#OBR: Tulang -Teolohikang Repleksyon

OBRANG UMIIBIG AY NANININDIGAN

                                      Prof. Lizette Tapia-Raquel

Ang sabi ng marami,

Pilipinas, bakit ang Hirap mong ibigin?

Pero tuwing ako ay lumalayo

Umaapaw ang aking damdamin

52417065_1956426851332758_6868621066810425344_nAlam ng buo kong pagkatao

Na Ikaw ang aking lupang sinilangan

Tahanan ng aking mga ninuno at mga darating na ka-apo-apohan

 

Hindi kita iniibig

dahil marami kang pangarap na tinupad

Hindi kita inaalala

dahil lahat ng kahapon natin ay maligaya

Hindi kita iduduyan sa mga salita

na di ko kayang panghawakan

Pero alam mo sana

na kahit saan ako makarating,

Ikaw pa rin ang babalikan

 

Ang mga pinakamasaya kong alaala

ay iyong Ikaw ang kapiling

Pinakamaganda ang bukang-liwayway

pati na rin ang pagdidilim

Ang kagandahang taglay mo

kahit kailan ay walang kapantay

Ang iyong tag-ulan at tag-init

ay bahagi lamang ng iyong buhay

 

Pangarap ko na maranasan mo ang ganap at tunay na kalayaan

Na ang kabutihan at kagandahan mo ay hindi na inaangkin at tinatapakan

Dahil duyan ka ng mga bayani at kandungan ng aking mga ninuno

Nararapat lang na ipaglaban ka,

mahal na bayan ko.

 

Ang pagtindig ng kababaihan ay para sa Bayan at kapwa Pilipino

Mga mangingisda, magsasaka, manggagawa at katutubo

Sapagkat ang karapatang-tao ay hindi ibinibigay ng mga naghahari-harian.

Ito ay tinitindigan ng mga kababaihang nakaranas ng pambubusabos at kaapihan.

 

Bitbit ang pananampalataya at mapanuring kaisipan

Ang babaeng umiibig ay babaeng lumalaban

Katulad ng pagluwal natin ng mga anak ng Bayan

Iluluwal din natin ang katarungan at kapayapaan

 

&&

 

Ang Pag-ibig ay Paglaban.52469096_1956426884666088_2501364239948578816_n

Pastor Carleen Nomorosa

 

Bakit kaya kailangang ipaglaban ang karapatan at kapayapaan?

Bakit kailangang lumaban para sa kalayaan?

Bakit may kailangang magbuwis ng buhay upang makamtan ang paglaya sa karahasan?

Dahil may inaapi! May sinasaktan! Dahil may winawalangya! May tinatapakan!

Sa bawat tinig ay may hikahos,

pait ng kasawian.

Ang bawat galit ay paos,

kaysakit ng panlilinlang.

Ngunit sa bawat paglaban,

ang pag-ibig ay patuloy na mararanasan.

 

 

Tanging pag-ibig at dahil sa pag-ibig

tayo ay magsasanib, tatanganan at yayakapin ang anumang pagkabigo, makikipagniig sa bawat pagkilos.

At doon malagpasan natin ang sakit, ang bawat pait at pagkawasak.

Pag-ibig ang maghihilom. Sa pag-ibig, muling tatamis ang pagsinta. At sa pag-ibig muling mabubuo ang pagkataong binagabag ng pang-aabuso – at doon, babangon at lalaban tayo, titindig para sa sarili at sa iba pa.

 

 

Ang aktibismo ay pag-ibig at palaging pag-ibig.

Hindi ito tungkol lamang sa poot o galit.

Ang paglaban ay palaging nakaugat sa pag-ibig.

Tungkol ito sa malalim na diwa ng pagmamahal, na tumatagos mula sa sarili patungo sa marami pang kaapihan na kailangang wakasan.

At sa pag-igpaw, palaging ang dahilan ay pag-ibig.

Walang pag-ibig ang nananalangin na lamang, luluhod, pipikit at hihikbi.

Walang pag-ibig ang nakakayang tingnan sa mata ang mga walang makain at maipang gamot sa kanilang pamilya.

Walang pag-ibig ang kayang makipag kamay sa mga magsasaka ng hindi itinataas ang mga kamao para lumaban kasama nila.

Walang pag-ibig ang nananahimik sa kawalang katarungan at hustisya.

Dahil ang paglaban ay palaging, pag-ibig.

 

&&&

52161677_1956426807999429_2752191953532616704_nBabae Ako, Ang Paglaya ang Kapangyarihan

Dss. Norma P. Dollaga

 

Hindi lahat ng panahon ay panahon ng paghikbi

Kung lumuha man ako , hindi dahil ako ay sawi

Mga mata ko ay mulat sa balon ng puso at sinapupunan

Aagos ang  pagdadalisay  sa bautismo  nga pakikipaglaban.

 

 

 

Babae akong ipinangank ng sarili kong sinapupunan

Iniluwal ko  sila Shiprah at Puah, mga anak ni Zelophehad

Pinaghele ko sa aking bisig  ang pagpanday kay Deborah  na isang mandirigma

Tumangis din ako sa lungkot ng isang balo, hanggang makamptan niya ang sariling paglaya

Binagabag niya ang  ang hukuman, di siya natinag hanggang di nakamit ang katarungan.

 

Babae ako, at sa bawat himaymay ng aking paghinga

Nagngangalit ang aking dibdib sa bawat ginagahasa

Hindi ko ikinararangal ang iparada ang aking katawan

Upang pagkakitaan ng kapitalista at gahaman.

 

Babae ako  iniindak ko ang sayaw ng pakikibaka

Ihahakbang pasulong  ang

Katotohanan,

Katarungan at

Kapayapaan

 

Banal ang Sayaw ng aking natutunan

Sa pusod ng Unang Sayaw ng paglikha

Mula sinapupunan ng dakilang Bathala

 

Ang tiwala ko sa dakilang Maykapal

Kasama siya lagi ng mga dukha sa paglalakbay

Pagkat ang Dios na aaming kinikilala

 

Ay hindi istupido  , mamamatay-tao o isang siga.

 

 

Ang pintig ng aking Sayaw ,ay hininga ng taong bayan

Sa tirano at pag-aalipusta  , ang bumalikwas ay isang kalooban

Hindi ako alipin ng pagtitiis at pagiging kimi  sa gitna ng karahasan

Babae ako  at ang  paglaya ay isang kapangyarihan.

 

(IBINAHAGI sa Ecumenical Women’s Forum para sa One Billion Rising  na pagtitipon ng mga kababaihan sa simbahan. Dinaluhan ng mga kababaihan mula sa iba’t ibang simbahan. Nilahukan din  ng mga kalalakihan sa simbahan)

 

 

Advertisements

Randy Malayao

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV)

randy They did not shoot him while he was awake and alert. Perhaps, they were afraid to attack him while he had the capacity to reason out, to argue and to convince. Maybe they could not assail him while looking straight into his eyes, for they glistened with a vision for a society where peace and justice are the priority. And when Randy was awake, he was full of vigor to serve the masses and the poor.  While Randy slept on a public bus—taking advantage of a convenient moment of rest and rejuvenation for the work that comes with the breaking dawn, a depraved hitman fired bullets and killed him.

His murder was in cold-blood.

Randy lived the best years of his youth with the genuine interest of the people close to his heart.  He grew into adulthood and as decades passed, he continued to put forward the peace, justice, and dignity of the people as very important matters for collective action. His life as an activist is a great testimony of faithful service to the people.

Randy chose the narrow path of principles and integrity.  He took the more difficult road, where the daily struggle against poverty, exploitation, and oppression meant sharing the lives and lot of the most impoverished and materially deprived.

With a revolutionary mindset, Randy believed that these conditions are not beyond change.  He exposed the lies and falsehoods promoted by a violent and unjust system of unbridled greed and power by the elite few and worked for social transformation.

An activist, a revolutionary—Randy was never a terrorist.

Suffering as a political prisoner under Glora Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Simeon Aquino III, from May 2008 to October 2012, the court dismissed the charges against him as the principal suspect in killing Cagayan Governor Rodolfo Aguinaldo. Still, in February 2018, Randy was among 656 people listed by the Department of Justice for proscription as terrorists, the list even included UN Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz. Only weeks ago, Randy’s name as well as most of the others was removed.

Robbed of life in the night, Randy will wake up no more.  His morning smile and banter will not be brighten the faces of his family nor the many barrio folks who would have graced his path.

Randy will no longer rise early to attend meetings, write articles, and vigorously engage efforts to resume the peace talks. In the core of his being, Randy was one of the most impassioned promoters of the peace talks, knowing that, in the end, the people will benefit from efforts to address the roots of the armed conflict. Upholding sovereignty and patrimony, pursuing national industrialization and implementing agrarian reform will be for the benefit the toiling majority and struggling masses.

Randy was never shy in talking about the potentials of peace talks.  The only ones afraid of peace talks are President Duterte, the ruling class, and the military, who all benefit daily from the prevailing unjust social structures.

Though Randy will awake no more to greet his family and the communities he held so dear, though he will not taste in delight the fruition of dreams carried dearly in his heart, we will carry on towards the promise of dawn.

Surely, dawn will break with a crimson sky. No death of a hero or martyr will be wasted. The tears and mourning of the masses will turn into rage and resolve. Until justice is done.

 

Norma P. Dollaga

Kapatirang Simabahan Para sa Bayan

KASIMBAYAN

We Will Not Pray for the Success of A Murderous Govt

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, , “So we really have to pray for the presidency to succeed because all of us will benefit. If he fails we will all fail, So we really have to pray for each other.”  (https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1070545/palace-to-clergy-we-will-also-pray-for-you) This was the message of Malacanang on the day of the procession of Black Nazarene.

While Pres.Duterte  is relentless in insulting God and the church,  Malacanang  now is  asking to pray for Duterte. But the request  arrogates  its demand that  we have to do it because if  he fails, we will fail.

Prayer is the expression of our deep intimacy to the One whom we can entrust our emotions, innermost desires and dreams. We establish connection  with God, in whatever way we name this God  in our lives. WE pray individually and collectively.  Prayers do not seek for magical intervention for our aspiration, it is but an innermost  petition that reflect our  current situation- personal or public.

In our prayer guide, we were told that it will help if we start with thanksgiving- the recognition of our positive  insights, followed by the self-criticism ( the things that we did that offended others and the things that we did not do that affected  our community).  The  supplication part is our prayer requests or petition.

Our prayers are our connection with God and to one another.

We do not want to corrupt our prayers and make it as an accomplice to the President’s success when it meant:

 

  • The killings of the poor, because he thinks that the problem of addiction can be solved by executing them. Unfortunately, he failed to see that poverty and lack of social services are the fertile ground for illegal drugs to proliferate.  The poor ones who became the direct victims of killings a.k.a. “tokhang” never had the chance to access initial court proceedings that would at least  provide them legal services.  Duterte along with the police authorities are unrepentant about the “killings” and vowed to pursue the killings because Duterte believes that it is the only solution to the problem. The despicable killings have marked  not only pain but a legacy of  failed  governance  in providing welfare  and services to the poor.

No, we will not pray for the success of this  killing project, because  above all things, LIFE is precious and that governance means ensuring that people live with dignity and honor.

No we will not pray for the success of this killing project, because we have been witnesses to the wailing and grieving of the many mothers and kin whose loved ones were killed.

WE PRAY THAT JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED AND THAT THE KILLINGS WILL STOP.

WE PRAY THAT THE FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES WILL  GATHER STRENGTH AND COURAGE TO  RISE UP – WAVE BY WAVE  SEEKING FOR TRUTH , JUSTICE AND PEACE.

WE PRAY THAT GOD OUR IMMANUEL WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US AS WE WORK TOGETHER FOR THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE

 

  • Crushing down the communities who are defending the rights of indigenous people  and defending the environment.   The Lumad alternative schools initiated by religious and non-government organizations, and communities themselves are being militarized and  maligned as “communist” schools. The dream of their parents is for their children   to have access to education services  so they will become  better  members of community and that they will be critical and analytical. The Lumad schools are teaching the students to be patriotic,  scientific and compassionate to the people.  But the government of Duterte does not like this, it would rather destroy these schools.

No, we will not pray for the success of militarization, the maligning  and closing down of  Lumad schools because we want the Lumad to prosper and to become change-agents themselves for the good of our country.

WE PRAY THAT THE LUMAD PEOPLE WILL SERVE AN INSPIRATION TO MANY OF US WHO OUT OF THEIR BEAUTIFUL DREAMS OF HAVING  EDUCATION ARE STRIVING TO  MAKE THEIR DREAMS A REALITY. WE PRAY THAT THEY COULD GO BACK AGAIN TO THEIR COMMUNITIES    AND LIVE PEACEABLY WITH THEIR  NEIGHBORS AND GOD’S CREATION.

  • Disrespecting the women and the promotion of violence against women through his misogynistic and macho-patriarchal  pronouncements and deeds.

 

WE PRAY THAT THERE WOULD BE MORE WOMEN AND MEN WHO WOULD BE AWAKENED AND NOT CONDONE THESE ACTS JUST BECAUSE HE IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAND.

 

  • The imprisonment of activists,  human rights defenders , the freedom loving people and the consultants in the Peace Talks.  Due to the intention of the Duterte government to  crush down the  insurgency and the revolution, it wanted the administration  tagged them terrorists. Just like the previous governments , it has chosen the militaristic approach  in addressing the roots of the armed conflict.   Peace Talks is meant for   the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front (representing the revolution) to talk about PEACE on the basis of addressing the roots of the armed conflict- the poverty, landlessness, corruption.   Hence, the Peace Talks crafted an agenda that would benefit the Filipino People.

 

WE  PRAY  FOR  PEACE IN  OUR LAND,

 A LASTING PEACE BASED ON JUSTICE.

 

  • The killing of priests and bishops and using the “tambays”  to execute the

 

WE PRAY THAT THE TAMBAYS WILL BE AWAKENED , AND WILL KNOW THAT THE PRESIDENT  WOULD LIKE TO MAKE THEM CRIMINALS  RATHER  THAN PROVIDING  JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THEM TO HAVE A BETTER LIFE.

 

  

WE PRAY THAT WE WILL NOT BE AN ACCOMPLICE TO THE  PROJECTS OF DUTERTE  THAT ARE MEANT TO KILL, TO VIOLATE HUMAN RIGHTS, TO DISRESPECT OUR FAITH AND RELIGION.

 

THIS WILL BE  OUR PRAYER .

 

In the name of  EVERY  woman, man, and child  denied of better  LIFE  AND BETTER future because we have stupid government.

 

So Help us God.   AMEN

Farewell Mariz

22407834_718067091718870_1414151407_n

Norma Nell Mariz.  Mariz sent me this in 2017 .

It is with deep sadness to say goodbye to a very dear friend, MARIZ. I first met her in early 90s while she was a staff of AMRSP- Task Force on Urban Conscientization (TFUC) and I was the Women’s Program Coordinator of the Institute of Religion and Culture (IRC).
The bonding and friendship grew as we take on tasks in church organizing and education work. Her office deals with the services and work of church with the urban poor, while my work at IRC was on church women’s empowerment program. We were  members of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) . It was the time when Obet de Casto was its General Secretary.
There were many of us who volunteered at PCPR.
Mariz was one of the strings that pulled us together. She was a member of Haranang Bayan, and theater group which we never named under the directorship of Pipoy (Rommel). She was very active in the many campaign work of the church . There seemed to be no time wasted in visiting congregations, doing education work, forum, cultural aspect of promoting the stance of the church on various issues like Church People Against Visiting Forces Agreement; Jubille Campaign as we put forward its relevance – Freedom from Feudal Bondage, Freedom from Indebtedness, Freedom from Modern-Slavery, Freedom from Foreign Control; Anti- Erap’s Corruption, the Peasants’ struggle for land reform, Free all Political Prisoners, Peace Talks, Oil Price Hike etc.
There were many times when we need to spend overnight together so we would not be late in our activities aside from the reason that we did not want to miss each other . She had the gift of communicating well with the religious about the issues and concerns of the people . She was a great encourager to seminarians, priests, and sisters .
In all these endeavours, friendship was nurtured. We shared our stories, our burdens, our humor , fun . But one thing she was very particular about – her poise and her beauty. She was the only one amongst us who would not get out without press powder, lipstick and yes a very well pressed dress or shirt. During rallies and long marches, she would be the first person who would tell us. “ Ok, retouch naman tayo.” Meaning, we should not forget our poise and we must look after our appearance.
Mariz got married. She has two kids to raise.
The most serious conversation we had was our date with her  when she was wearing green preggy dress I gave her. She said, she has to look after for her health and will be gone for a while. There were cries and laughter as we promised that we will not divulged our naughty secrets even we are already being called by eternity .Those are funny secrets- the bloopers and humorous episodes in life only us could understand.
Today, Jo our friend, informed me about her passing on. Later his husband has messaged me “ Wala na si Mariz.”
One time Mariz messaged me “ Hi No kalian tayo magkikita? Pag maputi na buhok natin at nasa home for the aged na?’…

WE never had a chance to see each other again since maybe early 2000. We never fulfilled our promise to see each other again….
But she is always a part of me, in fact part of my growing up politically and spiritually. She is both a sister and a friend . She share a great connection of love with me in spite of long years of not seeing each other .
There would never be an opportunity  for us for us to see each other again even when all our hair becomes white, neither awaiting each other at home for the aged. There could have been a chance while our hair are still black and white , but we never made it.
For sure , I shall miss her. And feel a little bit guilty for not making it a point to date her. Am sure, an understanding Mariz would forgive me.
Farewell.

Love you beautiful Mariz

Of Tyranny and Machoism

 

President Rodrigo Duterte is a big disservice to Filipino women in particular, and Filipino people in general, when he keeps on uttering misogynist remarks.  

The recent  flaunting  of machoism   telling the public with  much haughtiness that he once    molested his maid while yet  a teen-ager.  This is not the first time when President made a flippant statement  sex and about rape. 

Sexual abuse is about abuse of power. Patriarchy and misogyny are at work in a condition where the power holder glorifies rape, violence against women, male chauvinism through misogynist remarks, sexist jokes and revolting  opinions and acts against women.

 Fascism and tyranny would never have any interest to promote gender justice as it is out of its character to do so.  The normalization of the culture of vulgarity and pleasure over killing-spree of the poor and dissenters coupled with the culture of impunity are alarming situations   that undermines our sensibility and respectability as a people.

We are both alarmed and indignant that  violence against women will intensify in the midst of rising and  looming tyranny,   In Duterte’s failure to address the roots of the armed conflict and poverty, the government has devised a scheme that suppresses and oppresses the rising people’s resistance against injustice and human rights violations.  In its inability to address drug addiction and to quell the illegal drug trade, it has resorted to a murderous bloody onslaught against the poor.  To justify its violation of human rights, it is resuscitating a method that had been proven  as a threat to democracy .  Lo and behold, the poor women who primarily bear the brunt of  price increase and low wages , find no  relief  from the economic woes  justified by laws and policies.

We cannot entrust our lives to this macho -tyrant President and his cohorts who take so much benefits from supporting him.

The tyranny and dictatorship does  not promise anything good for women.  The ugly and obnoxious manners of governance destabilizes all the intentions of women for liberation and empowerment.  

Given this situation, we are reminded of Mary’s song  in the Bible that rejects  the powerful and arrogant who deny  people  of dignity,  as well as  their freedom, and  promising future.  Mary’s  Magnificat promises that the tyrants will be brought down from their thrones and sent away empty.

  As sure as the rising-up of many women, we would see Mary’s prophecy and vision to reality:

 “…. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in their thoughts of their hearts. He has  brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly…”  ( Luke 1:51-52 NRSV)

 

Norma P. Dollaga

Kapatirang Simbahan Para sa Bayan (KASIMBAYAN)

Kasimbayan Women’s Collective 

 

SHE Refuses To Be Comforted

images

Apol Laxamana de la Rosa  artwork

Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?  (Luke 1:42)

 
In the mourning of the night
I looked up to the sky
And see the beautiful stars shining so bright
And I wonder how did it happen that the Stars
So charming and lovely did not warn me
That those would be the last bright stars
My anak would have ever witnessed
Because in that supposedly wonderful evening
The body was pierced with bullets,
The fruit of my womb
Are the

216 victims of extra judicial killings
famers who fought for genuine agrarian reform
indigenous people defended the ancestral domain
media practitioner, lawyers , religious, church people,
human rights defenders peace and justice activists,
more than 20,000 victims of war on drugs.

Herod demanded the death of my offspring
Like Rachel of the old, I am in great weeping
And I refuse to be comforted

The fruit of my womb
Shall rise with me
Every death , every martyr
Will s resurrect to thousands
As many as the stars shining through
In the mantle of darkness and gloom
Of people who refuse to be comfortable in silence
Would gather their power
Vested with TRUTH and COURAGE
The womb of struggle
Will not cease give birth
Until the fruit of our HOPE
Is fulfilled.

 

(anak- son or daughter;  Rachel: Jeremiah 31:15_

Rouse Ourselves,Reclaim Our Spiritual Energy * RGS Provincial Assembly

47091863_276715966381199_1940640419616391168_nI first met the religious of Good Shepherd sisters  not in the convent, nor in the solitude of a prayer room.

I met you in the most disquieting time, along with the “trouble-makers”  who called for  the roll back of  oil prices.   I chanced upon  you    with the humble farmers in  shaking the foundations of violent feudal bondage. You were with the farmers in disturbing those who were comfortable with neutrality for security.      You tread the “dangerous” path of taking bias for the poor.   I saw you RGS sisters in the picket lines when the Shoemart workers went on strike to  disrupt the “peaceful accumulation of profit ” by the capitalists. You were  at the bridge of Mendiola, linking arms with the people who smell,    hoping that the world would be fair to them.  You stood to call for the ouster of a corrupt, boastful  and war-monger President.   You stood with women against Visiting Forces Agreement. Remember the women chain along Roxas Blvd? You stood by those who exposed the fraudulent acts of  Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in rigging the national elections and for the murder of thousand activists.

When Hacienda Luisita Massacre happened, you responded to the call even if it may cost you the loss of the powerful’s    guarantee of security   or maybe generous provision of gifts and donations. You accompanied the farmworkers to the courts, congress and to the Senate  to assure the oppressed that they have an ally who would stand with them.

You were among the first who responded to join the  people’s organizations to share

47157231_539501133182494_5492705208087609344_n

special photo op. i could not take photo for the whole assembly because the occasion calls for quietness and meditation ( unnecessary movements may destruct the concentration  of sisters ) . this was taken during very brief break.

relief goods in Samar  when Yolanda hit   the region of Visayas. You were there in every thread of fabric of the poor people’s struggle.   You were there during the most crucial time for   the voice of the church must be audible and the presence of church in the struggle of the people must be visible. And the litany of the things you have done for the struggling people when I met you can go on and on.

 

Now I stand here before you, older than when I first met some of you. Some of my contemporary among you are even  growing white  hair now.  Some have become senior citizens with fragile bodies   but their backbones  for a  resolved  and  principled commitment in serving the poor  is getting stronger  each day.

Surely, these powerful ministry of engagement,   presence and public witness of RGS make RGS relevant.  Sr. Pat  Fox said, “WE do not have the right to be tired until justice is done!”

Sr. Ellen,RGS once also told me, ” The masses are not tired, what right do we have to get tired?”

If there is one advantage of being poor and being in the struggle, it is  the gift of  FIRE that never  extinguishes  even at the darkest hour of the  might.

Burning out is a product of repetitious pattern in life without finding meaning on what we do. It is the time when we get cynical, lethargic, mediocre, and the energy seems to be supping us to give up and find something new

While most of us may start recognizing this episodal moment, you may ask for retreat, that is a privilege of religious life.    If you re hungry, eat, if you are tired, sleep, if you are bored, take a vacation- that is a law of life.

But since the world is gripped with injustice and exploitation, the poor amongst us are unable to have such a right and a privilege.

.   We surely get tired. We make mistake,   but we    humbly subject ourselves  to self-criticism, remold into better selves    for the sake of our aspiration. We allow even our sheep to lead us through.

 

       Some wisdom to live by

as we seek  God’s  Leading in

Rousing Ourselves and

Reclaiming  Our

Spiritual Energy

 

  1. Allow yourself to be disturbed. The people will come to you. This is convenient, and it  is good. That means, they look up to you. But it is also better that  you go to the masses.  It is giving them importance.  And they find a reliable ally in you when you engage the principalities, the structures and power that enslave.

Religious life is a very regulated life. I have never seen an idle sister.  At least you have never been hungry. At the very least, you would not worry where to get the next meal. In fact you have the luxury of choosing the meals you want.

There was a time when I asked a survivor of a massacre  about his favorite food. He did not answer. And right there, I criticized myself. “Bakit mo siya tinananong na ganun. Ang pinakadukha sa mga dukha , ay walang paboritong pagkain. Kasi anumang  nandyan, paborito nya. Wala siyang pagpipilian, kund kainin anuman ang nakayanan nilang pagpunyagian.”

Sa totoo lang abot abot din po ang kaba ng masa kapag lalapit sa inyo. Ako rin, kami rin sa PCPR. Iniisip naming baka tanggihan kami, pagalitan, o baka mali ang format ng letter.  While we are positive and excited to  knock at your door, we are also afraid to be rejected by the institutionalized church. Kaya po pag naglalakad na kami patungong gate ng simbahan,  kinakabahan din kami. Baka wala sa mood si father or si sister.. But we just trust that we have to endure this “tension” because the challenges to make this world a HOME or HEAVEN is far greater than how or what we feel in those moments. .

There was a time when I need to talk to a sister, to invite her to a fact-finding mission. I understand how difficult it is to disrupt the schedule and the organized  calendar of your life.

Are you willing to be “disturbed” by the cries of your sheep? Not only that charity calls us, we are called   to be engaging, to transform the structures that make our people hungry as they  are made to accept the violence and injustice of poverty as normal.

We are   not called to romanticize poverty and praise the poor for their ability to be resilient and their  extra ordinary  character  of being    generous and hospitable. The poor does not exist to remind us how to be thankful and to learn from them. The poor exist because there is no justice. Our greatest strategic desire must be to eliminate poverty,  and that there should be no more poor among us.

Let us be happy and feel blessed if we are being “disturbed”

  1. Do not forget this: Humor. Laugh

Have Fun! Laugh like there is no tomorrow. Humor eases the tensions and anxieties without necessarily commanding yourself to laugh. Laughter is good for your health

There should be joy , fun and adventure. For even our laughter is rooted in our deep sense of connection with life and wisdom.

This journey of religious life  as it engages in the reality of struggle and hope must be a joyful one, otherwise we must be in the wrong vocation.

 

Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

 

Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter burns calories.

Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load.

Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer. (Laughter is the Best Medicine.The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm)

 

  1. Do not be a Shy / Reluctant Prophet. Be a Good Shepherd: engaging, prophetic. Be an activist, act individually and collectively

There is much talk and debate among self-confessed church people on whether the faithful ones should participate in social advocacies or activism.

The imposition of a worldview saying that engaging in activism dilutes the teaching of the church brings an excruciating pain to the whole body of believers.  Bigotry becomes a fertile ground of misjudgment, and inability to share love and grace.

As a body of Christ- we are diverse and so we celebrate diversity.

I do not mind the multiplicity of ideas. After all, what makes the church / RGS beautiful is that it has a colorful, diverse and varied membership.  Everyone has his or her historical background, a story to tell, and a testimony to share. It is by grace alone that we can celebrate what takes to be a church.

Can we find blessing in our differences?

Yes. Our differences must further lead us into radical welcoming of one another, rather than perceiving those who do not conform to our set of ideals as strangers or adversaries. This stiffens our hearts and minds leading to bigotry.

“Activism is a political stance that aims to change the world, and more realistically but seldom acknowledged, the self. The broader goals of dissent are easily and widely depicted but what is not always rendered visible is the almost miraculous transformation of the individual.” (Mong Palatino,writer and former AnakBayan youth representative  to Congress)

Activism or  Prophetic social engagement  is not a bad idea or a bad endeavour, as it was not bad for  Mary to sing the  Magnificat. In her song, Mary says God has brought down the powerful from their thrones,  and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things,    and sent the rich away empty”( Luke1:52-54).

Jesus  once said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me/”  (Matthew 19:21).

Activism or  Prophetic social engagement  does not divide the church. It is the incapacity of the faithful to sincerely love one another that divide the church.

Activism or  Prophetic social engagement   does not lead the church to atheism. It is the unforgiving tendency of the faithful that rejects the participation of the many in nourishing the gift of service to others.

Prophetic social engagement  does not lead us to hell. It is the refusal to welcome into our fold the poor, the deprived and the oppressed. It is the refusal to seek justice for those are  victims of  the empire.

Prophetic social engagement   does not take our faith away from us. It humbly leads us to where our hearts should be. It leads us to Jesus who once was denied of home, social security, and basic necessities.  When he did not conform to the standards of the world of empty piety, servility to Roman Rule,  – when he refused to be an ally of the corrupt –  he ended up getting judicially killed.

Prophetic social engagement   does not kill our faith.  It challenges us to resurrect from the dead – those values, caprices, behavior, a viewpoint that kill the best in us as human beings created in the image of God.  Activism retrieves us from emptiness due to lack of compassion and living in the system that promotes individualistic and selfish indulgence.

Prophetic social engagement  leads us to self-criticism and remolding of character and values that are compatible in the building up of heaven down here.

If there is a fuel that drives activism , or  Prophetic social engagement  it is no less than LOVE in action.

Faith matters  as long as we never give up the hope that is in us and among us.  Faith matters  because we stand firm ,hold firm on the essence of things unseen , but is coming and  is  tangible.

 

We don’t give up the hope—that’s a precious  gift  the oppressed, and  victims of injustice. Having hope is a subversive act against principalities  that try to take away the hope.

 

The rulers like Herod and Pharoahs, and empires have no gift of hope. They are the enemies of hope, they kill hope and they  are afraid  of hope.

 

Faith matters most because a faith that takes side for justice and truth is the faith the nourishes hope.

 

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” ( John 15:3 NRSV)

Let us all share the pain and joy of being shepherd in our own time.

Let us be an engaging shepherd who would ;protect the sheep at all cost

Let us endure the  the suffering, and celebrate  our unbending hope.

Let us weep, when farmers , rights defenders are killed, and those who  seek for peace are imprisoned.  Let us also find reason to  fight and struggle as we hold fast to our faith , hope and love.

 

 

 

SAGAY: Of Tiempo del Muerto and Tinggulutom

 

44828932_1324803434329057_1908314700450365440_nLife in sugar cane plantation is not as sweet as its produce. It is neither  a romantic scenery of a rural setting, nor an  idyllic  paradise where the wind  is soft and  the  sun rises and sets with the  promise of   much awaited rest for the   day’s toil.

The truth is  sugar plantation workers earn an unbelievable  slave wage of    Php 500 to Php 750 weekly wage, or Php 83.00 to 125.00 (USD 2.31) a day. This is  way below the minimum wage which is in itself very low also,  of only Php 245 per day for farm workers in sugar plantation or haciendas.     Still there are those who receive P40 per day (USD 0.75) for  particular work of  weeding the plots or harvesting the canes.  A conversation with a  farmworker  revealed that  usually, the contract for labor per hectare is at Php 1,600.00 (USD 29.70). Practically, harvesting or even weeding is done collectively by a 10-member group to do the work in a hectare of field for four days.  So, on the 4th day,  each worker  will be receiving P160.00 or P40.00 for each day of  work.  “You  cannot really do the work alone and earn that P1600. Otherwise you will die before you reach the 4th day. The scorching sun, and a hectare is too much for a single person to work on, ” says a farm worker.  After telling that to me the farmer just  smiled  with  a deep, heavy sigh, as he wipe his face with his rough and rock-hard hands that   have known  pain and agony of  an exploitative situation.

44771219_1991167567609186_1907017354039001088_nDecades after decades, the farm workers, along with their families have been enslaved by the feudal bondage spawned  by social injustice.  Generations of slaves explain why the richest land owners maintain their wealth and power . According to  Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA),  1,860 big landlords owned the 40% or the 424,130 hectares of sugar lands in Negros Island.

The first time I heard “tiempo del muerto” brings in a image of tombs, and funeral,  of wailing and grieving.  “Tiempo del Muerto “   or Tigkiriwi (hunger)  for the sugar workers  means  a dead season for the them, or a time of death. It is a off-milling season, a time when the sugar plantation workers do not have income especially because they do not own the land. This tiempo del muerto signals  that hunger is   intensifying its  grip on the  sugar workers who live the live of  “slaves.”- The sugar plantation workers struggle for survival more than ever during the tiempo del muerto as they face    poverty, hunger, disease and  violation of their human rights and dignity.

It is but justifiable that   the farmers and the poor must rise against the system of injustice and violence that bred modern-day slavery  and inhuman situation of the people.  They take steps   so that their children will not experience the curse of miseries of tiempo del muerto.

This assertion comes in different   forms, such as  dialogues, strikes, protests,  assertion of the right to till the land, assertion of their legal rights .   But at the very least, what the farmers need is to feed their families during the period of the tiempo del muerto.

Historically, the poor farmers’ assertion for their rights to fight and struggle  for agrarian reform had been met  with fascist  retaliation.  Worst, the state agents  would put  blame upon the farmers for killing their fellow  farmers.  The military and the government agencies  would always blame the revolutionaries who fight for transformation – the Communists Party of the Philippines and the NPA for the killings, or the farmer-workers   organization . They become  the easy  scapegoat  to cover up the state accountability to aggressively  take an action to implement land reform. The long years of waiting for the implementation of genuine land reform remains an elusive dream.  The legitimate and moral demand for land for the tillers are not heeded.  The Sagay   Massacre is not the first massacre that happened in our country.    Among the killings and massacres in our recent history are  the following:

 

According to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), under President Rodrigo Duterte, one farmer is killed every two daysTo date there  are 172 farmers killed under his term.

 

Poor and landless farmers live in constant food insecurities . There seem to be no quiet nights for the poor farmers who  are cultivating the land every day of their lives. Yet,  the fruit of their labor is offered to the coffers of the wealthy landlord, while they are left with empty hands, most of the time heavily indebted.

 

44607398_342255339916932_3889681692184543232_n.jpgThe Bungkalan (Land Cultivation) is an organized collective action of the farmers to plant vegetables that would sustain their families and save them from hunger when the Tiempo Muerto comes.  In the case of the Sagay farmers, they planted, legumes, corn,  sweet potatoes, and banana.  Instead of begging for charity and alms from merciful people, they opted to be self-sufficient by nourishing the land with legumes, so it could yield food that is basic needs of the farmers and their families .  The night of their first  day of their Bungkalan was tragic- 9 people were killed including  3 women and 2 minors.

The brain behind the massacre of the nine people did not want the farmers, who are regarded as “slaves,” to be empowered.    Only a tyrannical rule can do such an attack on farmers.

Only  through  genuine agrarian reform that the  farmers will be set free from  years of feudal bondage.  ##

 

#StopKillingFarmers

#JusticeSagay9Masscare

 

 

Norma P. Dollaga

Kapatirang Simbahan Para sa Bayan (KASIMBAYAN)

 

 

 

 

 

Undas

undasMore than 20, 000 people were killed in the name of War on Drugs . According to a news report, there are 33 have been killed daily since Pres. Duterte assumed office and declared his war on Drugs.

 

 

 

People are not just numbers
Neither documents to be filed
The poor ones who fell on the ground
Gunned down ,
Had never tasted the “due process”
As promised by laws and governance
Today, the wind is not gentle
The rain poured down
And still we cried out

We still weep for the brothers
sisters, mothers, fathers ,uncles,
aunties, sons, daughters, grandpas and grandmas
friends, cousins , neighbors
kin
who were killed

We offered  white flowers
With the hope that justice will bud
We lighted candles
Knowing that Truth & JUSTICE  are  in our side.##

Oct. 30, 2018*St. Paul UMC, Tondo, Manila

Impenitent Tyrants and Hustlers vs. the People’s Hope for Meaningful Change

 

Significant change did not come:  not in the lives of the poor or in improving governance.  Though Duterte promised such with his campaign slogan “change is coming,” there has only been a worsening of the economic woes the poor as well as the persistence of political elitism and plutocracy.

The long-awaited fresh new morning never arrived. We continue to endure the same old continuum of a rottenness system, fraught with corruption and rife with stifling bureaucracy. Decadence upon decadence has been laid upon a foundation of historical corruption fashioned by the elite, the trapos, and a plethora of thieves who use their government positions to amass ill-gotten wealth which they window-dress to appear legal.

No illusion remains that one President will eradicate such decadence in a fell swoop.  Still, Duterte must held made accountable for the promise that he made:  as his banner slogan makes clear, Duterte exploited the desperation of the people, who had long grown tired and exasperated with the government leaderships previous to his presidency.

The wounds of people’s sufferings and woes cannot heal with such hollow promises.  Even worse, there has been little effort to offer even temporary relief through balms and services.

Instead, the wounds of the poor have only been deepened through by “war on drugs” which has painted red the streets, esteros, alleys and even the villages upon mountains of garbage, as blood has been spilt in cold-blooded executions and cold-hearted police operations.

The law and the courts have never been a space of refuge or reliable justice, where the cases of the victims would be speedily acted upon. The real aftermath of such killings are dead bodies laid in coffins, whose payment their families could not even afford. Families have to begged and pleaded in order to bury their dead on promissory contracts.
Duterte’s murderous scheme has done even more than kill thousands; it has “tokhanged” our collective  memory of the struggle to fight against the Marcos dictatorship.  When Duterte allowed the burial of the dictator President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, he bastardized the reputation of the cemetery. Opening the floodways of partying and merry-making for the Marcoses who, even today, have never owned-up to their accountability for the dreadful things done during under the Marcos dictatorship, they danced with gusto as their power soared even higher with the help of Duterte’s efforts toward historic revisionism.

So the Marcoses remain shameless on their atrocities, brazenly claiming that they did not commit any crimes.  Their audacity re-energized as Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. still contests the victory of  VP Leni  Robredo over him.  Imee Marcos runs for Senator under the Nacionalista Party, forging an alliance with the present presidential daughter Sarah Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago regional political party.

  • We must not forget that Imee Marcos was appointed by her father as head of the Kabataang Barangay in 1977. When this appalling appointment was questioned by young student Archimedes Trajano of Mapua Institute of Technology, he was dragged out from the forum by Imee’s security detail. That was the last moment any witnesses saw him alive.   Two days later, his lifeless body—face disfigured and bearing bruises and torture marks—was found. Yet, even today, Imee Marcos at the mature age of 63 would still childishly say, “But what I heard that there are calls for an apology tantamount to an admission, which we would never do.”  
  • Likewise, we must not forget Liliosa Hilao—whose name was highlighted in the line of the popular song “Babae Ka.” Liliosa was the editor-in-chief of Hasik, the school paper of the Pamatasan ng Lunsod ng Maynila (PLM) that published articles criticizing martial law and former President Ferdinand Marcos. Liliosa, branded as subversive for her writings and leadership in the school paper, was raped and injected with “truth serum” to force her to talk. Muriatic acid was forced in her mouth and burned her throat and lungs. She was killed days before she was to graduate magna cum laude. Her internal organs were removed to cover up signs of torture and sexual abuse. And Imee Marcos at the mature age of 63 would still say, “But what I heard that there are calls for an apology tantamount to an admission, which we would never do.”

 

Must we forget also the women like  Lorena Barros and Liza Balando?

Whether it is about  Archimedes, Liliosa or others like Lorena Barros and Liza Balando or any of the thousands of persons that have been documented as victims of Martial Law, we know that it happened!

And even as Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has mounted her comeback—flaunting her power as the new Speaker of the House—the people have not forgotten the more than one thousand victims of extra judicial killings under her term. She behaves as if we have amnesia, but the people have not forgotten, including her rigging of her presidential election through the notorious “Hello Garci” scandal as well as her varied and numerous corruption scams.

We will not allow these impenitent traitors and hustlers to erase our memories of resistance and struggle. As historic and rising tyrants order killings, torture and disappearances of those who dissent, they also seek to kill the memories of struggle by labeling them as subversive and dangerous. Duterte blatantly mocks the gains of People’s Power and honours the Marcoses instead, but we will continue to rise up against such strong-arm oppression and stand for what is truly righteous and honorable.

It is pathetic that after toppling down a  dictator Marcos, the fundamentals of social justice were not taken up by succeeding leaders.   This was not because they were imperfect or ignorant or stupid. It wasn’t because they lacked political will, per se. It was because they could not give up being representatives of the ruling class. As such, they could not afford to offend the class that the truly wanted to serve and preserve.

Killing the poor, the memories of resistance, and rising enthusiasm seemed easier.  The power of the blessed poor to carry forward meaningful change–genuine land reform, national industrialization, adequate public and social services  as well as a scientific, patriotic, and liberating culture of education, and even armed forces that will serve the people and the poor—remain intact with or without support from the Duterte administration.

And even if the trapos (traditionalpoliticians) are constant and consistent in their entrenched corrupt practices, the people’s movement will never give up the struggle. Learning bends along the way and self-criticism in the course of carrying on the fight only strengthen the people’s capacity to struggle. Rest assured, the organized masses and enlightened poor, and they who opted to  be identified with their struggles and hope    are ever reliable, trustworthy, and know no boundary in the struggle and pursuit of justice and peace

Nanay Irma, whose son was killed by Duterte’s “war on drugs” once told  us, “As a mother, I have never been active for justice before. I am weak and sickly. My thyroid gland must have collected all my pains and suffering, my stress, and anxieties. As a poor woman who has to take care of my ailing  husband, I live by sweeping the streets. But, I know when we rise and fight for justice, we are on the correct side of this struggle. If my health and sickness will consume me particularly as I do not have enough resources to access health services, do not worry; I have daughters to carry on this struggle that I have known.”

 

Norma P. Dollaga

Kapatiriang Simbahan Para sa Bayan

(KASIMBAYAN)

Kasimbayan@yahoo.com.ph

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous Older Entries