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Vol. 45 No. 11 • November 2011<br />

Php 70. 00


“<br />

Quote in the Act<br />

“Most Australians believe in God. This is not some<br />

Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact,<br />

because Christian men and women, on Christian<br />

principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly<br />

documented… If God offends you, then I suggest<br />

you consider another part of the world as your new<br />

home, because God is part of our culture.”<br />

Julia Gillard, Australia prime minister; told Muslims who want<br />

to live under Islamic Sharia law to get out of Australia saying further,<br />

“immigrants, not Australians, must adapt…take it or leave it. I am tired of<br />

this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or<br />

“<br />

their culture.”<br />

“He doesn’t want anything special, and he said the<br />

water must be allowed to flow naturally.”<br />

Prayuth Chan-och a, chief of the Thai army; on Thailand king Bhumibol<br />

Adulyadej’s concern that the royal residences should not be given special<br />

consideration in directing the flow of floodwaters.<br />

“The world is looking at Germany, whether we<br />

are strong enough to accept responsibility for the<br />

biggest crises since World War II.”<br />

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; arguing before Parliament in Berlin<br />

that it is the responsibility of Germany to assume the risk of a Eurozone bailout.<br />

“There are attempts at exaggerating the number<br />

“<br />

of maternal deaths of poor mothers and mothersto-be<br />

without scientific data as proofs; these are<br />

simply dramatic allegations used to drum up the<br />

issue.”<br />

Nereo Odchimar, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference<br />

of the Philippines; reacting to recent of media campaign that uses the<br />

7 billion world population benchmark as the culprit to rising global<br />

contradictions.<br />

“In the battle between creating evil laws and<br />

creating good laws, speaking out is golden and<br />

silence is death.”<br />

Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist and dissident who has recently been ordered by<br />

the Chinese government to pay $2.4 million in back taxes; he was detained for<br />

several months earlier this year.<br />

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<strong>IMPACT</strong><br />

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PEDRO C. QUITORIO III<br />

Ed i t o r<br />

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2<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


CONTENTS<br />

EDITORIAL<br />

All out justice ..................................................... 27<br />

COVER STORY<br />

Who profits from mining<br />

in the Philippines? ............................................. 16<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> November 2011 / Vol 45 • No 11<br />

After 7 billion ................................................................ 8<br />

The Year of Faith and the martyrdom of<br />

Fr. Fausto Tentorio ........................................ 10<br />

The Silsilah Dialogue Movement: pursuing a<br />

path to peace .................................................... 11<br />

ARTICLES<br />

Church response to the challenge of climate<br />

change in Asia: Towards a new creation ... 4<br />

DEPARTMENTS<br />

Quote in the Act ................................................. 2<br />

News Features ................................................... 13<br />

Statements .......................................................... 21<br />

From the Blogs ................................................... 26<br />

From the Inbox .................................................. 28<br />

Entertainment .................................................... 30<br />

Asia Briefing ....................................................... 31<br />

The recent wave of popular<br />

uprising that started on December<br />

18, 2011 in Tunisia<br />

has now escalated far and wide. It<br />

was beyond the imagination of even<br />

the most astute social forecasters.<br />

For who would even thought that<br />

Hosni Mubarak would bow out<br />

that fast after 30 years of power<br />

in Egypt? Or, most astonishingly,<br />

who would have ever drawn up<br />

a scenario for a demagogue like<br />

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi doing<br />

a game-over by hiding like a rat<br />

under a culvert toward his death<br />

whereas in 2008 he was bestowed<br />

by African rulers with the title<br />

“King of Kings” with 42 years of<br />

iron rule in Libya?<br />

Albeit initially disorganized<br />

and seemingly spontaneous, this<br />

movement has been referred to as<br />

Arab Spring, probably because it<br />

has beaconed new hope and awakening<br />

for the Arab world that has<br />

been resistant to change for quite<br />

a time now. Global observers have<br />

identified the following factors<br />

that led to the popular protests:<br />

dictatorship or absolute monarchy,<br />

human rights violations, government<br />

corruption, economic decline,<br />

among others. All these add up to<br />

the cry for changing of political<br />

leadership; while others have been<br />

forcibly dethroned, the rest<br />

have promised to step down at<br />

the end of their terms—unless,<br />

of course, the protesters make<br />

it sooner.<br />

Inspired by the Arab<br />

Spring comes now the Occupy<br />

Wall Street Movement. It started<br />

on September 17 at the financial<br />

district of New York City. On its<br />

48th day at press time, this initiative<br />

has now snowballed to about<br />

900 cities worldwide. Like its<br />

inspiration, this too is a leaderless<br />

people-powered uprising.<br />

But the main difference is this is<br />

not directed to a particular leader. It<br />

is apparently addressed to the wellentrenched<br />

financial system that has<br />

bred social injustice, global economic<br />

imbalance, corporate greed<br />

and the darkest side of capitalism.<br />

Taken seriously, this is sending a<br />

very chilling message to world, so<br />

that even the Vatican has issued an<br />

18-page document on it, titled, “Towards<br />

Reforming the International<br />

Financial and Monetary Systems<br />

in the Context of a Global Public<br />

Authority.” The document calls<br />

for the establishment of a “global<br />

authority” and a “central world<br />

bank” to rule over financial institutions<br />

that have become outdated<br />

and often ineffective in addressing<br />

current financial mess.<br />

But will these movements<br />

reach the Philippine shores? Bishop<br />

Broderick Pabillo, chair of the<br />

CBCP Episcopal Commission on<br />

Social Action, Justice and Peace<br />

answers in the affirmative. He<br />

says, “In the Philippines, we find<br />

similar restlessness brewing among<br />

our sectoral group…this rising<br />

tide of discontent, coupled by the<br />

indifference of the general public,<br />

is substance for insurgency which<br />

the Church hopes to stem.” In the<br />

nearest future, he is convening a<br />

social reform movement which<br />

he calls “Kilusang 99%” which is<br />

about “making the poor the center<br />

of development and making the<br />

government accountable for the<br />

welfare of the majority.”<br />

This issue opens with the<br />

final statement of the Federation<br />

of Asian Bishops’ Conferences on<br />

climate change and its impact on<br />

Asia. Our cover story is penned<br />

by our staff writer Charles Avila,<br />

titled “Who profits from mining in<br />

the Philippines?”<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 3


ARTICLES<br />

Representing various Bishops’ conferences<br />

in Asia, their Episcopal<br />

commissions for human development,<br />

social action and Caritas, and<br />

the Offices of the Federation of Asian<br />

Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), we [55<br />

participants from 16 episcopal conferences<br />

and 2 Associate Members—14 Lay<br />

Persons, 4 Sisters, 14 Priests, 21 Bishops<br />

and 2 Cardinals] have come together to<br />

participate in a very significant seminar in<br />

Bangkok, 19-20 October 2011. Assisted<br />

by international experts, we sharpened our<br />

knowledge and shared our experiences on<br />

the theme: “Climate Change and its Impact<br />

of Asia - Challenges and the Response of<br />

the Church in Asia.”<br />

With the greatest concern for the<br />

peoples of Asia and for future generations,<br />

we have committed ourselves to<br />

help defend and promote the integrity of<br />

God’s creation in Asia.<br />

Church resp<br />

challenge of c<br />

in Asia: Towards<br />

(Final Sta<br />

1. The pastoral situation of climate<br />

change<br />

Our continent of Asia is God’s gift<br />

for all. It is incredibly rich in people, in<br />

ancient cultures, religious and philosophical<br />

traditions. It is here where Jesus our<br />

Lord was born, where he lived, proclaimed<br />

the Reign of God and went about doing<br />

good.<br />

But tragically ours is a continent of<br />

massive poverty, where the few enjoy great<br />

progress and prosperity while the many<br />

suffer in abject deprivation. And it is the<br />

poor and the needy who suffer most from<br />

the consequences of climate change.<br />

We are experiencing dramatic changes<br />

of season, extreme changes of weather,<br />

more frequently recurring and stronger<br />

typhoons, destructive flooding, drying up<br />

of whole areas, decrease in food production,<br />

the spread of climate-change related<br />

diseases. We have reports of glacial melting<br />

in the Himalayas, of threats to life<br />

because of floods in low-lying river basins,<br />

even the loss of small islands because of<br />

rising sea levels. All these will surely and<br />

drastically worsen the lives of the poor.<br />

Recurring emergency situations, displacement<br />

of populations, increasing number<br />

of environmental refugees, the widening<br />

scandalous gap between rich and poor, and<br />

increasing conflicts regarding resource allocation<br />

can lead to grave social, political<br />

and economic instabilities.<br />

The mode of production and the<br />

ideologies of development that industrial<br />

countries have implemented have substantively<br />

contributed, many experts say, to<br />

global warming and climate change. Yet<br />

4<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • October November 2011 2011


onse to the<br />

limate change<br />

a new creation<br />

tement)<br />

ARTICLES<br />

tragically the mode of production that is<br />

a substantial reason for climate change is<br />

extended to Asia by the corruptive collusion<br />

between local and international<br />

developers. They pillage Asia’s virgin<br />

forests and operate destructive extractive<br />

industries such as various forms of<br />

large-scale mining for the sake of short<br />

term economic gains while sacrificing the<br />

common good of all.<br />

In this continent of contradictions, of<br />

richness and deprivation, our demand is<br />

for just human living conditions for all of<br />

the peoples of Asia and for the survival of<br />

species. It is likewise a demand for justice<br />

for generations not yet born. This requires<br />

the living of solidarity and a fundamental<br />

orientation to the common good.<br />

2. Faith-reflection on climate change<br />

As Church we are deeply concerned<br />

for victims and for those who cause their<br />

suffering, present and future, of the dire<br />

consequences of climate change. For<br />

from the optic of faith we see the moral<br />

and religious dimensions of this pastoral<br />

situation in Asia.<br />

Creation, Sinfulness and Broken<br />

Harmony<br />

We believe that at the beginning<br />

God created a world of harmony and<br />

beauty (Gen.1:1-31). But sinfulness in<br />

the form of human pride, selfishness and<br />

greed disrupted this harmony (see Gen.<br />

3:1-7; 4:1-16; 6:5-8; 11:1-9). Relationships<br />

between humanity, the world, and<br />

God were broken. It was God’s plan that<br />

at the fullness of time he would restore<br />

that pristine harmony and peace that had<br />

been there at the beginning.<br />

Jesus, the Reign of God, Healing<br />

Brokenness Due to Sin<br />

That appointed time finally came.<br />

God sent his Divine Son Jesus to be<br />

born of a humble virgin, named Mary<br />

(Lk. 2:1-7) It was his mission to heal all<br />

broken relationships that are the fruits of<br />

sin. He proclaimed the Reign of God (Mk.<br />

1:15) and the wholeness and fullness of<br />

life that he came to give (Jn 10:10). The<br />

power of God’s Reign showed itself in<br />

the new relationships and fellowship that<br />

Jesus established, with the outcasts of<br />

society, the poor and marginalized, the<br />

sick ― everyone who needed the compassion<br />

of God.<br />

He reminded people of the original<br />

harmony and beauty of natural creation by<br />

explaining the Reign of God in terms of<br />

seeds, vineyards and trees, soil, birds of<br />

the sky, lilies of the field, fish, sheep and<br />

other animals, signs in the sky, darkness<br />

FILE PHOTO<br />

Volume 45 • Number 10 11 5


ARTICLES<br />

FILE PHOTO<br />

and light (e.g. Lk. 8:4-8; Mt. 13:31-32; Lk8:22-29; Mt. 13:24-<br />

30). In all these Jesus demonstrated His and his Father’s love<br />

and providence for nature and humanity<br />

The Cross, Reconciliation, Justice and Peace<br />

The ultimate act of Jesus to fulfill God’s plan was his Passion,<br />

Death and Resurrection, the definitive event of salvation<br />

and reconciliation by which He drew everything to himself. The<br />

glorious Cross is the power and the wisdom of God achieving<br />

the reconciliation of total humanity and the whole of the cosmos<br />

with God. The extraordinary suffering and death of Jesus remind<br />

us of the words of Paul telling us of the groaning of creation<br />

while awaiting redemption and reconciliation in Jesus (Rom.<br />

8:19-22).<br />

Jesus and the New Creation<br />

But God reveals to us even more in our Sacred Scriptures ―<br />

an even more stupendous and profound mystery. This Jesus who<br />

dies in powerlessness and ignominy is the eternal Word of God.<br />

From all eternity He is God (Jn. 1:1-2), the only begotten Son<br />

of God who in the appointed time was born in the flesh to dwell<br />

among us (Jn. 1:14). He is the divine and supreme sovereign of<br />

all, through whom and by whom every created being exists (Jn.<br />

1:3; Col. 1:15-19), to whom the whole cosmos is restored and<br />

by whose Spirit it is renewed. Seas and skies, rain and sunshine,<br />

seasons and climates belong to him.<br />

By the Cross he has made all things new. A creation that was<br />

groaning in travail has become a new creation through His blood<br />

(2 Cor. 5:17-21). Jesus is our peace, the peace and harmony of<br />

the world. He has restored justice and reconciled all things to<br />

himself (Col. 1:20).<br />

It is in this understanding of creation, redemption and human<br />

history illumined by our faith in Jesus the Lord and Savior that we<br />

discern the deeper dimensions of climate change, the sinfulness<br />

from which it originates, the religious and ethical dimensions that<br />

it involves and the grave threat that it poses to all humanity.<br />

3. Pastoral imperatives<br />

Hence we believe that all the peoples of Asia, regardless of<br />

culture, religious or philosophical belief and economic status<br />

has the mission to defend and promote the integrity of creation.<br />

And we as Church stand for global climate justice today and for<br />

future generations with preferential option for the poor.<br />

A fundamental task of the Church in Asia is to call for radical<br />

conversion, promote an alternative lifestyle, a new culture of<br />

respect for nature, of simplicity and sobriety, of hope and joy.<br />

Guided by her social teachings as principles and directives of<br />

action the Church has to promote technologies with much less<br />

gas emissions that damage the environment, promote organic and<br />

eco-friendly production, responsible consumption and recycling,<br />

thus contributing to intergenerational justice.<br />

Urgent Appeals<br />

In the light of the above we collectively appeal to the FABC<br />

to establish an agency/desk on climate protection whose tasks<br />

would include:<br />

• Doing theological reflection on the mystery and truth of<br />

God’s creation, on our moral and ethical responsibility with<br />

regard to the environment;<br />

• Promoting initiatives at the FABC level and assisting the<br />

initiatives of local churches for climate protection;<br />

• Establishing practical and effective linkage with SECAM,<br />

CELAM, FCBCO, the US and Canadian Bishops’ Conferences,<br />

and the CCEE as well as with UN conferences in order to address<br />

the global challenge of climate change.<br />

• Further we:<br />

• Appeal to Bishops’ Conferences in Asia to develop action<br />

plans or intensify programs against climate change;<br />

• Appeal to the FABC to hold in 2013 a second seminar on<br />

climate change in order to evaluate the steps already taken by<br />

then as well as to define the FABC commitment for the future.<br />

• Appeal to all local churches and to everyone to live a life-<br />

6<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


Church Response To The Challenge of Climate Change In Asia<br />

style that is in accord with the principle of faithful stewardship<br />

of God’s creation such as in the use of transports, the design of<br />

church and religious buildings;<br />

• We make an urgent:<br />

• Appeal to all who carry political responsibilities to hold<br />

climate protection as a core guiding principle in decision decisionmaking;<br />

• Appeal to all who bear economic responsibilities and to<br />

all industrial countries to share with us in Asia the know-how of<br />

sustainable technologies for climate protection, mitigation and<br />

adaptation as a service for future generations;<br />

• Appeal to all governments to decide in limiting global<br />

warming to 1.5 degrees C;<br />

• Appeal to all governments for a climate friendly model of<br />

development and for a binding enlargement of climate protection<br />

commitments on emerging countries;<br />

• Appeal to all governments to lead the Kyoto Protocol to a<br />

second commitment period as of 2012 and thereby to preserve the<br />

only legally binding instrument of the UN for climate protection.<br />

• Appeal to all industrial countries to acknowledge their<br />

historical responsibility for climate change and their obligation<br />

to protect the people affected by climate change;<br />

• Appeal for a just, fair and transparent governance of the<br />

Green Climate Fund and its programs to ensure the decoupling<br />

of growth and development from carbon emissions in developing<br />

and fast growing economies;<br />

• Appeal to decision makers at all levels to consider the ecowisdom<br />

of local peoples and the right of people to participate<br />

actively.<br />

• Finally we propose to the FABC to suggest to the appropriate<br />

Church agency the holding of a Synod of Bishops on the<br />

theme of Creation and Climate Change. Such a Synod would<br />

demonstrate the effective concern that Pope Benedict XVI has<br />

declared: “The Church has a responsibility towards creation”<br />

(Caritas in Veritate, no. 51).<br />

Conclusion<br />

Our stance is one of courage and hope. Blessed Pope John<br />

Paul once famously said: “Look to the future with hope, and set<br />

out with renewed vigor to make this new millennium a time of<br />

solidarity and peace, of love for life and respect for God’s creation”<br />

(Bl. John Paul II, Pilgrimage to Malta, May 8, 2001).<br />

In this task for the world our inspiration and driving force is<br />

the mystery and truth of Jesus in his mission of saving, liberating,<br />

healing, and reconciling a broken world. In discipleship of<br />

Jesus, this mission to restore all things in Christ is for us a gift<br />

and task. We cooperate with the Spirit of Jesus who “renews the<br />

face of the earth.”<br />

May God the loving Creator bless our efforts for the integrity<br />

and renewal of his creation. May Mary the humble Virgin<br />

Mother who conceived Jesus the divine reconciler of all creation<br />

accompany us in living his gift and continuing his task.<br />

For and on behalf of the seminar participants:<br />

+ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO, O.M.I.<br />

Archbishop of Cotabato<br />

Secretary General, FABC<br />

MSGR. JOSEF SAYER<br />

President, MISEREOR<br />

Germany<br />

October 20, 2011<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 7<br />

Photo courtesy of NGO network


ARTICLES<br />

By Michael Cook<br />

Like many others, the US-based<br />

Center for Biological Diversity<br />

was aghast at the arrival of the 7<br />

billionth person today. “Overpopulation<br />

and overconsumption are the root causes<br />

of environmental destruction. They’re<br />

driving species extinct, destroying wildlife<br />

habitat, and undermining the basic needs<br />

of all life at an unprecedented rate. It has<br />

to stop.”<br />

Their solution? Handing out “endangered<br />

species condoms” to cut down on<br />

human beings and increase Mississippi<br />

gopher frogs.<br />

While this is a particularly misanthropic<br />

gesture, newspapers around the<br />

world saw October 31, the date designated<br />

by the United Nations for the population<br />

milestone as an inspired choice. Like Halloween,<br />

people scary.<br />

“Everywhere people go, mass extinctions<br />

follow,” says Australian scientist John<br />

Alroy. “Continuing population growth is<br />

a multiplier of every one of today's converging<br />

sustainability pressures, including<br />

climate change,” writes Jonathon Porritt,<br />

a former chairman of UK’s Sustainable<br />

Development Commission.<br />

Well, the alarmists got one thing right:<br />

the future does look scary –not because<br />

there are too many people, but because<br />

there will be too few. And the dismaying<br />

thing is that nearly all journalists were<br />

gullible enough to follow the agenda of<br />

ascare campaign run by the Malthusian<br />

miserabilists at the United Nations Population<br />

Fund (UNDP).<br />

United Nations Secretary General Ban<br />

Ki-moon made an absurd link between<br />

the arrival of the seven billionth person<br />

to the Occupy Wall Street protests. “As<br />

the world population clock ticks past 7<br />

billion, alarm bells are ringing. The gathering<br />

force of public protests is the popular<br />

expression of an obvious fact: that growing<br />

economic uncertainty, market volatility<br />

and mounting inequality have reached a<br />

point of crisis.”<br />

Sustainability issues are real enough:<br />

threats to biodiversity, water shortages, energy<br />

shortages, and environmental damage<br />

and food supplies require creativity and<br />

coordinated international action.<br />

But vilifying human beings as ecological<br />

toxins is worse than misanthropic;<br />

it’s dumb. Global figures blur enormous<br />

diversity among countries, ages, and ethnic<br />

groups. They ought to provoke inquiry, not<br />

regurgitation of UN press releases. <strong>Here</strong><br />

After 7<br />

Demographic denialists are ignoring<br />

are a few questions about the problems<br />

and opportunities for a world with seven<br />

billion people that alert journalists should<br />

have asked.<br />

What are the UN’s assumptions?<br />

Demography is an inexact science. In<br />

May the UNDP released three estimates<br />

for its population forecast: a medium projection,<br />

which is the most probable, based<br />

on historical trends; a high variant, which<br />

is half a child above the medium, and a<br />

low, which is half a child below. Some<br />

journalists seized upon the high variant,<br />

which yields a world population of 15.8<br />

billion in 2100. They could equally have<br />

focused on the low variant, which slumps<br />

to 6.2 billion.<br />

Broadly speaking, the medium variant<br />

projection for 2050 is accepted by other<br />

demographers – about nine billion.<br />

However, the UNDP’s analysis incorporates<br />

some controversial assumptions.<br />

For one, it disregards uncertainty about life<br />

expectancy. If this increases, the population<br />

will rise. It also assumes that countries with<br />

below replacement fertility will rise to a replacement<br />

level of 2.1 children per woman.<br />

Is this likely or just hopeful? Similarly, it<br />

assumes that countries like Afghanistan<br />

and Niger, with very high fertility rates will<br />

decline towards a replacement level of 2.1.<br />

Demographic theory supports this pattern,<br />

but it is not written in stone.<br />

Are the UN’s figures reliable?<br />

Broadly speaking, yes. But the figures<br />

which appear in newspapers have significant<br />

limitations. Take China’s population<br />

– about one-sixth of the world. The experts<br />

cannot agree what its level of fertility was<br />

in 2000. It was assumed to be about 1.9,<br />

but it could actually have been as low as<br />

1.2. This has huge consequences for predicted<br />

levels of population. By the end of<br />

the century it could sink to half the level<br />

of 2000.<br />

How dynamic will 9 billion people be?<br />

Population alarmists are only interested<br />

in people as carbon footprints<br />

and assume that each of them blights<br />

the environment to the same degree. But<br />

from a social point of view, the key figure<br />

is the number of productive people in a<br />

country—the working age population<br />

between 15 and 60. The truly scary thing<br />

happens when the proportion of working<br />

people shrinks.<br />

Countries with sub-replacement fertility<br />

will be forced to support legions<br />

of elderly invalids as the population<br />

ages. As Philip Longman, author of The<br />

Empty Cradle, puts it, “The planet may be<br />

bursting, but most of this new population<br />

is made up of people who have already<br />

been born. So get ready for a planet<br />

that's a whole lot more crowded—with<br />

old people.”<br />

8<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


After 7 Billion<br />

half of the 2.3 billion increase in the world’s<br />

population over the next 40 years will come<br />

from Africa. Six of the 20 most populous<br />

countries in 2050 will probably be in<br />

sub-Saharan Africa: Nigerian, Democratic<br />

Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania,<br />

Kenya and Uganda. They will be bursting<br />

with young people. It is impossible<br />

to imagine that their governments will<br />

not want a greater say in world affairs,<br />

no matter how difficult their domestic<br />

problems may be.<br />

billion<br />

the perils of an ageing population.<br />

How dynamic will the economy be?<br />

Can economies struggling under the<br />

burden of caring for the elderly be dynamic<br />

and forward-looking? Japan was the first<br />

major country in the world to enter population<br />

decline. Is it any surprise that its<br />

economy has stagnated for the last two<br />

decades?<br />

“Rising debt burdens and shrinking<br />

labor markets have already slowed economic<br />

growth and suppressed any hope for a major<br />

long-term turnaround,” writes Joel Kotkin,<br />

executive editor of NewGeography.com, and<br />

author of The Next Hundred Million: America<br />

in 2050. “The same will happen to even the<br />

best-run European economies, just as it has<br />

in Japan, whose decades-long growth spurt<br />

ended as its workforce began to shrink.”<br />

How caring will society be?<br />

Families in countries as diverse as<br />

Korea and Singapore and Spain and<br />

Germany are having only one child—the<br />

Chinese population ideal achieved without<br />

a whit of coercion. So, as in China, the only<br />

relatives many children will have are their<br />

parents and grandparents—no siblings, no<br />

cousins, no aunts and uncles.<br />

Furthermore, many women are choosing<br />

childlessness. In an increasingly atomistic<br />

society, who will cherish them in their<br />

declining years? In France, or Singapore<br />

or the United States, childless men and<br />

women may have an adequate social<br />

support network. Japan is creating cuddly<br />

robots, but will they be able to afford<br />

them in China? In Tunisia? In Thailand?<br />

At the moment almost half the world lives<br />

in countries with sub-replacement fertility.<br />

The future for people with small families<br />

looks bleak and lonely.<br />

How will the world cope with the old<br />

age tsunami?<br />

The test of every society is how it cares<br />

for its most vulnerable. It’s hard enough<br />

in advanced economies with traditions of<br />

respect for the law to give the elderly and<br />

infirm the care and respect they deserve.<br />

There have been warnings of a tsunami of<br />

elder abuse in the US and the UK.<br />

But in China, the problem will be<br />

absolutely overwhelming. By the 2042,<br />

almost one-third of China's total population<br />

will be over 60. The burden of supporting<br />

four aged parents and one child will crush<br />

some couples. According to the Chinese<br />

magazine Economic Observer, the government<br />

plans to build 3.4 million nursing<br />

home beds over the next five years—they<br />

are unlikely to be palaces for the twilight<br />

years. With China’s scant respect for human<br />

rights, how can pressure for euthanasia,<br />

legal or illegal, be resisted?<br />

How will the world political balance<br />

change?<br />

According to the UN’s figures, about<br />

www.mercator.net<br />

What is the future of immigration?<br />

In the United States, Europe and Australia<br />

migration is a huge political issue.<br />

Governments are fighting to protect their<br />

borders from unwanted migrants and to<br />

preserve their cultural identity. But as their<br />

workforce ages, will they be forced to import<br />

young workers from countries with dynamic<br />

population growth—mostly Africa? Will we<br />

see the Africanisation of the world?<br />

What ideals will motivate people in<br />

2050?<br />

The world may well become more<br />

religious. As Philip Longman points out,<br />

“adherents to fundamentalism, whether<br />

Christians, Jews, or Muslims, tend to<br />

have substantially more children than<br />

their secular counterparts”. People with<br />

a religious outlook have confidence in<br />

the future and are less afraid of bringing<br />

children into the world.<br />

This may already be happening in the<br />

United States, where support for abortion<br />

is slipping because more and more young<br />

people have religious values—because<br />

their parents had more children.<br />

As a demonstration of the power of<br />

progeny, the Amish, an American fundamentalist<br />

Protestant group renowned<br />

for using horse and buggy and shunning<br />

technology have grown from about 5,000<br />

in 1900 to more than 250,000 today. The<br />

average Amish family has five or six<br />

children. The creed of secularism could<br />

wither away; at the very least it will be<br />

severely tested.<br />

The most serious problem a world of<br />

seven billion people faces is not too many<br />

people, but too high a proportion of old<br />

people. The social and political changes<br />

of demographic are not dramatic but day<br />

by day they are changing our world. This<br />

the real story behind the seven billion.<br />

And the scariest thing of all is that almost<br />

no one cares. I<br />

(Michael Cook is editor of Mercator-<br />

Net.)<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 9


ARTICLES<br />

The Year of Faith and the martyrdom<br />

of Fr. Fausto Tentorio<br />

www.asianews.it<br />

By Bernardo Cervellera<br />

Father Tentorio was killed just minutes after celebrating Mass, and<br />

before going to Kidapawan (Mindanao, Philippines), to meet<br />

with the other priests of the diocese, at the bishop's house. His<br />

murderer, with the sense of security that belongs to those who have<br />

powerful patrons, approached him and shot him twice in the head. Then<br />

he calmly left on his motorcycle, his face covered by a helmet.<br />

The news of the death of the PIME missionary arrived almost<br />

simultaneously with the publication of "Porta fidei", the Apostolic<br />

Letter of Pope Benedict XVI for the Proclamation of the Year<br />

of Faith. The Pope hopes this Year will lead to a rediscovery<br />

of the faith and encourage Christians to transmit it with joy<br />

and confidence. The Year of the faith will begin on 11 October<br />

2012, the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, and<br />

will end on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King,<br />

November 24, 2013.<br />

Benedict XVI wants all of us rediscover the faith according<br />

to the teachings of the Council and the Catechism of the Catholic<br />

Church, to appreciate its truth, beauty, and nourish our enthusiasm<br />

to transmit it to the world.<br />

In the Letter, speaking of the "history of faith," he writes:<br />

"By faith, the martyrs gave their lives, bearing witness to the<br />

truth of the Gospel that had transformed them and made them<br />

capable of attaining to the greatest gift of love: the forgiveness<br />

of their persecutors"(No. 13).<br />

The relevance of this message is sadly arresting, in the light<br />

of the death of Fr Fausto, he who in 2003 had escaped death in an<br />

ambush and who, despite this, had never asked to be transferred<br />

elsewhere to continue his work of evangelization and development<br />

of the indigenous people of Arakan Valley.<br />

Benedict XVI, speaking about the launch of the Year of Faith,<br />

stressed that it must serve to help mature mission ad gentes and<br />

new evangelization. The martyrdom of Fr Tentorio, reawakens<br />

our gratitude to Christ for the gift that this priest made by laying<br />

down his life.<br />

"By faith men and women have consecrated their lives to<br />

Christ, leaving all things behind so as to live obedience, poverty<br />

and chastity with Gospel simplicity, concrete signs of waiting for<br />

the Lord who comes without delay. By faith, countless Christians<br />

have promoted action for justice so as to put into practice the word<br />

of the Lord, who came to proclaim deliverance from oppression<br />

and a year of favor for all,” reads Porta fidei.<br />

The life of Fr. Fausto had the same perfume of this total gift:<br />

long pastoral visits by motorbike, by car or on horseback to visit the<br />

most isolated tribal groups, sleeping on a mat on the floor, eating the<br />

poor things of the natives to build a church where being foreign or<br />

local does not create unfair exclusion or differences; commitment<br />

to the education of children and adults.<br />

During the meeting on the new evangelization, the Pope<br />

recalled that "in the world, even if evil makes more noise, there<br />

continues to be good soil." This is the good soil of the martyrs.<br />

But the martyrdom of Fr Fausto was similar to his daily life, spent<br />

in the Diocese of Kidapawan. And as the Pope says, the good<br />

he did made no noise: Fr. Tentorio was a man of few words and<br />

few of his writings remain. But the love that the natives had for<br />

him, alive and now dead, remains strong. I<br />

10<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


ARTICLES<br />

The Silsilah Dialogue Movement:<br />

pursuing a path to peace<br />

By Aminda E. Saño<br />

The Silsilah Dialogue Movement was<br />

founded officially on May 9, 1984 in<br />

Zamboanga City by Fr. Sebastiano<br />

D’Ambra, PIME. The Movement was<br />

born out of his experience of violence<br />

and war in the 1970’s while on his first<br />

Philippine mission in Siocon, Zamboanga<br />

del Norte. His pastoral experience in<br />

this southern part of Mindanao placed<br />

him face to face with conflicts between<br />

Muslims and Christians. The conflicts<br />

were in reality political in origin, but the<br />

ensuing events of animosity, prejudices<br />

and biases finally erupted to violence and<br />

open conflict which deeply affected the<br />

Muslim-Christian relationship and soon<br />

was identified as Muslim-Christian “war”<br />

by a stroke of political machination in<br />

Philippine history.<br />

In 1983 Fr. D’Ambra, then newlyelected<br />

regional superior of the PIME in<br />

the Philippines, started meeting regularly<br />

with some Muslim and Christian friends in<br />

Zamboanga City and formed the “Islamo-<br />

Christian Silsilah Dialogue Movement.”<br />

A few years later the “Islamo-Christian”<br />

words were dropped to signify the openness<br />

of the movement to all religions, although<br />

special attention is given to Muslim and<br />

Christian dialogue.<br />

SILSILAH is an Arabic word which<br />

literally means “chain” or “link”. This is<br />

what the Movement envisions—a life-indialogue<br />

for all Muslims, Christians, and<br />

peoples of other living faiths in respect,<br />

trust and love for one another, and moving<br />

together towards a common experience of<br />

harmony, solidarity and peace.<br />

The members of the Movement<br />

are Muslims, Christians, and people of<br />

other traditions and faiths who live and<br />

promote the Silsilah vision-mission not<br />

only in the Philippines but also in other<br />

parts of the world. They are individuals,<br />

families, groups, communities, which<br />

are categorized as regular, associate,<br />

honorary members, volunteers or<br />

friends.<br />

The Silsilah Summer Course on Muslim-Christian<br />

dialogue is subdivided into<br />

three different courses—basic, special and<br />

intensive has been conducted during summer<br />

every year for 25 years now.<br />

To provide<br />

further information<br />

and research,<br />

the Silsilah<br />

Library had<br />

been established,<br />

in consortium<br />

with Ateneo de<br />

Zamboanga University.<br />

Last November<br />

10, 2011,<br />

it is serving online<br />

researchers.<br />

It has a rich collection<br />

of books<br />

that specializes<br />

on Christianity,<br />

Islam and other<br />

religions, topics<br />

on interreligious<br />

dialogue, interfaith<br />

relativeness,<br />

culture, and<br />

peace education.<br />

The Movement commemorates special occasions and events by planting harmony<br />

posts in public places, as a symbol and reminder that all people are called<br />

and challenged to be men and women of dialogue, harmony and peace.<br />

The media center<br />

Because of the advent of new technology,<br />

the Movement realizes the major<br />

contribution and effectiveness of the media<br />

and the Internet if optimized in promoting<br />

its vision-mission. Thus, the Media Center<br />

for Dialogue and Peace was established.<br />

This center is responsible for providing<br />

information on the Movement’s programs<br />

and activities through the different modes<br />

of media and the Internet. It maintains the<br />

official website of the Movement (www.<br />

silsilahdialogue.com) and the Harmony<br />

Chain Initiative site (www.harmonylink.<br />

info) for its global purpose. The center also<br />

manages the Silsilah Publications, which<br />

is responsible for the Silsilah Bulletin that<br />

is circulated in more than 75 countries.<br />

Other publications include books, posters,<br />

Silsilah Dialogue Forum series, Dialogue<br />

and Peace Papers, Silsilah Calendar, a<br />

“chain” calendar depicting the Gregorian<br />

and the Hijrah versions, including list and<br />

description of major Muslim and Christian<br />

celebrations and feasts.<br />

Silsilah forum<br />

The visible presence of Silsilah<br />

in many places in Mindanao and other<br />

parts of the country started with the<br />

formation of the Silsilah Forum. After<br />

many years of conducting formation<br />

and training programs, the movement<br />

has already thousands of alumni and<br />

friends, mostly Muslims and Christians<br />

from Mindanao and from other parts<br />

of the Philippines and other countries,<br />

who are now active participants in any<br />

peace-building initiatives with other<br />

groups and institutions in their own<br />

respective places.<br />

Silsilah is in regular contact with<br />

a group of Christians in Italy called<br />

Comunita’ Dialogo, which was formed<br />

after the death of Fr. Salvatore Carzedda,<br />

PIME in 1992. They derived inspiration<br />

from the spirit of Silsilah and the life and<br />

commitment of Fr. Carzedda to live and<br />

promote the peace through dialogue.<br />

Spirituality of dialogue<br />

It is the desire of the Movement that<br />

Silsilah would not be just identified as a<br />

non-government organization doing advocacy<br />

work for dialogue and peace, but<br />

presenting dialogue not as a strategy, but<br />

as a style of life, a spirituality of life-indialogue<br />

springing from God and bringing<br />

people back to God.<br />

The major programs and initiatives of<br />

the movement are in education and formation<br />

for dialogue and peace, appreciate<br />

differences of culture and religion and to<br />

help grow in conviction and witnessing to<br />

www.silsilahdialogue.com<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 11


ARTICLES<br />

Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME (center) with the IFCL Basilan Council of<br />

Leaders and Silsilah president Ms. Aminda E. Saño<br />

one’s own religious and cultural traditions,<br />

and thus develop wholeness in becoming<br />

men and women of dialogue.<br />

A response to the call of dialogue and<br />

peace, a group of Christian lay women<br />

called Emmaus Dialogue Community<br />

(EDC) expressed their desire to make<br />

their witnessing experience of dialogue<br />

and peace more permanent embracing the<br />

spirituality of life-in-dialogue as a style<br />

of life as a community. The EDC is based<br />

in Sta. Catalina, Zamboanga City, in the<br />

heart of a poor community surrounded by<br />

Muslim and Christian neighbors. They are<br />

recognized as a lay private association<br />

governed by Canons 321 and 326 of the Revised<br />

Code of Canon Law and recognized<br />

as such by Archbishop of Zamboanga<br />

Carmelo D.F. Morelos in 1996.<br />

The vibrancy and dynamism of this<br />

community shine through in its many<br />

programs and services that are facilitated<br />

by the Padayon Center that started on<br />

February 8, 200. Padayon is a Visayan<br />

word of encouragement meaning to<br />

“move on.”<br />

On the occasion of its 20th anniversary,<br />

the House of Spirituality was<br />

opened on May 20, 2007 as a service to<br />

Christians who wish to have a deeper<br />

spiritual journey, seeking to harmonize,<br />

contemplate and actualize the living out<br />

of the spirituality of life–in –dialogue. The<br />

complex has its own church dedicated to<br />

the Holy Family, hermitage for those who<br />

wish to experience deeper silence and<br />

solitude, and two dormitories for women<br />

and men.<br />

Women for dialogue<br />

On the other hand, there is the Muslim<br />

Women for Dialogue and Peace (Musli-<br />

mah), a new effort<br />

encouraged<br />

by Silsilah for<br />

Muslim women<br />

who are inspired<br />

to live the spirit<br />

of dialogue in the<br />

context of their<br />

Islamic faith and<br />

tradition. They go<br />

through a formation<br />

program and<br />

are challenged<br />

to contribute as<br />

Muslim women<br />

to the promotion<br />

of dialogue<br />

and peace in the<br />

movement, within<br />

their families,<br />

communities and society as a whole. They<br />

are encouraged to form small groups in their<br />

areas and to be in regular contact with the<br />

Silsilah family.<br />

Another significant initiative of the<br />

Movement is the establishment of the<br />

Inter-Faith Council of Leaders (IFCL) that<br />

started in Zamboanga City and recently<br />

IFCL-Basilan was launched in July 2010.<br />

This initiative has for its general goal<br />

the harnessing of Muslim and Christian<br />

leadership from different sectors in the<br />

community for the promotion of dialogue<br />

and peace. The formation of Inter-Faith<br />

Forum Manila, in collaboration with the<br />

Church in Quiapo, is another challenge<br />

of the Movement.<br />

The social arm of the Movement—the<br />

Silsilah Peace and Development Services<br />

(SPDS), links a community or group in need<br />

with a government or private agency who<br />

can respond with the particular services for<br />

them. It takes care of the formation of Council<br />

of Leaders in different Harmony Zone<br />

areas and strengthening the Dialogue with<br />

Creation (DWC) Program. Just this year,<br />

the Movement, through the DWC, joined<br />

other sectors in protesting the application<br />

for mining within the Ayala Watershed.<br />

Fortunately, the advocacy resulted in the<br />

denial of the application.<br />

Dialogue and social transformation<br />

"What life in dialogue is to an individual<br />

so is culture of dialogue to<br />

society..."<br />

A dynamic and positive commitment<br />

to live and promote the culture<br />

of dialogue in facing the realities of<br />

conflicts and violence today through<br />

Active-Harmony Approach helps build<br />

together a civilization of dialogue and<br />

www.silsilahdialogue.com<br />

peace. The element which will sustain<br />

this effort is based on the spirituality of<br />

those who are involved in the process in<br />

search for lasting peace.<br />

In this context "Spirituality" refers<br />

to an experience of faith that listens and<br />

responds to the voice of conscience.<br />

The process of building a Culture of<br />

Dialogue is through personal and social<br />

transformation. This develops harmonious<br />

relationships through personal<br />

dynamic commitment of those who live<br />

and promote this highest mechanism or<br />

paradigm that becomes a powerful energy<br />

for growth of individuals and society in<br />

times of conflict.<br />

The Movement also spearheaded the<br />

creation of the Harmony Chain Initiative.<br />

It is a special interfaith initiative of<br />

meditation and prayer for dialogue and<br />

peace from Mindanao to the world. It<br />

is a spiritual chain of people of different<br />

cultures and religions responding to<br />

God’s dialogue with humanity to sustain<br />

our cry for peace. When the Philippine<br />

Government through then President Joseph<br />

Estrada declared “total war” in Mindanao<br />

in the year 2000 as a solution to the Moro<br />

problem, the Movement’s quiet response<br />

was expressed in the slogan: “Cry Peace<br />

with Your Life-in-Dialogue.” Thus this<br />

initiative was started.<br />

Journey to peace<br />

Silsilah Dialogue Movement has been<br />

in existence for the past 27 years and it<br />

has already undergone many challenges,<br />

difficulties and opportunities as a sign of<br />

hope over the years. So because of the<br />

strong faith and commitment for dialogue<br />

and peace mission which started from its<br />

founder, the members and friends, and<br />

with God’s providence is still continuing<br />

life-in-dialogue as a journey, adventure<br />

and a pilgrimage for sustainable peace<br />

up to this time.<br />

It will call more people to undergo a<br />

process of spiritual growth by continuously<br />

rediscovering God’s dialogue with humanity.<br />

It is a call to live the spirituality of lifein-dialogue<br />

and to witness God’s presence<br />

in the plurality of cultures and religions as<br />

a habitat and an experience that leads to<br />

dialogue and peace. The Movement will<br />

still touch and change more lives through<br />

personal and social transformations approach<br />

and carrying with it the spirit that<br />

Culture of Dialogue, is indeed the Path to<br />

Peace. Padayon (Move on!)! I<br />

(Aminda E. Saño is the president of<br />

Silsilah Dialogue Movement)<br />

12<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


NEWS<br />

FEATURES<br />

Assisi 2011: 300 lights<br />

for peace and freedom<br />

ASSISI, Oct. 27, 2011—The Day of Reflection, Dialogue and<br />

Prayer for Peace and Justice in the World ended in the simplest and<br />

most poetic way, with an exchange of peace among participants.<br />

This was preceded by the lighting of small lamps that a group of<br />

young people handed out in silence to the 300 representatives<br />

who had come to Assisi on Benedict XVI’s invitation.<br />

The Day ended in a square near St. Francis’s basilica, where<br />

the 1986 edition had been celebrated. Unlike previous editions,<br />

there was no public prayer, either in group, separately or in<br />

sequence, but only minutes of silence before the lighting of the<br />

lamps, accompanied by the sound of harps. Every participant, as<br />

someone said, was able “to invoke the gift of peace or express<br />

hope for it in his or her innermost conscience.”<br />

The lights are a token of the responsibility everyone undertook<br />

in front of the others and God. In introducing the sign of peace,<br />

Cardinal Koch, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting<br />

Christian Unity, said, “Let us become tools of the peace that<br />

comes from high above. Let us remember that there is no peace<br />

without justice, no justice without forgiveness. Let us seal with a<br />

gesture of peace among us the commitment to peace proclaimed<br />

by the many. Let us bring peace to those near us and those far<br />

from us, to all creatures and creation.”<br />

When it was time to make the exchange of peace, Franciscan<br />

friars released dozens of white doves. Some alighted on the<br />

hands of a number of representatives.<br />

Earlier, 12 representatives and one “truth seeker”, Prof.<br />

Guillermo Hurtado from Mexico, reiterated their decision to<br />

be peacemakers. When each spoke, they began by saying, “We<br />

commit ourselves to [. . .] justice, respect among nations, a<br />

more humane technology, care for creation, uprooting terrorism,<br />

etc.”<br />

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran introduced the afternoon session.<br />

“Hope for peace,” he said, “has been reawakened in personal<br />

prayer and in listening to the testimonies. Each one of us,<br />

returning to his or her home, has at heart to be a witness and a<br />

messenger: peace is possible, even today!”<br />

When it was the pope’s turn to speak, Benedict XVI said,<br />

“Violence never again! War never again! Terrorism never again!<br />

In the name of God, may every religion bring upon the earth<br />

Justice and Peace Forgiveness and Life, Love.”<br />

At the end of the meeting, Benedict XVI and those who<br />

so chose visited the crypt to pray in front of St. Francis’s tomb.<br />

(AsiaNews)<br />

www.asianews.it<br />

Despite risks, PIME priests<br />

will stay in Mindanao<br />

MANILA, Oct. 25, 2011—The potential for peril will not<br />

prevent a group of Italian missionaries to minister to the<br />

inner regions in Southern Philippines.<br />

Though Fr. Fausto Tentorio is the third Pontificio Instituto<br />

Missioni Estere priest to be killed in the resource-rich<br />

but largely poor area where Muslim rebels and al-Qaidalined<br />

militants operate, the PIME is unfazed.<br />

But the challenges it now faces have become alarming.<br />

“My answer was sometimes I felt tired, sometimes I felt<br />

fear. However, this is our mission. This is what God has given<br />

to us,” said Fr Giovanni Re, PIME regional superior.<br />

There are 22 PIME (or Pontifical Institute for Foreign<br />

Missions) missionaries in the Philippines and Tentorio, or<br />

"Father Pops" as he was popularly known, was one of the<br />

10 assigned in Mindanao.<br />

Tentorio had worked among the indigenous peoples in<br />

North Cotabato, living with them. His advocacy also included<br />

his commitment to ensure the survival and rights of the IPs,<br />

often marginalized and robbed of their land.<br />

“He worked, he spoke for them, he helped them until<br />

the time came that he was killed,” said Re. “I hope his<br />

sacrifice will help us in fulfilling our own mission that God<br />

has given to us.<br />

“I know there are times that our will weakens but let<br />

us pray to God to give us more courage and strength in<br />

fulfilling our mission,” he added.<br />

Tentorio was laid to rest in Kidapawan City on Oct. 25<br />

after a solemn funeral service at the Our Lady of Mediatrix<br />

of All Graces Cathedral with more than 40 bishops, priests<br />

and PIME missionaries as concelebrants.<br />

In his homily, Kidapawan Bishop Romulo de la Cruz<br />

lauded Tentorio for defending the rights of the poor, the<br />

tribal people and for leading the fight against environmental<br />

destruction in his diocese.<br />

He revealed that the priest’s last will and testament, written<br />

in both Italian and Visayan, expressed his love for the people of<br />

Arakan, where he served as parish priest for several years, and<br />

the poor people in Mindanao.<br />

After the Mass, thousands of Tentorio’s friends walked to<br />

his burial site inside the compound of the Our Lady of Guadalupe<br />

Bishop’s Residence in the city’s Balingog village.<br />

Also in attendance were Italian Ambassador Lucca<br />

Fornari, Tentorio’s brother Felix, with his wife, children,<br />

and other friends from Italy.<br />

Of the three PIME missionaries murdered in Mindanao,<br />

Tentorio was the second in North Cotabato.<br />

In October 1985, his fellow missionary Fr. Tullio Favali,<br />

39, was killed in Tulunan, North Cotabato by a group of<br />

private armed guards, and Fr. Salvatorre Carzedda, engaged<br />

in dialogue with Muslims, was killed in Zamboanga City<br />

in May 1992.<br />

In 1998 Fr. Luciano Benedetti was kidnapped. His<br />

abductors, a Muslim group, released him after about 2<br />

months. In 2007, Fr. Giancarlo Bossi was also kidnapped<br />

by an armed group, but was released after two months of<br />

captivity. (CBCPNews)<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 13


NEWS<br />

FEATURES<br />

Emergency deepens in Thailand: drinking<br />

water rationed, cases of malaria<br />

BANGKOK, Oct. 31, 2011—<br />

In some areas of Bangkok and<br />

its environs, including the Mahasawad<br />

Station area, drinking<br />

water is contaminated, the authorities<br />

have reduced access to<br />

tanker for replenishment to two<br />

periods of the day—between<br />

6 and 9 am and 5 to 8 in the<br />

evening.<br />

At least 10,343 people<br />

have left emergency shelters<br />

set up by the government in the<br />

capital, finding shelter in other<br />

areas of the country. There are<br />

also problems in high-security<br />

prisons: 603 lifers from Bangkwang<br />

were transferred to the prison of<br />

Songkhla, southern Thailand. To date 30<br />

of the 50 districts that make up Bangkok<br />

have been affected by the floods, but only in<br />

two cases the situation is of grave concern.<br />

Meanwhile in some provinces epidemics<br />

of malaria have begun to spread, caused by<br />

poor conditions in the flooded areas.<br />

Over the weekend the defences erected<br />

to protect the center of Bangkok and some<br />

key areas held despite the wave of flood<br />

waters, increasing hopes that the heart of<br />

the capital could be spared from flooding,<br />

but in different areas supplies of food and<br />

basic necessities are scarce. The fear is<br />

that it will take weeks if not months, to<br />

drain water and return to normal. In addition,<br />

there have been repeated attacks by<br />

angry residents against government and<br />

NEW DELHI, Nov. 1, 2011—<br />

The head of the Syro-Malabar<br />

Church has urged the chair of<br />

India’s ruling coalition to oppose<br />

policies aimed at regulating<br />

population growth.<br />

A move to penalize couples<br />

with more than two children in<br />

Kerala was among several issues<br />

Major Archbishop George<br />

Alencherry took up with Sonia<br />

Gandhi, chair of the United<br />

Progressive Alliance on Saturday.<br />

The prelate appealed to<br />

Gandhi to persuade her Congress<br />

party, which rules Kerala,<br />

to reject a proposal to implement<br />

the two-child policy in<br />

public employees, committed to building<br />

and strengthening of defensive barriers. In<br />

recent days there were also gunshots fired<br />

overhead as teams were intent on shoring<br />

up protections. The Civil Protection Department<br />

dedicated to Thai floods – FROC<br />

– has demanded adequate protection to<br />

allow their workers do their work.<br />

The government for now excludes the<br />

possibility of extending the bank holidays,<br />

but is leaving it to companies and public<br />

offices to decide on whether to return operative.<br />

The Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra<br />

has advanced a plan to revitalize<br />

the industry in two phases: the first, shortterm<br />

and within a year, 100 billion Bath<br />

for jobs creation, the second long-term, to<br />

regain the confidence of investors and the<br />

international market. The floods have also<br />

caused serious repercussions<br />

in the international market of<br />

information technology, particularly<br />

in the supply of hard<br />

drives worldwide. Estimates<br />

by sector companies report that<br />

40% of "hard disks" come from<br />

Thailand, the world's second<br />

largest exporter after China.<br />

Somsak Ngamtae, the province<br />

of Ayudhaya, reported that<br />

"the number of deaths by drowning<br />

or electric shocks from shortcircuiting<br />

is six times the average."<br />

Estimates confirmed by<br />

experts in Bangkok, who explain<br />

the reasons behind the greatest<br />

disaster of the last 50 years in the country:<br />

first the morphology of the area, an alluvial<br />

plain that in some points drops to 0 to 1.5<br />

cm below sea levels combined with rising<br />

sea levels and the presence of three rivers,<br />

the Chao Praya, Tha-Gene and Bangkok that<br />

discharge water, the difficulty in draining the<br />

land and overflow into the sea, because of<br />

construction and buildings.<br />

Prof. Kaisri Pakdeesukcha, from the<br />

faculty of architecture and urbanism at<br />

Chulalongkorn University, invites people<br />

to "caution" because the water level can<br />

vary even within the same neighbourhood,<br />

because of the conformation of the land:<br />

"It is possible — warns the Professor —<br />

that the water in our house reach 50 cm,<br />

while the surrounding areas it may reach<br />

one meter or more." (AsiaNews)<br />

Church head seeks birth policy support<br />

the southern Indian state.<br />

“Proposed recommendations<br />

violate individual liberty<br />

and the fundamental rights of<br />

people,” Major Archbishop<br />

Alencherry said.<br />

A commission headed<br />

by a retired supreme court<br />

judge made recommendations<br />

which would financially penalize<br />

couples and deny them<br />

benefits.<br />

The major archbishop was<br />

in New Delhi for the 12th annual<br />

convention of Syro-Malabar<br />

Catholics living in and around<br />

the national capital.<br />

He expressed hope Gandhi’s<br />

government would respect<br />

and safeguard people’s<br />

fundamental rights.<br />

“It is a couple’s decision<br />

as to how many children they<br />

should have, and the state has<br />

no right to interfere with this<br />

right,” he said, adding that<br />

citizens in democratic countries<br />

would not accept such a<br />

“draconian law that exists in<br />

Communist China.”<br />

The major archbishop<br />

also expressed concern over<br />

the plight of Christians in<br />

Orissa’s Kandhamal district<br />

which experienced deadly<br />

anti-Christian violence three<br />

years ago.<br />

Father Jose Edassery,<br />

www.asianews.it<br />

chaplain of Syro Malabar<br />

Catholics in Delhi who accompanied<br />

the major archbishop,<br />

said Gandhi assured<br />

them there would be no repeat<br />

of Kandhamal.<br />

The priest said Gandhi<br />

also said her government is<br />

concerned about the problems<br />

of dalit Christians.<br />

The Church has for decades<br />

demanded statutory benefits<br />

for these Christians of<br />

former low caste origin.<br />

“Gandhi said that her government<br />

is very much aware of<br />

these situations and is closely<br />

monitoring them,” he added.<br />

(Ucanews)<br />

14<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


COVER<br />

STORY<br />

By Charles Avila<br />

For many years now a<br />

profound cleavage has<br />

obtained in the Philippine<br />

State intensely dividing<br />

Church and Government on<br />

mining issues. <strong>Here</strong> are very<br />

high stakes in health and wealth<br />

and life and in the corruption<br />

of governance—for which reasons<br />

the divide between the<br />

two, Church and government,<br />

only gets deeper and nastier.<br />

Yes, government—from<br />

the Congress that gave us the<br />

Mining Act to the Executive<br />

Branch that so eagerly implements<br />

it and the Judiciary that<br />

as brazenly upheld it—forms<br />

one side of the divide. Principally<br />

active on this side is the<br />

Chamber of Mines—a powerhouse<br />

of some thirty-six mining<br />

companies as regular members,<br />

six non-metallic exploration<br />

companies as associate members,<br />

forty-three equipment<br />

manufacturers and supply companies<br />

together with top-notch<br />

legal firms as special members,<br />

four associations as affiliate<br />

members and three professional<br />

societies as professional<br />

members. And many of them,<br />

needless to say, are strongly<br />

united with big global foreign<br />

corporations.<br />

This hardcore is now<br />

decoratively surrounded by a<br />

softcore of NGO support in the<br />

form of the Philippine Business<br />

for Social Progress (PBSP) and<br />

also—believe this or not—the<br />

World Wildlife Fund (WWF).<br />

What, you may ask, are<br />

these two doing on this side<br />

of the divide? The PBSP says<br />

their linkage with the Chamber<br />

is aimed at ensuring that “a<br />

collective industry program<br />

on reforestation and … community<br />

development should<br />

be monitored annually through<br />

a Scorecard.” 1 Proudly they<br />

affirm that “in the battle of the<br />

media, the PBSP can provide<br />

a softer image of the mining<br />

industry.” 2 Likewise, the WWF<br />

is on this side in order to watch<br />

the Chamber more closely.<br />

who profits<br />

in the phi<br />

One wonders if they were<br />

not quite impressed or even<br />

instrumental with a mining<br />

group in Palawan claiming to<br />

have exceeded by 100 percent<br />

its compliance with the rules<br />

of the Philippine Mining Act<br />

that only requires (in Sec. 16)<br />

the donation of one percent of a<br />

company's gross output for Social<br />

Development and Management<br />

Programs (SDMP). The<br />

press release came out only days<br />

after the mining conference. 3<br />

The electric word is Palawan,<br />

just like Rapu-Rapu was earlier.<br />

The “No to Mining in Palawan”<br />

movement is considered by the<br />

Chamber at the top of their list<br />

of “road blocks against mining”.<br />

4 Okay, that is one side of<br />

The Philippines has become such a<br />

the Filipino people have been so<br />

The government concedes to the<br />

for free its beneficial ownersh<br />

the cleavage.<br />

Ethical issues<br />

The other side is the<br />

Church. Define her in any way<br />

you want: as a single institution<br />

or as churches, as religiously<br />

motivated change makers in<br />

civil society or in ecclesial<br />

communities,—when it comes<br />

to the issue of mining, this<br />

16<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


COVER<br />

STORY<br />

from mining<br />

lippines?<br />

give-away country—the State and<br />

remiss in their duty as stewards.<br />

foreign corporation practically<br />

ip over the mineral resources.<br />

Church is, today, one —and<br />

quite tenaciously growing in<br />

unity for a cause they consider<br />

transcendent of all administrations<br />

and legislation.<br />

Government says that<br />

what they do, what they propose,<br />

what they advocate in the<br />

area of mining—are all legal.<br />

At one time the Supreme Court<br />

declared otherwise, viz. that the<br />

whole thing was not legal and<br />

not constitutional. However,<br />

it changed its mind in record<br />

time: now everything is legal,<br />

and constitutional. After all,<br />

the Supreme Court is supreme<br />

and, right or wrong, the law is<br />

whatever that Court says it is.<br />

Unfazed, the Church, on<br />

the other side, talks of morality,<br />

of ethics, of what is right and<br />

wrong—not only describing<br />

what is, but prescribing what<br />

ought to be. And it has come to<br />

this—that, in the area of mining,<br />

what the Government calls<br />

legal, the Church denounces as<br />

immoral.<br />

We have here a situation<br />

reminiscent of the early Christian<br />

era during the late Roman<br />

Empire when both Western<br />

Photo courtesy of Philippine Misereor Partnership<br />

and Eastern Church leaders<br />

denounced Roman law, no<br />

less, as immoral in its idea<br />

and practice of the absolute<br />

ownership of Earth by a few<br />

for the benefit of a few at the<br />

cost of nature’s destruction,<br />

in violation of the integrity of<br />

creation and the intention of<br />

the Creator. 5<br />

The early Christian philosophers<br />

led by Saint Ambrose,<br />

quondam Governor and later<br />

Bishop of Milan, Italy warned<br />

the “capitalists” of his time<br />

that mining should, first of all,<br />

follow the “tantum…quantum”<br />

(so much…as much) principle,<br />

formulated a couple hundred<br />

years earlier by Clement of<br />

Alexandria in the Catechetical<br />

schools of that city in Egypt:<br />

mine only what you need of the<br />

earth’s finite non-renewable<br />

wealth. There ought to be, as<br />

always, a proportionality of<br />

means and ends.<br />

Government resolve<br />

But going back to the first<br />

side to hear out its urgencies:<br />

we hear and agree that the<br />

Philippines is a part of earth<br />

that is so incredibly rich in<br />

gold, silver, copper, nickel,<br />

chrome and zinc that there<br />

is now a consensus among<br />

governments and industry in<br />

the valuation of the mineral<br />

wealth within the territorial<br />

limits of the Philippines at<br />

more than a trillion dollars’<br />

worth, at least; that our country<br />

has more than seven billion<br />

metric tons (BMT) of metallic<br />

mineral reserves and 51 BMT<br />

of non-metallic deposits; that<br />

it has the fifth largest mineral<br />

resources in the world. So,<br />

this side asks: “what are we<br />

waiting for? We must lure<br />

those big investors in.”<br />

Leading in the charge<br />

is the government’s DENR<br />

Secretary who intoned, “the<br />

Philippine government shall:<br />

protect mining investments<br />

and remove all interferences<br />

to mining projects [italics<br />

supplied]. National and local<br />

policies affecting mining are<br />

being harmonized toward a<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 17


COVER<br />

STORY<br />

Photo courtesy of Philippine Misereor Partnership<br />

friendlier regime for the mining industry. As a case in point,”<br />

the Secretary spoke rather boldly, “the government commits to<br />

pursue the [highly controversial] Tampakan project and resolve<br />

all attendant issues prior to its implementation, even if it decides<br />

to advance its timetable from 2016 to 2013, which we seriously<br />

encourage.” 6<br />

He speaks of 22 large-scale operating mines, investment<br />

aggregate amounts of a little less than US$4 billion over the last<br />

six years and hopes of reaching US18 billion by 2016.<br />

For its part the Chamber added, “Last year mining investments<br />

in our country reached $955.85 million and could have<br />

easily gone over the $1 billion mark had some projects not been<br />

delayed. Mining investments could be much higher if only some<br />

issues and concerns are resolved.” 7 And the one to blame most<br />

of all, said a Wall Street Journal article much earlier, is no less<br />

than the Church. 8<br />

And what would be these issues and concerns that the<br />

Chamber referred to? We would now have to go to the other<br />

side for some enlightenment.<br />

Social and environmental cost<br />

This “other” side quite simply says that the current ambition<br />

of large-scale extraction at whatever health and environmental<br />

costs for the exportation of more minerals than is actually necessary<br />

is, indeed, an immoral ambition.<br />

In mining, says this side, the questions should be articulated<br />

correctly: “Shouldn’t we only allow the development of our<br />

mineral resources for our own use rather than do so mainly for<br />

money-making by a few in the world market?”<br />

More precisely, “Is the current utilization of our mineral<br />

endowment designed to serve the basic needs of our people who<br />

live and work in a backward agricultural mode of production? Is it<br />

geared to addressing the need of our national economy to making<br />

a successful leap to becoming a strong industrial state?”<br />

And most urgently: “Should mining projects that cannot<br />

absorb the environmental and social costs of modern mining be<br />

allowed to proceed?”<br />

Needless to say, if these questions are not answered correctly,<br />

that is, in a pro-people context, even big amounts set aside for<br />

Social Development and Management Programs (SDMP) would<br />

be nothing more than a temporary cover-up for the unbearable<br />

stench of irresponsible mining.<br />

At a time of high prices in the world market, mining can easily<br />

cause widespread devastation to the environment all through the<br />

length and breadth of this archipelago, by employing open-pit and<br />

submarine mine waste disposal methods – often fatal to people’s<br />

health and sure-shot destructive of the environment.<br />

How often has one seen that social and environmental impacts<br />

are not really a factor in a mainly profit equation: verbally, yes,<br />

maybe; but really, not at all.<br />

Again the case of Rapu-Rapu is quite instructive. Laugh<br />

or cry if you want. Choose your mood but here are the relevant<br />

facts. In the first paragraph of their summary reaction report on<br />

the Bastes Commission 9 findings, the DENR said: “The exploitation<br />

of a country’s mineral resources can only be justified if it<br />

does not irreparably damage the environment and if it benefits<br />

the community and the nation as a whole. This is beyond all<br />

argument.”<br />

It then went on to say that: “The mine tailings spills that<br />

occurred at Lafayette Philippines Inc.’s polymetallic project site<br />

at Rapu-Rapu Island in Albay on October 11 and 31, 2005 must<br />

be looked at from this solitary and singular perspective.”<br />

Then it agreed with the Bastes Fact-Finding Commission<br />

with regard to the major points and enumerated them thus:<br />

18<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


Who Profits From Mining In The Philippines?<br />

1. The two tailing spills were preventable.<br />

2. Lafayette was guilty of lapses of an operational/technical<br />

and management nature.<br />

3. Lafayette does not measure up to the standards of responsible<br />

mining.<br />

4. DENR itself was a failure in monitoring Lafayette and<br />

consequently did not detect the violations that would indicate<br />

the possibility of environmental accidents.<br />

5. The sharing of benefits from the mineral exploitation of<br />

Rapu-Rapu Island was clearly grossly unfavorable to the Philippine<br />

government.<br />

And with regard to the long-term environmental risks, beyond<br />

the spills, DENR agreed with the Bastes Commission that:<br />

“Two major issues concerning the implementation of the<br />

Project remain pending: the integrity of the tailings dam structure<br />

and the Acid Mine Drainage, or AMD, problem.”<br />

Then DENR explicitly said:<br />

“On the acid mine drainage, or AMD, problem, Lafayette<br />

still has to submit a viable solution.<br />

“In fact, an important ECC conditionality for the project<br />

is the adequacy and effectiveness of its strategy to control<br />

AMD.”<br />

“These perceived shortcomings pertain to such matters<br />

as the method of encapsulation to be used, the effectiveness<br />

of limestone in neutralizing acidic materials, the use of<br />

composite dry soil to seal waste rock, the sloping terrain<br />

of Rapu-Rapu that makes AMD treatment difficult, and the<br />

absence of a microbial control method. In any event, the<br />

long-term effects of AMD must definitely be adequately addressed”<br />

and per DENR no less, there was no satisfactory<br />

solution proposed as yet.<br />

And yet, all these serious premises considered, — here is<br />

where you want to laugh or cry — DENR struck a curve ball and<br />

said, “Taking into consideration all the facts and findings, and<br />

all the opinions expressed on the various issues, DENR feels that<br />

the best option to take is to allow Lafayette to resume operations<br />

subject to certain stringent pre-conditions.”<br />

The members of the Bastes Commission simply could not<br />

find any rhyme or reason for the DENR conclusion/decision<br />

since the Commission’s findings on the serious violations of<br />

environmental and legal safety standards for responsible mining<br />

had not been negated. They asked: Why not just follow the<br />

rule of law rather than a culture of privilege and impunity? In<br />

accordance with the spirit and letter of the law, DENR should<br />

just cancel the Environment Clearance Certificate (ECC) of a<br />

recidivist firm, and if allowed to re-apply, let it undertake the<br />

drawing up of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and<br />

propose an Environmental Management System (EMS), precisely<br />

as the law requires, and then let an awakened citizenry<br />

watch a reformed DENR do its job. That is what the Bastes<br />

Commission logically recommended which the DENR so illogically<br />

ignored.<br />

Do we appreciate now more deeply what we mean by a captive<br />

state? Who will liberate it from captivity? Can PNoy — will<br />

PNoy do so during his watch?<br />

In the course of economic development and growth, many<br />

human acts can be either right or wrong relative to their effects<br />

on the house of life we call the environment. For instance, a<br />

certain way of exploiting some mineral resources could bring<br />

irreparable, and therefore irreversible, damage to the environment.<br />

Any damage to the environment in this way can in turn<br />

bring irreparable harm and injury to human health. The dramatic<br />

example of the Minamata disease in Japan took years and years<br />

to establish, before effects could be linked to original causes<br />

beyond reasonable doubt.<br />

Another fact is the non-renewability and non-inexhaustibility<br />

of mineral resources. Once they are depleted, there is no way<br />

that they can be replaced or restored.<br />

A given mining operation, therefore, will have to be viewed<br />

by people and the State according to such perspective and first be<br />

evaluated as either ethically right or wrong, good or bad, before it<br />

could even be considered legal or illegal, before it can be judged<br />

economically profitable or non profitable. In sum, mining is not<br />

purely an economic nor merely a legal issue. It is primarily an<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 19<br />

Photo courtesy of Philippine Misereor Partnership


COVER<br />

STORY<br />

Photo courtesy of Philippine Misereor Partnership<br />

environmental issue and as such, must be<br />

governed and justified within the context<br />

of environmental ethics or what is now<br />

called geo-ethics.<br />

The Church’s side could not be against<br />

mining per se, contrary to propaganda by<br />

the first side. It recognizes that for millennia<br />

upon millennia now, the evolution and development<br />

of the human species has always<br />

been accompanied by some form of mining:<br />

from the most primitive demand for<br />

stones in the Paleolithic era to the current<br />

demand for rare earth elements, a demand<br />

dictated by the lifestyle of a species that<br />

could, come to think of it, choose now to<br />

evolve or develop otherwise and thus live<br />

in organic harmony with Earth.<br />

Because of the weakness of the Philippine<br />

state, mining was not banned where it<br />

should never have been allowed any time at<br />

all, namely in high environmentally critical<br />

areas such as small island ecosystems with<br />

steep slopes and heavy rainfall patterns<br />

in typhoon belt and acid mine drainage<br />

areas – in areas precisely like the islands<br />

of Rapu-Rapu.<br />

Proposal<br />

<strong>Here</strong> is a concrete proposal to strengthen<br />

the financial capacity of the State so that<br />

it can have the wherewithal to become an<br />

effective and responsible steward of the<br />

national patrimony: amend the Mining<br />

Act to include the crucial provision of the<br />

government's pre-tax share of the cash<br />

flow generated by a mining project. In<br />

most countries around the world where<br />

there is mining this pre-tax share representing<br />

the national patrimony averages a<br />

hefty 38% (Chile 15.00% , Bolivia 27.06%<br />

,Venezuela 32.82% ,Peru 36.52%, United<br />

States 36.61%, Mexico 37.21%, Botswana<br />

40.10%, Brazil 40.85%, Argentina 46.13%,<br />

Canada 46.71%, Guyana 48.16%, Australia<br />

50.60% ) ! In the Philippines, however,<br />

it is exactly 0%, believe it or not. In a new<br />

mining law this share for the Philippines<br />

should be upgraded to 50%.<br />

Mining, after all, is that kind of investment<br />

which is neither market-seeking nor<br />

efficiency-seeking so much as just plain<br />

clear asset-seeking. But the Philippines has<br />

become such a give-away country—the<br />

State and the Filipino people have been<br />

so remiss in their duty as stewards. The<br />

government concedes to the foreign corporation<br />

practically for free its beneficial<br />

ownership over the mineral resources.<br />

Supreme Court decisions on this issue<br />

notwithstanding, it is simply treasonous<br />

for the state to surrender ownership of<br />

the national patrimony just like that. Or is<br />

someone else pocketing that portion which<br />

rightfully belongs to the State?<br />

And finally, going back to the unlearned<br />

lessons of Rapu-Rapu, the Commission<br />

audited the amount of tons ore<br />

milled (as reported in its books and to<br />

the government) against the shipping<br />

documents presented by the shipping<br />

companies. The discrepancy was in the<br />

neighborhood of 50% more shipment than<br />

what was declared and reported in its books<br />

and to the government. So, the Bastes Commission<br />

asked: wasn’t the Government take<br />

for every ton-ore-milled already slashed<br />

in half from the very start?<br />

Hence, this other amendment proposed<br />

for a new Mining Law: the government<br />

must have a representation in the<br />

Board of Directors (even as a non-voting<br />

Member) in all mining companies operating<br />

in the Philippines in order to safeguard<br />

the data and information filed as a basis<br />

for taxes and royalty payments to the<br />

government. 10<br />

The President has committed himself<br />

to transparency in governance. The<br />

Church-inspired movement to regard<br />

mining in the context of environmental<br />

concerns is getting stronger by the day.<br />

It is time for the contradictory thesis and<br />

antithesis to agree on a new synthesis,<br />

towards a stable, healthy and prosperous<br />

Philippines: that all may be one. I<br />

(Charles Avila is the Director for Social<br />

Justice of LSSAJ (Lay Society of St. Arnold<br />

Janssen), and Vice-Chairman of the<br />

defunct Rapu-Rapu Fact Finding Commission<br />

(RRFFC). This is an abridged edition<br />

of a speech he delivered at the Ecumenical<br />

Bishops’ Forum, October 5, 2011, Bethlehem<br />

Center, Bacacay, Albay.)<br />

_____________<br />

1 Quoted in Chairman, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines Closing<br />

Remarks Mining Philippines 2011.<br />

2 Ibid.<br />

3 Mining firm exceeds social compliance” by Melody M. Aguiba, The<br />

Manila Bulletin, September 25, 2011.<br />

4 Chamber President’s Welcome Remarks, Mining Philippines 2011,<br />

September 14, 2011.<br />

5 The information on early Christian teachings are found in Charles Avila<br />

Ownership: Early Christian Teaching, Sheed and Ward, London, Orbis<br />

Books, New York, Wipf and Stock, Oregon, and Allen John Publishing,<br />

Manila. I have taken liberties in summarizing papers and discussions on<br />

geoethics propounded by the Bishops members of the Rapu-Rapu Fact<br />

Finding Commission. A lot of these appear in speeches and papers by<br />

Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, DD and Bishop Jose Rojas DD.<br />

6 Speech at Asia Mining Congress 2011, April 6, 2011, Singapore.<br />

7 Chamber President’s Welcome Remarks, Mining Philippines 2011, September 14, 2011.<br />

8 James Hookway, “Church Effort Slows Philippine Mining,” WSJ, 2-13-09.<br />

9 Formally called “The Rapu-Rapu Fact-Finding Commission:” this was<br />

created by a Presidential executive order and headed by Bishop Arturo<br />

Bastes, SVD, DD of Sorsogon, near Rapu-Rapu mining sites.<br />

10 Proposal by DGConsulting,<br />

20<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


STATEMENTS<br />

Give Peace a<br />

Chance!<br />

The string of violent events in Mindanao<br />

in the past few days is expectedly<br />

causing reflex reactions from<br />

many sectors who are favoring an<br />

all-out war again in this war-torn and<br />

war-weary region of our country. No<br />

doubt, the reactions are an expression<br />

of indignation against the brutal<br />

murder of Rev. Fr. Fausto Tentorio,<br />

PIME, and the series of massacres<br />

of our soldiers by lawless elements.<br />

The reactions are valid, and the<br />

perpetrators of these dastardly acts<br />

must indeed be pursued relentlessly<br />

and brought to justice.<br />

Nevertheless, we, Bishops as<br />

heralds of peace and hope, feel that<br />

it would be ill-advised simply to<br />

throw away the tremendous efforts<br />

that have been poured in the work<br />

for peace-building in Mindanao.<br />

We affirm the general pulse of our<br />

brother Bishops in Mindanao which<br />

is to continue the peace negotiations<br />

despite these recent setbacks.<br />

A lot of lives and resources<br />

have been wasted in the past in<br />

Mindanao; a lot of time, energy and<br />

resources have been invested for<br />

peace-building. We cannot possibly<br />

start from scratch all over again by<br />

resorting to an all-out war.<br />

Time and again, the Bishops<br />

have issued statements calling for<br />

peace; they have actively participated<br />

in interfaith and multi-sectoral<br />

dialogues meant to facilitate peaceful<br />

processes that could put an end<br />

to conflict in Mindanao.<br />

This is the opportune time to share<br />

our commitment to true and lasting<br />

peace. Nobody wins in a war; let us<br />

renounce violence; let us not allow<br />

these violent acts of lawless elements<br />

to provoke us to further violence. Let<br />

us pray and work for peace in Mindanao<br />

and in our entire country.<br />

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference<br />

of the Philippines.<br />

+NEREO P. ODCHIMAR, DD<br />

Bishop of Tandag<br />

President, CBCP<br />

October 24, 2011<br />

CBCP Statement on the killing of<br />

Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME<br />

On this World Mission Sunday, October<br />

23, 2011, we acknowledge our great<br />

indebtedness to all foreign missionaries.<br />

They are friends of our people. In great<br />

sacrifice they have strengthened our faith<br />

and assisted the poor and the needy. We<br />

pray for them today.<br />

We pray for Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME,<br />

a missionary for more than 30 years. His<br />

brutal murder outside the parish rectory<br />

in Arakan, Diocese of Kidapawan has<br />

shocked everyone.<br />

We condemn and denounce in the<br />

strongest possible terms the heinous and<br />

monstrous crime against the life of Fr.<br />

Fausto.<br />

Simple and humble in life, Fr. Fausto<br />

was deeply esteemed by the indigenous<br />

peoples whose cultural and territorial rights<br />

he promoted and defended. He was deeply<br />

loved by the people whose spiritual welfare<br />

he looked after.<br />

How long will evil men continue<br />

to plot against those who courageously<br />

protest against the sufferings of the poor<br />

and the degradation of God’s creation?<br />

How long shall they continue to snuff<br />

out the lives of those who dare to speak<br />

against injustices and imbalances in our<br />

society? How long will they continue to<br />

roam around freely without being brought<br />

to justice?<br />

The government must act decisively<br />

and swiftly. It must investigate thoroughly<br />

every angle of the murder of Fr. Fausto.<br />

It cannot simply point at the usual scapegoats.<br />

We express our deep sympathy with<br />

the missionary community of the PIME,<br />

to the Bishop, clergy, religious, and laity<br />

of the Diocese of Kidapawan and to Fr.<br />

Fausto’s relatives in Italy. Our grieving<br />

with them goes beyond words.<br />

Fr. Fausto strove throughout his priestly<br />

and missionary life to walk humbly, act<br />

justly, and love the Lord and his people passionately.<br />

May Mary our Blessed Mother<br />

lead him to the fullness of life given by<br />

Jesus her Divine Son.<br />

+NEREO P. ODCHIMAR, DD<br />

Bishop of Tandag<br />

President, CBCP<br />

October 23, 2011<br />

Statement on the Killings of Fr.<br />

Fausto Tentorio, PIME<br />

Today, October 17, 2011, FR. FAUSTO<br />

TENTORIO, 59 years old was fatally shot<br />

to death by an unknown assailant. He was<br />

about to leave his parish, Our Mother of<br />

Perpetual Help in Arakan, Cotabato around<br />

8 a.m. to go to Kidapawan City for the regular<br />

Presbyterium assembly at the Bishop’s<br />

Residence, when shot at the car garage of<br />

the parish. He was taken to the Medical<br />

Specialist Hospital in Antipas, Cotabato<br />

where at 9:05 a.m. he was pronounced<br />

Dead on Arrival (DOA).<br />

Father Fausto was born on January<br />

07, 1952 in Santa Maria Di Rovagnate,<br />

Province of Lecco, ITALY. He was ordained<br />

priest for the PIME Missionaries<br />

on June 18, 1977.<br />

He was assigned as a missionary to<br />

the Philippines first in the Archdiocese of<br />

Zamboanga and then in the Diocese of<br />

Kidapawan, where for 31 years he served<br />

in the parishes of Tulunan, Cotabato,<br />

Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and Arakan,<br />

Cotabato.<br />

Besides his work as parish priest<br />

of Arakan, he was also the Director of<br />

the Indigenous<br />

Peoples’<br />

Program<br />

of the<br />

Diocese of<br />

Kidapawan<br />

from June<br />

2009 till his<br />

death.<br />

We call<br />

on every<br />

believer and<br />

his friends<br />

to pray for<br />

the repose of the soul of this good and<br />

faithful priest. We also call on all the law<br />

enforcement agencies of the government<br />

to speedily solve this crime and bring the<br />

perpetrators to justice.<br />

We grieve for this great loss, but we<br />

trust in God’s mercy that Justice may be<br />

served.<br />

+ROMULO T. DELA CRUZ, DD<br />

Bishop of Kidapawan<br />

October 17, 2011<br />

www.asianews.it<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 21


STATEMENTS<br />

Statement of the PIME General Directorate in Rome<br />

On the Killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio in the Philippines<br />

Mass media in Italy, in the Philippines, and<br />

in the world have already reported the killing<br />

of our confrere Fr. Fausto Tentorio in Arakan,<br />

on the island of Mindanao. We confirm the<br />

principal facts of the case, that is, that an<br />

unknown gunman fired several times at Fr.<br />

Tentorio as he was about to get into his car<br />

in front of the parish church. The killer fled<br />

on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice. So<br />

far we know neither the identity of the killer<br />

nor the precise reason for this crime.<br />

None of our confreres has the intention<br />

of being a hero, but simply of being<br />

faithful to his missionary vocation. Some<br />

time ago Fr. Fausto Tentorio signed a<br />

declaration in which he stated: “Thankful<br />

to God for the great gift of a missionary<br />

vocation, I am aware that it involves the<br />

possibility of finding myself in situations<br />

of serious risk for my health and personal<br />

safety on account of epidemics, abductions,<br />

assaults and wars, up to the eventuality of<br />

a violent death. With trust in God I accept<br />

everything as coming from His hands, and<br />

I offer my life for Christ and for the spread<br />

of His Kingdom.” That is what he declared<br />

and that is what he lived. His sacrifice<br />

took place only a few days before World<br />

Mission Sunday and coincided with the<br />

call of Pope Benedict XVI to give a new<br />

impetus to the new evangelization and to<br />

the mission ad gentes.<br />

We are grateful to all those who have<br />

expressed their closeness to us in this<br />

moment of sorrow, whether directly to<br />

the PIME community in the Philippines<br />

or to the entire Institute through our<br />

Superior General. For our part we pray,<br />

and ask everyone to pray, for the repose<br />

of the soul of Fr. Tentorio and for those<br />

suffering the most from this sad event:<br />

his family members, among his faith and<br />

love were nurtured; the Church and the<br />

people of Mindanao, whom Fr. Tentorio<br />

served and whom he loved so much; the<br />

PIME community in the Philippines, suffering<br />

once again because of the violent<br />

death of a confrere. Finally, we pray for<br />

the conversion of the killer and those who<br />

commissioned him, so that they may open<br />

their hearts to the Lord, who desires not<br />

the damnation of the sinner, but that he<br />

repent and have eternal life.<br />

FR. GIAN BATTISTA ZANCHI, PIME<br />

Superior General<br />

Rome, October 18, 2011<br />

Statement of PIME community in the Philippines<br />

On the Killing of their Confrere Fr. Fausto Tentorio<br />

“You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD<br />

requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to<br />

walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)<br />

This is the Biblical passage we read in the Last Will and<br />

Testament of Father Fausto Tentorio, our Confrere in PIME<br />

and mission. These words in a nutshell contain all the life and<br />

mission of our brother priest. In truth, he walked humbly with<br />

his God, doing justice and loving goodness on behalf of the<br />

poorest among the poor and marginalized as Filipino Indigenous<br />

People and farmers have been and still are in Arakan Valley,<br />

North Cotabato.<br />

For over 30 years Father Fausto was a father to them (they<br />

affectionately called him Tatay Pops), a brother, a mentor and a<br />

friend, selflessly identifying himself with them in their life and<br />

culture. He was truly one of and with them!<br />

The PIME community in the Philippines praises and thanks<br />

God for His gift of martyrdom. God has called him to make the<br />

ultimate sacrifice in God’s service and in the service of God’s<br />

people.<br />

We know that Father Tentorio was a gentle man, evangelically<br />

simple and prudent, but fiercely courageous and consistent<br />

in his apostolate and in his advocacy for the marginalized<br />

people, especially the Indigenous People, and for the integrity<br />

of creation.<br />

We, the PIME Missionaries in the Philippines, with hearts<br />

heavy with sadness and pain, condemn in the strongest way<br />

possible the killing of Father Fausto and cry out for justice for<br />

him.<br />

Father Fausto’s merciless murder has renewed in all of us<br />

the pain and the loss of our two brother martyrs: Father Tullio<br />

Favali, killed in Tulunan in April 1985, and Father Salvatore<br />

Carzedda, killed in Zamboanga City in May 1992.<br />

At this point in history, we, the PIME community in the<br />

Philippines, renew our commitment to witness the Gospel in<br />

spite of risks of all kinds. We have made a promise to serve<br />

the Church and the people in the Philippines as we have<br />

done since 1968, counting on the presence of the Lord Jesus:<br />

“Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt<br />

28: 20), and so we will not leave at this moment, but remain<br />

and continue to serve. Evil will not triumph with the death<br />

of Father Fausto!<br />

Lastly, we make our own the words of Archbishop Orlando<br />

Quevedo, former Bishop of Kidapawan.<br />

“Father Fausto’s death is pure murder. I totally condemn<br />

it as a crime that cries out to heaven. If the perpetrators think<br />

that his murder would silence priests, religious sisters and<br />

brothers, and bishops from proclaiming the justice of God’s<br />

kingdom, they are wrong. The blood of martyrs like Fr. Fausto<br />

fans the daring and courage of those who care about peace and<br />

justice enough to sacrifice themselves while travelling the road<br />

of active non-violence. I strongly appeal to the authorities to<br />

search for the perpetrators and bring to justice.” (Excerpts<br />

from Martyr for Justice and Peace by Archbishop Orlando B.<br />

Quevedo, OMI)<br />

We take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to<br />

all the people of good will who condoled with us and sustained<br />

us with their solidarity. Your prayers and your being one with us<br />

in seeking justice for our murdered confrere is of great comfort<br />

and source for renewed commitment.<br />

May the God of peace and love bring lasting peace and<br />

justice in Mindanao!<br />

PIME Regional House<br />

Suterville, Zamboanga City<br />

October 19, 2011<br />

www,.aestetablog.blogspot.com<br />

22<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


STATEMENTS<br />

Martyr for<br />

Justice and Peace<br />

I have no hesitation to call Fr. Fausto Tentorio,<br />

PIME, as a martyr for justice and peace. He is a<br />

worthy member of that noble line of martyrs in the<br />

Church in Mindanao who in their lives advocated<br />

causes that would help create a more just, a more<br />

peaceful, a more loving society. Such causes are<br />

for the poor like the indigenous peoples as well<br />

as for the integrity of creation.<br />

That line of martyrs includes Fr. Alingal,<br />

S.J., and Fr. Satur (diocesan priest) in the Diocese<br />

of Malaybalay, Fr. Tullio Favali, PIME, in<br />

the Diocese of Kidapawan, Fr. Carzedda PIME<br />

in the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, Bp. Ben de<br />

Jesus, OMI, Fr. Benjie Inocencio, OMI, and Fr.<br />

Rey Roday, OMI, all three from the Apostolic<br />

Vicariate of Jolo.<br />

Fr. Fausto was a young missionary priest<br />

when he was assigned to the Diocese of Kidapawan<br />

which I led as its Bishop. He learned<br />

Ilonggo quickly and spoke it almost all the<br />

time. Like all the PIME in the Diocese of<br />

Kidapawan, he was very close to the people,<br />

and his convento in Arakan or in Columbio was<br />

open to the people. It was always a great joy<br />

for me to see him at the Bishop's Residence in<br />

Kidapawan taking his day off and watching a<br />

VHS movie or two after a long week of trekking<br />

up the mountains of Arakan or visiting<br />

the villages of Columbio. Like Fr. Tullio he<br />

had a soft easy smile and a voice that invited<br />

conversation. The only enemies he could make<br />

are those who wanted to silence his voice appealing<br />

for justice and peace for the indigenous<br />

peoples and for God's creation.<br />

I cannot fathom the minds of people who<br />

would be so evil as to plot the killing of a justice<br />

and peace loving missionary like Fr. Fausto. His<br />

assassination creates profound sadness and brings<br />

tears to the people who know of his kindness<br />

as well as his courage in the face of hazards to<br />

his life.<br />

His death is pure murder. I totally condemn<br />

it as a crime that cries out to heaven. If<br />

the perpetrators think that his murder would<br />

silence priests, religious sisters and brothers, and<br />

bishops from proclaiming the justice of God's<br />

kingdom, they are wrong. The blood of martyrs<br />

like Fr. Fausto fans the daring and courage of<br />

those who care about peace and justice enough<br />

to sacrifice themselves while travelling the road<br />

of active non-violence. I strongly appeal to the<br />

authorities to search for the perpetrators and<br />

bring them to justice.<br />

My prayers to the loving Lord, for my<br />

friend, Fr. Fausto, PIME.<br />

+ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO, O.M.I.<br />

Archbishop of Cotabato<br />

Fr. Tentorio’s death<br />

must wake us up<br />

We, bishops and priests of the Visayas<br />

Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG)<br />

are appalled with the brutal murder<br />

of our brother priest, Fr. Fausto<br />

Tentorio of the Pontifical Institute<br />

for Foreign Missions (PIME). Fr.<br />

Fausto was shot in broad daylight<br />

at the garage of Our Mother Perpetual<br />

Help Parish Church Convent,<br />

Arakan, North Cotabato, yesterday,<br />

October 17, 2011.<br />

The manner of how he was<br />

murdered unmasks the culture of<br />

death that has pervaded the Philippine<br />

society. His killing is another<br />

number added to the more than 50<br />

victims of extra-judicial killings<br />

since President Benigno Aquino III<br />

took office.<br />

We join the local church of the<br />

Diocese of Kidapawan—the clergy,<br />

religious and laity in mourning for the<br />

death of Fr. Fausto who has served<br />

the diocese for 33 years. As a true<br />

follower of Christ, Fr. Fausto held<br />

“the griefs, hopes, joys, and anxieties<br />

of the poor” as his own. He was<br />

a modern prophet, who like Amos<br />

“spoke and acted for the Shalom or<br />

well-being of the poor and the oppressed<br />

in society. (Visayas Clergy<br />

Gathering Statement, November 9,<br />

2010)”<br />

As a rural missionary and<br />

as an anti-mining advocate, he<br />

helped and worked with the indigenous<br />

peoples in opposing the<br />

operation of large-scale plantations<br />

and mining which would<br />

harm them. As a human rights<br />

advocate, he joined in calling<br />

for justice for slain human rights<br />

workers and farmers in Central<br />

Mindanao in 2002.<br />

Despite threats to his life, he<br />

fearlessly persisted in the work for<br />

justice and peace. His martyrdom, in<br />

the words of Archbishop Orlando B.<br />

Quevedo, OMI of the Archdiocese<br />

of Cotabato, will “fan the daring<br />

and courage of those who care about<br />

peace and justice enough to sacrifice<br />

themselves.”<br />

His death must wake us in<br />

our slumber and passivity. How<br />

many more people should die before<br />

we unite in putting an end to<br />

this culture of impunity? Blessed<br />

John Paul II in his encyclical, On<br />

Social Concerns, exhorts us to<br />

do our duty as Christians, “One<br />

may sin by greed and the desire<br />

for power, but one may also sin in<br />

these matters through fear, indecision,<br />

and cowardice! (Sollicitudo<br />

Rei Socialis, 47)”<br />

Thus, we are one with all<br />

people of good will in calling<br />

for justice for all martyred and<br />

disappeared priests such as: Fr.<br />

Cecilio Lucero who was murdered<br />

on September 6, 2009 for being a<br />

human rights advocate; Fr. Nery<br />

Satur, killed on October 14, 1991<br />

for his advocacy for the environment;<br />

Fr. Rudy Romano who was<br />

disappeared on July 11, 1985 for his<br />

struggle against martial law.<br />

Until today, most of the perpetrators<br />

of human rights violations<br />

against the clergy, and<br />

the marginalized sectors such as<br />

peasants and workers have not<br />

been brought to justice. We call<br />

on the Aquino government and its<br />

pertinent agencies to investigate<br />

and find justice of the death of Fr.<br />

Fausto and other victims of human<br />

rights violations so that it can<br />

significantly differentiate itself<br />

from the previous administration.<br />

Otherwise, its slogans of "straight<br />

path" will remain empty.<br />

Fr. Fausto’s life and martyrdom<br />

will not be in vain. His death<br />

strengthens our resolve to continue<br />

Christ’s work in building a society<br />

of justice and peace, even if it means<br />

giving the ultimate sacrifice for the<br />

common good.<br />

+GERARDO ALMINAZA, DD<br />

Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro<br />

Head Convenor, Visayas Clergy<br />

Discernment Group<br />

October 18, 2011<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 23<br />

www.washingtonpost.com


STATEMENTS<br />

A Pastoral Letter on the 20th Death Anniversary of Fr. Nery Lito Satur<br />

This coming October 14 we will be celebrating<br />

the 20th death anniversary of Fr. Nery<br />

Lito Satur. And on October 16, we declare it<br />

to be Fr. Neri’s Sunday in the Diocese. This<br />

will be a special day for us to remember Fr.<br />

Neri’s heroic struggles for the liberation of<br />

the poor and the integrity of creation. We<br />

know that it was the gospel values enunciated<br />

in our Diocesan vision-mission which<br />

inspired Fr. Neri to zealously implement<br />

the logging moratorium in the Province of<br />

Bukidnon. He religiously performed the<br />

task of a deputized forester as integral to<br />

his priestly ministry—even at the cost of his<br />

own life. As we celebrate the 20 years of Fr.<br />

Neri’s martyrdom, we are also challenged<br />

to renew our commitment to continue the<br />

unfinished human and ecological struggles<br />

of “the Church he died for.”<br />

We are living in a particular historical<br />

context that is, perhaps, ecologically<br />

worse than Fr. Neri’s time. In spite of the<br />

imposition of the logging moratorium in the<br />

Province of Bukidnon in 1990, our natural<br />

forests and watershed areas continue to<br />

decline. In fact, as of 2005, the estimated<br />

remaining forest cover of Bukidnon was<br />

only 24.9% of its total land area. Sad to<br />

say, this alarming percentage is already far<br />

lower than the ideal minimum requirement<br />

of an ecological balance, especially that<br />

Bukidnon crucially serves as a “headwater”<br />

province in Mindanao. Expectedly, we are<br />

continually threatened by the real possibility<br />

of water crisis and plagued by various<br />

forms of ecological disasters largely due to<br />

the insufficient forest cover that could no<br />

longer render its usual ecological services<br />

to the community of life.<br />

Moreover, it can be shown that many<br />

of the major causes of our poverty today are<br />

intimately linked to the ecological crisis.<br />

We are also aware of the fact that the first<br />

to be greatly affected by this ecological<br />

crisis are the rural poor farmers, especially<br />

the indigenous peoples, whose daily survival<br />

entirely depends on the providence<br />

of nature and the irreplaceable ecological<br />

services of the forests. For this reason, the<br />

Catholic social teaching categorically declares<br />

that “the ecological crisis is a moral<br />

issue” which challenges the Church not<br />

to remain silent and neutral.<br />

Our negative experience of the ecological<br />

crisis that aggravates poverty makes us<br />

realize that there must be something wrong<br />

with how we relate with God’s creation. As<br />

your shepherd in this diocese, I invite you<br />

to discern the right human attitude towards<br />

God’s creation in the light of the Catholic<br />

24<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011<br />

social teaching. Let me point out three important<br />

moral principles that would guide<br />

our Christian understanding and judgment<br />

in this moment of ecological crisis.<br />

First, we reaffirm the religious truth<br />

that human beings, as made in the image<br />

of God (Gen 1:27), are called to “exercise<br />

a responsible stewardship over nature,”<br />

even as we enjoy the gifts of its natural<br />

beauty and goodness. This means that<br />

we are not the absolute ruler of creation<br />

and that our relationship with non-human<br />

creatures “should mirror the creative love<br />

of God.” In this light, the ongoing abuse<br />

of our remaining Bukidnon forests and<br />

watersheds makes us irresponsible stewards<br />

of God’s creation.<br />

Second, we uphold the ethical principle<br />

that the goods of the Earth have to<br />

be accessible and made available to all,<br />

especially to the poor, including the future<br />

generations. It is a violation to the “intergenerational<br />

justice” if we would hand on<br />

to the future generations a planet which<br />

is depleted of its resources. Moreover,<br />

it would be a violation to the “ecological<br />

justice” if we do not give to the Earth the<br />

proper care it deserves. Since we are all<br />

interconnected in the web of life, we should<br />

go beyond the human level of “common<br />

good” by embracing the greater common<br />

good that considers the interests of the<br />

Earth community. This moral imperative<br />

is rooted in our covenant with God to love<br />

both our human and non-human “neighbors”<br />

as ourselves. (cf. Mk 12:31). Our<br />

Christian commitment to this covenant<br />

moves us to condemn the greedy and selfish<br />

exploiters of the Bukidnon forests.<br />

Third, we need to strengthen the indigenous<br />

Filipino cultures that recognize the<br />

sanctity of life and the integrity of creation.<br />

Our tribal brothers and sisters “remind us<br />

that the exploitative approach to the natural<br />

world is foreign to our Filipino culture.”<br />

In the face of unhealthy modern lifestyles,<br />

they teach us how to live the value of simple<br />

lifestyle in harmony with nature. With<br />

them, we are convinced that the “assault<br />

on creation is sinful and contrary to the<br />

teachings of our faith.”<br />

Guided by the imperatives of these<br />

Christian principles, let us discern what our<br />

local church can specifically contribute and<br />

concretely do to continue the unfinished<br />

mission begun by Fr. Neri. So far, I can<br />

propose at least four areas of concern which<br />

I find very important today.<br />

1. We need to continually deepen our<br />

knowledge of the ecological issues, including<br />

the phenomenon of climate change and<br />

the global ecological crisis. We may begin<br />

this locally by updating ourselves with the<br />

present ecological situation of Bukidnon.<br />

This is in line with the Church’s teaching<br />

on “ecological conversion” that calls us<br />

to critically appropriate the best available<br />

knowledge offered by the ecological<br />

sciences in view of our important role as<br />

responsible stewards of God’s creation. Let<br />

us make these ecological insights available<br />

to the grassroots level by producing a module<br />

which would facilitate the “education<br />

in ecological responsibility” both in the<br />

BECs and individual families.<br />

2. We need to situate our mission to care<br />

for God’s creation within the deep and solid<br />

foundation of our Christian faith and spirituality.<br />

Our ultimate guide to this way of life<br />

is no other than Jesus Christ himself—the<br />

Incarnate Wisdom and Word of God—who<br />

proclaimed the coming of God’s Kingdom,<br />

which is the fulfillment of the “new heavens<br />

and a new earth” (2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1-2).<br />

This Christian hope for the future must be<br />

manifested in our religious devotions and<br />

various forms of spirituality. We must be<br />

creative in our liturgical celebrations and<br />

community devotions (e.g., “Ecological<br />

Rosary”) so that they may become sacramental<br />

and symbolic expressions of our<br />

care for God’s creation.<br />

3. Let us strengthen our advocacy<br />

and campaign for a clean environment,<br />

free from any harmful chemicals that<br />

poison the soil and threaten the health of<br />

the community of life. As an alternative,<br />

we promote the practice of “sustainable<br />

agriculture” and “agro-forestry” throughout<br />

the Diocese.<br />

4. Let us continue our legal advocacy<br />

by supporting the bills (e.g., “alternative<br />

mining bill”) and other ecology-friendly<br />

movements that seek the common good<br />

both of the humanity and the natural<br />

environment.<br />

Let this memorable day of Fr. Neri’s<br />

martyrdom remind us of our Christian<br />

mission to build not only ecclesial and<br />

human communities but also “ecological<br />

communities” grounded in the perfect and<br />

eternal communion of the Blessed Trinity,<br />

in whom “we live and move and have our<br />

being.” (Acts 17:28).<br />

In Jesus Christ the Lord,<br />

Most Rev. José Araneta Cabantan, DD<br />

Bishop of Malaybalay<br />

FILE PHOTO


Volume 45 • Number 11 25


FROM THE<br />

BLOGS<br />

"<br />

Social dissent. Social<br />

unrest. Social uprising.<br />

Social Dissent" comes to fore when more and more people<br />

not only feel but actually experience dissatisfaction with<br />

the way socio-economic agenda are likewise more and<br />

more mishandled by the public officials concerned. Unless they<br />

come to know and appreciate a notable reversal thereof in their<br />

empirical day to day life, the said popular dissent develops into<br />

"Social Unrest" with the whole government considered as its<br />

main culprit. And when this in turn is not effectively attended<br />

to and accordingly neutralized, what happens next is "Social<br />

Uprising" that is usually focused against the national leadership<br />

in particular—a social phenomenon blatantly called "Revolution"<br />

by others.<br />

Sad to say, it is quite noticeable that there already now<br />

appears a "Social Dissent" building up in the country by reason<br />

of discontent on the part of various sectors of society. In fact,<br />

it is not altogether untrue that some kind of "Social Unrest"<br />

is slowly seeping into the rank and file of the government<br />

hierarchy. And unless attended to fast and satisfactorily, then<br />

"Social Uprising" comes as a matter of course. Would that<br />

all these observations were but gossip and/or rubbish. Would<br />

that the Filipino were by and large enjoying socio-economic<br />

sufficiency. And would that there were peace and order in all<br />

regions of the country.<br />

There is one thing certain. It can be said without reserve that<br />

the Filipinos are definitely neither ignorant nor inexperienced<br />

about the progressive social phenomenon of their own dissent,<br />

unrest and uprising. And this is not only having Mindanao in<br />

mind but the country as a whole. The truth is that the said threepoint<br />

gradual reality has already been much and well experienced<br />

nationwide as recorded in Philippine History—not once but<br />

twice world acclaimed.<br />

Persistent and insistent direct taxation plus unforgiving<br />

and unrelenting indirect taxation from birth to death of every<br />

Filipino. Yet, there is the less and less public welfare seen and<br />

common good felt. Inflexible VAT imposed not only on fuel<br />

but also on toll use. Hence, bitter complaints of drivers and<br />

riders alike. Rising prices of basic commodities, merely subsistent<br />

salaries plus but contractual labor. Thus comes to fore<br />

the disgust and repugnance of labor. Power rates hike logically<br />

productive of big resentment of all households. Costly education<br />

and the ensuing students' angry demonstrations. Continuous<br />

graft and corruption, leaving the common “tao” empty<br />

handed as usual. Destruction of the environment and wastage<br />

of natural resources on account of regulated mostly foreign<br />

business ventures. Wherefore, the anger and denouncements<br />

by the natives concerned on unabated culture of criminality<br />

and promotion of vicious systems, bringing about the rightful<br />

disgust and fear of the citizens.<br />

Would that all of the above realities where but one big bad<br />

dream. Would that they were simply fruits of puerile imagination<br />

and irresponsible reaction. Would that Malacañang in particular<br />

could have the competence and would cultivate the industry to<br />

reverse them all.<br />

www.ovc.blogspot.com<br />

Conditional cash<br />

transfer equals<br />

indolence<br />

The infamous Conditional Cash Transfer being assiduously<br />

funded by this government through merciless<br />

direct and indirect taxes imposed on all Filipinos—<br />

the CCT recipients included—can mean anything but its<br />

ridiculously claimed intention of poverty alleviation. Is it<br />

too hard to understand that CCT is a plain and direct doleout<br />

system? Is it too difficult to see that CCT is nothing<br />

more than a band-aid solution in alleviating poverty? Is it<br />

too complex to see the wisdom behind the ancient saying<br />

that instead of giving them fish, teach people instead how<br />

to fish?<br />

Slash the budget for education. Remove the subsidy<br />

for transportation. Keep on regulating the prices of prime<br />

commodities while deregulating the immense earnings of<br />

big oil companies. Let salaries stagnate while promoting<br />

contractualization—plus outsourcing. Covet the money of<br />

the Judiciary. Spend much for repeated travels only to get<br />

but investment promises and more promises from inimical<br />

countries at that.<br />

With the above composite sad and worrisome background,<br />

the CCT demanding much more money to give<br />

away to the poor—the most used and abused people<br />

in the Philippines. This year, the demand to fund the<br />

band-aid program is nothing less than a whopping P39<br />

billion! Never mind where and how to get the money<br />

from other government agencies—with one exception.<br />

The DSWD, proudly and gleefully acting as Santa Claus<br />

of the government.<br />

Question: Instead of simply giving away the money of<br />

others to the supposed CCT target beneficiaries, why not<br />

"teach them how to fish"—such as by acquainting them<br />

how to manage small livelihood programs, how to have<br />

cooperatives and other dignified and dignifying earning<br />

ventures? Why not? As of now, there are three answers being<br />

forwarded to justify CCT — in addition to the downright<br />

reality or strong perception that CCT is the affirmation of<br />

indolence and the promotion of dependence.<br />

It appears that the CCT is nothing more than a fertile<br />

source of gross graft and corrupt practices. There<br />

are a number of layers of covetous disburses before<br />

the supposed recipients get their cash—the use of ATM<br />

included.<br />

It seems that the CCT is ultimately nothing more than<br />

an easy means, a cheap way of popular self-advertisement,<br />

self-introduction and self-presentation this early in the<br />

political life of the country.<br />

It sounds wherefore both reasonable and credible to say<br />

that the CCT is basically nothing else than an early election<br />

campaign of those primarily well as those directly involved<br />

with the regular Santa Claus gimmickry.<br />

www.ovc.blogspot.com<br />

26<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


EDITORIAL<br />

Illustration by Bladimer Usi<br />

The cheer is certainly novel and interesting. The<br />

holler is not only admirable but also intriguing.<br />

It is somae kind of a battle cry for the good,<br />

the upright and powerful—categorically telling the<br />

bad to stay out of the way or they become wasted by<br />

the wayside. To top it all, the proverb was composed<br />

and recited by no less than the Chief Executive in<br />

the land who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the<br />

whole Armed Forces of the Philippines.<br />

At first glance, it sounds that no justice shall be<br />

tolerated, much less allowed to prevail. It forwards<br />

the ready understanding that justice shall be the omnipresent<br />

rule that the days of the unjust are over.<br />

It is however but right and proper not only to<br />

contextualize the sudden invocation of the surprising<br />

mantra “All Out Justice,” but also to know more what<br />

it means, what is it covers and applies to. Needless<br />

to say, there is great bravery, admirable resolve and<br />

nationalist spirit behind the presidential song that<br />

immediately caught both the attention and surprise<br />

of a good number of people. From a funny little<br />

puppy, there suddenly came out a formidable lion<br />

roaring loud and angry. “All out War”—no! “All out<br />

Justice”—yes!<br />

All out justice<br />

The latter impressive and endearing phenomenal<br />

shout could have been left alone—and wherefore also<br />

simply leave the people rejoicing and celebrating. But<br />

then, candid and simple questions began to be asked<br />

here and there; questions that at first glance appear<br />

irrelevant but in fact demand clear and forthright<br />

answers.<br />

Question: Is “All our Justice” applicable but to this<br />

and those little sections in Mindanao and occasioned<br />

only by the recent killings of admittedly brave soldiers<br />

and civilians? Does it mean that “All out Justice” is<br />

only limited in observance and scope, whereby all<br />

other atrocities perpetrated in other regions in the<br />

country are held merely technical and academic?<br />

Question: Is “All out Justice” irrelevant to extrajudicial<br />

killings, to women violated, to children<br />

abused as well as the fetus aborted all over Metro<br />

Manila and usually thrown or dumped here and<br />

there? Furthermore, is “All Out Justice” nonsense<br />

for those killed and incapacitated in the Mendiola<br />

Massacre, not to mention the long standing victims<br />

of the Hacienda Luisita injustice?<br />

“Justice is anything but “All Out” when it is<br />

frivolous, discriminatory and selective.<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 27


FROM THE<br />

INBOX<br />

From the email messages of may_rv2003@yahoo.com<br />

The Midas touch<br />

We all know the story of the greedy king named Midas.<br />

He had a lot of gold and the more he had the more he<br />

wanted. He stored all the gold in his vaults and used<br />

to spend time every day counting it.<br />

One day while he was counting, a mysterious stranger<br />

came from nowhere and told the King that he would grant him<br />

a wish.<br />

The king was delighted and said, “I would like everything<br />

I touch to turn to gold.”<br />

The stranger asked the king, “Are you sure?”<br />

“Yes,” replied the greedy king. So the stranger said, “Starting<br />

tomorrow morning with the sun rays you will get the golden<br />

touch.”<br />

The king thought this couldn’t be true; he must be dreaming.<br />

But the next day when he woke up, he touched the bed, his<br />

clothes, and to his surprise, everything turned to gold. Of course,<br />

the king was very delighted.<br />

He then looked out of the window and saw his daughter<br />

playing in the garden. He decided to give her a surprise and<br />

thought she would be happy. But before he went to the garden<br />

he decided to read a book. The moment he touched it, it turned<br />

into gold and he couldn’t read it. Then he sat to have breakfast<br />

and the moment he touched the fruit and the glass of water, they<br />

turned to gold. He was getting hungry and he said to himself, “I<br />

can’t eat and drink gold.”<br />

Just about that time his daughter came running and he<br />

hugged her and she turned into a gold statue. There were no<br />

more smiles left.<br />

The king bowed his head and started crying. The stranger<br />

who gave the wish came again and asked the king if he was<br />

happy with his golden touch.<br />

The king said he was the most miserable man. The stranger<br />

asked, “What would you rather have, your food and loving<br />

daughter or lumps of gold and her golden statue?”<br />

The king cried and asked for forgiveness. He said, “I will<br />

give up all my gold. Please give me my daughter back because<br />

without her I have lost everything worth having.”<br />

The stranger said to the king, “You have become wiser than<br />

before” and he reversed the spell. The king got his daughter back<br />

in his arms and the king learned a lesson that he never forget for<br />

the rest of his life.<br />

www.mediabistro.com<br />

Shooting bird’s eye<br />

An ancient Indian sage was teaching his disciples the art<br />

of archery. He put a wooden bird as the target and asked<br />

them to aim at the eye of the bird. The first disciple was<br />

asked to describe what he saw. He said, “I see the trees, the<br />

branches, the leaves, the sky, the bird and its eye.”<br />

The sage asked this disciple to wait. Then he asked the second<br />

disciple the same question and he replied, “I only see the eye<br />

of the bird.” The sage said, “Very good, then shoot.” The arrow<br />

went straight and hit the eye of the bird.<br />

Unless we focus, we cannot achieve our goal. It is hard to<br />

focus and concentrate, but it is a skill that can be learned.<br />

Teaching the<br />

ultimate<br />

In early times in<br />

Japan, bambooand-paper<br />

lanterns<br />

were used with<br />

candles inside. A blind<br />

man, visiting a friend<br />

one night, was offered<br />

a lantern to carry home<br />

with him.<br />

“I do not need<br />

a lantern,” he said.<br />

“Darkness or light is<br />

all the same to me.”<br />

“I know you do<br />

not need a lantern to<br />

find your way,” his<br />

friend replied, “but if<br />

you don’t have one,<br />

someone else may run<br />

into you. So you must take it.”<br />

The blind man started off with the lantern and before<br />

he had walked very far someone ran squarely into him.<br />

“Look out where you are going!” he exclaimed to the<br />

stranger. “Can’t you see this lantern?”<br />

“Your candle has burned out, brother,” replied the<br />

stranger.<br />

www.nevergiveupboy.wordpress.com<br />

www.amirasq.blogspot.com<br />

28<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


ook<br />

reviews<br />

Rissa Singson-Kawpeng<br />

Discover Your Inner<br />

Beauty Queen<br />

Godly Secrets to True Beauty<br />

This book gives female readers an eye-opener on how to achieve<br />

beauty that is more than skin-deep. In this amusing and enlightening<br />

read, the author tackles issues that women face in the mirror<br />

every day—their looks, their selfesteem<br />

and their character. In<br />

her humorous but often touching<br />

style, she gives you the lowdown<br />

on what the world dictates as<br />

standards of beauty while shattering<br />

myths with the inside story<br />

based on God’s Word. The book<br />

encourages women to discover<br />

their true beauty from the inside<br />

out while inspiring them to live<br />

godly lives. Take a journey with<br />

the author as she shares delightful<br />

stories of her struggles with insecurity<br />

and self-image, and how<br />

self-appreciation and finding her<br />

identity in God has contributed to<br />

her spiritual growth. The book is<br />

published by Shepherd’s Voice<br />

Publications.<br />

Practicing Peace<br />

Judette A. Gallares, RC & Astrid Lobo-Gajiwala, Editors<br />

This anthology of essays had its<br />

beginnings in the 2002 Conference<br />

of the Ecclesia of Women<br />

in Asia (EWA), a collective that<br />

seeks to create spaces for Asian<br />

women’s theology to be heard<br />

and affirmed in the Catholic<br />

Church and Academe. EWA is<br />

committed to promoting the equal<br />

discipleship of women and the<br />

formation of inclusive and just<br />

ecclesial communities and societies<br />

as symbolized in its logo<br />

that portrays the creative spirit of<br />

women encircling the globe. This<br />

book began with a call to Asian<br />

women feminist theologians, both<br />

in the academe and at the grassroots, to write and present in<br />

creative forms their theological reflections on the theme of “Practicing<br />

Peace: Towards an Asian Feminist Theology of Liberation”.<br />

Featured in this book are the papers and presentations of the<br />

conference where the presenters engaged the participants not<br />

only with their insightful theology, but also with their originality<br />

and creativity as they explored together various aspects of the<br />

theme—Peace and Hermeneutics, Peace and Praxis, Peace and<br />

Liberation, and Peace and Gender.<br />

Enjoy God’s Best for your Life<br />

Stories of Living to the Fullest<br />

Arun Gogna<br />

We all deserve to live a wonderful<br />

and meaningful life notwithstanding<br />

trials and difficulties we<br />

may experience along the way.<br />

In this collection of short stories,<br />

the author shares some insights<br />

into his life, how he transformed<br />

the ordinary life’s experiences<br />

into something extraordinary<br />

meaningful because he believes<br />

that everything happens for a<br />

purpose. “Packed with nuggets<br />

of wisdom, hilarious insights and<br />

powerful lessons,” the book is<br />

sure to inspire readers to live and<br />

enjoy their life to the full. An inspirational<br />

speaker and best-selling<br />

author, Gogna is spiritual adviser<br />

of various Catholic communities and founder of Creative House<br />

Ministry, a group specializing in retreats and recollections for<br />

schools, parishes and corporations. He has given many values<br />

formation seminars to different corporations and institutions.<br />

Pier Giorgio Frassati<br />

A Man of the Beatitudes<br />

Luciana Frassati<br />

This book comes at an opportune time as the Catholic Bishops<br />

Conference of the Philippines celebrates the Year of the Youth.<br />

This interesting biography of a young man who had chosen to<br />

turn his back to a life of privilege to serve the poor is a great<br />

challenge to today’s youth, many of whom are lost in a lifestyle<br />

that lacks direction and devoid of spirituality. Pier Giorgio, an<br />

Italian youth who lived in the early twentieth century and beatified<br />

by Pope John Paul II in 1990, serves as a role model to the<br />

youth showing them that it is possible to live a life of virtue even<br />

in a hedonistic environment<br />

that characterize today’s<br />

society. Even though born to<br />

a rich and influential family,<br />

athletic, handsome and had<br />

a lot of friends, Pier Giorgio<br />

was not blindsided by those<br />

physical attributes. Despite<br />

opposition from his family, he<br />

lived his Christian life faithfully,<br />

a young man “whose<br />

love of God transformed his<br />

own life and the lives of the<br />

people around him.” Pier<br />

Giorgio’s incorrupt body was<br />

venerated by hundreds of<br />

thousands of youth during<br />

the 2000 World Youth Day<br />

celebration in Rome.<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 29


ENTERTAINMENT<br />

Ca t h o l i c INi t i a t i v e fo r<br />

Enl i g h t e n e d Mov i e App r e c i a t i o n<br />

This is another big<br />

screen adaptation of<br />

the Alexandre Dumas<br />

pere’s historical novel<br />

of The Three Musketeers<br />

with some twists here and<br />

there to make the plot more<br />

family-oriented. Like the<br />

novel, the film version follows<br />

D’Artagnan (Logan<br />

Lerman) travel to Paris to<br />

become of the Musketeers<br />

like his father. He is a welltrained<br />

fighter but is hotheaded<br />

and aggressive often<br />

ending up at the end of his<br />

opponent’s sword. On his<br />

first day in Paris, he manages<br />

to almost get killed by the<br />

Cardinal’s guards, gets into<br />

petty fights with the Athos<br />

(Macfadyen), Porthos (Stevenson)<br />

and Aramis (Evans)<br />

and challenges each to a duel<br />

at midday. But when the<br />

Cardinal’s guards come to<br />

arrest the Musketeers, the 4<br />

come together and defeat all<br />

40 of them. D’Artagnan is<br />

invited into the Musketeer’s<br />

homes and learns that life<br />

has become dull and boring<br />

for the 3 since they no longer<br />

have a cause to be passionate<br />

about. Meanwhile Cardinal<br />

Richelieu has taken control<br />

over France because King<br />

Louis XIII (Fox) is far too<br />

immature and inexperienced<br />

to lead France seriously.<br />

Later, the Musketeers<br />

and D’Artagnan find their<br />

respective causes when they<br />

are tapped by the Queen’s<br />

maid-in-waiting to retrieve<br />

a diamond necklace from<br />

Lord Buckingham (Bloom)<br />

to avert the Cardinal’s plan<br />

to tarnish the Queen’s reputation<br />

and launch a war between France and England.<br />

The story tries to be faithful to the novel and cleverly adds<br />

the right twist to make the plot more palatable to the younger<br />

audiences. The costumes and<br />

set design are outrageously<br />

impressive. There was an attempt<br />

to update the dialogue<br />

but it didn’t really quite have<br />

enough wit and bite to be<br />

funny and memorable. The<br />

characters and their acting<br />

feel caricaturist and theatrical.<br />

The battle and fight<br />

scenes are lame and tedious.<br />

There is no excitement either<br />

in the choreography or the<br />

shots or the over-all direction<br />

of the scene. The special<br />

effects were done to impress<br />

rather than to deliver a point.<br />

As a whole, the movie which<br />

had enough promise and potential<br />

did not really get there<br />

and failed to be engaging to<br />

its audience.<br />

The good news is the<br />

movie has very little disturbing<br />

scenes, save for<br />

the inevitable swordfights,<br />

some crass language and the<br />

musketeer’s love for liquor.<br />

It briefly talks about honor,<br />

valor, friendship and loyalty<br />

to the crown but does deliver<br />

a clear message. Even the<br />

famous “All for one and one<br />

for all” battlecry has been<br />

lost. Although some might<br />

find the role of the Church<br />

against the monarchy a<br />

bit disturbing, especially<br />

since the real-life Cardinal<br />

Richelieu did play a controversial<br />

role during the time of<br />

King Louis XIII, is still presented<br />

as fiction and should<br />

not be taken any more than a<br />

twist in the story. The move<br />

has no valuable message to<br />

take home but neither does it<br />

have any objectionable one.<br />

As long as viewers are clear<br />

that they are watching fiction, mature teenagers can handle both<br />

the material and the treatment but the younger ones should be<br />

guided by their parents.<br />

CAST: Logan Leman, Mila Jovovich, Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Christopher Walz, Orlando Bloom; DIREC-<br />

TOR: Paul W.S. Anderson; SCREENPLAY: Andrew Davies, Alex Litvak; Based on The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas<br />

pere; EDITING: Alexander Berner; PRODUCER: Paul W.S. Anderson, etc.; MUSIC: Paul Haslinger; GENRE: Action-Adventure;<br />

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes<br />

Technical Assessment: ••½<br />

Moral Assessment: <br />

Cinema Rating: For viewers age 14 years old<br />

30<br />

<strong>IMPACT</strong> • November 2011


ASIA<br />

BRIEFING<br />

JAPAN. First nuke plan turned on since<br />

meltdown<br />

In a bid to boost its atomic power industry,<br />

Japan has restarted its first nuclear<br />

reactor since the Fukushima power plant<br />

meltdown in March. Genkai nuclear<br />

power plant was switched back on in<br />

Japan's southern district of Higashimatsuura,<br />

Saga on Nov. 2. This is the<br />

first reactor to resume operations since<br />

the massive earthquake and tsunami of<br />

March 11 sparked an atomic emergency<br />

at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.<br />

INDIA. Suspected Maoist rebels abduct<br />

15 workers<br />

At least 15 workers have been abducted<br />

by suspected Maoist rebels from a<br />

bridge construction site in Bihar on Nov.<br />

1, authorities said. District police chief<br />

R.N. Singh told the AFP wire service<br />

50 armed rebels ambushed the site on<br />

Tuesday. He said police suspected the<br />

company building the bridge had refused<br />

to pay money to the rebels. Officials<br />

said they were working to rescue the<br />

hostages<br />

PHILIPPINES. Filipino workers banned<br />

from 41 countries<br />

The Aquino administration has banned<br />

its citizens from working in 41 countries<br />

for failing to protect foreign workers<br />

from abuse. The Department of Labor<br />

and Employment website claimed the<br />

blacklisted countries' signatures were<br />

absent from international conventions<br />

that grant foreign workers protection<br />

rights. Included in the list are strife-torn<br />

nations like Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq,<br />

Sudan, Chad and Pakistan.<br />

TAIWAN. Ex-president Lee underwent<br />

colon tumor surgery<br />

Taiwan's 88-year-old former president<br />

Lee Teng-hui has undergone surgery<br />

to remove a malignant tumor in his<br />

colon last Nov. 1. Lee angered China<br />

while in office between 1988 and 2000<br />

by trying to promote a separate identity<br />

for Taiwan. He is also the second former<br />

president to face corruption charges for<br />

allegedly embezzling $7.79 million from<br />

the government during his term.<br />

INDONESIA. US forms military ties<br />

The US will continue to develop military<br />

ties with Indonesia, but watch out for<br />

human rights abuses. US Defence<br />

Secretary Leon Panetta, after recent<br />

meeting with his Indonesian counterpart<br />

Purnomo Yusgiantoro in Bali, said the<br />

talks focused on Indonesia's growing<br />

importance as a global leader and the<br />

long-term commitment of the US to the<br />

security and prosperity of the ASEAN<br />

region. He said the US is conducting<br />

more than 150 activities, exchanges<br />

and visits with the Indonesian military,<br />

this year alone.<br />

THAILAND. Fury rises in Bangkok's<br />

flooded areas<br />

The good news for Bangkok is that the<br />

city centre seems to have avoided the<br />

massive flooding that has crippled outlying<br />

areas of the Thai capital recently.<br />

The bad news is that it could be more<br />

than a month before the floodwaters<br />

recede. Some residents are already<br />

angry about the way authorities have<br />

handled flood protection and prevention<br />

and they want flood barriers opened up<br />

to release the water.<br />

CAMBODIA. Domestic workers face<br />

abuse<br />

The Cambodian and Malaysian governments’<br />

failure to regulate recruiters and<br />

employers leaves Cambodian migrant<br />

domestic workers exposed to a wide<br />

range of abuses, Human Rights Watch<br />

said Nov. 2. Tens of thousands of Cambodian<br />

women and girls who migrate to<br />

Malaysia have little protection against<br />

forced confinement in training centers,<br />

heavy debt burdens, and exploitative<br />

working conditions. “Cambodia has<br />

been eager to promote labor migration<br />

but reluctant to provide even the most<br />

basic protections for migrant women and<br />

girls,” said Jyotsna Poudyal, women’s<br />

rights research fellow at HRW.<br />

AFGHANISTAN. HRW: Key conference<br />

sidelining women<br />

Afghan women activists are at risk of<br />

being sidelined at a key international<br />

conference on Afghanistan’s future<br />

scheduled for December 5, 2011, in<br />

Germany, Human Rights Watch said.<br />

The Bonn Conference will take place on<br />

the 10th anniversary of the 2001 Bonn<br />

Conference, which marked the end of<br />

the Taliban era and the appointment of<br />

a transitional government. “The Afghan<br />

government and its international backers<br />

say that women’s rights are one<br />

of their ‘red lines’ as they plan for the<br />

withdrawal of international forces,” said<br />

Brad Adams, HRW Asia director.<br />

ISRAEL. Gov’t ramps up settlement<br />

construction plans<br />

The Israeli government must halt plans<br />

to expand construction in illegal settlements<br />

in the West Bank and stop proposals<br />

to suspend the transfer of taxes<br />

to the Palestinian Authority, Amnesty<br />

International said Nov. 3. The Israeli<br />

government has also said it intends to<br />

freeze monthly transfers of tax revenues<br />

it collects on behalf of the Palestinian<br />

Authority. The new moves came after<br />

the UN cultural organization UNESCO<br />

admitted Palestine as a member on<br />

Oct. 1. "By announcing these plans,<br />

the Israeli government appears to be<br />

responding to the Palestinian Authority's<br />

recent bids for international recognition<br />

by entrenching illegal settlements," said<br />

AI’s Philip Luther.<br />

EGYPT. Draft ‘Political Corruption’ law<br />

invites abuse<br />

Cabinet proposals to amend and implement<br />

Egypt’s 1952 “Law on Political<br />

Treachery” have negative implications<br />

for the country’s political freedoms<br />

and upcoming election, Human Rights<br />

Watch said. The law would allow the<br />

authorities to imprison anyone convicted<br />

of vaguely defined crimes of “political<br />

corruption” and to deprive them of the<br />

right to vote or run for office. Such a law<br />

would set the stage for mass political<br />

exclusion based on vague allegations<br />

of association rather than criminal responsibility,<br />

HRW said.<br />

Volume 45 • Number 11 31

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