Ultimate slurBy Juan L. Mercado
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“Araw ng Tatlong Hari” or “Feast of the Three Kings” rekindles old questions, the column “Epiphany question” (Inquirer, 1/5/13) noted. Today’s dictators replay Herod’s bid to scrub any threat to their power.
“Some people never get to see any star beyond glamour or glimmer of celebrity,” Walter Paul Komarnicki e-mailed from Cagayan de Oro. “But these Kings (were) led by a faith that guided them to a real presence beyond anyone’s comprehension. They brought the right gifts for a most extraordinary child. And they paid attention to their dreams, which saved them their lives, although at a terrible cost to many other boys 2 years and under.”
From Georgia, USA, Terry Sarigumba commented on the passing of Fr. James Reuter, SJ. “We worked with him onstage in 1997,” this UPLB-trained forester wrote. “Fil-Ams in Brunswick sponsored a musical titled ‘The Philippines Yesterday, Today and Forever.’ This featured highlights of Philippine history, Lorenzo Ruiz’s martyrdom, plus People Power with a cast of all-Filipino young artists.
“The smallest town in their itinerary, Brunswick proved the biggest ticket-grosser. Father Reuter taught me how to walk onstage, what to say, as program emcee—and get out pronto. He was a gentle disciplinarian.”
Despite Typhoon “Pablo” and Manny Pacquiao’s KO, 2012 was not an undiluted “Annus Horribilis” or “Year of Horrors,” noted “After the sun goes out” (Inquirer, 12/29/12). Seeds of an “Annus Mirabilis” or “Year of Wonders” were sown. Guns were silenced by the signing of the “Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.” President Aquino signed into law the sin tax bill, the anti-enforced disappearance bill, and the reproductive health bill.
“Include in ‘Annus Mirabilis’ the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona,” Eirons 1043 wrote. “The little girl—all right, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo—still has to be tried. The administration made a good dent in the massive socio/(economic)/political decay of this country since 1975. That was when the Marcos regime’s rapacity (spread). Like Pandora’s box, misgovernance marred succeeding presidencies. Voters should show we’re fed up with candidates offered by major political parties.
“Our republic would have had many ‘Annus Mirabilis’ after the Marcos regime collapsed,” Kayanatwo e-mailed. But entrenched cronies prevented geo-political reforms. A corrupted military attempted “coups” during Cory Aquino’s term. A generation grew up under years of martial-law mind control and physical threats. These produced a new breed of easily manipulated “trapo” and technocrats who bribe fence-sitters of the “new society.”
“Making all things new” (Inquirer, 1/1/13) focused on what 2013 may bring. “As a pediatrician, I come across daily, not merely statistics on maternal deaths and abortions, but threatened mothers and infants,” wrote Dr. Carolina Camara of Misamis. “They need education to make informed choices, according to their consciences, plus access to means freely chosen.
Pontificating at them is the ultimate slur. Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma does not threaten couple with hellfire. His diocese operates natural family planning clinics in all parishes. How many bishops can say as much?
“In 2010, the UP Population Institute estimated there were 560,000 underground abortions yearly. My experience tells me this is now an underestimate. Population has grown. So, has migration into ill-prepared cities. Every abortion is a crime that screams for redress.”
“No sir, 11 maternal deaths daily is not due to ‘irresponsible’ parenthood where those pregnancies ‘could have been avoided,’” claims Mang Teban. “No condom or pill can solve government neglect that kills 11 mothers per day.
“No sir, underground abortions will not stop with the RH law. Abortions will still happen when premarital and extramarital sexual relations are still on. Unfortunately, the stats are muddled up to make infantile deaths as all coming from ‘underground abortions.’ Your 560,000 underground abortions number doesn’t come from a trustworthy source.
“No sir, the RH law, the sin tax law, the framework agreement with the MILF won’t move ‘the poorest to more humane living conditions.’ The sin tax law will bankroll the purchase of contraceptives. And the framework agreement provides zero land for the poorest non-Muslim Filipinos. Shame on you.”
“‘Kanto’ star” (Inquirer, 12/25/12) noted the paper lantern, hung up by a couple and child, on their hovel in a street corner. Cora and Berto huddle in a kanto “home” come lashing rain or blistering sun. Like them, their child Tina sleeps on discarded cardboard laid atop sidewalk concrete. Is this a sidewalk Christmas crib?
Martin Glyn Holme is an Englishman who lives and works in China. “On vacation here, I have seen the poverty which you described in the Inquirer column. I donated money to a small church near my hotel to buy milk powder for mothers who cannot afford it.”
“Christmas is the only time… when men and women seem, by one consent, to open their shut-up hearts freely,” Edgar Lores e-mailed. “If this is true, then we should get rid of Christmas as it is celebrated now. In doing so, Christmas will not be confined to a day or a season but (will be) celebrated each day and for all seasons.”
“Yesterday’s Herod or Tiberius Caesar and Pontius Pilate are today’s Noynoy,” Paz claims. “Why did you exclude this vindictive President? There is no evidence against Gloria. Was Marcos jailed? That is justice of the brainless. (President) Aquino does nothing but accuse his foes.” But what about Cora, Berto and Tina?
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