CFC-FFL Position Against the Re-imposition of the Death Penalty

As of March 2017

In line with our vision and mission of renewing the family and defending life, we stand alongside with our Mother Church, in condemning the passage of House Bill 4727, the Death Penalty Law1, in the lower house of Congress.

As an evangelistic and missionary community, we are tasked with renewing the family and defending life. Enshrined in our identity is the primordial duty to defend life in all its forms2.  Further, to defend, preserve, strengthen, renew and celebrate faith, family and life. The imposition of the Death Penalty wreak havoc on our identity and mission. We point to the crucial need for evangelization and transformation in Christ, as the ultimate antidote to criminality.

It goes against our Core Value of Living a Preferential Option for the Poor3. Based on statistical evidence, the death penalty tilts more against the poor. There is real and apparent danger in convicting the innocent. Our imperfect criminal justice system can put to death innocent persons. It is cruel and inhuman. We intensify our work for helping uplift the lives of the poor through various moral and life-giving material interventions.

House Bill 4727, repeals the existing laws on Life Imprisonment or Reclusion Perpetua. Life Imprisonment renders the offender, the chance to renew his life in keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church4 on the role of the State with regards to criminal offense vis-a-vis law and order, with a duty to redress the disorder due to the offense. Death Penalty nullifies any hope to renew the criminal’s life, more so for the State to redress the disorder in a humane way.

In conclusion, the passage of House Bill 4727, the Death Penalty Law, in the Lower House of Congress, defies who we are and what we do in CFC-FFL.  We pledge to a deeper commitment to work on renewing the family across all sectors of society and work for the defense of life, in all its stages and forms.

1 AN ACT IMPOSING THE DEATH PENALTY ON CERTAIN HEINOUS CRIMES, REPEALING FOR THE PURPOSE. REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9346, ENTITLED “AN ACT PROHIBITING THE IMPOSITION OF DEATH PENALTY IN THE PHILIPPINES”, AND FURTHER AMENDING ACT NO. 3815, AS AMENDED, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS “THE REVISED PENAL CODE”, AND REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE “COMPREHENSIVE DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT OF 2002”

2 We are called to defend life. The fight of this third millennium is all about the culture of death, which the anti-life, anti-family, radical homosexuals’ forces are imposing on society and the world. This is the final assault of the evil one, who wages all-out war on the Author of life. We have been thrust into this savage conflict, and we are to give our all in defending and promoting the culture of life. (CFC-FFL Document on Who We Are and What We Do)

3 We recognize Jesus’ mission to bring glad tidings to the poor (Lk 4:18). We look to both the spiritual and material upliftment of the least among our brethren. In doing so, we will be in solidarity with the poor by striving to live a simple lifestyle, to share our resources, and to fight for social justice in the world. (CFC-FFL Document on Core Values)

4 Catechism of the Catholic Church 2266 The State effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. The primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.

Who allows cyber child porn in the Philippines?

Failure to implement laws is allowing crimes and abuses against children to thrive

 

Sweetie, a computer generated 10-year-old Filipino child who looked very real that as many as 20,000 pedophiles worldwide tried to contact her and made sexual overtones. (Photo courtesy of Terres de Hommes)

 

Father Shay Cullen, Manila  Philippines April 19, 2017

Hundreds of Filipino children are traumatized and abused by the fast money-making crime of cyber-sex.

This is the most obnoxious crime against helpless, vulnerable children. Filipino kids as young as 5 or 6 years old are abused over the internet.

It happens due to the failure of the Philippine government and internet service providers to implement laws.

The government’s social welfare secretary, Lorraine Badoy, recently posted a sarcastic comment on Facebook that Europeans should just watch porn and leave the country to run its business.

“Those in the EU just engage in online child pornography, because that’s what you are good at,” she wrote.

It was an ill-advised attempt to defend President Rodrigo Duterte from criticism by EU officials over the president’s deadly war on illegal drugs.

Badoy was being sarcastic and facetious in addressing the critics of the president. But many people view it as insensitive and inappropriate and trivializes the sexual abuse of children.

EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said the “issue of child pornography is extremely serious and a grave crime. It should be addressed in a serious and responsible manner.”

The incident has a good side. It has brought attention to the outrageous demand and supply of images of Filipino children being sexually abused.

The Philippine official is only too aware of the massive demand for live streaming of images of Filipino children being sexually abused online.

But the blame cannot be laid solely at the door of those demanding the crime be committed so they can view it but also on the child sex abusers, the suppliers, and the enablers back in the Philippines, including the pimps and cyber criminals and traffickers and the internet providers.

The government itself seems to be not enforcing the law. Telephone companies are violating the law by not having filters in place.

Duterte ought to investigate and threaten these violators. He ought to have a war against child porn and cyber-sex too.

The Philippine police are all too aware that Filipinos have hundreds if not thousands of small cyber-sex dens. They also know there are parents and relatives and neighbors exposing children, some as young as 5 years old, to pedophiles online.

It is a billion dollar global cyber-crime business.   Continue reading

“Meet a Migrant” and spread the Easter spirit – Cardinal Tagle

Easter message by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis

 

My family began with the migration of a child. My maternal grandfather was born in China. His mother was very poor so she sent her son with a relative who travelled to the Philippines – and that’s where I was born and grew up.

Migration is a chance for people to bloom as human beings. It is a chance for them to create a better life for themselves and future generations. Even though destructive forces such as war and poverty disrupt human and family life, migration shows us the nobility of the human spirit. Like Christ on his journey to the cross, migration pushes people beyond their physical and mental borders, it stretches their capacities and takes them through deserts of loneliness and rejection. But people bear this journey of sacrifice for a noble cause.

Cardinal Tagle as a baby and his grandfather. Photo from personal collection

We mustn’t forget that people have the right to migrate and choose the place where they feel they can flourish. But they also have a right not to migrate and live a dignified life at home. Many people would like to stay in their countries and villages where they were born, as I’m sure my grandfather wanted to, but when your homeland is torn apart by war or quite simply can’t offer you a job and a stable life you find yourself making the hardest of choices.

If there is one blessing to being called to the presidency of Caritas Internationalis it is to meet with refugees and migrants, especially those in detention. It has brought into sharp focus the suffering that human beings can inflict on each other. Wars and hatred have become systemic in some parts of the world,  destroying human lives and communities.

Those who migrate show us in “living colour” the consequences of hatred and division and bias and prejudice. We must never forget the inalienable dignity and worth of each of these people. We are called to promote the common good of our global human family, not just the good of our own families or countries. Migrants are living reminders to be stewards of creation and to change unjust systems as many of them are victims of climate change or poverty caused when the Earth’s resources aren’t shared equitably.

In migrants we also have the opportunity to marvel at the beauty of the person and explore the depths of love and of caring that people such as Caritas volunteers and also communities are capable of. No sorrow, no pain, no tiredness, no weariness can totally remove from the human heart generosity, compassion and nobility.

Meeting migrants in all their difficulties, and hearing about their hopes and dreams, has caused me to ask myself what’s really important to me. Things I used to consider essential now pale in comparison to the values of human dignity, life, family, the future and the next generations.  I hope the global migration and refugee situation might lead the whole world in a corporate examination of consciousness and also of our value systems.

We understand that each country goes through its own pains and its own struggles. There is the temptation to say “Why should we respond to the needs of these people when we have our own needs to address?” People may say, “charity begins at home” but we need to remind them that it shouldn’t end at home. We can expand ‘home’.   Continue reading

Ekstraktib | Music and Arts Fair on E-Scrap

Where are your old phones? Do they go back to the mountains, whence they came? Do we reuse the minerals that may have displaced communities in order to be obtained?

Tell us your E-Scrap story.

Ekstraktib, derived from the English word extractive, means something that is capable or tending toward withdrawal of natural resources by extraction.
The Ekstraktib Music and Arts Fair is a part of the relaunching of End Up Better Campaign: An Advocacy for E-scrap and Metals Recycling by the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) as an ALTERNATIVE TO MINING.

Through a music and arts fair, the campaign hopes to arouse public consciousness on the importance of recycling minerals from e_scrap materials to ease the burden of extraction from forests and mountains.

It also hopes to raise awareness of the undisclosed environmental and human effects of modern and competetive electronic production that leads to an even more massive mineral extraction to meet the demands of the market.

It also aims to promote the idea of being a responsible consumer by popularizing the idea of “Sapat Dapat,” or sustainable lifestyle as means to help save the environment from too much mineral extraction and waste production.

The campaign initiated a study conducted by UP Diliman College of Mass Communication Professor Eulalio R. Guieb III on the viability of metal recycling from cellular phones. The study confirmed that given specific design, precious metals from cellular phones may be mined or recycled. It also noted the potential of mining metals from electronics and electrical equipment (EEE) may produce significant volume that would come close to the volume of metals produced through mining. The study was funded and initiated by PMPI.

This initiative will target mostly urban communities in Metro Manila and other key cities in the Philippines where e-waste issues are most prevalent.

The fair will be highlighting activities promoting e-scrap recycling and management. It also aims to facilitate understanding of environment and social impacts of e-wastes through art and creativity. Rap battles, poetry readings, and musical performances will showcase rhymes, poems, verses, songs, and musical pieces that push for environmental causes.

Kids will also be invited to join a poster-making contest, while an arts booth welcomes anyone who’s willing to share their take on the issue while showing their artistic talents.

Key features of the event include Fair of Ideas, where several testimonies and talks will be shared, coming from communities from all walks of life that are involved and affected by this issue. An exhibit will showcase ideas, data, and informative tidbits through creative infographics and artworks.

The activity will be held in an open area, where people are very much welcome to visit and spare few moments of their time to enjoy and learn at the same time.
More importantly, the event aims to be a venue of connection among communities who are passionate about issues on e-waste and of our environment.

INVITATION LETTER

17 April 2017

Dear Partners,

Warm greetings of peace!

In line with our advocacy against mining in the country, the Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) will be relaunching its E-scrap campaign through an interactive music and arts fair a, day before the Earth Day Celebration.

Through this activity, we hope to create public awareness to the communities the undisclosed environmental and human cost of producing innovative electronics. Alongside this, it also aims to promote the idea of being a responsible consumer by popularizing the idea of “Sapat Dapat’” lifestyle as a means to help save the environment from too much mineral extraction and waste production.

It is within this context that we write to you.

We would like to invite you to our “EKSTRaktib” Music and Arts Fair on April 21, 2017. Key features of the event include a Fair of Ideas (FOI) where several testimonies and talks from representatives of different organizations pushing towards environmental consciousness will be shared. The FOI will be held at the Audio Visual Room (AVR) of Malate Church from 1:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.

A music fair will also follow at the Church Grounds where musical performances and rap battles will take place from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Through the use of artistry and creativity, the fair aims to help raise consciousness the importance of E-scrap/Ewaste recycling and the growing issues of the environment. We will be having photo exhibit, as well, showing the same theme.

A poster-making contest will be hosted for the youth in the morning.

You may contact Jen Moling at 09228501875 or Joy Quito at 09195097297 for further details. You may also look into the other attachments for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the event. Thank you very much!

Sincerely yours,

Jeanette Moling
PMPI AMC Project Officer

Noted:

Yolanda R. Esguerra
PMPI National Coordinator

The Beauty and Riches of Benham Rise: Kamayan para sa Kalikasan Forum

Dear Friends:

Benham Rise is one of the most exciting things that have happened in our country recently.  Imagine, an area approximately the size of Luzon added to our territory!  it is supposed to be rich in oil and natural gas but again,  as if  the Lord is teasing us, it is also rich in marine biological resources!  What to prioritize?

To listen and to see a video on the fantastic beauty of Benham Rise,  please  come to

Kamayan para sa Kalikasan Forum with the theme
“The Beauty and Riches of Benham Rise”
on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 10:30 am-1:30pm
at  Kamayan Restaurant on EDSA ( near Ortigas Ave., across the gate of Corinthian Gardens subdivision).

Our partner for this session is Oceana Philippines.  Oceana is a non-profit international organization dedicated  solely to protecting the oceans. it has offices in several countries among which is the Philppines.

Speakers  will be  Jimley Flores, Senior Marine Scientist, Marianne Saniano, Marine scientist, and   Gregg Yan, Director of Communications 

This Kamayan is organized every third Friday of the month  by Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy together with SALIKA.

We thank Kamayan Restaurant which has been supporting this Forum as part  of the company’s environmental advocacy for the past 25 years.

Thank you.

God bless,

Angelina P. Galang
President
Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy
Environment and Sustainable Economy

Special Edition on the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles

Focus Web  17 April 2017

To mark the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles, Focus on the Global South releases this special edition that puts together articles on issues that small farmers and peasants continue to face.  These pieces also highlight the different forms of resistance that farmers and peasants put up amidst these challenges.

Mary Ann Manahan of Focus-Philippines remembers the hard work of her grandfather, a small farmer who eked out a living from his small farm of coffee and fruit, and died with hardly anything to pass on to his family but his small plot and his pride for being a farmer. Ms Manahan would realize the bigger context of her grandfather’s hardships as she grows up, studies, and becomes involved in the agrarian reform struggle in the Philippines.

Continue reading

The Children are the First to Die

Agony: Abdul was pictured cradling the bodies of his dead twins after they were killed | Daily Mail photo

Father Shay Cullen
06 April 2017

The children of Khan Sheikhoun were the first to suffer as the suspected nerve gas sarin, a deadly, fast-killing agent, caused the children to suffocate their damaged lungs caused racking pain.  As they tried to breath with damaged lungs, they started to foam at the mouth. Twenty died horrible deaths at the last count, there may be more. By last Wednesday April 5 at least 72 people had died and over a hundred more people are struggling for life in makeshift clinics. One clinic treating the victims of the sarin attack was targeted and hit by a Syrian rocket.

Such barbaric war crimes are revolting and cry out for justice. But where are the countries with any moral values that will try and investigate and gather the evidence and bring Assad or the Russian military that are propping up his cruel torturing regime to justice? Will any one arm the rebels with weapons to defeat the death-dealing helicopters that are dropping the sarin gas on civilians?

The human suffering as a result of the chemical warfare waged by the brutal regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is indeed a heinous crime against the people of Syria. He has crossed the American red line laid down by President Obama some years ago. In 2013, the Syrian regime used sarin gas and killed more than 1,300 civilians, men, women and children.

Assad and the Russians brokered a deal to avoid the US entering the war against him by surrendering what was supposed to be all his horrible chemical weapons. It is clear that he has used chlorine bombs dropped from helicopters 24 times on civilians for several years and since 2013 has on two occasions dropped sarin gas bombs on the civilians. The last sarin attack in December 2016 killed 93 people in eastern Hama and now this latest attack in Idlib. The world is just accepting this as normal and takes no actions but just condemns the attacks. He will pay no penalty now, no red line, and why is that?

Assad must be brought to justice and not be supported, aided and abetted by Iran and Russia in the crimes of his vicious military. They have denied any responsibility and blamed the rebels in Idlib for having sarin gas on hand. In other words, they gassed themselves, Assad says. Experts say that this is highly unlikely.

Assad has been described as a war criminal and he has once again crossed the US red line against the use of chemical weapons drawn by President Barak Obama in 2013 when more than 1,300 civilians were killed by a sarin gas attack in this hate-filled civil war. The war is now six year old and millions of people have fled the country. There are twenty-thousand or more dead and at least five million displaced. Once developed cities have been reduced to crumbling ruins due to the relentless air strikes by Syrian government warplanes backed by Russian military power. They have wrecked havoc and killed hundreds of civilians.

It was the threat of US intervention by Obama that caused Assad to surrender his chemical weapons, but did he give up all of them? It’s clear he kept back some sarin and had lots of chlorine. President Trump blames Obama for not enforcing the red line so will Trump do so now? Will he challenge what he called a “heinous” crime by Assad and his Russian backers?

Will he make America great again and take a moral stand against the war criminal and order a punitive rocket attack perhaps on Assad’s palace in Damascus? Will he arm the US backed-rebels with ground-to-air shoulder-fired missiles to take out the bomb dropping helicopters? It’s highly unlikely.

That’s what the US did in the rebel war against the occupying Russians in Afghanistan and the rebels shot the war planes and helicopters out of sky and defeated the Russian army. Without air power, the Syrian army and the Russians have no chance of beating the highly motivated Syrian rebels.   Continue reading

​Calvary of the poor

“Uphold democracy, our human rights”

In observance of the Holy Week, 3,000 strong- protesters took to penitence their “sorrows” on the status of human rights in the country.

The urban poor community members of the Community Organizers Multiversity (COM) trooped to Plaza Miranda on Holy Tuesday morning, April 11, and walked all the way to Mendiola bearing seven large crosses.

The crosses presented issues that heavily affect the urban poor areas: Extra-judicial killings and death penalty; lowering of minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 down to 9; non-movement on the issue of housing and other basic services; spread of wrong and malicious information; climate change issues being used on eviction of informal settlers; the culture of fear and the lack of respect for women’s rights; the oppression and the double-standard observance of democracy, where the poor’s space is diminishing.

The activity is dubbed as Calvary of Urban Poor Communities or Kalbaryo ng mga Maralitang Taga-Lungsod

A short play version of the Passion of Christ featuring the victims of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings was presented where the group reiterated their calls. This was followed by a mass led by Manila Auxiliary Bishop, Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo and running priest, Fr. Robert Reyes.

Calvary Hill of the poor

In a statement shared by COM, the group expressed their distress on the slow investigation on killings perpetrated both by the police force and by vigilante assailants, where the most common victims are the poor accused as drug offender.

“All of them who died, guilty or not, have the right to defend themselves in court. But that may never come. Most of them are rotting in morgues. Where is the justice?” Luz Domingo, COM Community Organizer and rights activist.

She shared that this Holy Week is one of the most painful for the urban poor who lost their families.

“Those who are spreading malicious information that even as accused and not proven, these victims deserved their deaths equally have to answer the law. They are spreading not just wrong information but hatred and discrimination,” Domingo added.

Bishop Pabillo encouraged all to observe what Jesus has done during the Lenten Season.

“We must as we preach practice compassion, love, and mercy. Let’s not be Judas Iscariot who condemned Christ, his brother, to the centurions and the Pharisees, the Sadducees. As we implement the law, let us as well promote justice and uphold human rights of each,” Bishop Pabillo said.

Each community leader and cross-bearer share a piece for the crosses they carried: for EJK to end and to stop the reinstatement of Death Penalty; to provide help and guidance instead of prison for the children in conflict with the law; to prioritize proper housing and relocation for the urban poor and fisherfolks; to uphold the human rights of the poor amid culture of discrimination; to advocate for a pro-poor climate change solutions; to respect the rights of women; and to protect the democracy and equal participation of the poor and the vulnerable.

COM urban poor areas who participated include communities from BASECO Compound, Isla Puting Bato in Tondo, Barangay Tatalon, ULAP-QC & Manila, Montalban Action Group, Montalban Resettlement, Taytay Floodway: Bagong Pagasa HOA, Exodus HOA, Maharlika HOA, Taytay Arenda, APOLA, and Alyansa ng mga Pederasyong Kumikilos sa Lawa ng Laguna.