Political dynasties


A Catholic bishop urged voters to be “discerning” against political dynasties, saying that it “does not promote good governance”.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the bishops’ Commission on Laity, said that the best possible answer to such a problem lies in the hands of voters.

“What we can do as voters is be discerning. When we know that the candidates are relatives, son, daughter, spouse of the incumbent, let us not vote for them,” Pabillo told Radio Veritas.

The bishop said that political dynasties, which are present at the local and national level, weaken the system of checks and balances in the government.

“How can politicians be held accountable when their successors are related to them?” asked Pabillo. “It is important to have accountability so that there will be no abuse of authority.”

“Also, they protect the same interest together with the same cronies. This cannot result to changes,” he added.

The bishop’s statement comes after a survey showed that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and her father, President Duterte, are the top choices for president and vice president, respectively, in the May 2022 polls.

The latest Pulse Asia survey conducted from June 7 to 16, showed that 28 percent of Filipino adults would vote Sara for president, while 18 percent would vote for his father as vice president.

President Duterte earlier said that he is still considering a vice presidential run in next year’s elections. Sara, his daugther, on the other hand, also stated that she is now “open” to seeking the presidency.

Take Covid-19 jabs


A Catholic bishop stressed that individuals need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible to have a better Christmas than last year. Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan expressed hope that more Filipinos will accept the inoculations in order for the country to achieve herd immunity by year end.

“Hopefully, before the month of December, at least 70 percent of the population will already be vaccinated,” David, who is also the vice president of the bishops’ conference, said over Radio Veritas. “Once we do that, we can already achieve herd immunity before Christmas. Thus, we will be able to celebrate Christmas more meaningfully,” he said.

The prelate renewed his call after the city governments of Caloocan, Malabon, and Navotas sought more help from the diocese for the vaccine rollout.

“They are asking that the Church mobilize additional doctors, nurses, and other volunteers so that they can speed up the vaccination program rollout,” David said. In January, the country’s Catholic bishops have offered the church facilities as vaccination sites.

As of June 27, the country has administered more than 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, 7.5 million of which were first doses.

Multiple migrations to the Philippines during the last 50,000 years


A most interesting forum took place online last June 2 which was  sponsored by the the Ateneo de Davao University’s Internationalization for Mindanao Office AIM, in partnership with the Anthropology Department on the topic “Multiple Migrations to the Philippines in the last 50,000 years.”

The resource speaker was Dr. Maximilian Larena,  a population geneticist and the principal Investigator of the Larena Lab, Human Evolution Program, in the Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden. He is an esteemed alumnus of the Ateneo de Davao University who graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 2001.

This study would not have been accomplished if not for close to a hundred collaborators of Dr. Larena in the field including indigenous people themselves. A listing of these individuals and the agencies/institutions they represent show how extensive this research project was and how varied the participation of individuals and communities was. In terms of the sampling, there were 1,028 individuals involved, covering 115 indigenous communities.

This study has been extensively reviewed by the following independent organizations: Regional Ethics Review Board of Uppsala, Sweden; the Nature Journal; the Uppsala University Board for Investigation of Deviations from Good Research Practice; and the Ethics Review Appeals Board of Sweden. This has also been further endorsed by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) of the Philippines by then Chairperson Felipe Mendoza de Leon Jr., as well as fulfilling the regulations of UNESCO International Declaration on Human Genetic Data.

Reading both the main article and its summary twelve points, as well as listening to the lecture of Dr. Larena one is most impressed with the following: the extent of its being a multi-disciplinary study (tapping not just the field of natural sciences as in genomics, computational biology and geology but also a wide range of social sciences from archaeology to anthropology to linguistics and history).

The best feature of main contribution of the study is through the use of recent technological advances, which helped unlock the story of our past that is encoded in our genetic heritage, our DNA. Just imagine the extent of the DNA sampling that made possible the 2.3 million molecular DNA markers that were known to differ between populations. This resulted from the sampling of 1,028 individuals covering 115 indigenous communities.

Its methodology in combining quantitative and qualitative methods by way of engagement in both the laboratory and fieldwork is also very striking. The DNA sampling covers a wide range of our peoples across the archipelago.  As such this study is a an excellent model of the kind of rigorous research that scholars in Philippine/Mindanao studies should be engaged in if they are to significantly add to knowledge production that has great value to all of us.

While Dr. Larena’s study’s timeline covers only the last 50,000 years, the reader is brought back to millennia of yore as it traced how modern-day humans arose out of Africa and spread across the globe. Because it does cover the past 50,000 years, Dr. Larena’s study provides a major contribution to reconstructing a time period of our ancestors’ and peoples’ history long before the conquest era.

The reality of Philippine historiography is that most historical narratives are voluminous from the conquest to the contemporary epochs. However, there is very little to help us revisit the more distant past, apart from the legends and myths that were passed on through oral tradition. With Dr. Larena’s study, we have additional information how our ancestors looked like as well as  how they migrated across the islands and inter-bred with each other.

This study proves conclusively that the first “Filipinos”, that is, the first peoples who reached and settled down in the islands that would later on be named Philippines were the Negritos, reaching the archipelago 40 to 50,000 years ago. Some of them moved up to the north while others e.g. the Mamanuas’ ancestors settled in the south. Interesting to know that the Negritos have genealogical linkage to the Neanderthals as the study indicated a 3% DNA connection.

Then came the three major proto- (or basal) groups of our ancestors, namely: the Manobo-related and Sama-related groups (who both  entered the southwestern part of the islands 12,000 years ago), followed by the Cordilleran-related groups 7 to 10,000 years ago following their split from indigenous Taiwanese. One reason for their migratory movement was the substantial changes in the landscape of the mythical Sundaland brought about by climate change. Which is saying, the phenomenon of climate change is not new.

Both the Manobo-related and Sama-related groups did inter-bred with Negritos. But the study did not indicate any historical interbreeding between the Cordillerans and the Negritoes.

So what about us lowland Filipinos including Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Bicolanos, Warays, Bol-anons, Cebuanos, Ilonggo, Karay-a and others. Dr. Larena’s study does not yet provide detailed information on this question, but during his lecture he said that most probably lowland Filipinos may have branched out from the Cordilleran-related groups although some may also have inter-bred with Manobo. As for the Islamized communities in the south, many of them could trace their lineage to the Sama-related groups.

So there: this study makes a very conclusive statement which many of us Mindanawon anthropologists have been claiming for sometime now, namely, that all of us Filipinos go back to indigenous ancestors. Thus, every Filipino, in one way or another, has indigenous roots! And no matter how we look down on the katutubo/Lumads in our midst (for let’s face it: there are many “racist” Pinoys whose gaze on the indigenous is quite patronizing), we cannot escape from the fact that by looking down on them and treating them as second-class citizens, we are spitting on the graves of our ancestors!

For this is the greatest irony in this archipelago as we celebrate this year’s quincentennial of the arrival of the first European colonizers – the first to settle down in the islands are the ones who today have the least access to the land and their resources as they continue to experience dislocation, victimization and  marginalization. Worst of all are our Negritos (Ati, Ata, Aeta, Agta, Mamanua et al) and the various Sama-related groups especially the Sama D’laut (pejoratively still referred to as Badjao).

Here is how Dr. Larena summarized his study:  “The complex demographic history of the Philippines presented here does not fit with the three-wave migration theory by Otley Beyer, nor does it fit with the models of either an exclusive out-of[1]Taiwan or out-of-Sundaland. Instead, we find that the Philippines were populated by at least five major waves of migration, starting with the Northern and Southern Negritos, who entered the Philippines after 40 to 50 thousand years ago to become the First Filipinos.

Thereafter by the Manobo-related groups entering Mindanao after 15 thousand years ago, and the Sama-related groups entering southwestern Philippines after 12 thousand years ago, both of which occurring around the time when there were substantial changes in the landscape of Sundaland brought about by climate change. Cordilleran-related groups likely arrived in the Philippines 7 to 10 thousand years ago following their split from Indigenous Taiwanese, around the time when there were climate change[1]induced geographical changes in the South China-Taiwan greater area.

Remarkably, some Cordillerans remained to be the only ethnic group in the Philippines who did not show evidence of genetic origins of the Filipino People historical interbreeding with Negritos, and consequently remained to be the only population in the world regarded as the un-admixed descendants of Basal East Asians We also find minor genetic signals of Papuan-related ancestry, Indian-related ancestry, and European ancestry in some ethnic groups.

The Papuan-related ancestry, dated more than ~2,500 year ago, is found among the coastal ethnic groups of southeastern Philippines such as Sangil and Blaan. The Indian related genetic signal, dated 500 to 1000 years ago, is found among Sama Dilaut and other coastal Sama ethnic groups of southwestern Philippines, indicating some genetic impact of the historical Maritime Trading Network with India. Lastly, the European genetic signal, dated 150 to 450 years ago, is found in only 1% of all individuals investigated, indicating a limited genetic legacy of the Spanish Colonial Period.

In this work, we present an intricate prehistory of the Filipino people that is characterized by series of encounters between distinct populations across time. At times, these encounters resulted in interbreeding, contributing to the admixed genetic profile of present-day populations. At other times, these encounters only resulted in partial or exclusive transfer of culture and/or ideas, leaving a limited or undetectable trace of genetic ancestry. Both demographic and cultural processes altogether contribute to the diversity of the Philippine ethnic groups that we know of today.

All of these complexities in history have lasting implications on how we define ourselves as Filipinos. We may be inadvertently diverse, but we, in one way or the other, share a common thread in history. We as Filipinos may vary in creed, philosophy, language, style, culture and traditions, or in the color of our skin or of our politics, but one thing is certain: we are all bound together by blood, sharing a tapestry of genetic heritage. If the reader wants to read the articles, here are the links:





Dutertismo is primarily defined by its open disregard of a society’s institutional guardrails, especially of the checks to executive prerogative. It is impulsive, relying mostly on gut feel, and has no patience for careful study of crucial questions. Its gauge of policy effectiveness is the shock value it creates and the fear it induces in its intended targets. It has no need for periodic assessment of policy outcomes. It is more concerned with impression management than on the production of enduring social change. It does not hide its preference for direct authoritarian means over the slow deliberative procedures of a democratic system.

This style of decision-making should have long gone out of fashion in the modern world. It is mostly associated with traditional patriarchal societies. That it has made a comeback even in developed countries attests to the growing need of voters in the era of globalization to simplify political choices in favor of drastic solutions to old and new problems.

Elections in our country have seldom been driven solely by issues. In fact, they have mostly been about personalities and what they represent in terms of the things that are valued. That is why our presidential debates have rewarded not those who offer the clearest answers to policy questions, but those who present themselves in a manner that creates the desired impressions.

What are some of the images that are highly valued in our present political culture? Foremost of these are the following: Authenticity — you confess your weaknesses, you don’t pretend to be what you are not; Compassion — you treat the suffering of the many as your own and promise to avenge them; Boldness — you do not hesitate to offend the powerful, the rich, and the respectable; Decisiveness — you act swiftly and demand quick results, even if it means having to cut corners and defy the law. These are at the heart of today’s populism.

This kind of culture puts a premium on personal projection rather than on governmental performance. To zero in exclusively on the failures and shortcomings of the government, and not pay equal attention to the dysfunctions of the Duterte style of leadership from which they emanate, is to misunderstand our political culture. The issue is Duterte and what he represents.

An open letter to Senator Bato

By: Rufa Cagoco-Guiam – @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer

First, I want to thank you for being “honest” about the success of the drug war that you have actively participated in way back when you were the top honcho of the Philippine National Police (PNP). In your view, success of this war is measured in the high number of fatalities, notwithstanding that some of those who were killed were innocent children and senior citizens.

You have demonstrated that honesty is not a “lonely word,” as American singer-songwriter Billy Joel croons. In that song, Joel also said that truthfulness is “hard to find.” But you have just debunked that. Thank you.

Your honesty has made the job of Karim Khan, the new chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), easier as you have already given him a damning admission on who to hold accountable for the thousands of fatalities in President Duterte’s drug war.

Khan, a 51-year-old British lawyer, replaces Fatou Bensouda of Gambia. On her last day as ICC prosecutor, Bensouda declared that “there is reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder has been committed on the territory of the Philippines between 1 July 2016 and 16 March 2019.” Based on this finding, Bensouda has requested for a full inquiry into the reported cases of extrajudicial killings.

Government security forces place the number of victims of this war at more than 6,000 but human rights groups claim more than 20,000 have been killed since Mr. Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016.

According to a Reuters news report, complainants in this landmark case against the President and the implementers of his bloody drug war include Randy delos Santos, uncle of Kian, a 17-year-old student who was killed by police officers in August 2017; and Normita Lopez, mother of another murdered drug suspect.

Senator Bato, now that you are being truthful about this drug war’s success indicator, perhaps you can extend your honesty to reveal exactly how this war was carried out, including details on how the PNP, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, or police assets chose whose lives were to be cut short. Did these security agents go through painstaking evidence gathering, triangulating bits and pieces of proof and data that can rationalize the execution of suspected “drug pushers or addicts”? Was a stringent investigative process followed to conclude beyond reasonable doubt that these victims were indeed “scums of the earth” and therefore deserved their untimely deaths? But these individuals are still human beings, and under a regime that respects the rule of law, they deserve at least a day in court.

Senator Bato, when you were elected as one of the country’s neophyte senators, I was somewhat elated that another Mindanao official has been added to the distinguished list of legislators at the national level. You must have been quite popular not only in our region but also throughout the country as well, since you were among the top 12 candidates who got the highest number of votes.

But your honesty in admitting your active role in the drug war that killed thousands of fellow Filipinos leaves me reeling, enough to make me retch. How can this former PNP chief who has admitted complicity in the killings of thousands become a legislator, and at the national level at that?

And to be honest with you, too, I never voted for you in 2019. If you stand for re-election, I will not be shading the box beside your name on the ballot. I would rather vote for Mickey Mouse, or Tom and Jerry, any time.

Illustratori un tempo al PIME di Milano 2

Vittorio Polli nato a Trieste il 15 giugno 1865 figlio di Felice architetto, le sorelle Mariella e Cornelia allieve dell’Accademia di Brera di Milano, pittrici originali, senza dimenticare il cugino Cesare, ottimo e spiritoso caricaturista.

Vittorio, fin da giovane era uno sportivo. Nel marzo 1883, con altri alpinisti, fonda la Società degli Alpinisti Triestini (oggi Società Alpina delle Giulie). Si allena come rocciatore sulle pareti della Val Rosandra. Più tardi trentenne l’8 luglio 1895 tenterà la scalata del monte Civetta con Pietro Cozzi, Michele Bettega e Santo De Toni (Ndr. Il nome “civetta” fu probabilmente dato da Antonio Stoppani, grande amico dei primi missionari delle Missioni Estere di Milano). Attaccano la montagna in corrispondenza della verticale calata dalla massima depressione della cresta, ma poi dovranno arrendersi su una parete a pochi metri dalla vetta.

Commissioni Grotte Boegan

Polli studia pittura e disegno presso Giuseppe Barison a Trieste. Poi nel 1891 si trasferisce in Germania, a Würzburg, dove apprende la tecnica della litografia. Spirito inquieto, l’anno seguente dopo vari spostamenti tra Germania e Svizzera si reca in Sud America (Belen del Parà, Brasile) viaggiando in prima classe all’andata e come sguattero (per pagarsi il biglietto) al rientro. Rientra e Trieste, dopo essere stato in Egitto, e tra il 1896 e il 1898 svolge attività di fotografo con lo studio in via dell’Acquedotto 24.

In quei tre anni trova anche il tempo per arruolarsi. Nel 1897 fa parte del nucleo di garibaldini triestini che si batterono, agli ordini di Ricciotti Garibaldi, contro i turchi a Domokos, in Grecia. Erano in 1500 i garibaldini, arrivati da varie parti d’Europa. Una quarantina i triestini, sia studenti che apprezzati professionisti. Molti giunsero dall’Istria, alcuni dalla Dalmazia. I triestini formarono la prima compagnia e si distinsero per” buon umore e coraggio”.

Quando la nave dei sopravvissuti ritornò a Trieste i volontari indossarono la camicia rossa e salirono in coperta. Salì a bordo l’ispettore dell’Imperial Regia polizia, che li accolse più o meno così: «… Giovinoti no stemo far monade!». Dopo ore di trattative fu loro concesso di scendere a terra in borghese. L’Austria non li poteva incriminare per quello che avevano fatto, ma in seguito tutti subirono conseguenze. Pedinati dalla polizia in quanto considerati elementi pericolosi e la maggioranza all’inizio della Grande Guerra fu internata in campo di concentramento. E poiché avevano indossato la camicia rossa furono pure scomunicati. Molti diventarono greco-ortodossi.

(Fabio Cescutti, Reportage d’Artista)

Tornato a casa, Polli sulla base di schizzi precisi eseguiti sul posto, dipinse un importante olio su tela, ora al Museo del Risorgimento di Trieste che descrive la battaglia di Domokòs.

Ma la nostalgia lo fa ritornare in Grecia ove avvia uno stabilimento di arti grafiche e prende moglie. Non andato a buon fine questa nuova impresa si trasferisce in Romania, portando seco moglie, due figli e la suocera rimasta vedova. A Bucarest, mentre lavora come illustratore e cartellonista, ha altri due figli ma perde la moglie ed il primogenito.

Allo scoppio della Prima guerra mondiale porta la famiglia a Milano, città in cui risiederà sino alla morte. Sistemati i suoi figli e nipoti si arruola come soldato semplice in un battaglione territoriale ove presta la sua opera negli ospedali, continuando comunque a lavorare come pittore fornendo disegni alle Officine Grafiche Modiano, alle Arti Grafiche di Bergamo e allo stabilimento Bertarelli; per quest’ultimo realizza le immagini per le figurine Liebig.

Tuttavia, il lavoro di disegnatore non era molto remunerativo, allora per vivere Polli accetta qualsiasi tipo di lavoro grafico che gli veniva offerto accettando anche lavori per il PIME (allora Istituto per le Missioni Estere) che ai primi del XX secolo era già abbastanza conosciuto nella Città di Milano. Le sue illustrazioni le troviamo nelle pubblicazioni del PIME subito dopo la fine della Grande Guerra.  Erano i tempi nei quali padre Paolo Manna inizia a pubblicare Italia Missionaria, una rivista per ragazzi ricca anche di racconti di avventura. Polli prosegue comunque a disegnare e dipingere per conto suo, ritraendo situazioni, personaggi e vicende personali. Alcune sue opere si trovano oggi conservate nei musei di Bucarest, Trieste, Lubiana, nonché in Egitto e in Brasile.

Muore a Milano nel 1946 ma i suoi resti riposano nella tomba di famiglia, nel cimitero comunale di Sant’Anna di Trieste.

Fototeca civici musei di Storia e Arte

Quando ero al Centro del PIME a Milano ho ritrovato alcune delle molte cartoline, in bianco e nero, da lui illustrate che venivano, presumibilmente, donate o comprate da sostenitori dei missionari di Milano.

In particolare, due: stesso disegno poi ritoccato. Si comprende anche il perché. Molto probabilmente qualcuno gli aveva fatto notare, che forse era una immagine fin troppo “borghese” di un missionario e che non dava l’idea delle difficoltà reali. Il cavallo ci poteva stare ma l’ombrello era meglio toglierlo, anche perché, aperto, sarebbe stato inutile nella fitta boscaglia. In realtà, l’ombrello era usato moltissimo dai missionari e dalla povera gente.

La terza cartolina è senz’altro una immagine tipica in quei tempi quando si voleva propagandare l’impegno nella evangelizzazione di tutte le razze umane: la croce, che illumina la parola “FEDE” della vela di una grande barca nella quale un missionario raccoglie naufraghi in balia delle onde. Nel disegno vi è pure un naufrago che tenta di salvarsi dai denti di un mostro marino: ce la farà? Lotta estrema tra morte e vita.  Questa cartolina, come le altre, fu stampata, un centinaio di anni fa, subito dopo la tragedia della Grande Guerra ed è un misto di dolore e sacrificio oggi paragonabile, solo, al salvataggio dei naufraghi nel Mediterraneo.

Il disegno si ispira, in qualche modo, alla Zattera della Medusa (1819), gigantesco dipinto di Gericault, che racconta visivamente la zattera costruita dai marinai con il legno della loro nave incagliata nelle sabbie a 150 chilometri dalla Mauritania. Come in quel quadro ci sono in primo piano naufraghi aggrappati a legni (ma di diverse razze): chi grida, chi ha perso fiducia chi è sfinito chi è assalito da un mostro marino chi è già avvolto, come i tronchi sciolti della zattera, dalle onde. “Sepolti dalle tenebre e dall’ombra della morte”. C’è, tuttavia, un barlume di speranza, in quelli più distanti, raccolti attorno alla barca sulla quale c’è già chi ha le mani giunte e ringrazia i salvatori.

Simbolicamente, a Vittorio Polli, gli era stato detto di descrivere la terribile condizione di anime “infedeli” travolte dagli eventi di una vita tenebrosa e senza Dio. Anime in bilico tra disperazione e speranza, tra morte e vita, inferno e paradiso. Anime di diversa estradizione, in balia del diabolico mondo, e tuttavia così simili uno con l’altro nei momenti più tragici della traversata esistenziale che è la vita. Ma è anche simbolo anche dell’uomo fisico che di fronte alle forze del caos si ritrova fragile e debole, ma anche eroe e salvatore contento di “soffrire molto per una causa santa e pietosa”, pronto a sfidare le forze del male come quelle della natura. Una reminiscenza del Romanticismo che, dopo il primo decennio del XX secolo, affascinava ancora. Era così che, con diversa fede ma un unico desiderio, sia garibaldini che missionari, affrontavano l’inaspettato.

From the World, For the World

By Gabriele Monaco

This year’s new PIME Missionaries – some will be ordained on Saturday June 12th in the Milan Cathedral with the rest in their own dioceses – they come from Africa, South America, and Asia. Two of these new missionaries are originally from Myanmar and are destined for China. They tell us their stories as they await their departure.

PIME’s openness to the internationality of its members has allowed young men from all over the world to join the Institute for Foreign Missions which for years. It is fully manifested in this year’s new PIME Priests; all of them grew up in families that passed on the faith to them in the missions. They are an emblem of evangelization; going out to tell the Good News where no one has ever done it, so that it may make the proclamation flourish from those places as well.

The seven new PIME Missionaries come from the Ivory Coast, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, and Brazil. The Burmese, the Brazilian, and one of the two Indians will be ordained on June 12th in Milan. Jean-Jacques will receive the sacrament on the 26th in the Ivory Coast, and the others during the summer in their dioceses of origin. Their destinations are by no means easy. Between important responsibilities and newly established missions, they will have to face great challenges from the very first days.

The most emblematic case is certainly that of Ba Oo and San Li, both originally from Myanmar and destined for Taiwan to study Mandarin before being able to go to China, a mission in a very delicate context, just as in their country of origin currently. “After the coup in Myanmar, the situation is serious,” Ba Oo says. “Neither the protesters nor the military will ever surrender, so it is hard to see how things will go. We are living in this period of so much anger about these injustices and so much concern for our country and its future. The two of us are lucky, also because, from Italy, it is easier to get visas to Taiwan, but we will certainly not be able to go back home to see our families. Many of the things we wanted to do have had to be put on hold because of this situation. There is no certainty about how our mission in Taiwan and then Hong Kong and China will go.”

Thirty-one-year-old Ba Oo is from Eastern Myanmar, an area where PIME has had a presence since the late 1800s. “I only knew those priests as ‘the missionaries’ and had never spoken to them. I had already chosen to become a priest and had attended the diocesan seminary for eight years when I met them again, they were holding spirituality courses.”

At those classes, Ba Oo also met St. Li, his peer, who himself entered the seminary at a very young age but came from Northern Myanmar. “Talking with the PIME Missionaries face to face, I began to reflect on the signs of all they had done in my land. I wanted to be like them,” Ba Oo recounts. “Together with San Li, we did a year of missionary experience in Cambodia, and our desire became stronger when we saw how PIME works.” Both will be ordained June 12th in Milan, before leaving for Taiwan.

Santhosh and Bhaskar, from India, and are also of the same age, walking the same road together. Bhaskar is from the state of Telangana, where PIME has been working for years. “My parents and grandparents used to tell me about the missionaries,” he explains. “They called them the ‘white priests’ and I always had a very positive image of them. When I chose to enter the seminary I was already determined to become like them, and I went to a vocational camp organized by PIME.” It was here that he met Santhosh, who came from Andhra Pradesh.

“When I went to my parish priest to tell him that I wanted to become a priest, he told me that it couldn’t be done because the diocesan seminary had closed,” Santosh says. “Luckily, I found that vocational camp in Eluru. Of the more than one hundred candidates present, only Bhaskar and I were chosen.” The two then began their journey in the Institute. Now Bhaskar will return to India, where he will be the Vice-Rector of the minor seminary in Eluru. “It is a great responsibility because I will be the first missionary Vice-Rector. It is a choice made in order to give seminarians a more proclamation-oriented formation from their earliest years. Santhosh, on the other hand, will be the first Indian PIME Priest to go to the mission in Chad. Before leaving, he will spend at least one year studying French with his companion, Eder.

Born and raised in close contact with Italian missionaries in Sertanópolis, in Southern Brazil, Eder believed that all priests were missionaries. After an experience in the seminary, he decided to leave it all behind and begin a life like that of all nineteen-year-olds: college, work, and playing in a band. After ten years his vocation came back, this time for good. After a year of studying French, Eder will go into the field, in the Ivory Coast.

The same will happen to Dominic, destined for Japan. Originally from Khulna, Bangladesh, he met PIME in his parish. “While I was studying in Dhaka, I kept in touch with Fr. Franco Cagnasso, who eventually proposed a community experience in the parish,” he says. “During vacations I would go to the north of the country to see how PIME works, and eventually I decided to join the Institute.” For him, too, the years of study are not over. It will take at least two years to learn Japanese in Tokyo, but he can already begin to be a missionary.

This is not the case for Jean-Jacques, an Ivorian, who is destined to be the Vice-Rector of the Yaoundé Seminary in Cameroon. He got to know PIME as a child. “The way missionaries did things was very different from that of other priests, so when I began my discernment I asked to meet PIME again,” the new missionary priest reveals. “I continued to watch closely while studying, I also did a pastoral experience in the North of the country. In the end, I chose to continue my studies at the Seminary Institute in Yaoundé, where I will return as Vice-Rector. Honestly, I had hoped to go into the field, but I welcome this service with such a sense of responsibility, because I know how important it is. Training to become a missionary is difficult, especially when you have to study in a language that is not your own. The support of those who accompanied and guided us was fundamental and I would really like to thank everyone, from the professors who supported us to those who prayed for us from afar.”

Addio terra

La Camera del Governo Filippino ha approvato in terza lettura, con 251 voti contro 21, la proposta RBH 2 che modifica la Costituzione, proposta chiamata scherzosamente: “cha-cha economico”. Una legge che darà la possibilità a capitali stranieri di essere proprietari di terre coltivabili e non e altre risorse del paese.

Alla legge già esistente si aggiunge solo la riga “salvo diversa disposizione di legge” alle disposizioni economiche della Costituzione del 1987. Il Congresso avrebbe così il potere di approvare leggi che allentano le restrizioni agli investimenti stranieri nel paese.

I fautori della proposta sono convinti che l’apertura ai grandi conglomerati stranieri stimoleranno l’economia del paese e creeranno maggiori posti di lavoro quando l’epidemia di Covid cesserà.

Ai sensi della risoluzione di entrambe le Camere la frase “se non diversamente previsto dalla legge” verrebbe aggiunta per eliminare le restrizioni costituzionali che limitavano la partecipazione degli investitori stranieri nella quota del capitale investito.

La stessa frase è stata aggiunta anche alle disposizioni secondo cui solo i cittadini filippini possono (potevano) controllare, possedere e/o affittare servizi pubblici, istituzioni educative, società di mass media e società pubblicitarie nel paese.

Mentre da una parte il cha-cha potrebbe funzionare a risollevare l’economia del paese, dall’altra chi ci rimetterà saranno i piccoli agricoltori che per ovvie ragioni con possono competere con le grandi aziende agricole. Le ripercussioni economiche saranno fatali potrebbero lasciarli letteralmente senza terra sotto i piedi.

Del resto, il capitale degli investimenti stranieri sarà incanalato verso piantagioni e aziende agricole dedicate in maggior parte ai raccolti per l’esportazione. Pertanto, solo i grandi proprietari terrieri e le imprese agricole che possiedono già vaste piantagioni beneficeranno dei cosiddetti investimenti in agricoltura, mentre agricoltori e braccianti vicini a queste aree in espansione si vedranno costretti a vedere terreni e lavorare sotto i nuovi padroni con bassi salari.

Dove prenderà il Cha-cha le terre da vendere agli stranieri? Ovviamente, non le terre dei grandi proprietari terrieri come la famiglia Villar, per esempio, ma quelle coperte dal vecchio programma di riforma agraria CARP.

La cruda realtà è che il CARP è praticamente defunto nel 2008 con 2,5 milioni di ettari non ancora distribuiti. Del resto, la redistribuzione delle terre spesso è stata così controversa che non è riuscita a raggiungere gli obiettivi prefissati, e i livelli di povertà in agricoltura rimangono sostanzialmente invariati da un paio di decenni. 

In altre parole, senza una vera riforma agraria, il cambiamento della carta costituzionale comporterà l’accaparramento di terre su vasta scala, assorbendo pian piano quelle coltivate dai piccoli agricoltori e le terre ancestrali, relativamente protette, delle popolazioni indigene.

Qualcuno si muove per il 2022

“Il popolo filippino merita un governo migliore”. Questa è la dichiarazione dell’ex presidente della Corte Suprema, oggi in pensione, Antonio Carpio quando a marzo ha lanciato Sambayan, un’ampia coalizione di forze politiche composta da una vasta gamma di personalità provenienti “da sinistra, da destra e dal centro”. È una coalizione che sembra seriamente intenzionata a presentarsi contro le altre coalizioni che Duterte sta organizzato per le elezioni presidenziali del 9 maggio 2022 (diverse di numero per dare una verniciatina di democrazia alla sua passata amministrazione).

Per Sambayan, la figlia del presidente Duterte, Sara Duterte sindaco di Davao City, città feudo del presidente, o Manny Pacquiao senatore e pugile di successo, dovrebbero essere rifiutati dal popolo per un seggio presidenziale. Cioè: “Il popolo filippino dovrebbe respingere tutti coloro che si identificano con la passata dittatura (Marcos) e l’autoritarismo, respingere tutti i responsabili che favoriscono le uccisioni extragiudiziali che hanno come mantra ‘uccidi, uccidi, uccidi’ tutti coloro che violano i diritti umani”.

I sostenitori di Duterte si affrettano a liquidare gli abusi commessi durante la sua presidenza come effetti collaterali della legge dell’anti-terrorismo.

Nel frattempo, Sambayan sta cercando di formare una lista di nominati per i posti di presidente e vicepresidente. Dovrebbe pubblicarla il giorno dell’Indipendenza 12 giugno. I cittadini filippini potranno poi scegliere in una lista di 12 candidati chi per loro potrebbe sedersi mei posti della presidenza nel 2022.

Legge Anti Terrorismo

Un generale in pensione, e ora consigliere del presidente per la sicurezza nazionale Hermogenes Esperon Junior, ha detto che il Consiglio Contro il Terrorismo (ATC) pubblicherà l’elenco delle persone considerate come terroristi, così come è stato definito dalla legge Anti-Terrorism Act del 2020 (ATA).

Ai sensi della legge, questo ATC può designare un individuo o una organizzazione di essere terrorista o sovversiva. La Corte Suprema, comunque, Ha comunque sostenuto che questa designazione porterà solo al congelamento dei beni bancari e non agli arresti.

L’ATC è ancora oggetto di discussione da parte dei magistrati della Corte Suprema, vista quella che sembra essere un’indebita delega di potere. Per esempio, non è chiaro come l’ATC arriverà (o è arrivato) alla conclusione nella designazione di individui e organizzazioni come terroristi.

Finora, l’ATC ha designato come organizzazioni terroristica solo il Partito Comunista delle Filippine, il New People’s Army e il Gruppo Islamico fondamentalista AbuSayyaf.

L’ATC può investigare qualsiasi persona residente nel paese. Recentemente ha accusato di coinvolgimento in “attività politiche illegali”, e poi espulso dal paese, Otto Rudolf De Vries, un laico missionario che prestava il suo servizio nella Prelatura di Infanta. L’accusa era di aver preso parte alle proteste dei lavoratori il 1 Maggio, organizzate da due organizzazioni sindacali di sinistra.

Ai sensi dell’ATA, il consiglio (ATC) può designare qualsiasi individuo e organizzazione, sia essa nazionale o straniera, come terrorista dopo aver stabilito le probabili cause che hanno commesso o tentato di commettere.