Category Archives: Salvation

Tucson Shooting Incident; Sorrows for the loss of a Girl

It is barely two weeks after celebrating the coming of a New Year (2011), the world is shocked by the attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords by a suspected mentally ill 22 year-old man (lone gun man) Jared Loughner. The Congresswoman survived the attack (now on stable condition and a 101 percent of chances of survival as reported) along with 13 other victims. But six others, including a Federal judge and a 9-year old girl did not.

My heart laments for this senseless killing of innocent victims particularly a 9-year old girl who was so talented with a bright promising future. Christina Taylor Green was born Christina was born on 9/11 and dreamed to be the first woman to play major league baseball (having been the granddaughter of Dallas Green a former pitcher and manager in the Major Leagues). John Green describes his daughter Christina as “a good speaker” and “could have easily seen her as a politician” This is the reason why this outgoing and intelligent student leader was on the “Saturday’s event because of her interest in government.” Roxanne Green (Christina’s mother) sees her daughter as one who has the passion to help other people and being involved.

What a lost of life! Dreams shattered because of the untimely death of this sweet, lovely and beautiful girl. I share in the sorrows of the parents, relatives and friends of Christina for losing her. Similarly I also share in the sorrows of other parents all over the world for losing their love one in a senseless killing like this. I hope there will be no more incident of this kind to happen in any part of the world. Let there be peace, love, and harmony.

On the other hand I am also perplexed on the motive of this young man Jared Loughner for killing and injuring other people if his plan was to assassinate a politician for what ever reason. Even a mere contemplation to deprive one of his life is already a crime and deplorable act of moral iniquity (how much more when the criminal plot is acted upon which include a number of innocent victims); how could such evil came into the mind of this person who like others may also have a great future? On issues of this kind we can not help but think of the role of the family, particularly the parents, the school, and the community. What is the law enforcement people and organization doing? How could the State which collect high taxes remiss on its function to protect the public and the tax payers?

Unfortunately this is not an isolated case, killing and harming people by individuals and groups of individuals is rampant all over the world. It has been said that crime does not pay for the long arms of justice will also run after the culprits and anyone who try infringed on the law. But since then, crime and lawlessness has never ceased despite modern technical and technological advancement in the society where we live. And how are we in the academe, social services, business, and government look into the roots of all these problems? There must be some sociological, economic, political, and spiritual explanations of all these dastardly acts that deprive people of their lives, property, and sense of security.

Of course the prophets of doom will always say that the world is coming to an end. The magnitude of lawlessness and enormity of crimes committed each day is just one little manifestation that the world is not getting any better and that sooner or later there will be a divine intervention to put an end to the sinfulness of mankind. Is it?

Sorry but I don’t share similar views. I still look at the role of the home and community in the upbringing of people to become productive and law abiding citizens. Unfortunately we have a growing number of population all over the world but with dwindling economic resources to most of the underdeveloped countries. Isn’t it important also now to look and appreciate the possible connection between large population size and the kind of law and order we have in the land?

Going back to Jared Loughner, the young man is reported to have been heavy pot smoker, confused, bitter, and have an attitude problem. I am sure his parents did not want him to be that way but somehow Jared Loughner grew up as someone who could not get along with other people. There is no reason to blame his parents to the tragedy, although they could be partly responsible too to what he (Jared) became as other people think about; they too are saddened and devastated to the incident involving their son and did not know why this thing had happened.

Yes this is not the only incident where a girl is senselessly killed; I pray this will be the last. I know how Christina feels the pain and sorrows of losing her. My condolences with them and the rest of those killed in that shooting incident.

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Index of Happiness

“Gusto ko Happy Kayo (I want you to be happy)” – Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

It has been said that life is a combination of joys and sorrows. Life is a game, and it is up to us how to play and win. But every person deserves some kind of joy and happiness in his journey to this life. But what makes a person happy?

To be happy one should know what does it mean to by happy and the sources of human joy of happiness. The index of happiness vary from “people to people and from culture to culture.” What is treated as happiness to some may be rejected by others.

There are several school of thoughts which try to define happiness.

1. “Spiritualistic School of Thought”, which recited, that real happiness consists essentially in spiritual mode of life.
2. “Materialistic School of Thought” upholds that real happiness lies simply in the conduct of materialism.

3.“Rationalistic School of Thought” stresses that only reason/wisdom and logic can attain happiness.

4. “Islamic School of Thought” states that the three types of life: the spiritual, the material and the rational are together essential elements of real happiness life. Divine Reality and the basic concept of the Oneness and Perfect Attributes of God gives real happiness and blessings.

But what is “real happiness?” For many religious believers they say it is a state of perfection attainable only in the life hereafter. Unfortunately happiness in this context happiness is not in our world. Religion tells us that real happiness happens only when people will receive eternal reward for their good deeds on Earth.

Likewise religious teachings, doctrines and philosophies “shield people from painful realities, such as human immortality, the lack of ultimate justice, and the ravages of an indifferent natural world.” Of course there are studies which support that religious believers are happier than non-believers around the world. It is because they experience a “sense of social support, as well as sense of purpose and hope for the future.” Take it from them, if you negate the egos of the heart, you will experience relative peace and happiness. That is if you agree with the religious people that happiness is not confined only to materialistic things but to the blessings and submission to the Lord Almighty God.

But at the passage of time religion and materialism now combine to induce one’s happiness now and hereafter. So Chalmers introduces three things that will make a person truly happy in this world: 1) someone to love, 2) something to do, and 3) something to hope for.

In the practical side of life, the poor believes that it’s economic prosperity that could bring happiness in this life. But this is not guarantee however for one to be ultimately happy because at the arrival of enormous wealth his life will be stressed on how to keep and make his wealth grows. Senator Manny Villar who raised from rags to riches is now haunted by the C-5 controversies. Wealth can be a source of happiness, it can also be a source of pains, sorrows and humiliations.

Yes the concepts of happiness have changed in our modern time. Happiness is not something that happens; not even a result of good fortune, and something that money can buy. It does not depend on outside events but how we interpret them ourselves. “Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person. People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives.”

Ang kaligayan daw ay nasa isip lang. Papano naman kung kumakalam ang iyong sikmura? Para sa akin ang kaligayahan ay isang bagay ng hinahangad, minsan iyong makakamtam. At kung minsan naman ay mabibigo ka. Ang kaligayahan sa isang banda ay ang patuloy mong pakikibaka sa buhay at pananagumpay. Ang tunay na kaligayahan ay bunga ng ating dugo at pawis, paghihirap, at pagpupunyagi. Wala sa kamay ng mga pulitiko at pamahalaan. Instrumento lang sila at bahagi ng pagpupunyaging iyan.

Ang umaayaw daw ay hindi nagwawagi, ang nagwawagi ay laging maligaya.

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Filed under Christian living, Religion, Salvation, social justice, Trust, Wealth, Poverty, women

Avoiding Another Maguindanao Massacre- The Role of the Family

The home plays a very important role in the development of and individual to become a functional and law abiding citizen of his country and community. If we have a weak family, we have weak individuals, weak leaders, and weak government.

As observed, the main problem the country is facing today is not due to weak economy but weak spirituality. If our leaders are spiritually strong then we shall have an honest and transparent system of government. The greed and lust of power that transpire in our social system is but a product of a morally corrupted environment where the home or family did not perform well its duties and functions. What the children see at home is a reflection of what they do in their very own society.

The politically motivated massacre that happened last week in Maguindano which caused the lives of some 64 people mostly women and journalists is but a by product of unhealthy home environment. Apparently there is something wrong with the kind of family or home environment those people involved the alleged rape and massacre of women have been raised. Did their parents teach them how to respect life, not to harm people particularly women and children? Where they raised as responsible individuals who abhor violence and respect existing laws of the land?

Unfortunately dereliction basic parental duties to your offspring is costly not only to your family but to the government and the society as a whole. You may not know it but you have just created a human monster or a beast that may harm people and rub our government treasury of capital resources, etc. Further aggravating the problem of corruption in the government and all forms violence and crime in the society is what people experience and observe in the environment where they live. All forms of learning is observed, transferred, and perfected. This may also apply to the proliferation of vices and crime.

Politics and “warlordism” have generated a culture of violence where the only thing that matters is money and the barrel of the guns in resolving any conflict, disputes and some other issues. If you have political connection then you have gold, guns, and goons. You become untouchable and you are in control of everything in your territory. In a system like this it is no longer the government and laws that control people and the society but people with power, money, arms, and connection to the highest echelon of the government. The thing is- they are tolerated for whatever reason.

So it is easy to kill, to rape women, and shoot them in their private parts. Horrendous, only the beasts not human could do such a satanic act and crime. This is supposed to be a civilized world. Don’t parents tell their children not to lie, to steal, cheat, and harm others? Did not their church tell them that only the devil could harm unarmed human beings? In the Muslim tradition women are respected and not harmed; journalists are supposed to be spared; but this had happened already.

The passion for violence starts from the family. What children see from the father or elders is what they are going to be when they become old. Political leaders who are supposed to correct and prevent these acts through law enforcement fail to perform their duties either by neglect or simply tolerating it. Where did your parent go wrong?

We become unnecessarily poor because of graft and corruption, criminality, vices, immorality, and indolence. What has our leaders who promised reforms and progress accomplished over the years to correct this problem? Nothing is done much because our family system has done nothing too to improve the upbringing and disciplining of children so that they become useful and responsible citizens.

The cycle of violence and corruption shall continue for as long as the family does not really perform well its basic obligation and role as one of the most important units of the society.

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Filed under democracy, education, government, Justice, Philippine government, Philosophical and psychological foundation of trust, politics, Population Control, rape, Salvation, Sex and Politics, women

The Right of Reply Bill; the Next to Impossible

If there is something that journalists do not want Congress to legislate is the right of reply bill which will surely bring more trouble to them and to anybody with the intention to express his political views and opinions once this will be enacted into law. This is self-serving to the politicians as journalists may lose the appetite to be critical of them in the press unveiling  their evil in the government. Once this becomes a law journalists need to take the extra effort to get the side also the politicians. Something that may impede press freedom and the autonomy of the press people to do their job.

But here is a more disgusting content of the bill as posted in the internet:

The Right of Reply bill will affect not only journalists, but also bloggers, texters, and users of social networking sites and other electronic devices, a lawmaker said Sunday.

Manila 6th district Rep. Bienvenido Abante, sponsor of House Bill 3306 or the Right of Reply Bill, admitted that the bill would also cover Web sites, emails, Internet social networking sites and other electronic devices in its scope, Kabataan Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino said in a statement Sunday.

Palatino said Abante admitted that fact during his interpellation of the bill in the lower House.

Palatino said it would not only affect press freedom but also could lead to Internet censorship and affect freedom of speech and expression of bloggers, texters, and even iPod users.

‘All internet users affected’

The bill’s Section 1 states that: “All persons natural or judicial who are accused directly or indirectly of committing, having committed, or are criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public or private life shall have the right to reply to charges or criticisms published in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or publications circulated commercially or for free, or aired or broadcast over radio, television, websites or through any electronic device.”

“The bill, therefore, would not only affect media outfits and journalists but also all website owners, website masters, email account holders and other netizens who are not necessarily media practitioners,” Palatino said in the statement.

“This would affect the more than five million bloggers and millions more of Internet users in the country. My fear is that when this bill comes to law, it will be used to regulate the content of the Internet,” he said.

“When we are checking our emails, when we open our Friendster or Facebook accounts, we are checking our websites. Does this mean that we will be compelled to moderate, modify or edit our personal websites? Is this not Internet censorship and suppression of freedom of speech and expression?” he added.

“Does this mean that whenever a criticism is published in these venues a person can use the Right of Reply to compel a blogger or moderator of a social networking site to publish a space or a reply for that person? Or when an individual decides to copy or re-post an article from a news website in his or her personal blog, and in the future the said article becomes a subject of this Right of Reply, will he or she be sanctioned or fined also?” Palatino added. ( From abs-cbnNEWS.com | 05/31/2009 5:26 PM)

I agree with Palatino’sview that this going to be a curtailment of the press freedom. On the other hand how in the world will you implement this kind of law with millions of internet users, bloggers, texters, etc., who one way or the other may share views through the digital and electronic media particularly in the cyberspace?  Do you think the politicians themselves or anybody being criticized in the media and internet, etc. could realistically respond to thousands and even millions of people who criticize them every hour of the day? This is something crazy and to be more specific “idiotic.” Rep. Bienvenido Abante, sponsor of House Bill 3306 or the Right of Reply Bill should have a better idea than this. I myself is against any infringement and curtailment to press freedom. This is to me is next to impossible. I stand corrected if you could convince me so.

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Filed under ABS-CBN, education, government, Justice, Philippine government, politics, Religion, Salvation

Praise be with You

“Give credit to where credit is due.” I heard such statement several times from friends who had been frustrated in the awarding of special recognitions to certain individuals or groups perceived to have done great things to their society and environment although they do not actually deserve. They just don’t have the right to be awarded. A sad reality in life there are champions whose winning is questionable. There is a term for this in Filipino, “lutong Makaw.” A half-baked victory?

As far as giving credit is concerned, this is a real one. Lately Maj. Ferdinand Marcelino of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has been praised by a lot of Filipinos from all walks of life, particularly senators and congressmen, for his refusal to accept millions of pesos as bribe for the alleged release of narcotics suspects popularly known as the “Alabang Boys.” Although he has come under fire for exposing an alleged bribery of state prosecutors handling the “Alabang Boys” drug case which was dismissed for what is termed as “mere technicality.”

Similarly a group of former government officials praised the Marine officer assigned at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for being an “exemplary public servant.”

Here is an excerpt of that news form abs-cbnNEWs.com.

“He serves as a dramatic example of the kind of selfless service the majority of government employees offer that put national interest above personal interest. May others like him continue to be living proofs that, as Ninoy Aquino put it, the Filipino is worth dying for,” the FSGO statement said.

Marcelino earlier said he was offered millions of pesos in bribes to release three scions of rich families who were arrested for peddling narcotics in Alabang, Muntinlupa City and Cubao, Quezon City. He said state prosecutors were also offered up to P50 million in bribes to drop the case against the so-called Alabang Boys.

A National Bureau of Investigation probe, however, absolved state prosecutors in the bribery issue and recommended the filing of obstruction of justice charges against Marcelino.

The FSGO, which includes Cabinet members who have resigned from the Arroyo administration, also commended thousands of career public servants who are committed to strengthening the country’s democratic institutions in the service of the people.

They said these nameless government employees, particularly teachers, soldiers, and police officers, have remained true to their oath of office, defending the Constitution, protecting and promoting the public good, refusing to accept bribes of any kind, doing their jobs as best they can, even going beyond the call of duty.

“These public servants form the bulk of our country’s bureaucracy and represent our government at its best. During our stint in government, we met most of these outstanding Filipinos and remember with gratitude and admiration their steadfast integrity in the face of corruption and immorality,” the group said.

Praise be with You

Having served briefly the government in various capacities, I know how difficult it is to work in a system where you are not only overworked but under compensated too. No wonder the culture of corruption thrives in such a system because there are some employees and official who want to make money and increase their income even in illegal ways. Corruption on the other hand is not due to money and wealth alone, it is also of greed, lust, and vices. And corruption like a disease is also communicable. Young and old alike in the government service are susceptible for corruption in the same manner as those who work in the  non-government institutions.

I praise every individual who has the light and lead an honest and righteous life in the service. I praise also every citizen in this country who is willing to sacrifice himself in the quest for justice and battle against corruption. Major Ferdinand Marcelino is just one among the many Filipinos who sacrificed themselves to clean this society and government from corruption. Like the rest of Filipinos whose integrity and commitment in public service is without blemish and beyond question, I salute you!

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The Perceived Defeat of the Reproductive Health Bill, Could the Church Coerce Congress?

If we believe on what the  Roman Catholic church on Thursday that it has sufficient support in the Philippine congress to defeat a “controversial family planning bill promoting sex education and the use of contraceptives” then we expect chaos brought about by unabated increase of population in the country.

The bishops according to Maria Fenny Tatad, executive director of the church lobby group Bishops-Legislators Caucus of the Philippines, believe they have a number of congressmen in the House of Representatives who could block the passage of the Reproductive Health Care Act. Out of the 238 members of the House of Representatives only 99 congressmen do support the bill.

Only 99 members of the 238-member House of Representatives have openly said they will support the Reproductive Health Care Act, while the rest are expected to side with the church, Tatad said. Population control is a highly politicized issue in the Philippines, where more than 80 percent of the 90 million population are Catholics.

I am not sure how true is this claim but the Catholic church in the Philippines “wields considerable public influence, frowns on any artificial form of birth control and has been waging a high-profile campaign to block the passage of the bill, which is now before congress,” as circulated in the news. However recent surveys showed that most Catholics are in favor of family planning and sex education to be taught in the public school. What is the Catholic church trying to imply with this statement? Are the bishops giving the public the impression that the Catholic church maintains a strong influence in the House of Representatives? I don’t think the Catholic church has that control anymore on the people in so far as population issues are concerned. It is highly improbable for the Catholic church to make one politician lose during the next election just because he supported the Reproductive Health Bill. I still believe people vote with their conscience not on what the church says. So there is no basis of that fear for congressmen losing because the priests control the minds of their parishioners. 

Philippine Population Commission has always mentained the importance of curbing incidence of birth so as not to overpopulate the country. The Philippine population growth rate of 2.04 according to International aid agencies and economists is one of of Asia’s highest. But the Catholic church is against these International agencies supporting the Reproductive Health Bill that will curb rapid population growth but insures the health of women on reproductive ages.

Contrary to what the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life say, the Reproductive Health Bill which includes family planning program, sex education, and advice on birth control, may not necessarily immoral. It only enhances people perspectives on reproductive  health and propagate values on responsible parenthood. Liberal minded people these days may understand which is socially appropriate without necessarily being “immoral.”

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The foundation of trust, the population management debate

Trust is defined as “firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.” This phenomenon has been extensively explored by various disciplines across the field of social sciences, including economics, social psychology, and political science. And socio-behaviorist have different ways of looking at it.

 

Rousseau and her colleagues define it in this manner. “Trust is a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behavior of another.” Likewise, Lewicki and his colleagues describe trust as “an individual’s belief in, and willingness to act on the basis of, the words, actions, and decisions of another.” Because we are not the only organism in the social environment we exist, trust transpires from our interdependence with others. We depend on others to help “us obtain, or at least not to frustrate, the outcomes we value,” according to Lewicki and Tomlinson.

 

“Trust has been identified as a key element of successful conflict resolution (including negotiation and mediation). This is not surprising insofar as trust is associated with enhanced cooperation, information sharing, and problem solving.” In the light of this, there are three factors that influence trustworthy behavior. Ability, assessment of other’s knowledge, skill, or competency, it requires some sense that the other is able to perform in a matter that meets expectations. Integrity, the degree to which the trustee adheres to principles that is acceptable to the trustor. Trust in this context is based on “consistency of past actions, credibility of communications, commitment to standards and fairness, and the congruence of the other’s words and deeds.” Benevolence, trusted individuals are concerned enough about promoting our welfare interests and at the same manner do not impede them.   

 

In the case of our population program, which is more trusted here, those who propose and support population laws/policies that governs population management in the country or those who impede them because they find it as something immoral and unnecessarily counter productive? 

 

Why do we trust the position of the Catholic Church in its pro-life stance?

 

If one has to trust the words of Francisco Tatad, this is what he says in favor of the position of the Catholic Church in its pro-life stance.

 

“The population has many problems. But population is not itself the problem. Assuming there are problems associated with population growth, the reproductive health bill does not provide any answers. I hope the following will help put this bill to rest and allow the nation to devote its time, energy and resources to its real and more pressing problems.”

 

There are two items in his views which worth looking into:

 

There is no “population explosion” and the country is not overpopulated.

”The population growth rate and the total fertility rate (TFR) have declined. The National Statistics Office puts the growth rate at 2.04 %, the TFR at 3.02. However, the CIA World Factbook (2008), for one, puts the growth rate at 1.728%, the TFR at 3.00.” 

“The country has a population density of 277 Filipinos per square km, with a GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) of $,3400”

”This means a Filipino has more years to be productive than his counterpart in the developed world, where the population is graying and dying, without adequate replacement because of negative birth rates.”

 

The Bill according to him is destructive of public morals and family values

”It seeks to legislate a hedonistic sex-oriented lifestyle whose aim is to assure couples and everybody else of “a safe and satisfying sex life” (the other term for contraceptive sex), instead of a mutually fulfilling conjugal life, and ultimately change time-honored Filipino values about human life, family life, marriage, in favor of the most destructive counter-values that are wreaking havoc on the morals of many consumerist societies.” 

But what is there too in the statements of the pro Reproductive Health Bill that deserve our trust?

 

In his privilege speech in the Congress, proponent of the Reproductive Health Bill Congressman Edcel Lagman has this to say.

 

“The use of contraceptives for family planning does not make acceptors bad Catholics. But having more children whom parent can ill-afford to feed, educate, medicate, guide, and love makes them irresponsible regardless of their religion.”

 

“We must open our minds to the import and merits of the reproductive health bill and reject contrived criticisms, expose barefaced lies, refute malicious innuendoes, and resist menacing threats.”

 

AKBAYAN Representative Risa Hontiveros on the other hand also expresses the significance of recognizing the health of every woman still in the reproductive age in this country. She says:

 

“We may not be united in supporting the RH bill, but we must at the very least recognize that reproductive health is a women’s issue. It is us, after all, who bear and nurture the child.”

 

One group of supporting the Reproductive Health Bill asks: “Why is it important to focus on reproductive health?”

 

The results of the 2003 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) show that Filipino women, especially among the ranks of the poor, still bear more children than they desire.

Only half of married women practice family planning because of lack of information and proper knowledge of various family planning methods and services. The greater proportion of these women live in rural areas where there are few service providers and where services are scarce and inaccessible.

 

Poor women have three times more children than the rich (5.9 children for the poor and 2.0 for the rich), give birth to their first child at a younger age, and have more problems spacing their children than wealthier women.

 

Likewise, men who belong to the poorest segments of society have more children (5) compared to those who belong to the richest sectors (3). One in four pregnancies is mistimed and one in five is not wanted at all.

Meanwhile, despite the advances made in medicine, maternal health remains problematic in the country:

 

Maternal mortality is pegged at a disturbing 162 for every 100,000 live births (2006 Family Planning Survey). The only exceptions are a handful of areas where there is an efficient program on maternal and child health, such as the municipality of Carmen, Bohol. The vast majority of local governments have yet to establish a system that would drastically reduce maternal mortality.

Only 38 percent of deliveries have been found to be attended by skilled health professionals (2003 NDHS). Majority still seek the services of traditional hilots because they could not afford birthing in hospitals or because of lack of proper information.

 

Unless these people’s needs are addressed, Filipinos will keep on having more children than they want and can afford to have, and thousands of mothers will continue to die from causes that could have been prevented, were they only provided with complete information and services on reproductive health.

 

Who can be trusted?

 

The debate on population has been going on for years. Majority of people have been confused and keep confusing themselves with these varying views. But who among them are really telling the truth? Who among them is really concerned about life and the conditions for a rightful living? Who among them shows real benevolence in looking into the social and economic interest of the people? Unless population views are really guided by the interest of the people morally, spiritually, and physically it will be difficult to build our trust on whoever is speaking pro or against the Reproductive Health Bill.

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