Our Nanays, our
JAIME ARISTOTLE B. ALIP
CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus
May 28, 2021
An online carinderia,
livelihood trainings via video calls, online coaching for the
elderly on how to use digital banking apps… the list is endless as
to how creative and innovative CARD nanays can become in support of
each other amidst the toughest of times.
More than a year has
passed since we started battling COVID-19. We witnessed how
critically it can affect our economic activities and health. But for
us Filipinos, one thing remained true: no problem is big enough to
faze us. Our courage, resilience, and sense of community are
stronger now more than ever.
Amidst the surge of cases
in NCR and surrounding provinces in April 2021, our spirit of
bayanihan to lend a helping hand to our kapwa also became more
evident. We were witnesses to how our frontliners kept on giving the
best medical services even when circumstances were difficult. As
vaccines started to become available, doctors, nurses, and other
medical practitioners across the country volunteered to hasten the
roll-out of the vaccination program.
As the new health and
social measures were put in place, many workers were again deprived
of their sources of income, with food insecurity not far in the
horizon. Ignited by Patricia Non in Quezon City, at least 1,500
community pantries sprouted all over the country to help the needy,
giving vegetables, rice, groceries, and other essentials for free.
People were urged to give according to their capacity and take
according to their needs [“Magbigay nang ayon sa kakayahan. Kumuha
nang ayon sa pangangailangan”]. Indeed, the Filipinos never run out
of ingenious ideas to show that we are united in this fight.
address various challenges is not new among CARD MRI communities.
For more than three decades, CARD MRI has been promoting women
empowerment, transforming housewives into entrepreneurs and
community leaders. True enough, they learn to gain collective
understanding of our recent situation in extending their hands to
help each other. These values and culture have been deeply engraved
to our nanays.
To know their stories of
struggles and heroism in the face of COVID-19, we came up with
“SaNaySay Challenge” on our official Facebook page. Through this,
they are given a platform to express their ideas and plan of action
in responding to the pandemic for themselves and their communities.
Our Nanays and their
The result of our effort
in building responsible communities is further proven when we have
received thousands of comments from our Facebook followers to share
their stories of acts of kindness for their community. Even the
pandemic can never silence their brilliant ideas. More so, it only
One nanay who constantly
leads her community is Margie Olanday. She saw what their CARD
center is capable of and shared with her co-members what they can do
best with their resources. It was her idea to plant vegetables and
flowers in their center members’ sizeable backyard, and she would
help sell it by marketing it on social media. Since their other
members are skilled when it comes to cooking, Margie also suggested
using the vegetables they sowed as ingredients for healthy and
appetizing dishes. Residents in their area benefitted from this
initiative, especially as they are fond of buying already cooked and
hot meals for their families.
True enough, Margie’s plan
had come to fruition. Many have come to buy fresh vegetables and
sweet-smelling flowers which were sold at a very affordable price.
Aside from this, residents in their community did not have to go to
more public spaces and expose themselves to the virus just to buy
meals. They must only step out of their homes and head into their
neighborhood to buy what they need.
Not only did Margie help
her center members generate extra income for their families, but she
has also helped her community thrive during a time when food
security and nutrition are essential. Indeed, what Margie has done
for their center and their community is proof of her great
stewardship over the resources they already have.
Meanwhile, the knowledge
we shared with our clients through the trainings delivered by CARD-MRI
Development Institute (CMDI) are also creating ripples of hope for
their communities. Adela Bautista, a microentrepreneur in Malita,
Davao Occidental, initiated to conduct online livelihood training to
its community using a messaging app. Adela generously shared her
acquired knowledge from her trainings in CMDI to help her community
thrive as the economy is still slowly re-opening. Aside from this,
Adela has more than enough to provide relief goods to her fellow
Our trainings go beyond
one person. It can flow from other people and transpire change to
local communities. Their knowledge can help them become resilient
from the uncertainties of tomorrow.
In these extraordinary
times, and despite the real danger, there are individuals who have
shown great courage to help the vulnerable communities. Elderly,
children and pregnant women face the greatest risks. They have more
limited movement in the outside world. We recognize people like Roma
Sevidal Altovar for having the bravery of initiating help in her
Along with her husband,
she goes to the houses of her co-members, especially to the senior
citizens, to tend their loan payments minimizing their outside
activities. As a Center Chief who sees CARD as an important
institution to them, she uses social media to keep her CARD
co-members updated about the organization. The smiles and gratitude
she received from her members and buyers always warm her heart. Roma
is an exemplary member of CARD MRI who wholeheartedly helps her
community during these troubling times.
More stories of hope
While the SaNaySay
Challenge will run until the end of May 2021, our Facebook Page have
already received almost 1,000 responses on its first week alone. It
has also sparked conversations among CARD MRI members on how they
can support each other at this trying time.
Among the responses
received, 30% cited that their greatest contribution is following
the health protocols to keep their selves, their families, and their
communities safe. The recent crisis also opens the mind of the
communities to be more prepared for the uncertainties of tomorrow.
As they realized the many uncertainties, they are promoting savings
and financial literacy among their communities. Moreover, a number
of CARD MRI members who had surplus agricultural produce such as
vegetables, rice, and fruits gave them away to their neighbourhood
and communities even at the start of the lockdowns last year – a
sign of helping one another in need.
Since most people halted
their source of income, they encouraged one another to create a
livelihood like gardening, contribute to established community
pantries and community stores. The pandemic teaches us the meaning
These are some simple but
impactful contributions of our fellows to their local communities.
While we are proud of assisting people to improve their quality of
life, we also feel uplifted that we have developed CARD communities
who know to create better solutions and carry their communities to
progress. Remaining true to our mission, we build communities
composed of responsible citizens of the country and are always ready
The pandemic can never
deter our values as Filipinos. We have shown our pagdadamayan long
before the COVID-19 pandemic. We are always working together to help
one another. Generosity, bravery, and kindness are the values our
modern heroes have. It is time for them to be seen and recognized.
There are so many ways to
help our community. Just like the stories of our nanays, our hands
and minds are never empty to extend it to people in need. We can
always provide material and non-materials needs to somehow ease the
hardship of one family. Our collective efforts, big or small, can
offer relief to distressed families.
These CARD clients are
igniting hope during this crisis. With CARD MRI, we will always
champion their advocacies and empower them so they can empower other
people. In the midst of adversity, we join all our nanays and the
Filipino communities in celebrating kindness and bayanihan spirit.
About the Author
Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip is the founder and chairman emeritus of
CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions, a group of 21 institutions
that envisions eradicating poverty in the Philippines. He is the
recipient of the 2019 Ramon V. del Rosario Award for Nation
attention to the family
May 19, 2021
BECAUSE of our current
condition where we are restricted in our movements and somehow
forced to stay home most of the time, we can say that we have more
time to spend with the family which is a good and welcome
development. We should try to exploit this turn of events to the
Just the same, we can also
say that due to the same reason, we may be so eaten up with all
kinds of concerns and challenges that we can neglect our duty to
give due attention and, in fact, can give bad influence to the
family. We have to be ready to counter this possibility.
Whatever it is, it is
important that we realize that the family be given utmost care and
attention since it is the primary school of each individual and the
basic unit of society. How a person is and how a society in general
is depends or reflects the kind of family there is. If the family is
strong and healthy, then a person and society would also be strong
and healthy. Otherwise, a person and a society can only be weak and
We need to give quality
time to the family. Thus, we have to come up with plans and
strategies so that the family can be as it should be—where the
rudiments of love in all its aspects are learned and developed. We
should not just be improvising in this responsibility. The concern
for developing the true spirit of love should be addressed as
seriously as possible.
It’s in the family where
we learn how to be concerned with one another. We should see to it
then that the culture of love, concern, compassion, mercy,
understanding, etc. is strongly established there. Everything should
be done such that everyone in the family learns and acquires as
fully as possible all the qualities that are proper of a human
person and a child of God.
It would be good if the
parents establish a healthy family atmosphere where everyone feels
loved and is enabled to love. The specifics of this lifestyle can
lend itself to a variety of possibilities, but I suppose what is
needed is to have a lot of time together—as much as possible taking
meals together, praying together, and just having regular family
get-togethers. But more than anything else, it is in forming a
healthy spiritual life among the members that should be given
That way everyone gets to
know each other very well and would be in a better position to help
each other. More than that, each one gets to have a good
relationship with God. And the dynamics of love, which can be
complicated given our unavoidable differences and conflicts, can be
played out. A certain intimacy with each other is developed. This is
an ideal condition to have since we are made for that.
Especially these days when
life is becoming more fast-paced and there is always the tendency to
simply be casual in our relationship with others, the need for a
healthy family life should be felt and pursued very seriously.
This is a good investment
whose returns cannot be matched by any material benefits. We should
do everything to make family life healthy and vibrant, so that
everyone would be happy and be properly oriented in life.
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
May 15, 2021
WHY not? In fact, that’s
how sex should be if we have to remain truly human and a child of
God. Sex is a human act that is meant not only for our own good but
also and primarily as a means to glorify God. Yes, to put it
bluntly, sex is also meant to work out our own sanctification, which
is the real purpose of our life here on earth.
Sex is not just an
expression of our animality, a function purely of our hormones and
instincts, a pursuit for dopamine. It’s supposed to be guided
rationally and most especially by faith, hope and charity.
We have to overcome the
idea that chaste sex is a contradiction in terms. Sad to say this is
how many people regard this God-given human power. It’s time to
extricate sex from such primitive mind-frame, and put it on the path
where it is supposed to be, a path that leads us to God.
In this regard, of course,
we have to deal with this very delicate issue properly. Enough with
treating it as some kind of taboo that should not be talked about.
Obviously, we have to be discreet and prudent in discussing it, but
it should be tackled head-on.
I find it quite funny that
about the only time sex is openly discussed in public is when it is
about the different techniques one can use to derive the greatest
pleasure from it. That’s how sex education is done these days. But
about how sex can be made chaste or a means of our sanctification,
there is almost complete silence.
And because of that
set-up, the anomalies that issue from this human faculty of ours
have proliferated beyond recognition. Self-abuse, pre-marital sex,
infidelities, sex addiction, and all kinds of perversions are
practically exploding, and they now involve children and old people,
and even those we normally expect not to get involved in this kind
of problem. This problem has been a quiet pandemic for a long, long
Abetting this problem now,
of course, is the easy access to pornography which, thanks and no
thanks to our new technologies, has already created a formidable
network that is now very difficult to resist. It has caught many
people in its web.
We have to bring out more
often the true beauty of sex as a gift from God that is governed by
certain laws that are meant to give us our true joy, not the fake,
deceptive and harmful one. And we need to talk more about how sex
can be lived or resorted to according to God’s will.
Obviously there is need to
talk more about the practical means of discipline and self-control
in order to make sex chaste, given our weakened or wounded condition
here on earth. But these prudential norms should be portrayed in a
Also there is need for
practical and immediate guidance especially to the young ones who
are already feeling the stirrings of sex, and also to those who have
some special needs with respect to sex. Let’s hope that we can count
on a good number of people who can carry out this delicate task.
We should try our best to
put up a working culture of chastity around. This should not be a
laughing matter anymore. It may require some major effort at
readjusting our understanding of this matter and our ways of
handling it, but it would be all worthwhile.
The cross as our
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
April 30, 2021
LET’S hope that we can
develop a deep devotion to the Holy Cross of Christ, perhaps by
carrying a crucifix with us all the time, saying some pious
ejaculatory prayers everytime we see a cross and even kissing it,
celebrating well the feasts dedicated to it in our liturgical
Such devotion should
always bring to mind what Christ himself said, that if we want to
follow him, we should deny ourselves and carry the cross. (cfr. Mt
16,24) It’s in the cross that we can truly find Christ, and Christ
in his supreme act of redemptive love for us.
Certainly, the cross is an
unavoidable and even an integral part of our earthly life. But we
should regard it the way Christ regarded it. We should be attracted
to it the way Christ was attracted to it.
Thus, we need to overcome the awkwardness, if not, the resistance we
may have against this devotion. We have to realize that our faith in
Christ should filter down to the level of our heart, our senses, our
feelings and emotions. It should not just get stuck in the
intellectual and volitional level.
Making Christ’s cross a constant companion of ours will definitely
help us to feel that we are never alone in our daily affairs. Christ
is always with us, guiding us, enlightening us and empowering us to
accomplish what is even beyond our human powers to accomplish. With
the cross, we can manage to feel secure and confident despite
Especially in our moments of difficulty, trials and temptations,
having the cross as a companion can truly help us to be strong and
hopeful, preventing us from falling into our weaknesses. With it, we
can manage how to suffer and to find meaning in suffering. We can
manage to be at peace, and even cheerful, amid the pain.
And that’s because this devotion to the cross assures us that Christ
is suffering also with us, a suffering that has redemptive effects
for all of us. We get to realize that suffering is not purely a
negative thing. Christ has turned it into a means of our
purification, our strengthening, and ultimately, our salvation.
When we have those moments of vulnerability, as when we are tired
and lonely, disappointed, frustrated and sad over something, or
severely tempted, looking, clutching and even kissing a crucifix can
truly help us to remain steadfast in our faith and trust in God’s
merciful providence. We can feel his tremendous love for us.
It would be good if we can spread this devotion to Christ’s cross
more widely. If properly understood and lived, there is no doubt
that it can help all of us to live a good and happy life and to know
how to deal with all the unavoidable negative elements in our
Let’s try to market this devotion especially now when we are
celebrating the 500 years of Christianity in our country. This
devotion will definitely be a sign of a certain maturity in our
Christian life. And given the growing and more complicated
challenges of our times, this Christian maturity is what we all
With the cross, we can
attain what St. Paul described as “mature manhood, to the measure of
the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be
children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every
wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful
schemes.” (Eph 4,13-14)
addiction to pornography
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
April 29, 2021
SORRY if I have to bring
up this topic. But we cannot deny that nowadays this addiction to
pornography is getting widespread. It’s now all over the place, even
affecting little children. We have to do something drastic about
this problem that is eating away the strength of the people, and
weakening the spiritual and moral fabric of our society.
We have to know more about
the bad effects of this addiction if only to be more wary about it
and be more ready to protect ourselves from it. Pornography, like
drugs and alcohol, creates a certain state of euphoria which the
addict longs for, yet which never completely satisfies him.
There are studies that
show that pornography strongly affects the brain, such that the
addict gets an irresistible attachment to pornographic images. It
somehow modifies the workings of the neurons that can even lead to
the diminution of the grey matter of our brain that can impair our
Over time, a compulsion
can develop when the addict needs more of it, and even more hardcore
versions. What may start as a way to achieve pleasure can become
later on as an irresistible urge to pacify whatever anxiety or
negative mood the addict can have. The urge can be so strong that
the addict would still resort to it even if no pleasure can be
derived from it anymore.
This addiction will
obviously affect the addict’s understanding of sex, love and
relationships. It can even dramatically affect the addict’s sexual
preferences. He loses his sense of autonomy and his ability to
relate to others properly. He can tend to see others merely as
objects of pleasure. From here, other forms of perversions can
The addict would likely be
dominated by whatever sexual inclination he happens to
have—heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, etc. And this will start
the move to legalize certain practices that normally are considered
sinful and immoral.
In this addiction, unlike
some other addictions, there is no such thing as a moderate or
temperate use. The usual experience is that it leads the addict
toward a downward spiral, as the normal stimuli of sex becomes
substituted by exaggerated ones that can lead to violence.
This addiction can affect
even the so-called holy and pious people who are not sincere in
their interior struggles during their confessions and spiritual
direction, or worse, who refrain from seeking help. Things would be
much worse for them since their double life and hypocrisy can become
And yet, in spite of all
these bad effects of this addiction to pornography, not everything
is lost. There is always hope. That’s because the same process which
shaped the brain’s addiction can also form the mind in healthier
Just as wayward cravings
grow stronger over time when acted upon, such desires also become
weaker if they are not acted on. A repetition of virtuous acts can
create a positive ‘virtuous cycle’ that can lead the person toward
For this to happen, we may
launch a campaign of building positive atmospheres, fostering
positive freedom in the face of instincts and opening new horizons.
The bottom line here is not so much just a matter of leaving this
addiction behind as re-centering the focus of our life on God, of
faith and piety.
The vocal prayers
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
April 14, 2021
IF we only know the real
beauty and power of the vocal prayers! It’s a pity that nowadays
these prayers are practically regarded of little importance, if at
all. Many people treat them only casually. They are resorted to
simply out of mindless habit or out of mere compliance to some
social or cultural expectations. But the spirit of these prayers is
It’s a pity because these
vocal prayers are actually very special prayers. They are given
directly by Christ himself as in the case of the Lord’s Prayer (the
Our Father), or are composed by saints and the Church herself. They
are truly inspired prayers. They are not mere words conveying some
literary message and beauty. They convey the Holy Spirit himself.
As such, they are very
helpful prayers. They easily connect us with God or with whomever is
the object of some pious devotion to whom we go to ask for some
favors. They help us in articulating the deep yearnings of our heart
that we often find hard to express. They are an effective doorway to
a contemplative life which we all should aim at, since at the end of
the day, that’s what we are meant for.
We have to recover, if not
develop in the first place, the proper attitude toward these
prayers. We have to give this concern some special attention since
we know that these days especially, with the mainstream lifestyle of
activism generated by our new technologies and other allied
developments, the life of piety of the people is fast fading away.
Many people are drifting toward hardened secularization or paganism.
We need to pause and
consider once again the origins of these vocal prayers. We have to
develop a certain sense of being duty-bound to have recourse to
them. And for that to happen, we really would need to realize from
whom these prayers come, to whom we are addressing them, what they
are telling us, etc.
As usual, we need to
activate our faith that would always require of us to humble
ourselves so that we could feel the need for prayer, for connecting
and being with God. Without humility, we would just be full of
ourselves and fail to consider the most important dimension of our
life—our relation with God which is crucial in developing our proper
relation with others and with everything else in our life.
The vocal prayers, in
fact, can be and should be a constant companion of ours, considering
that we are often easily swallowed up and trapped in our worldly
affairs. Without the vocal prayers, we become easy target to our own
personal weaknesses and the many temptations around. The vocal
prayers help us in keeping a spiritual and supernatural bearing
which is proper to us.
We truly need to
popularize the recourse to the vocal prayers that should start with
oneself, then with the family, the school, offices and other work
places. We need to constantly remind everyone of the importance of
vocal prayers without, of course, compromising the naturalness that
should go with it. We have to make it attractive, always
highlighting its beauty and power.
As we celebrate the 500
years of Christianity in our country, I believe that highlighting
the importance of the vocal prayers would be one most helpful
contribution that can make the celebration most meaningful.
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
March 26, 2021
AS we all know by now,
this is how most classes are conducted these days. Students are
given modules and they are expected to study them mainly on their
own. And whatever classes the teachers have to give, they are done
This, of course, requires
a lot of adjustments by both students and teachers. In the first
place, a lot of self-discipline is required from both. Teachers have
to see to it that they still are in control of the class, able to
deliver their lessons as effectively as possible and to closely
monitor the learning process of the students. Indeed, a tall order!
Students, on their part,
have to be strongly motivated to study mainly on their own and to
closely follow whatever online classes they have to attend.
Obviously, they need to be closely supervised.
It is indeed in this kind
of scenario that while all helpful and relevant technical skills
have to be resorted to, a great revitalization of everyone’s
spiritual life is needed. There is simply no way things can be done
and handled properly if the spiritual life of both teachers and
students would not be up to it.
Obviously, this adjustment
period will have its learning curve. But I would say that among the
first things to be done is precisely to instill in everyone the idea
that a lot of sacrifice would be needed here and that to make such
sacrifice is actually a vivid expression of love.
Unless this basic
principle is understood and lived well, we can only expect failure
in the learning process. The teachers, for example, should try their
best to prepare their lessons really well, considering that they
have to make up for the lack of physical contact which is the usual
way to conduct classes. They have to be more aware of how each
student is taking the lessons imparted.
As teachers, they are
expected to exert more effort to understand and to adjust to the
students than the students to their teachers. While the students
also have to do their part, the greater responsibility in the
learning process would fall on the teachers.
Thus, teachers have to be
extra kind and charitable to their students without, of course,
undermining their authority. As much as possible they have to very
friendly, with a very approachable presence in the online classes,
so that a certain closeness between them and the students that is
conducive to learning can be achieved.
So, teachers should do
away with the old style of projecting a strict and demanding image
toward their students. This is especially so since in a class there
can be a wide variety of the capabilities of students. We can expect
that the classes would not be as homogeneous as they used to be in
former times. The fast learners can be mixed with the slow learners.
Teachers should find ways
of how to motivate each of the students. This definitely would
require more than technical skills. A lot of prayer and sacrifice
would be needed here. We have to ask for God’s grace since we would
be dealing with many unknown and mysterious elements in this
It is important that even
by their presence alone, teachers can inspire and generate interest
on the part of the students who should see in them their genuine
dedication to the students’ welfare.
What’s mine is
mine: The intensifying fight of indigenous peoples vs. mining
companies in the Philippines
March 20, 2021
At the height of the
COVID-19 pandemic lockdown last April, one of the worst standoffs in
recent history between the Philippine National Police and indigenous
peoples’ defenders took place. The venue: the Didipio mining site in
Since the 1990s, the
Didipio mining site – a 27,000-hectare biodiversity corridor where
the Bugkalot tribe resides – has been exploited and mined for gold
and copper, first by the Arimco Mining Corporation, then by the
Australasian Philippine Mining Inc., later known as OceanaGold
Philippines Inc. (OGPI). Studies have shown that the mining site,
which spans the border between the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and
Quirino, holds over 1.4 million ounces of gold and 169,400 tons of
Yet OGPI’s 25-year
Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA), essentially its
permit to operate in the mining site, expired last June 2019. Due to
the extensive damage wrought by the mining operations in the
communities in Didipio, both the Nueva Vizcaya provincial government
and indigenous peoples’ groups have opposed OGPI’s application for
The wily company, however,
sought help from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, which endorsed
their renewal application despite the local government and the
people’s opposition. This led to the stand-off last April 2020,
where around 100 police dispersed about 30 indigenous leaders who
were blocking three fuel tankers from entering the Didipio site.
In a statement, several UN
special rapporteurs have denounced the stand-off, saying, “The
protesters were exercising their right to freedom of assembly to
object against the continued operations in the Didipio mine. The
government and mining company should have engaged them in peaceful
and constructive talks instead of dispersing the crowd forcefully.
The use of force by the police was unnecessary and
Despite having an expired
permit, OGPI remains adamant about continuing its mining operations,
opposition be damned. Such a situation is not uncommon in the
Philippines, where the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples are
usually sacrificed in the name of profit.
Indigenous peoples in the
southern Philippines face a similar predicament. Despite concerted
opposition by indigenous communities and anti-mining groups, the
Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) was able to extend its mining permit
for the Tampakan project – a 23,571-hectare mining site located at
the intersection of the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat,
Sarangani, and Davao del Sur. Like Didipio, Tampakan holds an
estimated 12.8 million metric tons of copper and 15.2 million ounces
The Tampakan mining permit
was supposed to end last March 2020, yet SMI was able to secure a
12-year extension without the benefit of public scrutiny or
consultation. SMI reasoned that it estimates that it would need at
least 70 years to extract all mineral deposits in Tampakan, as it is
considered the largest copper mine in the Philippines.
Like the indigenous
peoples of northern Philippines, most affected by the large-scale
mining operations is the Blaan tribe, whose ancestral domain lies in
the Tampakan mining site. Some 4,000 Blaan tribespeople are expected
to be displaced by the continued mining activities.
How large mining companies
can discreetly renew their permits without the benefit of public
scrutiny brings to light questions on how “toothless” the Indigenous
Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) is when it comes to providing mechanisms
for the protection of indigenous ancestral domains and the resources
contained therein. While the IPRA enforced the concept of “free and
prior informed consent” (FPIC) to supposedly protect indigenous
rights and interests and give them a voice in matters that affect
them, rarely is this enforced when it comes to mining activities.
Along with the apparent
inadequacy of extant laws, many point to the complicity of state
agencies and officials in robbing indigenous peoples of the right to
defend their land from further damage caused by large-scale mining
operations. Even in 2021, indigenous peoples and advocates remain
fighting with bare hands against business interests.
lawyers and associated impunity worse with terror law
statement by the Public Interest Law Center (PILC)
March 13, 2021
The Public Interest Law
Center condemns and views Calbayog City PNP’s letter to a local
court asking for names of lawyers handling cases of alleged members
of communist-terrorist groups as a downright admission that attacks
on human rights lawyers is a government-sanctioned plan.
Profiling is not only an attack against human rights lawyers but is
also an affront against the legal profession. It shows that lawyers,
considered as officers of the court, are themselves being targeted
by the government merely for defending their clients. It runs
contrary to the basic international principle that lawyers shall not
be identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a
result of discharging their functions.
The government’s myopic view that lawyers handling cases of
perceived terrorists are terrorists themselves is a danger to all.
The many petitioners against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 claim in
some way or another real and credible threat of labelling and
prosecution as terrorists. Ergo, under dangerous police
presumptions, their lawyers are targets as well. With no restraining
order or dismissal of the terror law in sight, the government can
wield any or all of the overreaching powers on surveillance, arrest,
It is no secret that the Duterte administration has amped up a
campaign against lawyers who choose to help those who speak out
against government abuses, and most especially those who do so
themselves. In between the red-tagging, maligning, and insulting, it
has sat on or bungled investigations on intensifying attacks against
human rights lawyers, most recent of which was the gruesome stabbing
in the head of NUPL-Panay Secretary General Angelo Karlo T. Guillen.
Notwithstanding an apology and a retraction of the letter by the
police, fact remains that lawyers are being attacked and killed
extrajudicially in the Philippines at an alarming rate and with
unimaginable impunity. They join a roster of the most beleaguered,
alongside activists, journalists, the political opposition, those
singled out and identified by Duterte for elimination. Nowhere is
safe so long as the Duterte government is hell bent on eliminating
any form of dissent, human rights be damned.
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
March 13, 2021
THIS is a very intriguing
part of our Christian faith. Not only should we love our enemies, as
Christ taught us, but we also need to drown evil with an abundance
of good. This was specifically articulated by St. Paul in his Letter
to the Romans where he said:
“Do not repay anyone evil
for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If
it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with
everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for
God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will
repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry,
feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing
this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Rom 12,17-20)
We have to try our best to
erase whatever disbelief, doubt or skepticism we can have as we
consider this teaching, since most likely, our first and spontaneous
reaction to it would precisely be those conditions. We can ask, even
if done only interiorly, “Is Christ really serious about this? Can
this thing that Christ and St. Paul are telling us, possible,
When these reactions come
to us, it is time to remind ourselves that we just have to follow
our faith that definitely contains a lot of mysteries and things
supernatural that we are not expected to understand fully. Like Our
Lady and all the saints, we should just believe and do what we are
told because it is Christ who said so, and because it is the Church
that teaches us so.
That’s what faith is all
about. By believing first, then we can start to understand things
that are hard to explain or articulate in human terms. As they say,
that’s how the ball bounces. We should not waste time trying to
understand everything at once or at the beginning. Let’s be game
enough to go through some kind of adventure that, no matter how the
outcome would be, we know that God is in control of everything.
In the meantime, guided by
our faith, let’s begin to develop the appropriate attitudes,
practices, habits and virtues. We have to learn the intricacies of
charity, like being patient, magnanimous, compassionate and
understanding, merciful, always friendly with everyone even if not
everyone is friendly with us. We should be willing to suffer for the
others and to bear their burdens.
We have to see to it that
our thoughts, desires and intentions, our words and deeds are always
animated by charity. There should no negative elements in them, even
if we notice the defects, mistakes and sins of the others, and even
if they have wronged us.
We have to have a good
grip on our emotions, able to dominate and properly orient our
biases, preferences and other idiosyncracies that constitute our
differences and even conflicts with others. We have to learn to
focus more on what we have in common rather than what divides us. We
have to learn how to dialogue with everyone.
We can always do all these
things because of our spiritual nature and also because of God’s
grace, in the first place. By living by this Christian teaching when
faced with evil and wrongdoings others may do on us, we become more
and more like Christ. And that in the end is what truly matters in