Tag Archives: Christmas

[Right-up] Pasko na nga Ba? (Alay para sa mga namatay sa sunog sa NCCC Mall DAVAO City) -Ni RVA

Pasko na nga Ba? (Alay para sa mga namatay sa sunog sa NCCC Mall DAVAO City)

Makulimlim ang kulay ng langit
Nang pasko’y malapit ng sumapit
May lumbay na himig ng mga awit
Nang mga hiyaw ang pumalit
Sa magagandang himig
Nang 37 kaluluwang napiit
Sa gusaling natupok ng init!

Kay sigla sana ng gabi
Kung sila ay nakapiling
Pasko sana ay kay saya
Kung exit route ay kinilala
Ng mga dingding di madinig
Ng huling tawag ng pag-sinta!

Pasko na naman?
Pasko na ng aba?
Ang dagli ng mga araw
Sahod na nagdaan
Tila bagyong nang-iwan
Ang bilis kung dumaan
Ngayon at noon ay pasko
Lagi nalang nagungutang!

Sa may kapit- bahay
Ang maagang pagbati
Merry Christmas sagad lagi
bagong buwis- TRAIN’y naghahari
buti pa ang bilihin- tumaas lagi
sahod ko’y kay tumal ng pagbat!

Ang sanhi nito’y libo-libong
Kita at tubo ng iilan BPOs
Sa libu-libong call center agents
Na naiwang sunog na bangkay
Kung sanay sila ay naririto
Sasabihin nyo kaya ang kataga?
Pasyensya na sa perwesyo?

December 24, 2017

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[People] Peace and Justice at Christmas by Fr. Shay Cullen

Peace and Justice at Christmas
Fr. Shay Cullen

With Christmas coming, we see the shining stars and message of peace. So many need peace: peace of heart and mind, soul and spirit, in the family and in friendships, in community, and above all peace to end the violence in the land of Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.


Over a million refugees are perishing in Jordan and Turkey huddled in the cold winter tents of the refugee camps. Their Christmas will be just a little better than that endured by the parents of Jesus of Nazareth on the night of his birth and days after.

They too were refugees and asylum seekers and fled to Egypt to escape the tyrant Herod. Today they would be arrested, jailed and likely incarcerated on an Australian Island or behind an English barb-wired camp for asylum seekers. They would be barred too from many other countries if they fled across the borders seeking shelter and safety from cruel oppressors and dictators. Today the tyrants are Assad in Syria, the IS in Iraq and in the borders of Turkey, the militias in Libya and Mugabe in Zimbabwe and many more dictators in Africa and Mexico. They would be able to enter the Philippines but the border guards would demand they give up their donkey and any other possessions.

What was denied the Holy Family and millions like them in the world today is the traditional human respect and courtesy, shelter and food and hospitality offered to travelers and outcasts for millennia. In the violent world of conflict today, we desperately need a positive caring attitude that respects human values and to which all hostile and alienated groups can aspire to embrace. A spirit of tolerance and peace-making is what is needed above all to work towards a ceasefire, peace talks and bring relief and healing to hundreds of thousands. We need to work towards a greater respect for human life and the rights and dignity of people and promote religious freedom and tolerance.

Iraq is split between the warring factions of Sunni and Shia and the IS blood thirsty fanatics have exploited this religious sectarianism and alienation of the Sunni to suit their own bloody ends. Christians and minorities are massacred, raped and decapitated without mercy or respect for human life by the Islamic state terrorist group.

Peacemaking in this situation is almost impossible. It is possible in other less violent war zones and urgently needed where social unrest is rising. It is finding a way to bring together the divided parties such as the Christian and Muslim communities in our various countries. Fostering inter-religious peace and harmony in non-violent communities wherever possible will help prevent more conflicts. It was heartening to see Pope Francis with the leaders of many religions gathered in the Vatican to declare unity, common peace-making and declaring sex slavery a crime against humanity.

That was one great step for the religious leaders to declare before the world. It certainly boosted our spirits here at the Preda Foundation where we are doing our best saving children and women from sex slavery and where some prosecutors, judges and politicians ignore it altogether. Those victims need justice, freedom and peace.

In Australia, we saw a fine spirit of unity between Christian and Muslim communities as they take a stand against extremism and violent acts like the hostage-taking in Sydney recently. Nations where racism and exclusion has been the norm must accept their bias and overcome their disgust with black people. In the United States thousands are marching demanding racial equality and justice as they protest the killing by police of an unarmed black youth.

To make peace each side in a conflict has to admit their mistakes and wrong-doing against the other. Peace-making and forgiveness will then be possible. Yet peace and forgiveness for heinous crimes without penance is not a true peace and healing. In Colombia, the people are protesting against a proposed total amnesty for the FARC rebels. They have waged insurgency and drug trafficking for decades and they want to walk free without accountability for thousands of murders, kidnappings and torture of hundreds of innocent civilians. The people demand justice and that they do penance.

Jesus of Nazareth the great Prince of Peace made it clear that forgiveness follows repentance and acceptance of penance. “Repent for the Kingdom of God is near,” he said. Penance is expected not out of revenge but as the just penalty due and as a humble admission and confession of sin and a firm resolve of repentance and restitution.

That’s why Jesus said as recorded in Matthew Chapter 18 that a child abuser is better to have a millstone tied around his neck and thrown in the depths of the sea. Probably because such abusers never confess or admit their crimes against children and accept their penance in jail. Without that, they are not easily forgiven.

And so the real Christmas is about the birth of Jesus who brought the great values of human rights, dignity of the person made in the image and likeness of God into the world. He established the rightful place of women and children as being the most important in the Kingdom (Matthew 18 v. 1-7), a great truth which was quickly ignored by a male-dominated society and Church. It was buried and forgotten as a very inconvenient truth until this generation.

So that is what we have to celebrate, not only the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but celebrate the Son of God who established those rights by being born fully human.

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PREDA Foundation, Inc.
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Olongapo City 2200

Preda Main Center
Upper Kalaklan, Subic Bay
Olongapo City 2200 Philippines

E-mail: shaycullen@preda.org, Information Officer: emmanueldrewery@preda.org

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[Event] Bakit ang isyu sa Calumpit bridge ay isyu ng karapatan ng mga riders at karapatang pantao? By Lyndon Pangan

Bakit ang isyu sa Calumpit bridge ay isyu ng karapatan ng mga riders at karapatang pantao?
By Lyndon Pangan

isyu sa Calumpit Bridge

Una , ang kawalan ng kongkretong aksyon ng pamahalaan (partikular ang local na pamahalaan) sa daing ng mga riders na masolusyonan ang mahirap na kalagayan nila sa paglalakbay ay labag sa karapatan.
(Obligasyon ng gubyerno to “Respect, Protect, and Fulfill the Human Rights of the people)

Ang halos 150 pesos na bayad sa mapanganib na Bangka sa pagtawid sa ilog ay masakit sa bulsa ng mga manggagawang mananakay na sumasahod ng P336.00 kada araw (source: National Wages and Productivity Commission –Minimum Wage in Region 3) Halos kalahati ang nababawas na sa kanyang arawang sahod.

Ang alternate route na may layong humigit kumulang sa 24 kilometers ay dagdag gastos din sa gasolina at pagod sa araw araw na biyahe.

Halos isang taong (o higit pa yata) ganito ang kalagayan ng mga kapatid nating riders sa Bulacan at Pampanga habang ginagawa ang nasabing tulay sa bayan ng Calumpit. Hindi ko lubos maisip kung bakit natitiis ng pamahalaan na magdanas ang mga mananakay ng ganitong kalunus lunos na sitwasyon.

Ikalawa, opo ang konstruksyon ng tulay ay para sa karapatan ng mas nakararami ito ay “Right to Development” Ngunit ayon sa United Nations human rights principle, ang karapatan ay dapat INTERRELATED AT INTERDEPENDENT, ito rin ay dapat NON-DISCRIMINATORY. Tama lang na ayusin ang mga tulay sapagkat ito ay daan para sa kaunlaran, ngunit ang mali ay habang inaayos ito, may isang bahagi ng populasyon na nakakaranas ng kagipitan. Ito ay nagiging sagka sa karapatan ng mga riders na makapaglakbay ng maayos, at tulad nga ng nabanggit sa itaas, obligasyon ng gubyerno na siguruhin na hindi nalalabag ang karapatan na ito.

Ang panawagan at solusyon: Umaksyon ang pamahalaan upang maibsan ang kahirapang nararamdaman ng mga riders, pinatunayan na natin na delikado at hindi mainam ang kasalukuyang alternatiba. Lumikha ng paraan para magkaroon ng solusyon o alternatiba na abot-kaya, ligtas at aksesible para sa lahat. Nang sa gayon ay walang nalalabag na karapatan.


Sa Ika-30 ng Disyembre ako po bilang isang indibidwal na mananakay ng motorsiklo ay lalahok sa panawagan ng Bulacan Motorcycle Riders Federation (BMRF), ARANGKADA Riders Alliance at iba pang grupo na magsasagawa ng isang symbolic ride sa Bulacan. Maari po tayong magkita-kita (mga manggagaling ng NCR)sa Total Valenzuela Branch (Tapat ng SM) ganap na 11 ng umaga. Tutulak tayo patungo sa CALTEX-BSU sa Malolos (1pm call time dun). Upang sumama sa makasaysayang lakbay para sa KARAPATAN.

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[Statement] TDC on Government’s Christmas present to its teachers and employees

Benjo Basa source petiburgisdotcom“Both in time of tragedy and the season of Christmas, the government provided insufficient assistance to its teachers and employees. The Department of Education (DepEd) gave out lipsticks and make-up kits to the devastated teachers of Leyte– instead of much needed goods, temporary shelter and financial assistance. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approved a P5, 000.00 bonus for state workers, 50% short of the P10, 000.00 allotment during the time of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Worst, Aquino government will implement the mass lay-off policy in DepEd and other agencies crafted during ex-PGMA’s time. This is the government’s Christmas present to its teachers and employees.”

-TDC Chair Benjo Basas

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[People] The First Christmas. By Fr. Shay Cullen

The First Christmas
by Fr. Shay Cullen

When I was growing up, Christmas was a lovely childhood story of the baby Jesus born in a clean looking stable surrounded by his loving parents in clean robes, singing angels, adoring shepherds, kings holding gifts and harmless adoring animals. Yet in reality, it was a hard, cold, miserable time for this impoverished couple, who were like refugees and soon became such, with almost nothing in the world as they fled the killer King Herod to Egypt. They were most likely overwhelmed by the cold bitter weather and hunger like the refugees from the conflict in Syria today, fleeing the cruel “King” Assad. They have only hovels and nowhere else to live. No singing angels for them.


In the Philippines, hundreds of thousands are suffering deprivation like that of Jesus and his parents as they struggle to survive in the ruins caused by the greatest typhoon ever to hit the Philippines. It will be a tough and hungry Christmas for them who still survive under plastic sheets and with relief handouts. With the wind, rains and devastation came another storm – human exploitation and trafficking of the victims and orphaned children.

In the evacuation centers that I visit with a Preda relief team, we see posters showing the photos of 3 to 15 year-olds mysteriously gone missing, most likely stolen and sold. Five children were rescued from traffickers by government social workers. A team of foreigners were bringing the children to Manila for so called “good jobs” but likely for sexual exploitation.

Reggie is a teenage boy whose village was wiped out, flattened by that storm named Haiyan (Yolanda in the Philippines). He and five others were offered jobs on a big fishing boat by a rich merchant. They took the chance and they worked for weeks on the fishing boat and were then dropped off on land, unpaid and abandoned. They lost their dignity and wages. Reggie lost his freedom too. He was found wandering the Manila streets and imprisoned with youth accused of crimes. That’s where we found him and got him freed. He will have a happier Christmas at Preda but over a million will not.

For many true Christians, Christmas is the most important feast of the year. It celebrates the inalienable rights and dignity of all humans. Jesus of Nazareth brought these rights into the world, lived them and taught them. His birth, life, and death were a turning point in the history of the world. The human rights of the poor, the oppressed, the victims of violations, the landless, and the hungry were proclaimed in his sermon on the mount.

The rights of children were established when he said that children were the most important in the Kingdom of God, whoever accepts them accepts Him. He introduced a new era but it has taken two thousand years for these rights to be truly respected, implemented, and defended. Christmas is the time to re-establish these values and rights in our hearts and minds, in our families and society.

Christmas is time too for family reunions, sharing of gifts, symbols of life and friendship. It is a time for renewing bonds and strengthening our spiritual values, and reflecting on the mystery of life.

Easter is equally important, it celebrates the triumph of good over evil, life over death, the weak over the powerful, death and resurrection; it also has the painful story of the suffering, torture and execution of Jesus of Nazareth, a good and loving man, Son of God, Son of Man, friend to all, Messiah of the downtrodden and the oppressed. That is a painful, but powerfully inspiring story.

Yet the Christmas story of His birth, the outcast family, poor and homeless, a child born in a cave or a hovel with animals and impoverished peasants, is for many people, more special. It celebrates caring and love, friendship and family. It’s inspiring too that in such poverty, God brought about the birth of a great spiritual leader and teacher and prophet destined to challenge the ruling elites, defy the oppressors of the poor and bring values into the world that would change it and turn it inside out.

Jesus from Nazareth, a child from nowhere, became the greatest teacher the world has never forgotten despite many trying to deny, ignore and quash those values and rights. We must defend them to the end. Each of us can rediscover this great truth and experience the meaning of Christmas by renewing our faith and finding our spiritual strength to act to save the exploited, the abused and the hungry.

I thank all the good people who have supported the work at the Preda center here in Olongapo city and have donated generously to the appeal for the survivors of the typhoon whom we are helping by bringing relief directly to them. May all have a blessed and holy Christmas.

See photos on http://www.preda.org, photo gallery
Email: shaycullen@preda.org
Donations for Preda/ typhoon victims.
COLUMBAN FATHERS c/o St.Columban‘s, Widney Manor Road, Solihull B93 9AB.
or Columban Fathers, Dalgan Park, Navan, Co. Meath

or send donations to Preda Ireland:
Permanent TSB, Dun Laoghaire ,Co. Dublin, Ireland
account number 87930352, sorting code 990604,
swift code IBPSIE2D, IBAN IE251PBS99060487930352

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[Press Release] Teachers ask DEPED to expedite the release of bonus -TDC

Teachers ask DEPED to expedite the release of bonus

TDCThe Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) calls on the Department of Education (DepEd) to release a department guidelines to implement the Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) for its more than 500, 000 employees this year. Last week the group staged a protest at the gates of the Budget Department to denounce the deliberate cutting down of their traditional P10, 000.00 productivity enhancement incentive (PEI) by half. The symbolic caroling was followed by a dialoigue with some DBM officials.

“The traditional year-end incentive amounting to P10, 000.00 which we also call P-Noy should be enhanced especially this year that the government employees face many challenges.” Said Caloocan teacher Benjo Basas who also the the group’s national chairperson.

Basas continued, “Until now, the DepEd has no clear guidelines to implement the order of the president contained in his EO No. 80 last July. Thus, the amount which we expect before Christmas may be delayed.”

The group is worried that the teachers and DepEd employees would not receive the PBB or even the PEI before Christmas due to time limitation.

For this year, teachers and government employees would be entitled to a PEI in the amount of P5, 000.00 and a performance-based bonus (PBB) that varies depending on the performance of the agency and the individual employee. Thus the PBB would range from P5, 000.00 for the good performing individuals in a good performing agency up to P35, 000.00 for the best performing individuals in the best performing agencies. Best performing agencies are those in the top 10% while the better performing are those in the next 25% and the good performing or actually the least performing agencies are those in the bottom 65 per cent.

The group however dismisses the PBB scheme for being unfair, divisive and deceptive and instead calls for an across the board incentive that according to them “will benefit all the government employees and public school teachers and could reach the supposed recipients on time.”

Previously, PEI is released to government employees before Christmas break. “But for this year, the guidelines to determine the performance of agencies was only released by the inter-agency task force (IATF) lead by DBM last November 12, the agencies, especially the Department of Education (DepEd) would have a hard time to comply with the complicated requirements to determine the eligibility of agencies and employees to the PBB.” Basas added.

The group reiterates their call to the DBM and President Aquino to defer the implementation of the PBB this year and instead provide the P10, 000.00 across-the-board PEI to all government employees.

“For this year, the PBB would not be practical. The president may opt to give us the 10, 000.00 PEI or even greater amount. He should play a Santa for his employees.” Basas ended.

For details: Benjo Basas, 0920-5740241/3853437

Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR NETWORKS POST.

Ang botohan ay magsisimula ngayon hanggang sa 11:59 ng Nov 15, 2013.

Ikaw para kanino ka pipindot? Simple lang bumoto:
• i-LIKE ang thumbnail/s ng iyong mga ibinoboto sa HRonlinePH facebook, i-share at
• Bisitahin ang post sa HRonlinePH.com (links sa bawat thumbnail) at pindutin ang button sa
poll sa ilalim ng bawat nominadong post.
• Most number of the combined likes sa FB at sa poll buttons ang magiging 3rd HR Pinduteros
Choice na kikilalanin sa 2013 HR week celebration.

Makiisa sa pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon hinggil sa karapatang pantao. Pindot na!

WHAT IS 3RD HR PINDUTEROS CHOICE AWARDS? https://hronlineph.com/2013/10/01/3rd-human-rights-

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[In the news] Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, namimiligrong mamatay pagsapit ng Disyembre -GMANews

Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, namimiligrong mamatay pagsapit ng Disyembre
October 9, 2012

Aminado ang pangunahing may-akda ng kontrobersiyal na Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, na hanggang sa Disyembre na lamang ang pag-asa niyang maipapasa ang naturang panukalang batas na pinaniniwalaang makatutulong para magkaroon ng transparency sa gobyerno.

“’Pag hindi papasa on third reading ang FOI before Christmas break in both chambers Senate and the House (of Representatives), wala na. Kasi kung pumasa ‘yan sa isang chamber, wala pa rin. Dapat pareho, both chambers,” paliwanag sa media ni Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III nitong Martes.

Sa legislative calendar ng Kamara, nakatakdang magbakasyon ang Kongreso para sa paggunita ng Undas simula Oktubre 20 hanggang Nobyembre 4, 2012.

Magpapatuloy ang sesyon ng Kongreso sa Nob. 5 hanggang Disyembre 21, 2012. Kasunod nito ay magbabakasyon muli ang mga mambabatas para sa Christmas break na magsisimula sa Dec. 22 na tatagal hanggang January 20, 2013.

Ngunit sa pagbabalik ng sesyon sa Enero 21, 2013, tatagal lamang ito ng tatlong linggo para muling magbakasyon simula February 9 hanggang June 2, 2013, dahil na rin sa idaraos na halalan sa Mayo 2013.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Military dares communist rebels to extend ceasefire to entire 2012 | Sun.Star

Military dares communist rebels to extend ceasefire to entire 2012 | Sun.Star.

By Ivy C. Tejano
Thursday, December 29, 2011

  THE Army’s 10th Infantry Division dared Thursday the National Democratic Front/Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (NDF/CPP/NPA) to declare ceasefire for the entire 2012.

Brigade General Ricardo Rainer Cruz III, assistant division commander of the 10th Infantry Division, said it could be better if the communist rebels will extend their ceasefire in 2012, instead of the 13-day ceasefire for Christmas and the victims of Tropical Storm “Sendong”, which hit Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities.

“It is time for the communist rebels to take a break and return to their families. Let’s declare 2012 ceasefire so for the community to develop their living, and not only because there is a disaster. This is great kasi magkakaroon tayo ng katahimikan starting next year,” Cruz said in a press conference Thursday.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Gaisano Capital South to let go of 800 workers – cebudailynews.wordpress.com

Gaisano Capital South to let go of 800 workers.

  Some 800 employees of the burned Gaisano Capital South Mall will begin the year without a job.

Eric Labrada, liason officer of the Gaisano Capital Group, said that they will let go of the contractual employees after Dec. 30.

“Their contracts will be terminated effective Dec. 30,” Labrada told Cebu Daily News.

He said 800 employees are mostly sales assistants and promodisers assigned at the storage department who assist in pricing and repacking of products.

Their contracts were renewable every five months.

About 1,500 employees worked in the mall, w hich burned down on Dec. 23, a day before their big Christmas sale.

Labrada earlier said 800 were casual employees, 500 were agency-hired workers and the remaining 200 were regular employees who would remain with the company.

Read full article @ cebudailynews.wordpress.com

[In the news] UP students’ parents nix transfer of kidnap suspects – abs-cbnNEWS.com

UP students’ parents nix transfer of kidnap suspects

MANILA, Philippines – The mothers of missing University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan will oppose in court the transfer of 2 military officers from the Bulacan provincial jail to Fort Bonifacio.

The court had allowed the transfer of Lt. Col. Delipe Anotado and Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio due to security threats.

They are accused of kidnapping the 2 students in 2006.

The complainants’ lawyer, Ed Olalia, said they were not informed of the transfer.

“The funny thing is we just learned about this transfer through the media reports and the media reports say that the motion was heard last Friday
which was December 23 and the transfer was immediately effected on the very same day obviously in preparation for Christmas on Sunday,” he said.

Read full article @ www.abs-cbnnews.com

[People] Jesus, the failed Messiah? by Fr. Shay Cullen

Jesus, the failed Messiah?
(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times,
in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

The truly amazing thing about the birth of Jesus Christ, called the Messiah, Son of David, Son of Man, Son of God, Saviour, Teacher, Rabbi, Master, healer, as he is named throughout the gospels, is that he never claimed those titles for himself other than the simplest thing of all, “Son of Man” which means “ordinary human being”. He used it 70 times of himself as written in all the four gospels.

He never claimed to be the Messiah, the gospel writers interpreted his mission as that. The Messiah was supposed to be a fiery warrior-leader come into the world to arouse the patriotic spirit of Israel and throw out the occupiers, bring back the kingdom of the ancient King David and right all wrongs. But Jesus was born as a non-violent peace-maker calling all to repent, of their own free choice and help create a spiritual and socially just way of life, where justice, fairness, and respect for all would be the rule. The other commandment of that spiritual kingdom is to love God and others as one’s self.

He was born poor, in the humblest place imaginable – a smelly animal shelter his birth witnessed by animals. Let’s respect them too and save them from cruelty and extinction.

What is it then that caught and held the world’s attention for 2000 years? To the non-believer he was a homeless itinerant preacher that ran afoul of the authorities in a corner of the vast Roman Empire and was a dismal failure in his time.

He was a champion of the poor and questioned the unequal system and irresponsible rich that neglects the hungry and the sick and used money and power to exploit them. Today he would strongly reprimand the greedy bankers, politicians and medical merchants who treat the old and the sick as exploitable commodities. He had no forgiveness for child abusers and said a stone should be tied around their neck and they be thrown into the ocean. For exploiters of the poor he challenged them to repent and make restitution and do penance.

Christmas is also about Mary, the mother of Jesus and Joseph who guided them as they fled Herod’s death squads. Mary’s prayer “The Magnificat” is about trust and hope for freedom from hunger and oppression. God, Mary says, planned a world where justice, equality and truth would overcome evil and kings and tyrants would be thrown down from their thrones and the rich would be sent away empty, while the hungry would have their fill and the downtrodden would be lifted up. That powerful prophecy delivered by a woman became the mission of Jesus. It is a message that inspires millions from then until now.

Women were to have their rightful equal place in the Kingdom but sadly generations denied it to them and today women are still struggling to establish more and more their true position of dignity and equality. This is our mission too.

Jesus gave us an extraordinary example of unselfish sacrificial love. He inspired the poor and questioned and challenged the rulers of his time and their unfair ways. They judged him a heretic, a serious political threat, a subversive and blasphemer no less, and they executed him with the ironic mocking sign over his head “King of the Jews”.

They feared they would lose their status, wealth and entitlements because of him. They were driven by the same materialistic madness loose in the world today and all people of good will are challenged to share and use money in a responsible way to build a more just world. A Christmas gift for the poor is great but what about the rest of the year?

As the wise say a shroud has no pockets, we can’t take it with us. So we can donate money wisely to a trust fund to help the abused children, exploited women and all the victims of human rights violations for years to come. The Preda Foundation Trust Fund is doing this.

Working for justice and freedom of children and women from slavery can help change unjust and corrupt system and bring about a happier society based on the love and care of our neighbors. That’s what Christmas is all about.

Contact Fr. Shay Cullen at the Preda Center, Upper Kalaklan, Olongapo City, Philippines. e-mail: preda@info.com.ph, newsletters@preda.org

[Event] Noël: Pasko ng Pagbibigayan

Noël: Pasko ng Pagbibigayan

Wala nang mas magsasabuhay pa ng kabuluhan ng Pasko higit sa pagbibigay ng pag-asa at pag-ibig sa mga nangangailangan nito.

What better way to celebrate Christmas than to spend it with your loved ones while helping victims of typhoon Sendong with Noel Cabangon serenading you at the background?

December 25. Conspiracy Bar. 8pm. All proceeds will go to the victims of typhoon Sendong.

[In the news] Fil-Ams raising P35M to free OFW on death row in Saudi Arabia- GMAnetwork.com

Fil-Ams raising P35M to free OFW on death row in Saudi Arabia

Photo of Dondon Lanuza in a poster the group made to appeal for help this Christmas.

Filipinos in the United States continue to appeal for funds to help obtain the freedom of 37-year-old Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Saudi Arabia, who was sentenced to death for killing a Saudi national.

Photo of Dondon Lanuza in a poster the group made to appeal for help this Christmas.

US-based Filipino business leader, Atty. Loida Nicolas-Lewis, and a group of Filipino philanthropists lead the group supporting the Lanuza family’s objective of raising a P35-million (US$800,000) “blood money.”
Under Arab custom, a prisoner may be set free if the victim’s family agrees to accept blood money in exchange for foregoing the penalties imposed on the convicted person.

Lewis told GMA News Online on Tuesday that she has offered to match every donation that will come in, dollar per dollar, to raise the needed fund at the soonest possible time.

While there is no real deadline set  by the KSA authorities to pay, they are worried that the aggrieved family may change their mind and withdraw the forgiveness if they cannot come up with a satisfactory amount. It will be one year on February 2012 since the family forgave Lanuza and required the blood money.

According to Lewis, Lanuza is grateful to know that people are helping him.

“Dondon is a Filipino, an OFW who just wanted to work and help his family. He does not deserve to die,” said Lewis.

As of now, only around $13,670 (P570,000), or 2% of the needed amount has been raised, Lewis said.

She said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)has informed her they would consider the Lanuza family’s request to shoulder a small part of the amount.

She added that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also pledged to extend a helping hand.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

[In the news] Aquino declares truce with rebels 18-day holiday ceasefire starts Friday – newsinfo.inquirer.net

Aquino declares truce with rebels
18-day holiday ceasefire starts Friday
By Christine O. Avendaño, DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Amid open conflict between Malacañang and the Supreme Court and with Christmas just around the corner, President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday offered the public a respite from tension on another front.

Mr. Aquino announced Thursday an 18-day holiday ceasefire with the communist New People’s Army (NPA) starting Friday.

The truce from 12:01 a.m. until midnight of Jan. 3, 2012, was recommended by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles and the Department of National Defense, Mr. Aquino told reporters.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police later issued separate statements directing security forces to suspend offensives “in the spirit of the yuletide season” against the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

“This will allow PNP maneuver units as well as their adversaries from the ranks of the CPP/NPA to come home to their families to enjoy the holidays,” said PNP Director General Nicanor A. Bartolome.

Lieutenant General Jessie Dellosa, AFP chief of staff, said the move would “give our brothers and sisters who have gone the wrong path a chance to celebrate Christmas and bond with their families and loved ones peacefully.”

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[People] The Christmas That Has Yet to Come by Fr. Shay Cullen

The Christmas That Has Yet to Come
(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times,
in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

Christmas is about birth, new beginnings, new life and it is a time to think about the dignity and value of our own life and others. It’s a special time to honor and help needy children. The best Christmas story is like that of the Holy Family seeking shelter from the cruel weather and the closed doors of the inn keepers. It’s the rescue of yet another abused child.

At the Preda Children’s Home, a refuge always open for abused girls, the latest arrival is a small 12 year-old child named Maria. She was traumatized, nervous and silent when she was brought in, still in shock. Now a week later she is smiling and happy to be safe and protected having escaped from her cruel sex abuser, who, tragically, is her own biological father.

Maria found the courage after a year of abuse to finally overcome fear of the threats and finally told her mother who believed her and reported it to the authorities. The father was immediately arrested, charged and jailed. For her and 53 other children, it will be a very happy Christmas at the home and for those recovered and returned safely to their homes. In the surrounding villages, we give Christmas parties and gifts and games for over 300 children.

Our thanks to all those who have donated to help us save and support these children, those rescued from brothels and pimps during the past year. You are making the world a happier place.

The birth of Jesus Christ and his message of hope is the good news that the greatest happiness is to take a stand for others in dire need and fight for the poor and those whose rights are violated. That’s a mission to protect and enhance life, to belong to a loving supportive family and community and contribute to building a way of life, based on equality, justice and dignity for all especially for the abused, oppressed and outcast.

This is why Jesus was born, lived and died. He came to rid the world of sin, not individual sin only but social sin, and to change the corrupt systems that enslave people in poverty and hardship. We are called to imitate and carry on his work.

His mission was for his time and for all time. It could have dramatically changed the world by upsetting the balance of power and ascendancy, it could have overturned the status quo and would have empowered communities to prevent the rise of tyrants and dictators or non-violently and peacefully remove them from power with prayer and fasting.

By blessing the poor, the outcasts, the landless and uplifting and declaring them rightful members of the Kingdom and by supporting those that hungered for food, justice, truth and equality, He was revolutionary. He was the messiah. When he was a baby, Herod saw him as a danger to his throne and massacred all the one year-old children just to kill him. Was not his mission to begin a spiritual and moral revolution? Perhaps it had political ramifications in the minds the authorities of the time and that’s why they killed him. His message lives on; the values he brought are universal and inspire people of all cultures, religions and nationalities.

Do we not see these very values today in the hearts and minds of those people on the steps of St. Paul’s in London, those occupying a park near Wall Street, others camping out in cities around the world? Those marching and chanting in mass protests in the Middle East and enduring torture and death do so for the same values, for freedom and justice, we are all brothers and sisters members of God’s one family.

Christianity did transform the world dramatically for a while, but it fell away for a historical period, had it continued pure and untainted there would be less greed, injustice, oppression, and fewer money moguls dominating our lives.

But change is happening these days as hundreds of thousands work for human rights and justice and sacrifice themselves in building a more peaceful and honest way of life. Witness the three brave women winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. They live with greater simplicity and happiness and are creating a more peaceful, just and happier world. The challenge for all of us is to believe that it is possible and to help make it happen. A blessed Christmas and New Year to all! Contact: preda [@] info.com.ph.

[Event] Panindigan ang Peace Talks, Ceasfire ngayong Kapaskuhan! – Manindigan sa Peace Talks

You are cordially invited to attend the

Sulong CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law)
/ Manindigan sa Peace Talks

Press Conference

Panindigan ang Peace Talks, Ceasfire ngayong Kapaskuhan!

Civil society groups spearheaded by Sulong CARHRIHL and Maninidigan sa Peace Talks stresses the need for renewed commitment on peace talks between the Government and the National Democratic Front.

The group appeals to both parties to substantiate their sincerity on the talks amidst recent news of the talks being stalled.

The group will bring Christmas lanterns to symbolize their call for a ceasefire for this Yuletide holidays and calls for a study on the possibility of a long-term ceasefire.

December 14, 2011 ::  9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Max’s Restaurant, Quezon City Memorial Circle, Quezon City

Contact Person:
Kaye Limpiado : 09178365293

[Press Release] Teachers support DEPED’s simple Christmas celebration – TDC

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) echoes the call of DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro to celebrate Christmas in schools in simple and meaningful ways. The secretary reiterated the strict observance of the DepEd Order No. 114, series of 2009 signed by the then Secretary Jesli A. Lapus.

TDC Chair Benjo Basas said “We are one with the DepEd in reminding school officials and even teachers that Christmas Parties should not be compulsory and expensive.  We may unwittingly teach the children to become materialistic. Christmas should not be a season of commercialism but rather of good values- sacrifice for the common good, love for others and sharing of blessings.” #

Reference: Benjo Basas, Chairperson, 0920-5740241/ 3853437

[People] Christmas is Freedom by Fr. Shay Cullen

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times,
in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

There is a lot about Christmas that the world doesn’t know, doesn’t want to know or conveniently forgets in its pursuit of pleasure, possessions and power. And that is, that the “Christ” in Christmas was a person, fully human and Son of God, demanding an end to greed and exploitation.

That sweet baby Jesus in the Christmas manger, born in poverty among peasants and while still in swaddling clothes faced death threats and assassins sent by the corrupt and lust-filled King Herod. Jesus and his parents were refugees and asylum- seekers in a foreign land fleeing certain death. Good his mother Mary and Joseph didn’t apply to a nation with strict anti-immigration laws and racists attitudes, they would have been deported, expelled, kicked out and then caught and executed with the hundreds of innocents in Herod’s slaughter, a horrific crime against children and humanity.

The baby from Bethlehem, became the man from Nazareth who grew up to be the fiery prophet, the calm peace-maker, the loving friend, the healer of the sick, the hope of the hopeless and the shepherd of the lost. He was the bane of the rich and powerful too. He is the young man that was kicked out of his home synagogue in Nazareth and was almost killed for quoting the Prophet Isaiah and taking on his mission as his own. He was a real trouble maker and rebel to some in his home town.

He read the lesson quoting Isaiah (Luke.4;4 -30) from the scripture and he made it his life’s work to bring good news to the poor, telling them in effect that they, the poor, are blessed, precious and the kingdom of God is for them. As if saying: “You are the true children of the father, the inheritance of the land is yours”. To the religious authorities this was heresy, subversion, and close to blasphemy, a crime that carried the death penalty.

In today’s world defending the poor and the environment from the loggers, land-grabbers and the ruling elite also carries the unofficial death penalty. Human rights advocates, environmentalists, journalists, priests and pastors are branded as communists and subversives for speaking out for the poor and they are killed as was my friend Father Fausto Tentorio, last 17 October 2011, for standing with the poor. His friends and fellow priests are still threatened and harassed.

In the time of Jesus of Nazareth, the elite claimed they had the divine blessing and the right to the Kingdom. They constantly thanked God for their elite status, ascendancy, wealth and for being the chosen ones. They felt that the carpenter’s son, born of a peasant girl, was challenging them and their system by taking the side of the poor and they were angry when he scolded them as hypocrites.

Yet, he didn’t end there. He continued quoting Isaiah declaring an end to the captive status of the poor and the oppressed, an end to injustice, slavery of all kinds, freedom for the women and children, a new life for the exploited and those unjustly accused, imprisoned, persecuted and harassed. And he declared the freedom of Christmas so the poor can escape from the clutches of commercial consumerism.

Christmas is about transforming a materialistic world, not joining in the wasteful extravagance. It’s a time for family togetherness and peace-making and making commitments to work for a more just society and continuing the work of Jesus, born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, but very much alive today.

It’s a time to renew friendship and the values that keep us human and spiritual, united, sane and secure. It’s not enough to admire the child in the manger; we have to imitate him as a man of action.

Jesus was an agent of change, a revolutionary of the spirit that loved as no man had so loved his friends, his people, the poor, the outcasts and downtrodden and died for them. That’s what Christmas keeps alive in us the living spirit of self-giving and caring for others. What we learn from the child in the manger, the man on the cross is that following Christ is to be a washer of feet and an advocate of human rights.