Behold Jesus, poor.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in its November pastoral letter said: “Jesus hanging from the cross, stripped of his dignity, his strength, his possessions, his power, is the image of the poor.’’
The Church celebrates 2015 as the Year of the Poor. The image of Jesus hanging on the cross is the face of the poor. He is fully one with the poor, the powerless, the unwashed, the miserable, the hungry, the outcasts, the homeless, the street children, the poorest of the poor.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo in his speech during the “Summit for Change’’ is calling for a system change in the country. He is calling for a righteous government that will guarantee the rights of the poor and protect the people from corrupt officials in the government.’’
He said: “Can there be a constitution that can punish government officials who do not execute the laws? There is presently a culture of impunity for government officials , from the President of the Republic down to the Barangay Chairman, who do not do what the laws require them to do.
“The big question is : who can protect the people from the government which disobeys the laws they are supposed to implement.’’
The Bishop said that there is a need for a system change wherein the government can regulate the market and the big businesses from exploiting the people. The Church is calling for a just government that will be strong enough to make the playing field for the poor and the small entrepreneurs to thrive, He said that presently, it is the big business and multinationals who makes the government penetrate and capture the market at the expense of the small entrepreneurs and the poor.
When we ask the poor what they want, we get simple answers. “We want decent meals everyday; we want regular jobs; we want decent housing; we want good education for our children; we want medical care when we get sick.’’ Food, shelter, job , education,health care. They just want basic services. But are these basic services being given to the people by the government? These basic services are being sold to private business entities under the Public –Private Partnership (PPP Program).’’
The government, according to Bishop Pabillo, is passing on its obligations to business entities who will do those basic services at a profit and at a high cost which the poor can not afford.
The Bishop laments that in Metro Manila, water , electricity, the MRT and LRT have been privatized. Even the highways have been privatized. These services are monopolized by the big corporations who belong to the 40 richest families in the country.
“They are privatized and they do not even offer decent services.They even want to privatize our public hospitals, like the Philippine Orthopoedic Hospital and even our state universities.’’
The Bishop is calling for the government to provide free tertiary or college education to our youth and even subsidize privately-owned educational institutions to provide good education for the Filipinos to make them competitive in the global market.
“ There is no such thing as housing for the poor. NHA (National Housing Authority) charge the poor in an exorbitant way by making them pay for 25 years (a house) which is so substandard that it can stand only for five years.
“Public services should not be privatized,’’ the Bishop stressed.
The issue of labor only contractualization and security of tenure was also pointed out by the Bishop which he said caused uncertainly and insecurity among the labor force. It will be recalled that labor contractualization was enforced and made into a law during the time of the late President Corazon Aquino.
He said job security is not only an issue of peace and order but also an issue of stability. He said rampant casualization (end-of-labor contract after five -six months) is being done by big business. These big corporations care only about the company’s profitability but hardly no serious consideration for their workers who actually create the profit for them.
He also discussed the issue of land grabbing by big businessmen who contrived ways mostly by legal means to deprive the farmers and the indigenous people of their rights to the land.
Let us pray that in the coming 2016 national elections the people will vote for the righteous leaders and that the sovereignty of the ballot will be honored and protected by the Commission on Elections.
Where is the Dining Table?
A rather strange thing has taken place in recent years is digital communication versus family communication. Gone are the days when communicating with God as a family was a natural and normal as communicating with each other.
Cellphones and computers has changed the landscape of family relationship and there is no going back anymore. Just as we can no longer return to the calesa days before cars were invented.
Both cellphones and computers are gateway to the world. Texting has largely replaced phonecalls, and many prefer texting instead of talking face-to-face with the other person a few feet away from him or her.
Thanks to internet, we are drawing in a sea of information and yet are unable to truly communicate. And thanks to e-mail, we live our lives under the compulsion that there’s an important message out there that is worth interrupting everything else.
Today, “friending”, as they call it, has become a status symbol, with many young people feel left-out without hundreds of online “friends” to give them some kind of perceived validity.
The digital revolution has replaced authentic, personal friendship, the kind that you need in times of difficulty and real need.
Should you be in the hospital with a serious illness, how many of your Facebook friends would be there to encourage you, to help you through the dark hours, and provide support?
Some perhaps, but not in the same measure as family and real friends - Those whom you have face-to-face relationship. I have a friend, Cecilia who has been my best friend since we were five.
To be very honest, I feel that our modern society is not providing people with human connections they crave, and online social networking is rather poor substitute.
Even some churches have begun to use blogs, chat areas, and electronic bulletin boards in their efforts to build community, yet there remain the danger of people finding connection through electronic forms, believing they have found genuine intimacy. This can cause them to miss out authentic community with the people they interact with each day.
As the domestic Church, it’s sad to think that time spent within a family has diminished. Fewer and fewer families have even one meal a day together and, at times are stolen in the same place at the same time. The Facebook fills the vacuum in a somewhat abstract sort of way.
While advancement in communication technology has accelerated, the dining table is still there. One way we can make use of it is by taking a few minutes following our evening meal together, to talk and build each other spiritually.
Yes, I realize it’s a challenge to get everybody together at the same time but when we can do this, we will find it brings great rewards from the One Who came with the promise of blessing.
This year 2015 is Year of the Poor. The Catholic Church, according to Pope Francis must embrace and uplift the poor. Pope Francis said that poverty is a scandal. The poor is closest to the heart of the Church. It is an obligatory choice. Pope Paul II in 1991 speaking before the sakadas in Bacolod said the Church will not hesitate to take up the cause of the poor and to become the voice of those who are not listened to, not to demand dole outs but social justice.
On July 22, 2015, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Manila was one of the speakers during the Summit for Change , a forum initiated by former Supreme Court Justice Reynato Puno and other like-minded individuals in government ,business, academe and the marginalized/poor sector of Philippine society, all crying out for a system change.
Bishop Pabillo lamented that while our 1987 Constitution has strong provisions on social justice, yet after 28 years of its promulgation, the country is still mired in so much inequality.
He said ,"There is great poverty in our country while our land is blest with many natural and human resources. There are more people who are poor and there are a few families extremely rich, so much so, that in 2011, 40 families have an income equivalent to 76 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).’’
This means more than three-fourths of the total goods and services produced in the country are being enjoyed by only 40 families in this country. This means that more than 100 million Filipinos will have to scramble, scrape , slave, and beg to have a share in the remaining 24 percent. The Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia where almost 80 percent of the country’s wealth and resources are controlled and enjoyed by these 40 families. If this does not smack of extreme social injustice , what does?
The Bishop continues, `` In spite of the prided level of the country’s GDP, the vast majority of the Filipinos remain poor as before.
"We have to admit that the paradigm that is being pursued is one that favors the rich and the foreigners because of their dollars.’’
"Oh how government and business salivate for foreign direct investments! Our leaders would do anything—even sell out our natural patrimony so that foreigners can have 100 % ownership of our natural resources, to bring in more FDIs or foreign direct investments. Is this not what they want the economic cha-cha for? To have foreign investments , we sacrifice the rights of our laborers, the right to form unions "Our police and military protect multinational installations against Filipino protesters who are being oppressed. We are willing to have our mountains exploited and leveled off for the billions of dollars that foreign mining companies and agri-business companies promise to bring. We extend tax holidays to big business to exploit our land in the name of development, but the government does not lift a finger to protect our local business in the name of free trade.’’
The Bishop strongly urges government and private sector to push for a system change. He said , ``What we need is a new paradigm….
"where the poor are the center of our development,
that restores dignity and power to the people,
that makes social reform and social justice a national agenda,
that exacts accountability from public officials,
that safeguards the public commons and the environment.’’
Let us pray for just leaders who will give true social justice to the poor and suffering.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) echoes the words of Pope Francis in saying the Christian preference must be the poor. Pope Francis calls poverty a scandal and posed the malady of poverty as a moral challenge of the Church. Aside from structural reforms, he calls for personal conversion and for a deeper realization of how the people have allowed the patterns of materialism to captivate their lives and become culturally indifferent to the plight of the poor.
Pope Francis points out three false cultures that materialism has created in the world namely; the culture of comfort that make everyone thinks only of himself; the culture of waste that seizes the gifts of the created order only to savor them for the moment and discard or them away; and the culture of indifference that desensitizes people to the suffering of others no matter how intense, no matter how sustained.
The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines in 1991 said the poor is not just a pastoral preference but an obligatory choice.This is an essential option of Christian faith. Eternal salvation depends on the living out of love for preference for the poor because the poor and the needy bear the privileged presence of Christ.(PCPII, #312)
Last Updated (Sunday, 23 August 2015 19:13)
Get Away with Stress Depression and Suicide
As a student, time is very important. We have to meet deadlines of our projects, thesis, research work etc. and submit it on time. Worst case scenario is that when all our subjects required us to submit the assignments on the same day, so, we have to settle with what do we need to do first and the next question is, will I be able to submit it all on time? In times like this, stress really comes out to all the students. But what do we do when stress is already in the situation? How can we cope-up with the situation when we are already stressed?
Last Updated (Monday, 10 August 2015 09:52)