Adel Answers Phoenix’ Ten Questions

Now, this is what I’ve been looking for – interaction with our fellow bloggers. Hi Phoenix, Adel here. I will answer the questions that you sent as honestly and candidly as I can while simultaneously resisting the urge to be “profound” or “safe” with my answers. I’ve copied your post and I will answer the questions directly –

Q1. The genie tells you, “Master, you have 3 wishes.” What are they?
A1. Three wishes:
1. That my eldest son Santi who has PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified) be able to live a full and healthy life.
2. Health and safety for my family.
3. A decent job, home, and education for every Pinoy.

Q2. You’re Young Turk by day, secret superhero by night. Which one are you and why?
A2. Superman. Because as an ethnic Filipino Muslim and Maranaw, I feel sometimes as alien as the Kryptonian.

Q3. It’s the rapid fire segment of the show. Boy Abunda looks you straight in the eye and asks, “If you were a song, which one would you be and why?”
A3. “Hush” by LL Cool J. It’s old school but still hip and the lyrics discuss things that I value – love, family, and taking success and failure in equal stride.

Q4. There’s been quite a lot written about you guys. What do very few intimates, if at all, know about you that would shock/surprise people?
A4. That I have a vampire fetish.

Q5. What for you is heavenly or sublime? No answers involving wives, children or public service.
A5. Kobe Bryant scoring 81 points.

Q6. Favorite restaurant, movie, play.
A6. Restaurant – Cyma
Movie – toss-up between “Return of the King” or “Jerry Maguire”
Play – toss-up between “Merchant of Venice” and “Macbeth”

Q7. You’ve been chosen as a contestant in the new season of Amazing Race Asia. You’ll need a teammate you can work well with, and bathing happens only once every few days ’till you get to the pit stop. Who’s your partner?
A7. My wife, of course!

Q8. Whose body would you want to have?
A8. Piolo Pascual’s

Q9. Your greatest vice.
A9. Vanity

Q10. Your campaign is in full swing. It’s 100 degrees in the shade, and you’ve smiled, sang and danced ’till your weary body can take it no more. You’re standing onstage making your very last speech before you call it a day. What is your message to the Filipino people?

A10. Just bear in mind that it has been almost two decades since our country has had a Muslim Senator.

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Answers to questions

It’s query time and I just saw this one. To turn the tables around, one of our readers{PHOENIX — edited version] posed these questions which I will answer as honestly as I can, in the spirit of All Saint’s Day. — Danton Remoto

1. The genie tells you, “Master, you have 3 wishes.” What are they?

a. To gain weight. I am 5′ 11″ and only 150 lbs. Maybe ten pounds more?
b. To have enough campaign funds in 2010.
c. Turn all corrupt GMA people into cockroaches so we could crush them under the heels of our stilletoes.

2. You’re Young Turk by day, secret superhero by night. Which one are you and why?

a. Cat woman. Nangangalmot — ng kaaway 😉

3. It’s the rapid fire segment of the show. Boy Abunda looks you straight in the eye and asks, “If you were a song, which one would you be and why?”

“When I Grow Up” by the Pussycat Dolls.

4. There’s been quite a lot written about you guys. What do very few intimates, if at all, know about you that would shock/surprise people?

I am actually a lazy person. People think I am always on the go, but I would rather just stay at home and sleep.

5. What for you is heavenly or sublime? No answers involving wives, children or public service.

Eating Arce ube ice cream on the beach.

6. Favorite restaurant, movie, play.

Restaurant – Aristocrat.
Movie – Jose Rizal (directed by Marilou Diaz Abaya)
Play – Macbeth (It is like our politics. Very bloody)

7. You’ve been chosen as a contestant in the new season of Amazing Race Asia. You’ll need a teammate you can work well with, and bathing happens only once every few days ’till you get to the pit stop. Who’s your partner?

Ay ay ay. Johnny Depp. Or Keannu Reeves.

8. Whose body would you want to have?

Papa Piolo Pascual. Lean, long, and tan.

9. Your greatest vice.

Eating junk food.

10. Your campaign is in full swing. It’s 100 degrees in the shade, and you’ve smiled, sang and danced ’till your weary body can take it no more. You’re standing onstage making your very last speech before you call it a day. What is your message to the Filipino people?

You’ve got to vote for me because if I lose, it will take ten more years for another bading to run for public office.

Declaration of Support of Ateneo Faculty Members for RH Bill

28 October 2008

Dear Honorable Members of the House of Representatives and of the Philippine Senate:

Kindly find attached to this letter the Declaration of Support for the Immediate Passage of
House Bill 5043 on “Reproductive Health and Population Development,” signed by 69 individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University.

After studying the provisions of House Bill 5043 in light of the realities of Filipino women, poor families, and our youth, we, 69 individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University, speaking for ourselves and not for the University, have come to conclude that the Philippines urgently needs a national policy on reproductive health and population development, as provided by House Bill 5043.

We hope our expression of support can help enrich and broaden the discussions and debates on the issue of reproductive health and population development, by presenting an alternative view supportive of House Bill 5043 coming from Catholic academics and educators.

We hope forthcoming initiatives from the House of Representatives and the Senate can engender dialogue among various groups espousing conflicting positions on this most crucial issue. May our collective efforts in dialogue lead to a more enlightened citizenry and bring about
what is the greatest good for our beloved people—especially women, the poor, and our youth.

Yours sincerely,

Sixty-nine individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University
(whose names are listed at the end of the Declaration of Support)

***

Declaration of support for the Reproductive Health Bill’s immediate passage into law
from individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University

We, individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University, speaking for ourselves and not for the University, strongly support House Bill 5043 on “Reproductive Health and Population Development,” and call for its immediate passage in Congress. After studying the bill’s provisions in light of the realities of Filipino women, poor families, and our youth, we have reached the conclusion that the Philippines urgently needs a national policy on reproductive health and population development, as provided by the RH Bill.

A consistent, integrated, and comprehensive population framework guarantees budgetary support from the national government for reproductive health initiatives, and ensures their
sustainability across local government units regardless of changes in national and local leadership. While curbing our rapid population growth rate of 2.04 percent will not, by itself,
solve poverty in our country, addressing the population problem is crucial to overall economic
growth and poverty reduction, along with asset redistribution, employment and livelihood
opportunities, combating corruption, improving governance, and strengthening institutions.

We further believe that it is possible for Catholics like ourselves to support HB 5043 in good conscience, even as we recognize, with some anguish, that our view contradicts the position held by some of our fellow Catholics, including our bishops. Those who oppose the RH Bill have denounced it as “pro-abortion,” “anti-life,” “anti-women,” “anti-poor,” and “immoral.” However, our reason, informed by our faith, has led us to believe and say otherwise.

The RH Bill is pro-life and pro-women. HB 5043 categorically rejects abortion, which it deems a “crime,” in consonance with the 1987 Constitution. What it, in fact, wants to do is prevent abortions by offering couples an array of “medically-safe, legal, affordable and quality” family planning methods, from which they can choose the one that will work best for them. In sodoing, the RH Bill seeks to avert unwanted and mistimed pregnancies, which cause mostly poor and married women despairing over yet another pregnancy to seek an induced abortion. We are alarmed that an estimated 473,400 Filipino women went for an abortion in 2000, and that some
79,000 of them wound up in hospitals for abortion complications. We consider it our guilt and
our shame that so many of our women should be driven to such dire straits as to make abortion a family planning method, for want of information on and access to an effective means to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

*

This declaration of support is based on the 15 October 2008 position paper entitled “Catholics Can Support the RH Bill in Good Conscience” by individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University, namely Marita Castro Guevara (Department of Interdisciplinary Studies), Raymond B. Aguas (Department of Theology), Liane Peña Alampay (Department of Psychology), Fernando T. Aldaba (Department of Economics), Remmon E. Barbaza (Department of Philosophy), Manuel B. Dy, Jr. (Department of Philosophy), Elizabeth Uy Eviota (Department of Sociology-Anthropology), Roberto O. Guevara (Department of Theology), Anne Marie A. Karaos(Department of Sociology-Anthropology), Michael J. Liberatore (Department of Theology), Liza L. Lim (Department of Sociology-Anthropology), Cristina Jayme Montiel (Department of Psychology), Mary Racelis (Department of Sociology-Anthropology), and Agustin Martin G. Rodriguez (Department of Philosophy).

***

We believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life, whether that life is the mother’s or the unborn child’s. It is for this reason that we support the RH Bill’s intent to expand couples’ — but especially women’s — access to safe, legal, and reliable family planning methods, whether modern natural or modern artificial. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says that women’s access to effective contraception would avert 30 percent of maternal deaths, 90 percent of abortion-related deaths and disabilities, and 20 percent of child deaths. Thus, the
RH Bill is not only pro-life (in that it aims to prevent the termination of an unborn child’s life),
but also pro-women, because it enables them to plan the number and spacing of their children so as to avoid frequent and closely-spaced pregnancies that imperil their health and lives. Moreover, given that our maternal mortality rate is a staggeringly high 162 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, the RH Bill aims to improve maternal and infant health by enjoining cities and
municipalities to provide an adequate number of skilled birth attendants and hospitals rendering
comprehensive emergency obstetric care.

In sum, because reproductive health is central to women’s overall health, fundamental aspects of women’s wellbeing are compromised when reproductive health is ignored. The conditions under which choices are made are as important as the actual content of women’s choices: the right to choose is meaningful only if women have real power to choose.

The RH Bill is pro-poor. Based on the Pulse Asia 2007 survey on family planning, an overwhelming majority (92%) of Filipinos believe that it is important to plan their family, and most (89%) say that the government should allocate funding for modern artificial methods of family planning, including the pill, intrauterine devices (IUDs), condoms, ligation, and vasectomy. And yet only 5 out of 10 married women (50.6%) use any family planning method, whether modern natural or modern artificial. This suggests a significant unmet need for reproductive health services.

By treating contraceptives as “essential medicines,” HB 5043 makes contraceptives (including those requiring hospital services like tubal ligation, vasectomy, and IUD insertion) part of the National Drug Formulary, and therefore more accessible and cheaper for Filipinos. This is a decidedly pro-poor measure, considering that the majority (58.1%) of those who use modern artificial family planning methods rely on the government for their supply of contraceptives. Our Catholic faith calls on us to embrace the preferential option for the poor and marginalized. We therefore support the RH Bill, which we believe will be especially beneficial for our poorest 20 percent who cannot afford family planning services, and therefore have the highest unmet need for family planning (26.7%), and 2.5 children more than they desire. Furthermore, we uphold the principle of integral human development, which is why we want couples to be able to have only the number of children that they want and can adequately feed, clothe, care for, and send to school, so that they can attain their full potential as human beings, and contribute to the development of Philippine society.

The RH Bill is pro-youth. As teachers of our young people, we are deeply concerned that, over time, more of them are getting initiated into sex at increasingly younger ages. Based on the 1994 and 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality surveys of the UP Population Institute, not
only did the proportion of youth aged 15-24 who are engaged in premarital sex increase (from
17.8% in 1994, to 23.4% in 2002), but the average age of their first sexual encounter declined
(from 18 in 1994, to 17.5 in 2002). Even more worrisome is how their premarital sex act is often
unprotected, with three in four of them (75.1%) admitting to not using any kind ofcontraceptive
during their most recent premarital sex act, primarily because of lack of knowledge on contraception. Our young people’s premarital and unprotected sex therefore places them at high
risk for early pregnancies, and contracting HIV-AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases.

We favor the RH Bill’s provision of mandatory age-appropriate reproductive health education, believing as we do that much of our youth’s risky sexual behavior is linked to their lack of information and values formation on their reproductive and sexual health. We take exception to the opinion that teaching them about sex will make them prurient and promiscuous. Rather, we hold the view that by providing our young people the information and values they would need to take care of their reproductive health, and by creating opportunities for them to articulate and clarify their questions and feelings about sex, we are empowering them to make responsible decisions regarding their sexuality and sexual behavior, whether now or in the future. After all, Catholic social theology teaches us that the principle of human dignity requires us to uphold human rights, which include the right to education and appropriate information (Gaudium et Spes, 1965) and the right to develop one’s intelligence and freedom in seeking and knowing the truth (Centesimus Annus, 1991).

The RH Bill is pro-informed choice. In seeking to promote both modern natural and modern artificial methods of family planning (with “no bias for either”), HB 5043 recognizes that couples, especially women, have the right to choose the family planning method that they consider to be the safest and most effective for them, provided that these are legally permissible. Although natural family planning (NFP) which the Catholic Church promotes offers many benefits, it is important to realize that pursuing an NFP-only population policy will be a disservice, if not a grave injustice, to women and couples for whom NFP simply cannot work. We are thinking of women who find it impossible to predict their infertile periods; or couples who see each other on an irregular basis; or women who are trapped in abusive relationships with men who demand sex anytime they want it. Why is it morally wrong for such women and couples — and even others not encompassed by the above situations — to use a modern artificial family planning method that has been pronounced safe and non-abortifacient by health authorities, if their discernment of their particular situation has led them to conclude that such a method will enable them to fulfill the demands of marital love and responsible parenthood?

Catholic social teachings recognize the primacy of the well-formed conscience over wooden compliance to directives from political and religious authorities. Gaudium et Spes (1965) tells us: “In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged” (no. 16).

We respect the consciences of our bishops when they promote natural family planning as the only moral means of contraception, in adherence to the teachings of Humanae Vitae (1968).
In turn, we ask our bishops to respect the one in three (35.6%) married Filipino women who, in
their “most secret core and sancturary” or conscience, have decided that their and their family’s interests would best be served by using a modern artificial means of contraception. Is it not possible that these women and their spouses were obeying their well-informed and well-formed consciences when they opted to use an artificial contraceptive?

We therefore ask our bishops and fellow Catholics not to block the passage of HB 5043,
which promotes women’s and couples’ access to the full range of safe, legal, and effective
modern natural and modern artificial family planning methods, from which they can choose the
one most suitable to their needs and personal and religious convictions. To campaign against the bill is to deny our people, especially our women, many other benefits, such as maternal and child health and nutrition; promotion of breastfeeding; adolescent and youth health; reproductive health education; prevention and management of gynecological conditions; and provision of information and services addressing the reproductive health needs of marginalized sectors, among others. In pursuit of the common good, or the “sum total of social conditions which allow people… to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily” (Gaudium et Spes 1965, no. 26), we call on the Catholic Church to let the RH Bill pass in Congress, and to consider forging a principled collaboration with the government in the promotion of natural family planning, which Humanae Vitae deems morally acceptable, and in the formation of consciences with emphasis on the value of responsible sex and parenthood.

To our fellow Catholics who, in good conscience, have come to conclude, as we have, that we need a reproductive health law: we ask you to declare your support for HB 5043.

Finally, we call on our legislators in the House of Representatives and in the Senate to pass the RH Bill. Doing so upholds the constitutional right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions; honors our commitments to international covenants; and promotes the reproductive health and reproductive rights of Filipinos, especially of those who are most marginalized on this issue — our women, poor families, and youth.

We sign this declaration as individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University, and
speak for ourselves and not for the rest of our colleagues or the University.

Signed: 69 individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University (28 October 2008)

Ricardo G. Abad (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Joy G. Aceron (Department of Political Science)
Raymond B. Aguas (Department of Theology)
Liane Peña Alampay (Department of Psychology)
Fernando T. Aldaba (Department of Economics)
Raul Socrates C. Banzuela (Program for Development Studies)
Raymundo S. Baquiran, M.D. (Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health)
Remmon E. Barbaza (Department of Philosophy)
Germelino M. Bautista (Department of Economics)
Edsel L. Beja, Jr. (Department of Economics)
Rofel G. Brion (Department of Interdisciplinary Studies)
Ma. Cecilia C. Bulos (Department of Psychology)
Liberty L. Chee (Department of Modern Languages)
Sharon Ann C. Co (Department of Psychology)
Antonio Esteban G. Conejos (Department of English)
Manuel D. Cuenca, Jr., M.D. (Department of Psychology)
Gary C. Devilles (Kagawaran ng Filipino)
Aleta C. Domdom (Department of Economics)
Atty. Alexander C. Dy (Ateneo Law School)
Manuel B. Dy, Jr. (Department of Philosophy)
Elizabeth Uy Eviota (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Ana Marie O. Fernandez (Department of English)
Joseph H. Francia (Department of Economics)
Jamil Paolo S. Francisco (Department of Economics)
Geoffrey A. Guevara (Department of Philosophy)
Marita Castro Guevara (Department of Interdisciplinary Studies)
Roberto O. Guevara (Department of Theology)
Ma. Regina M. Hechanova (Department of Psychology)
Anne Marie A. Karaos (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Albert M. Lagliva (Department of Philosophy)
Michael J. Liberatore (Department of Theology)
Liza L. Lim (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Ma. Emma Concepcion D. Liwag (Department of Psychology)
Ada Javellana Loredo (Department of English)
Jozon A. Lorenzana (Department of Communication)
J. Ma. Arcadio Malbarosa (Department of Philosophy)
Michael Ner E. Mariano (Department of Philosophy)
Pamela Joy M. Mariano (Department of Philosophy)
Ma. Isabel Pefianco Martin (Department of English)
Marcia Czarina Corazon M. Medina (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Ma. Isabel E. Melgar (Department of Psychology)
Luisito G. Montalbo (Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health)
Cristina Jayme Montiel (Department of Psychology)
Aaron Rom O. Moralina (Department of History)
Jocelyn M. Mayoralga-Nolasco (Department of Psychology)
Mira Alexis P. Ofreneo (Department of Psychology)
Glenda C. Oris (Kagawaran ng Filipino)
Josephine P. Perez (Department of Psychology)
Raul Pertierra (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Caroliza T. Peteros (Program for Development Studies)
Alicia T. Pingol (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Emma E. Porio (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Mary Racelis (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Ma. Margarita A. Ramos (Department of Psychology)
Mariel Vincent A. Rapisura (Program for Development Studies)
Danton R. Remoto (Department of English)
Agustin Martin G. Rodriguez (Department of Philosophy)
Alma Maria O. Salvador (Department of Political Science)
Atty. Maria Cleofe Gettie C. Sandoval (Leaders for Health Program, AGSB – Health Unit)
Joselito T. Sescon (Department of Economics)
Anton Luis C. Sevilla (Department of Philosophy)
Alma Valerie C. Soriano (Department of English)
Sherilyn T. Siy (Department of Psychology)
Mary C. Thomas (Department of English)
Jose Ma. Edito K. Tirol (Department of History)
Philip Arnold P. Tuaño (Department of Economics)
Eileen F. Tupaz (Department of Philosophy)
John Carlo P. Uy (Department of Philosophy)
Ma. Eufemia C. Yap, M.D. (Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health)

Bishops can be wrong

Of course, I am one of the signatories to this open letter. And I have signified my intention to join public discussions on this bill. Let the debates begin! — Danton Remoto, Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University

***

Editorial
Manila Standard Today

A heavy-handed attempt by the bishops to silence dissent on the reproductive health bill among thinking Catholics is backfiring.

Yesterday, 55 more faculty members of the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University joined 14 of their colleagues who last week urged the passage of House Bill 5043, which the Church has condemned as “anti-life.”

This was probably the exact opposite effect that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines hoped to achieve when its president, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, wrote Ateneo president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres to lay down the law on the bill.

In his letter, Lagdameo asked Nebres to explain why the 14 original faculty members, including some from the Department of Theology, had publicly declared their support for the bill.

The pressure from the bishops prompted Nebres to issue a memo to the Ateneo community, reminding them that the university, as a Catholic institution, must toe the Church line and oppose the reproductive health bill.

But the 55 professors who joined their colleagues this week would have none of that, and urged the bishops instead to reconsider their position and support the bill.

The professors said they are alarmed that an estimated 473,400 Filipino women had abortions in 2000, simply because they did not have access to birth control.

“We consider it our guilt and our shame that so many of our women should be driven to such dire straits as to make abortion a family planning method, for want of information on and access to an effective means to prevent an unplanned pregnancy,” their declaration of support said.

They also resisted pressure to toe the Church line in their classes. As Catholic educators, they said it was incumbent upon them to teach their students that the bill was not immoral, as the Church claims.

Instead, they said, the bill is pro-life and pro-women. It also categorically rejects abortion and seeks to prevent it by offering couples an array of medically safe, legal, affordable and quality family planning methods, from which they can choose the one that will work best for them.

This is certainly not what the bishops wanted to hear, but the fact that they are getting this kind of a reaction should tell them something about how out of touch they are with their flock. It also reminds us that clerics, like all humans, are fallible. But then we already knew that—when they opposed HB 5043.

More Ateneo profs defy Church on birth control

By Christine F. Herrera
Manila Standard Today

GOING against an admonition from Catholic bishops, at least 55 professors from the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University have joined 14 of their colleagues who last week urged the passage of the reproductive health bill.

The Ateneo teachers not only refused to toe the Church line to reject the bill, but urged the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to reconsider its position and take into account the lives of 473,400 women who resorted to abortion because they lacked an effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

The 69 Catholic educators wrote to the 240 members of the House of Representatives and the 23-member Senate and attached to their letter an 11-page Declaration of Support for the Immediate Passage of House Bill 5043, which seeks to establish a national policy on family planning.

The bill supports the use of contraceptives such as condoms, and age-appropriate sex education in schools, both of which the Church opposes.

The Ateneo professors, including those from the Department of Theology, the Ateneo Law School and the Ateneo School of Medicine, also furnished the Catholic bishops and Ateneo president Bienvenido Nebres a copy of their declaration of support.

Nebres, who was prompted to issue a memo to the Ateneo community last week after CBCP president Angel Lagdameo made him explain the 20-page position paper of the original 14 Ateneo professors, went on a week-long retreat and could not be reached for comment.

Asked if she feared dismissal for defying the bishops, professor Mary Racelis of the Department of Sociology-Anthropology said: “Ateneo is an academic institution. I hope it will not come to that.

“We want the bishops to look at our position and to read the reproductive health bill so that the clergy will understand that contrary to their long-held belief, the RH bill is pro-poor, anti-abortion, pro-women and pro-life,” said Racelis, who has been with Ateneo since 1960 and now teaches graduate school.

The professors said they were alarmed that an estimated 473,400 Filipino women had abortions in 2000, and that some 79,000 of them wound up in hospitals with complications.

“We consider it our guilt and our shame that so many of our women should be driven to such dire straits as to make abortion a family planning method, for want of information on and access to an effective means to prevent an unplanned pregnancy,” their declaration of support said.

“We believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life, whether that life is the mother’s or the unborn child’s,” the professors said.

As Catholic educators, Racelis said it was incumbent upon them to teach their students that the RH bill was not “immoral” as the Church claims.

“We respect the consciences of our bishops when they promote natural family planning as the only moral means of contraception. In turn, we ask our bishops to respect the one in three [35.6 percent] married Filipino women who, in their most secret core and sanctuary or conscience, have decided that their and their family’s interests would best be served by using a modern artificial means of contraception,” they said.

They asked the bishops and their fellow Catholics not to block the passage of HB 5043, which, they said, promoted women’s and couples’ access to the full range of safe, legal and effective modern natural and artificial family planning methods, from which they can choose the one most suitable to their needs and personal and religious convictions.

“We call on our legislators in Congress and in the Senate to pass the RH bill. Doing so upholds the constitutional right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions; honors our commitments to international covenants and promotes the reproductive health and reproductive rights of Filipinos, especially of those who are most marginalized on this issue—our women, poor families, and youth,” the professors said.

Aware that the RH bill will be taken up by the House plenary on second reading starting on Nov. 10, when Congress resumes its sessions, the professors said they hope their expression of support could help enrich and broaden the discussions and debates on the issue of reproductive health and population development.

They told the House and Senate that the declaration of support was an alternative view coming from Catholic academics and educators.

“We further believe that it is possible for Catholics like ourselves to support HB 5043 in good conscience, even as we recognize, with some anguish, that our view contradicts the position held by some of our fellow Catholics, including our bishops.

“The RH bill is pro-life and pro-women. HB 5043 categorically rejects abortion. What it, in fact, wants to do is prevent abortions by offering couples an array of medically safe, legal, affordable and quality family planning methods, from which they can choose the one that will work best for them,” they said.

Bishops call for GMA ouster

BY Ellen Tordesillas
http://www.malaya.com.ph

That was one great statement that the Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, released yesterday. He practically called for the ouster of Gloria Arroyo.

Not in 2010 but now.

In a statement he read flanked by four other progressive-thinking bishops namely, Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Bataan Bishop Socrates Villegas, Masbate Bishop Joel Baylon, and Legazpi Bishop Emeritus Jose Sorra, Lagdameo said: “The time to start radical reforms is now. The time for moral regeneration is now. The time to conquer complacency, cynicism and apathy and to prove that we matured from our political disappointments is now. The time to prepare a new government is now. ”

In the open forum, Lagdameo said Gloria Arroyo is not capable of instituting reforms because he said, “I believe that the President is corrupt.”

The question and answer portion with Bishop Cruz was fascinating. Asked if Arroyo can lead the radical reforms, he replied, “Siempre hindi.”

Q: How about Vice President Noli de Castro?

Cruz: Walang ganyanan.

Q: How about Senate President Manny Villar?

Cruz: Walang ganyanan.

Q: How about House Speaker Prospero Nograles?

Cruz: Walang ganyanan.

Q: How about Chief Justice Reynato Puno?

Cruz: Pwede.

Q: How about AFP Chief Alexander Yano?

Cruz: Okay yun.

Q: Have you met with General Yano?

Cruz: Tama na. tama na.

It is about time that leaders of the Catholic Church whose consciences haves not been numbed by Malacañang’s cash donations, do what they preach. They cannot be preaching “Thou shalt not steal” while closing their eyes on the thievery of Arroyo and her cohorts. Worse, accepting the fruits of Arroyo’s crimes.

Many Catholics have already given up on the CBCP when it comes to giving them guidance at this time when democratic institutions are degraded to protect Arroyo’s hold on power.

Lagdameo and the four bishops seriously doubt there will be an election in 2010 despite Arroyo’s pledge there would be one.

Cruz said their sources say “Elections in 2010 is a big dream. In short, elections in 2010 up to this time that I’m talking, is a moral impossibility.”

He asked the media to be on the alert when Congress opens on Nov. 10. “Charter change will be an open, public and well funded move in the Lower House. Whether it will triumph in the Senate is still debatable. But then I repeat, no more camouflage, no more double-talk, no more indirect insinuations. Charter change will be an honest-to-goodness agenda for Congress,” he said.

Arroyo’s Cha-cha, Cruz said, will be through a constitutional assembly. “The moment it passes the Lower House, and the moment it passes Senate and there is a plebiscite, then it is done, because the local governments are all at the command of Malacañang.”

Cruz said the charter change that Arroyo is crusading “is not for patriotic reasons.”

“It is intended principally, basically and fundamentally to extend the term of office of the incumbent. I hope to God and I pray very dearly that I am wrong but that is what I know,” he said.

On creative writing

Creative writing classes are held at UP, UST, Ateneo and De La Salle. It is true that most of the enrollees are undergraduates, with a few graduate students. Older people can take these courses on audit, or sit in with the permission of the teacher.

LIRA, through National Artist and UP College of Arts and Letters Dean Rio Alma, also holds free workshops. But this is devoted mostly to poetry in Filipino. Roland Tolentino of the UP Department of Mass Communication used to hold creative writing sessions for fiction in Filipino, while the late Rene Villanueva did the same, focusing on writing for children. I am not sure if Roland still does it. Kuting, a group of writers of children’s books, is continuing what Rene has left with his early, untimely death.

Dr. Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo of UP used to hold such sessions, especially for the field of creative nonfiction. But now she is the VP for Public Relations of UP, and has no more time to do so. I taught Creative Writing: Nonfiction in Ateneo last semester, but none this semester. As I have written earlier, I will take a leave from teaching beginning April of 2009.

I do not know of any course on creative writing focused on “older” people working in NGOs and other professions and groups. Dr. Butch Dalisay of UP does teach a course called Writing for the Professions, but it includes other kinds of writing like speech writing, publicity work, etc. I am not sure if this is what some of our readers want to do or study.

What I can do is to list down the books I require my students to read, in the hope that it might help in one way or another. This is focused on nonfiction, or what we used to call the personal or informal essay. You may quibble with the politics (or lack of it) of these books, but I think they might help with sharpening the language of our texts:

1. The Elements of Style — Strunk and White. Short, snappy, fundamental text that summarized everything you want to know to write with pith, pitch, and passion.

2. A Reader Over Your Shoulder — Robert Graves. He analyzes the prose styles and actual writing samples of many writers and tells you why they work — and why they don’t.

3. The Paris Review Interviews: Writers at Work — George Plimpton, et al. Editor. A series of interviews of writers asking them about their craft, inspiration, writing process, et. al.

4. Author’s Choice, Adventures in a Forgotten Country, The Plain and the Simple. All by Kerima Polotan. Sharp, satirical, funny and sad essays about politics, culture, country and family.

5. Whatever, Myself Elsewhere, Legends & Adventures. All by Carmen Guerrero Nakpil. The master — or mistress — of the essay writes about history, politics, and how she found herself trapped between its walls.

This is all for now. Sorry I cannot be of much help. I am writing my dissertation for the Ph.D. in English, which I should defend before March of 2009. Super thanks — Danton

Guingona adds name to impeach rap

AND NOW THERE ARE 4
Guingona adds name to impeach rap

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 10:08:00 10/29/2008

MANILA, Philippines –Now there are four — endorsers of the latest impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, that is, after another lawmaker added his name to the petition.

Bukidnon Representative Teofisto Guingona III officially endorsed the complaint because he believed that the impeachment trial could be a venue for the President to answer all the issues that have been raised against her.

“I have always been supportive of the impeachment. I think it should be seen as a political statement that until now the people are still yearning for explanations on issues like the North Rail, ZTE, electoral fraud, graft and corruption,” he told reporters after speaking in a forum at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

The complaint, filed on October 13 by Jose de Venecia III, lawyer Harry Roque, Iloilo vice governor Rolex Suplico, civil society and militant groups, was endorsed by partylist Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casino of Bayan Muna and Liza Maza of Gabriela.

Guingona acknowledged that opposition forces in the House of Representatives would have a hard time getting the numbers to send the complaint to the Senate for a trial, but said that this would not deter them from pursuing the complaint.

He called on fellow lawmakers to look at the impeachment “not just as a process” but “a reminder to the people” that the President owed the public an explanation.

The complaint will be tackled by the chamber when session resumes on November 10.

5 Catholic leaders say ‘time to prepare for new gov’t is now’

by ARIES RUFO, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak | 10/28/2008 3:16 PM

Are Church leaders now ready to back attempts to oust the Arroyo government?

In its strongest position yet indicating that they are ready to give their blessings for what may be a drastic change in government, five bishops, led by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Angel Lagdameo, condemned the unabated “top to bottom” corruption in government and asked the public to shake the status quo.

Lagdameo went as far as assuring the public that “liberators” may be just around the corner.

“In response to the global economic crisis and the pitiful state of our country, the time to rebuild our country economically, socially, politically, is now. The time to start radical reforms is now. The time for moral regeneration is now. The time to conquer complacency, cynicism and apathy to prove that we have matured from our political statements is now. The time to prepare a new government is now,” Lagdameo said in a forum organized by the CBCP.

Lagdameo added the public should not lose hope that changing the present system is futile. “In spite of the seemingly hopeless and negative prognosis, our liberation may yet serendipitously happen. We are dreaming, praying and hoping that our county may yet have the needed liberators.”

It is hoped that these “liberators,” Lagdameo said, “will in a courageous peaceful way effectively and uncompromisingly reform our country.”

Also present in the forum were Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Bataan Bishop Socrates Villegas, Masbate Bishop Joel Baylon and Bishop Emeritus Jose Sorra. We learned that seven more bishops would have attended the forum but cancelled for some reasons.

Active involvement

Villegas urged the public “not to be passive” but engage “in active involvement” in effecting a change in governance. He noted that curbing corruption by only half of its present level would immensely benefit the country. “The problem is not population, the problem is rampant corruption,” Villegas said.

He said that the country would have been better prepared to deal with the ongoing global financial crisis if not for corruption.

Cruz said the country is now in a “precarious, dangerous and critical situation” because of massive corruption and directly blamed the “incumbent occupant” in Malacanang as the culprit.

In his statement, Lagdameo took to task the government’s claim that prosperity is now being felt by the masses pointing out that 20 million people will surely disagree with this, as shown by surveys. He said rampant poverty and hunger are directly related with rampant graft and corruption “which has invaded all public and private institutions.”

Endemic corruption

Lagdameo noted that corruption under the past few years of the Arroyo government up to present has become “endemic and systemic.”

He pointed to “overprized projects, multi-billion scams of various kinds, election manipulations, anomalous transactions, bribery of both high and low, unsolved murders of media practitioners” as the “faces and symptoms of corruption.”

He lamented that the country is now tagged as one of the most corrupt country in Asia, based on a survey conducted by Transparency International. “If we are not horrified, disgusted, exasperated and enraged by these realities, can we still we love our country?” Lagdameo said.

The bishops’ statements came on the heels of the arrival of former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante from the US following futile efforts of seeking asylum there. Bolante, tagged as the main architect of the P728-million fertilizer scam, had claimed political persecution but US immigration junked his alibi.

Also providing backdrop was the current “euro” scandal in the Philippine National Police where four police officers, including one retired, are set to be charged with unauthorized release of intelligence funds, and the fresh impeachment initiatives against the President.

Church leaders have been criticized for just waiting in the sidelines and giving mixed signals on its verdict on the Arroyo administration. At the height of the wiretap scandal, where the President was caught on tape giving orders to disgraced poll commissioner Virgilio Garcillano during the canvassing of the results in the presidential elections, the CBCP sought for truth but withheld passing a guilty verdict. Lack of active Church support has been cited as one of the major dampeners on attempts to oust Arroyo.

My Apologies to Phoenix

Phoenix wrote this recently –

Dear Adel and Opposite of Apathy staff,

I am very surprised that you have chosen to delete my comment yesterday. I was such a fan of Adel and the site, and read your blog daily. Just because I wrote that the appointment was a political thank you? That’s too much already? Is that so bad? I expected much more from you.

Allow me to apologize for the deletion of your comment. I did not get a chance to read your post and I don’t want to second guess the reasons for removing the comment. I just hope that you will accept my apology and believe me when I say that my view is that as long as the comments posted on this site are not simple name-calling, abusive, or outright fabrications, then we should not remove the posts. I’d rather get some negative comments and keep up the discourse with our readers, then to sanitize the comments and kill the very nature of this public blog. However, if the comments, for example, use foul language, racial epithets, or are written as a plain attack and not as a means for dialogue, then we should have the right to decide not to allow the posting of such comments.

Ultimately though, as one of the bloggers here, I take responsibility for what happens on this site. Sorry again, Phoenix.

– Adel Tamano

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