Lecture Series in Political Science: Water or Gold?

July 26, 2017 (Wednesday)
Function Room, Faber Hall, Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City

 In March 2017, after a decade of protest by community groups protecting their watersheds, EI Salvador became the first nation on earth to pass a total legislative ban on metals mining. EI Salvador also beat back a lawsuit in a World Bank tribunal by a large mining company, Oceana Gold, which also mines in the northern Philippines. Based on extensive research and policy work on this case at local, national, and global levels, Broad and Cavanagh will analyze both wins. They will explore the factors that led to this historic lawsuit and ban, what other countries are moving in this direction, and what the Philippines can learn from this experience.


John Cavanagh is the Director of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. He will speak on other countries taking steps and implications for the Philippines.

Robin Broad is professor of international development at the American University in Washington, D.C. She is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow for 2017-2018. She will speak on Salvador becoming the first country to ban metals mining.

Both have been researching the Philippines for four decades and are co-authors of several books, including “Plundering Paradise: The Struggle for the Environment in the Philippines,” and “Development Redefined: How the Market Met its Match.” They helped facilitate the visit of Nueva Vizcaya governor, Carlos Padilla, to EI Salvador in March 2017, when that country passed its historic ban on metals mining. 

For further inquiries, you may contact the Department of Political Science at telephone no. 426-6001 local 5250.

Duterte threat to bomb tribal schools sparks uproar

Indigenous people from southern Philippines join the protest rally during the president’s scheduled state of the nation address.

Philippine rights groups voice dismay over president targeting indigenous children

Tribal people from Mindanao join protest rallies in Manila on July 24 during the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo by Mark Saludes)

ucanews.com reporter, Manila

July 26, 2017

Organizations working for children’s rights have denounced a threat by President Rodrigo Duterte to bomb tribal schools in the southern Philippines for allegedly preaching “subversive ideas.”

In a media briefing this week, the president urged tribal people to leave the schools. “I will bomb them,” said Duterte, adding that the schools are “teaching subversion [and] communism.”

“I will really bomb all of them because you’re operating illegally and you’re teaching children to rebel against the government,” the president said.

The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, an organization of Catholic religious missionaries that built some of the schools said the president’s statement “definitely have an implication on tribal schools.”

Aileen Villarosa, the organization’s advocacy coordinator, said their schools are already under attack “because of these accusations.”

“What aggravates the situation is [Duterte’s] statement that he takes responsibility for all the actions of state forces,” said Villarosa.

Eule Rico Bonganay, secretary-general of the children’s rights group Salinlahi, said the president’s statement poses “a serious threat to the already severe human rights conditions and attacks on schools in Mindanao.”

“What could be worse than what can be taken as an open command from the chief executive with sheer impunity on the genocide of our indigenous people?” said Bonganay.

He said Duterte’s statement “added salt to the wounds” of tribal people, especially children whose education has been disrupted by military operations in Mindanao.

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Filipino bishop, regulator at odds with police on gambling

Authorities confiscate illegal gambling paraphernalia, bet money, a grenade, and ammunition during a raid in a gambling den in the northern Philippine province of Pangasinan in 2016. (Photo by Karl Romano)

Duterte, police accused of not acting on promise to stamp out illegal gambling

Nelson Badilla, Manila 
July 26, 2017

A Philippine agency tasked with managing the country’s gaming operations has backed a Catholic bishop’s claim that the government has not acted on a promise to end illegal gambling.

Alexander Balutan, general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, said “jueteng,” an illegal numbers game, continues to proliferate around the country.

Balutan said he was extremely disappointed with police for failing to act aggressively against jueteng and all forms of illegal numbers games.

In February, President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order directing the Philippine National Police to go after gambling syndicates and unlicensed operators.

Duterte’s order was issued amid a reported US$1-million bribery scandal involving a Chinese casino tycoon and former Bureau of Immigration officials.

Duterte said the government “condemns illegal gambling activities as a widespread social menace and source of corruption.”

But Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan and a strong crusader against gambling, said the Duterte administration has not seriously carried out its campaign.

He said Filipinos are still waiting for Duterte to fulfill his promise. Archbishop Cruz said there are at least 41 other kinds of illegal gambling in the Philippines, besides jueteng.

“I hope I’m wrong but it’s impossible for illegal gambling to flourish without the knowledge of [government] officials,” he said.

For his part, Balutan said his office expects the police to “eradicate” all forms of illegal gambling so government-backed gaming operations will flourish and boost revenue for the government.

“I am disappointed and dismayed by the [police’s] performance,” said Balutan, a retired military general.

He said he has received reports that a number of police officials are receiving weekly pay-offs and bribes from gambling operators.

“What happens is only small-time operators and bet collectors are arrested, not the big fish,” said Balutan, adding that he is planning to ask the assistance of the military to act against illegal gambling.

Archbishop Crux, meanwhile, said he hopes that the government will carry out its promise to end illegal gambling.

Lights and Shadows: Ethical Perspectives on the Current Political Climate


JJCICSI Papers Presented at the 15th CBCP Plenary Assembly

ICSI Associate Director Dr Anna Marie A. Karaos had the privilege to speak at the 115th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on July 9, 2017 at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center, Manila. Her presentation, “Lights and Shadows: Ethical Perspectives on the Current Political Climate”, focused on the “ethical dimension of our people’s engagement in the politics of the nation, or how the ruled conduct themselves in the nation’s political life.” Using the lens of Catholic social principles, Dr Karaos reflected on current political issues such as the Duterte administration’s “war on drugs”, redistributive reforms, and peace with belligerent groups. The text of her presentation can be accessed from our website. A printable version can also be downloaded here.

A paper titled “An Agenda for the Church in the Current Political Climate,” written by Eleanor R. Dionisio, head of the Church and Society Program of ICSI, was also given to the bishops. It suggests how the Catholic Church can accompany the nation in meeting the challenges posed by the Duterte administration, and how the Church can use those challenges as opportunities for promoting Catholic social principles. Visit our website to read the full paper or download it via this link.

Jing Karaos (left) with CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas and Atty. Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG)


Rice importation and food security

by Gemma Rita R. Marin

“While the concerned executive agencies have ironed out their issues and differences particularly on rice importation for the meantime, we count on our lawmakers to do their part in helping address food security by passing the necessary laws. Among these are the proposed national land use act and priority bills related to agrarian reform and agriculture that lawmakers promised to pass last May, such as a bill prohibiting the conversion of irrigated lands and another that seeks to provide free irrigation services.”

‘Anti-life’ pronouncements sadden Philippine church groups

Church groups stage a protest rally outside the Philippine Congress building in Manila as President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address on July 24. (Photo by Mark Saludes)

Duterte refuses to back down over re-imposing death penalty, contraception

Joe Torres, Manila

Philippines   July 25, 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements this week that he will press for the passage of laws that will revive capital punishment and implement a reproductive health policy that will allow the use of contraceptives has drawn criticism from Catholic Church leaders.

Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the Catholic bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said the president’s decision to take the “path of violence” is “lamentable.”

Diamante said Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address on July 24, does not reflect the state of the nation but the state of mind of a president “who refuses to listen to the cry of the people and the collective wisdom” of the community.

In his speech, the president urged Congress to re-impose capital punishment, saying that it is time for legislators “to fulfill our mandate to protect our people.”

“For so long we have to act decisively on this contentious issue. Capital punishment is not only about deterrence, it’s also about retribution,” said Duterte, adding that the essence of the country’s penal code is retribution.

The president said instilling fear in criminals is the only way to stop them.

“In the Philippines, it is really an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. You take life, you must pay it with life. You cannot place a premium on the human mind that he will go straight,” he said.

In March, the House of Representatives passed a measure that will revive capital punishment for drug-related offenses.

Catholic bishops have been vocal in their opposition to revive the death penalty.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, president of the bishops’ conference, earlier said that “though the crime be heinous, no person is ever beyond redemption, and we have no right ever to give up on any person.”

“When we condemn violence, we cannot ourselves be its perpetrators, and when we decry murder, we cannot ourselves participate in murder, no matter that it may be accompanied by the trappings of judicial and legal process,” he said.

Father Jerome Secillano of the public affairs office of the bishops’ conference, meanwhile, said church leaders maintain that the use of contraceptives to control the population is “not needed.”

The priest maintained that there are “alternatives to spacing the number of children” and family planning “should not be viewed as a poverty measure.”

In his State of the Nation Address, Duterte said that although he is “not for abortion [and] not for birth control” he is “certainly … for giving freedom to Filipinos to decide the size of their family.”

The president said the Supreme Court should reconsider the restraining order it issued against subdermal implants that prevented the government from fully implementing the country’s Reproductive Health Law.

In August 2016, the court issued a “temporary restraining order” on contraceptive implants.

“The [temporary restraining order] has become the bane of [government] projects,” said Duterte.

Father Secillano said that while the president is free to express his wishes about the reproductive health law, the matter must be left in the hands of the court to decide about the “efficacy and soundness of the measure.”

The priest said the country’s Reproductive Health Law is the “wrong medicine for the perceived overpopulation and maternal problems.”

“It can never be a panacea to women’s health problems, over-population, and poverty,” said Father Secillano.


Angelus Address: On the Parable of the Good Seed and the Darnel


“Which Illustrates the Problem of Evil in the World and Highlights God’s Patience”

July 23, 2017

Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Before the Angelus

Today’s Gospel page proposes three parables with which Jesus speaks to the crowds of the Kingdom of Heaven. I will reflect on the first: that of the good seed and the darnel, which illustrates the problem of evil in the world and highlights God’s patience (Cf. Matthew 13:24-30.36-43). How much patience God has! Each one of us can also say this: “How much patience God has with me!” The story unfolds in a field with two opposite protagonists. On one hand the householder, who represents God and sows the good seed; on the other the enemy, which represents Satan and sows the darnel.

With the passing of time, darnel also grows in the midst of the wheat and in face of this fact the householder and his servants have different attitudes. . The servants want to intervene and pull out the darnel, but the householder, who is concerned above all with saving the wheat, is opposed saying: “No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them” (V. 29). With this image Jesus tells is that in this world the good and the evil are so intertwined that it is impossible to separate and extirpate all the evil. God alone can do this, and He will do so in the Last Judgment. The present situation, with its ambiguities and its composite character, is the field of the freedom, the field of the freedom of Christians, in which the difficult exercise of discernment between good and evil takes place.

Therefore, in this field, it is about combining, with great trust in God and in His Providence, two seemingly contradictory attitudes: decision and patience. The decision is to want to be the good seed — we all want thiswith all our strength, and, hence, distancing ourselves from the Evil One and his seductions. Patience means to prefer a Church that is leaven in the dough, who does not fear soiling her hands washing the clothes of her children, rather than a Church of “pure ones,” that pretends to judge before the time who is an who is not in the Kingdom of God.

The Lord, who is Wisdom incarnate, helps us today to understand that the good and the evil cannot be identified with defined territories or specific human groups: “These are the good, these are the evil.” He tells us that the boundary line between the good and the evil passes in the heart of every person, passes in the heart of every one of us, that is, we are all sinners. The desire comes to me to ask you: “Let him who is not a sinner raise his hand.” No one! Because we all are, we are all sinners. Jesus Christ, with His Death on the Cross and Resurrection, has freed us from the slavery of sin and He gives us the grace to walk in a new life. However, with Baptism He has also given us Confession, because we are always in need of being forgiven for our sins. To look always at the evil that is outside of us, means to not want to recognize the sin that is also in us.

And then Jesus shows us a different way of looking at the field of the world, of observing the reality. We are called to learn the times of God – which are not our times – and also God’s “look”: thanks to the beneficial influence of an anxious wait, what was darnel or seemed to be darnel can become a good product. It is the reality of conversion. It is the prospect of hope!

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Caritas Philippines appeals for toys for Marawi children

A Muslim family displaced by the fighting in the southern Philippine city of Marawi marks the second month of their stay in a tent in the neighboring town of Baloi on July 23. (Photo by Divina Suson)

Battle to clear terrorists from southern city enters a third month

Joe Torres, Manila  UCAN

July 24, 2017

The social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has appealed for toys and educational material for children displaced by the ongoing conflict in the southern city of Marawi.

Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said toys would help the children recover from the trauma they have experienced during the two-month siege of their city.

Some 300,000 people have been displaced since fighting between security forces and Islamic State-inspired terrorist gunmen erupted on May 23. Martial law has been declared across the southern region of Mindanao due to the fighting.

“Let us bring back the happiness and provide comfort to children,” said Father Gariguez as he called for toy donations for some 3,000 children living in temporary shelters in the city of Iligan.

The toys will be part of “psychosocial interventions” of the Catholic Church’s “rapid response appeal” for the conflict.

Caritas Philippines earlier allocated about US$198,000 as a “humanitarian response” to families affected by the conflict, especially for the essential needs of some 15,000 displaced individuals who sought shelter in Iligan.

Meanwhile, Bishop Edwin de la Pena of Marawi expressed support for a plan by displaced Muslim women to march back to Marawi this week to show their “frustration” over the situation.

“What these Muslim women are going to do is symbolic,” said the prelate.

“[It is] symbolic of their deep-seated anger and frustration of their status in the past 60 days and having to endure life in evacuation centers with nothing much to do,” added Bishop De la Pena.

He said some displaced residents want to join the march to see what’s happened to their city. “That’s enough for them even if they return to being evacuees after,” said the bishop.

“We just have to trust in the women’s unique contribution to ending the war,” he said.

Last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the situation in Marawi has started to stabilize even as the fighting continues into a third month.

“I am glad to share the news with you that at present, the status in Marawi is stabilizing and we are preparing for the rehabilitation,” said Lorenzana.

Lorenzana announced that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has already earmarked US$395 million for the rehabilitation of Marawi.

“We are hoping that this will be over soon and that everything will be normal again,” said the defense secretary.

The fighting has resulted in the deaths of 413 terrorist gunmen, at least 100 soldiers and policemen, and at least 45 civilians.

The Great and the Good, Saving Children

Fr. Shay Cullen
20 July 2017

It was the Preda hotline for reporting sexual abuse that saved the four children from sexual and physical abuse. The message came in from an anonymous reporter saying that Geraldine, 13 years old, was being sexually abused by her grandfather. The Preda Foundation social worker contacted her counterpart in the local government and she, trained by Preda, knew exactly what to do. She went to find the child in her school and had a heart to heart chat in a private room.

The 13-year-old child had someone she could trust and revealed all that happened to her and confirmed the sexual abuse by the grandfather and her uncle who was still a teenager. She said her elder sister was also abused. The cruel grandfather had continually beaten her younger sister and brother. Their mother knew of the abuse but did nothing. She had separated from the father, who disappeared, and she left them with the grandfather. She was too poor to support them. This was the cost of a broken home and the abandonment of children by their parents.

The municipal social worker immediately took the four children into her custody as allowed by law and entrusted them to the Preda Home for Girls. The mother was found and she signed a custody agreement to leave the children in the care of the Preda Home. The girls were taken to the clinic for a legal-medical examination and the wounds revealed sexual abuse of two of the girls.

A case of rape and abusive acts were filed against the grandfather and teenage uncle. Last 17 July the court issued an arrest warrant and it was served by the police with the help of the Preda senior staff. The grandfather was jailed to await trial. The teenager has been ordered by the court to be sent for rehabilitation.

The rescue and the recovery and pursuit of justice for the three girls and their small brother is just one more successful service to help abused children. What if there was no such intervention? The children would continue to be victims and not survivors.

There are as many as 40 children presently in the Preda Home for Girls, happily freed from the power of their abusers and are having therapy and education and a childhood so long denied them. The early reporting of child abuse is very important. The child in care and with proper therapy, counseling and a caring community will recover quickly then justice will be done when the child is empowered and supported to testify.

Otherwise they just grow up holding on to the buried pain of the terrible fearful memories of what they cruelly experienced. I wrote about that last week and the therapy that releases them from the pain and empowers the children to testify. Getting justice is the final closure for the survivor of child sexual abuse.

We can see that there is a culture of concealment, denial, cover-up. Even society tries to deny the survivors justice by statutes of limitation. This denies the victim or survivor the right to get justice. In Germany recently, hundreds of former members of a famous boys choir have come forward after many years of silence to voice their complaints of physical and sexual abuse. But according to German law, it is too late to bring legal complaints.

Children have been abused by individuals, institutions and by the culture of silence in society that forbades such complaints to be aired in public. People in positions of power, influence, and authority were not to be accused, challenged and confronted. They enjoyed impunity and they made the laws. It is the same in all countries. Only now there is the encouragement and support for victims to complain and a shameful history of abuse is being exposed to a horrified public.

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Philippine churches offer sanctuary to rights abuse victims

Members of the Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum expressed their opposition to the declaration of martial law in the southern Philippines during a media briefing in Manila on July 19. (Photo by Mark Saludes)

Religious leaders respond to Duterte’s call to extend martial law in southern region

Mark Saludes, UCAN Manila 

July 20, 2017

An ecumenical bishops’ group in the Philippines announced that member churches will open its doors as sanctuaries for victims of human rights violations.

The prelates made the announcement after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao until December.

The president declared martial law across the southern region of the country on May 23 following a terrorist attack on the city of Marawi.

“The church is always ready to shelter victims of human rights violations,” said Philippine Felixberto Calang of the Philippine Independent Church.

“We never stopped fighting against injustices and violence,” said the Protestant prelate, co-chairman of the Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum.

He said drug-related killings in the country and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao “promote violence rather than peace.”

Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, retired prelate of Kalookan, said that while some Catholic bishops support martial law “generally the church stands for the welfare of its flock.”

The prelate admitted that the response of Catholic Church leaders to “state-sponsored violence” in recent months has been “slower than what is expected.”

“[It is] not because we are afraid or we are silenced, it is because our church leaders take time to look at every situation closely before passing any judgment,” said Bishop Iniguez.

With just a few days left before Duterte’s State of the Nation Address on July 24, the ecumenical church leaders have voiced their “dismay” over what they described as the president’s “unfulfilled promises of peace and order.”

Bishop Calang said the present situation is far from what Duterte promised in his first State of the Nation Address last year.

The prelate said the president’s policies only resulted in the “persecution of the poor, harassment of human rights defenders, killing of indigenous people, and the militarization of communities.”

Human rights group Karapatan has recorded at least 10 summary executions and 335 illegal arrests since the declaration of martial in Mindanao in May.