Archive for the ‘moral values’ Category

Naga City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo: a beacon of hope

January 16, 2009

Many UP Ibalonians know Jesse. The popular Bicolano mayor who is an adopted member of the Ibalons shares the mission of the organization. Gearing for more national leadership, he is at the forefront of of the Kaya Natin movement, a group of hope-driven Filipinos who seeks better governance, transparency and ethical responsibility in public service. Ibalonian Don Salvosa shares an inspiring article about Jesse written by Harvey S. Key of the KN movement which appeared in Manila Bulletin, Sunday, December 28, 2008. The piece is reproduced entirely below.—mesiamd (01/16/09)

Things I learned from Mayor Jesse Robredo
by: Harvey S. Keh

For many of you who don’t probably know him, Mayor Jesse Robredo is the multi-awarded incumbent city mayor of Naga City, which is currently the main commercial area of the Bicol Region. Aside from this, Mayor Robredo was also one of the first Filipino winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service which is equivalent to Asia’s Nobel Prize. He won the award because he was able to transform Naga City from a third class municipality to a first class city and uplift the quality of life of his constituents. Moreover, he was able to develop systems that would enable government processes to be more transparent and accountable to his constituents. As a prime example of this, when one visits the website of Naga City, you would be able to see all the expenses and purchases of the city government. In the more than 16 years of being the mayor of Naga, the city has received accolades from national and international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations.

I met Mayor Robredo in 2001 at an event organized by Synergeia Foundation, one of the country’s more effective institutions in improving our public education system. Since then, Mayor Robredo has been one of the people I have looked up to for advice and his effective brand of leadership has been a constant source of inspiration for me. As such, I wanted to share the things that I have learned through these years that I have worked with him.

Firstly, I have learned that there are still people like him who continue to remain ethical despite being in government service for the past 16 years. Many people have dissuaded me from entering government service since they say that no one actually survives the current system of pervasive graft and corruption. Mayor Robredo has shown that one need not compromise his or her values and principles to be able to govern and deliver basic services to the people in an effective manner.

When I asked him what was his secret for being steadfast in his values, he told me that his faith in God and his family are his main foundations, and this is the second lesson that I learned from him. In a society where we hear of politicians having several wives and families, we have someone like Mayor Robredo who continues to put premium on his being a loyal husband and a loving father who devotes time to his three daughters. I remember a time wherein he failed to attend one of our Kaya Natin! Caravan of Good Governance events in the province since his daughter sought his help with regard to her school project. Many politicians would often jump at the chance just to be able to speak before thousands of students but Mayor Robredo chose to be with his daughter who needed him during that time.

Aside from this, Mayor Robredo has also shown that he is a man that can stand up for what he believes in even if he already knows that majority are no longer with him. This can be seen when in the last 2 Presidential elections, wherein he chose to support the late Senator Raul Roco because he believed that he would make a good President for our country even if he already knew that surveys have shown that Senator Roco would have a slim chance of winning and even if he already knew that if Senator Roco loses he may not be able to get the support of the winning candidate. Standing up and holding on to your own principles is something that is clearly lacking in many of our leaders today. Our present day leaders will often support issues or people that will help propagate their own self-interests without necessarily thinking if what they are supporting will be for the common good.

Finally, one of the most important lessons I learned from Mayor Robredo is the simplicity of his way of life. When one thinks of Filipino politicians, large houses and expensive cars always comes to mind but when one visits Naga, you will see that despite being on his 6th term as mayor of a 1st class city, he continues to live in a very simple home. I remember one time wherein we met in my office in Quezon City and I saw him just taking a cab without any bodyguards to reach our office. Back then, I was quite surprised since I was used to seeing politicians with their big cars, blaring sirens and their throngs of bodyguards. Among all of these lessons, I think what Mayor Robredo has shown me is that there is still much to Hope for in our country if we have more principled leaders like him who will continue
to deliver proper services to the people and will always put the interests of our country above his or her own interests.(Photo Credits: http://www.nagagov.ph x 2; Rolye) =0=

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The 10th simple new year’s resolution

January 5, 2009


When I posted some suggested New Year’s pledges for 2009, I was cut short at number 9. My mind went blank and I needed to blog fast. The last few minutes of my one-hour stay in the public library rolled on quickly. So instead of 10, I ended up with only 9. The shadow of the next person who’d use the PC was already at my back. I needed to give him my spot.

As I drove home, one word cropped in my head—honesty. Be honest! Maybe that was what I wanted for the 10th resolution even if I knew it’s hard to do.

It is said honesty can be a bedfellow of hypocrites. People say a genuinely honest person in this world is nonexistent—a result of our fallen nature. So there we go why some of us won’t attempt to be truthful. Despite the warped suggestion that it’s hypocrisy to try upholding truth, it is still the moral thing to do.

Without pretense, guile, and double talk, we effectively reign over our personal lives. We keep our credibility while we face our problems with dignity. We purge our soul of some of the corruption which ails our world. =0=

RELATED BLOG: “9 simple resolutions for the new year” Posted by mesiamd at 1/04/2009

Cory’s EDSA II apology opens controversies & distrust among Filipinos

December 24, 2008


Calling the EDSA II revolution a mistake, Corazon (Cory) Aquino, one of the leaders of the movement which ousted former Pres. Joseph (Erap) Estrada from power has brought the nation into new controversies. The sudden confession of the ailing former president opened wounds— sowing confusion among doubting Filipinos who bewailed the endemic poor leadership in the national government.

Rather than bridging the often-repeated “reconciliation” among warring political parties, the demure housewife and former chief executive unwittingly exposed the short-sightedness and immaturity of leaders who stood as huge obstacles to the progress of the country. There were those who surmised if cancer and treatment had put her on tremendous strain; her ability to think sanely as before might have taken a beating.

As a devout practitioner of Catholicism, the former president who’s trying to define her legacy as an infuential public servant may have scored high on matters of faith, but she has placed the people in a void of uncertainty whose damage is too early to quantify. The effects are likely to cause lasting shockwaves on how politics will be played in government affairs like the next presidential election. They will cut across the way people will view what is morally right and wrong as they rule over the scandals that see no end.

By seeking Estrada’s forgiveness, Cory repudiated the collective action of her party and those who pushed for an end of blatant thievery, corruption and ineptness during and after Estrada’s administration. The damning evidence of incompetence and plunder laid bare during the 6 years of trial reduced the public to docility and silent acquiescence—- a treacherous problem of Filipinos no wanted to touch.

Like a modern-day soap opera, Estrada’s dizzying legal battle and his privileged imprisonment shown in TVs, radios, and newspapers ended in a conviction hailed by the people. But it was quickly reversed by Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo (GMA)— herself, a sore symbol of almost all things that had gone wrong with the country. Many believed GMA, the current prexy with an outrageously low approval rating of negative (-30) cleverly pardoned Estrada for political convenience. It was unclear though whether Cory’s apology to Estrada was linked to her frustraion over GMA’s mishandling the government. Cory called on her to resign amidst uncurbed corruption as the wagons of Estrada’s political come-back had rolled in from the first station.

Because of Cory’s change of heart, there are deepening doubts on whether Filipino leaders are up for the job of steering the country to better times. In spite of the early justifications and defense for the widow of Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino, her position strengthens the chance of the come-back of the Estrada and his “weather-weather” gang. The Filipinos are left in an impasse: Wala na ba talagang ibang mga magagaling at matitino?

The demoralizing effect of Cory’s declaration puts the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) leadership, a staunch supporter of EDSA II on the defensive. It revives anew the questions on church-state separation and the constitutionality of the power take-overs which left a serious lingering leadership vacuum in all political fronts.

Most of all, it irreparably damaged the Cory brand of uprightness and wisdom she shared with her martyred husband Ninoy Aquino, leaving Filipinos one less of a person to trust and emulate. (Photo Credits: Joe Galvez; Marcial Pontillas21; Marcial Pontillas21; gmaresign; Marcial Pontillas21; Marcial Pontillas21)=0=

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Shoes versus Pres. George W. Bush, pelting eggs on a Romanian leader & a pepper spray for a Manila socialite

December 23, 2008

There is always something to laugh about or be concerned for when we read that a head of state like President George W. Bush got shoes thrown on his face by a hateful angry Iraqi. The outgoing US president has been blamed for almost anything that has gone wrong—-from the war Afghanistan, the economy, business, and social security. On his last visit to Iraq, he got insolent treatment.

The journalist who threw the shoes has been charged for endangering the life of a head-of-state. Since December 14, 2008, Muntadhar al-Zeidi complains of having been rough-handled and beaten by authorities. According to his brother, the apology he made for the crime was forced; he liked doing it again to the delight of his supporters.

Shoe-throwing-by Filipinos

The shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad had mixed reception in all cultures of the world. Many took it as a prank worthy of a loud laugh. The intelligence community thought of it as a security breach, an insult to visiting dignitaries. Overseas Filipinos (OFW’s) took the event as an occasion to display their own displeasure of Gloria M. Arroyo (GMA,) the president whose administration had been bugged by rising scandalous corruption. They too pulled angry shoe-throwing displays, making GMA’s photos as the apt target.

Egg-throwing in Romania

In the ceremony marking the people revolution of 1989, irate Romanians pushed, jeered, and pelted eggs on Ion Iliescu, the leader who replaced Nicolae Ceausescu. The latter was Romanian’s dreaded communist dictator who was violently ousted and executed in an uprising two decades ago.

A three-time elected leader of Bucharest, Iliescu was blamed for failing to go into the bottom of the deaths of more than 1,000 people during his predecessor’s bloody regime. A 79-year old aggrieved man who lost a son was arrested for throwing eggs.

Pepper-Spray Scandal in Manila

A brawl of two flashy socialites resulted to eye injuries which led Neny Montinola to visit the emergency room of a swanky hospital in the Philippines. According to reports, at a party in the “Embassy,” in November, Patricia Panilio-Cu-Unjieng, a Filipina of alleged upscale breed and wealth, angrily pumped pepper-sprays on her rival’s face to vent rage—at the acme of her “jealousy.’

Controversies which passed the ears of their patrons ensued until the two women decided to end their catty dispute. They chose to bury the scandal’s dagger in the spirit of Christmas. Supposedly bred in some exclusive schools in Manila, the two war-weary ladies reconciled. A public apology was reportedly issued, though no one seemed to have paid attention. The people of the country were too focused in their own mundane concerns.

THE AFTER-THOUGHT

This is the world we are in. People can just attack someone without thinking of the consequences. Anyone can make an apology whose sincerity is up for questions. Whether they are justified in their actions isn’t much of an importance. Violence in whatever form must not be condoned.

We better watch out. There are legitimate ways to protest and redress wrongs in civilized cultures. But it appears the avenues to get justice are threatened by the fraying of ethical traditions and the warping of our own moral beliefs. (Photo Credits: http://www.ChinaDaily.com; http://lakwatsera1.com; Luky-luke; Bo Madsen=0=

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Nudity in UP Campus & Rizal’s Ultimo Adios

December 17, 2008



Craftiness must have clothes, but truth loves to go naked.”—English Proverb

A tradition of public nudity has developed in the University of the Philippines (UP). On its 100 years of glorious existence, the school has a rash of flesh-baring events— inspired by the iconic metal image of a man in an act of “oblation” right at the campus gate.

The thought of giving oneself naked has turned to be an irresistible wild dream in the academe. It’s a heart-rousing idea that seems to rub the minds of people who subscribe to the sane and the absurd.

Perhaps they take themselves too seriously. They can be deluded by their self-importance, believing that they are smarter than others and thus deserving of occasional tantrums. There is covert hubris in many UPians. They may be enamored by the grand words of the second verse of Jose P. Rizal’s Ultimo Adios etched on the base of Guillermo Tolentino’s oblation sculpture standing in the school grounds:

“In the fields of battle,
deliriously fighting,
Others give you their lives,
without doubt, without regret;
Where there’s cypress, laurel or lily,
On a plank or open field,
in combat or cruel martyrdom,
If the home or country asks,
it’s all the same–it matters not.”

—Jose P. Rizal, National Hero

The connection of nudity today in UP and Rizal’s heroism is at best tenuous. Yet, for 50 years, the oblation run has been a yearly project of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity. It started as a prank and had since then become one of the most celebrated in the university.

Nudes, wearing only masks and bonnets parade themselves around the campus. The justification of the bizarre display of the mons veneris and the penile appendage is usually a protest for an “issue” that bothers the community. Although not all are convinced of the “alibi,” the event brings eager crowds nonetheless to watch the warm flesh pass by. Amidst heckles and laughter, the men give away roses to merry spectators, but many are oblivious and dismissive of the rationale behind the run.

The oblation run held on December 16, 2008 had only 10 nude men streaking their way around the campus. But I thought they had one in June where a hundred participated. For the latest run, APO chose to protest the boiling charter change (Cha-cha) controversy which is occupying the mind of the nation. They also fussed about President Gloria M. Arroyo, the environment and climate change.

The fewer turn-out of those wanting to show their flesh might have been the consequence of an early morning photo shoot of about 100 nude UPians to celebrate the school’s service to the country a week before. Capping the school’s centennial year celebration, on December 13, 2008, the dawn picture session had almost a hundred UPians exposing their skins. What was once considered a joke had turned out to be a controversial collective legitimate expression of selfless offering: “UP Para sa Bayan” (UP for the Nation.)

The nude mania also caught the fancy of the fine arts luminaries of the university. Earlier in June this year, works of National Artists Fernando Amorsolo, Guillermo Tolentino, Napoleon Abueva, Jose Joya, Cesar Legaspi, Benedicto “Bencab” Cabrera, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Abdulmari Imao and Vicente Manansala, among others were displayed in a public mall in Quezon city, in an exhibit titled, “100 Nudes/100 years.” It was supposed to be a self-congratulating reunion of UP artists to show the whole world of the school’s “big reservoir of talents.”

I don’t know if the Pavlovian concept on operant conditioning works on the psychology behind this nudity hullabaloo. If I have my psychiatry straight, humans like animals, are governed by rewards and punishments. When forbidden behavior such as shedding one’s clothes is reinforced by approving attention, many will do it again. There’s no negative backlash, no punishment and no incentive to prevent UP from doing the oblation run. Nudity which can be pleasurable, is tolerated, and even approved of by university authorities. En masse in front of satisfied onlookers, the event becomes a rousing surreal occasion akin to Bacchanalia.

Liberals, anarchists, and free thinkers can look at public nudity differently even if there are laws against indecent exposure. They usually laud anything contrary to the norm. They want unbridled freedom without much responsibility. Their perspective can be summed up with what iconoclastic John Lennon said when he was still alive.

“The main hang-up in the world today is hypocrisy and insecurity. If people can’t face up to the fact of other people being naked, or whatever they want to do, then we’re never going to get anywhere. People have got to become aware that it’s none of their business and that being nude is not obscene. Being ourselves is what’s important. If everyone practised being themselves instead of pretending to be what they aren’t, there would be peace.”—John Lennon, Beatles singer

Lennon’s opinion is just one side of the coin. He can’t be taken seriously all the way for there are conservative moral and cultural issues that must not be ignored by Filipinos. As a counterpoint, I can only refer at the photos of the oblation run shown in the blog. I suspect they have become raunchier and debased than the years past. With some clues of what goes on during the run, I need to repeat my two-cent worth of opinion about this school-sanctioned nude exhibitions in a supposedly sane university:

Surely, there is amusement in nudity, but such display is distracting and unwarranted. Young masked students running with no clothes on, giving away roses to onlookers is such a powerful emotion-rouser that we risk forgetting the grievances behind why we do it. It’s generally regarded as a mischievous prank rather than a serious protest. In spite of the fun, there is this troubling question whether such an event brings the most benefit in the long run. It makes us think if merriment and humor are always the best ways to air our problems and solve them.

After stating my closing thought, I couldn’t help but laugh when I read a smart quip about being nude—“Don’t arrest me. I was born this way.” It seemed the inane controversy on nudity in campus would stay. But with the rate ethical behavior and righteousness is expended these days, I would not be surprised if UP and many of her children might go astray. Photo Credits: in dekost; in.dekost; indekost; pmt007; in.dekost; in.dekost)=0=

RELATED BLOGS: “The Oblation Run: a risque prank becomes a raunchy protest”
Posted by mesiamd at 6/20/2008; “UP Para Sa Bayan” Posted by mesiamd at 12/13/2008

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A fresh look at longevity as a supercentenarian dies

November 28, 2008

Edna Parker, the 115 year and 220 day old American woman, the world’s oldest person died, says the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles, California. The Indiana woman who lived in a nursing home followed the passing on August 13, 2007 of the Japanese Yone Minagawa, the Guinness World Book of Records title holder for the oldest person before Parker.

Both persons qualify as “supercentenarians” for having lived beyond 110 years old. It is believed that currently there are 89 supercentenarians worldwide among whom 79 are women and 10 are men.

An amazing Frenchwoman who lived for 122 years

Jeanne Louise Calment was born in Arles, France on February 21, 1875 and died on August 4, 1997. She once met Vincent Van Gogh in her father’s shop. Her genes may have contributed to her longevity as her father lived to the age of 94 and her mother to the age of 86. She married a distant cousin at the age of 21. Her only grandson died in 1963. She rode a bicycle to the age of 100.

In October of 1995, much press coverage announced that Jeanne had exceeded the lifespan of Shigechiyo (Chigechiyo) Izumi, who until then had held the claim to the longest lived human. In fact, work by John Wilmoth indicates that Izumi may have only been 105 when he died, meaning that Jeanne may have outlived Izumi in 1980. If that is accurate, Jeanne would have become the longest lived human in 1991 when she exceeded the longevity of Carrie White, who died at the age of 116.”—Source: ww.wowzone.com

Increasing longevity of people has been a source of fascination of modern society. It is mainly attributed to better healthcare, control of illnesses by science, improved diet and life-style. With a normal maximum life-span of about 120 years, people are enthused by the prospect of extending years of survival or achieving immortality.

Researchers are finding ways of extending longevity, but others are questioning whether a longer life is better than having a shorter one that is meaningful and relatively free of protracted suffering. Ethicists mull on the morality of prolonging survival using means that are controversial. For instance, they struggle on the moral questions on using helpless human embryos in an effort to cure diseases and extend life. (Photo Credits: Ollik; AP/Darron Cummings; http://www.wowzone.com; [][][][])=0=

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Moral Challenge: angry gays protest ban of same-sex marriage in California

November 9, 2008

During the election in November 4, 2008, Californians were asked to decide on Proposition 8—a move to reverse the law enacted by the state Supreme Court in May 2008 on the validity of same-sex marriage.

Barack Obama fans and liberal democrats had a big surprise when West Coast’s residents rejected gay marriage (approved Proposition 8) in spite of the secular reputation of California, a bastion of democrat-liberals who generally support gay lifestyle. Two thirds of California’s black voters (66%) who voted for Obama didn’t do so for the lesbians and homosexuals. A record of these gays, 18,000 of them, forged matrimonies in the last 5 months before the election.

By the strength of the ballot, gay marriage prohibition won in California, Florida and Arizona. Only Massachusetts and Connecticut now approve same-sex marriages. On the other hand, New Jersey and New Hampshire only permit civil unions with the same legal rights as marriage.

What ensued was a flurry of gay activists’ angry protests who blamed religion, among others as a cause of their defeat. Despite the expressed will of the people, well-organized and vocal homosexual groups numbering up to 10,000 converged in San Diego on November 8, 2008 to protest.

In Salt Lake, Utah, a group of 2,000 staged a rally against the Church of the Latter Day’s Saints (Mormons) and mainstream Christians who forbid gay marital unions. Five thousand (5,000) gay marriage supporters came to a similar mass action in Los Angeles area.

The passing of Proposition 8 in California is a victory for conservatives. For now, the religious right and those who want to uphold traditional family and moral values have an upper hand. But the radical liberals are fighting back to change the rules and impose alternative lifestyle for society. In spite of the understanding, tolerance, and partner benefits given to gay couples, moves to redefine marriage go on.

The increasingly secular world has made people to ponder on what is right and wrong. An alarming fifty (50%) of traditional marriages end up in divorce in the United States. There are those who think the socio-cultural debacle stirred by the same-sex marriage issue, along with questions on abortion, euthanasia, pornography, illegal drugs, and stem-cell research may indicate the fraying of America’s moral values which signals its decline. Respect for the poor, aged, disabled and children are on the wane.

Contrarians however think gay marriage is a boost to advance modernity and sophistication— an expression of liberation from what others perceive as anachronism and religion’s oppressive hold on the people’s imagination. Quo Vadis, America? Where are you going, World? (Photo Credits: specsappeal.net; ncregister; moonbattery.com) =0=

Halloween Hangover

November 2, 2008

For most of us, the celebration of Halloween almost always means fun. The tradition of trick-a-treat, witches, kapre, goblins, ti-anak, jack o’ lantern, bonfires, costume parties, horror movies, and parades has become ever more popular. For the most part, the merriment goes without a hitch.

For Alex Woinksi however, this year’s holiday is different. Donning a crown of thorns and a costume to simulate Jesus Christ, the teenager was forced to go home early from the West Brook Middle School Halloween Celebration in Paramus, New Jersey. That’s upon the advice of his school principal.

It’s the old familiar question about freedom of expression versus the sensitivity and respect towards religion. Liberal society doesn’t see anything wrong with Jesus being impersonated in a pagan celebration like Halloween.

Many accept to see the holy Messiah reviled. He has been depicted as a frog pinned on the cross, prostitute-lover, a homosexual, and a loser immersed in bottle of urine, His mother Mary was “artistically” painted with horse dung—far outrageous than Woinski’s bland JC costume. Liberals and free thinkers justify these indignities as legitimate artsy self-expressions in synch with democratic rights in a modern society.

But those who don’t agree ask about respect over religious beliefs. They know some members of society recklessly push aside sensibility. Can anyone forget the rampage of killings provoked by depicting prophet Mohammed in cartoons published in a Danish newspaper? Does anyone notice how westerners are cowed to repeat the same “sacrilege” towards Islam?

The liberal-secularist point of view seems to play here again. About 75% of respondents in an informal AOL online survey opined it was OK for Woinski to wear the Jesus attire. Many didn’t believe that the costume was offensive to some students. The double-standard people have towards religion and the inconsistency of exercising political correctness make what is right or wrong, relative and contentious. (Photo Credits: Wonksi Family-AOL; pioscor; bcompetent; SD; rewritable) =0=

The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

November 2, 2008

The Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria, New York where I am a parishioner shares the United States bishop’s reflection “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” It serves as a primer on how a Catholic must vote in the US election. What is below is an abridged version of the document. The complete text can be read in http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org

The US bishops make clear that they don’t tell Catholics how to vote. They said the responsibility to make political choices rest on the voter. The bishops’ advice is ever more valuable as America charts its future.

Why Does the Church Teach About Issues Affecting Public Policy?

The Church’s obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith, a part of the mission given to by Jesus Christ. As people of both faith and reason, Catholics are called to bring truth to political life and to practice Christ’s commandment to “love one another.”

Who in the Church Should Participate in Political Life?

Catholics need to act on the Church’s moral principles and become more involved: running for office, working within political parties, and communicating concerns to elected officials. Even those who cannot vote should raise their voices on matters that affect their lives and the common good.

How Does the Church Help Catholics to Address Political and Social Questions?

A Well-Formed Conscience: We Catholics have a lifelong obligation to form our consciences in accord with human reason, enlightened by the teaching of Christ as it comes to us through the Church.

The Virtue of Prudence: Prudence enables us to” discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.” As Catholics seek to advance the common good, we must carefully discern which public polices are morally sound. A good end does not justify an immoral means.

Doing Good and Avoiding Evil: There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always be rejected and never supported. A preeminent example is the intentional taking of human life through abortion. It is always morally wrong to destroy innocent human beings. A legal system that allows the right to life to be violated on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.

Similarly, direct threats to the dignity of human life such as euthanasia, human cloning, and destructive research on human embryos are also intrinsically evil and must be opposed. Other assaults on human life and dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism, may the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war, can never be justified.

The use of death penalty, hunger, lack of health care or housing, human trafficking, the human and moral costs of war, and the unjust immigration polices are some of the serious moral issues that challenge our consciences. And require us to act.

Making Moral Choices: Difficult political decisions require a well-formed conscience aided by prudence. The exercise of conscience begins with always opposing polices that violate human life or weaken its protection. “Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good (USCCB, Catholics in Political Life).

What does the Church Say about Catholic teaching in the Public Square?
The consistent ethic of life is committed to defend human life and other human rights, from conception until natural death. Catholic voters should use Catholic teaching to examine candidates’ positions on issues and should consider candidates’ integrity, philosophy, and performance. It is important for all citizens “to see beyond party politics.”

The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person

Human life is sacred. Within our society, life is under direct attack from abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, and destruction of human embryos for research. These intrinsic evils must always be opposed.

Call to Family, Community, and Participation

The family, based on marriage between man and woman, is the fundamental unit of society. This sanctuary for the creation and nurturing of children must not be redefined, undermined, or neglected.

Rights and Responsibility

Every human being has a right to life, the fundamental right that makes all other rights possible. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities—to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

A moral test for society is how we treat the weakest among us—the unborn, those dealing with disabilities or terminal illness, the poor and marginalized.

Dignity of Work and the Right of Workers

Economic justice calls for decent work at fair, living wages, opportunities for legal status for immigrant workers, and the opportunity for all people to work together for the common good through their work, ownership, enterprise, investment, participation in unions, and other forms of economic activity.

Solidarity

We are one human family, whatever our national, social, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences.

Caring for God’s Creation

Care for the earth is a duty of our Catholic faith. We are called to be stewards of the environment for now and the future.

Conclusion

In the light of Catholic teaching, as bishops, we repeat our call for renewed politics that focuses on moral principles, the defense of life, the needs of the weak, and the pursuit of the common good. This kind of political participation reflects the social teaching of our Church and the best tradition of our nation. Source & Photo Credit: http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org =0=

“Win or lose, after the election we go shopping.”

October 29, 2008

Except for the people of Georgia and the Philippines, CNN reveals, seventy-five percent (75%) of the world wants Sen. Barack Obama to be the next US president.

The Fil-Am Democrat (FLD,) who spoke of ethnic “ignorance” and cautioned her kababayans that “a nation of bigoted fools is hopeless” raged over the support for Sen. John McCain. As a continuation of my blog: “On Filipino’s support for McCain: This goes deeper than ignorance,” on October 24, 2008, I proceed to think more on the Filipino. See what we have and you decide.

The Georgians

The small East European country with 6 million people allied with the United States was recently invaded by Russia. Georgians probably wanted a candidate like Sen. McCain with experience to help them deal with their problem with Russia.

What do Filipinos want?

Pres. Bill Clinton’s popular catch words “It’s the economy, stupid!” helped him win over the republican Pres. George H. W.Bush Sr.

It’s the economy again, but this time, Filipinos seriously weigh in on homeland security, the war on terror, religious freedom, illegal aliens, foreign policy, social security, taxation, healthcare, education, abortion, same-sex marriage, global warming, and stem cell research. That’s hell of a lot to think about.

Everybody knows the future of American is at stake. Tied with their moral values, they face conflicting issues in their way of life which are difficult to reconcile. At the risk of losing hold of their American dream, they have to decide with their moral stand, relying on what they hear from family and friends, church, media and workplace. Like any voter, they are vulnerable to misread the election issues and decide against their own respective interests.

Religion & Tradition

There are those who think religion isn’t needed in America anymore. The liberal extremists assert tradition is blasé and counterproductive. They want to ban prayers in school. They protest the mention of God in government. They trash the Christmas tree, efface the “In God We Trust” in the US currency, and prohibit the Christ’s birthday scene display in public. To advance abortion and same-sex marriage, they push on redefining life and the meaning marriage, hoping to change the constitution.

Many Filipinos don’t agree. Families decry the assault of liberalism on morals and ethics. They worry on the effects of secularist relativism for themselves and their growing children. They recognize the contribution of religious believers in the building of America. Rejecting corruption and injustice, many quietly abide with Pope Benedict XVI, the Orthodox Christians, denominational Christian sects, and other faiths including the Muslims and Jews.

US & Philippine Politics

The US election reflects the politics in the Philippines. The ACORN voter registration fraud in USA is just as deplorable as the “Hello Garci” scandal of Gloria M. Arroyo and the Joc Joc Bolante election money diversion.

There is hypocrisy, corruption, and distortions hurled on both sides. The manipulation of public opinion through massive campaign spending and eloquent talk has made it hard to ascertain truth.

Filipinos find it hard to buy on promises of change without action. But surely there are those who put their trust on promises. In the crisis that damaged the credibility of the financial system, they have a schizophrenic view of the motives of leaders. They are disappointed and angered for even the retired economics guru Alan Greenspan admitted his mistake in handling the economy.

The financial bailout of $700 billion seems not enough to solve the economic meltdown which some say comes every hundred years. The economy continues to be volatile. Federal Reserves chairman Ben Shalom Bernanke and Treasury secretary Henry Paulson struggle to bring the economy on track. Yet, even with resiliency and optimism, Americans ask if the new president can deliver.

But Filipinos aren’t that politically engaged. They rather stay on the side to focus on their personal lives, work hard to recoup the lost time to advance their dream and that of their families. They are ambivalent to vote for a candidate with grandiose promises, questionable past, and unproven track record of service. Yet, they also worry about a president coming from the ranks of old politics.

“Redistribution of Wealth”

Counted among the successful migrants in America, Filipinos play by the rules. They work hard in the tradition of free enterprise. Many avoid the greed and corruption they see in their native land and they hurt when they see it happen in Washington and Wall Street.

They believe honest job gets rewarded better than being idle and lazy. They know competition is a force which drives people to advance in the social ladder; they frown on dole-outs which encourage indolence. Their friends and relatives who have not seen the gruelling work in America may not agree with them.

Unlike the 12 million aliens who gate-crashed USA, majority of Filipinos waited for years working legally to become integrated and become citizens. Taking the capitalist mindset to pursue the American dream, they look at government’s sudden interest in private property with suspicion.

The candidate who wants to intrude into private money by “spreading wealth” isn’t what successful Filipino migrants desire in spite of the fact that sharing wealth abides with their Christian beliefs. In some ways, they want other people to share America’s pie, but they want them to respect the law and work by the rules.

Filipinos are unwilling to be dictated by politicians on what to do with their health insurance, retirement money, savings, investments, and 401Ks. They desire to do charity in their own terms. Socialist liberals, riding on many cash-strapped Americans needing financial help are tempted to tap and give away money to “level the playing field.” Filipinos know the devil lies in the details of a drastic plan and they ask if an elected official(s) can have a blank check using tax-payers’ money to reprogram society.

Broken Promises & Taking Responsibility

Pres. Bill Clinton didn’t fulfill his promise on universal healthcare. Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda grew in strength and the stock market ballooned into a bubble which ruptured almost at the end of his term.

Clinton didn’t correct the warped and corrupt business practices of Wall Street in his time, paving the way for its collapse, damaging the finances of ordinary people in the Main Street.

The immorality in the Monica Lewinsky affair almost kicked Clinton by impeachment. In spite of approving reviews from democrats, he didn’t take enough responsibility as the people expected. The same frustration apply to Pres. George W. Bush and the “do nothing” warring officials of the senate and congress.

The credit card and mortgage debts are out of hand. Americans live beyond their means. The government has not exercised enough oversight and the moral guardians are losing sway over the people’s sense of right and wrong.

Greedy investors and financial managers have signed in borrowers worse than the loan scammers in the Philippines. Those who can’t pay for their homes dodge their complicity by leaving blame to mortgage lenders and the government. Responsible citizens don’t think this way.

With this mess, who then will the public vote? Those who are buried in debt and joblessness root for a promised savior-president, but Filipinos are more pragmatic. Maybe they heard of financier Bernard Baruch’s advice: “Vote for the man who promises least. He’ll be the least disappointing.”

Partisan Media

The media spread truth and lies. The public has become the captive of its bias and agenda. The media failed to vet on Obama’s background which citizens need to know. Instead, they drum up inanities which distract the focus of the electorate. By pounding on anti-American themes throughout the Bush administration, the media have succeeded in demonizing USA around the world. With huge latitude to control information, it’s easy for them to influence the thinking of the people here and abroad.

Against the majority, many take a detached and independent stand against the media’s excesses. There is lopsidedness in the information stream from the liberal New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, and CNN against the underdog conservative defenders in Fox News and the rightist talk radio announcers. Filipinos ask, “How sure are you that the media give you the right information?” Is it any wonder the US newspapers have suffered dropping readership and many Americans don’t turn on their TV anymore?

Movie Stars & Celebrity Politics

Hollywood has joined the political fray too. Filipinos have seen it happen in the Philippines. Talk show hosts like Jay Leno, movie star Barbra Streisand, TV darling Oprah Winfrey, singer Madonna, lesbian comediennes Ellen de Generes and Rosie O’ Donnell, atheist and anti-religion Richard Dawkins, and secularist anti-conservative movie director Michael Moore rein over liberalism while conservatism and traditional family values aren’t given a fair shake to express itself.

The culture these celebrities promote is not what Filipinos can easily take—bait, hook, and sinker. Many believe they can better rely on themselves about how they’ll conduct their lives than trust the movie stars.

The prospect of a USA rising under a liberal president seems dampened by a silent fear of an economically and culturally waning America whose moral moorings is fast fading. Conservative Americans and Filipinos are worried by the change in society (for the better or worse.) Even the academics from universities are viewed with distrust; in their erudition they have their own self interest to pursue.

Foreign Vote in the US Election

With Obama’s African ancestry, people abroad hope he will somehow think like his Kenyan forebears and have sympathies for the cause of the outside world. Those who harbor anti-American sentiments find Obama likeable against McCain for being an “extension” of Pres. Bush. Foreigners have generously donated money in Obama’s campaign chest counting that their interest will be served if he gets elected.

Race Issue

In the privacy of their homes and in the tone of their humor, there are as much racial undertones that Filipinos are willing to admit. It also goes true with the Americans, but perhaps lesser. Lacking multiracial exposure compared to those who have been in USA longer, Filipinos are still more likely to favor a white man to be president, but this can change. A combination of simple preference, ignorance, colonial mentality, and bigotry are to blame if they vote solely on the basis of race.

You Decide

Think seriously where you stand on the issues. Decide wisely. The economy is important as the questions on where the culture of America is going— the milieu in which our children will live in the future. Resilient and adaptable, I expect all of us will accept whoever wins. We must be prepared to enjoy or suffer the consequences which go with the decision. As Imelda Marcos said in her uncanny wry humor, “win or lose, after the election, we go shopping.”

Photo Credits: wwww.hamburg.mi.us; amobb; wishymom; mariozucca; Amm; leeKlement; j-walkblog; ahurey; chuckumentary) =0=

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