Rev. Fr. Antonio Cecilio T. Pascual

307 posts
Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual is a regular columnist of Business Mirror. He is the Executive Director of Caritas Manila, the social services and development arm of the Archdiocese of Manila. He is also the President of Radio Veritas, the leading faith-based AM station in Mega Manila. He is a prime-mover in the cooperative sector, and has been instrumental in revolutionizing volunteerism and charity by helping the poor help themselves.

Guilty until proven innocent?

Brothers and sisters, ever since President Duterte took his seat as the chief executive of the Philippines, the cruel and bloody war on drugs intensified, wherein streets in poor communities were literally drenched in blood of the thousands accused of illegal drugs possession. Now, we need to be vigilant.

The true result of an election

Brothers and sisters, finally, after almost five years, the electoral protest of the son of a dictator and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo has ended. The Supreme Court standing as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal released their unanimous decision last week. In spite of this decision, Mr. Marcos’ camp insists that this case hasn’t been ultimately trashed because the PET hasn’t addressed their protest’s third cause of action wherein they shall invalidate the votes coming from several provinces in Mindanao. This has been clarified by the PET, which released another statement saying that “the protest was dismissed.”

Suppress corruption

Brothers and sisters, two weeks have passed since the Transparency International released the Corruption Perceptions Index of almost 200 countries. The CPI measures the perspectives of the public and certain experts regarding the corruption within their respective countries. In 2020, we got a score of 34; a 100 score means being the “cleanest” and zero means being the most “corrupt.” In conclusion, we didn’t pass. We didn’t even reach the international average score of 43.

Why do we need to know the prices of the vaccines?

Brothers and sisters, those overseeing the government’s purchase of Covid-19 vaccines are still silent about their prices, particularly for the vaccines coming from China’s Sinovac Biotech. President Duterte himself said that the prices of these vaccines must remain a secret because we have so-called “confidentiality agreements” with pharmaceutical companies. They insist this is routine for the pharmaceutical industry.

The standards in making a leader

Brothers and sisters, President Duterte appointed former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II as the new commissioner of the National Police Commission after the passing of former Napolcom Vice Chairman Rogelio Casurao. According to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque who confirmed the appointment, Aguirre’s experience from his previous position in government will prove helpful in his new role as Napolcom Commissioner to make the agency “competent, effective, credible, and responsive” in providing services for the police. Many quarters questioned this decision and considered it as a form of “recycling” in government.

Justice based on evidence

Brothers and sisters, at the start of the New Year, the death of 23-year-old flight attendant Christine Angelica Dacera dominated the news. She was found lifeless in a hotel bathtub in Makati after a New Year’s party with her friends. After five days, the Philippine National Police declared her case “solved” after arresting three of her friends whom they pointed as suspects and accused them of rape with homicide. Because of this, the issue of rape is once again being loudly discussed. But where’s the evidence that determines what truly happened?

Lives of Filipinos at stake

Brothers and sisters, there’s a joke spreading in social media about how our government is addressing the Covid-19 pandemic. If other countries are in phase 1, phase 2, or phase 3 of producing their vaccines to fight the virus, the Philippines, on the other hand, stays with the face shield as a precaution.

We have always needed medical solutions

Brothers and sisters, it has been almost nine months since the government placed many areas of the country under different forms and levels of community quarantine in order to stop the spread of Covid-19. Before these steps were taken, many have already said that a travel ban for foreigners from other countries should have been implemented because of the increasing number of positive cases. But the government allowed entry of foreigners in a business-as-usual fashion until the beginning of the local spread of the virus.

Put an end to the intimidation and silencing

Brothers and sisters, one discussion heating up these past few days is in regards to naming several personalities that are members of progressive groups accused of being part of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed force, the New People’s Army (NPA). The President himself named one Party List representative as a member of the Communist Party, and said the Party List group this representative comes from is just a front organization. This kind of accusation called red tagging—“red” being the color incorporated with communists—is not only destructive in words. This places the lives of those accused in danger.

The fruit of nature’s neglect

Brothers and sisters, this past week, memories of our grueling experience during Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 horribly resurfaced. On Wednesday, a major part of Metro Manila and neighboring areas have been submerged due to the flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses. The following day, Thursday, the overflowing rivers and canals drowned villages and houses, forcing people to go to their roofs to shout for help.

Is the DENR true to its duties?

Brothers and sisters, if the white sand beach in Manila Bay wasn’t really washed away by the over-pouring rain during these past few days, as insisted by DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, he was overwhelmed by his emotions that urged him to call scientists and experts from the University of the Philippines as bayaran or sellouts.

Great sacrifice for education

Brothers and sisters, the first day of classes in our public schools has passed, and the opening of this school year is quite different. It started in October instead of June, which was the usual start of the school year for students. Because of the pandemic, school opening was supposed to be moved to August, but in accordance with President Duterte’s memorandum, the Department of Education changed the date. According to DepEd, the number of enrollees reached almost 25 million for school year 2020-2021; this is equal to 89 percent of those enrolled in the previous school year, which means, the number of students enrolled was less than last school year, although it was expected that more students would enroll this year since the enrolment period was extended.

No more lifestyle checks?

Brothers and sisters, the Ombudsman is the sole agency that ensures that our public servants remain true to their duties and not involved in corruption. Recently, Ombudsman Samuel Martires declared that his office will stop conducting lifestyle checks on government officials. Before this, Ombudsman Martires also declared that they restricted releasing copies of the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net worth (SALN) to citizens requesting for copies.

Sever the roots of corruption

Brothers and sisters, many people have used the verses 5:29-30 from the book of Matthew to justify claims that the Bible agrees with the brutal and inhumane acts of punishment for those who committed a grave sin. This is what we hear from Jesus during his sermon in the mountains about adultery. “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go to hell.”

Where is the Philippines’ debt going?

Brothers and sisters, the Catholic social teachings said that the duty of achieving the so-called common good isn’t only borne on our shoulders. This must be expected in our current State because common good is the focus of political authority. In other words, the welfare of all—not the interest of some—must be prioritized by our leaders in every step they take.

West Philippine Sea victory merely dismissed

Brothers and sisters, this month marks the fourth anniversary of the Philippines’s winning argument in the Permanent Court of Arbitration against China regarding our territories in the West Philippine Sea. It was clear in provisions of the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea that coastal countries (like the Philippines) have the right to recognize their surrounding ocean covering 200 nautical miles as their exclusive economic zone. This means that the Philippines has the sovereign right to “explore, benefit from, preserve, and manage” the natural resources found hereof. This jurisdiction is strengthened by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Netherlands on June 12, 2016.

False crusade

Brothers and sisters, after the people heard the words of President Duterte recently, the insistence of Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque that the President was being neutral in the issue of ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise renewal unraveled.

The two crises

Brothers and sisters, it’s been two weeks since the World Justice Project, an international organization encouraging the rule of law, released their report regarding two related crises the entire world is experiencing. First is the crisis of public health brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, and second is the rule of law crisis. RULE OF LAW means having a stable system in implementing laws, making it possible to hold the government and the private sector accountable, having social justice, and propagating human rights.

The true enemy

Brothers and sisters, just last week, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque joyfully greeted the Philippines because it supposedly beat the forecast claimed by experts from the University of the Philippines regarding the expected number of Covid-19 cases by the end of June. In UP’s projection, the number of Covid-19 cases may reach around 40,000 in June, but based on the government’s data, the number of recorded cases reached slightly more than 36,000.

Stop red-tagging

Brothers and sisters, accusations without clear and strong basis is wrong and unjust. According to the book of Exodus 23:1 and 7, “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness. Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.”

Questionable acts have been made on ‘humanitarian grounds’

Brothers and sisters, because of their violation of the ordinance prohibiting protests while the general community quarantine is still being implemented in Metro Manila, six jeepney drivers were apprehended by the police in Caloocan. This occurred two weeks ago, in the first days of the implementation of the GCQ in Metro Manila where some modes of public transportation were allowed to operate, but not the jeepneys. The six members of the transport Group PISTON (Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide) were calling for the government to allow jeepneys to operate. And since they refused to stop their small movement, the police took them to the precinct.

Action, greater than word

Brothers and sisters, our government is using technical words and terminologies related to addressing the public health crisis brought about by Covid-19. For example, due to the public not being alarmed by the word “lockdown,” the government called the limiting of human activities and temporary closing of nonessential stores and businesses as “community quarantine.” Before long, this term was changed to “enhanced community quarantine” or ECQ and it covers the whole of Luzon.

Humility, not cruelty

Brothers and sisters, whoever may have caused pain in our hearts or had become our reason for anger and frustration, we must not wish them to be hurt, to catch illness, or to pass away. For us Christians, Jesus is our greatest example of this characteristic. When He was crucified, Jesus did not wish His Father to punish the people behind His suffering. Instead, He prayed for them because, like what is said in the book of Luke 23:24,” Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” In the first part of the evangelism of St. Luke 6:31, we are reminded to “do to others as you would have them do to you.”

In the name of the ECQ?

Brothers and sisters, in the name of the enhanced community quarantine being implemented, members of the Oplan Task Force Disiplina of the local government of Quezon City beat up a fish vendor this past week. This is also the excuse given by other authorities in charge of the ECQ in their cruel ways to address the issue of violations among the hungry residents of Sitio San Roque, including the shooting of retired soldier Winston Ragos. These are their harsh way of implementing the ECQ—to stop the spread of Covid-19, to ensure the common good amid the sacrifices of the citizens.

Peace rooted in trust

Brothers and sisters, it was not Covid-19 but a bullet from the gun of a police officer that caused the death of 34-year-old retired soldier Winston Ragos. This past week, news reports described how the former soldier was killed after reportedly attempting to draw a gun while at a checkpoint in Quezon City.

Save the lives of medical frontliners

Brothers and sisters, many people consider our medical frontliners as heroes in our ongoing fight against Covid-19. This is why a party-list representative has proposed that our fallen doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani or Heroes’ Cemetery. The lawmaker said these people sacrificed their lives for the sake of other people, which shows their love for this country. We should honor them for their dedication to their profession. Dedicating a place in the Heroes’ Cemetery for the fallen frontliners, according to the lawmaker, is a good way to thank them.

Fear and hope

Brothers and sisters, in the Gospel according to Matthew, the story of the resurrection of Jesus occurred during a convergence between two women, one of them being Mary Magdalene, and an angel when the women visited His tomb. We can see in the book of Matthew 28:5-6 the first words spoken by the angel to them: “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” Quite likely, it was long before the women realized what the angel said to them.  But, according to the Gospel, their fear and sorrow were replaced by amazement and joy.

Open doors for the poor

Brothers and sisters, the continued implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon to address the spread of Covid-19 has greatly impacted so many people, and our government seems to have forgotten the poor, especially our fellow people living in the streets that they consider home. How can they remain inside their homes, like what the government officials keep saying, when they are homeless?

Subsidiarity against the Covid-19 pandemic

Brothers and sisters, let’s do our part in this war against the Covid-19, now that the government placed the entire Luzon in enhanced community quarantine. The goal of this step is to avoid the spread of the dreaded disease, which can be acquired by socializing with those already infected. Under this enhanced quarantine are strict prohibitions from leaving your home if you are not a member of the medical community, or not working in the frontlines. Only the police and military, as well as workers in groceries, pharmacies and banks are allowed to go out. Public transport companies, schools, and most public and private offices have also implemented suspensions.

On the edge of desperation

Brothers and sisters, the 10-hour hostage taking by a security guard in a San Juan City mall last week was alarming. Armed with a gun and a grenade, the hostage-taker held some 55 people captive—most of them being mall employees. He only set his hostages free after the heads of the security agency that fired him apologized. The security agency said that it did not take away the hostage-taker’s job; it only transferred him to another location.

The integrity of public servants

Brothers and sisters, when Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa was asked about his position on the issue of the ABS-CBN franchise renewal, this is what he said: “Ako ay totoong tao, sabi ko may bias ako towards my President. [I am a real person, I said I have a bias towards my President].” While the senator claims he has his own decision when it comes to this issue, he confessed of his bias for the President, despite the seeming attack against press freedom and threat to the jobs of thousands of employees of the network if its franchise will not be renewed. It can be remembered when President Duterte was angry with the management of the network because they didn’t air his campaign ads in 2016. The President has many times threatened the network won’t be able to renew its franchise.

Workers’ protection amid COVID-19

Brothers and sisters, did you hurry to buy face masks after hearing the news of the first COVID-19 death in the Philippines? It’s not surprising, since the spread of this deadly disease caused most of us to panic and rush to purchase face masks, alcohol, and other products that can protect us against said virus. During times like these, we prioritize ourselves and our families, but it’s also important for us to be aware of the welfare of our fellowmen and women exposed to this deadly virus because of their work or livelihood.

Fight against the spread of false information about coronavirus

Brothers and sisters, for some of us, worrying about the outbreak of the 2019-novel coronavirus or nCoV is unavoidable. Everywhere, we see fellow Filipinos wearing face masks as precaution against the deadly virus. It is said that the nCoV originated from Wuhan, China, and as we write this column, 500 Chinese citizens have perished while 28,000 people globally have contracted this virus. The World Health Organization has alerted that all governments must take action to prevent further spread of this virus. Earlier, the Department of Health has confirmed the first case of nCoV death in the Philippines.

Help first before lending

Brothers and sisters, frightful was the experience of our fellow men and women in Batangas and its neighboring towns after the recent eruption of the Taal Volcano. It is a truly saddening welcome for the new year for the families that need to evacuate and leave their homes and livelihood. As we write this column, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council or NDRRMC recorded over 88,000 families or more than 346,000 people have been affected in Batangas, Cavite, Laguna and Quezon. At present, about 37,000 families or around 137,000 people are staying in 488 evacuation centers.

Greater than preparedness and response

Brothers and sisters, we experienced in these past few months some intense calamities. The successive earthquakes in Mindanao affected over half a million people, and destroyed many homes and buildings. Typhoons Tisoy and Ursula before the end of 2019 affected around 4 million people. The latest is the eruption of the Taal Volcano that affected the livelihood and possessions of about 30,000 families. If we count the cases of dengue and measles from last year, and the current water crisis in Metro Manila, we can say that our country is indeed in a state of calamity.

Respond to the mourning Earth

Brothers and sisters, in the book of Jeremiah 2:7, where Yahweh sends a message to the Israelites about their parents, we can see that God is saddened by the people desecrating the world: “I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.” And the current generations still defiles our planet.

Develop ‘family farming’ in the Philippines

Brothers and sisters, are you able to eat three times a day? Is the food you have enough for your family? Have you ever felt hunger even for a moment? If you say yes to these questions, you are not part of the 795 million people around the world who, according to the Food Aid Foundation, barely have enough food. Many of these people live in poor countries where almost 13 percent of their population are devoid of food.

Fake news in SEA Games

Brothers and sisters, before the formal commencement of the Southeast Asian Games currently being held in our country, many controversies arose that revolved around the Philippines’s hosting of the said games, which was hoped to give honor to all Filipinos. Apart from the expensive kaldero monument that became controversial, some foreign and Filipino athletes complained about the inappropriate transportation and unfinished
facilities, and the lack of hotel reservations for them. There are also complaints about the quality and sufficiency of food given to the athletes that allegedly lack the nutrients they needed for the competitions.

Living as one

Brothers and sisters, on November 20, we commemorated “Red Wednesday” to remember our fellow Christian brothers and sisters who were abused and slain because of their faith. In the previous week, the Catholic Church in the Philippines opened the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples with the theme “Dialogue Towards Harmony.” We can say the two events are our Church’s observance to Jesus’ prayers in the book of John 17:21, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent me.”

The hope of the poor comes from unity

Brothers and sisters, our Church commemorated a few days ago the World Day of the Poor. The commemoration reflects from the Book of Psalms 9:18, “But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” Every Catholic is urged to give attention to the situation of the poor, as well as their hope.

Affirmation on saving lives

Brothers and sisters, Vice President Leni Robredo received a newfound duty when she was appointed by President Duterte as cochair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs. In accepting her new responsibility, Leni said the most important consideration for her to accept the post as drug czar is to “stop the killings of innocent people and hold those people responsible accountable.”

Kaliwa Dam’s forthcoming risks

Brothers and sisters, despite the continuous opposition to the Kaliwa Dam project, particularly by environmental groups and native communities like the Agta-Dumagat-Remontado allegiance, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued an Environmental Compliance Certificate to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) this month. The ECC is a document needed for infrastructure projects that can negatively affect the environment. The ECC is one of the documents needed for the New Centennial Water Source—Kaliwa Dam project to push through.

Safe spaces for all

Brothers and sisters, the issue of sexual harassment has once again risen after a protest of a few students of a renowned university regarding the cases of sexual harassment that allegedly occured in the aforementioned school. According to these students, the actions the university is taking is not enough to protect the students from this kind of abuse and to make the school a safe space for the youth.

Respect the rights of the natives

Brothers and sisters, by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 1906 signed in 2009, we celebrate in October the National Indigenous Peoples Month. We are all urged to recognize the important contribution of the katutubo or natives in nation-building. At the start of this month, let us know the issues our native brothers and sisters are facing that are usually overlooked by most everyone.

Crisis in public health

Brothers and sisters, after 19 years of the Philippines being polio-free, the Department of Health has recorded one confirmed case of polio in the province of Lanao del Sur. A second case was then recorded in Laguna. Polio was found positive in samples of water examined by DOH from the cities of Manila and Davao. One case of polio is enough for DOH to declare an epidemic of an infectious and dangerous disease, which is sad because this disease can be prevented by vaccine.

Save the Amazon

Brothers and sisters, the conflagration occurring in the Amazon forests in South America is indeed worrisome, particularly in parts of Brazil, which is home to over 3 million species of animals and plants. The lives of over a million indigenous peoples there are also in danger. This is one great tragedy that is not only affecting Brazil but also the entire planet. The Amazon rainforests are the “lungs of the Earth,” because it’s where 20 percent of the oxygen in the planet comes from. It also slows the effect of global warming, which causes climate change.

Be pro-life in the midst of the war on drugs

Brothers and sisters, Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza persuaded his colleagues in Congress to propose a resolution proclaiming their support to President Duterte’s “war on drugs.” The reason of these so-called pro-life lawmakers was that this resolution will help in cleaning President Duterte’s negative image in the eyes of the United Nations and foreign media. Atienza also encouraged senators to release the same claim.

Free and responsible discourse

Brothers and sisters, according to a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations or SWS, it appeared that 59 percent or almost six out of 10 Filipinos believe they openly and fearlessly claim whatever they wish to say even if what they speak of is against the administration. This indicates that our freedom of speech is still very strong.

Work or lotto

Brothers and sisters, probably due to the public’s outcry, President Duterte repealed the suspension of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s lotto operations. We may remember that even without a clear and detailed explanation, the President discontinued all games administered by PCSO because of what he described as widespread corruption in the agency. Within 24 hours, the PNP closed down all lotto outlets in the country, accompanied by photo-ops left and right.

Debt to Mother Nature

ON July 29, humanity has used all of the ecological resources that we can regenerate this year. In simple words, we have advanced whatever remaining natural resources we have for the entire year. Which is why July 29 was called the Earth Overshoot Day.

Steady governance

Brothers and sisters, Proverbs 16:12 says: “It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.” This reminder from the book of Proverbs provides a good foundation to contemplate on President Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address. Can we say that the current administration’s governance in the past three years is steady? If yes, is this based on righteousness?

Borrowed life

Brothers and sisters, an issue we barely discuss or even avoid discussing altogether is death by suicide. We usually hear of this issue in the news, like in America where famous celebrities decide to end their lives. In the Philippines, this was also in the news recently when a popular musician recorded live on social media a video of his suicide from a tall building.

Continuing vigilance on the proposed MACR

Brothers and sisters, there’s good news to all who follow the advocacy against the proposed lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 12. On June 9th, the 17th Congress shut down the lowering of the MACR and dismissed any changes in the provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act or JJWA, the law some lawmakers wish to amend.

Not an ordinary collision

Brothers and sisters, on the day of our independence or Araw ng Kalayaan celebrations, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana shared news of a collision between fishing vessels in the Recto Bank within the West Philippine Sea. A boat manned by Filipino fishermen—the Philippine vessel FB Gimver 1—and a Chinese fishing vessel allegedly collided. Unfortunately, the boat of the Filipino fishermen sank. It was said that the collision was intentional because our fellowmen’s boat was anchored when the incident occurred.

Are we powerless?

BROTHERS and sisters, as courageous as our President is in criticizing the opposition candidates for the May elections, as well as the Catholic Church, he is acting cowardly toward the aggressive entry of China into islands and seas within our jurisdiction.

The Calvary of citizens

Brothers and sisters, even before the start of the Holy Week, the Calvary of many people residing in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas has intensified. Apart from the scarcity of water, the implementation of the rotational brownouts just last week by Meralco has aggravated people’s suffering. Due to the lack of electricity from the collapse of some power plants, consumers being served by Meralco will take turns enduring as long as three hours of brownout. Other areas in Luzon are also affected.

Implement the E-Nipas Act

Brothers and sisters, there have been a consistent number of cleanup drives in Manila Bay and its tributaries. And we expect more of these projects related to the rehabilitation of Manila Bay in April, known as “Earth Month.” Meanwhile, Earth Day is on the 22nd of April, a day dedicated by the government to inform Filipinos about the severity of the destruction of our environment and to remind us of our responsibility to preserve it.

Water and food security

Brothers and sisters, the El Niño phenomenon has brought devastating drought upon us, and many of our people are experiencing the effects of the depletion of water, especially in the metropolis. With the increase in population and continuous rise of temperature brought about by climate change, the water crisis is getting worse.

Fake water crisis?

Brothers and sisters, it is said in the social teachings of the Church that ensuring the people of their rights is a duty of those in power, including having sufficient and clean water. Meanwhile, the private sector must focus on helping the people satisfy their needs rather than just earning huge profit. Like the government, businesses are built to serve the people.

Insult to workers

Brothers and sisters, Ramon Tulfo does not seem to realize that his duty as a special envoy to China is to protect the interest of Filipinos in any government-sponsored agreement where Chinese businessmen invest in our country.  However, he has great confidence in the Chinese workers, therefore, instead of investigating these illegal and undocumented foreign workers in the Philippines, he chose to insult his fellow Filipinos.

Honesty is still the best policy

Brothers and sisters, when the media asked Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for her reaction to those who question the integrity of her senatorial bets in the upcoming elections in May, these are her exact words: “…hindi dapat nagiging issue ang honesty ngayon. [Honesty is not supposed to be an issue now.]” The Hugpong ng Pagbabago chairman explained there are no candidates who do not lie. Everyone in the world lies. In other words, President Duterte’s daughter has no problem if her candidates tell lies. How many people are like Mayor Sara who does not see the importance of being honest?

The power of speech

Brothers and sisters, President Duterte has once again shifted his constraint toward some leaders of the Catholic Church of the Philippines this week, after Diocese of Caloocan Bishop Ambo David announced that he, along with other priests, received death threats. According to the president, his anger toward the bishops is a personal matter, which is why anyone should neither give threats nor even harm these priests because they have nothing to do with politics.

Rice tariffication law

My brothers and sisters, President Duterte has signed Republic Act  11203, or the rice tariffication law that aims to make the prices of rice much more affordable and ensure we have enough supply. This law will also strengthen the rice industry in order to make more competitive farmers in the international market. To achieve this goal, the rice tariffication law will end the implementation of the quantitative import restriction that limits the number of imported rice. The trade-off system from this is implementing the tariff equivalent on imported rice.

Why does press freedom matter?

Dear brothers and sisters, an important pillar of democracy is a free press. If a man is free to deliver news and significant information about the doings of people in power, we get to hold our leaders more accountable to us. This is why people who know the importance of press freedom are anxious about the arrest of Rappler editor and CEO Maria Ressa.

If public health is politicized

MY dear brothers and sisters, it has been confirmed by the Department of Health (DOH) that there’s an outbreak of measles or tigdas in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Western and Central Visayas. If the fast spread of this virus is not prevented, it may cause complications such as pneumonia, blindness and, in worst cases, even death. This virus is dangerous, especially for children who have not been vaccinated.