Viewpoint

Quagmire

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Some Catholic bishops “flunked” President Aquino for “failing to curb poverty” even as the Philippines’ economic growth outstripped that of other Asian countries. “Growth has not trickled down to the poor,” scoffed National Secretariat for Social Action’s Bishop Broderick Pabillo. “On a scale of one to ten, I’d give Aquino a grade of three.”

All citizens have the right to speak. Did Pabillo grade all bishops in 16 archdioceses and 72 dioceses? Some, maybe? “Who made me a judge or a divider over you?” the Master replied when pestered to rule on a squabble.

“Tell the truth” in the State of the Nation Address in July, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma urged the President. Rising-GDP data are a mystery “amid hunger besetting a larger population.”

Is this a slur by imputation? That’s not the Palma we respect. The National Statistical Coordination Board, World Bank, and Standard and Poor’s have not fudged data. Quod grati asseritur, gratis negatur. “What is freely asserted can be freely denied.”

Church critics admit that Mr. Aquino heeds the commandment “Thou shalt not steal.” In contrast, a former president is being tried for plunder. A chief justice was impeached for muddling tax returns. But P-Noy hasn’t curbed pork barrel excesses. Today’s Ombudsman has a backbone.

By implementing the Framework Agreement between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Mr. Aquino is turning swords into ploughshares. A Conditional Cash Transfer program benefits 3.8 million of the poorest families. Still, the number of poor people hasn’t budged. Over half a million women seek underground abortionists due to patchy family planning services.

So, what’s causing the static? Among others, the bishops of Lipa and Bacolod blacklisted candidates who had backed the passage of the reproductive health bill. “Team Patay” instead coasted to decisive wins. These prelates clustered contra-RH bill legislators in “Team Buhay.” They were whipped.

“The Catholic Church would not be alive because Team Patay lost,” wrote Ateneo de Davao’s Fr. Joel Tabora. “Nor would it be dead if Team Patay won. The Church is diminished if bishops reduce it to a political party. Over-identification of the Church with particular political parties is historically inimical to the Church’s mission.”

In the polls’ aftermath, some pastors found themselves without a flock. “The sheep did not heed them… A stranger they will not follow,” said the Good Shepherd. “They will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Electioneering prelates are bogged in a quagmire and still don’t know it. That is pathetic. Instead, they inflict “flunking grades on those who, in equal good conscience, supported the law. That is tragic.”

See this controversy in the context of the G8 summit. The leaders of eight industrialized nations—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States—will gather in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, on June 17-18 to forge ways of meeting critical problems. This is the G8’s 38th meeting since 1976.

“Enniskillen is painting fake storefronts on closed-down businesses,” the Irish Times reports. Imelda Marcos once masked slums with flimsy painted walls whenever VIPs visited. “No one is fooled,” says Phil Flanagan, former owner of a papered-over butcher shop. “It is like when your mother-in-law is coming to visit and you give the house a tidy up.”

It’s not all sham. The World Bank boosted this year’s funding for child nutrition from $230 million to $600 million. And the European Union pledged an extra $500 million for related projects. “Stunting has become the most prevalent nutritional challenge in developing nations. Worldwide, 165 million children are affected.” (In Philippine kindergarten and primary classes, 562,262 pupils are “severely wasted.”)

“An international preferential option for the poor should be part of the G8 summit conversation,” wrote the heads of national Catholic conferences of bishops from eight countries. “Your focus on agriculture and nutrition is timely in a world that has made great strides in improving food production and distribution.”

The bishops include, among others, France’s André Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Leo Jun Ikenaga, SJ, archbishop of Osaka, and US Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Improve nutrition, reduce hunger and poverty, and strengthen just taxes, trade and transparency policies, the bishops urged.

“As a human family, we are only as healthy as our weakest members,” they pointed out. “[Still] far too many of God’s children go to bed hungry. Lack of nutrition is a tragedy that has lifelong consequences… By asking first how a given policy will affect the poor and vulnerable, you help assure the common good of all is served.”

“Man is not in charge,” said Pope Francis, the bishop of Rome. “Today, money is in charge, money rules… God did not give the task of caring for the earth to money, but to us…. Instead, men and women are sacrificed to idols of consumption…”

“A culture of waste has become the common mentality that infects everyone,” the Pope noted. Human life is no longer perceived as a primary value to be respected, especially if poor or disabled, or if not useful, such as the unborn child and the elderly.

“Our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any leftover food,” the Pope said. “Everyone [should] reflect on the problem of thrown away and wasted food.” Identify ways so saving food becomes “a vehicle of solidarity” with the needy.

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E-mail: juan_mercado77@yahoo.com

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  • josef mikel sy

    Look who’s talking…Lets start taxing these religious organizations so that they may contribute in alleviating the status of the poor in this country.

  • jcsantos

    You want zero family planning and the population to keep on rising, and yet you still demand the government to continuously keep providing for them? Church logic.

    If we allowed GDP to be EQUALLY distributed to each and every person, it will certainly keep decreasing and minimal amounts will only be left for each person in the future, given our exponential rate of population increase. If such a measure exists, more people will get lazier and unproductive while few people will work hard as they will carry the load for EVERYONE. In the end, everyone will just give up.

    To the church: enough with the hypocritical and blasphemous statements. Your actions are already and obviously very contradictory to the words and teachings of Jesus, and you defend by using Bible quotes outside of its original context, otherwise you should be condemning those who have tattoos or those wearing 2 fabrics at the same time. Like Pope Francis, BE like Jesus: start accepting other people, start being more understanding, engage in open discussions, BE WITH THE POOR.

    To the government: even more people will not be able to succeed if you continue to impose very difficult requirements on businesses, which will ultimately close down small businesses that could have had potential to contribute to the country by giving more to the GDP and providing more jobs. More so when Kim Henares is imposing IMPOSSIBLE tax regulations that will guarantee that some businesses to “violate” some of her new rules and be open to immediate persecution, discouraging even more from continuing their ventures. Get rid of all the useless red tape, speed up processing of permits, be more fairer in the business laws and you should be able to get more entrepreneurs to HELP you improve this country. Businessmen should be viewed as PARTNERS, not as hosts where you parasites leech from to pocket some of their cash and give the rest to the poor via unsustainable projects and programs to earn yourselves pogi points and taking all the credit.

    From a Philosoraptor post: “If sin tax is made to discourage drinking and smoking, is income tax made to discourage working?”

  • batangpaslit

    quaqmire
    I was trained in jungle survival lessons include evade and escape operations that if I find myself in a quagmire—I slipped my foot—in order to survive, I must not struggle. Rather, I must take a prone position as if I am swimming in the water and swing my arm until I reach the solid edge of pool

  • eight_log

    Slowly but surely, the church is becoming less and less part of an equation … their thinking is that they are still a constant. Knowledge has changed to a great degree the way people think and ,hence, the way they approach a problem. Gone are the days when a constant has to be inserted in an equation … now inserted are microscopes and computers … sadly, the church is not in it!!!!! The church is in a quagmire …. by the looks of it, they are panicking!!!!!

  • brunogiordano

    Marami sa mahihirap ay nagbibigay pa rin ng limos sa misa.

    Paniwala nila ito ay susuklian ng mabuti kapalaran.

    Alam ng mga pari at obispo ito ay hindi totoo.

    Subalit ang mga abuloy ng mga mahihirap ay kanila pa rin tinatangap kahit alam nilang ito ay malaking sakripisyo sa pamilya ng mga mahihirap.

    Malaking tulong sa mga mahihirap kung sila ay I-EXEMPT na sa pagbibigay ng limos sa lahat ng simbahan tulad ng pagbibigay ng TAX exemption sa mahihirap.

    Kung ang simbahan ay nabigyan ng TAX exemption, bakit hindi nila I-exempt ang mahihirap sa pagbibigay ng limos sa kanila ???????

    • el_latigo

      U got a point here @bruno, kudos!

  • RyanE

    The RC church’s rabid anti-RH stance is definitely not helping curb poverty.

  • el_latigo

    What are these Damaso hypocrites expecting? Another miracle from God? As they say, if you do not like a guy, you can always think of a hundred ways, or in the case of these Damasos, excuses to disparage him. While they were singing hosannas to their corrupt-to-the-core former benefactor (where taxpayer’s money is being spent for her upkeep at the airconditioned VMMC) because she gave them Pajeros (also out of poor-as-a-mouse Juan dela Cruz’ pockets, not her own. Ano kayo masaya?) they are now complaining to high heavens about the sitting prez’ inability to solve grinding poverty. As if this perennial scourge is the invention of PNoy and not thru decades of misrule of likewise corrupt former leaders. Puuhleezzz bishops, why don’t you donate a miniscule of the church’s untold riches? Then perhaps the poverty of the suffering poor that you love to complain about, while enjoying the good life inside your palaces also courtesy of the many naive poor, could at least be alleviated in this country.

  • pj2003

    To borrow the words of CDQ… these BISHOPS “are not exactly the best persons to complain about the poor remaining poor. They have only to look at the mirror to find the reason for it.”

  • UrHONOR

    BALDERDASH!

    Anong rinereklamo ng mga TNL na naka-sayang puti, e, bundok-bundok ang tinatago nilang kayamanang apaw-apaw sa kani9lang pangangailangan? AngP, sila ang nagpriprisintang magpapabuti sa buhay at kabuhayan ng mga mamamayan, tapos hanggang sa reklamo lang naman ang kanilang kayang gawin. Ang mga pinagbubusa nilang mga sermon ay mga pangusngusap na walang laman….mga turo na sila mismo ay hindi nagpapaniwala sa kabutihan ng mga ito. Tulad lamang ng sinasabi nilang pa-ulit-ulit na build your riches in the kingdom of heaven……masdan ang pag-aari ng mga TNL na yan….they’re building their wealth on earth and not in heaven. Here, read once more, a partial list~

    The Bank Investments Of Different Dioceses

    Diocese / Church Foundation Company # Shares Owned Rank in Top 100 Total Investment Value

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 222,843,681 4th PHP12.724 Billion

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (REAL CASA DE MISERICORDIA) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 41,408,841 8th PHP2.364 Billion

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA (HOSPITAL DE SAN JUAN DE DIOS) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 22,072,182 13th PHP1.26 Billion

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (HOSPICIO DE SAN JOSE) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 6,016,624 15th PHP343.55 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (HOSP DE SA JUAN DE DIOS) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 4,285,572 17th PHP244.71 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (MAYORDOMIA DELA CATEDRAL) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 2,664,266 21st PHP152.13 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (ST. PAUL`S HOSPITAL) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 1,772,418 26th PHP101.21 Million

    CARMEL OF THE DIVINE INFANT JESUS OF PRAGUE, INC. Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 726,819 49th PHP41.50 Million

    EL SUPERIOR DE LA CORPORACION FILIPINA DE PADRES AGUSTINOS RECOLETOS Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 551,382 60th PHP31.48 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF JARO Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 491,385 64th PHP28.06 Million

    EL SUPERIOR DE LA CORPORACION FILIPINA DE PADRES AGUSTINOS RECOLETOS San Miguel Corp (SMC) 2,370,000 31st PHP260.70 Million

    SUPERIOR DE LA CORPORACION ARCHICOFRADIA DE N.P.J.N DE RECOLETOS San Miguel Corp (SMC) 1,234,603 75th PHP135.81 Million

    CARMEL OF THE DIVINE INFANT JESUS OF PRAGUE, INC. San Miguel Corp (SMC) 957,516 79th PHP105.33 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TUGUEGARAO San Miguel Corp (SMC) 856,639 81st PHP94.23 Million

    REAL MONASTERIO DE LA PURISIMA CONCEPCION DE NUESTRA MADRE SANTA CLARA DE MANILA San Miguel Corp (SMC) 809,834 83rd PHP89.08 Million

    SUPERIOR DE LA CORPORACION DE PADRES RECOLETOS POR BECAS Y VOCACIONES San Miguel Corp (SMC) 621,702 89th PHP68.39 Million

    CARMEL OF ST THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS San Miguel Corp (SMC) 592,956 91st PHP65.23 Million

    THE DISCALCED CARMELITE NUNS OF CEBU San Miguel Corp (SMC) 451,864 95th PHP49.71 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NUEVA SEGOVIA DE VIGAN San Miguel Corp (SMC) 428,067 98th PHP47.09 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA Philex Mining Corp (PX) 3,221,135 15th PHP66.68 Million

    RELIGIOUS OF THE VIRGIN MARY – B Philex Mining Corp (PX) 3,125,777 16th PHP64.70 Million

    RELIGIOUS OF THE VIRGIN MARY-A Philex Mining Corp (PX) 1,091,027 69th PHP22.58 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TUGUEGARAO Ayala Corporation (AC) 24,015 73rd PHP9.29 Million

    KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FRATERNAL ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILS, INC. Ayala Corporation Preferred Shares – A (ACPA) 60,000 2nd PHP31.80 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TAGBILARAN Ayala Corporation Preferred Shares – B (ACPR) 10,000 64th PHP1.02 Million

    DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL PHINMA Corp. (PHN) 159,575 19th PHP2.12 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF JUAN DE DIOS PHINMA…

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