this Holy Week like others in the past, for as long as this author can
small minority of Filipinos have been whipping themselves raw or nailing
themselves to crosses in a supposed show of atonement and piety. This odd
spectacle now draws worldwide interest with curious tourists flying in from
all over to witness firsthand flagellants who whip themselves to down to raw
flesh or penitents who are nailed to wooden crosses on Good Friday.
And while these individuals
may have the purest of intentions, their bizarre acts have been turned into
a carnival act that actually cheapens and disrespects the actual suffering
and death of Jesus Christ. The fact that these penitents can go through a
“staged” crucifixion on a yearly basis gives some the sense crucifixion was
not all that hard after all. The thin and sterilized stainless steel nails
these misguided penitents use keep hand wounds small and prevent
infections. They also stand on a pedestal and are harnessed to prevent them
from ever hanging from the actual nails and getting seriously hurt.
At the end of the day, it
is a circus act—a crude and distasteful circus act most civilized cultures
are repulsed by. The day we Filipinos develop an ounce of common sense, we
too will likely put a swift end to this sheer and utter nonsense.
It is important to note at
this point that the country’s credit rating was recently raised to BB+ or
investment grade by Fitch Ratings. This is the first time the country has
held such a rating. And if we Filipinos are to maintain or even raise that
rating, we have to start acting the part. Continuing many of these strange
and peculiar practices will certainly not endear us to foreign investors
looking for a serious place to park their money. The country will instead be
seen as that strange place with a backward people who engage in bizarre and
The Catholic Church has for
the most part simply stood on the sidelines mumbling under their breath that
such practices are not church sanctioned. But they make it a point not to
object too loudly least they incur the wrath of the multitudes that weekly
fill their collection plates.
With the Church unwilling
or unable to stamp-out these practices, our present good economic fortune as
well as our investment-grade rating may be nothing but a flash in the pan.
In the end, the weird and wacky things some of us do will eventually drag
the entire country back down to a third-world curiosity where strange things
take place. At that point we’ll be more likely to find ourselves on the
cover of tabloids like the Daily Enquirer than the pages of the Wall Street
Journal or Fortune Magazine. Published
The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed.
With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea.
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped
What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah
Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens; from Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Francois Hollande of France, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and many other heads of state from all corners of the globe have gone or are headed to Riyadh to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah. Even U.S. President Barack Obama cut short his state visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia.
After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do
We put on a good show for Pope Francis. He loved it; we loved it; the world loved it. Now the long and painful task of bringing about the changes the pope asked for begins. Start with the Philippine Catholic Church. It should refocus its efforts towards the poor. As we wrote in previous editorials, many priests and bishops see themselves as members of the rich and privileged class. They feel more at home in country clubs and dining in expensive restaurants, than they do helping the poor who live in the squatter communities that dot most cities in the Philippines.
Pope Francis Admonishes Pinoys to End Scandalous Inequalities
We had a feeling this was coming. In his first major speech in the Philippines, Pope Francis called for an end to 'scandalous inequalities' in the country. And what better example of a scandalous inequality is there than that a preposterously ridiculous wedding of Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera which was officiated by 8 bishops and 7 priests. In addition, this crass wedding featured a 12-foot high wedding cake, a 2-million-peso wedding gown with an exaggeratedly long train that seemed to go on forever...you get the picture.
An Open Letter to Pope Francis; Please Read It Before Coming to the Philippines
Dear Pope Francis, your much anticipated visit to the Philippines is just a few days away. We expect that you will have been adequately briefed about the Philippines by the time you arrive. However, there might be a few things your Vatican handlers might have missed—or intentionally "forgot" to mention to you so we hope this letter reaches you in time for your historic visit. Before anything else, welcome!