A total of 809,136 individuals are aspiring for 294,196 seats. Of this number, 94,124 filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) for barangay chairmen while 715,012 are aiming to become barangay councilors. Both the law on barangay elections and the Local Government Code set a three-term limit for village officials.
A “barangay” is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines. Municipalities and cities are composed of barangays, and they may be further subdivided into smaller areas called “purok” (zone), and “sitio”, which is a territorial enclave inside a barangay, especially in rural areas. In 2012 there were a total of 42,028 barangays throughout the Philippines.
In the early morning of 9 September 2013, the people of Zamboanga were roused by explosions and gunfire that resulted in hysteria, some casualties and injuries, and displacement. The events have drawn attention from all fronts, including international, and have raised a host of humanitarian concerns ranging from the needs of evacuees, the release of hostages, and the reduction of the violence and firepower that have marked the standoff between Philippine security forces and the MNLF (Misuari) forces.
All these serve to underscore, now more than ever, the difficulties and complications involving the search for peace in Mindanao. We recall that nearly twenty (20) years ago, on 2 September 1996, the MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari and the government of then President Fidel Ramos signed the so-called Final Peace Agreement (FPA). On hindsight the FPA now appears to be badly flawed and implemented. Thus, of late, Chairman Misuari has been calling upon the government to fulfill its obligations in the accord. A tripartite review process has been organized to address the issues involved in the implementation of the FPA of 1996. Lately, however – the MNLF claim – the Philippine government has written the Organization of Islamic Conference, of the termination of the tripartite review process. This has allegedly led to their return to their pre-FPA stance and Chairman Misuari’s declaration of Mindanao independence. The termination of the tripartite review process has been flatly denied by the Philippine Government which declared that it has in fact invited the MNLF, (including providing reserved seats in the Transitional Commission), for discussions related to issues on the Mindanao peace processes and governance in the Bangsamoro. The latter have, however, not acceded.
Now we observe the consequences of the lack of understanding and consensus on the roadmap that should characterize the Philippine Government’s treatment of the peace process with the MNLF. In the midst of the critical events that have gripped Zamboanga City, we are faced with a humanitarian nightmare that must be dealt with on multiple levels, i.e., at the level of… (a) the national government with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process helping provide key directions for decision and action, (b) the city government taking the lead on local crisis management, (c) at the international level, where the engagement of over 50 countries comprising the Organization of Islamic Conference may very well persuade a return to the negotiation table to craft out a meaningful constructive direction towards peace with the MNLF, and (d) ) at the level of civil society solidarity groups – religious, academic, NGOs, peoples’ organizations, etc. – that may offer various forms of support, from negotiation assistance to relief work.
Most immediately, we call for attention to the imperative of peace. Alas, it is the poor and innocent who die and suffer in this senseless violence. Regardless of how lofty the cause, there is no justification in the use of violence against defenseless citizens, the ordinary people who most love and only wish to work in peace. With the attack, thousands of children were suddenly hijacked of their school and play, families suddenly losing houses and livelihoods and loved ones, wholesale terror and anger suddenly seizing a whole city. In the strongest terms possible, we express our outrage and declare that this kind of violence has no place among the peace-loving people of Zamboanga and its environs.
We call on the MNLF to carry its grievances to the peace table. For the sake of the people of Mindanao, especially the Bangsamoro citizens, the MNLF must seriously consider the public assurance of national government to carry on the talks with Indonesia as facilitator. At the end of the day, peace must prevail. But there can be no peace and harmony in any society without rule of law.
Lastly, we urge the authorities to act with dispatch and righteousness, address and manage the crisis with utmost sobriety and efficiency. The sooner this crisis is resolved, the faster we shall achieve normalcy and peace.
May God save Zamboanga and its people.
FR. ANGEL C. CALVO, CMF REV. PAULINO R. ERSANDO
Lead Convener Evangelical Convener
PROF. ALI T. YACUB, AL-HJ MR. NULHAMDO P. CEGALES
Muslim Convener Indigenous Peoples Convener
I have come to realize that the process of inculturation is a very tedious, painstaking and a lifelong process. But then, I’m reminded by the song of Fr. Jerry, SJ which says: “Live One Day at A Time”, and I take one step at a time and, with my strong faith that nothing is impossible with God, then everything will be in order in God’s own time.
It’s almost fifty years since Vatican II had talked about inculturation but until now the Church is still struggling for it to really take root. Again, it’s a lifelong process. Our five-day session is not a guarantee that we will indeed be into this kind of initiative. What I enjoin with my co-journeyers is to commit ourselves to embrace the challenges of “letting go” and speaking out as the spirituality of inculturation involves.
Letting go of the peripheral experiences that need to be changed and speaking out about the truth and authenticity that nourishes and nurtures the richness of our own cultures, to support the cause of those in the margins and those demeaned. Letting go of the stumbling blocks such as syncretism, anthropological poverty and the feeling of inferiority imposed on us by our colonizers.
Being colonized for almost 500 years is not easy to undo, but only through patient, painstaking, step by step process of inculturation- where members of indigenous or traditional societies are led and are willing to rediscover and reclaim their cultural heritage and identity including indigenous spirituality.
We are also challenged to engage with passion, on the tasks of inculturation of theology such as: relativizing the inherited cultural expressions of the faith, putting our culture in its right perspective, de-stigmatizing and re-valuing them in the context of present day challenges and re-interpreting the faith with indigenous categories.
As pastoral agents and sharers in God’s mission, we are challenged to engage in the hermeneutics of appreciation focusing on the affirmation of the good qualities, giving priority on grace over sin, and the goodness of God as the original blessing. Returning to our roots will energize us, reclaiming our “Treasures”, that is, that which is good, that which is right and which is life-giving.
We are called to “ripple out” as far as it can reach all the “gems” that we have acquired here in our Euntes journey. Let us engage in a truly human conversation to let the “Divine Light” permeate in and through us, as a nation, as a people of God, and truly experience and relish God’s “Kagandahang Loob.” GOD BLESS US ALL!
Sr. MIla, OND
Yesterday afternoon, after Fr. Yao’s cup table tennis tournament, I bought a few bottles of energy drink in the nearby store. A man who happened to watch me going out from the Euntes gate asked me: ‘Why did you buy energy drink?’ I replied: ‘This will serve to energize us for the whole week since we have just begun our learning and sharing on suffering; we watched the movie “Silence” and it is about suffering’. He smiled and said: ‘Suffering of men and women varies according to their age’. ‘Ahh!!!’ – I replied with astonishment – ‘How about seminarians, brothers, sisters … priests?’ He hurriedly replied: ‘All the more’.
For young people, suffering is usually taking place at the emotional level. We are so sensitive. Young people experience suffering when they try to balance life as the heart and mind compete and contest with each other. Usually the heart wins, but it beats faster than the generator.
For the middle aged people, their suffering usually takes place when they become worried and anxious about so many things, that even sometimes they don’t know why they are worried and anxious. They work overtime because they want to be credited, recognized, approved or seeking for approval for what they have done; they want to be somebody wherever they are.
In today’s gospel I keep on searching the age of Martha but unfortunately I didn’t find. However, I am very much sure that she was not young but she was at the middle age. She complained to Jesus: ‘Look at me I am so burdened with work while my sister is just listening and sitting pretty’. Jesus admonishes her by saying:’ Martha, you are so worried about so many things’.
Every time I experience suffering I realize that it is because I am loaded and even overloaded with so many worries and anxieties. That happens when I experience lot of fears, insecurities, self- centeredness, narrow-mindedness, pride, arrogance; basically it is a matter of lack of faith.
This reminds me of a wise saying that goes like this: ‘Worries are like a rocking chair . . it gives me something to do, but it won’t get anywhere!’.
Why the scripture passage: (John 8: 1 – 11) is special to me.
My migrant journey of encountering physical and verbal abuse started early in life at the age of 7 when my teacher in grade one treated me badly- (a put down experience) in the midst of other children by cutting a big piece of my hair off because I had lice. At the age of 9 I received violent abuse from my two older brothers because of being disobedient to my mother. At the age of twelve when doing grade 5, for half of that year I was a crying baby mainly to the mockery of some boys in my class. When it was my turn to give the morning talk, a negative comment was sure to come from the boys to ridicule and so my talk would finish up with tears again and again. I endured those negative treatment received with silent tears.
One fine afternoon while wandering around inside a Chinese store to buy some lollies with the only money I had in my pocket, a 20 cent piece, I bumped into a man who was a stranger to me. The man looked poor and on his shoulder was a 3 year old boy whom I guess was his son. The little boy was pointing at something he liked from the shelf but the father I guess did not have any money to buy what the son wanted. Moved by the action of the little boy I stepped forward and handed the man the 20 cent. The father was so grateful then and with that money he bought what his son desired, a paper bag of flour balls. There was a big smile on the boy’s face when he received those flour balls from his father and at that moment there was a shift within where I believe I have touched something unique which I now can name as “compassion”. Standing there at the corner of that store that fine afternoon I was also beaming because his smile radiated something beautiful I could not put my finger on at that time.
I did my grade 7 – 10 at a Girl’s School run by the Mercy Sisters and it was there that God’s Word took on a special place in my life through Religious instructions and the option of the daily Mass attendance 7 days a week. At the age of 15 while at home from school, I came face to face with ‘a sour in my stomach’ experience where my younger sister was violently abused by a young man who was 10 years older than her. My reaction that time was stronger and I felt like hitting him but I had to swallow it all with bitter tears. During my college years I encountered another abuse from a fellow student who took advantage on me where this ‘sourness in the stomach’ was a struggle I had to endure once more. Such struggles continued at different times during my 3 years of teaching before entering religious life.
I have been a religious for 27 years now and when I reflect back over my journey I can say that there were situations of injustice encountered where often this ‘sourness’ within have caused me to take action but then there’s that “wall” that I come face to face with again and again. (One of trying to do what is God’s will for me). The Word of God elicits from us maturing faith. This faith comes from “eating the scroll” and enduring “sourness in the stomach” and so giving birth to faith in our lives follows the pattern of incarnation. Maturing in this faith entails the agony and the beauty of facing the “wall” and “being educated at night”.
I thank the God of my journey for the gift of my call and for the beauty and the power of his Word: “Dabar” that has found a home in me.
This is our last day of the course in Euntes and we thank you Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI, for opening our horizons to the world of secularism and globalization, for giving us a new lens to view “terra incognita” and for introducing us to your “saints” John Lennon and John A.T. Robinson, which enabled us to see a new image of the sacred and the profane, from the cosmos and chaos, to a one global planet and to a God of the market, a God of the secularized and globalized universe.
But of course, the task ahead is not easy. We need to have a profound sense of optimism for a radical deconstruction of our antiquated image of God, a reconstruction of the erroneous interpretation of the faith imposed on us by the Roman Empire some thousand years ago, and to be in touch and in dialogue with the world stained with brokenness, poverty, hunger, and discrimination, before we realize that we are already “dead”.
We have to keep ourselves abreast of the new cosmology. From cosmogenesis to biogenesis, from the Palaeozoic Era to the Ecozoic Era to have a wholistic understanding of the whole cosmos and its interconnectedness, realizing that we are the late comers and that we have no right to be superior over the other creatures. But the 11th hour (movie) mirrored to us how humanity have caused so much destruction to our planet earth.
Fr. Jun has also extensively revealed to us the advantages and disadvantages of globalization, but as he said, Christianity should not be threatened by this phenomenon, lest it become “dead, ready to be buried,” instead they should be faced as challenges for engagements, engagements in new paradigms and new and creative ways of ministering. Let us not be content with a God imprisoned in the walls of the Roman structures. Let us not be confined to the celebration of the seven sacraments but be open to the possibility and inclusivity of the 77 x 7 sacraments of the world.
In two weeks time we will be back to our own places. We will be back to the reality of secularism and globalism. We might be facing gigantic tasks of the corporate social responsibilities, but let’s not forget the principle that all enormous bounds always begin with a single step. In our own little ways, in our capacities, we take one step at a time but with an enduring burning spirit.
St. John in the first reading today (2 Jn 4-9) teaches a new commandment of love which is rooted in the teachings of Christ. An embracive love for the whole cosmic world. In the Gospel, St. Luke (17:26-37) speaks about the day of the Son of Man. He said, “It will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” A revelation of a cosmic God of the whole cosmos where there are no more walls, no boundaries but one world where all will live in peace and harmony.
Click here The-three-filipino-seminarians
Fr. Calvo’s session proved a challenging experience in my Euntes journey as I prepare myself for my missionary exposure. It was an experience of deepening my understanding of the margins. The flashed pictures on the power point presentation of the marginalized people made me reflect and I asked myself these questions, “Why are these things happening to them? Why are they poor? Do they choose to become poor, to be oppressed by people who are in power? What can I offer as a missionary novice facing this reality?” It was my moment of silence when I pondered on these queries. With my perspective, I thought that mission is only about going into the boundaries, but it’s not, it’s going beyond… entering into the humanity of the people.
Our exposure in Basilan with the Badjaos imprinted a mark in my heart. As they shared, they were trying their best to be accepted in the community… that one day people will not fool them because they have knowledge already. Their hope and their effort to learn is quite vivid.
It was very striking to me when I heard them. Most of the time, they are considered as outcast in our society. It’s seldom that we can hear that our government is doing some efforts to uplift the lives of our Badjao brothers and sisters. They are just victims of injustices and of poverty.
Now, what is the challenge for me? I should have the stance to fight for the marginalized, promote life and dignity of the people. This is difficult to attain unless I have the conversion of heart, the conversion to turn and help the marginalized and the oppressed in my little ways. This is a process to really be in the mission of God (Missio Dei), through His manifestation in the margins.
I will end this reflection with the quote of Fr. Calvo that struck me. He said, “In doing mission, take it from the perspective of the mission of Jesus.
The subject of His proclamation are the poor and the captives… and mission after all is how we relate to the reality to the people.” May this serve as a challenge to me in doing my mission with the people in the margins.
Sr. Ivy B. Bayno, OND-MN
(Saturday of the Forth Week of Easter; Acts 13:44-52; – John 14:7-14)
The countdown is over … you are on the launching pad and all systems are ‘go’… you are ready to take off … You have been together for the past four weeks … and it’s time to go … to reach out … Euntes in mundum universum … It is Jesus’ command!
The bonding among you has been so good and enjoyable that it is hard to have to say good-bye, but you also know that people, your brothers and sisters, especially those in the margins, are waiting for you in your old or new assignment.
That’s the reality of the Euntes Mission Center and yes … this is another ‘interruption’ in your life that marks the beginning of a new journey … have been both inspired and challenged and you just know this is the time to GO and REACH OUT!
You came here to be a renewed Church and become a new history as I said to you in my homily on orientation day…In the past four weeks, in what can be called your Mount Sinai experience, you have been challenged and inspired to shift paradigms both in your minds and hearts, you developed a new appreciation of your culture and, discovering your migrant condition and experiencing reconciliation, you are ready to accept yourself as ‘God’s Beloved’. This means that, with greater compassion in your hearts, you want to go and break open the Word of God to all who suffer or are afflicted, crossing over all barriers and boundaries, because they are women, children, migrants, IP, refugees, in prison or in hospitals, all of them marginalized in our globalized world …
In the past four weeks you shared life in the prodigality of many blessings…you gifted one another with your life experiences, you shared your joys and pains, the high and low points in your ministry … you rediscovered the original sense of purpose in your call to share in the Missio Dei while opening yourselves to renewal and transformation.
Let us be grateful for all those times you shared, for those who with words and deeds have opened your eyes, your minds and hearts. Each one of you looking at the other can say (as the Song of Thanksgiving goes): You are ever a part of my life; all the good that you have shared will live on in my heart!
I confess that when I saw the number of Priests and Brothers attending the program I was worried … membership seemed ‘clergy heavy’ as they might ‘lord it over’ … I was wrong; they proved to be true ‘companions’ generously empowering the laity and women Religious. Because of this, the lay people in our midst, both single and married, were such a gift to all of us. All the Sisters, especially the OND Novices, with their zest for life, their vibrancy and strong passion for mission have enhanced the joy and liveliness of our community. Let us be grateful.
I thank all the liturgical groups – all of you – for preparing for us, day after day, Eucharistic celebrations that were creative, simple and meaningful.
In today’s First Reading Paul quotes the OT where God had said that Israel was set aside and chosen for a special mission in the world: “I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.”
However, we know that Israel slowly forgot that their mission was MISSIO DEI and slowly they had totally turned in on hemselves and refused to change.
This can happen to us as Church if we remove ourselves from where suffering humankind is … if we distance ourselves from the sights of God’s visitation…the margins!
We are called to be the new Paul and Barnabas today… actually reaching out to “outsiders”, people in the margins, and proclaiming to them the good news of the love and compassion of the Father.
Today’s Gospel page remind us that our brothers and sisters, especially those in the margins, are still crying out to each one of us repeating what Philip said to Jesus: “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” We also hear Jesus’ answer:
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
Jesus says that he is in the Father and the Father is in him. The words Jesus speaks are not his words but the words of the Father. The works he does are the works of the Father.
At the end of our course Towards a Renewed Mission in the Church, can we say that we and our mission work are truly a reflection/ a mirror of the love of God, our Father/ Mother?
We are aware that the insights we have received in choosing our personal prodigality … the Good Samaritan…the Good Shepherd … the Emmaus story … the Washing of the feet … the Visitation … the Adulterous Woman … will actually mark and shape our mission disposition and make a difference.
Like Paul and Barnabas and all the disciples in today’s first reading may your going-out from the Euntes community be always filled with joy and the Holy Spirit … After all as you will sing at Communion time (“Mission”) … The message we’re proclaiming is the reign of God’s Kingdom/ The offer of salvation to all of God’s creation.
God bless you and Happy Mission Journey!
Readings: Acts 12:24-13:5a; John 12:44-50. The following article is the ‘homily’ given by Sister Nenita A. Juntilla, OND, during our Euntes Eucharistic celebration. May 18 is Sr. Nenita’s Birthday.
My Wednesday group mates commanded me to give “pagpaambit” today. Is this a punishment? No, definitely not. I am taking this as a blessing, with a copy so I may not drift away.
We heard it proclaimed: the word of God continued to spread and grow. And so he set apart Saul and Barnabas among prophets and teachers in Antioch, for the work to which he has called them: to proclaim the word of God. Like Paul and Barnabas, we too are called for the mission of communicating God’s compassion in the world today.
The gospel of John presents to us the last part of the Book of Signs. Though people had been present when Jesus gave so many signs, many did not believe in him. To believe in Jesus is to believe in him who sent him. Jesus is so united to the Father that he always speaks in the name of the Father. Jesus is the faithful reflection of the Father. He who sees Jesus sees the Father. If we want to know God, we look at Jesus, who himself is the Sign of the Father and the light who comes into the world, and gives light to all enduring human search.
Yesterday, we had storytelling of “Mt. Sinai and wilderness” experiences and how God through these all, in his frightening fidelity, so re-create us. This is my “Mt. Sinai”
story. In 1979, after 2 years of teaching, I left home, literally leaving home and headed for the convent, without informing, much less, asking the consent of my family. Because I knew that if I did, I won’t be permitted. I felt that I was called for a greater self-donation, or so I thought.
And enter I did, against all odds: of being fetched in the convent and persuaded by my father, who strongly opposed my vocation, to come home with him a couple of times, but refused to go home with him, a couple of times; of leaving behind a family who at that time badly needed me in all aspects; of asking the help of a bishop (Bishop Escaler) who was close by to plead my cause, as it were; of being disowned and considered dead by my father for ten years. I was finally allowed to kiss his hand again after my perpetual vows in 1989. My father was actually a very quiet, loving and kind person. I realized that he only did what he did because he wanted the best for me. And he, owing to his damaged childhood background, did not see religious life as the best option.
Like all of you, I had been through a lot:
– a difficult employer,
– a lingering, barren prayer,
– being missioned in a challenging mission area, in Basilan, where I could breathe the tension in the air every single day due to incidents of kidnapping of missionaries,
– I wrestled with a midlife crisis,
– underwent surgery,
– losing a dear 16-year old nephew to leukemia,
– the death of my palangga nga Tatay two years ago,
– and surviving a vehicular accident.
All these, but not without hope and the abiding presence and providence of God reassuring me that these are necessary part of the journey, and that all shall be well.
Today, humbly in God’s grace, I still would like proclaim that I couldn’t be any happier than being an OND religious, ever desiring to put myself at the disposal of God through
superiors, to live simply, like for example, being content in receiving monthly allowance of 400, and devoting my womanness and energy for God and his mission.
Today I wish to renew my prayer from the very beginning, that “I may die, gracious God, a religious sister.”
Blessing upon blessing we have been given. Do we recognize and count them? Thanks to Euntes, to Fr. Giulio, Srs. Stella & Roselle, to Sr. Teresa for exposing us to yet another face of the poor in the margins – the migrants, calling forth paradigms of prodigality in embracing their context. Our learning, our wonderful community at Euntes, which could be a support structure for mission, our journey on the whole, is only but a preparation for a more creative, committed response to Missio Dei.
We let Jesus address us now personally. “Anyone who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.” As agents of mission, is there something in us or something we don’t have that will condemn us? Do we discern God’s word interrupting us and our way of responding to mission?
Sister Ma. Teresa Mueda, DC, offered six paradigms, images in which one could see a manifestation of God’s Prodigality, an image that could symbolize one’ s ‘style’ and ‘disposition’ in doing his/her mission. The images are: The Good Shepherd, the Washing of the Feet, the Good Samaritan, the Visitation, the Emmaus Story and the Adulterous Woman.
Paradigm of Prodigality: Adulterous Woman
It is recognized that every single sin is adultery, an infidelity to God who established with us a covenant of love. We are dragged many times over before Jesus for adultery. Guilty as charged. In spite and despite our guilt, Jesus does not tire in forgiving us. No questions asked. As having forgiven, we too must extend his compassion to all who are “caught in adultery” and calling them to new hope and fresh start.