Late in May, the Catholic Church beatified the martyred Bishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Will similar recognition come someday to Mindanao?
That’s where missionaries Tulio Favali and Fausto Tentorio were likewise murdered. The two were members of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (Pime). “Why do you wish to be a priest, even though priests are being killed?” someone once asked Favali. His reply: “So that they will have more priests to kill
Established in 1850 in Italy, the Pime is now in 17 countries, including the Philippines. Its roster includes 18 martyrs and one canonized saint.
As in El Salvador, paramilitary operatives of counterinsurgency groups in Mindanao have tarred popular movements for change as “subversive.” Their agents smeared Pime missionaries—whispering about the Communist Party of the Philippines’ praise for Father Tentorio, for example.
Pope Benedict XVI met these smears head on. He asked Giuseppe Pinto, then the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio in Manila, to convey his message to Filipinos. Tentorio was “a good priest, a fervent believer,” the Pope wrote. “For many years, he served the people of the Philippines in a courageous and indefatigable way.”
Benedict’s statement was published in the Vatican’s official daily, L’Osservatore Romano.
Who slammed the replay button?
For years, opponents within the Vatican blocked the cause of Blessed Oscar Romero. “But with the presence of Pope Francis, a sensible Latino who knows Latin America, the process was revived,” then finally pushed through, writes Bernardo Barranco, the president of the Center of Religious Studies, an institute in Mexico City. “It acknowledged a figure of the Church who has been denied for decades.”
Romero was shot while saying Mass by a junta gunman. A “truth commission” later concluded that former army major Roberto d’Aubuisson ordered the killing. He was never tried. Impunity enabled him to establish the conservative Arena party, which governed El Salvador until 2009. He is now in the opposition.
“For a whole generation of Christians in Latin America, Romero’s murder demonstrated the barbarity of military dictatorships,” writes Barranco. Romero morphed from a timid bishop to an outspoken prelate after El Salvador goons gunned down a Jesuit priest who defended the poor.
In the Philippines, it has been four years now since the murder of Tentorio (or “Father Pops”).
Last October, a caravan disembarked in Arakan, North Cotabato. The caravan members heard Mass concelebrated by 15 priests. The theme of the liturgy was Pope Francis’ call: “Go. Do not be afraid. Serve the people.”
They recalled that after arriving in Kidapawan, Father Pops stayed in the village of Kabacan to learn the local languages.
He trekked to far-flung villages to reach the neglected tribals and farmers. And he taught them how “to unite into organizations where they developed a new kind of education that empowered them to struggle for their rights.”
Lawyer Gregorio Andolana documented “some investors racing to exploit the natural resources of Arakan.” He pinpointed the corrupt politicians who feared that the organized farmers and tribals would no longer sell their votes.
These politicians considered priests like Tentorio and Favali as subversive. For some, this was sufficient motive for an extrajudicial killing.
After many appeals to the President, a new special investigating team for unsolved cases is now conducting an in-depth review of Tentorio’s killing. We want to see results, says Fr. Peter Geremia of the Pime.
Filipinos will find the Romero case instructive. After years in which the process was stalled, Pope Francis’ beatification decision was “a surprise and a thrill for everyone,” said Simeon Reyes, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church in El Salvador.
“There were always priests who were not in agreement with him,” said Gaspar Romero, the slain bishop’s brother. “But the Vatican has recognized him as a man of faith, a man who spoke for the neediest, defending the poor from injustices, and who was killed for it.”
Romero’s case for sainthood became bogged down in Church politics, recalls Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who guided the beatification cause through the process.
Over the years, Romero’s opponents argued that he was too politically controversial and a follower of “liberation theology,” a movement within the Church focused on fighting injustice and inequality.
“A mountain of paper, unfortunately, weighed down” Romero’s case. Will that be the case in Mindanao?
Pope Francis bypassed senior prelates to pick the second Filipino cardinal from Mindanao, Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato.
The violence that Romero encountered, including the killing of his fellow priests, “radicalized [him] and made him aware that the repression had no limits, that they would attack anyone equally, including the Church,” said Jose Jorge Siman, a friend for many years.
A prayer, wrongly attributed to Romero, says it is also for martyred missionaries Favali and Tentorio:
“The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work….
“Nothing we do is complete, which is saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us… We plant the seeds that one day will grow….
“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that… We may never see the end results… We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”
A group of tribal children have appealed to Pope Francis to help them win justice for a murdered Italian priest who was killed inside his parish compound in the southern Philippines more than three years ago.
They say the slow pace of the investigation into the killing of Father Fausto “Pops” Tentorio might forever deprive them of the justice for which they are searching.
She expressed hope the papal visit this week would help thrust the case back into the spotlight, saying the priest was very much like the current pope.
Agat says she was only able to get a proper education because of a school built by Tentorio.
Tentorio, who belonged to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, was shot dead by a gunman inside his parish compound in Arakan town, North Cotabato, in October 2011.
Witnesses and Tentorio’s parishioners have accused the Bagani — a paramilitary group — and the country’s military of being behind the murder.
Rights activists say Father Tentorio’s outspoken views against human rights violations, large-scale mining and logging, and his steadfast support for indigenous people and farmers were the motives behind his killing.
“We felt our world stopped the moment Father Pops’ heart stopped beating. They took him away from us,” Agat said.
Tentorio helped build schools and financially assisted children from indigenous groups so they could go to high school and college, she said.
The murdered priest was like no other we knew and embraced the life of indigenous people by living with them in their communities and by learning their language and culture, she added.
In 2012, President Benigno Aquino ordered the creation of a Special Investigating Team for Unsolved Cases to look into cases of extrajudicial killings in the country.
Fellow Italian priest Father Peter Geremia commented recently that the special task force has yielded no significant progress since its creation and has only created more frustration for the families of the victims.
Human rights groups say that although two brothers, Jimmy and Robert Ato, both members of the Bagani, have been arrested, the masterminds behind the priest’s killing are still free.
Military officials deny any involvement in the killing.
The military also denies funding or training tribal paramilitary units in the North Cotabato area.
“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.
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.
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.
Le iniziative a Santa Maria Hoé
Da giovedì 17 a domenica 20: incontri, testimonianze e momenti di preghiera.
Nel 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.
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.
Fr. Peter Geremia, PIME
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.
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.
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.