Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Quo Vadis: Philippines? Solutions, not Lampoons!

Preface of the upcoming book - Quo Vadis: Philippines? (Towards peace, justice and progress) Solutions, Not Lampoons.

Martin Luther King, Jr., a peace advocate, said:




What matters now are PEACE, JUSTICE and PROGRESS in this our benighted land.

Thus, inspite of having written already three (3) books and expressing our views on various forums , (written or verbal) I dare again to write this book on things that matters now. I do not want my life to begin to end inspite of the fact that in my advancing years I may be in the so-called pre-departure area already.

The emphasis of this book is to find solutions (not lampoons) to the many social, political and economic problems facing our beloved Philippines which have reached crisis proportions.

Maybe some of the solutions proposed are just ‘little things’ but as Father James B. Reuter used to tell the author:

Little things make up to perfection

but perfection is not a little thing.”

A Call to Action!

As early as 1987, right after EDSA I, a core group of concerned citizens, namely:

Dr. Cynthia Bautista, Third World Studies Center, UP

Dr. Ma. Lourdes Carandang, Psychology Dep’t Ateneo

Dr. Doreen Fernandez, Communication Dep’t Ateneo

Dr. Carolina Hernandez, Center for Integrated and Development Studies, UP

Dr. Lourdes Ignacio, College of Medicine, UP

Dr. Patricia Jieuanan, Political Science Dep’t , UP

Prof. Felipe Miranda, Political Science Dep’t Ateneo

Prof. Carmela Otigas, Psychology Dep’t, Ateneo

Dr. Antonio Perlas, Dep’t of Health/Pfizer, Inc.

Dr. Carol Sobritebea, Asian Center, UP

Initiated and launched a movement called “MOVEMENT” TOWARDS MORAL RECOVERY” (MMR).

Among others, MMR outlined the issues facing us as a nation, thus:

1. Poverty Issues – that people do not have enough of the basics food: clothing, shelter, adequate education and health care.

2. Ecological Issue – that our trees are dying, forest is bare, fertility of the soil has been reduced to 50%, that our rivers and seas are polluted.

3. Graft and Corruption Issue – that our national coffers have been robbed; that smuggling, dollar salting, tax evasion from the 1,000 corporations, mishandling of public funds, graft and corruption are still rampant practices constituting economic sabotage.

4. Justice Issue - that our courts grind slowly for those who are without power in our society, that people in general do not obey the laws nor the rules especially in our streets.

5. That ‘more concern’ is in fact being promoted which makes law evasion almost a virtue. Sex Exploration of Women and Children – that our children and women are sexually exploited; that our men become exploiters particularly of women and do not collectively fight for the dignity of their women and children.

6. Social Justice Issue – that a significant number of our farmers, fishermen and tribal minorities are severely suffering from lack of access to life.

7. Discrimination – that our women, youth and children are discriminated against in work benefits.

8. Oppression – that syndicates among the poor exist to oppress their own kind.

9. Materialism and Consumerism – in a country with so much poverty, persons are becoming materialistic and consumeristic.

10. Violence – that life has become very cheap; violence is projected in media; pornography takes away all sense of nobility.

11. Outmigration – that the Philippines is being depleted in human resources. There is both a brain drain and a brawn drain.

12. Colonial Mentality – still a colonial mentality exist in the Philippines.

13. Inefficiency and Poor Public Service – that our government bureaucracies still lack discipline and a sense of service to people.

14. Threat of a Coup de’ Etat – that some persons wish to violate the constitution by an unlawful seizure of power.

Well Defined. But the question is: Considering contemporary scenery and happenings, which of these issues have been adequately or even just superficially solved?

Hardly! Because all things considered our country is still in the same, if not worse situation 20 years ago!

We hope that this book, even in little things, will offer some solutions to some of these issues/problems.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cha-Cha: A Trojan Horse vs. GMA?

During the `watch’ of Pres. Ramos when Cha-cha was first floated around, we cautioned him (through a newspaper issue) that Cha-cha could be a Trojan horse to bring about the shortening of his term, or worse, his ouster. For it is a well settled principle in international law that once a constitutional body is convened, whether through con-con or con-ass that body becomes the supreme authority of the nation. Being such, it could make any changes in the Constitution, including altering the form of government, and of course, the shortening of the President’s term and even abolishing the position, with or without the consent of the incumbent. No law could set restriction or limitations to this supreme authority.

The Constitution, after all, is in fact “the organic instrument to which government owes its being… that from which their existence flows, and by which the powers (or portions of the right to govern), which may have been committed to them, are prescribed”. It is their commission – nay it is their creator. It is “the written instrument agreed upon by the people… as the absolute rule of action and decision for all departments and offices of the government… and in opposition to which any act or rule of any department, even of the people themselves, will be altogether void”. It is, in other words, the supreme written law of the land. (Bernas on the Constitution citing Kamper v. Hawkins, 1 Va Cas. 20, 24 (1793) and Colley, Constitutional Limitations (1868)).

Pres. GMA, is therefore, similarly forewarned!

Besides, Cha-cha at this time, is not appropriate for the following reasons:

  1. The 1987 Constitution has not been fully implemented to-date.Many of its provisions, like transparency, anti-dynasty, etc. which need enabling laws, have not been passed by Congress.
  2. When there is a political crisis, tinkering with the constitution is not the best time.
  3. Cha-cha is not a solution to the economic crisis. The government should stay focused on solving the economic problems instead. Cha-cha is divisive.
  4. The great majority of the people, as reflected in the surveys still prefer the presidential form of government.
  5. More extensive consultation with the people should precede any Cha-cha.

Fr. Harold Reusch, C.P.: The Priest for All Seasons

Inauguration Address - Dedication to Fr. Harry's Garden
Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish
Sun Valley, Paranaque City

When I first learned that Fr. Harry was going to be the first Parish Priest of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish, the first thought that came to my mind was the image of “DIRTY HARRY”, then a very popular Hollywood actor! His film depicted a character who would use all extra-legal means to accomplish his mission. No quarters given. Shoot first before asking questions! Force is the solution!

I was dead wrong, of course.

I recall that 2 to 3 weeks before he was installed, the late Fr. Quaranta brought Fr. Harry to our house. Ampy and I were then in our kitchen when Fr. Quaranta suddenly went straight to the kitchen, tagging along Fr. Harry. This started our “loving relationship” with Fr. Harry. Ampy and I immediately liked him. Even then he looked like a saint coming down to earth to be of further service to humanity. What with his saintly bearings and demeanor.

This time, I was proven right!

It was extraordinary bravery for Fr. Harry to accept a Parish – without a Church and a “convento”. No visible church volunteers to assist him in his work as Parish Priest. A first class missionary work!

He was thus installed almost literally in the street. Following the directive of Cardinal Sin – that he be installed soonest – even in the street! No place to stay since there was no convento. The Parishioners had to assign families to feed him. He had to stay in a place generously offered by a parishioner as his convento. Such humility!

Fr. Harry was not only a good planner but also a DOER. Immediately, he looked for a site of the future Church. It took a lot of effort and convincing the civil authorities and the Church hierarchy to have the Church built in this present sight. Of course, almost all parishioners of Sun Valley extended their full cooperation. The architectural design was accomplished in no time. And a fund raising drive for the Church construction was also started.

He was also able to organize at least four (4) mandated organizations. The KC, CWL, AP and Holy Crusaders to assist him in the Parish work. And a PPC too! In record time. Such DYNAMIC LEADERSHIP!

But as the saying goes, “all work and no pay, makes Juan a dull boy”. He loves to play tennis with the Sun Valley tennis enthusiasts. During one of those occasions, Fr. Harry rewarded to us: “This park is the lungs of Sun Valley.” Take care of it!

His Leadership was not only dynamic – but well BALANCED as well. He was concerned not only of the spiritual welfare of his parishioners – but also the physical and social interactions of his parishioners.

His love for the less fortunate parishioners was very evident. He always reminded is that the mandated organizations primary task was to help the poor. “As long as you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me” – was his favorite homily.

In sum, if I were to put the epitaph in his grave – I will engrave the following: