8 Poverty that Humanizes and Sanctifies Poverty that degrades and dehumanizes is all around us. One can be disheartened by all this especially in the midst of struggling against. However, the Christian believes that the Gospel is the real antidote to spiritual destitution. Pope Francis precisely encourages the faithful to affirm that God is greater than our sinfulness, that he freely loves us at all times and that we were made for communion and eternal life. 9 In the great wisdom that only God possesses, the Gospel proclaims that Jesus resoundingly defeats this poverty by practicing another kind of poverty, namely, the poverty that humanizes or makes one fully human, the poverty that sanctifies or conforms one to his own likeness. This life-giving poverty also has material, moral, and spiritual forms. Yes to Simplicity, Commitment, and Surrender to God Material poverty that humanizes and sanctifies is experienced in simplicity of life. Not all are called to choose a life of actual poverty. Many among the laity, the clergy, and the religious do so admirably, whether as individuals or in community, and as a result give a powerful witness to the Gospel. However, all are called to live lives that are marked by a consistent and liberating detachment from such worldly goods as material possessions, resources, power, and social statusa detachment that allows us to be sensitive and to respond to those with less possessions, less resources, less power, lower status. Such a readiness and ability to respond to those in need finds a stable expression in the moral poverty of a commitment to the Good, the Just, and the True. It is a sustained yearning to participate in the establishment of the Kingdom manifested in concrete decisions and patterns of behavior that always look beyond the private realm of self and family toward the public world of neighbor and society. It is the natural consequence of professing a faith in a God who identifies with the little ones. After all, how does Gods love abide in anyone who has the worlds goods, and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? (1 Jn 3:17). Finally, humanizing and sanctifying
Poverty / B7

A CBCP Lenten Message 2014

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Profanity in a Homily
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: I recently attended a Mass. During the homily (which focused on our faith as Catholic Christians), the priest used profanity not just once (... The hell it is!, quoting from Flannery OConnor) but twice (this time a more personal exhortation: We are damn fools!). I have to say, it made me very uncomfortable for the remainder of the celebration of the Mass and was off-putting enough that I was still bothered by it later that night during my compline prayers. I work very hard to refrain from using profanitywhich is becoming harder and harder to do and escape from in the society in which we live. Are there instances when profanity is acceptable? D.B., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania A: Here we are more in the area of personal opinion than of any strict rules. First of all, it is necessary to recognize that the concept of profanity, at least regarding some words, depends on local usage. Certain words perceived as profanity in one context might be taken as simply emphatic in another. Therefore a priest should be attentive to local sensibilities and avoid using language, even in quotes, which might upset a portion of his hearers. At the same time, if a visiting priest uses a word that raises eyebrows or drops a jaw, he should at least be granted the benefit of the doubt as being unaware of certain lexicographical subtleties. This is more so when one moves from one country to another or even changes languages. More than once I have experienced hapless visiting clerics unintentionally provoking everything from shock to giggles because of the double entendre of expressions that were perfectly innocent in their native countries. However, it is a different question for a preacher to deliberately insert a swearword within a homily. This is something that I believe should be avoided even to underline a point. Although I do not think that this problem is very common, indeed probably quite the opposite, I will attempt to outline the reasons involved. First of all, during the sacrificial action a priest represents Christ in his preaching as well, and he should avoid terms or expressions that would be unworthy of the Lord. It is true that Our Lord at times uttered some colorful and forceful invectives in order to shake the complacency of those who opposed his message. But we do not find anything that resembles crude or inappropriate language. Second, the purpose of the homily is to communicate Christs message to the faithful. The priest therefore should strive to make the best communication of all and hence avoid anything that might constitute an obstacle to the faithfuls acceptance and assimilation of the message into their lives. Finally, the parish community is composed of faithful of all ages, and the priest should be an example for all. It would be a pity if parents who would not expose their children to parental guidance movies would find the same words at Mass. In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis does not address this specific topic. I believe, however, that the principles he enunciates regarding the homily show that it should be always a positive message and that it would exclude any conscious use of what might alienate some of the faithful in sacred preaching. For example he says: 135. The homily is the touchstone for judging a pastors closeness and ability to communicate to his people. We know that the faithful attach great importance to it, and that both they and their ordained ministers suffer because of homilies: the laity from having to listen to them and the clergy from having to preach them! It is sad that this is the case. The homily can actually be an intense and happy experience of the Spirit, a consoling encounter with Gods word, a constant source of renewal and growth. 137. [] The homily has special importance due to its eucharistic context: it surpasses all forms of catechesis as the supreme moment in the dialogue between God and his people which lead up to sacramental communion. The homily takes up once more the dialogue which the Lord has already established with his people. The preacher must know the heart of his community, in order to realize where its desire for God is alive and ardent, as well as where that dialogue, once loving, has been thwarted and is now barren. 139. We said that the people of God, by the constant inner working of the Holy Spirit, is constantly evangelizing itself. What are the implications of this principle for preachers? It reminds us that the Church is a mother, and that she preaches in the same way that a mother speaks to her child, knowing that the child trusts that what she is teaching is for his or her benefit, for children know that they are loved. Moreover, a good mother can recognize everything that God is bringing about in her children, she listens to their concerns and learns from them. The spirit of love which reigns in a family guides both mother and child in their conversations; therein they teach and learn, experience correction and grow in appreciation of what is good. Something similar happens in a homily. The same Spirit who inspired the Gospels and who acts in the Church also inspires the preacher to hear the faith of the Gods people and to find the right way to preach at each Eucharist. Christian preaching thus finds in the heart of people and their culture a source of living water, which helps the preacher to know what must be said and how to say it. Just as all of us like to be spoken to in our mother tongue, so too in the faith we like to be spoken to in our mother culture, our native language (cf. 2 Macc 7:21, 27), and our heart is better disposed to listen. This language is a kind of music which inspires encouragement, strength and enthusiasm. 140. This setting, both maternal and ecclesial, in which the dialogue between the Lord and his people takes place, should be encouraged by the closeness of the preacher, the warmth of his tone of voice, the unpretentiousness of his manner of speaking, the joy of his gestures. Even if the homily at times may be somewhat tedious, if this maternal and ecclesial spirit is present, it will always bear fruit, just as the tedious counsels of a mother bear fruit, in due time, in the hearts of her children. Later he offers some practical counsel to priests to aid them in preparing a homily, including dedicating the necessary time for prayer, reflection and study (No. 145), and reverence for truth in trying to understand the meaning of a text (Nos. 146-148). Finally he reminds priests that The preacher also needs to keep his ear to the people and to discover what it is that the faithful need to hear. A preacher has to contemplate the word, but he also has to contemplate his people (No. 154). If we priests take to heart the Holy Fathers message, it will surely improve the quality of our preaching and spread the joy of the Gospel.


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

On General Absolution without Individual Confession (Regarding c.961 of the Code of Canon Law)
Part I
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
I HAVE dealt with this matter on more than two occasions in the past (ref. CBCP Monitor, April 2005 and May 2012) but the problem and confusion seem to persist. Our readers will recall that at that time, the query was posed by a student of a Catholic University in Metro Manila, who recounted that during a closed retreat organized for the students, the priest retreat master announced that the participants could list down their sins and in the Mass of the following morning, he would give them a general absolution which in fact he did. She further stated that her initial surprise turned to outright confusion when her aunt said that she had witnessed the same practice in their marriage encounter the previous weekend. Of late, a priest friend of mine brought to my attention what could be the source of the confusion and I would like by reason of an office are obliged to provide that the confessions of the faithful entrusted to their care be heard when they reasonably ask to be heard and that the opportunity be given to them to come to individual confession on days and hours set for their convenience . In fact, this is a fundamental right of the faithful and a serious duty of justice of the sacred pastors (cf. cc.213 and 843). General Absolution has an Exceptional Character The Code regulates the practice of general absolution by first stating its exceptional character in the introductory statement of c.961, 1: Absolution cannot be imparted in a general manner to a number of penitents at once without previous individual confession unless. As the Response states From the aforementioned norms one can deduce that what is prescribed in c.961 regarding general absolution has an exceptional character, and is subject to what is In order for such serious necessity to exist, two elements must concur : first, a scarcity of priests and a great number of penitents; secondly, that the faithful do not have or have not had the possibility of confessing beforehand or immediately afterwards. In practice, they should not be responsible, through negligence, of their actual loss of the state of grace or of the impossibility of receiving Holy Communion ( sine propria culpa ) and that such situation is expected to be prolonged. In other words, three conditions must actually concur: a scarcity of priests, a great number of penitents, and the faithful have not had nor have the possibility of confessing individually beforehand or immediately afterwards. Nevertheless, the gathering of a great number of faithful of itself does not justify collective absolution. For this reason, the same canonical norm specifies that: it is not considered a sufficient necessity if confessors cannot be readily available only because of the great number of penitents as can occur on the occasion of some great feast or pilgrimage. Only the Bishop can determine in a Concrete Case if a Grave Necessity exists: He must base Himself on the Criteria set by the Episcopal Conference The Response also assures that the exceptional nature of general absolution is not trivialized to become ordinary. Thus, it reminds everyone that c.961, 2 establishes that it is up to the diocesan bishop to determine in a concrete case, in the light of criteria agreed upon with other members of the conference of bishops , if the conditions for imparting general absolution are verified. Therefore, the diocesan bishop, in concrete cases and in the light of the criteria fixed by the Episcopal Conference, has the role of verifying the presence or otherwise of the conditions established by the Code of Canon Law. He cannot establish the criteria and does not in any way have the power to modify, add to or remove from the conditions established in the Code and the criteria agreed upon with the other members of the Episcopal Conference. In other words, other than the obvious situation of imminent danger of death, no priest, on his own judgment, may decide on the existence of the three simultaneous conditions for a state of necessity that warrants general absolution without individual confession. The Supreme Legislator, in his pronouncements, has adverted many times the delicateness of this norm and has many times appealed to the responsibility of the Pastors of the dioceses as regards its observance. Already Paul VI () had said: Ordinaries are not authorized to change the required conditions, to substitute other conditions for those given, or to determine grave necessity according to their personal criteria, however worthy (AAS, LXX, 1978, p.330). John Paul II had confirmed this serious duty: Therefore, it pertains to the Bishop alone, within the limits of his diocese, to determine whether the conditions really existhe makes this judgment graviter onerata conscientia and with full observance of the law and praxis of the Church and taking into consideration the mind and the criteriaagreed upon with the other members of the episcopal conference (Apost. Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, AAS, LXXXVII, 1985, p.270). Posterior obligations after receiving general absolution To conclude this part, the document reminds everyone of the obligations after receiving general absolution: Can. 962, 1 establishes a specific posterior obligation relative to general absolution. For the general absolution imparted according to the canonical criteria to be valid, aside from the necessary dispositions required for confession in the ordinary way, there must also exist a resolution to individually confess all the grave sins committed that one may have been able to confess due to the state of serious necessity. Can. 963, while not specifically determining a precise time within which to carry out this individual confession, nevertheless establishes clear normative criteria: individual confession should be made before another eventual general confession, and should be done as soon as possible, that is, as soon as the exceptional circumstance that provoked the recourse to collective absolution disappears. In sum, nobody is really exempted from the obligation to go to individual confession and absolution for the forgiveness of grave sins. In a state of grave necessity, such obligation is only postponed to a later time, but before another general absolution is received. [ To be continued .]

to tackle this very serious error once more. As we begin the Lenten season and the sacrament of Penance takes center stage in the ecclesial life, allow me to revisit the aforementioned article I wrote in this column in 2005, giving the official doctrine of the Church on this very important matter. As before, I will extensively quote the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, whichin a Response (Prot. No. 5309/96) dated 8.XI.1996 (cf. Communicationes , 28 [1996] 177-181)answered this question fully. I will simply add subheadings for easier reading and comprehension. Individual and Integral Confession and Absolution is the Only Ordinary Way for Serious Sins to be forgiven Can. 960 states: Individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the only ordinary way by which the faithful, who is aware of serious sin, is reconciled with God and with the Church; only physical or moral impossibility excuses the person from confession of this type, in which case reconciliation can take place in other ways. The canon sanctions the obligation of i n d i v i du a l con f e s si on , w i t h t h e accompanying absolution, as the only ordinary way for obtaining reconciliation with God and with the Church. Such ordinary way is qualified as pertaining to Divine Law by the Council of Trent (cf. DS 1707). The duty sanctioned in c.960 is complemented and confirmed by the norm established in c.986, 1 that states: All to whom the care of souls is committed

established by c.18: laws thatcontain an exception to a law, should be interpreted strictly ; the former therefore should be strictly interpreted. J o h n P a u l I I h a s e x p r e s s l y underscored this exceptional character: The reconciliation of several penitents through general confession and absolution, hold an exceptional nature and hence cannot be left to free choice, but should be regulated by norms instituted for this purpose (Apost. Exhort. Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, AAS, LXXVII, 1985, p.267). Put more positively, the norm of c.961 relative to general absolution should be interpreted and correctly applied in the context of cc.960 and 986, 1. Conditions for Exceptional General Absolution Can. 961, 1, nn.1-2, presenting the extraordinary way of collective absolution, taxatively establishes two conditions that indicate the only cases in which such absolution is licit: 1 danger of death threatens ( immineat periculum mortis ) and there is no time for the priest or priests to hear the confessions of the individual penitents. (This is a reference to the original motive for the concession of general absolution in the conflictive period of the two World Wars). 2 there exists a grave necessity ( adsit gravis necessitas ). The state of necessity, the canon explains, exists when the number of penitents and the scarcity of priests causes the faithful, through no fault of theirs, to be deprived for a notable length of time of the sacramental grace or of Holy Communion.

CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

9, I started my trek to my parents residence. It was a long, arduous walk, almost a death march, I should say, since I wasnt sure if my parents had survived the storm. And I dreaded to chance upon my parents bodies as among those lying on the streets. I reached my parents house or whatever was left of it after three hours, and after overcoming mountains of debris on the road. My greatest fear was overcome when I saw them alive. My father, turning 85, and my mom, 83, survived the ordeal. I was told that a nextdoor neighbor, a family of five, had moved to my parents place at around 5am, just as when the swirling waters had started to fill up the first floor of the house and the furious winds had battered and torn open a part of the rooftop. This family helped my ageing parents along with a cousin and a household help from the whole wreckage only on November 11 afternoon, as that was the day the highway was cleared of the debris. Early the next day, I was with the family at the airport awaiting the earliest available plane out. I would say we were blessed by an almost seamless checking in procedures because by 10am, we were already in Cebu. We checked in at a hotel to ensure that our parents, who had not had a good sleep and a good meal for the last 5 days, were secure and safe. Our familys plan to celebrate our fathers 85th birthday on November 16, inviting our friends, relatives, and the old Taclobans gentry did not push through. Instead, we had a simple one in Cebu on the 15th (the actual date of his birthday), thanks to a relative who offered her house as the venue. On the 16th, we were on our way to Manila spirit, the mixed emotions and sentiments: it was of sadness for everything that had happened, of gratitude for coming out of the calamity alive, of hope that life would go back to normal. Our church normally has seven masses every Sunday, and three other masses in the village chapels. We also are assisted by priests from the seminary. But for that first Sunday after Yolanda, no seminary priest came since most of their vehicles were either washed out or were submerged in the flood. So we had to modify our schedule. We reduced the masses to five, and all of them celebrated in the main church. Our village chapels were badly damaged, one even reduced to ruins. The after-mass scene was always touching, as everyone tried to connect with each other in a huddle, in deep conversation, or with hugs and emotional But it was also a time to facilitate the relief and rehab work for our communities within the parish. Our social hall had remained an evacuation center since Day 1 of the typhoon with about 60 families had been staying in the hall. BEC gatherings continued even after Yolanda, and that was one consolation. I didnt have time to go around the chapels because of the debris blocking the driveways, and the floodwaters still filling up the streets. A t e a m f ro m t h e N e o Catechumenate from Manila came over and offered a mission work to some selected areas in the parish. It was something that I welcomed, as I would not have known how to comfort my people on my own. Even as a priest, I needed the consolation and strength. They did it for me. They talked to the people,

As a schools superintendent There are 31 catholic schools in the Archdiocese. These include the 2 seminaries, 8 schools owned and administered by the archdiocese, 9 owned by the archdiocese but administered by the religious, 8 congregational schools and 4 schools owned by a lay corporation/group. Of these 31 schools 15 are in the areas that have been classified as worst hit by the storm, and almost all of them incurring severe damages. Except for one, all the rest largely bore Yolandas brunt: de-roofed buildings, several structures collapsed and irreparable, laboratory equipment washed out, offices and the records therein lost. Other schools, although not in those areas considered high priority by rehab management groups, still were not spared. Destroyed were buildings, mostly unroofed, wooden and concrete walls collapsed, computers disabled; records lost, and if still technologically possible, needing to be retrieved and repaired. Library and the books, computers, classrooms, canteens, gym, chapelname itthey were a goner. The damage cost was summed up as about 800 million. Casualties? I wish I had an approximate number. Definitely, there were a few, and it didnt reach 10% of the entire population of students in the catholic schools. But whether it be one or ten or a hundred, these are lives that have perished, nipped in the bud, and whose future had been lost. When Yolanda happened, it was early in the morning and classes had already been declared as suspended days earlier, thus preventing a worse disaster. One regret, if I may say, is that teachers didnt have time to explain to students what the term, storm surge was all about days before the catastrophe. It was a reality whose definition came to us not in a classroom, nor in a seminar hall, nor at home watching TV, but through that tremendous experience that has claimed thousands of lives. Many people actually saw the water pushed toward the shore by the winds swirling around the storm. They saw the water increase to 15 feet. They experienced the severe flooding. And when the water had subsided and we saw the havoc wrought by this storm and wind, only then did we say, Oh, so that was what a storm surge meant. The effects of the supertyphoon cast serious doubts for many of these schools to survive. All of them depend on the tuition fees for survival, and with two months of no classes for many, they are now at a loss on where to get funding for their teachers, their salaries, for school repairs, for reconstruction. Outside bailout is the only solution. The scenario of families moving out to Manila, Cebu and other places might diminish further the already depleted enrolments. A cursory inventory of the schools enrolment shows that many, although not quite significant, have moved out of the calamity zone. Reasons vary: source of livelihood by parents almost gone, the unstable social and economic condition of the place especially during the first weeks after the typhoon, their own homes washed out, death in the family, etc.5 Notwithstanding the grim scenario, many schools still have resumed classes and that majority of the students have reported for school. All the 31 schools have resumed classes. They have modified their class schedules, they have moved into areas within the campus where they can hold classes. Some classes are held in tents. Some school buildings are now being repaired, re-roofed, at least. Many have demolition/ reconstruction plans, although, many are still on the waiting mode for more financial help. In other words, our schools, although still reeling heavily from that howler storm, have started to rise from the rubble, and have expended some efforts to return to normalcy. Its not the same anymore before Yolanda. Never will be. But move on we must, and we have started to do so. Insights I am asked how the Yolanda experience affected me and what was the most direct
Yolanda / B7

Super-storm Yolanda: A Story of Pain and Hope

By Ramon Aguilos1
IT was on November 8, 2013 when Super-storm Yolanda swept Tacloban City and some parts of Leyte2 and turned our beloved land into a devastated, desolate, debris-ridden zone. Like everyone else who went through the harrowing experience in flesh and bone, I still shudder at the memory. And linger it will for years, and maybe, for as long as I live. What I went through can be seen in different levels: as an individual, as a priest and as the overseer (superintendent) of our catholic schools. I wish to discuss this paper on these levels. Personal Experience It was around 4:00 in the morning of Friday, November 8 when I was awakened by the strong wind blowing outside my window. I peeked outside and there saw my driver take hold of my cars wheel and position it inside the garage in a way that he thought was the safest. I went out of my room to our sala and there, along with my parish vicar, were a few altar boys who sought refuge at the rectory during the night. Thus began our typhoon watch. At 6:00am, all mobile phones had stopped showing signs of non-connectivity. No more signal. No way to get connected with people outside. Water had started flooding our rectory, reaching knee-deep. Doors were being forced open by the furious winds and our roof already giving way to the heavy downpour. Meanwhile, all of us had already gathered at the sala, the only place in the house which we deemed most secure. The southern side of the house was open, overlooking the street. That gave us an open view to the world outside, especially the houses of our neighbors bearing the brunt of Yolandas fury. I heard a crashing sound. It was the wall of our garage giving up its weight, and, as Id later found out, diving into my car s frontage. GI sheets were flying about; doors being forced open. Our parish office had already been flooded, the walls of our conference hall now flat on the floor, and parts of the ceiling broken. The iron grills of our fence had already been disfigured. The wind had its own peculiar soundhowling, deadening, eerie. It was a five hour ordeal. At 11:00 am, the winds started to die down. We looked outside. Water was everywhere, and one-fourth of the churchs roof system blown off. There were other destroyed parts of the parish grounds that I need not describe here. At 12:00nn, I tried to go out of the rectory, but I was dissuaded by my staff from going any farther because of the fallen posts and trees. When the wi n d fi n al l y subsided, we were seizing up that the Yolanda story had virtually ended, and that it was restoration time. Time to clean the house now filled with mud and brackish water, to clear away the debris within the parish compound, to clean up the church that had now been messed up as a result of the floodwaters and the furious winds. The magnitude of the catastrophe we wouldnt know until about 5:00pm when we started overhearing by word of mouth horrible stories from outside of our parish community. We were told of a string of dead bodies of human beings lying on the highways, of waters in some parts of the city still at waistdeep, of mountains of rubble on the streets, of shipping vessels wrecked and ramming into houses nearby, of the Astrodome now littered with hundreds of casualties. Stories too horrifying to imagine. This was the moment when I started getting deeply concerned for my family. Of the six living siblings (one brother passed away in 2007), I was the only one left in Leyte at the time. My parents were residing in Manlurip, San Jose, Tacloban City. The news that this area was severely hit by Yolanda and that there were dead bodies on the highways sent shivers down my spine. No way to get in touch with the old folks; no cell phone, no landline. I couldnt sleep the whole night of November 8, so early morning of Saturday, November

As a superintendent, and in the name of the bishop, I am an overseer of our catholic schools; as an educator, I am a care-giver. Yet, during this Yolanda event, I have felt I have been more of a wounded healer. Yolanda experience made me more united with my fellow care-givers, not as one offering my care and service, but one undergoing the same suffering and pain. These have been times when I went beyond my professional role as minister; when l was vulnerable, open as a fellow human being, a fellow victim, a fellow survivor. I have been a suffering minister to a suffering people... Its true, I have been a suffering-tendent.
go up to the second floor. The comfort room became their only refuge even as part the house was in wreckage. My father saw a picture of Blessed John Paul II on the floor; he picked it up and held it in his arms. He was seated on the toilet bowl while the rest were eking out a space in that so narrow an area. They prayed the rosary. They survived Yolandas wrath. My father would later consider the whole occurrence as something indescribable, and beyond words. He survived the Second World War, he said, but during a national television interview3, he declared that the Yolanda experience was far worse than he could imagine in all his 85 years. He ascribed his survival to the intercession of Blessed John Paul II. I left the house at 1:30pm, since I knew it would be another long walk back to my parish church. No big deal. After all, I saw my parents alive and it was all that mattered. Unknown to me, two of my brothers arrived Tacloban from Manila on board a C130 plane that day, November 9. They went straight from the airport to my parents place after a walk of surreal proportions with all the devastation and desolation on sight. A sister who works in a TV network managed to hop into a company plane from Manila the next day. They all were able to extricate our parents where a cousin accommodated us at her house for two days. Until now, my parents are still in Metro Manila, staying at my sisters unit. Meanwhile, our two houses in Tacloban are under repair, and all our belongings are being sorted out. The sad part about it is that our family memoirs photo albums, souvenir items, wall decors, bookshave been washed away, some damp and drenched, by the Yolanda waters and winds. It will be like starting all over again. If there was any consolation at all, it was that for the first time in many years, our family traveled together, had meals together, engaged in familial conversation, and shared experiences together. The best consolation, certainly, was that our parents are alive. As a Priest I was able to celebrate the first mass after Yolanda in the afternoon of the next day as an anticipated Sunday celebration. And since there was no power, our battery-operated sound system did the job. I dont remember what reflection I gave for my homily. I was still stupefied from the whole day work of checking on my parents. Yet, I felt it was my pastoral duty to bring my flock to prayer, to comfort them with the Word and to nourish them with the Eucharist. During the mass, I could sense the pervading embraces, not to mention the tears. I would mingle myself in that crowd listening to their stories, comforting them, even crying with them, for I too, had my story to tell. My hike to my parents place and back was a case of a pastoral journey, since it was an occasion to meet people on the way. It also meant blessing the corpses either lined up on the sides of the street, or hidden beneath the debris. Many approached me asking for blessing, or just my shoulder to cry on. A priest in their midst was a source of comfort. But my pastoral duties had to take a back seat, somehow, since I was drawn to the concerns of my own family. My ageing parents were out there dealing with the squalor and devastation. I felt I was in a quandary. On the one hand was duty in the parish to attend to the needs of my faithful as well as the temporal concerns in the rectory; on the other were the needs of my immediate family, especially my parents. I chose the latter, thanks to an understanding parish vicar who assured me that he would man the fort and keep things in order while I was gone. I returned to Ground Zero Tacloban and the parishon the 22nd of November. It was a return to what still looked like a war zone, to a place where there was no electricity, no sufficient water, dependent on relief goods that were reaching our doorsteps.

listened to their stories, gave them the comfort of the Word of God, and prepared them for the penitential rite. I heard the villagers confessions, and it was a source of inspiration wounded people confessing their sins to a priest, himself wounded and beaten by the Yolanda experience. Getting connected with brother priests during those days was a rarity. I didnt have the material means to do so. My car was damaged, and the passage to other towns during the first three to four days was extremely difficult. Except my parish assistant, I had not seen any brother priest until a week later when I coincided with one in Cebu. We were at the religious storeI to buy a few religious articles and he to order for a cassock, since all his clothes were washed away by the flood. All that was left was the one that clung to his skin and perhaps a few others that he was able to salvage. The next group of priests that I met was not from the Archdiocese of Palo, but priests who were part of the MAPSA4, since I was invited to concelebrate at the MAPSA assembly on November 21, 2013 at St. James Academy in Malabon. I couldnt contain my tears seeing an assembly of educators and brother priests in one setting. I finally got to see my confreres on the 25th during the ordination to the priesthood of 7 deacons, whose batch we have referred to as the Yolanda batch. It was a bittersweet reunion among brothers and our father, the Archbishop. The consoling thing: everyone was accounted for. No casualty from among us. I called it another consolation when our parish had a very simple and laidback Misa de Gallo series last Christmas, compared to the pre-Yolanda Christmases which were elaborate, well-planned, organized to the last detail, festive, bordering on the fanciful. This time, it was back to the basics and everyone understood why. It was an experience of the first Christmas: cold and wintry at the outside, but warm and meaningful inside, with nothing more than the Baby Jesus in the midst. In all my 31 years in the priesthood, arguably, no event, no experience has struck me more than this Yolanda epic.

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media



CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

Those who study ecology are in a good position to tell us what is happening since they study the web of dynamic relationships which supports and sustains all life within the earthly household. (CBCP)
WE, the delegates of the 44th Diocesan Pastoral Assembly on February 17-19, 2014 at the Diocesan Formation Center 1, Impalambong, City of Malaybalay, have gathered together to prayerfully reflect on the theme: Mga Binunyagan: Gitawag sa Pagkabalaang Disipulo ngadto sa Pagkamagsasangyaw. On this occasion, we also express our position on the urgent ecological issues, especially deforestation and mining activities, which challenge our Christian vocation to be responsible stewards of Gods gift of creation. I. We are Aware of Our Ecological Giftedness 1. The Philippine archipelago is a chain of at least 7,107 islands that stretch 1,840 kilometers from north to south, separated by inland seas and surrounded by ocean waters. It has a total land area of 29,817,000 hectares where about 56 percent is hilly or mountainous uplands, of which 46 percent are composed of 18-30 percent slopes. 2. The Philippines is gifted with a total coastline of 36,289 kilometersa size which is almost twice that of the United States. As an island ecosystem, our archipelago is naturally gifted with inland waters composed of over 421 river basins equivalent to 31,000 hectares, roughly 72 natural lakes equivalent to 200,000 hectares, and more than 106,328 hectares of freshwater swamplands. In terms of groundwater storage, it is estimated to contain 261,775 million cubic meters. For this reason, our country is theoretically assured of enough supply of water (IBON). 3. Being situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire, where volcanic activity and plate convergence have caused the deposition of minerals, the Philippines contains large reserves of various kinds of minerals beneath its ground. Based on the data of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), around 9 million hectares, or 30% of the countrys total land area, are believed to contain important metallic mineral deposits; while 5 million hectares are also known to be potential sites for non-metallic mineral reserves. Moreover, the countrys offshore areas, which cover around 2.2 million square kilometers, also contain placer [or accumulated valuable] minerals, including gold, magnetite and chromite-bearing sands, aggregate resources like sand and gravel, decorative stones, and polymetallic sulfide deposits (MGB). These gifts have put the country in the world mineral map as 5thmineral country in the world, 3rdin gold reserves, 4thin copper, and 5thin nickel. 4. Bukidnon, the eighth largest province in the country in terms of land area, embodies the countrys similar ecological features. The name Bukidnon is derived from a Cebuano Visayan word bukid, which means mountain. Indeed, Bukidnon is a landscape of mountains and plateaus, where about 70 percent of the land area has an altitude of 500 meters above sea level. Due to this fairly high altitude, Bukidnon enjoys a pleasant climate. 5. Bukidnon is ecologically significant as it also serves as the headwater province of Mindanao. In fact, Bukidnon is the main source of the six major Mindanao rivers (Pulangui River, Tagoloan River, Cagayan River, Maridugao River, Salug River, and Agusan-Cugman River) that flow towards its low-lying neighboring provinces. These major rivers continually receive from at least 321 different tributaries that originate and criss-cross from the different corners of Bukidnon Province. Together with their tributaries, these major watershed arteries cover about 94-100 percent of Bukidnons total land area. Thus, the whole Province of Bukidnon may practically be called a watershed area. 6. Our forests serve as natural habitat of economically important and endemic flora and fauna. We must protect them at all cost. In Bukidnon, many of these biodiversity areas also contain several natural deposits, such as gold, chromite, copper, manganese, quartz, white clay and limestoneowing to the fact that the whole of Bukidnon is of volcanic origin-lava and igneous rocks. II. We Abuse Gods Gift of Nature 7. The critical state of the Philippine environment is largely a product of unsustainable and irresponsible human activities. Our history reveals, that prior to the arrival of Spanish colonizers in the country, it had an estimated forest cover of at least 90 percent of its total land area. After about 333 years of Spanish colonization, the remaining forest cover was reduced to 70 percent of the total land area. In 1950, shortly after the U.S. colonizers had officially left the country, our countrys remaining forestlands were estimated at 50 percent of the total land area. As we know, this percentage is already critical for a hilly country, like the Philippines, which requires a minimum forest cover of 54 percent of its total land area, if it wants to ensure a stable ecosystem and habitable environment (Sajise, Tapay, Enrique, et al.). 8. Despite the critical state of our forest, the Philippine government continued to uphold the pro-colonial policy by imprudently issuing Timber License Agreements (TLAs) to private corporations and individuals. In fact, in 1977, former President Marcos placed almost 90 percent of all forest lands under TLAs and lease agreements. This unsustainable policy continued even 1987 when about 85 percent of the remaining Philippine forestlands were still under license agreement. Unfortunately, the logged-over areas were not successfully reforested. Consequently, in 2002, the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) estimated that the countrys remaining forests is only 24 percent of the total land area. Being a focal ecosystem, it is highly probable that the deforested areas would create logical repercussions for the ecological condition of our water, land, living species, and climateamong others. 9. This critical state of the countrys forest is reflected locally in Bukidnon 2012, there are already a total of 778 existing/approved mining permits, covering a total of 1.14 million hectares or 3.8% of the countrys total land area. This current percentage is relatively small compared to the prospective 9 million hectares open for mining applications. Our countrys rich mineral resource and the high demand for mineral products in the global market have been used to justify mining as a development option. Whether or not the mining industry is the most appropriate development option in our island ecosystem begs prudent consideration. 12. Meanwhile, the 1991 Republic Act No. 7076 has legalized the activities of peoples small-scale mining. The Executive Order 79 seeks to limit the small-scale mining areas to minahang bayan in order to avoid overlaps and conflicts with other mining rights and tenements holders. This policy makes us worried as we believe that minahang bayan would not solve the problems created by small-scale mining: the unabated use of mercury in extracting gold, unsafe mining practices, lack of environmental impact mitigation, rampant child labor, illegal use of heavy equipment and explosives, noncollection of excise tax, rapid depletion of mineral deposits due to selective unsystematic method of mining, and proliferation of illegal small-scale mining operations, among others. of the perpetual liability of the mining areas left by the companies? 15. We are not totally against the mining industry. We acknowledge our need for mineral products to maintain our civilization. This means that mining industries have to continue in the ecologically conducive countries as long as they are done in a responsible and sustainable way. However, in island ecosystems, like the Philippines, we believe that mineral resources could not be extracted without necessarily damaging the environment. Having a mining operation in a typhoon-hit country would be too much of a risk and highly irresponsible. This makes us adamantly pessimistic about the possibility of what is euphemistically termed responsible mining in the Philippines. III. We are Called to Love the Earth as Ourselves 16. Our Christian faith teaches us that nature is the fruit of Gods creation. Nature is Gods gift entrusted to the care of human beings.God the Creator decided to put human beings in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it (Gen 2:15). Being made in the image of God (Gen 1:27), human beings have a vocation and a divine mandate to perfect creation and develop it according to the divine plan. John Paul II reminds us that Respect for life and for the dignity of the human person extends also to the rest of creation. The divine mandate to love your neighbor as yourself (Mk 12:31) has to be extended to our nonhuman neighborsthe natural environment. 17. We believe that God gave us this Earth not only to enjoy its goods but also to appreciate its aesthetic value through contemplation. St. Paul teaches that Gods eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made (Rom 1:20). Along this line, John XXIII invites us to see the grandeur of God revealed in the life of plants and animals, a life that is inexhaustible in its expression, [] rich in allusions to God the Creator and Provider. This consciousness is clearly manifested in the lives of our tribal Filipino brothers and sisters who see the Divine Spirit in the living world and show their respect through prayers and offerings (CBCP). This reminds us that material creation has spiritual values, apart from their economic values for humans. 18. The Catholic social teaching calls us to respect the integrity of creation for the good of the whole planet. This moral principle urges us to take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system (John Paul II).This world cannot simply be used according to our wishes. It has its own dignity, its own rights and reasons for being, quite apart from its role in sustaining humans (McDonagh). We have to respect the limits of the regulative capacity of the planet to cope with the high rates of consumption and pollution. 19. The Church, as early as 1971,has consistently considered the irresponsible exploitation of nature in the name of development as a wide-ranging social problem which concerns the entire human family (Paul VI). It is clear to us that the natural world was unduly damaged and made to suffer due to human sin. The greedy exploiters have misinterpreted Gods command to subdue the Earth without discerning Gods original purpose for creation. Together with our bishops, we declare that the assault on creation is sinful and contrary to the teachings of our faith (CBCP). 20. Our vision of a sustainable world broadens our notion of justice which recognizes our grave duty to hand the earth on to future generations in such a condition that they too can worthily inhabit it and continue to cultivate it (Benedict XVI). We are guilty of violating inter-generational justice if our generation would bequeath to future generations a planet that is depleted of its resources. This is an urgent call for us not to overexploit the Earths resources. 21. In the face of the present ecological crisis, we cannot continue the business as usual attitude. We join John Paul IIs call for ecological conversion by challenging people to be more sensitive to catastrophe to which it has been heading. The Pope categorically declared that the ecological crisis is a moral issue, about which the Church could not remain silent or neutral. It would be self-destructive for us to destroy our natural environment. This conviction challenges us to think globally as the deterioration of any one part of the planet affects us all (Benedict XVI). IV. We Renew our Ecological Struggle 22. We are convinced that our Christian faith has a particular contribution to the transformation of society that anticipates the coming of Gods Kingdom. Our ecological struggle does not have to start from zero. There are existing concrete lines of action pursued both by the Church and certain social movements that serve as embers of hope. Our main task is to participate in and build on these existing movements according to our Christian faith. 23. We remember at least three dangerous memories of ecological struggle that awaken us to our vocation as stewards of Gods creation. First, in 1987, some 3,000 residents of the municipality of San Fernando, Bukidnon opted to hold a picket against logging operations, which greedily exploited the dwindling forests. This parishbased environmental protest grew into a diocesan advocacy, which successfully pressured the government to put the whole province of Bukidnon under a logging moratorium in 1990. The second occurred in October 1991 when Fr. Nery Lito Satur was brutally killed in October 1991 due to his zealous implementation of the logging moratorium. His martyrdom inflamed our commitment to care for Gods creation and served as an important watershed for our ongoing ecological struggle. And the third took place in November 1999 when a coalition of civil society groups strategically formed a series of human barricades, which successfully blocked the logging trucks from an adjacent province (Lanao del Sur) passing along the highways of Bukidnon. These events of ecological struggle must have crucially shaped our pastoral outlook and pushed us to understand our Christian vocation to care not only for the community of human persons but also for the larger community of Gods creation, whose fate is inseparably intertwined with ours. 24. As we confront the urgent ecological issues that have chiefly caused the recent human-induced tragedies, we renew our commitment to struggle for ecology. We need to continually deepen our knowledge of ecological issues, including the phenomenon of climate change and the global ecological crisis. We have to start by updating ourselves with the present ecological situation of Bukidnon. We will make the relevant ecological information available to the grassroots level by producing a module which would facilitate the education in ecological responsibility in our media, schools, BECs, religious organizations, and individual families. We continue the legacy of Fr. Nery Satur by meaningfully commemorating his death anniversary with relevant activities that are responsive to the urgent issues of deforestation, mining, climate change, and poverty. We celebrate Creation Day every September 1. In many parts of the world, Christian churches set the period from this day to October 4 (the Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi) or the Sunday after October 4 as Creation Time.The CBCP wish to introduce this period to our Catholic faithful and acknowledge Creation, that priceless gift of the Almighty and Loving Creator. Hence we need to adjust our monthly celebration to this event. We undertake all necessary actions to stop mining activities all over Bukidnon, including the proposed sites for minahang bayan. This would entail organizing the immediate communities that unjustly suffer from the hazardous effects of mining. Let the ecological issues of mining be prayerfully discerned in the context of BEC life. We support all ecologically appropriate policies and projects that would protect our biodiversity and promote healthy ecosystems. Weopposeimprudentuseoftechnology and equipment that would destroy the sustainability of the community of life and the heritage of the next generations. We forge collaboration with advocates against mining and tap the expertise of our ecological scientists in view of helping the Church continually come up with a well-discerned judgment and decision on ecological issues. We influence the lawmakers both in the local and national levels to sponsor ordinance that will repeal existing mining laws that worsen the problems of poverty and the ecological crisis. For the Delegates of the 44th Diocesan Pastoral Assembly: + JOSE ARANETA CABANTAN, D.D. Bishop of the Diocese of Malaybalay February 19, 2014

A Declaration on Ecological Stewardship: The Position of the Diocese of Malaybalay on Deforestation and Mining Issues

where deforestation continues largely due to unsustainable logging operations and improper land use. In 2006, the Environmental Science for Social Change alarmingly reveals that Bukidnon has a remaining natural forest cover of 24.9 percent, with the following breakdown: 14.23 percent mossy forest, 2.79 percent primary forest, and 7.87 percent secondary forest. Our former forest lands have been replaced by vast areas of sugarcane, corn, pineapple, and irrigated rice. As we know, the prevailing land use management and monocropping practices have proven to be ecologically harmful and unsustainable. 10. As forests are gone, our mineral resources have become the next target of unsustainable exploitation. Our history also reveals that mining had been a major interest of the U.S. colonizers in the Philippines. As early as 1905, the colonial government had promulgated the Mining Law of 1905 which granted the colonizers the right to acquire public land for mining pursuits. This colonial policy has been constantly reaffirmed in the Philippine Constitutions in the light of Regalian Doctrine which justifies state control over natural resources. As the Mining Act of 1995 provides, All mineral resources in public and private lands within the territory and exclusive economic zone of the Republic of the Philippines are owned by the State. 11. As MGB has reported in January

13. In our province, we are aware of a proposal to set aside about 2,000 hectares as minahang bayan in two barangays of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. We are deeply alarmed by the news about other proposals to declare some sites in the municipalities of Libona and Manolo Fortich as minahang bayan. We believe that the operation of minahang bayan in Bukidnon would unduly disturb the ancestral domains of our indigenous peoples, including the network of our watershed areas. After realizing that Bukidnon is not a typhoon-free province, we are challenged to strengthen our campaign against mining operations to mitigate the negative effects of climate change. 14. There is a serious policy issue on the mining industry in the Philippines. To date, the law provides that the miners should set aside a fund for the progressive remediation during mining and another fund for final rehabilitation of the mined-out areas. As Christian Monsod has pointed out, There is nothing in the law about the perpetual accountability or trust funds for the maintenance of structures like the tailings dam or the disasters that could happen years later. These risks are not borne by the miners [but] by the tax payers. How would postmining maintenance be done when the mining operators would not provide for continuing maintenance? Who takes care

Contributed Photo

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014



(Homily delivered by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop and CBCP President Socrates B. Villegas at the 28th anniversary of EDSA People Power Revolution on February 25, 2014 at Our Lady of EDSA Shrine.)
EDSA People Power is 28 years old and so is my priesthood. I am 28 years a priest. Im as old as EDSA People Power. When the Church sent me to Bataan each time I looked back at EDSA, I looked back at EDSA with gratitude, with happiness, with joy, and with pride. And now in Dagupan I still remember EDSA People Power with so much fondness and someday when Im old and wrinkly I will sit down and write my memories about EDSA 1986. But I have mixed feelings today. On one side I am happy and grateful to remember, but on the other side I am sad and lonely and I ask myself, is this all that is left? After 28 years is this all that we can gather to thank the Lord for an event that made Filipinos 10 feet tall in the family of nations. I cannot resist returning to the Gospel, and returning to the question of the Lord after he cured 10 lepers and only one returned, and said, Where are the other nine? But I am not here to accuse you. I am not here to make you sad. I am not here to contaminate you with my sadness and loneliness. I am here to bring you joy, the joy of the Gospel, the joy of the Lord. So with remnants like us and a bishop coming down from the north to be with you and to celebrate and to make sure that the EDSA spirit is not forgotten, then I ask myself, What is EDSA about? The celebration of the EDSA anniversary has taken many faces, it has taken many forms. For some people, they celebrate it on the 22nd of February, the focus is the military. For some people they celebrate it on February 25, evening, because that was the time when the former president fled. For some people it is noontime of February 25 because that was the time when the first Lady President took her oath. For some people it is salubungan; for some people it is confetti. For some people it is picnic. For some people it is being offered a boiled corn by a beggar. What is EDSA really about? B rothers and sisters you can approach EDSA from any angle but just dont forget one component. You cannot tell and retell the story of EDSA 20 years of dictatorship and four days of EDSA should be more than enough for us never to repeat the mistakes of history. Shall we live it again? God forbid no more because if we have to do it again it will only mean we have not learned our lesson. Cardinal Sin used to say, tongue in cheek, to err is human; to forgive is divine; but to repeat is stupid. Let us allow EDSA to make us wiser. Let us allow EDSA to keep us vigilant. In EDSA 1986 we told the whole world, God is with us. At EDSA 2014 the question I throw to you is, Are you still with God? The issue is not God is with us. The issue is: Are we with God or have we strayed from the path of God. I will return to Dagupan but I leave with you one request. Please take care of this hallowed ground. This church, this place minus Megamall, minus Robinsons Galleria, this place is sacred. Please take care of it. Even if you are only one of the ten lepers who would thank the Lord, take care of it nevertheless. Even if you are only a handful remnant remembering our moment of glory, stand on this holy ground nevertheless. You know why I asked Father Nilo for permission to say Mass tonight? It is because I need the spirit of EDSA. I will return to Dagupan strengthened, invigorated, energized because this church is special; this hallowed ground will always remain holy. Take care of it, against all odds. And please tell your children and your childrens children that EDSA is holy and it is people that will keep it holy, and that is you. If they want to celebrate EDSA in Cebu; if they want to celebrate EDSA in Baguio; if they want to celebrate EDSA in Mindanao, let it be. But for you, EDSA Shrine community, stand on this ground because here on this ground, you and I and God had a brief loving encounter for four days and history cannot be changed anymore. On this hallowed ground, for four sacred days the blessed Virgin Mary walked with us; the Lord of Peace walked with us. Keep it sacred, no matter where you go, because here you will always find the living God.

At EDSA love of God and love of country came together

without God. You can tell the story of Tita Cory but dont forget that she prayed the rosary with us. You can tell the story of Cardinal Sin but do not forget that he was first man of God and the Church before being a man of the streets. You can tell the story of the military, of the businessmen, of the professionals, of the soldiers, of the nuns, but please remember all the time, that the soldiers, the nuns, the businessmen, politicians, cardinals, bishops and priests, all of them will be nothing if God did not walk with us on this hallowed ground in 1986. Sometimes we forget, and sometimes we claim the honor that belongs to God as our own. Tita Cory has passed on to eternal life and so has Cardinal Sin, and so

has many EDSA heroes, but my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter how you retell the story of EDSA, I plead with you on bended knees, do not forget the rosaries you prayed; do not forget the image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Heart that we put on top of tanks. Do not forget the bibles that we read. Do not forget the concrete pavements that we knelt on, into midnight, into the morning, praying the rosary for deliverance from slavery. There can be no EDSA story without God. But it seems God is so used to being set aside. Even if we set him aside he continues to bless us, it seems. But our country, our government cannot move on if it continues to ignore God. I am not even talking about Church. I am just talking about God. Muslim

or Protestant, Buddhist or Hindu, Christian, Iglesia ni Kristo, whatever, we must always remember that our lives are in the hands of God. But what did we do in EDSA 1986 that made it so extraordinary? It is this. Our faith in God got married with our love for country. At EDSA love of God and love of country came together. That love of country is not alien to somebody who follows the Lord. And love of country would be empty unless it is grounded on the love of God. Through the years after EDSA 1986, the spirit has been manipulated, abused, raped, prostituted. But we must always return to it. EDSA was a gift from God and it will always be so. Can we do it all over again? I dont know. Do we have to do it all over again? I hope not because

A Pastoral Letter on the Archdiocesan Congress of the Laity 2014 This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Ps. 118, 24)
MY dear faithful of the Archdiocese of Caceres, Indeed, there is reason to rejoice and be glad, a reason to thank God, a reason to thank each other as we finally celebrate theCongress of the Laityin our beloved Archdiocese of Caceres. This Congress isa timely and concrete responseto the CBCPs declaration of 2014 as theYear of the Laity. The lay faithful of our Archdiocese, nay, of the entire Bicol Region, are blessed by the Almighty God with the gifts of living Faith, deep Hope and warm Love. We are witnesses to the vibrant faith of our faithfulin their desire to experience God more deeply and in their involvement in the life of the Church. The Congress that we have prepared and celebrated is a testimony of the common collaboration and active participationof our Clergy and the Lay faithful. I am grateful to the lay faithful for their commitment and hard work in the long journey towards this Congress. The Action Plans shall be integrated in the Pastoral Plan of the Local Church of Caceres and shall help ensure that every baptized Catholic in the Archdiocese is adequately formed in the Gospel. The Congress, addressed especially to you my dear Lay faithful , reminds us of our inherent dignity as Catholic Christians with an important place in the heart of the Church, as expressed in the vision statement, the laity seeks to be a Christcentered witnessing community of evangelized and socially-responsive families committed to building Gods Kingdom, imitating Ina as a model of faith. The Congress recognizes the crying need for holistic formation and for participation in relevant ministriesof our lay faithful. Likewise, the Congress expresses the deep longing of our Lay faithful to be guided spiritually by the pastors of the Church. The Congress underlines the importance of lay engagement in the various aspects of the secular life in our society, like family, politics, education, health, governance, justice, peace, environment, advocacy for women, and protection of children. The Congress, likewise, recommends the revitalization of the various religious Offices and Associationsin tune with the call and thrust of the New Evangelization. Finally, the Congress serves as the impetusfor the sevenyear preparation in view of the celebration of the 500 years of the coming of Christianity (15212021). In all the preparations, celebrations and implementation of the resolutions of the Congress, the Word of God or Holy Scriptures TAKE CENTER STAGE. Together with the Holy Eucharist, the Word of God will fortify, direct and inspire all our formation programs for the different Religious Movements and Associations. T h e B a s i c E c c l e s i a l Communities (BECs) will spearhead our pastoral strategies in the spirit of New Evangelization as mandated by the Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) and our very own Archdiocesan Pastoral Council of Caceres (APCC) and now reaffirmed by this Congress. My dear lay faithful, the challenge facing our Archdiocese of Caceres is to BE LIVING WITNESSESof the Good News of Jesus Christ. This mission of witnessing through theHoly Eucharist, the Word of Godand through our daily Christian livinggoes beyond the Congress and the seven-year preparation for 2021. Lay faithful,arise and re-live your vocationas true disciples and apostles of Jesus Christ! Lay faithful, arise and reexperience and rejoicein being sons and daughters of the Church! Lay faithful, arise and reengage yourselves as passionate workers in the vineyard of the Lord! Dios Mabalos to you, lay participants, the Education cluster, our benefactors and friends, to you consecrated women/men, seminarians, our Clergy, and to all who made this Congress possible. May our INA, Our Lady of Peafrancia, journey with us so that called to be Saints and sent as Heroes, you dear lay faithfulBE COMMITTED AND FAITHFUL SERVANTS of the NEW EVANGELIZATION! With my love, prayers and blessing! +ROLANDO J. TRIA TIRONA, O.C.D., D.D. Archbishop of Caceres 23 February 2014 Pilgrim City of Naga

Be committed and faithful servants of theNew Evangelization!

Directions and Challenges for the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Caceres

(Archdiocesan Congress of the Laity 2014) Yes, I know what plans I have in mind for you, Yahweh declares, plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11)
MY dear faithful of the Archdiocese of Caceres, In response to the CBCPs declaration of 2014 as theYear of the Laity and in light of our Archdiocesan Congress of the Laity, I hope that more lay faithful be encouraged to become HERALDS OF THE GOSPEL and WORKERS IN THE VINEYARD of the Lord. So, I call upon: The Parish Pastoral Councils and Barangay Pastoral Councils: Work closely with your pastors. As councils, collaborate with your parish priests in the work of evangelization and human promotion, in particular, in the implementation of the Action Plans. Accompany your parish priests in getting to know the parish through dialogue, and especially through prayer and collaborative ministry. The Different Lay Religious Organizations: The Church is blessed with so many charisms like the lay religious organizations. Use these charisms to bring Christ to every street corner. With harmonious collaboration, you can address every need and problem of the Church. Lay leaders should be committed in their respective charisms. The Laity working in Catholic Schools: The Archdiocese recognizes your sharing with your gifts for the enrichment of education in our Catholic schools, especially of our young people. With your talent, you can contribute for a more effective educational institution that promotes Catholic values and mores. Share your expertise with other lay organizations. Your example is the surest way of making the Word ever present among our young people. Those in Consecrated Life: You are called to be the symbol of Christs self-emptying in our modern world. Inspire the laity to fight materialism, secularism and individualism. In the midst of the cultural influences of our times, may your life and works be examples of simplicity, service and courage. By living the evangelical counsels, enlighten and inspire the laity to build a rich spiritual life so integrity will be restored and greed not prevail. Show them the road to courage so in a society ruled by the rich and powerful, their voice shall become the voice of the poor and the marginalized. The Clergy of Caceres: As shepherd of Gods flock, accompany the lay faithful as they fulfill the Christian duties they received at baptism. Fill them with the light of the Gospel so they may bring this light to their families, friends and colleagues. Guide them so they may significantly participate in the life of our Church. In whatever field of endeavor the lay faithful are engaged in, we, priests, shepherds, should also prepare them to become evangelizers. Build their confidence and send them to their mission echoing these words:Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations. Gods grace is certainly bestowed upon us through the Congress of the Laity. He has guided us from the initial planning. Without doubt, it is by His inspiration that all our efforts have come to fruition. Let us take this as an opportunity to step forward with courage and enthusiasm. As we anticipate the implementation as well as the regular monitoring and evaluation of the Action Plans until the year 2020, I ask my brother priests to support our lay faithful in their aspirations. These plans are for their welfare, as the prophet Jeremiah had assured his people, and they are meant to the laity a future and a hope. And I ask the lay faithful for their prayers for our Archdiocese. The Congress of the Laity begins a new chapter in our journey of faith. +ROLANDO J. TRIA TIRONA, O.C.D., D.D. Archbishop of Caceres

Noli Yamsuan / RCAM


Ref lections
1st Sunday of Lent, Mt. 4:1-11 (A)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014


By Fr. Joseph Pellegrino

THEY had lost their innocence. The first effect of their sin was that their eyes were opened, and they realized that they were naked. Of course I am speaking about Adam and Eve in the account of the Original Sin. Adam and Eve could no longer be comfortable with themselves. They ate from tree of knowledge of good and evil, and now they had knowledge of evil. In Scripture to know means to experience. Adam and Eve had an experience of evil. It was horrible. They were exposed, vulnerable, full of shame, full of guilt. Their choice of sin was a turning away from the Lord of Life. They chose that which is not life. They chose death. And all mankind suffered the result of their choice. All people would suffer from sin and the result of sin, death. We experience this every day of our lives, as good people, innocent people, die. We experience this as our children are assaulted by the media, by the immoral aspects of society, by all who would take advantage of them. We experience this as evil grabs people and chokes the joy for life from them. We experience this as we also suffer the results of evil that we have committed as well as suffer from what others have done. But, St. Paul tells the Romans and us, just as sin and death came into the world through the actions of one man, Adam, grace and life has come into the world through the actions of another, Jesus Christ. And what Christ has brought into the world, His Grace, is infinitely more powerful than the hideous power of sin. Jesus first demonstrated His power over evil when He defeated the devil and the diabolical temptations after His forty days in the desert. We can see the beginning petitions of the Lords Prayer in Jesus response to the devil. Jesus would seek His bread from God, not from the world; and He taught us

also to pray to God for our daily bread. Jesus would seek the will of God and not impose His will upon His Father. And He taught us to pray, Thy Kingdom come. He would not jump from the parapet of the Temple as an attempt to force the Father into action. And He taught us to pray, Thy will be done, not my will, but your will, Loving Father. And, in the third temptation, Jesus would not be bribed with all the riches of the world, all the Kingdoms of the world, given to Him for rebelling against the Father. And He taught us to pray, Thy Kingdom come. We are all tempted to sin. That is part of life. But we can fight against sin. We can defeat temptation. In some ways we all experience each of the temptations that the devil put before the Lord. The

devil wanted Jesus to trust in His own power, rather than the Father. He wanted him to change rocks into bread. We also are tempted to trust in ourselves instead of trust in God. Americans from the colonial and frontier days, claim a tradition of rugged individualism, and that is part of our strength as a people, but even the early settlers recognized that their strength comes from God, not from themselves. Most of our ancestors refused to be tempted to think that they didnt need God. Instead, they became people of deep prayer; seeking Gods protection and love, thanking Him for feeding them in many ways. We cannot fall for the temptation to think that we can do everything ourselves. We have to trust in God. We have to have faith. Yes, we must do our

best to provide for our future that of our loved ones, but, ultimately, we rely on the Lord to take care of us. We can resist the temptation to push God out of our lives. This call to faith is not always that easy. In fact, it is usually quite difficult. It is quite difficult to spend so much time and energy on a person, for example a child, or on a situation, for example a career, and then trust the future to God rather than to ourselves. It is tempting to think that we do not need God. In fact, that is the temptation of the atheistic elements of the world. The so-called intellectual elite often mock people of faith, belittling us for believing in God and asserting that they have wonderful lives without God. And then they write books about the quiet desperation of every day man. We cannot allow these fools to sway us.

We know that we need God. We cannot survive without God. We cannot be happy without Him. And we cannot live forever without Him. I am a self-made man, the old gent boasted. Really, the priest responded, It took God a day to create Adam, how many days did it take you to create yourself? Like Jesuss second temptation, we are tempted to force God into action instead of simply trusting in Him to care for us. We may not be standing on the edge of a building deciding that God must save us if we jump, but we may be toying with that which can destroy us, alcohol, sex, drugs, etc, and think, erroneously, that if we fall God will catch us. It is presumption to think that God will take care of us if we live on the edge. God is All-Merciful, but He is also All Just. We trust in God, but, as Jesus told the devil, we dont put God to a test. We have to resist the temptation to live life on the edge of eternal death. And like Jesus, we can fight the temptation to be bought by the world. There are many people who have sold their souls for wealth and power. The devil tempts us to join those who do evil, tune down or turn off our consciences, and reap wealth beyond our imaginations. There is a lot of money to be made selling contraband, a lot of money to be made working in the low industries of our society, a lot of money to be made cheating our way to the top of the business world, but we refuse to sell our souls to the devil. We live for One and One only. We live for our Heavenly Father, not for ourselves. The goal of our lives is not to amass a fortune. The goal of our lives is to live for God. We have bought into the Kingdom, not sold our souls to the devil. At the end of the Gospel Satan left Jesus, and the angels came to administer to Him. There are angels here. Not just our children, but real spiritual beings. How many are in this building right
Temptation / B7

The call to let the best in us shine forth

2nd Sunday of Lent, Mt. 17:1-9 (A) March 16, 2014
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE transfiguration of Jesusthe revelation of his divine nature and glorymust have been an unforgettable experience for the three fortunate disciples: Peter, James, and John. They treasured its memory till the end of their lives. (See Jn 1:14 and 2 Pt 1:17-18.) Can the transfiguration of Jesus have a message for us, too? We may think: it happened to him because he, besides being a human being, was also God. But we are poor, simple creatures . . . . Not only that: we are sinful creatures! Often, our lives, our thoughts, desires, and actions are far from bright . . . . They are not something we could boast of, but rather, something we should be ashamed of.

The call to reject the devils empty promises

1st Sunday of Lent, Mt. 4:1-11 (A), March 9, 2014; Migrants Sunday
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
ADAM and Eve had received everything a creature can receive. When their faithfulness to God was put to the test in the Garden of Eden, they failed because they doubted the truth of Gods Word. The Israelites had just been set free from the slavery of Egypt and were on their way to the Promised Land. When put to the test in the desert, they failed because they doubted the truth of Gods Word. Jesus Christ, the new Adam and the new Israel, was tempted by Satan in the desert. He was tested three times. Three times he triumphed because he had rooted his life in the power of Gods Word and his determination to do Gods will. A man like others in all aspects, he dared to be different in his relationship with God, and the things that matter in life. Jesus knew when to say No and whom to obey. He said No to Satan with no uncertainty. He said YES to the Father, unwaveringly, for ever. He remained faithful to the Father and thus he dealt the first blow to the power of Satan, by rejecting the temptations to become a rich, popular, and powerful Messiah. In this way, he reversed the course of history. With his No to Satan and Yes to the Father, he set an example for all mankind. With his death and resurrection, he empowered all human beings to make the right choice. We too, in fact, are often put to the test in the desert of this life. Sin and virtue, complacency and self-denial, death and life are continually placed in front of us. If we want to be victorious and not poor defeated wrecks, we have to be aware of the devils strategy as well as of Jesus strategy in overcoming Satans temptations. The devils strategy is wellplanned. It aims at attaining an objective that is usually wellconcealed. He starts by inviting us to do something that, in itself, does not seem to be wrong. The second step is more insidious but not sinful in itself, as it would lead us to do something daring and spectacular which would show that we are specially dear to God. (See the second temptation.) The third step is outrageous as it capitalizes on ambition that lies deep in the heart of every human being. The devil mesmerizes us with the attractiveness of earthly power and glory. And the price

Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

Reject / B7

Bishop Pat Alo

GOD plays no favorites but gives His grace and love to everyone who is faithful and trustworthy in keeping His commandments of justice and love. You can see this in the roster of the lives of the thousands of Saints enumerated in the Catholic Church or other Christian groups. The Saints are people who were earnestly dedicated to a life of prayer, sacrifice and service to God Almighty whom God

Gods favorites
favored with His many signs and marvels that were constant proof of their fidelity to God and His Church. Surely you can read many lives of Saints, especially those recognized in many of our Catholic Churches. Most surely there are also many books or booklets of the lives of Saints. T h e C h u rc h h a s p ro m o t e d s u c h collections based on history as example for many of our people who may be inspired by the Lives of Saints since they come from all walks of life or professions in the world aside from the many members of the clergy or religious congregations of men or women. This only goes to show that sanctity is open to all people sincerely seeking for it. Jesus most surely was not mistaken when He said: Everyone who seeks always finds (Lk. 11:10).

Yet we know that there is in us a spark of divinity. Created in the image and likeness of God, we carry within ourselveslike a most precious seedthe possibility and the call to let the brightness of Gods goodness and holiness shine out in all their radiance. But it is a seed housed in the shell of a weak and wounded nature. In many of us, it is a dormant seed, imprisoned in the mud of our vices and sins. By Gods grace, however, the seed remains alive, and retains the potentiality to sprout and grow, if only we give it a chance. Throughout the centuries, many dared to dream of the Transfiguration as a lifelong task they were determined to undertake. Like Abraham, they heeded the Lords call to leave the familiar surroundings and to start to journey toward a mysterious land that He would give as their lasting inheritance. That call meant to leave behind the shell of selfishness, material attachments and complacency, and to burst forth like a seed in springtime, under the sun of Gods love. That was how their lives became a wonderful tree laden with fruits of humility, generosity, purity, charity. . . . The brightness of their virtues shone all around them, and not even death could dim it. So far had they progressed in their spiritual life that the people around them had a glimpse of what Christ was like. We call them saints. God calls them friends. It is thanks to people such as these that the world is a better place and humankind has a clear idea of its dignity and grandeur. The season of Lent, springtime in our souls, is for us all a reminder of the tremendous potential that is in us. Jesus Transfiguration, on this Second Sunday of Lent, should
Best / B7

Bo Sanchez


Take delight in the simplest things

God wouldnt mind. She closed her eyes and poked her hand in the bag and pulled it out. And so there it was in all its green and yellow glory, a Crayola box of 64 crayons, with the built-in sharpener in the middle. Plus three coloring books of Winnie the Pooh. You see, months back, she told me that one of her fantasies was to have her very own 64-set Crayola. (I was about to share my own fantasies with her but decided against it.) So upon seeing the crayons, my bride shrieked and went to work at once. She poured out the fat little sticks of peach and magenta and pink and amber and silver and gold and all the way until 3:00 AM, Winnie the Pooh became beautiful in her hands. (Unfortunately for me, she forgot about the excited hormones slambanging and sloshing through her veins.) Thats why I always say that our honeymoon was the most colorful in the world. And our lives have been such! We take delight in the simplest things. Sure, I could have given her a one-carat diamond ring. Or a ladys Rolex. Or a new pair of Ferragamo. But I didnt because of two important reasons. First, I couldnt afford them. Second, were learning to delight in the simplest things. I have here a list of things you can do thats really downright inexpensive. Take a stroll together. Watch the sunrise from your window and pray. Play with a baby. Read a good book under a tree. Watch a Walt Disney film with the kids. Order coffee (and nothing else) with your beloved one late night at a hotel lounge. S leep till 9:00 AM one Saturday. Write love letters to your friends. As early as April, make your own Christmas gifts. Smile to strangers. Breathe. Take delight in the simplest things.

GUESS what I gave my wife on the eve of our wedding. My honeymoon present, if you may. Right after the big wedding of a thousand guests, at 12:00 midnight, when we were finally alone in our hotel room in a faraway resort as two awkward and giddy virgins with excited hormones slambanging and sloshing through our veins, I decided it was time to give her my honeymoon present. Wrapped in a simple brown bag, my bride took one look at it and was petrified. After all, it was our honeymoon and I could legally give her anything sexy, sexual, sensual, seductive and all the intimate s words you can think of and

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

Social Concerns

The deforestation has deprived the planet of its protective forests that absorb naturally occurring CO2. The Philippines had 92 percent forest cover in 1903. Today, it has just 3 percent forest cover. The oceans are damaged also. The CO2, methane, and sulphur gases are absorbed by the ocean, making the waters more acidic and that poisons the fish or kills the eggs and they head for extinction and people go hungry. Billions of tons of industrial plastic float on the ocean currents killing marine life and depriving fish of their natural food. Everything is connected in the planets ecosystem and industrial pollution and global warming is damaging everything. If the planet earth were a living creature that is being tortured and tormented by swarms of attacking mosquitoes, it would be driven to retaliate and react to the threat. Thats how I see the planet today; its reacting to human attack. The Gaia theory developed by James Lovelock in the 1970 suggests that the planet earth is a magnificent, selforganizing entity whereby all systems promote life on earth and life forms evolve and adapt to maintain a healthy life sustaining environment. But it has a cancer and it is ushumans. We attack the planet in parts and as a whole through industrial production and this disrupts the delicate balances of all ecosystems. We as a species have societies with uncontrolled greed and excessive consumption. We have no natural enemy to eliminate us other than deadly viruses and our own selfdestructive lifestyles and violence against each other and against nature. We have to master and control both or we will destroy ourselves and eventually become extinct. And that may not be such a bad thing after all.
Best / B6

By Fr. Shay Cullen

POWERFUL storms, tidal surges, high winds, toppled trees and electric posts and massive floods over a wide area, natural disasters that are typical of the Philippines. We have endured 25 such storms in the past year more than ever before. Millions of people have lost their houses, lands and crops. Thousands of light fishing banca boats were destroyed or damaged and over 6000 people were killed. Many still depending on relief food and are surviving in tents. What I describe above is now happening to a lesser degree in Ireland and England as I write this. In the United States and Canada, massive ice and snow storms have paralyzed the North Eastern side of the continent and to the South West in California, there is extreme drought. This is the worst in living memory, according to the people living there and whose cattle are dying by the thousands and crops are burning up. In Australia, bush fires are devouring homes and forests year after year, and in South America likewise, forest fires are destroying the beautiful wilderness of Chile. In China, massive unprecedented yearly floods destroy lives and property. Huge sand storms, coming from encroaching deserts in the North East, are engulfing the capital Beijing every year. In days gone by, they were called acts of God, or natural disasters over which humankind has no control or responsibility for. The overwhelming scientific evidence (despite billions of dollars spent to deny it) shows that the climate has changed dramatically and is more violent, the change is caused by human activity. Yes we, the humans with the big brains and intelligence, who have the
Poverty / B1

The planet under attack

duty and responsibility to protect all life and creation, are causing this. Our lifestyles are excessively damaging to the environment. Its called global warming due to the non-stop pumping of obnoxious poison gases and chemical fumes into the atmosphere for the past one hundred years. This has caused a blanket of methane, CO2 and every other gas produced by industry to rise to the stratosphere and blanket the globe. Inside the blanket of gas, the suffering planet is overheating. Its finely-tuned sensitive and balanced interdependent ecosystems are being disrupted. This happened hundreds of millions of years ago through volcanic eruptions

and later crashing asteroids spewed dust and chemicals that brought life to the brink of total extinction. Human intelligence developed a gigantic chemical industry driven by coal and oil burning electric power stations that pour gas and chemicals into the atmosphere non-stop day and night. No wonder that cancers of all kinds are spreading all over the planet. In the northern hemisphere, people grew wealthy, and cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens are now produced on an industrial scale and are fed chemically tainted foods. They changed the diet from a predominately vegetables, fruit and fish diet to one based on fatty meat and dairy products on a gigantic

scale. The result is cholesterol clogged arteries and heart attacks. To make more pastures for the animals, the rich land-grabbers and corrupt government officials cut down the rain forests for pastures and meat production resulting in animals by their billions producing billions of tons of methane gas every year adding to the ever thickening blanket of gases in the atmosphere making the planet warmer. The ice-caps melt so the hot sun beams are not reflected back into space but are absorbed by the oceans, so warmer oceans means more melting, causing rising ocean levels, greater storm surges, more evaporation, clouds, torrential rain, and more floods.
Reject / B6

poverty endures in its spiritual form as surrender to God (Ps 9:10, Prov. 3:5-6). According to PCP II, to be a Church of the Poor means a Church that embraces and practices the evangelical spirit of poverty, which combines detachment from possessions with a profound trust in the Lord as the sole source of salvation. While the Lord does not want anyone to be materially poor, he wants all his followers to be poor in Spirit.10 Christs Invitation, especially to the Laity This Lenten season, Christ invites all, but especially the laity, to oppose degrading and dehumanizing poverty and to embrace humanizing and sanctifying poverty. In other words, he invites us to imitate his example. We fight poverty with poverty only because Christ has shown us the way. Our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of societys most neglected members (EG, 186). Much more needs to be done in translating this faith into effective action, in achieving a greater penetration of Christian values in the social, political and economic sectors, which in
Yolanda / B3

the mind of Pope Francis is where the Church relies on the laity (EG 102). Particularly, we are invited to practice material poverty by taking up a simple lifestyle and works of mercy and justice that attend to the poor and aim for an economy of inclusion, for what the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen calls total human development. We are to exercise moral poverty by strengthening our resolve to practice solidarity with the neglected and to denounce injustice and all forms of radical inequality. We are to embrace spiritual poverty by deepening our rootedness in Christ, whose poverty alone enriches us. Let us not forget, Pope Francis insists, that real poverty hurts I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.11 At the same time, We may be sure that none of our acts of love will be lost, nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. No single act of love for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted (EG 279). May the Lord bless your Lenten observance and send you forth with love and joy. May Mary, Mother of the Poor show you the way to the heart of Jesus, our pearl of great price!

For the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, March 5, 2014 Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan President, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
End Notes: 1 Francis, Meeting with Students of Jesuit Schools, Q & A, June 7, 2013. 2 Cf. CBCP, Pastoral Exhortation, To Bring Glad Tidings to the Poor (Luke 4:18), January 27, 2014. 3 Francis, Lenten Message, 2014. 4 CBCP, Pastoral Statement, Seeking the Truth, Restoring Integrity, February 26, 2008. 5 CBCP, Pastoral Statement on the Pork Barrel, Hate evil and love good and let justice prevail (Amos 5,15), September 5, 2013. 6 Mother Teresa, A Simple Path: Mother Teresa, 1995. 7 Francis, Homily at Mass in Domus Santae Martae on the feast of Santa Rita, quoted by Vatican Radio, May 22, 2013. 8 Francis, Audience with the Diplomatic Corps, March 22, 2013. 9 Francis, Lenten Message, 2014. 10 PCP II, 125. 11 Francis, Lenten Message, 2014.

to be paid for such a wonder is just one simple gesture: to adore the devil! That is the final objective of the three temptations the objective of dethroning God and installing the devil as the supreme ruler of our life: the highest form of perversion! Jesus neutralized the devils shrewdness with his own strategy which, essentially consisted in rooting himself in Gods Word and in refusing to negotiate with the devil. Thanks to such strategy, Jesus victory was complete and absolutely sure. Had Adam and Eve followed Jesus tragedy when tempted in the Garden of Eden, they would have won and their descendants would not have been born in a condition global misery. Had the Israelites followed the guidance of Gods Word, they would have entered the Promised Land right away, rather than being condemned to dwell and die in the desert. Now it is our turn. Shall we follow the example of Adam and Eve, or that of the Israelites, or the example of Christ? The choice is ours. If we intend to be true to the name Christian, we should have no uncertainty. The WORD OF GOD and HIS WILL should be always our inspiration and our light. Then, we too, shall share in the victory of Jesus.

Mark Sia

be our constant inspiration, prodding us to let the greatness that is in us burst forth and grow to the full. It should also become what it should have always been: the aspiration to be a reflection of Gods goodness and love, as all the saints have been. We know the means to attain that. They are: openness to Gods grace, conversion, penance, prayer, acts of charity. We know this is the time. This is our chance to let our real greatness burst forth and shine.
Temptation / B6

now? How many angels are in our homes? The angels are our protectors and our spiritual care givers. They will minister to us also as we join the Lord in the fight against evil. We are warriors in the battle of the Lord against the power of the devil. We dont fight alone. The Lord and His forces fight with us. We ask the Lord today to protect us from the temptations of the world, lead us not into temptation, and to deliver us from evil, the evil one, and the evil within us. And we trust in God for we know that we are loved; for we have been purchased, and at what a price! (1 Cor 6:20)

personal impact on me as a superintendent. I would like to be honest: during the first three to four days after the Yolanda, I did not think of the schools in the Archdiocese of Palo. I didnt think of me in my capacity as superintendent. I thought of me, of my family and of the parish church. When I made that three-hour walk to check on my parents, it was me their son, anxious to see if they were alive or had perished. It was I the priest who said those masses shortly after the typhoon even if everything inside the church was in disarray. It was the priest in me encouraging and consoling the faithful while all around was pain and anguish. It was I the priest to whom they ran as they asked for words of comfort and blessing. It was I as pastor that ensured that relief operations were in place and that our church grounds still had the semblance of order in the midst of chaos, especially that for several weeks our pastoral hall became the evacuation center for our homeless brothers and sisters. I started functioning as superintendent when I returned from Manila on the 22 nd of November. With signals of our mobile phones already restored, I sent text messages to the school headsmy initial means to get connected, since going around was still difficult. It was while receiving replies from the school heads that I realized the extent of the damage on our schools. I could see the tears through those text messages. It was then that I resolved I should really go around and see those damages for myself. If my trek to my parents place was like a Death March, the visit

to every school was like getting into a war zone. The scenes and sights on the highway were all grim, desolate and dreary. Each school had its own story of survival, of property and lives lost. The first time I went around, I could not go any further than 20 kilometers from my place. All I felt was heaviness and pain. At 4:30pm, darkness was about to set in. And with no electricity, it was more advisable to go home. I have not been to all schools in the Archdiocese. I am still handicapped by this lack of the right vehicle for my mobility. But car or no car I need to make an ocular survey. Never has my work as superintendent been needed as this time. In one of my visits, one school head exclaimed how empowering it was to see the superintendent in their campus. That comment was replicated in some of the schools that I have been to. All the more should I go around this time when classes have resumed, when there is a need to talk not just to the school heads, but to the teachers and students as well, to hear their stories, to offer some help, to minister to them with my presence. As a superintendent, and in the name of the bishop, I am an overseer of our catholic schools; as an educator, I am a care-giver. Yet, during this Yolanda event, I have felt I have been more of a wounded healer. Yolanda experience made me more united with my fellow care-givers, not as one offering my care and service, but one undergoing the same suffering and pain. These have been times when I went beyond my professional role as minister; when l was vulnerable, open as a fellow

human being, a fellow victim, a fellow survivor. I have been a suffering minister to a suffering people. I have my own story, and this story when told to others, have been uplifting their spirit, and offering them hope. Its true, I have been a suffering-tendent. Superintendents and educators in these areas also need accompaniment. I may not have an exact model and method of an accompaniment module, but we need a ministry that recognizes our own Yolanda stories, our pains, our wounds in the image of Christ. It is an accompaniment where the wounds of these care-givers, these ministers, these overseers can at the same be sources of healing. Conclusion: The Eye6 I have been delving on the chaos that has befallen on my province, my city, my archdiocese. We cannot remain on that mode. There has to have a movement from chaos to cosmos. The appearance of the storm as seen through a satellite was a picture of the vast clouds and a striking eye in the middle. Needless to say, that huge white part was such a destructive force. The eye was a picturein fact, an atmosphereof calm, peace and extraordinary stillness as the typhoon passed by. One cannot help but make an analogy or even feel the presence of the Spirit. Last November 8, 2013, we encountered nature at its fiercest; on the other hand, we now see all the more its creative force. Talk about the primordial condition of creation. That eye was Gods, where there is calm, peace and infinitesimal serenity. Yolanda lashed us with winds

howling and rains going into frenzy. But after five hours of angry winds and raging waters, Yolanda quieted down. Friday night was pitch black: no light, no water, no telephone or mobile connection. We in the rectory prayed the rosary together and there saw that even in darkness, there was peace. The Sunday masses we had after the storm were celebrated in all quiet solemnity. It was a gathering of people that had a deep sense of gratitude for having been spared the horrors of the storm surge, even as it was an occasion to be silent, to pray for those who perished, for those who suffered. We prayed as one. HopePope Benedict XVI reminded us of this virtue during his papacy. His encyclical, Spe Salvi was written with the premise that in our age of information and technology, faith has been replaced with faith in progress and technology, provoking a crisis of Christian hope. Some, he said, have placed their hope in the belief that man could be redeemed through science, but science can destroy the world, unless it is guided by religious values. Anyone who does not know God is ultimately without hope. Hope sustains life.7 The first few days after Yolanda were stories of lawlessness, terror and confusion. Now there are signs of hope. The trees have started greening, the streets are now cleared, stores and shops have opened. Those employed in agencies have resumed work. The hospitals are now in operation. I hear the sounds of carpentry tools already engaged in building and repair. The schools have resumed classes. Like the birds a-chirping,

the children are now in their usual puerile noises. They are celebrations of lives spared, lives saved, lives keen to leave the horrors of the storm behind and raring to live beyond Yolanda. There is hope. In many of the pueblos in Mexico, El Ojo de Dios (Eye of God) is woven with yarn and wood. It is seen as a sign of blessing, and is presented as a gift to bless a home. It is symbolic of the power of seeing and understanding that which is unknown and unknowable. It is still unknown to us what it is that will emerge in Leyte after Yolanda. It is beyond my reach to estimate what kind of a church, the Archdiocese of Palo now on her 76th year, will emerge after the storm surge. Neither do I have in mind what kind of schools will the Archdiocese have after going through the horrors of this storm. Nonetheless, I prefer to ReView this eye. Better, to look right into the eye. The eye of the storm is Gods: calm, peaceful, serene, like Jesus peacefully at rest on the boat in the midst of a storm at sea. When he woke up, his voice sprang from the bark and pierced through the angry winds: Be quiet! The Word spoke, and the winds obeyed. To the disciples, it was a lesson of faith. In his first encyclical Lumen Fidei8 Pope Francis teaches us that faith does not answer every question, but provides a lamp to help us navigate through the darkness and the presence of God. Here we seek Gods blessing and providence. Here we offer hope to our children and youth. Here we move from chaos to cosmos. God is our Superintendent, the Overseer of all things visible

and invisible. He, who revealed the mysteries of the Kingdom of God to his first disciples, will finally put those puzzle pieces together to give meaning to all these destruction. In the midst of devastation there rose the more powerful forces of the Spiritsacrifice, generosity, compassion, love. Beyond the staggering destruction we are now seeing challenges, the opportunity for renewal and transformation. There is resurrection. This is our storywracked with pain, replete with hope.
(Endnotes) 1 This is a condensed version of the paper the author delivered during the 2014 Mid-Year Assembly of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines Superintendents Commission (CEAP Sup-Com) at the Forest Lodge Hotel, Camp John Hay, Baguio City on February 4, 2014. The author, a priest of the Archdiocese of Palo, is at present the Superintendent of Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Palo. He is at the same time the parish priest of the Our Lady of Lourdes Church, V&G Subdivision, Tacloban City. 2 The super-typhoon also hit parts of Eastern Samar, Capiz, Cebu and Palawan. 3 The author, his parents (Retired Judge and Mrs. Briccio Aguilos) and his youngest brother (Robert Francis) were interviewed by celebrity host Boy Abunda on November 20, 2013. The episode was telecast on December 1, 2013 in the latters midnight show, Bottomline. 4 MAPSA stands for Manila Archdiocese Parochial Schools Association. 5 This paragraph is culled from the superintendents assessment report on the typhoon. The author acknowledges the points raised by Rev. Virgilio Caete, director of NSDRPS of Dulag, Leyte. 6 The author gratefully acknowledges the help of Msgr. Alex Opiniano, parish priest of Sto. Nio Church, Tacloban City, in articulating this part of the paper. 7 BENEDICT XVI, Enc. Spes Salvi nn. 8 FRANCIS, Enc. Lumen Fidei, nn.

Moral Assessment

Technical Assessment

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 5

March 3 - 16, 2014

Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary

Poor Below average Average Above average E xcellent TITLE: Starting over again DIRECTOR: Olivia Lamasan LEAD CAST: Piolo Pascual, Toni Gonzaga, Iza Calzado SCREENWRITER: Carmi Raymundo, Olivia Lamasan PRODUCER: ABS CBN MUSICAL DIRECTOR: GENRE: Romance/Drama/ Comedy DISTRIBUTOR: Star Cinema LOCATION: Philippines RUNNING TIME: 140 minutes TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: MORAL ASSESSMENT: MTRCB RATING: PG CINEMA RATING: A14

Architecture student si Ginny Gonzales (Toni Gonzaga) at patay na patay siya sa history professor na si Marco Villanueva (Piolo Pascual). Sa simula, hindi pinapansin ni Sir Marco ang panliligaw ni Ginny pero nahulog din ang loob ng professor bago magtapos sa kolehiyo ang dalaga. Magkasama silang bumuo ng kanilang mga pangarap hanggang bigla na lang umalis si Ginny. Iniwan niya si Marco na walang sinasabing dahilan at nagpunta sa Barcelona para mag-aral. Makalipas ng apat na taon, napukaw muli ang puso ni Ginny nang makatanggap ng post-dated email mula kay Marco. May pag-asa pa kaya silang magkabalikan ngayong si Patty de Guia (Iza Calzado) na ang kasintahan ni Marco? Dahil mula sa direksiyon ni Olivia Lamasan ang romantic comedy na Starting Over Again, umasa kami na hindi formulaic ang dating nito. Kadalasan kasi, unang eksena pa lang o sa trailer pa lang ay alam mo na rin ang huling eksena. Hindi naman kami nabigo. Kahit na sa simula ay katulad ito ng mga nakasanayan na nating kuwento, iba ang ending at pati na rin ang mga characters. Mahusay ang pagganap ng mga lead stars, lalo na si Piolo Pascual. Ipinakita ni Toni Gonzaga na hindi lang siya pang-comedy (kahit na minsan medyo sumobra na ito) kundi pang-drama din. Regal, tahimik at madamdamin namang isinakatuparan ni Iza Calzado ang kanyang papel. Maganda ang pagkabalanse ng kakenkoyan ni

Toni at kadramahan ni Piolo. Buhay na buhay ang dialogo at talaga namang naka-relate ang mga manonood sa kuwento, sa takbo ng istorya at mga characters nito. Nilapatan din ito ng musikang hinihingi ng eksena at may mga kakaibang anggulo na nagpatingkad sa location. Kaya lang, may mga usapan na sobrang haba mga detalyeng pwede na sanang iwanan sa matalinong pag-iisip ng manonood kaysa sabihin ito. May mga eksena rin na halatang hinuhuli ang kiliti ng manonood o naging dragging lalo na sa iyakan. Ang Starting Over Again ay kwentongbawatisananagmahal, nangarap, nagsikap, natakot, nagkamali, nasaktan, umasa, nagpatawad, nagbago, at muling nagmahal. Ipinapakita nito na kailangan ang pagpupunyagi upang maabot ang iyong mga pangarap at kadalasan hindi lang sakripisyo ang katapat nito. Minsan itinatanong natin, Magpapakatanga ba ako sa pag-ibig? Gagawin ko ba ang lahat, kahit isakripisyo ko ang sarili at prinsipyo, para sa mahal ko? Pero madalas, hindi na natin ito tinatanong; nagpapadala na lang tayo sa damdamin. Ipinapakita rin ng Starting Over Again na ang pag-ibig ay mas malalim kaysa sa kilig moments, na kailangang maging handa sa pag-aasawa, na hindi ito minamadali o pwedeng pwersahin. Na kahit ano pa ang nararamdaman mo, tunay ang pag-ibig kung nagpapatawad ka at nirerespeto mo ang iyong

sarili at ang iyong minamahal. Bahagi ng respeto ang katapatan at ang pagpili ng iyong ngayon at bukas. Na hanggang natatakot kang may kaagaw ka sa puso ng iyong minamahal ay hindi wagas ang iyong pag-ibig. Dahil sa pag-ibig ay walang pagkatakot, bagkus ang ganap na pag-ibig ay nagpapaalis ng takot. (1 Jn 4:18) Maraming aral, masaya at mahusay sana at ang pelikula kung mas nabigyan ng halaga ang pagkababae ni Ginny. Na ang kaganapan ng isang tao, babae man lalake, ay hindi nagsisimula sa iba kundi sa sariling pagtanggap at pagdiriwang ng pagkatao mo, ng realidad mo bilang anak ng Diyos. Maselan naman at hindi bastos ang mga eksena ng pre-marital sex pero hindi dahil ipinakitang katawatawa at bahagi lamang ng kwento eh ibig sabihin ay acceptable na ito.

Buhay San Miguel

Brothers Matias

STILL more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore, wrote the Roman author Pliny the Younger on the day after the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The events to which Pliny was an eyewitness are recreated in eye-popping 3-D in Pompeii (TriStar), an old-fashioned disaster movie chronicling the last days of the doomed Italian town on the Bay of Naples. Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil) directs a mash-up of Gladiator, Titanic and even The Towering Inferno in this imperial soap opera, a swords-and-sandals tale of forbidden love, revenge and a whole lotta lava. Its a cheesy, blood-soaked effort, redeemed only by some spectacular special effects once the volcano decides to blow its top.

The Lego Movie

ANY film bearing a trademark in its title, and populated by brand-name toys, is bound to fall under suspicion as nothing more than a vehicle for boosting sales of the eponymous product line. C o n s i d e r, t h e n , t h e s u r p r i s i n g accomplishment of directors and co-writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs). With their lively 3-D animated adventure The Lego Movie (Warner Bros.), they not only deliver a diverting eye-catcher for both young and old, they also manage to incorporate a surprisingly pointed satire of conformist consumerism into the proceedings. A willing victim of that modern trend, ordinary construction worker Emmet (voice of Chris Pratt) blindly follows the herd in his dull hometown of Bricksburg. He buys overpriced coffee, laughs on cue at a mindless, one-joke sitcom called Where Are My Pants? and loves the same upbeat pop tune du jour Everything Is Awesome as everybody else. Emmet also trusts implicitly in the local maestro of mediocrity, creativity-loathing CEO President Business (voice of Will Ferrell). Two closely related events are destined to

rock Emmets contentedly brain-dead world, however. One is his accidental acquisition of a fabled building block called the Piece of Resistance. The other is his encounter with tough but fetching underground activist Wyldstyle (voice of Elizabeth Banks), a nonconformist par excellence for whom he instantly falls. Based on his possession of the Piece of Resistance, for which she herself has been searching, Wyldstyle is convinced that Emmet is a prophesied hero called The Special. His destiny, accordingly, is to lead a crusade against President Business. Unbeknownst to the public, behind the scenes this evil would-be tyrant prefers the title Lord Business, and he has a scheme on foot to control the world, and purge it of all originality, using a secret weapon. Though convinced that a mistake has been made his total lack of the necessary qualifications soon has Wyldstyle herself expressing doubts about him Emmet somewhat reluctantly agrees to do his best. Joining Emmet and Wyldstyle in their struggle to topple the aspiring dictator is a ragtag team of fighters that includes Wyldstyles self-centered boyfriend, Batman (voice of Will Arnett), and Vitruvius (voice of Morgan Freeman), the pixilated mystic

who predicted the arrival of The Special in the first place. Opposing them is Lord Business principal minion, Bad Cop-Good Cop (voice of Liam Neeson). As his name might suggest, this police officer is both comically schizophrenic and genuinely torn between the positive and negative poles of his own personality. Colorful and fast-paced, The Lego Movie sails along toward a format-shifting conclusion that adds another asset to the rich mix: a touching sequence promoting family bonds over selfishness. Along the way, ambiguous use is made of the phrase, the man upstairs. Some may interpret this repeated reference as suggesting that God himself or perhaps religion is yet another source of imposed order against which the characters ought to rebel. But those disposed to resist such a reading are given an out when the words receive a quite literal fulfillment close to the movies wrap-up. The film contains cartoon mayhem, some peril and a bit of mild scatological humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (John Mulderig/Catholic News Service)


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Milo (Kit Harington), a slave-turned-gladiator, is brought to Pompeii to star in the arena. He harbors a deep hatred for the Roman Empire and its wicked rulers. Thats because one such leader, a senator named Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland), led a campaign of genocide which killed Milos parents when he was a boy and cast him into slavery. Milo forges an alliance with veteran fighter and resident sage Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Together they hatch a plan to obtain their freedom. In the meantime, the volcano next door is rumbling, shaking the ground and rattling nerves. Is this normal? Milo asks. It is the mountain. It reminds us that it is there, says Atticus. The earth really moves when Milo meets the comely Cassia (Emily Browning), privileged daughter of a wealthy merchant (Jared Harris). Cassia dislikes the Roman elite, too, especially Corvus, who arrives in Pompeii and claims her for his bride. Apart from being handy with a sword, Milo is also a horse whisperer. No sooner does he calm Cassias beloved white steed then the two of them cast discretion to the wind and gallop off into the countryside. Not so fast, as Milos still a slave and expected to fight. Corvus targets his rival for Cassias affections for death. The climactic swordfight is interrupted when Vesuvius roars to life and all heck breaks loose. Its every Pompeian, free or not, for himself as fire and ash rain down on the town, a tsunami is spawned, and Milo makes a desperate dash to rescue Cassia. The film contains much gory violence and a few brief sexual images. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (Joseph McAleer/Catholic News Service)


The Cross

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 5

March 3 - 16, 2014

Hilario G. Davide, Jr.

The Cross
Ma. Theresa G. Curia

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

Chairmans Message
MAY I take this opportunity to congratulate the 37th Fr. George J. Willmann Family Service Awardees. This indeed is a distinct honor that recognizes your commitment to the ideals of fraternal service and your exemplary diligence. But while we glory in the fact that you have achieved these laurels, allow me to invite you to transcend to a beautiful realization that your success is actually translated into concrete benefits that KCFAPI extends to its members and to the happy beneficiaries of its foundations, such as the priests, the seminarians and collegiate scholars and the Church through the CBCPand, more significantly of course, to the poor and to the victims of calamities. With that in mind, I wish now to turn my attention to the 40-day Season of Lent that opened with the liturgy of the Ash Wednesdaywhich is right at the very core of the principles of the Knights of Columbus and of our being Christians. The reason is, it is only when we do works of charity and find ourselves in solidarity with the poor and the needy that our acts of penance and self denial attain a deeper Christian meaning rather than just empty and isolated acts of religiosity. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, for instance, in his pastoral message for Ash Wednesday this year said that the Season of Lent is an opportune time to live charitably while abandoning sinful acts and habits: To live charitably means carrying the burdens of the weakest and poorest among us, to be in solidarity with them. The CBCP through its president, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, opened its Lenten Message with As we begin this Lenten Season in the Year of the Laity, we invite you, our brothers and sisters, to reflect on poverty, particularly the types that contradict Gods Kingdom as well as those other types that promote and establish the Kingdom. Pope Francis takes the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (2 Cor 8:9) as his inspiration in his 2014 Lenten Message. He exhorts us to bear witness to all those who live in material, moral and spiritual destitutionwe would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt. Vivat Iesus! Congratulations to all our 37th Fr. George J. Willmann Family Service Awardees. You deserve your awards!!! Why do we give importance to a day like this? What is an award for? The award is an honor that we give to persons who have excelled in their fields of endeavours. We give recognition to the talents they manifested and the hard efforts they have exerted to accomplish their goals. Actually, the ones who enjoy their awards most, the ones who are most surprised are those who were not merely working for the award. Of course we all want to be awarded, but these people, with or without the awards were surely those who enjoyed working, serving, being with people, doing things right. Am I correct? And I think it is also true for

all of us that if we search our hearts.. really... we realize that righteousness, honesty, doing the correct things, doing our best efficiently and effectively, doing what we are supposed to do ....... these are our first rewards. But because we are given these awards we also want to be honest and admit that we worked hard for them. Some of us made the nights into days and burnt a lot of energies, brain cells and patience and a lot of fuel too in order to get the best results. But at night when we say thanks to God for what we have accomplished, what silently creeps into our consciousness is this: God has given us the opportunity, the health, the gift, the talent to do what we did. It was not just me, my efforts, my galing. Indeed, everything that happens to us is a gift. Everything is grace. It feels good to be able to do our best, reach our full potential, know that we have contributed our share in making things better, at least for our Association and our families. Even before this awards night, something within us was already burning. The feeling that we did justice to the gifts God has given us is already like winning. We did not squander our gifts. We did not just bury our talents. The award, more than merely glorifying us, is also a humbling reality. Why me? Why not my neighbour? Of course, we are happy to receive the trophy, peoples recognition of the good things we have contributed, the envelope and all the other things that go with them. But the real prayer is, similar to what our parish priest always says at the mass: To God be the glory!!!!! Perhaps we can tell our AWARDEES now: In you, the generosity of God and your responsible response have met. Gods gifts and your faithful and creative use of those gifts have beautifully merged to create YOU. And as we glorify God because of the gifts and the awards, we also become the glory of God because we show forth what responding to His gifts can do for us, for others, for our Association and for our families. So we quote again: The glory of God is the human person fully alive, fully responding to the gifts, achieving, giving, serving. Alleluia. May we all learn to be grateful, to share our gifts and be at the service of the greater community. May your tribe increase!!!

Michael P. Cabra

My Brothers Keeper

Committed Men of KCFAPI

Come March 7, 2014 we will be witnessing once again the Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Annual Family Service Awards. It is the most awaited evening in KCFAPI as the Association honors the brave men and women who have consistently committed to their covenant as Fraternal Counselors and Area Managers for the year 2013. The awarding will be held at Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City, Mindanao. For 2013, fifty-nine (59) Fraternal Counselors and twelve (12) Area Managers will be recognized for their hard work during the past year. All awardees and their spouses will be rewarded by KCFAPI with 3 days and 2 nights all expense paid out-of-town trip. Our 2013 Area Manager of the Year, Bro. Conrado S. Dator, Jr., also known as Bro. Jun handles the South Luzon area, which is composed of the provinces of Batangas, Laguna and Quezon. He is happily married to Sis. Escolastica for twenty five (25) years and is blessed with two children, John Kurt, age 24 and Camille, age 20. As KC State Officer, he has been appointed the following positions: Insurance Promotion Chairman, Reports and Award Chairman, Youth Director Chairman and at present, the State Recruitment Chairman. Among the major awards he received from KCFAPI were as AM Runner-up of the Year in 2000 and 2008. More importantly, Bro. Jun was a four-time AM of the Year in 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2010. Joining him this coming annual awards night are his seven (7) gallant Fraternal Counselors and their spouses who were also successful in proving their worth as fraternal service providers of their respective councils. Our 2013 Fraternal Counselor of the Year, is none-other-than Bro. Rodante Sultan who is also the previous years FC of the Year awardee. He is known by many as Bro. Rodan and he is the pride of the Eastern Visayas group under the leadership of Area Manager Bro. Eldito Nabong. He was born to Sister Dolores and Bro. Antonio Sultan, Jr. who is also a former Fraternal Counselor himself and a consistent FC awardee during his time. He grew up in Catarman, Samar where he finished his PhD in Educational Management at the University of Eastern Philippines. Prior to this, he earned his Masters degree in Psychology from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and Masters in Education from the Annunciation College in Sorsogon, City. Last year, while doing his rounds in promoting fraternal service in his area, he met a motorcycle accident which rendered him disabled for more than three (3) months. Despite the accident, he was still able to attain the 2013 FC of the Year award. Just like Brothers Jun and Rodan, there are still other committed brother knights in KCFAPI and each has his own story to tell. But one thing is common, each of them has the same amount of zeal in providing fraternal benefits service to all brother knights and their respective families.

Arsenio Isidro G. Yap

Presidents Message

IN any institution or society, a set of standards is established to determine which are acceptable for the greater majority. A standard of measurement, a standard of time, a standard of behavior, a standard of living, a standard of operations, a standard of accomplishments and the like are just among the many we need to determine what and which will govern our lives and relationship with each other. Many a times, a set of laws and or rules are employed to keep the standards to its original intent. When a particular standard is exceeded beyond what is normal, recognition is in order and thus the person, entity or institution is awarded a standard of excellence with a plaque, trophy, medal or certificate. The Order of the Knights of Columbus also has different standards to measure and to keep track of the performance of the different units of its organization. The councils are given a set of goals to attain a Star, Double Star and Triple Star, the ultimate recognition that can be given to it. To qualify, a council must meet its membership quota, double it or treble it on top of performing or conducting four activities for each of the six activity groups that must be done within the Columbian Year. The council must also be able to submit all required report forms and financial statements of its operations. It must attain the McGivney Award for membership growth and also the Columbian Award for the service program activities before it could qualify for the Star, Double Star and Triple Star Award. The District Deputies are given a similar set of goals in order to qualify for the Star District Award. The Jurisdictions are given different goals. Membership growth, new council development, reactivation of suspended councils, financial reports, activity reports, organizing parish round tables and insurance promotions must be met to attain or be among the Circle of Honor Awardees or better yet the Pinnacle Award of the Supreme Knight. Even the Supreme Council imposes upon itself a set of goals to gauge its overall performance. It must be able to justify its tax free status with the report forms of the councils, districts and jurisdictions. These must be submitted on time on top of acceptable overall membership growth. It must also be able to perform millions of man-hour services through volunteerism of its members. The councils overall contributions, donations and quantified value of their services for charitable causes must likewise be submitted. This is one way of saying that our organization is still relevant and effective to the needs of the times and the needs of our respective parishes. KCFAPI also sets its goals to be able to meet the needs of its growing social concerns. Its growth in sales is very necessary to address the financial requirements of all its undertakings. One of the best tools KCFAPI employed is to recognize the men and women who had helped the Association attain its sales targets. The Fraternal Counselors and Area Managers who had met if not exceeded their targets will be recognized and a Fraternal Counselor and Area Manager of the year will be proclaimed. However, most awardees do not fully understand the meaning of the recognition accorded them. The Grand Knights of a Star, Double Star or even Triple Star Council, the District Deputies of a Star District, the State Deputies of a Circle of Honor or Pinnacle Awardees of the Supreme Knight and the Fraternal Counselors and Area Managers of KCFAPI all fail to fully grasp the meaning of their awards. It is not an individual achievement but a collective effort to attain the most important of all goals, the goal of the Order and of KCFAPI. Awardees should look at the picture as a whole rather than take stock of what they had accomplished. The individuals achievement is meaningless if the Order and KCFAPI fail to achieve their objectives. We must understand that we have set the bar of standards higher and we must admit that it has corresponding responsibilities. One thing I would ask each and every awardee, never stop to help the Order and KCFAPI attain their goal by being responsible for the whole rather than for oneself only. Congratulations and Vivat Jesus!

Angelito A. Bala

Last Part of a series of discussions regarding KCFAPIs newest product, the KC Health Guard Plus Plan
Plan Benefits (Hospital Surgical Cash Benefit) KCFAPI will pay the As sured the Hospital Surgical Cash Benefit for each covered operation for the charge made to the Assured by a physician or medical doctor or hospital in connection with each surgical procedure performed on the Assured and the benefit shall be determined in accordance with the applicable Schedule of Surgical Operations, provided herewith, and the amount of the actual charge made by a physician or medical doctor or hospital including medications but shall not exceed the Maximum Hospital Surgical Cash Benefit per Benefit Certificate year, as specified on the front page of this Benefit Certificate, Provided, that due proof is received by KCFAPI that the surgery occurred in a hospital for the treatment of disease or injury and which is prescribed by a physician or medical doctor; Provided, that the hospital confinement must not be less than eighteen (18) hours as a resident patient for the treatment of sickness or injury and which is prescribed by a physician or medical doctor; Provided, further, that the Hospital Cash Benefit is available; Provided, finally, that the total Maximum Hospital Surgical Cash Benefit from all other in-force Benefit Certificates with Hospital Surgical Cash Benefit covering the Assured during his lifetime shall not exceed Fifty Thousand (P50,000) pesos; and that such hospital confinement due to surgery occurred while this Benefit Certificate is in full force and effect and is not among the exclusions specified below. If more than one surgical procedure is performed during the same operative session, the highest percentage of Maximum Hospital Surgical Cash Benefit applicable to such procedures will be the only amount payable for all procedures performed. The total benefit that shall be payable for all procedures performed at the same operative session shall not exceed the Maximum Hospital Surgical Cash Benefit. For any operation not listed in the Schedule of Surgical Procedures, KCFAPI will pay an amount based on a list of surgical procedure of comparable severity or gravity as determined by KCFAPI unless payment for such operation is expressly excepted in the Schedule or by provisions of this Benefit Certificate. Notes: The Hospital Surgical Cash Benefit provision limits hospitalization claims to hospital confinements that require surgery, are medically necessary, at least eighteen (18) hours of continuous confinement from time of hospital admission, actual daily charges reimbursable up to daily limit as specified in the contract and limited to maximum surgical benefit printed in the first page of the contract per certificate year and that the hospital cash benefit has not been exhausted.
Hospital Surgical Hospital Cash Benefit (HCB) Cash Benefit (HSCB) Fully exhausted Not fully exhausted Fully exhausted Not fully exhausted No HSCB, No HCB No HSCB, HCB payable

No HSCB benefit, No HSCB payable, HCB HCB payable

The table above shows that the Hospital Surgical Cash Benefit is payable only when the HSCB is available (has not reached the maximum amount) AND the Hospital Cash Benefit is likewise available in a given BC year. The comments No HSCB or No HCB means that the granting of the benefit is temporarily suspended and may be resumed in the next benefit certificate year. Hospitalization benefits not availed of in a given BC year are not carried over to the next BC year and are therefore forfeited. TERMINATION This Benefit Certificate will terminate automatically when and if: 1. The Benefit Certificate is surrendered for its Net Cash Value; 2. The contribution due to this Benefit Certificate remains unpaid beyond the grace period except as provided for under the Contribution Loan provision and Non-Forfeiture Option provision of the Benefit Certificate; 3. The Benefit Certificate has reached its maturity date or termination date; The following benefits listed hereunder will terminate au-

tomatically and independently prior to the termination date without affecting the other benefits of this Benefit Certificate if the benefits aggregate limit of liability has been paid: 1. The Hospital Cash Benefit will terminate if the Lifetime Maximum Hospital Cash Benefit has been paid. 2. The Hospital Intensive Care Cash Benefit will terminate if the Lifetime Maximum Hospital Intensive Care Cash Benefit has been paid. 3. The Hospital Surgical Cash Benefit will terminate if the Lifetime Maximum Hospital Surgical Cash Benefit has been paid. The termination of the Benefit(s) of this Benefit Certificate shall not prejudice any claim(s) arising prior to such termination. Notes: This provision informs the Assured of the conditions that will lead to the termination or non payment/delivery of benefits. The first three details the specific conditions. The last three would refer only to specific benefits. For instance, the Hospital Cash
KC Health Guard / C3

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

The Cross


Faith and Charity

We are called, especially during Lent, to be renewed in faith and to receive and share the love of God
By Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori
THE season of Lent will begin Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13. Experience teaches us that we can begin this season of repentance with many good intentions that soon fall by the wayside. Resolutions to pray more, fast or eliminate bad habits easily fade amid the wear and tear of our daily routine. As Lent approaches, we might be asking ourselves, Will this year be different? In this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI has invited us to observe the season of Lent in a way that will make a fundamental difference in our lives. He has asked us to reflect on the relationship between faith and charity, on how faith opens the door of our hearts to Gods love for us. When we truly believe that God is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8) and that God loves us more than we could ever ask or imagine, then we rediscover our calling to be men and women of true and authentic charity.
KC Healthguard Plus / C2

A living faith Many people think of faith as belief in a set of unproven and abstract ideas and arbitrary rules, a kind of impersonal belief system that more or less guides their lives. Others think it doesnt matter much what they believe so long as they are nice to those around them, and for that reason they do not seriously fulfill their obligation to be well-formed in the faith. However, the Christian faith that we are called to profess is neither simply a personal philosophy of life nor a feeling about God and others. It is something much more. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit given to us in the sacrament of baptism that enables us to accept as true and life-giving all that God has revealed and teaches us in and through the Church. We must daily invest our whole selves in this gift of faith, through which we embrace the truth that God is love. Through faith, we are caught up in the merciful and redeeming love which Gods Son, Jesus Christ, communicated to the

world by his life, death and resurrection. Through faith, we accept the merciful love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Lent calls us to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord. During this time of grace, many in our parishes are making final preparations for the sacrament of baptism and entry into the Church at Easter. Those of us already baptized are called during Lent to rediscover the gift of faith so that at Easter we can sincerely reaffirm our baptismal promises to reject sin and the attraction of evil, and to profess our faith in God and in the Church. The elements of a good Lenten observance remain the same: repentance of our sins by making a good and complete confession; forgiveness of those who have harmed or offended us; sincere efforts to pray better and more often; a resolve to deny ourselves, to forego wants and to manifest our need for God and his mercy; and a commitment to serve those in need, including some form of hands-on charity.

Our faith becomes more focused and alive when we pray, repent and extend ourselves in charity. We can then better recognize how much God loves us. We come to see Jesus not merely as a figure of history, but as alive and real, as the most important person in our lives. We grasp that he lived and died for our sake, because he loves us deeply and personally. As the gift of faith comes alive and expands, we can never be nonchalant about coming to Mass. After all, the sacrament of faith, baptism, continually leads us to the sacrament of charity, the Eucharist. The witness of charity In his letter introducing the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict said, Only through believing, then, does faith grow and become stronger; there is no other possibility for possessing certitude with regard to ones life apart from self-abandonment, in a continuous crescendo, into the hands of a love that seems to grow constantly because it has its origin in God.

Once we have fallen in love with God through faith, then we will want to share the truth of his love and the love of his truth with those around us, including family members and friends who no longer practice the faith and those who seem to have no religious faith at all. The greatest act of charity we can offer others is to share with them the living Word of Godto help them discover the gift of faith that opens them up to the love of God in their lives. We help make the faith credible to others when they can see we are responding to Gods love by leading lives of charity. This is why prayer and study of the faith combined with self-denial and service are so important. We engage in these activities through the grace of God so that our hearts will be expanded, so that we will believe and love more sincerely, and so that we can share the Gospel with others more forthrightly. Charity, of course, is the first principle of the Knights of Columbus. Membership in the

Order offers innumerable opportunities for men and their families to strengthen their faith and serve those in need. We grow together in friendship with the Lord through our fraternity, and this friendship is lived and cultivated by our practice of charity. May this Lent, amid the Year of Faith, be a most fruitful season of grace for each of you and your families.

Benefit will no longer be available once total hospitalization benefits equivalent to ten times the annual contributions have been paid or granted over the ten year period. Unlike the provisions specified under the Hospital Cash Benefit, where the HCB can be replenished or made available the following BC year, once the total hospitalization benefit reaches the maximum, the HCB is discontinued permanently, regardless if the BC has not reached its termination date. PAYMENT OF BENEFITS All benefit claims will be payable to the Assured or to the Assureds beneficiary in case of Assureds death or total and permanent disability due to accident. All accrued hospitalization benefits will be paid after the discharge of the Assured from the hospital. After verification, evaluation and approval of the claim, hospitalization claim benefits will be due and payable not later than ninety (90) days from date of approval. All payments in this Benefit Certificate are in the legal tender of the Republic of the Philippines. All amounts payable by KCFAPI will be paid only in the Philippines. The Benefit Certificate will be governed by and interpreted according to the laws of the Philippines. It is understood and agreed that Article 1250 of the Civil Code of the Philippines (RA No. 386) which reads: In case an extraordinary inflation or deflation of the currency stipulated should supervene, the value of the currency at the time of establishment of the obligation shall be the basis of payment. shall not to apply in determining the extent of any liability of KCFAPI in this Benefit Certificate. Notes: As the amount of benefits and contributions are predetermined

at the onset or at the issuance of the benefit certificate the guaranteed payment of benefits are contingent on the happening of the event insured against it (death, hospitalization, disability or injury). To maintain equity or equilibrium, if benefits are adjusted based on actual value of the peso at the time of claim, the contributions should likewise be adjusted. This way, the adjustments cancel each other out. To maintain simplicity in administration, the law allows the payment of benefits and contributions based on a schedule illustrated in the face of the benefit certificate. IMPORTANT NOTICE The Insurance Commission, with offices in Manila, Cebu, and Davao, is the government office in charge of the enforcement of all laws relating to insurance and has supervision over mutual benefit association and intermediaries. It is ready at all times to assist the general public in matters pertaining to insurance. For any inquiries or complaints, please contact the Public Assistance and Mediation Division (PAMeD) of the Insurance Commission at 1071 United Nations Avenue, Manila with telephone numbers +632-5238461 to 70 and with email address The official website of the Insurance Commission is Notes: From time to time, the Insurance Commission makes announcements to the general public. Just like any other government agency, the IC has a public assistance division that caters to insurance related questions or complaints against any life insurer, mutual benefit associations included. To make it generally known, the IC now requires that benefit certificate contracts bear this public service or facility through various medium: by location, by telephone, and by electronic mail.

By: James B. Reuter, SJ Part V of Chapter One of the Gentle Warrior series
CHAPTER ONE -------------------Training
He thought about this, very often. Why would a mother wrap her baby in newspaper and put the baby in the trash can? The Sister in Grade Two said that in China, sometimes, they were very poor. They did not have enough to eat. They did not have a home. They did not have medicine, when they got sick. They could not go to a hospital, where doctors and nurses would take care of them. They could not go to school. They had no church. No Mass. No communion. Nothing. They needed help. And that is why the children put their nickels in the Mite Box. At the age of seven, George was very sure that a nickel box was not enough. These poor people in the missions they needed more than that. They needed clothing. They needed houses. They needed medicine. They needed schools. They needed God. He began to think about what it would be like to be a priest in the missions. Years later, when he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Saint Andrews in the Hudson, he ran a little survey among the young men who entered with him. He asked only one ques tion: How old were you, when you knew that you wanted to be a priest? The average age at which those who entered the seminary with him knew that they wanted to be a priest! This surprised George a little because he himself was seven years old when he began to think about becoming a missionary. In school, George likes mathematics. It appealed to him. It was so logical! It was so neat, and orderly! He always saved his homework in math until the end, because it was such a consolation to do it. He was good in math, good in English, good in religion. But he was not ambitious for honor cards, or for medals. This was due, at least in part, to his father. William Willmann spoke to his children quietly, simply, clearly. He said to George: If you get high grades in academics, that is good! But the important thing, in school, is not your marks. It is you.! How much you learn, how you grow. I am sending you to a Catholic School because I hope that by going to this school somehow you will come out a good boy, a good man! I hope that, in school, you will learn to concentrate, to study, to learn! This is the equipment that you need, in order to live in this world! (To be continued on the next issue.)

The Gentle Warrior

Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) is currently looking for the following professionals:
Audit Supervisor - Certified Public Accountant preferably with experience in an auditing firm - Experience in life insurance operations is an advantage - Highly analytical and results oriented Treasury Services and Corporate Planning Supervisor - With relevant experience in the field of cash management, investment in securities, bonds and financial instruments - Preferably with supervisory experience - Preferably an MBA graduate - Preferably a CPA Marketing Staff under KCFC Marketing Assistant - Must be a graduate of any 4-5 year business course Basic Qualifications Include: Proficient in MS Office, good oral and written communication skills, and good interpersonal skills. Interested? Kindly send your comprehensive resume thru email at or hand-carry resume with a 2x2 photo and Transcript of Records to KCFAPI bldg., Gen. Luna cor. Sta. Potenciana sts., Intramuros, Manila. You may also call us and look for Ms. Kristianne Pascual or Gladys Lovette Luis at 527-2223 loc. 201 - Graduate of any four (4) year course - Preferably with at least one (1) year experience gained from a reputable financing or leasing company - Analytical and discreet in handling confidential matters Actuarial Assistant - Bachelors degree in Mathematics or Statistics with concentration in Actuarial Science - At least six (6) months work experience in the different facets of actuarial functions for a life insurance company. Administrative Staff under KCFC - Graduate of any four (4) year course - Preferably with at least one (1) year experience gained from a reputable financing or leasing company


Congratulations to the winners of the 37th Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Annual Family Service Awards
criteria and increased the number of lives requirement, our awardees even doubled, said Gari San Sebastian, Vice President for Fraternal Benefits Group. He added that KCFAPI has elevated their standards for their sales force. Compared last year with 70 awardees, the number was trimmed down to 59 this year because of the adjustments made in terms of criteria and qualifications, San Sebastian cited. He furthered that KCFAPI has introduced more challenging yet rewarding approach to their fraternal counselors, who are basically the lifeblood of

The Cross

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines and its insurance arm, the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) congratulate the winners of the 37th Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Annual Family Service Awards. The awarding ceremony will be held on March 7, 2014 at the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City with the theme United as One Nation, One Mission as Protectors of Gods Gift. Ten years ago we only had between 25 to 30 awardees although we enhanced our

the Association. Some improvements in the incentive programs were likewise made to perk up the sales force. We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to our Fraternal Counselors and Area Managers. The sales force as a whole is the backbone of our Association and we thank them for doing their best especially the awardees of the prestigious Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Annual Family Service Awards and we look forward to seeing them and their families in the succeeding awarding ceremonies, San Sebastian concluded.
Knights of Columbus Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. and Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI)
Cordially invite you to a SEMINAR ON Issues, Problems and Solutions in Tax Audit and Investigations

Sign up now!
REGISTRATION FORM Topic 1 Issues, Problems and Solutions in Tax Audit & Investigation Topic 2 Latest Tax Issuances & Tax Developments __________________________________________________________ Company Name / Organization __________________________________________________________ Company Address __________________________________________________________ Tel. Numbers Fax Number __________________________________________________________ Website E-Mail Address __________________________________________________________ Contact Person Position Please reserve [ ] seats for the ff. participants: ________________________________________________________ Name Nick Name: Position ________________________________________________________ Mobile Number E-Mail Address (Please enumerate names if sending more than 1 participant.) SPECIFIC POINTS / TOPICS YOU WANT TO BE TAKEN-UP: ___________________________________________ ___________________________________________

and Latest Tax Issuances & Tax Developments

This Fund Raising Project is for the Cause of Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ, Hospitalization of Priests & Scholarships of Seminarians & Priests.
Speaker Profile Course Outline

March 14, 2014 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 3rd Floor KCFAPI Center, Gen. Luna cor. Sta. Potenciana Sts. Intramuros, Manila

About the Seminar

Attending this seminar will allow you to: 1. Be familiar with the various types of audits conducted by the BIR 2. Identify the various sources of discrepancies from the BIRs audits and assessments 3. Know the requirements of examiners in conducting tax audit and investigations 4. Recognize the methods used by the BIR in re-constructing a taxpayers income 5. Gain an in-depth knowledge on taxation while integrating the relevance of tax laws and latest tax issuances and tax developments Who Should Participate: CEO, COO, CFO, CPAs, Internal Auditors, General Managers, Risk Managers, Risk Compliance Officers, Managers, Supervisors Business owners Others who want to know about the latest Tax Issuances & Tax Developments


Holder of three (3) undergraduate degree Bachelor of Science in Forestry, Bachelor of Business Administration major in Accounting and Bachelor of Science in Commerce major in Tariff and Taxation. A certified Public Accountant and a Registered Forester. Holder of Master Degree of Science in Commerce major in Taxation and Master of Business Administration all graduated with the Highest Honors. He has three (3) Doctorate Degree, Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management, Doctor of Business Administration and Doctor of Public Administration all graduated with the highest honors. He was conferred fellow in Business Management and Fellow in TAX Research by the Royal Institute of Singapore. A former member of the Board of Accountancy. Forty Five years as a teacher, professor or lecturer in La Salle, PUP, MLQU and PSBA and Trinity College. He is a regular speaker/lecturer in tax seminar or tax forum in the Philippines and Abroad. A former CPA reviewer in taxation in PUP and La Salle and a former BAR reviewer in taxation in MLQU. A co-author of a book The National Internal Revenue Code of 1977 and had written 42 technical papers in taxation. A tax consultant and a Board of Trustee of prestigious non-stock non-profit organizations. Retired BIR Regional Director in Manila and had worked in the BIR for 43 years. He was sent by the BIR for training in United States, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore in the field of tax administration and tax audit and investigation. He was a consistent Outstanding Revenue District Officer and Regional Director in the Bureau of Internal Revenue. A Huwaran Pilipino Award in Government Service in 2006 given by Huwaran Pilipino Foundation. In PICPA he was awarded Most Outstanding CPA in Government 2002, Most Outstanding CPA in Professional Development 2000 PICPA, National Honorary Life Member in 2004. An Excellence Award in the Field of Accountancy in 2006 given by the Philippine Federation of Professional Association. A whos who in the world Marquis 1998 and whos who in the Asia Pacific Rim 2000. A First Runner Up International family of the Year, Knights of Columbus, New Heaven, Connecticut, USA, 1998. An Active member of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Knights of Columbus, Rotary Club of Metro Sta. Mesa, Pro-life Philippines and Lectors and Commentators Ministry. He received numerous awards both here and abroad from prestigious organizations or associations, and one of the most sought after TAX Speakers in the Philippines.

TOPIC 1: Issues, Problems and Solutions in Tax Audit & Investigations

Accreditation of tax agents Submission of the statement of management responsibility Violation in bookkeeping Mandatory enrollment and availment of the electronic filing payment system Use of cash register machines, point-of-sale and other business machines Compromise penalty Compliance requirements for taxpayers adopting PFRS Requisites for deductibility Improperly accumulated earnings Violations and remedies

TOPIC 2: Latest Tax Issuances & Tax Developments

Recent Revenue Memorandum Circular Recent BIR Rulings Recent Revenue Regulations on the ff: a. Transfer Pricing Guidelines b. Deductibility of Depreciation Expenses in purchase of vehicles c. Prescribing use of Electronic Official Register Books for Manufacturers of Tobacco Products & Regulated Raw Materials d. Requiring Tax-exempt Hospital to secure Revalidated Tax exemption Rulings/Cert. e. Prescribing Machine Identification No. (MIN) f. Prescribing the Policies & Guidelines in the Issuance of Tax Exemption Rulings to Qualified Non-stock, Non-profit Corporations & Associations g. Relative to the definition of Raw Sugar for VAT purposes h. Relative to taxation of privilege stores & imposing new rules i. Preservation of Books of Accts. & other Acctg records j. Prohibition on the Printing of Principal & supplementary receipts/invoices by Non-accredited/Unauthorized Printers

Payment Guideline
For your convenience, you may deposit your payment at any branches of the following banks: Knights of Columbus Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. Security Bank Acct. No. 0112-040019-001 Land Bank Acct. No. 0012108354 Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Phils., Inc. Banco De Oro Acct. No. 005120003312 You may send your reservation through fax no. 5272228 or e-mail at to ensure your seat reservation. The complete reservation form may also serve as your billing invoice. For inquiries, pls. contact Ms. Jo Panadero at Tel. Nos. 5272237 & 5272223-27 loc. 251. NOTE: Please fax your validated deposit slip with your company name, contact person and contact numbers. Once we receive your reservation, cancellations made seven (7) days before the learning event will be charged 20% of regular rate as administrative fee. Cancellations made a day before or on-show during the learning event will be charged 50% of regular rate as administrative fee. However, substitution may be made at any time before the learning event.

Register Now for only P1,500 (Seminar fee includes Certificate of attendance, Lunch, AM & PM Snacks & seminar materials)

Outpouring kindness gives strength and hope

By Allan Y. Amistoso
TACLOBAN CItY, LEYtE A 14-YEAR-OLD boy was saved from harm after he was hit by an improvised arrow in barangay 62-A, Sagkahan, Tacloban City. Justine Servano, was sitting with his friends along the street at the back of a bunkhouse when a group of teenagers attacked him. The arrow got stuck on the boys head. His aunt, Evelyn Benitez, immediately rushed to the hospital. Justine was successfully operated and is currently healing. However, his aunt needs support to pay the boys hospital bills. His aunt sought help through Radyo Abante, a humanitarian radio in Tacloban City. Little Ways to Help A 12-year-old girl who heard about Justines condition over the radio extended her help to the boys family. Angel Orias, a grade 6 student of Sto Nino Sped Center, told her mother to bring the money she kept in her piggy bank to the station. Wh e n s t a f f e r s o f R a d y o Abante counted her savings, it amounted to fifty pesos. According to Angels mother, it was her daughters savings from her daily allowance. This is a simple way of thanking God for giving me a second life and for keeping my whole family alive, the girl happily said. It was seemingly a matured comment from a 12-year-old girl. The next day, her classmates at school knew about what Angel did and told her that they were very proud of her grateful act. When I heard my classmates saying that they are proud of me, it gives me the opportunity to ask them to contribute something for Justine, Angel said in Waray-Waray. Angel then asked permission from her teacher and asked her classmates to help Justine. Everyone contributed to help. The money which was collected from the students amounted to four hundred sixty one pesos. After going home she asked her grand-mother to accompany her to Radyo Abante to personally hand over the money. In an interview, she said that after Yolanda she heard a lot of people died. I feel very sad when I heard these stories she said. Dire ko na gusto nga makabati pa nga may mamamatay pa kahuu Outpouring / D2

THIS suplement is a collection of stories from Typhoon Yolanda affected communities. Most stories and pictures are written and taken by media survivors of the typhoon. This supplement is an initiative of PECOJON The Peace and Conflict Journalism Network Philippines. (http:// For queries, contact

Reg'l newspaper back in EV

By Len Manriquez
MOrE than 100 days after Typhoon flattened and destroyed media houses in Eastern Visayas a regional bi-monthly publication is back to the region. San Juanico News published by the San Juanico Multi-media Productions delivered its come-back issue on February 27, 2014 in Tacloban City. I feel really happy and thankful that my newspaper is back editor-in-chief Fred Padernos said while happily scanning through the 8-paged newspaper. On that same day, the newspaper was circulated for free to the general public in Tacloban City, to government offices and the offices of humanitarian agencies. SJN also took off to Eastern Samar where another distribution took place in the market of Guiuan. Maupay ini makabasa kita han Waray-waray na balita a fish-vendor said after receiving a free copy. Through a memorandum of agreement with PECOJON-The Peace and Conflict Journalism Network Philippines, SJN is tailored to become the first ever community newspaper in Eastern Visayas.

DRIVER SWEETLOVER. Radyo Abante 98.7 FM anchor Leo Ladan interviews pedicab driver Rondio Baguilod in Calanipawan, Tacloban. While on his rest day, Baguilod heard the call for help for Justine and decided to go to the station and share a bit of his meager earning. LEN MANRIQUEZ/PECOJON

Tacloban: 100 days after

Forum on rehabilitation and reform held in Cebu

By Joy Cherry S. Quito
NEArLY three months after typhoon Yolanda hit and devastated several areas in the Visayas, thousands of people remain homeless despite efforts made by various government and non-government organizations. With the destruction of the typhoon, several aid and help were given to the affected communities but Visayas and the nation is still yearning for reform. One of the missing elements is the role of the people in the rehabilitation process, says a professor from a prestigious university. The people should be at the center of rehabilitation and should be involved every step of the way. There should be a mobilization and involvement of the people, said Dr. Rene Ofreneo, Professor XII and former dean of the school of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR) of the University of the Philippines. Ofreneo also pointed out that the people should not be mere objects of relief, charity and assistance but should be an instrument in the rebuilding process. At the community level, there should be a massive community plan which includes social and mind mapping, he added. A two-day conference dialogue on Rehabilitation and Reform: Rebuilding the Visayas, Rebuilding the Nation was attended by several peoples organizations (POs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) held in Cebu Business Hotel in Cebu City last February 12-13 2014. This activity aims to discuss not only the tragedy but how as a person, we can rise up to rebuild our communities. Our objective is to hear the voices of the people, said Arze Glipo, Integrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF) Executive Director. Major Challenge Based on researches, the Philippines placed third on the most vulnerable countries to disaster and climate change. Because of this, it is inevitable for the country to experience flooding every year, says a development planner. Climate change is now a reality. Developing countries are the most vulnerable and the least to address the negative impacts of climate change, said world known architect and development planner Architect Felino Jun Palafox. He cited the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Indian Ocean Tsunami in Sri Lanka, Bohol and Cebu earthquake, typhoon Ondoy, Habagat, and super typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. He also pointed out current u Forum / D3

MARKET. Economic activity in Tacloban City are slowly getting back on track.

By Jazmin Bonifacio
TACLOBAN CItY, LEYtE Febuary 16, 2014, a Sunday, was undoubtedly significant for Tacloban City. It marked the 100th day since a storm surge caused by typhoon Yolanda devoured the entire city last November 8. Up and down the severely hit coastal areas, communities and families gathered together to remember their loved ones. Priest chanted. Survivors prayed. Mothers hung colourful paper cranes for their lost

children. At precisely 9:30 a.m., everybody stopped and observed a minute of silence. That day, November 8, 2013, changed everything for them and the entire region. Typhoon Yolanda brought its wrath of devastation Tacloban City hadnt seen since then. The storm surge that followed engulfed the northeast and wiped out entire towns. Some 10,000 people believed to have died or missing. More or less 43,000 homes were completely and partially destroyed. The disaster crippled busi-

nesses, roads and infrastructure. Signs of progress Three months later, physical signs of progress were already visible. Much of the debris has been cleared away or at least organized into big piles. However, in the port city of Tacloban, many of the big ships carried inland by the surge had not yet been removed. Most of the evacuees have moved out of school rooms and into temporary shelters. The supply chain problems u Tacloban / D3

REBUILD. Residents rebuild their homes along the coast in Anibong district in Tacloban City but the government has reiterated the 40-meter no build zone in the coastal areas.


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014

Tulungan ang dapat-hindi gulangan

By Fred Padernos
NOvEmBEr 8, 2013, ito ang araw na di malilimutan ng lahat at ng buong mundo- ang araw kung kailan nanalasa ang bagyong Yolanda bitbit ang ubod ng lakas na hangin na umabot sa 378 kilometers per hour. Abot sa pangatlong palapag ng bahay o higit pa ang umakyat na tubig dagat na hinigop, itinulak sa lakas ng hangin, at ibinagsak sa lupa na dati di nababasa nga tubig kahit sa malalim na baha. Umabot ng isang milyon ang nasirang mga bahay, at 4.1 milyon ang mga taong apektado. Kalunos-lunos ang bumulaga na eksena sa lahat sa mga sumunod na oras sa mga lugar na tinamaan ng delubyo - magkakasamang nagkalat ang mga hayop at taong patay kahit saan man bumaling ng tingin- mga kalsadang di madaanan, kahit naglalakad lang, sa dami ng debri o basura na dala ng tubig, mga bahay at sasakyan na nakahambalang sa kalsada. Sira ang mga bahay at mga malalaking gusali kung kayat naituring ang Tacloban na dead city sa mga sumunod na lingo. Masama si Yolanda kung tutuusin- pero ginawa niyang patas ang lahat- walang mahirap- walang mayaman- ang dating may magagarang sasakyan ay nakitang naglalakad na rin kagaya nang mga wala sasakyan. Ang mas nakakalungkot, malawakang looting at pagnanakaw ang naganap sa buong siyudad ng Tacloban sa mga sumunod na arawmayaman at mahirap lahat nagsama-sama sa paglooting ng makakainisang kilos na ginawa para sa survival. Walang gamit ang pera sa mga sumunod na lingo kasi wala kang mabilhan ng kahit ano para makain. Ang mas nakakalungkot ng bumalik ang ekonomiya at kalakalan sa siyudad, maraming mga negosyante ang nagsamantala sa mga mamimili. Sobra sobrang halaga ang ipinatong sa presyo ng mga bilihin ayon sa mga mamimili- pero sabi ng mga nagnenegosyo, ito naman ay dahil madami rin silang binabayaran sa handling at transportation ng mga epektos. Ano man ang totoong dahilan, sila ang nakakaalam, pero dapat nating tandaan na sa panahon ng kalamidad, dapat tayo ay nagtutulungan at hindi naggugulangan upang maka ipon lang ng pera para sa sarili natin. Isipin din natin na lahat tayo nasalanta,nawalan ng kabuhayan, na kailangan ding mabuhay sa kakarampot na pera. Hindi tayo binagyo ng pera- kaya dapat ibalik natin sa normal o kaya babaan pa natin ang mga bilihin upang ito ay makaya ng mga apektadong mga kababayan natin na kapwa naghihirap at nawalan ng kabuhayan dahi sa bagyo. Imbes na gulangan natin ang kapwa biktima ng bagyo- di ba dapat tulungan natin sila-at ang bawat isa upang sama sama nating maibangon ang mahal nating bayan? Isipin mo ka abante- dapat abante tayo- hindi pa atras.

Children, our future leaders

By Allan Velarde
BAsEY, SAmAr - We believe that our children are our nations future leaders. Filipinos are known to be fighters and never turn their backs in whatever endeavor they meet in

q Outpouring

hope and strong determination to face the greatest challenge to finish schooling. Roads and bridges were heavily damaged after the typhoon and it greatly affected the everyday activities of the Eastern Visayas folks. But it never hindered the courage and strong will power of these school children to continue going to school. The long walk of muddy roads and the struggle of stepping

stop them from going to school to achieve their dreams. They believe that the journey to achieve their goals is patience, courage and strong determination. Waking up early in the morning getting ready for a long walk never mattered to them. They try their best to get a ride on that small boat to reach their schools. All that matter to these children is to continue their studies and achieve their dreams. A student was quoted saying after the storm is calm, after the calm we see a rainbow again. They strongly hold on to their belief that at the end of that rainbow they will see their hope to succeed.

DONATIONS. More residents drop-in at the Radyo Abante to give their donations, some passers by who were tuning in also dropped in to contribute.

man han Yolanda (I dont want to hear any news that people died after typhoon anymore), teary-eyed Angel said. Angel further said that what she and her classmates contributed is just a little amount compared to the needed money to pay Justine's hospital bill. The amount may be small but it is heartily given she claimed. Immediately after, Angel asked the listeners to donate something for Justine. How I wish I have a hundred of thousands in my pocket so that I could totally help Justine she said. Calling for help Justine and his two brothers are orphans. Their parents died of tuberculosis when Justine was just 10 years old. The couple General and Evelyn Benitez are the only ones taking care of the brothers this time. Justine was the subject of a fund raising campaign of Radyo Abante after his aunt went to the station to seek for possible financial help. Justine is safe from harm after a series of operations however he needs over 110,000 pesos to pay the hospital bills. Its seemed that our world stopped, Evelyn narrated. She didnt know where to get such huge amount. Evelyn was placed on air to sought help for her nephew, which resulted to the overwhelming response from its listeners. One of those is the 12-yearold Angel. Surprisingly it was an overwhelming situation. Upon hearing Justines story, the radio station was stormed by text, calls and personal visit from its listeners who responded to Evelyns appeal. Common folks such as trisikad drivers went to the station to donate for Justine. All the small acts of kindness generated such big help for the family. The station Manager, Fred Padernos said that he didnt expect such over-

whelming response from its listeners and was very thankful for what had happened. I do not really expect such wave of support because I know that everybody needs help for we are all victims of Typhoon Yolanda he said. Aside from the ten thousand pesos pledge of Director Nestor Ramos of DSWD regional office 8 thru the efforts of Radyo Abante, Padernos revealed that after almost a week of broadcasting Evelyn's the recorded appeal, the station were able to raise twenty four thousands, seven hundred twenty-three pesos (P24,723.00). The said amount was personally turned over by the station manager to Evelyn Benitez. Attack It was an afternoon on February 14 when Justine and his two other friends were sitting beside the street behind the bunkhouses constructed for the Yolanda Victims when four other teenagers arrived and attacked him. Without any reason, one of them suddenly kicked Justine on the chest which put the boy on his back. Justine revealed that while he was about to stand, one of the four teenagers drew an arrow and hit him on the head. As the teenagers fled to escape, he ran to their house and told his aunt what happened to him. He was immediately rushed to Tacloban City Hospital but was later transferred to Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center for his serious condition. However, the hospital didnt have a neuro-doctor to handle the case. To save the boys life, he was brought to Divine Word Hospital, a private hospital, where he was immediately attended without asking single a single cent from the family before the operation was made. It was a successful operation and the family was very happy with the development.

God be the center of our lives

Even the strong wind of the super typhoon nor the sudden rise of water couldnt stop Aling Rosings family in their traditional religious activities. After Yolandas rage, they were left homeless, all personal belongings were washed out and some were blown away. And it even took the life of her husband Mang Quintin leaving their two children to her. Typhoon Yolanda left a big scar in their hearts and they find it painful to recall what happened on that day of Nov. 8, 2013. In her eyes you will see her pain and sorrow how to live life without the head of the family. How would they face the long journey of their livelihoods restoration and how to pass through the tedious rail of lifes reality in the disasters aftermath? So many questions in their minds but one thing is certain to them. No matter what, God will always be in the center of their lives. Losing a love one is a very tragic moment to a family, but they believe things happened for a reason. They may have lost material things and even the precious life in the family but it will never stop them from loving and praising God almighty and Mama Mary. As they stand in front of the Lourdes image they still pray as one family, asking for guidance, strength and perseverance to face lifes present as they rebuild another chapter of a new beginning. Life may never be the same again but their strong faith in HIM will lead them to a better tomorrow and a brighter future as they entrust and offer all their words and deeds in Gods hands!

their day to day lives. Even if they fall many times, even if they will shed many tears, still they manage to stand up walk with grace head on and give their best smile. Despite of the devastation of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the fa ces of this young generation reflects their

on dilapidated bridges encouraged them to face the reality of the storms aftermath. For these children, nothing can

By Allan Velarde
TACLOBAN CItY - We use to hear the phrase, the family that prays together, stays together. q Tacloban that led to critical parts shortages for Tacloban auto and electronics stores are nearly resolved. But beyond the surface is anxiety and frustration among survivors facing an uncertain future. They are growing increasingly impatient with a government they describe as too slow and without direction. Tobias Yano, a fisherman in Brgy 88, Costa Brava, San Jose, wants to go back to his fishing livelihood.

But he could not get a fishing boat. I wonder if the government or any other organization would consider my problem, said Tobias. Tobias lost his wife and five of his six children. Another resident, Analiza Dela Cruz, lost her home in the storm surge and currently lives at a makeshift house in an evacuation center. She wants to rebuild her home but is stuck in limbo for the time being.

Many municipalities in the hardest-hit such as the city of Tacloban, Palo, and Tanauan have yet to draft reconstruction plans. At the scale of the disaster, the national governments slow response and quarrels among residents have delayed the rebuilding process. Regardless of politics, whats clear is that the road ahead will be long. And it will take at least five years or more to rebuild, but healing

the mental scars could take much longer. Such a power of destruction with many loved ones torn away without even so much as a goodbye. All of Tacloban shares in pain. A day which would always be remembered. But there would always be that hope that a beautiful flower can grow out of the mud of disaster bringing new light and hope to all those who survived.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014


Farming in Eastern Visayas a struggle

By Ricky J. Bautista
TACLOBAN CITY -- The farmers in the yolanda-affected communities are now struggling to recover from their farm livelihoods after the category 5 storm devastated more than six hundred thousand hecatres of farmlands three months ago. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the office is now facing a greater challenge helping the agriculture sector and food security back to normalcy. In response to the governments Department of Agriculture (DA) request for funding, the FAO is now underway on its intervention and rehabilitation projects to assist the rice and corn farmers, fishery and coconut farmers, upland agroforestry and backyard livestock production. Rajendra Aryal, FAO Representative in the Philippines said for the coconut industry alone, the category 5 storm flattened millions of trees in the Visayas particularly Eastern Visayas, the countrys second largest coconutproducing region. Coconut, most affected crop In Region VIII alone, an estimated 33 million coconut trees were damaged or destroyed affecting more than one million coconut-depending farmers. The Philippine Coconut Authority estimated its losses to be around $396 million. Coconut farmers are replanting, but what makes the situation so dire is that restoring livelihoods will take 6-8 years, the time required for coconut trees to become fully productive again, said Aryal. It is critical to develop alternative income sources for these small-scale farmers until their coconut trees become productive again. Crop diversification and intercropping can provide key access to income and restore selfsufficiency, building the resilience of communities to withstand future disasters. The FAO said that while coconuts are one of the most important crops in the Philippines and the country is the second largest coconut producer in the world, accounting for 26.6% of global production, coconut farmers are among the countrys povertystricken people, and some 60% of them live in poverty. Coconut farming is my main source of income, and when the typhoon hit I lost all my trees, Domingo Brivia, a small-scale coconut farmer from Leyte said. If I dont get some kind of support soon Ill have to borrow money, but the interest rates are (so) high, he added. But FAO assured Brivia and other farmers that help is now underway. They said coordi nation is now being made with the Philippine Coconut Authority, humanitarian partners and local organizations to develop a recovery plan for the coconut industry in Eastern Visayas. q Forum key issues in the country which include high poverty index, rapid urbanization, declining forest cover, citizen partnership and political will. What is to be addressed is onto how to convert corruption into good governance, criminality into peace and security, climate change into a safe environment, he added. international organizations, local NGOs and civil society organizations (CSOs); weak management of post-disaster impacts; weak implementation of agrarian, environmental and fishery laws. Political will? We need this. In the process of rehabilitation, there should be no corruption. No band aid solutions. Good planning and good governance are the number one factors that are needed, Palafox said. wanted to help. They want their corporate social responsibility funds to be put into use, Antonio said. He also added that the coordinating body of the government for post Yolanda efforts is moving towards transparency in order to engage donors to donate more. Antonio said that they are also starting to adopt Acehs post-reconstruction which has become a global model for disaster management. It was recalled that a horrific tsunami that slammed Aceh on December 26th, 2004 destroying more than 100,000 houses, public facilities, and businesses along 1,000km of the Aceh coastline, killed 170,000 people and displaced over 500,000. This will serve as a monitoring system which would build trust from private sectors and international donors where they will be able to know where there donations will go, Antonio added. The transparency model will monitor donations and rehabilitation activities in real time. However, Antonio said that the government are yet to start the implementation of major rehabilitation and reform because they are still in the planning stage. Mangrove Rehabilitation Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be implementing their P1 billion Mangrove and Beach Forest Development in disaster-affected areas. Included are the areas affected by typhoon Yolanda, Santi, Pablo, Odette, Sendong, Vinta and Labuyo; Bohol and Cebu earthquake and Zamboanga City siege. The mangrove project will cover the coastal line of the affected in areas which targets to be finished before the year ends. We are now preparing a program of work, meaning which areas should get the biggest slice on disaster-stricken areas should get the biggest slice with certain structural and environmental protection programs, said DENR 7 spokesperson Eddie Llamedo. A total length of 380 kilometers along the coastal line will be one of the targets of the mangrove project. These mangroves will serve as protection from the occurrence of storm surges, according to Demetrio Ignacio Jr., Undersecretary for Field Operations of DENR. He also pointed out that the project will be community-based where there would be an implementation of immediate cash for work program. More than 50 percent of the P1 billion will go to the wages of the people. We want the communities to be involved in the project. Hopefully six months from now, mangroves are starting to grow in those areas, Ignacio added. Resilient Communities For less than 24 hours, typhoon Yolanda cut a swath of destruction severely affecting areas in eastern central and western Visayas and the northern part of Palawan, which led to grave loss of life and massive damage to private and public assets. Based on the IRDF data, damage extent was estimated at P571 billion which includes infrastructure, agriculture, fishery, livestock, trade and industry, social sector and LGGU losses. The impact of typhoon Yolanda was most heavily felt by the economic and social sectors, which together sustained nearly 93 percent of total damage and loss. More than one million houses were damaged, leaving at least four million Filipinos displaced when super typhoon Yolanda hit several areas in Visayas and the northern part of Palawan last November 8, 2013. Series of rehabilitation programs have been planned be it long term or short term programs to help rebuild the lives of the affected communities. With this, there is a need to re-plan, remake, and rebuild disaster areas into safer, smarter, and sustainable communities, towns, and cities of the future, according to Palafox. Palafox said that in disasterprone areas, there should be a presence of 24/7 hospitals, evacuation centers, school facilities, public facilities and livelihood, employment and agriculturebased projects. He added that evacuation areas should be ten hectares and should include emergency water station, emergency food station, emergency shelters, emergency telecommunication command centers, emergency fire trucks, police and ambulance, emergency helipad, and a place of Worship. The people become more faithful even when calamities arise, Palafox added. He also recommended the construction of round, square or rectangular-shaped structures perpendicular or diagonal to the shoreline to slice off the wind. He also added that houses should be built above the highest floodline to prevent flood water from getting inside the houses during rainy seasons. A smart and sustainable city is one where an open government collaborates with engaged citizens to steward the citys asset for future generation, Palafox added. The two-day activity is a partnership among the Integrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF), Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat on Social Action (CBCP-NASSA), Foundation for Philippine Environment (FPE), and CCFD-Terre Solidaire. uted rice seedlings and fertilizers to affected rice farmers in Brgys. Tingib, Buscada and Can-abay, all in Basey, some 30-minute drive from Tacloban City. Norways foreign minister Borge Brende delivered some 1,914 bags of rice seedlings, with 40kg each bag, to Basey farmers last January 8. The Organization has provided around 44, 000 of the worst-affected farming households with rice seed and fertilizer to plant in time for the December-January planting season. This will yield enough to feed around 800, 000 people for one year. Aside from rice and coconut farming, the FAO warned that recovery efforts are also still needed in other sectors. Remote farming communities in upland areas who have received little or no humanitarian aid, fishers and coastal communities, and backyard livestock-keepers who lost their animals are all in urgent need of support. FAO has called for $38 million to support more than 128, 000 severely affected households in the Philippines and has so far received $12 million. We need to build on these achievements making sure that the good work carried out in the wake of the typhoon is not rolled back, said Aryal. He added: This requires continued and generous support from the donor community to ensure that affected farmers and fishers can restart their lives. FAOs work in the Philippines has been made possible with support from the Governments of Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), the United Nations' Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the general public, as well as with the mobilization of FAO's own emergency funding mechanisms.

MATCHSTICKS. Strong winds brought by Typhoon Yolanda toppled coconut trees to the ground causing damage of up to $396 million, the Philippine Coconut Authority said.

Rice farming needs continued support Meanwhile, rice farmers are also included in the DAs list of most affected in the agriculture sector. Around 63,234 hectares of rice crops in region VIII were destroyed by the typhoon. According to the governments damage and loss assessment and reconstruction assistance on Yolanda (RAY) plan, the typhoon struck between two planting seasons destroying ready to harvest, harvested and newly planted rice in 600,000 hectares of devastated farmlands. In Leyte, Irish Ambassador to the Philippines Joseph Hayes visited the town of Sta. Fe and had an interaction with the rice farmers in Brgy. Kabang-

kalan last January 30. Accompanied by FAO and DA key officials, the Irish envoy personally handed over sacks of 2, 900 sacks of rice seedlings and 2, 900 fertilizers to the affected farmers. Hayes said the Irish Aid funded project is now on-going. He said some $679,348 in aid were downloaded to FAOs account to implement the distribution of assistance to the Filipino farmers recover vastly from the catastrophe and about 75% of this amount were already delivered to the beneficiaries. In Ireland, you gave us the best nurses, doctors, among other best and honest workers (so) here we come

to also extend assistance to the Filipinos whom we considered our best friends, Hayes said. The project initially targeted 5,200 farming households, but has since been able to deliver 40kg bags of rice seed to 12, 293 affected farmers. FAO said that of the 80, 000 bags of rice seeds, around 930 bags were procured with the Irish fund. In total, the rice seed distributed so far with Irish Aid funds will yield 25,000 tons of milled rice, enough to feed over 169,000 people for a year, worth USD23 million in rice. In Samar, on the other hand, the government of Norway also visited the devastated farmlands and distrib-

Haiyan Beckons Acceptance

by: Carmela Ariza 7:33 am, 12 December 2013 I accept my own sense of helplessness Faced with so much destruction Pain and suffering I accept the ache in every muscle The agony of every pierced heart Struggling to make sense of what has happened I accept every single tear That makes its path down to the ground Where those who struggled to live have gone I accept the depth of the devastation The physical destruction The sorrow, the grief I accept every facet of the human struggle The petty minds, the harmful acts The looting, the loss of order I accept the sight of wasteland The piles of garbage sprawling across the land The dead, the debris, the rubble rolled into one I accept the ineptness The lack of preparedness The folly of confidence I accept the humanity of the leaders Even in my anger and frustration They are still learning, like children I accept the memory Painful it may be Nagging me day and night I accept the help Even the meager ones They are blessings perfectly timed I accept every facet of this life Compassion arising Wisdom hopefully overflowing

Transparency Usec. Danilo Antonio of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) said that the CONCERNS. A participant asks about agricultural administration is doing concerns during the Cebu forum. their best to CHARLIE SACEDA/PECOJON help typhoon The participants, who were Yolanda affected communities representatives from LGUs, to recover from their current NGOs, and POs, came up with situation. He added that they are closely an observation on the rehabilitation process in the different af- coordinating with different private sectors to focus support fected areas. Of which include the need on health, education, and livelito increase transparency in the hood which are the main areas rehab; weak coordination of of their focus. Before we already existed, all efforts of different government agencies at all levels, they (private sectors) already


CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 5

March 3 - 16, 2014

Panay people look after each other

By Joy Cherry Quito
FOr more than a month, a family sought shelter inside a fourwheeled passenger vehicle after strong winds blew their house down when typhoon Yolanda struck the province of Capiz last November 8 Leonilyn Buriel, a resident of Sitio Hinul-aban, barangay Lus-onan, together with family evacuated inside the multicab a night prior to the typhoon. Buriel said that staying inside the multicab was a lot safer rather than staying inside the house and was very difficult but they were left with no choice. "Pagbaskog sang hangin, ginanerbyos ko dayon kay nagkakalampag ang sin. Nasa loob kami ng sasakyan pagbagyo, buti naman sa awa ng Diyos nilipad ng hangin," Buriel, a mother of three kids, said. (When the wind blew stonger, I was really nervous because the iron sheets were torn away. We were inside the multicab during the typhoon. Fortunately, it was not taken away by the wind.) Along with her kids, they had to curl while sleeping in order to fit inside the vehicle. "Buong November pagkatapos ng bagyo, doon lang kami nagstay kay an amon balay ubos gid an iyang atop. Mahirap. Hindi ka makagalaw ng maayos kay maliit lang ang sasakyan. Ang duha nasa front seat. Kaming tatlo dito sa likod. Nakabaluktot lang gid para magkasya kami. Pag gabi, sobra gid ang lamig. Kaluoy gid sang mga anak ko," Buriel said. (We stayed for the whole month of November because our house was unroofed. It was really difficult. We could not move freely because of the small space inside the vehicle. Two persons would stay at the front seat while three of us were at the back. We would just curl to fit. At night, it was very cold. I really pitied my kids.) After a month, they were able to leave the passenger vehicle and stayed under a makeshift house. Buriel, currently works as a laundry woman to sustain her family's needs. According to Barangay Captain Jorgie Dice, it took three days before relief were able to reach the sitio. Consisting of 46 families, the entire sitio was flooded and took a week before the water eventually subsided. "Sang bagyo gutom gud kami diri, halos ara kami sa ibabaw sang amo mga balay. Parang mga manok na ara sa mga bubong," teary-eyed Dice said. (During the typhoon, the people here were very hungry. Most of us stayed on top of our houses like chickens because of flooding.) He added that in order to survive, people in their barangay helped one another and shared what they have. "Share share kami sang pagkaon. Kung sino may luto, doon kami kumakain," Dice said. (We shared what he had. Whoever has food, we go there to eat.) Loss of Livelihood Farming, which was the common livelihood of the people in the barangay, was greatly affected by the typhoon. However, families stayed despite the difficulties they faced. Dice said that prior to the typhoon, farmers planted twice but they were not able to harvest anything because of flooding. In order to survive, residents plant monggo and watermelon as their means of alternative livelihood. They would also sell eggs from ducks to the nearby barangays. Dice said that they could still not plant in their fields since they could not do irrigation because of the lack of power supply. We have already submitted a resolution requesting for the restoration of power lines to start the irrigation so we could plant again, Dice added. Act of Concern Dice said that help was able to reach their barangay through Bago Grande barangay Captain Rogelio Besorio. Bago Grande is one of the nearby barangays of barangay Lus-onan, which was also affected by the typhoon. However, Resorio said that he noticed that Lus-onan needed more help. Kami apektado din pero nakita ko na mas kailangan nila ang tulong dito (Our barangay was also affected but help is more needed here), Resorio said. Through the help of Resorio and Father Mark Granflor, Social Action Director of the Archdiocese of Capiz and the Philippine Miserior Partnership, Inc., immediate relief goods arrived at the area. Nagpapasalamat ako ng marami sa mga tumulong. Damo

TOGETHER. Leonilyn Buriel speaks to her neighbors in Capiz. When Typhoon Yolanda struck, they helped each other survive.

kamo ginpanhatag para sa amon na nagtagal ng mga two weeks na konsumo. Ginkinahanglan gid kami sang inyo bulig, dumating talaga kayo, said Lus-onan

barangay Captainn Dice to those who helped them survive the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda. (I am very thankful for those who helped us. You gave too

much and it satisfied our needs for the past two weeks. We needed your help and you came to help us. We are very much thankful for your acts.)

Emergency radio station helps community, media

By Charlie Saceda
"MAupAY nga udto!" (Good noon!) echoed in the room as it beamed from the make-shift studio in Calanipawan to the FM receivers of Taclobanons for the first time last month. The team had gathered earlier around the state-of-the-art microphone of Radyo Abante 98.7 FM for the first ever broadcast on January 13, 2014. They had just finished tying down the bamboo pole which had the antenna, on a water tank. Excited, the broadcast continued, "ini hi Jazmin Bonifacio, kaupod ko didi hi Kuya L. Kuya L namiss ko talaga ini." (This is Jazmin Bonifacio with Kuya L. Kuya L, I really miss this already) Bonifacio, now the news director of Radyo Abante, survived super Typhoon Yolanda inside her former radio station in San Jose. She was relaying safety tips and updates on the typhoon on air when the storm surge consumed their building. "Oy Ate Jaz maupay kay buhi ka" (Good to know you are alive Ate Jaz) was the first text message that the radio station received from a listener nobody had known. Even though the broadcast was unannounced, the radio station received 59 text messages during the first broadcast. According to Radyo Abante's station manager Fred Padernos, the first day of Radyo Abante broadcast recorded listeners from as far as Mahaplag, Carigara, Jaro, Alang-alang, Dulag, Burauen, Pastranz, Sogod, Babatngon, Santa Fe, Mayorga, Abuyog and Mc Arthur in Leyte and in Samar, reaching as far as Villareal, Basey, Giporlos, Quinapunden, Sta Rita, Lawaan, Marabut and Llorente. "We still didn't have any lunch then, I guess everybody was so excited to finally work again," Padernos said. Padernos and Bonifacio are joined by experienced radio

By Allan Y. Amistoso

Power restoration in Palo, Babatngon and Tacloban intensifies

TACLOBAN CItY Leyte II Electric Cooperative (Leyeco II) are doing all the best that they can to restore the power within their area coverage, covering two towns in Leyte (Palo and Babatngon) and the City of Tacloban. This was revealed by the general manager, Macel Avestruz in an exclusive interview. Avestruz said that they are targeting to fully restore the ninety eight percent (98%) damage of their structures to include the household connections before the end of March this year. Right now we are doing all the best that we can to expedite the rebuilding and restoration activities of our lines she added. They already asked assistance from other electric cooperatives in the country. Included in the lists of electric cooperatives are, Cagayan Power Electric Cooperative, Bukidnon Electric Cooperative, Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative, Biliran Electric Cooperative and MERALCO. Avestruz emphasized that these electric cooperatives are really helping them to hasten their rebuilding activities. Without their help it would be very impossible for us to give the power enduringly waited by our member consumers and to met our target she explained. Aside from the electric cooperatives men-

tioned, it was also learned that Leyeco II engaged the services of private contractors. Without giving the details of who and how many contractors they have, Avestruz admitted that right now Leyeco II are engaging services from private contractors which they assigned to do the restorations on subdivisions with lesser damage. We are paying them twenty-five percent of the total caused of materials used in the restoration of area assigned to them she stressed. On the other hand it was learned from Avestruz that prior to typhoon Yolanda they have more than fifty-six thousands active household connections but due to thousands of household were washed out by the storm surged caused by typhoon Yolanda it is expected that the number of their member consumers will dramatically dropped. Contributory to this is the forty meters no build zone policy being implemented by the government on coastal Barangays in Leyeco II area coverage including those houses within the road right of way damaged by the typhoon. Avestruz said that based on their estimates they will lose more than fifteen thousand consumers which will bring down their member consumers to fifty one thousand, six hundred twenty-five. This is really a big challenged for us but we will do everything we can to bring back the lost glory of our electric cooperative She said.

BAMBOO ANTENNA. Radyo Abante 98.7 FM team together with First Response Radio Head Mike ? afix the transmitter antenna on a bamboo CHARLIE SACEDA/PECOJON pole tied to the water tank in Calanipawan.

8-year-old girl survives stray bullet in the head

By Jazmin Bonifacio
LA PAz, LEYtE Surgeons had successfully operated the head of an 8yr-old-girl, a day after she was hit by a stray bullet coming from a gun of an unidentified man in Barangay Ki-ong, La Paz Leyte, early morning of Saturday February 8, 2014. Nanet, as what her family fondly call her, came from a poor family. She is the fourth among eight children of the Lucilo couple. The girl was with her mother in the market when she was hit by a stray bullet that killed Salvador Japson, a shoe repair man of Barangay Ki-ong, in said town. Nanet was left in critical condition. Her father, Noel Lucilo, a construction worker in Borongan Eastern Samar said that her daughter was having excruciating pain. Her arms and legs were continuously shaking involuntarily. A barangay kagawad of Barangay 81, Marasbaras, Tacloban city, a relative of Lucilo Family and an avid listener of Radyo Abante, called up the station and asked for some help about Nanets case. Immediately, thereafter, that Saturday afternoon, Radyo Abante, together with Communitere talked with Gary Clarke, a volunteer Medic of Divine Word Hospital. Nanet, who was recuperating at Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) was immediately transferred to Divine Word Hospital for an immediate operation by Gary Clarke. Nanet spent a night in an intensive care, where doctors at the Divine Word Hospital and Gary Clarke described her condition as critical. Icon of Courage Doctors fought to save her life, her condition took a dip. At least two days after the incident, Dr. Gil Asoy, a neurosurgeon of Divine Word Hospital operated her for hours. The doctor extracted a piece of skull to relieve pressure on Nanets brain because of swelling. She is lucky to be alive. I dont usually use the word miracle, but if you can ever use it, this would be an example. She's doing extremely well, given the severity of her injury, Dr. Asoy said. Examinations revealed that Nanet suffered no major neurological damage. Days after Nanet went through the operation; she got on back on her feet again, moved her fingers and was very eager to communicate to her parents. Nanet is a strong young girl, she fought for her life, Dr. Asoy added. The operation went well, now she is ok, her father, Noel Lucilo said. Whats next for Nanet? Divine Word Hospital pediatric doctor, Dr. Latorre, said credit for Nanets speedy recovery should go to the medic, Gary Clarke, who gave Nanet the best medical support. Her recovery likely will take years, Gary Clarke said. Through a letter, members of Nanets family thanked the medic, doctors and nurses who took care of her at Divine Word Hospital, as well

journalists Allan Amistoso who is also the assistant station manager, Leo Ladan, Allan Velarde, Zoilo Pedrosa and Mark Escol. Radyo Abante, a non-profit humanitarian and emergency radio station, is supported by PECOJON - The Peace & Conflict Journalism Network and First Response Radio. The radio station is an off-shoot of PECOJON's relief efforts for journalists in the Typhoon Yolanda affected regions. As a humanitarian and emergency station, Radyo Abante acts as a two-way communication channel between the affected communities and aid agencies. Concerns and feedback from the people can be relayed to Radyo

Abante and Radyo Abante refers and relay the said information to the respective government or non-government agency. The station airs radio plugs on various humanitarian concerns such as build-back better mechanisms in shelter, gender-based violence and humanitarian accountability. Adhering to its journalists for journalist principle, PECOJON arrived in Tacloban City four days after Typhoon Yolanda hit the region to asses and support journalists during the time when information is very important. FRR responded to Typhoon Yolanda by providing an emergency radio in Tacloban City.

as Radyo Abante, Communitere and members of the public who supported the family since the tragedy occurred. Chasing the perpetrator The attack sparked outrage among many Leytenos praying for Nanets recovery. Police said they already have a lead for possible suspects and are still to determine the motive of the killing. They vowed to bring to justice the attacker behind the shooting of Nanet and the killing of Salvador Japson. No matter where the attacker is, we will bring them to justice, according to Insp. Allan Camasin, La Paz police chief. To recall, the police conducted a hot pursuit operation to disclose the identity of an unidentified man wearing a bonnet on board a red XRM Honda motorcycle.