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Crucifixions, They’re More Fun in the Philippines

During this Holy Week like others in the past, for as long as this author can remember, A crucifixion on Good Friday in Pampanga provincea 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 distasteful practices.

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 3/30/2013


RECENT EDITORIALS

Will the Philippines Ever Speed Up Its Glacially-Slow Justice System?

We’ve all heard the saying “justice delayed is justice denied.” That maxim has been around since time immemorial. In fact the Pirkei Avot (Hebrew for “Ethics of the Fathers”) which dates back to the 1st century B.C. mentions an old rabbi saying that goes: “the sword comes into the world, because of justice delayed and justice denied." In 1215 A.D. a clause from the Magna Carta similarly declares that “to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice." Published 3/17/2015


Amal Alamuddin Clooney Wants to Defend Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ...Why?

Okay so she's George Clooney's wife, she's got great looks, a law degree and ambitious enough to make a name for herself apart from that of her superstar husband. Fair enough. So Amal Alamuddin Clooney decides to take on high profile cases of injustice around the world. Even better. But filing a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? What's up with that? Better do your homework Mrs. Clooney. It won't take long for you to realize that Arroyo is getting exactly what she deserves. Published 3/12/2015
Manny Pacquiao Should Not Be Given a Tax Exemption

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With Negotiators Like These on Our Team, Who Needs an Opposing Side?

What on earth happened to these two women—supposedly  handpicked by the president himself to argue on behalf of the Philippine government in peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—who now seem to be mouthpieces for the Moros? Have Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the negotiating panel become mesmerized by the tough "macho" image the rebels project? Published 2/27/2015
Why is the NBI Going After Those Who Uploaded the Sagonoy Video?

According to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, they have identified the individuals who uploaded the video showing the coldblooded killing of PO2 Joseph Sagonoy. The cellphone video was purportedly taken by Muslim rebels during the Jan. 25, 2014 encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group. The video shows a wounded Sagonoy who is shot twice in the head at close range. Published 2/21/2015
Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano

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. Published 2/15/2015
No More Bangsamoro, Period!

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. Published 2/8/2015
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped

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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. Published 1/27/2015
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. Published 1/22/2015

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