“Preserve and Cultivate the Land; Clean the Air and Conserve the Water”

DIOCESE OF BALANGA

PASTORAL LETTER REGARDING POWER PLANTS IN BATAAN

Magmula noong December 8, 2015 hanggang December 8, 2016, sa utos ni Papa Francisco, ipinagdiwang natin ang Dakilang Hubileo na tinawag nating “TAON NG AWA.” Sa kalatas na Misericordiae Vultus (Bull of Indiction of the Extra Ordinary Jubilee of Mercy), binigyan diin ng Papa ang dakilang larawan ng Diyos Ama bilang isang mahabagin. At ang pagiging mahabagin na ito ng Diyos Ama ang isa sa masasalamin natin sa buong ministeryo ng ating Panginoong Hesukristo. Yayamang ang isa sa mga hamunin ng pagdiriwang ng Taon ng Awa ay ang panawagan sa simbahan na maging “presensiya at patotoo ng Awa ng Diyos sa Mundo” (Misericordiae Vultus, 22. ), niloob ng mga organizers ng World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM, 2017) na talakayin sa huling araw ng nasabing kongreso, ang paksa na mayroong kinalaman sa kalikasan. Ang huling araw na ito ay ginanap sa ating Diyosesis noong Enero 21, 2017 na may paksang , “Preserve and Cultivate the Land; Clean the Air; Conserve the Water.” 

Ano ang kinalaman ng paksang ito sa ating pagsusumikap na maging anyo ng pagiging mahabagin ng Diyos?   Sa kanyang liham Ensilikal Laudato Si, sinabi ng Papa na ang mga nilalang ng Diyos ay

“nanawagan sa atin ukol sa kapahamakang idinulot sa kanya ng ating iresponsableng paggamit at pag-aaksaya sa mga yamang ipinagkaloob sa kanya ng Diyos. Itinuring natin ang ating mga sarili bilang mga may-ari at panginoon na may karapatang abusuhin siya. Ang karahasan sa ating mga pusong sinugatan ng kasalanan ay masasalamin sa mga sintomas ng karamdaman na makikita sa lupa, sa tubig, sa hangin at sa lahat ng may buhay. Dahil dito, kasama ang lahat ng kawawang pinabayaan natin at pinahirapan, pinagpasan at nilapastangan, ang lupa ay ‘dumaraing dahil sa matinding hirap tulad ng isang nanganganak’.(Laudato Si, 2.).

Sa maikling salita, gustong sabihin ng Papa Francisco sa ating lahat, ang daigdig sa kaniyang kasalukuyang kalagayan ay nanghihingi ng awa. At ang mga taong naapektuhan sa negatibong pamamaraan bunga ng pang-aabuso sa kalikasan ay nanghihingi rin ng awa. Ang awa ay kanilang hinihingi mula sa mga taong nag aastang Panginoon ng kalikasan. Nangangahulugan, ang maawa sa kalikasan at sa mga taong naapektuhan bunga ng pagmamalabis sa kalikasan ay isang konkretong pamamaraan ng pagpapakita at pagpapadama ng awa ng Diyos.

Sa pagnanais na makapagbigay ng wastong pagtugon sa hamunin na bigay ng Misericordiae Vultus at ang panawagan ng Laudato Si at WACOM 2017, kami ay nagpasyang sumulat sa napapanahong liham pastoral na ito.

Sa aming pagliham sa inyo gusto naming ipamulat at ipanawagan ang mga sumusunod:

A.   KALAGAYAN NG MUNDO SANG AYON KAY PAPA FRANCISCO

Kinikilala ng Santo Papa na malayo na ang narating ng sangkatauhan at ng daigdig. Mabilis ang pagbabagong nangyayari. Pero kasabay nito kaniyang binigyang diin ang ilang obserbasyon na hindi kanais nais at lubhang nakababahala. Una, ang bilis o tulin ng pagbabagong ito ay malayo sa likas na hinay ng ebolusyong biyolohikal. Pangalawa, ang mga nilalayon ng mabilis at tuloy-tuloy na pagbabago ay hindi palaging nakatuon sa ikabubuti ng lahat, at sa pang matagalan at pangkabuuang pag- unlad ng tao. At ang pangatlo, ang mabilis na pagbabago ay humahantong sa pagkasira ng daigdig at sa kalidad ng pamumuhay ng malaking bahagi ng sangkatauhan.

Mga nangyayari sa daigdig bunga ng mabilis na pagbabago

  1. Polusyon

Sa mismong pagwiwika ng Santo Papa, kanyang sinabi,

“May mga anyo ng polusyon na nakakaapekto sa mga tao araw-araw. Nagdadala ng samu’t saring pinsala sa kalusugan, lalo ng mahihirap, ang pagkakababad sa mga dumi sa hangin na nagdudulot ng milyon-milyong maagang kamatayan. Nagkakasakit sila…(Laudato Si, 20.)

Ang hangin na itinuturing nating napakahalaga sa pag-iral ng lahat ng humihinga ay padumi ng padumi. Ang hangin na pumapasok sa loob ng ating katawan ay lubhang nakababahala dahil ito ay nagbibigay ng panganib sa kalusugan at buhay ng tao. Kaya sa mismong pananalita ng Santo Papa ang polusyon ang siyang sanhi ng maagang kamatayan at pagkakasakit ng nakararami.

2.  Pagbabago ng klima bunga ng tinatawag na Global Warming

Gamit ang matibay na pagkakasundo-sundo ng mga siyentipiko, binigyang diin ng Santo Papa na tayo ay

“nahaharap ngayon sa isang nakababahalang pag-init ng sistema ng klima. Sa mga huling dekada, ang pag-init na ito ay sinabayan ng patuloy na pagtaas ng nibel ng dagat at bukod pa rito, mahirap na hindi ito iugnay sa pagdami ng matitinding pagbabago sa panahon, higit pa sa maaaring ikabit sa isang sanhing matutukoy ng agham para sa bawat isang pangyayari.” (Laudato Si, 23.).

Sa maikling salita, ang global warming ay siyang nagiging dahilan kung bakit mayroong matinding pagbabago sa panahon. Dito sa ating bansa ito ay nararanasan na. Kapag panahon ng tag-init, katulad ng alam ninyo, mayroong bahagi sa ating bansa ang bukirin ay natutuyo bunga ng kawalan ng tubig. Marami tayong kababayan na ang kabuhayan ay nakasandig sa lupa ang hindi makapagtanim.   At katulad ng inaasahan, marami sa kanila ang nakakaranas ng gutom. Kapag panahon naman ng tag-ulan, kapansin pansin ang maraming tubig na binubuhos. Bunga ng malalaking baha na nararanasan natin, may mga nawawalan ng buhay at maraming ari-arian (katulad ng mga tanim, bahay, mga alagang hayop) ang lumulubog at nasasayang. At ang panghuli, huwag nating kalilimutan na mayroon ding kinalaman ang Global Warming sa palakas ng palakas na mga bagyong dumaraan sa ating bansa.

Continue reading

Romero speaks in the here and now

Raul Julia as Óscar Romero in the 1989 film “Romero” (Paulist Productions)

National Catholic Reporter  Nov 11, 2017
by Antonio D. Sison   Media

The year, 1977, the circumstantial background, the turbulent presidential election in El Salvador. With his hands, the 60-year-old bishop cups water from a basin and washes his face. That day, in the capital San Salvador, he passively witnessed how armed military men terrorized a busload of voters from the city’s poor sector as they made their way to the polling station. Just earlier, he had tried to caution his Jesuit friend Rutillo Grande, pastor and social activist, about “going too far.” As he splashes water on his face a couple more times, he is stopped midstream by a colleague bearing the news: “You have been appointed archbishop.”

In the biopic “Romero” (John Duigan, 1989), the inaugural Mass of newly appointed archbishop of San Salvador Óscar Arnulfo Romero, gives us an unambiguous picture of his centrist theological and sociopolitical perspective; he is the “safe choice.” Conservative members of the church hierarchy, and prominent figures of the oligarchy dominate his bevy of well-wishers. “I come from a world of books,” he declares from the pulpit. “We in the church must keep to the center watchfully, in the traditional way, but seeking justice.”

But as the story arc unfolds, Romero, in a state of inertia, is drawn into a gradual conversion experience, not just in a general sense, but in the specific trajectory of a “conversion to justice.” It is by the portrayal of such a conversion that the film offers insight to Romero’s deepening spirituality that would lead him to a prophetic, liberating solidarity.

I find Jesuit activist Peter McVerry’s description of the three-stage process that leads to a conversion to justice an illuminating lens through which we can understand Romero’s transformation in the film.

The first stage, a “conversation of the feet,” is that latent doubt and discomfort when, after some form of sharing in the experience of the poor, we realize that our incapacity to love our marginalized brothers and sisters has a lot to do with our over-attachment to the comfortable lives we live. We become open to this realization not from paper cuts we get on our fingers from reading, but from the mud we get on our feet from immersion.

Early in the film, Romero faces new encounters at the edge of society where poor Salvadorans are hard-pressed on every side. This brings about a real “dis-ease” in him, especially as he continues hobnobbing with San Salvador’s rich and powerful. The camera works well to capture nuances and close-up shots of Raul Julia, the gifted actor who plays Romero, revealing subtle emotional hints; his face is a threshold of a simmering crisis of belief.

A “conversion of the head” is that juncture when we are “called to social analysis.” We come to a realization that there are structural causes for poverty and suffering, and for as long as our values and assumptions remain unexamined, we are complicit in this social injustice.

Again, the film is replete with sequences that lead Romero to a more clear-eyed social analysis. In one scene, panning shots display a collage of disturbing, real-life photographs of the victims of military atrocities as the archbishop listens to the stories of the bereaved families. This layer of realism works to convey that the scales have fallen from Romero’s eyes; he now sees the “view from below,” the barefaced reality of the ongoing human tragedy and its structural causes. Inevitably, he begins to distance himself from members of society’s elite he once called friends.

Finally, a “conversion of the heart” involves an actual, committed response after having journeyed through the two previous conversions. Catholic social teaching and theologies of liberation refer to this turning point as an “option for the poor.”

The film brings this to deeper focus in the “barracks” scene when Romero heroically attempts to re-enter the church in Aguilares that the military had occupied and desecrated. Twice, he was threatened with gunfire and literally kicked out the church building. Just as all hope seemed lost, Romero — now garbed in priestly vestments — attempts to return a third time. But he is no longer entering the church alone; the faithful had gathered around him, and in procession, they enter the building as the church. In his homily, the archbishop’s message resonates with the very heart of the reign of God: “You are the church, you are the people of God. You are Jesus in the here and now.”

The year, 2017, the circumstantial background, the rising xenophobia and racism in the United States. Or the refugee crisis in Italy and the Mediterranean. Or the violent drug war in the Philippines.

It also happens to be the centennial of Blessed Óscar Romero’s birth.

Purposefully, “Romero” is the film for us to revisit at such a time as this.

[Precious Blood Br. Antonio D. Sison is associate professor of systematic theology at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, and author of the book The Sacred Foodways of Film. “Romero” is available on DVD and video streaming from PaulistProductions.org.]

This story appeared in the Nov 3-16, 2017 print issue.

Pope condemns possession of nuclear weapons in shift from church’s acceptance of deterrence

Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, speaks to journalists during a conference on building a world free of nuclear weapons, at the Vatican Nov. 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Nov 10, 2017
by Joshua J. McElwee Vatican

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has openly denounced the continuing possession of nuclear weapons by various world governments, in what appears to be a departure from the Roman Catholic Church’s prior acceptance of the Cold War-era global system of nuclear deterrence and mutually assured destruction.

In a talk Nov. 10 to participants in a high-profile Vatican conference on nuclear disarmament, the pope also seemed to indirectly criticize world leaders such as U.S. President Donald Trump, who has openly threatened nuclear war with North Korea over that country’s continuing development of nuclear arms.

Francis told the conference participants — who include the U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, NATO’s deputy secretary general, and 11 Nobel Peace Prize laureates — that humanity cannot fail “to be genuinely concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices.”

“If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned,” he said.

“International relations cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms,” the pope continued. “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family.”

While previous popes have called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, they also granted conditional moral acceptance to the system of nuclear deterrence, which arose after World War II when the United States and the Soviet Union stockpiled nuclear weapons in order to discourage either country from launching an atomic attack.

Pope John Paul II, for example, said in a message to the U.N. in June 1982 that the system of deterrence could be judged “morally acceptable” as “a step on the way toward a progressive disarmament.”

The Vatican conference, hosted Nov. 10-11 by the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, is the first major international gathering on disarmament since 122 countries signed a new U.N. treaty in July that calls for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

The Vatican is one of three signatories that have already ratified the agreement. None of the nuclear powers and no NATO members have signed on to the measure.

The disarmament conference is taking place as Trump is on an 11-day visit to several Asian nations. In South Korea Nov. 8, Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that his quest to acquire nuclear weapons is putting his regime “in grave danger” and threatened: “Do not try us.”

Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the Vatican dicastery, said at the conference’s opening Nov. 10 that the event was planned long before Trump’s visit to Asia was announced. “It just happens to be a happy coincidence,” Turkson joked, adding: “If we believe in divine providence, that was part of it.”

Turkson said he and the participants at the event had gathered “for a very candid conversation about how to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.”

In an apparent nod to North Korea, he added: “This conversation is urgently needed, given the current tensions among nuclear weapons states and given the tensions between nuclear weapons states and states seeking to become nuclear weapons states.”

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, told the conference their considerations take place during a “decidedly disheartening state of affairs” across the world.

Parolin noted that 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum progressio, which proposed that the world’s governments set aside a portion of their military spending for a global fund to relieve the needs of impoverished peoples.

Paraphrasing the encyclical, he stated: “Is it not plain to everyone that such a fund would reduce a need for those other expenditures that are motivated by fear [or] stubborn pride? Countless millions are starving. We cannot approve a debilitating arms race.”

‘Ethic of nuclear deterrence not morally warranted’

One of the speakers at the Vatican conference said he hopes it refocuses world attention on the nuclear ban treaty.  Continue reading

NYD2017 and Synod 2018 – Muchismas Gracias & Puede Pa!

Your Eminences,
Your Excellencies:

The Mighty One has done great things for us!

May we express once more our deep gratitude to all of you who sent your delegations of young people, accompanied by your youth ministers, to the National Youth Day 2017 in the Archdiocese of Zamboanga!  As well, our heartfelt thanks to the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, led by His Excellency, Most Rev. ROMULO DELA CRUZ, DD, for their warm welcome and generous hospitality!  We pray for safe travels back to our origins, and a beautiful way forward inspired by the experience of the NYD2017 national celebration.

The Synod Secretariat has informed us today that they are still open to accept responses from us.  Therefore, may we request those dioceses which have not yet submitted their diocesan responses to the Synod 2018 to please send to us not later than November 15.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.  May we seek your support for a meaningful local celebration of the National Youth Day this December 16, the first day of the Misa de Gallo.

Holy is God’s Name!

Yours sincerely,


+ LEOPOLDO C. JAUCIAN, SVD, DD
Bishop of Bangued
Chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
EPISCOPAL COMMISSION ON YOUTH
Visit us on the World Wide Web  cbcp-ecy.ph 
Like us on Facebook  CBCPECY

An Invitation to a Forum: Do We Need Duterte’s Federalism?

Photo credit: Philstar

Dear friends of JJCICSI,

Please join us on the morning of November 18, Saturday, from 8:30AM to 12nn, for a a forum titled “Do We Need Duterte’s Federalism?” Speaking at the forum will be Atty Christian Monsod, a drafter of our current constitution, and Dean Ronald Mendoza of the Ateneo School of Government. Atty. Monsod will begin the forum by sharing his perspective on the idea of, and prospects for, a “revolutionary government”–a proposal that President Duterte and his allies and supporters have been floating as a means to achieve a federalist structure and the change that President Duterte has promised.

The forum will be held at the Walter Hogan Conference Hall, Social Development Complex, Ateneo de Manila University (aka the ISO Conference Hall).

Slots are limited, so please confirm your attendance by Tuesday, November 14. You may confirm by sending an email to eremitafeliz@gmail.com

Thanks and hope to see you there,

Eleanor R. Dionisio
Associate Director
Tel. 426-6001, local 4660

Pro-Life Philippines Position Paper on the SOGIE Bill

A group of participants of the Metro Manila Pride March on June 27 poses in front of the Supreme Court with rainbow flags, urging the court to follow suit the SCOTUS ruling that legalized gay marriage in the United States. Photo by Speqtrum

Position Paper of Pro-Life Philippines Foundation, Inc. on Anti-Discrimination Bills on SOGIE

“An Act Prohibiting Discrimination On the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression And Providing Penalties Therefore”

1.    Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity as Classification is Unreasonable and Against the “Equal Protection” clause

a.    Unreasonable

In classifying persons or things, there should be a clear and distinct difference between two categories.  This is because in legal terms, classification is defined as the grouping of persons or things similar to each other in certain particulars and different from all others in these same particulars (Constitutional Law by Justice Isagani Cruz, supra). There has to be what is called substantial distinction, as contrary to superficial difference.  This is the reason why we could distinctively classify men from women (difference in reproductive roles), minors from adults (difference in age of consent), citizens from aliens (difference in nationality) etc.  This distinction can be described with relative permanency in the characteristics of the distinction being made.

However when a person uses colors for vehicles or emotions and/or lifestyles for persons, they convey superficial differences in as much as these differences can change relatively in time – there exists no permanency in the distinctions being established.

That is why it is important to understand that sexual orientation is such a superficial difference since the attraction of a person to the same sex varies in degrees, and there are recorded cases of persons with diminished same-sex attractions, if not totally re-oriented into heterosexuals.  In fact, there are a number of “ex-gay ministries” available for persons struggling with same-sex attractions, such as our group Courage, and Bagong Pag-Asa, who assist the individual in understanding the struggle and living a chaste life.  So to classify individuals according to their sexual orientation (homosexuals and heterosexuals) is unreasonable.

It is also equally important to understand that gender identity is also a superficial difference.  As defined, it refers to a personal sense of identity (making it a subjective concept) based on manners of clothing, inclinations and behavior in relation to masculine or feminine conventions.  Notwithstanding the argument that sexual orientation can be changed, the indicators of gender identity – manners of clothing, inclinations and behavior – are also undeniably factors in social science that can change relatively in time.  The subjectivity of the definition (“personal”) makes it so general that it is difficult for it to be considered as a substantial distinction.  

b.    Against the “Equal Protection” clause

Anti-Discrimination bill on SOGIE was authored to address anti-discriminatory practices.  However, by doing so it unjustly favors a group of individuals over the rest despite basic natural gender similarities. It is made in favor of active gays and lesbians.

In the earlier position paper of Courage Philippines (2005), there was an example of two factory workers who were both due for promotions – one a homosexual, while the other a “straight” person.  Given two case illustrations of employer-bias, the homosexual can use Anti-Discrimination bills on SOGIE against a homophobic employer, but the “straight” person cannot use Anti-Discrimination bill on SOGIE against a biased homosexual employer.  This proposed bill ironically permits and allows discrimination and inequality.  And the inequality lies in the behavior and/or sexual lifestyle chosen by a person – through Anti-Discrimination bills on SOGIE more protection will be given to individuals who embrace the active homosexual lifestyle, as oppose to those who reject or fight against it.

For the “straight” person may also be having same-sex attractions but chooses not to act upon it, and furthermore chooses to conceal his or her struggles from the public.  Yet because of Anti-Discrimination bill on SOGIE, he or she is discriminated against in favor of individuals who choose to be openly in the active homosexual lifestyle – not unless he or she will also openly embrace the same lifestyle.  And so we can see that these bills may be used to trigger an influence upon people who are genuinely struggling against same-sex attractions to consider taking on the gay lifestyle, so as not to be discriminated against.  Continue reading

We Need a War on Sex Crime

Photo credit: Rappler

Fr. Shay Cullen
10 November 2017

We need to declare a war on child sex crime to save thousands of children who are victims of rape and commercial sexual exploitation. A hundred thousand minors are estimated to be trafficked every year into the sex dens of iniquity in the Philippines. There they are raped and abused and addicted to drugs. The drugs makes them weak, docile and submissive and that’s what the sex abusers wants and pays for- a weak vulnerable child over whom they have total power.

The girls are forced to pay for their board and lodging and food at high price and for the drugs. They are caught in a web of debt from which there is almost no escape. They are caught in debt bondage and there is no escape in most cases. There is no question that government officials are more interested in promoting the sex bars, traffickers and pimps to ply their abusive trade in buying and selling human beings, mostly children, than in curbing the trade. They issue the operating permit so the clubs can flourish. They are unwilling to close down a sex bar because they attract local and foreign tourists willing to spend big money and these politicians have interests in the sex bars. Minors are especially victimized, groomed and lured into the sex business.

That’s what happened to 14-year old Dee who was groomed online over her cell phone through text messages by a so-called boyfriend with whom she had an imagined infatuation and believed that she loved him and he loved her. This is a favorite grooming tactic of the human trafficker and the abuser. Dee fell for it. She was lured to a house and went with some of her friends. There she met Johnrey, her so called texting lover. There was a party and soon he had sexually assaulted her. She did not complain but thought that it was sexual-love and it was ok. This brainwashing of minors is common and brings them on the road to sex slavery and commercial sexual exploitation. Dee was then encouraged to have sex, drugs and alcohol with other friends of Johnrey. The teenager was one of the hundred thousand abused children sold into the sex industry in the Philippines. Soon, she was being sold to more customers and it was the end of any childhood for her. Real life had ended.

The main customers of the sex trade are the tourists from abroad. They come to Southeast Asia and especially the Philippines because they know that while some sex tourists are arrested and some are set up for exploitation by the corrupt police, they believe they can easily get away with sexually exploiting and abusing a child by paying bribes.

There is also strong evidence that the incidence of cyber-sex crimes or online sexual exploitation of children where very young Filipino children are coerced to perform sex acts for live internet broadcast to paying foreigners is increasing. A recent study conducted by UNICEF titled Perils and Possibilities: Growing up online reveals that globally there are around 75,000 child predators online at anytime and many of them are trying to contact children in the Philippines. In 2015, the Philippines Office of Cybercrime received 12,374 cyber tips from the US-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Also the number of criminal cases of live stream child abuse in the Philippines is rising, from 57 in 2013, to 89 in 2014, and 167 in 2015.

Cyber sex crimes are very difficult to track as it is conducted in inconspicuous places such as in residential areas as long as there is an internet connection and oftentimes parents and relatives of the child-victims are also involved in the online abuse of the victims. There is a growing acceptance that this is an Ok form of earning money by bringing their children to be videoed live on the internet.

A study published early in 2016 conducted by the Philippine Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) estimates that every 53 minutes, a woman or child is raped and that seven in 10 victims of violence were children. The CWR report further says that despite the alarming number, victims could hardly find help. Without support, aggravated by the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators they are helpless. Besides they don’t know their rights and how to seek redress, get help and make complaints. Violence against women is prevalent and they need to have knowledge of their rights and a contact organization to get help.

Above all we need to get help for the children who are on the front target line of the human traffickers like Dee. If it were not for the help of the Preda Foundation, she would have been lost to the sex trade forever. There, the child loses self-respect and value. They come to believe that this is the only thing they can do to earn money to pay her debts. But Dee got help and was rescued from the brothel and brought to the Preda home for girls where she had a life changing experience. Today, she is a healthy young woman reunited with her family and going to school.

But of the hundred thousand, there are so many more to be saved and much more preventive education and social campaigning. That is the way to wake up the conscience of the nation to the fact that the commercial sexual exploitation of children and young women is already an accepted important part of the economy. It is a business from which the rich greatly profit. We have to speak out and stand against it and declare the dignity of every child and woman.

Filipina in anti-Duterte rally among TIME’s most influential teens

COURAGE. Shibby de Guzman (with megaphone) and fellow St Scholastica’s College students at a protest rally against the hero’s burial for dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the Duterte administration’s war on drugs. Photo from the Benildean.

Shibby de Guzman of St Scholastica’s College joins an eminent list of global teen influencers

Kimiko Sy  Published 11:39 AM, November 03, 2017   Updated 2:01 PM, November 03, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – Fourteen-year-old Shibby de Guzman, who drew both praise and online attacks for joining a protest rally against the hero’s burial for dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has been included in TIME’s list of “30 Most Influential Teens of 2017.”

De Guzman gained a spot in the TIME list for bravely speaking out against President Rodrigo Duterte during a protest with fellow students at St Scholastica’s College on the hero’s burial for Marcos.

A picture of De Guzman holding a megaphone and with a message strung around her neck, saying, “Lahat tayo posibleng drug pusher (We are all possible drug pushers) – a criticism of the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs – went viral. De Guzman and her classmates wore cardboard signs pertaining to the mostly poor victims of drug-related killings.
Administration supporters slammed the participation of students at the protest rally as “so wrong” and even called out their school for “child abuse” and for “forcing” the students to rally, which SSC, the parents, and students denied.

In its piece on De Guzman, TIME’s Joseph Hincks noted that in the Philippines, “it’s a risky move to speak out against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte,” considering what happened to his critics, including detained Senator Leila de Lima.

“None of this has deterred de Guzman, who shot to prominence after she was photographed protesting the lionization of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos,” Hincks wrote.

De Guzman did not let the criticism stop her, and stood her ground. “Please do not underestimate the youth. We completely know and understand the injustice we are protesting against,” she replied to one of the attacks against the young student-protesters.

In an interview with Rappler on Friday, November 3, De Guzman said that she only “used the tools and opportunities given to her to speak especially for people who can’t.”

Moving forward, she encouraged the youth to take action and never give up the good fight until their voices are heard and their words are put into action.

“I can light the match but only they can start the fire. It’s easy to be passionate about your country but I believe what’s important are the ideas that come from the youth. It’s important that we are passionate, creatively innovative and that we strive for something better because we are the future,” she said.

She also shared that she’s ecstatic to be on the same list as one of her favorite stars, Millie Bobby Brown of hit TV series “Stranger Things.”

Another Filipino who made it to the list is Brentman Rock, a Filipino beauty vlogger based in Hawaii.

TIME said that in deciding on the list it considered “accolades across numerous fields, global impact through social media and overall ability to drive news.” – Rappler.com