P. Peter Geremia su RAI 2

SULLA VIA DI DAMASCO – RAI 2

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit,” Diocese of Kidapawan Romulo Dela Cruz read the gospel of John 12:24 in homily during the Eucharistic Celebration on the 2nd commemoration of the death of Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio, PIME, on 17 October 2013 in Kidapawan City.

- See more at: http://justiceforpops.com/news-stories/audio-homily-of-bishop-romulo-dela-cruz/#sthash.Zt9ucqHf.dpuf

Two years later

DynPicWaterMark_ImageViewer.phpfrom MINDANEWS

By Keith Bacongco on October 17 2013

Two years later, no cases against the suspects killers of father Fausto Tentorio have been filed in court yet. Bishop Dela Cruz urged (yesterday in Kidapawan) the parishioners to continue praying and not to lose hope in pursuing justice for Tentorio.“Hope springs eternal,” the bishop said. Just like the killing of Fr. Tulio Favali in 1985, the parishioners remained hopeful that justice will be achieved. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit,” Dela Cruz read the gospel.Ten other priests joined the bishop in a mass held beside the cemetery, where slain missionary Tulio Favali was also buried in 1985.Around 1,000 people coming from different parishes of the diocese gathered for the commemoration of Tentorio’s killing. The parishioners, lumads (indigenous people of Mindanao), and members of militant groups marched around the major thoroughfares of the city amid the heavy rain.The bishop said the Church is grateful for the persistence of Fr. Peter Geremia, Tentorio’s colleague in the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) and fellow Italian, despite his age.

Like a miracle

Father Geremia said in an interview last week that it would be “like a miracle” if justice will be served (on Tentorio’s case) in his lifetime. At 75, Geremia admitted that he had some frustrations while struggling to build up the case against the suspected paramilitary members who were reportedly behind the killing of the 59-year-old missionary. “If that were to happen, that will be like a miracle. I would be grateful. But if it doesn’t come out completely in my time, maybe it will come out eventually,” he told MindaNews. Tentorio’s parishioners have been accusing the military as behind the killing, which the military repeatedly denied. Tentorio has been known for his advocacy work for the indigenous peoples, environment and human rights. Geremia, assistant parish priest of Arakan, admitted that some of his colleagues and parishioners have been telling him that what he is trying to accomplish in the present system is almost impossible. Like the exposé on the anomalous transactions on the priority development assistance fund (PDAF), Geremia said he is also hoping that a whistleblower would come out and say something about the system of impunity in the government.He added that it seems those who have been implicated, particularly the members of the paramilitary group, are “untouchables.”“We continue to challenge the system of impunity as we continue to challenge the system of corruption,” Geremia stressed.

Further investigation

Gregorio Andolana, lawyer of the Diocese of Kidapawan, said they have requested for further investigation following the retraction of three witnesses. Al Calica, chief regional prosecutor for Region 12, has ordered for further investigation following the clarificatory hearings held in Arakan last July.During the hearing, Geremia said witnesses presented by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) retracted their statements implicating brothers Jose and Dimas Sampulna, in effect clearing the Sampulna brothers. “So now the accused are only the Ato brothers and the five Baganis headed by Jan Corbala, alias Kumander Iring,” the priest said. Andolana, a former congressman, said that even with the admission of former North Cotabato Governor Manny Piñol that the Baganis exist, no investigation has been made. During the public inquiry conducted by the Commission on Human Rights last May, Piñol admitted that they organized and trained the Bagani paramilitary. The Ato brothers, who were arrested in December 2011, are still under the custody of North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco (2nd Dist.). Dominador Damlayon, one of the witnesses that had earlier pointed at brothers Jimmy and Robert Ato, had already retracted his statement that he signed before the NBI in Cagayan de Oro last year.
Damlayon claimed that a certain Loloy brought him to the NBI office in Cagayan de Oro City, and that he was forced to sign the prepared affidavit.But the NBI denied Damlayon’s claim, adding they did not know any Loloy.

Keeping the memory alive

Unlike the case of Favali, the progress of Tentorio’s case is very slow. Geremia recounted that Favali’s killers were sentenced in a little more than two years after the April 11, 1985 killing in Tulunan, North Cotabato.
Both Andolana and Geremia believe that somebody is “blocking or manipulating” to mislead the investigation.
Andolana, who also served as the Church’s counsel during Favali’s case, admitted that they feel “like they are alone” in pursuing justice for Tentorio. “During the Favali case, we can feel the eagerness of the people, they were cooperating. But now, it seems that Fr. Peter is the only one who is actively fighting for justice,” he said in an interview. Amid the slow progress, Geremia is still hopeful that he and the people of Arakan will achieve justice for his slain colleague. He said that his quest for justice is not just for his fellow missionary but also for the other victims of extra-judicial killings.
“We keep on pursuing justice to keep the memory of the victims alive. And to keep their cause alive,” he said.

Secondo anniversario della morte di padre Fausto Tentorio

Le iniziative a Santa Maria Hoé

Da giovedì 17 a domenica 20: incontri, testimonianze e momenti di preghiera.

ft21Nel secondo anniversario della morte del missionario del PIME ucciso nell’isola di Mindanao il 17 ottobre 2011, la comunità di Santa Maria Hoè organizza una serie di iniziative in ricordo.
Giovedì 17 ottobre ore 20.30 S. Messa nella chiesa di S. Maria Hoè presieduta dal Vicario episcopale mons. Maurizio Rolla. Al termine momento conviviale nel salone S. Carlo

Venerdì 18 ottobre conferenza di padre Francesco Rapacioli su: “Il mondo missionario del PIME”

Sabato 19 ottobre Santa messa presieduta dai padri del PIME. Seguirà un incontro con gli amici

Domenica 20 ottobre S. Messa nella chieda parrocchiale di S. Maria Hoè, ore 12.00 pranzo in oratorio per tutti i ragazzi che saranno coinvolti con un tema missionario. Ore 15.00 marcia della speranza partendo dalla chiesetta Bosco con riflessioni. Conclusioni in Chiesa.

Bopha Report after 4 months

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GREETINGS OF PEACE!
It has been 4 months since Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) struck the southeastern part of Mindanao. What initially looked like a hopeless situation is slowly being turned around by the resilience and determination of the survivors, the unflagging dedication of the volunteers, and the unwavering support of those like you who did not hesitate to share what you had for the survivors.

We would like to give you this report on the series of medical relief missions conducted by Balsa-Mindanao, a citizen-led movement that responds to disasters and of which the Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio Foundation is a member.
These missions were made possible not by a single entity, but by the collaborative effort and support of a lot of individuals and organizations, which includes you. All the donations: medicines, finance, logistics, time, and morale, all contributed to the success of these missions. In the name of the lives with whom we had the opportunity to be a part of, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for your support.

The often spoken line of the people was: what took us years to build, Pablo took away in 4 hours. It will indeed take years to rebuild but we are hoping to reassure the people that we will still be there with them in their efforts to rise from the ruins.

Our missions are still continuing but this time towards strengthening the community to regain or obtain their self-esteem and self-reliance. This summer, we will be launching trainings for Community Health Workers and more medical missions in the affected areas. We hope that somehow we can contribute to the communities’ efforts in Disaster Response and Preparedness by training these Community Health Workers to also become First Responders.

We know that you, too, will continue with us on this journey.

Thank you,

Fr. Peter Geremia, PIME

UPDATES Arakan Valley by Peter Geremia

On october 24, 2012, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the largest Newspaper in the country, published an editorial entitled “Runaway Justice” denouncing the inaction of the DOJ and their failure to reply to our requests. The Editorial stated “The ability of Fr. Pops’ killers to evade the law with impunity is not an aberration. It is a continuing, and most damning, affirmation of the Government’s impotence to throw the book at powerful criminals who are able to count on the protection of shadowy forces in society, not to mention the glacial pace of the justice system, to shun accountability for their crimes…”

This editorial was the result of our shouting for justice during the anniversary of Pops’ death, as well as our quiet prayers with the power to move mountains. DOJ Usec. Baraan came to Davao on November 6, 2012 with the top NBI officers. He examined again our witnesses and assured us, in the presence of our Bishop and our lawyers, to complete the investigations of the key suspects and to issue soon their resolution of the case for filing in court. One of the NBI agents proposed the lie detector test for our witnesses because he still doubts their testimonies, on the other hand, we are also doubting the testimonies of some NBI witnesses, in fact one of them has already signed a retraction saying that he was forced to give false testimony. We suggested that if the lie detector is applied, even the NBI witnesses and agents should take the test.

On November 8 and 9 2012 also in Davao a Congressional Inquiry sponsored by the Committee on Human Rights examined the testimonies of 16 cases similar to Fausto’s case. This year 2012 in Mindanao the killings of community leaders known as defenders of human rights and of the environment have happened again and again causing shock and fear of many communities:

1.     On March 5, 2012 JIMMY LIGUYON, a Matigsalog Tribal leader, was killed in San Fernando, Bukidnon for refusing to sign consent to large-scale mining.
2.     On May 6, 2012 FRED TRANGIA, anti Large-scale mining activist, was killed in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.
3.     On May 9, 2012 MARGARITO CABAL, an anti-mega dam activist, was killed in Kibawi, Bukidnon.
4.     On August 2012 JORDAN MANDA, a Subanen Indigenous child, was killed in Bayog, Zamboanga Del Sur in an ambush that wounded his father, the main leader of the opposition of the TVI mining company.
5.     On September 13, 2012 GENESIS AMBASON, a Banwaon Tribal leader, was killed in San Luis, Agusan del Sur for opposing Malampay Mining.
6.     On October 3, 2012 GILBERT PABORADA, Higaonon leader opposing Oil palm plantation expansion, was killed in Opol, Misamis Oriental.
7.     On October 18, 2012 JUVY MALID CAPION, a pregnant mother, and 2 sons, JAN-JAN AND JEORGE, were massacred at the boundary of Tampakan, Kiblawan, and Columbio, because their father was hunted by the 27th IB for opposing the Xstrata-SMI Project there…

The victims listed above are mostly tribal leaders who usually have no access to legal assistance, they can only cry for justice in the wilderness. The cry for justice for Pops has become a chorus The victims are too many to ignore. The same pattern of Mining companies or Plantations or Multi-million projects sponsored by corrupt politicians, using the Military or paramilitary forces to eliminate and terrorize those who stand for the defense of their Ancestral Domains or the environment.

Is this a war against the defenders of Human and Environmental Rights? Does the Administration have any control of the Military and paramilitary involved? Can they disarm them or do they close their eyes to this system of impunity? Are their investigations leading to justice or to cover-ups?

The Congressional inquiry questioned the Military officers with command responsibility on the areas of these killings, but their reply was always the same, complete denial, they do not know any of the suspects, like in the case of Fausto, even though they were seen by many people joining their operation and staying in their camps.

TYPHOON PABLO

December 4, 2012 Typhoon Pablo. That morning here in Arakan I experienced sudden waves of violent wind and rain. The storm passed by quickly, I thought it was over. Then I began to receive texts with cries of distress: “The roof of our school was blown away, we do not know where to hide, we are afraid of floods and landslides…” Then gradually pictures appeared on television: houses, bridges, schools, hospitals, churches, and public buildings dismantled… Trees, plantations, and all kinds of crops washed away like garbage, mountains melting into raging floods submerging several villages… Then piles of bodies and some survivors covered with mud and wounds…
Now after a week, long lines of people crying for food, and long lines of patients waiting for days to be treated… Shock and panic, many people in fear of being struck again by the angry forces of nature… Many are asking why? Some are suggesting  that this tragedy is due to unregulated logging and mining, then the vast plantations and kaingin, even the housing projects and roads have disrupted the balance of nature. Senseless distraction and exploitation of natural resources for quick profits resulted to violent reactions of the forces of nature. A kind of revenge by nature?

Can people ever learn? From authorities to children, from those who survived the deluge and are struggling to start a new life, to us who see the pictures of destruction and fear that we may be the next target of similar calamities… What are we learning?
We turn to God, we are crying out to Him, but He may be also crying out to us showing the way to live in harmony with nature. The God of Mercy and Compassion is moving many volunteers to provide emergency assistance. A flood of solidarity is spreading, still unable to repair the damages, but refusing to surrender to hopelessness
Many are still unaware, or refusing to see the causes of increasing calamities, they remain in a state of denial. But some are refusing to let them destroy our life-support systems, to upset the marvelous harmony of God’s creation and to tear apart Mother Earth and all the resources of Nature as sources of quick profit, not as sources of life. When will we ever learn?
According to the latest count the number of confirmed dead is more than 600 and the missing more than 900. Over five million people are seriously affected and it will take a long time before life can be normal for them again.

Our Fr. Fausto Tentorio’s Foundation has sent teams to the most affected areas for relief and medical missions. Two of our schools initiated by Fausto, are severely damaged, the teachers need also shock treatment. Classes have been discontinued, the families of the students are struggling to find food and resume farming to avoid starvation, they cannot yet repair their houses and schools. We would like to help more but our resources are limited. We need everyone’s support, if you have anything to share it will be most welcome.

Sincere thanks to all and best wishes for Christmas and New Year. God Bless.

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24 ott 2012 Il quotidiano filippino Inquirer, il più grande quotidiano del paese, ha pubblicato un editoriale intitolato “la fuga della giustizia” (Runaway Justice) denuncia l’immobilismo del Dipartimento di Giustizia e la loro mancanza di risposta alle nostre richieste. La redazione ha dichiarato: “La capacità degli assassini di p. Pops  di eludere la legge impunemente non è solo un’aberrazione. Si tratta di una affermazione costante, e più schiacciante, dell’impotenza del governo di gettare in prigione i criminali potenti che sono in grado di contare sulla protezione delle forze oscure nella società, per non parlare poi della lentezza del sistema giudiziario e i vari meccanismi per eludere la responsabilità di condannare i responsabili… “
Questo editoriale è stato il risultato delle nostre grida di giustizia durante il primo anniversario della morte di Pops ‘,. Così le nostre preghiere silenziose con  la speranza che abbiano il potere di spostare le montagne. Il DOJ segretario Baraan venuto a Davao il 6 novembre 2012 con gli ufficiali dell’NBI. ha interrogato di nuovo i nostri testimoni e ci ha assicurato, alla presenza del nostro Vescovo e dei nostri avvocati, che completeranno le indagini sui sospetti chiave e rilasceranno presto la loro risoluzione sul caso per depositarlo in tribunale. Uno degli agenti NBI ha proposto il test della macchina della verità per i ‘nostri’ testimoni, perché dubita ancora delle loro testimonianze. Tuttavia ci sono anche dubbie testimonianze di alcuni testimoni NBI. Infatti uno di loro ha già firmato una ritrattazione dicendo che era stato costretto a dare falsa testimonianza. Abbiamo suggerito che, se la macchina della verità venisse veramente applicata, che sia usata anche  per i testimoni NBI e i loro agenti involti nell’investigazione.
Il 8 e 9 novembre 2012 in Davao una inchiesta del Congresso promosso dal Comitato per i diritti umani ha esaminato le testimonianze di 16 casi simili a quello di Fausto. Nell’anno 2012 in Mindanao le uccisioni di leader della comunità conosciuti come difensori dei diritti umani e dell’ambiente hanno ripetutamente provocato molti shock e paure in molte persone e comunità:

1. Il 5 marzo 2012 Jimmy LIGUYON, un leader tribale Matigsalog, è stato ucciso a San Fernando, Bukidnon per aver rifiutato di firmare il consenso di estrazione mineraria.
2. Il 6 maggio 2012 FRED Trangia, un  attivista contro le miniere, è stato ucciso a Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.
3. Il 9 Mag 2012 Margarito CABAL, un attivista anti-mega diga, è stato ucciso a Kibawi, Bukidnon.
4. In agosto 2012 GIORDANIA MANDA, un bambino Subanen indigeno, è stato ucciso a Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur in un agguato che ferì il padre, il principale leader dell’opposizione alla società mineraria canadese TVI.
5. Il 13 settembre 2012 GENESIS AMBASON, un leader tribale Banwaon, è stato ucciso a San Luis, Agusan del Sur per essersi opposto alla Mining Malampay.
6. Il 3 ott, 2012 GILBERT PABORADA, leader Higaonon che si opponeva alla espansione delle piantagioni di palma da olio, è stato ucciso a OPOL, Misamis orientale.
7. Il 18 Ottobre 2012 JUVY MALID Capion, una madre incinta, e 2 figli, JAN-Jan e Jeorge, furono massacrati al confine di Tampakan, Kiblawan e Columbio, perché il loro padre era braccato dai soldati del 27IB perché si era opposto al progetto Xstrata- SMI  …

Le vittime di cui sopra sono per lo più capi tribali che di solito non hanno accesso all’assistenza legale, possono solo piangere per la giustizia, in silenzio . Il grido di giustizia per Pops è diventato comunque un coro Le vittime sono troppe per essere ignorate. Sono il risultato dello stesso modello di società dove sono importanti solo la estrazione mineraria, le grandi piantagione, i multi-milionari progetti sponsorizzati da politici corrotti. Molte volte questi utilizzando le forze militari o paramilitari per eliminare e terrorizzare coloro che si oppongono e lottano per la difesa dei domini ancestrali o dell’ambiente.
E’ forse una guerra contro i difensori dei diritti umani e ambientali? L’Amministrazione ha veramente il controllo dei militari e paramilitari coinvolti? Possono disarmarli o chiudono gli occhi a questo sistema di impunità? Le loro indagini conducono alla giustizia o semplicemente la coprano?
Il Congresso sta interrogando gli ufficiali militari con responsabilità di comando circa questi omicidi, ma la risposta e’ sempre la stessa: completa ignoranza. Non conoscono nessuno dei sospettati, come nel caso di Fausto, anche se sono stati visti da molte persone in pubblico e  nei campi militari.

4 Dic 2012          TIFONE PABLO

Quella mattina qui in Arakan ho sperimentato ondate improvvise di vento e pioggia violenta. La tempesta passò in fretta, ho pensato che fosse finita. Poi ho cominciato a ricevere i testi con grida di aiuto: “Il tetto della nostra scuola è stato spazzato via, non si sa dove nascondersi, abbiamo paura di inondazioni e frane …” Poi a poco a poco le immagini sono apparse anche in televisione: case, ponti, scuole , ospedali, chiese, ed edifici pubblici smantellati … alberi, piantagioni, e tutti i tipi di colture spazzati via come spazzatura, montagne di fango e furiose inondazioni hanno colpito diversi villaggi … Poi mucchi di corpi e di sopravvissuti coperti di fango e ferite …
Ora, dopo una settimana, lunghe file di persone che piangono per il cibo, e le lunghe file di pazienti in attesa da giorni di essere curati … shock e panico. Molte persone hanno paura di venir colpiti ancora dalle forze violente della natura  … Molti si chiedono perché? Alcuni suggeriscono che questa tragedia è dovuto al disboscamento indiscriminato e dalle escavazioni delle miniere. Poi anche le vaste piantagioni e il kaingin (taglia e brucia = metodo brutale di coltivazione del terreno non ancora disboscato). Anche le case e le strade costruite hanno reso instabile l’equilibrio della natura. Una distrazione insensata. Lo sfruttamento delle risorse naturali, per comodi guadagni, ha spinto le forze della natura a reagire violentemente. Una sorta di vendetta in natura?

Le persone potranno imparare? Dalle autorità ai bambini, da coloro che sono sopravvissuti al diluvio e stanno lottando per iniziare una nuova vita, a noi che vediamo le immagini di distruzione e di sgomento perché possiamo essere il prossimo obiettivo di simili calamità  … Che cosa stiamo imparando?
Ci rivolgiamo a Dio, stiamo gridando a Lui, ma Egli risponde a noi mostrando invece un modo di vivere in armonia con la natura. Insieme. Il Dio di misericordia e compassione sta muovendo molti volontari per fornire assistenza in tempo di emergenza. Il fiume di solidarietà si sta allargando. Siamo ancora in grado di riparare i danni, ma solo rifiutando di arrenderci alla disperazione.
Molti tuttavia sono ancora ciechi e rifiutano di vedere le cause di queste calamità . Rimangono in uno stato di negazione, indifferenza. Ma ci sono coloro che si rifiutano di lasciare distruggere i  sistemi antichi di supporto vitale, di sconvolgere la meravigliosa armonia della creazione di Dio e di fare a pezzi la Madre Terra con tutte le sue risorse come fossero solo fonti di rapido profitto e non come di vita. Quando cominceremo ad imparare?

Secondo l’ultimo conteggio del numero dei morti confermati e’ quasi 600 e più di 900 i dispersi. Più di cinque milioni di persone sono state gravemente colpite e ci vorrà molto tempo prima che la vita potrà ritornare normale per loro.
La nostra Fondazione Fausto Tentorio ha inviato squadre nelle zone più colpite per le missioni di soccorso e di assistenza medica. Due delle nostre scuole, costruite da Fausto, sono state gravemente danneggiate e gli insegnanti devono assorbire tutte le difficoltà . Le classi sono state interrotte, le famiglie degli studenti stanno lottando per trovare cibo e riprendere a coltivare la terra per non morire di fame. Molti non sono ancora in grado riparare le proprie case e scuole. Vorremmo aiutare di più, ma le nostre risorse sono limitate. Abbiamo bisogno del sostegno di tutti, se avete qualcosa da condividere sarà il benvenuto.
Un sincero ringraziamento a tutti e auguri per Natale e Capodanno. Dio vi benedica.

Father Pops case: a witness

By JOHN RIZLE L. SALIGUMBA
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – “Kung maaari, kayo po ang gumawa ng pamamaraan (If possible, find a way) to obtain information.”  This was the appeal made by Italian priest Peter Geremia, colleague of murdered missionary Father Fausto ‘Pops’ Tentorio, to the members of the Congressional Committee on Human Rights during its first day of onsite hearing Thursday in the city.

The Committee tackled 15 House Resolutions which called for justice to resolve reported various cases of human rights violations in the country.  Last month the committee held a hearing in Visayas. According to the Committee Vice-Chair Davao City First District Representative Karlo Nograles they found that there was “a certain pattern similar to what is happening in Mindanao.”

While there may be an international definition of extra-judicial killings, Nograles said, the country has yet to legislate a law to define “summary killings.” Frustrated with the slow wheels of justice, Geremia requested for the Task Force Tentorio, a multi-agency body created by the Department of Justice, to complete its report and findings.

Geremia said his group had already requested for the investigation of former Arakan Valley Police Chief Benjamin Rioflorido, the military’s Captain Mark Espiritu and members of the ‘Bagani’ paramilitary forces. Geremia said a witness in their custody narrated that Rioflorido was the one who accosted the paramilitary troops who were out to assassinate Tentorio on October 15, 2011.   The paramilitary troops were said to have a sack of firearms and the military’s Espiritu was allegedly the one who signed to release the firearms.

Geremia questioned why the Task Force has not probed the involvement of Rioflorido and Espiritu.  In particular, Geremia wants to know the connection between the accosted Bagani members and Espiritu. During Friday’s hearing, police officers said that the sack intercepted in Arakan last October 14, 2011 contained two M16 rifles, a Caliber 0.45 handgun and an amulet.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the guns were used for their civil-military operations.  They also denied any knowledge on the presence or nature of the Bagani. In a supplemental affidavit filed last April, Geremia’s witness said that he saw Jan Corbala or “Kumander Iring” (Cebuano for cat), a known Bagani leader, with alleged triggerman Jimmy Ato and Jimmy’s brother Robert. Another witness who claimed to be a Bagani member also testified before the Congressional hearing and said that six people, himself included, plotted to kill Tentorio. He added that Corbala was the one who planned the murder and was given PHP 50,000 (USD 1,213.62) by the military to kill the Italian missionary.  This witness added that the planning was done in a Bagani detachment in Danatan in Arakan town, Cotabato province.

Geremia asked the congressional body to seek the Department of National Defense (DND) on what information they have on the Bagani — who’s arming them and their whereabouts. Geremia added that the same group plotted to kill Tentorio in 2003 in the boundary of Bukidnon and Arakan.

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares shared that they received “an official denial” from the State forces.  In a letter dated October 30, 2010, the DND through Undersecretary Pio Butino, said that the groups Bagani, Alamara and New Indigenous People’s Army for Reforms  are not affiliated with the AFP nor are they armed, trained or under its supervision. (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)

padre Giovanni Vettoretto al PIME di Milano

Grande folla alla serata con padre Giovanni Vettoretto al PIME di Milano.  Testimonianza apprezzata da tutti e qui sotto un riassunto di quello che ha detto.

Fausto lo consideravo un fratello maggiore, piu´anziano di me e con tanti anni di lavoro in Arakan dietro le spalle. Sono arrivato nel 2003 ho lavorato con padre Ilario Trobbiani per un paio di anni poi mi sono trasferito in Arakan con il Fausto. Per non fare cose doppie io ho cominciato a lavorare solo in pastorale e il Fausto, anche se parroco, ha preso solo il settore dei tribali e l´educazione scolastica. In Arakan abbiamo una scuola media e poi moltissimi asili nido per i figli dei tribali.

In questi 8 anni solo ora posso conoscere chi era Fausto. Molti dettagli non me li confidava. Forse per proteggermi. Ad un certo punto, dopo varie minacce di morte, Fausto poteva anche lasciare l´Arakan ma non se le sentita di mettere in gioco tutto quello che aveva fatto. Cosi´ e´ stato crocifisso per quello che portava senza imporre il suo pensiero senza creare divisioni. Ha proposto non imposto.

Lo abbiamo visto dalle famiglie giunte da lontano per dare un ultimo saluto. L´ho visto nel gruppo di educatori e collaboratori che aveva formato, tutti cristiani, anche se lavoravano per la popolazione indigena e animista. Per loro era come un padre e posso dire che questo ´figlio´ ora va avanti anche senza il papa’, Tatay Pops. Uniti per uno scopo solo onorare questo fratello sacerdote che e´ stato con loro piu´ di 30 anni.

Morte piena di significato che poi ripropone il perche´ lo hanno ucciso? In un modo barbarico, li´ fuori della porta in un periodo apparentemente tranquillo. La ragione, per me, e´ la somma di tutte le sue azioni di 25 anni di lavoro per la popolazione indigena dei Manobo.

Ora si va avanti, non c´e’pericolo per questo cerchio di umanita´ che il Fausto ha saputo costruire. Si continua anche senza la sua presenza fisica. Decidendo assieme dividendoci ora le responsabilita´ Famiglia che puo´ andare avanti da sola anche se il padre e´stato tolto.

Fausto poi aveva altri sogni nel cassetto. Quello di spostare la sua opera in altre parti di Mindanao in favore delle popolazioni indigene. Cérano villaggi ancora piu´ arretrati di quelli in Arakan che da anni aiutava. Questi in fondo stavano bene. Posso pensare che non ha messo in atto questo sogno per non …lasciarmi solo in Arakan. Compagno sino alla fine, insomma.

La sua regola di vita l´abbiamo trovata, meravigliandoci, io padre Peter e il vescovo in una semplice busta nel cassetto della sua modesta scrivania. Parole semplici e concrete che hanno dato un significato alla sua morte, almeno per noi che lo conoscevamo.

Quelle parole del profeta Michea ci hanno fatto capire che non era uno sprovvevudo ma di uno che amava il suo lavoro che  difendeva i diritti umani, resisteva contro tutte quelle azioni che calpestano la dignita´ altrui. Giustizia. carita´, camminare umilmente con il Proprio Dio, parole che ci hanno sorpreso positivamente e che danno senso alla sua missione di 33 anni, di uomo e sacerdote.

Cosa e´ rimasto? Pocvo direi anche i giornalisti che si sono fermati all´Arakan sino al funerale del Fausto sono partiti. Ora e´ il padre Peter Geremia, colui che ha sofferto piu´ din altri perche´ questo delitto gli ha ricordato l´altro commesso 26 anni fa di padre Tullio Favali il suo compagno nella parrocchia di Tulunan, ha portare avanti ancora una volta tutto il pesante lavoro di proteggere i testimoni che possono dire cosa e´ successo.

Noi continuiamo, forse il Peter rimarra´ in Arakan. Lo spero perche´ compagno prezioso. Noi continuiamo: la scuola, l´educazione sanitaria, gli asili nido le adozioni a a distanza. Saremo attenti, saranno forse anni ancora duri, ma il lavoro in nome di Fausto in ce li fara´ sembrare tempi abbondanti, magari anche di vocazioni.

Heros and Martyrs

by Rina Jimenez-David

Philippine Daily Inquirer  “https://twitter.com/share” Tweet

TWENTY-ONE years ago, on Oct. 14, 1991, Fr. Neri Satur was on his way back to Valencia town (now city) in Bukidnon with a female aide when they were ambushed by a group of armed men. He was shot pointblank with a shotgun after he fell from his motorcycle, and his head was smashed with the butt of a rifle. He was 29. It was clear why Father Neri was assassinated. He was No. 13 in the list of 45 members of the clergy who were deputized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as “forest protection officers” upon the request of then Malaybalay Bishop Gaudencio Rosales (later to be named archbishop of Manila and a cardinal). So strong was Father Neri’s commitment to his calling as a forest guard that he rallied his flock, many of them belonging to the Manobo community, to actively protect the forest, at one time even throwing their bodies in front of a truck to thwart the plans of loggers. Father Neri is indeed a “hero” of the environment, a “martyr” to the cause of protecting it and ensuring that our legacy of nature’s riches is preserved and enjoyed by generations to come. This may be the reason that environment leaders 18 years ago chose to name an award to mark the observance of Earth Day after Father Neri, not just to recognize his martyrdom but also to encourage both individual and institutional efforts to continue his work. But as Environment Secretary Ramon Paje pointed out in his speech at the granting of the Fr. Neri Satur Awards last Monday, people continue to die for the cause of protecting the environment. “We are losing one man every 28 days,” Paje said, noting the monthly death toll among the hopelessly outnumbered forest guards and wardens in the country since the issuance of the “total log ban” by President Benigno Aquino III. “I don’t think Father Neri would be very happy,” Paje observed. * * * INDEED, leading the awardees were two individuals who paid the ultimate price for their advocacy. One is Fr. Fausto Tentorio, known among his flock as “Father Pops,” who was assassinated on the grounds of his parish church in Arakan Valley, in the diocese of Kidapawan. He championed the rights of indigenous communities and farmers, facing relentless pressure from those who would exploit the resources. In his response, Italian Ambassador Luca Fornari pointed out that the best way to honor the memory of Father Pops was to ensure that justice would be meted out to his killers, and that the people he loved would enjoy true justice and development. The other posthumous awardee was Melanie Dirain, a forest specialist with the DENR who was killed in her office apparently because of her desire to strictly enforce the log ban in the forests of Cagayan. Joining them were the local governments of Alaminos, Pangasinan, led by Mayor Hernani Braganza with Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr., for the city’s marine protection and cleanliness greening initiatives in the Hundred Islands, and the province of Rizal, for its initiative to produce “refuse derived fuel” from the tons of waste material in its landfills, with the cooperation of the private sector. * * * THE OTHER categories of awardees were reducing carbon footprints in  green building and energy conservation, including the first fully solar-powered religious structure in the country, the chapel at the Greenheart Hermitage in the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in Bacolod; Baliuag University which has begun construction of the first energy-efficient building in the province; and the Zuellig building, the first Philippine high-rise pre-awarded with a Gold level recognition under the internationally recognized LEED. In the category of disaster risk reduction and management, among those recognized were the Manila Cathedral-Basilica Foundation for its decision to close down the structure to prevent possible harm while it is undergoing repairs; the Angat Dam management and Bulacan provincial government for their timely response to identified public danger; and Coco Technologies Corp. in Bicol, founded by Dr. Justino  Arboleda for the development of the now internationally recognized technology of coco fiber to control erosion. Recognized for “eco-friendly civil society action” were Bayer’s youth leadership programs that develop environmental awareness among the country’s young people, and the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches for getting different churches to initiate and sustain interfaith dialogue on issues of climate change mitigation and adaptation. In the field of eco-cultural communication and education, the Cardona Youth Ensemble was recognized for the use of recycled bottles as musical instruments for which they have participated in several concerts here and abroad, and the Cercado Sisters who win audiences over with a youth environmental repertoire. There were two international awardees: Barbara Pyle who worked with CNN for decades and created the enduring children’s program “Captain Planet and the Planeteers,” and Supreme Master Ching Hai, a poet and philanthropist who has evolved into a strong climate change advocate. * * * FINALLY, there were the media awardees, including this columnist, broadcast journalist Arnold Clavio, children’s media educator Frank Rivera, the Kamayan para sa Kalikasan Forum, new media initiatives such as “Footprints” on Net25, and GNN or Global News Network. In my short remarks, I said that I felt the media people could be the least deserving awardees for we did nothing but observe, report, interview, air and write stories about work for which other people had sacrificed their lives. Still, it is an honor to join myself with the memory of people like Father Pops, Melanie Dirain and Fr. Neri Satur.