Tag Archives: Fr. Shay Cullen

[People] Corruption and Spread of Covid-19 -by Fr. Shay Cullen

Corruption and Spread of Covid-19
Fr. Shay Cullen
24 September 2020

There are many global threats facing the world today. The most serious in everybody’s mind is the Coronavirus pandemic with 200,000 dead in the USA alone and spreading. It is a cause of shock and realization that we humans for all our economic, military and medical power is very weak and vulnerable to the invisible virus that has invaded our world, our communities, families and our bodies. Some nations have had success in controlling it; others have failed through incompetence and corruption.

Martha has a cheerful, happy-go-lucky personality, a healthy mother of four. On a recent Saturday evening, she forgot herself and went to a house party with friends to celebrate a birthday. She ignored precautions as did others and wrongly believed it wouldn’t touch her. But it did. By Friday, she was having strong coughing and fever symptoms and reactions and was rushed to the overcrowded hospital. There is painful convulsions, Martha struggled and gasped for breath, isolated from family, only the nurse, dressed in blue plastic, went to help her. It was no use, Martha quickly fell silent and died. It was her weak lungs, they said. Some underlying health condition said another. No one really knows why she died so quickly. There was no time for an autopsy, not even a proper funeral. She was brought straight to the crematorium, leaving behind a weeping crying, traumatized family.

There are hundreds of thousands of people like Martha and more of them every day. A mistake took away her precious, beautiful, happy life and that of her family. But it is also the many mistakes of the politicians that have failed to act decisively in time to lead and instruct the people that Covid-19 is a dangerous deadly virus with the power to kill and maim. They fail to insist that everyone must wear masks, avoid contact with others, disinfect, wash their hands frequently since anyone may have the deadly killer virus. It is spreading because many people ignore these precautions and corrupt, inadept and stupid failed leaders do not order and impose protective measures to save the vulnerable people and issue strong, consistent health warnings. They have failed to implement and insist on a national response to test and trace the infected people and isolate them. How else can this vicious virus that spreads like venom be contained? Those strong, respected leaders who did respond to the attack of Covid-19 in a wiser, more scientific and disciplined and educated manner saved hundreds of thousands of their citizens, which is their sworn duty.

In the nations with the highest death rates, it seems they have restricted the showing of videos of mass burials, lines of waiting coffins, full crematoriums, overcrowded hospitals, dying people and sick doctors and nurses. It is too shocking. Is it for some an effort to deny and cover up the real extent of their incompetence, criminal behaviour and lack of moral conscience all for the sake of retaining political power? Covid-19 is spreading and causing more sickness and death because of some selfish, pleasure-seeking and irresponsible people who flout precautions and care for no one other than themselves. In their ignorance, they demonstrate against the safety precautions no less.

It is our fervent hope and belief that the majority of humans are good, law-abiding people that care for others, protect them from Covid-19 and care for the public health and environment. They choose the good over evil. They act in a responsible way of saving their own lives, their families and neighbours. The people who do believe and choose to do the good and practice the values of love of the stranger, of neighbour and work for justice, have a responsibility to share those values so that equality, peace and harmony can be a reality in society. We should actively persuade and convince others to do likewise. Inactivity in the face of wrong is to allow it to grow and prosper.

It may seem like mission impossible to persuade the virus deniers and the climate sceptics of the truth of a pandemic and global warming. We have to challenge and call out the oppressors, corrupt leaders and politicians to do justice, respect the rights of all, to care and protect the public health and to serve humbly. To convince these people who live in darkness that it is a better life to be in the light and to bring happiness to people, not terror, oppression, pain, suffering, rights violations and death. It is a mission to persuade ordinary people to always choose the good over evil. It is a challenge for all to teach by a good example, taking action for justice and accepting and living the truth that justice and goodness is the path to happiness for all. It is a great shining ideal, but will it ever come to be?

This is the goal we must work for. There is so much evil in the world that allows the virus to spread uncontrolled in many countries, mostly among the poor. We see much irresponsible selfish behaviour by some national leaders, bankers, industrialists, military, police and criminals. We know that abuse and evil persist because they with the power choose the evil and reject the good as they exercise their free will corruptly. The evil comes from making the wrong choice to crush and hurt others to retain political and economic power and to plunder the nation. For them, the health and well-being of others is just a matter of lip-service, words without meaning, action without purpose, hypocrisy and skulduggery for selfish personal gain. The great hope is that a society, a nation, will evolve with the beautiful values, principles, and compassion that motivate overwhelming good that is the paramount driving force that brings happiness to all.

http://www.preda.org

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[People] Just Judges Implement the Law for Abused Children -by Fr. Shay Cullen

Just Judges Implement the Law for Abused Children
Fr. Shay Cullen

Justice has been done and seen to be done by Judge Maria Angelica T. Paras-Quiambao of the Regional Trial Court Branch 59 in Angeles City, Pampanga lasts 11 June 2020. In an 81-page decision, she found Christina Limpin Mendoza, 22, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of five counts of human trafficking for sexual exploitation by foreign pedophiles of two small children nine and 11 over a three year period.
The trafficker was sentenced to several life terms of imprisonment. This is a powerful message that child abusers and human traffickers will bear the full weight of the law. The Preda Foundation was supporting the children all the way in this significant case.

In another case, Judge Gemma Theresa B. Hilario-Logronio of the Regional Trial Court Branch12-FC in Olongapo City found Johnny Torres Medina guilty in a landmark decision dated 14 May 2020. He was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of child sexual abuse of two 11-year old children. The sentence strictly followed the law and sentenced him to many years in jail. The decision has been praised by many and has given much-needed justice to the child victims and encouragement to the child protectors and advocates.

Judge Maria Cristina J. Mendoza-Pizzaro has also given justice to many child victims of rape and abuse. While there is a massive failure of law enforcement to protect children from traffickers and abuse, the courts are ruling strongly in favor of child victims and survivors. Last 10 June 2020 the sixth division of the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of upholding the conviction of a child rapist who was convicted on 15 November 2018 of qualified rape of a seven-year-old child. The original judgment and conviction was made by Judge Maria Cristina J.Mendoza-Pizzaro who has a long significant history of a no-nonsense application of the law with many just convictions of child sexual rapists and traffickers. They will never abuse or rape children again.

The Preda home for children protected the child victims for years and supported the legal action to the conclusion. In 2019, the Preda child protection foundation helped children win twenty convictions including cases against foreigners. In 2018, the Preda children won 18 convictions against their abusers and rapists and traffickers and many every year previously. This is a strong meaningful intervention in the fight for justice for children.

Preda Foundation has successfully assisted international police agencies with their enquires. In 2019, the convicted notorious pedophile, Douglas Slade, was jailed for 24 years in Bristol, the UK with the help of the Preda Foundation. The civil case brought against him in the London High Court by Preda for compensation for his five Filipino victims was successful. Huge awards were won but the lawyer was only able to collect from Slade a small amount.

Convictions send a strong message to pedophiles that they could spend most of their lives in the harsh, unforgiving conditions of jails where they will be unable to rape or abuse more children.

The most vulnerable is society are the children and teenagers that are at great risk of sexual abuse in their own home and in the street and trafficked into brothels or sold as sex slaves to pedophiles.

Angelica, an eight-year-old child (not her real name) was admitted to the Preda home for girls recently. She was sexually tied up by her biological father and sexually assaulted and beaten repeatedly on the head leaving cuts and bruises. The father had abducted her from her mother and he hid away in a remote place where he repeatedly sexually abused her. Her brother Peter, 11, (not his real name) saw the abuse. He too was tied, assaulted, and beaten by the father and is traumatized.

Angelica and Peter got free and ran away and were found by authorities who brought them to the Preda homes for abused traumatized children- the only place that can provide adequate therapy, healing, and legal assistance to them. Angelica is severely traumatized and is receiving affirmation, care, therapy, and counseling. She is just one of the thousands of children sexually assaulted and abused.

In Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, a 15-year old girl, and her18-year old cousin were going home late after a party and were picked up by two police who sexually assaulted them. The 15-year-old escaped and went to the police in another town to report the crime and file a complaint and asked for protection that was denied. While on her way home, a death squad appeared. Two men riding on a motorcycle shot her repeatedly. She was raped and then murdered for filing a complaint against the police. It is outrageous and is the new low level where the value of life had sunk into oblivion in our society.

The world has become a permissive society that turns a blind eye to the extensive abuse in the home and in brothels and through on-line child sexual abuse. The Internet Server Providers (ISPs) violate the law by not installing AI-operated blocking software to filter out child pornography and online abuse and identify the child abusers. Their violation of the law RA 9775 brands them as enablers of child abuse online and child pornography. Let their board members answer to the law and history for that.

Many children are exploited in the sex industry that thrives in sex bars operating with mayor’s permits and police protection. The local government’s approval and support of the sex industry are destroying Filipino family values. It attracts local men and foreigners and destroys families, causes broken homes, abandoned children, and victims of child abuse. It is a corrupting influence and thrives, with sex bars reopening despite the dangers of HIV-AIDS and Coronavirus spreading into the community from the personal person-to-person contact in sexual encounters.

There is a great culture of silence that is condoning the sexual violence and abuse of children. Even the churches and denominations are, with a few exceptions, silent and complicit.

There has to be wide community repentance and conversion of the silent, inactive, do-nothing, say-nothing, think-nothing, feel-nothing clergy and civic leaders that live for their personal ambition and comfort blissfully living fake lives for pleasure in total contradiction of the compassion, justice and truth taught by Jesus of Nazareth and his gospel values.

http://www.preda.org

 

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[People] History is Made as Social Issues Challenge Politics -by Fr. Shay Cullen

History is Made as Social Issues Challenge Politics
Fr.Shay Cullen

Something has happened that is really changing the world besides the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is changing our lifestyles, our economy, and medical practices. But a greater social movement is underway as seen in numerous demonstrations by many thousands of protesters around the world. It is a protest against the dominating force of the small elite of ruling oligarchies that dominate a country’s economy and political system that oppresses and kills its citizens with impunity.

It is not the politicians who are now setting the agenda but the masses of protesting people as in the United States who have a democratic space to do so. Although the rulers try to squash, limit, and eradicate people power by force and erase that democratic right and space in some places, it breaks out anew elsewhere. In Hong Kong, we witness the freedom to protest eradicated as the Chinese draconian National Security Law, rushed through by the Communist Party, is implemented as an anti-terrorism law to crush free speech and give life-sentences to protestors.

This is the end of Hong Kong as it has been since British rule when there were greater freedom and democratic space until now. The One Country, Two Systems arrangement has been shattered. Taiwan is taking note for sure. Despite lifting almost a billon Chinese people from dire poverty through a capitalist-communism system and becoming almost the number one world economic power in only fifty years, the Chinese historical opportunity to be a truly great nation in world history is long gone, too. China’s amazing economic achievement is a tainted and diminished reality in world history by violations of human and political rights and island grabbing in the South China Sea. The Communist Party has, instead of winning glory, earned the ire of nations and less respect and prestige. Today while one social movement in Hong Kong is squashed, other social movements in the United States and other countries are gathering pace and becoming changers of history.

The “Black Lives Matter” movement is challenging police brutality and indiscriminate killing of African- Americans. They are demanding the equality and respect that is owed and rightfully belongs to all people and especially to people of color. Even there, the ruling elite of the right led by Donald Trump is trying to squash the democratic space for many years. In Washington, Trump used tear gas, flash bombs, and police force to disperse peaceful demonstrators in front of the White House, clearing a way for him to walk to a church and hold up a Bible for a photo opportunity. In Ferguson, Mississippi on 13 August 2014, police shot dead Michael Brown and there was an uprising by African-Americans. Their demonstration released a flood of anger and repressed feelings at the police oppression and deprivation of social justice. The police, predominantly white, were militarized and national guards with armored cars turned their machine guns on the people in a show of intimidation and force. The blatant public killing of unarmed African-American man George Floyd, 46, in Minneapolis, Minnesota last 25 May 2020 showed that racist oppression and repressed anger were still there. Three police officers came to arrest George Floyd for allegedly passing a counterfeit 20-dollar bill. One of the police, Derek Chauvin, cruelly pressed his knee into the neck of George Floyd while he cried, “I can’t breathe” for almost nine minutes. The murder was captured on cell phone video and the victim died soon after. The video went viral and ignited again a repeat of the Ferguson uprising but this time it spread to almost 100 cities across the United States denouncing institutionalized racism and police brutality. The “Black Lives Matter” protest is still ongoing and has spread around the world as oppressed and exploited indigenous people and people of color join the global protest and demand social justice and human rights.

President Donald Trump has been heavily criticized for twitting a video in support of a white supremacist shouting “White power!” from a golf cart. The movement, consisting of black and white protesters, can be summed up as a mass protest against that one phase, “white power.” It is now international, native Americans, African- Americans, indigenous people and people of color in Canada, Brazil, France, the UK, and many other countries are marching.

There is an outrage and a mighty force of people power rising up to challenge the status quo and the oppressive dominant attitudes of the white supremacist and the hatred and racism expressed on social media such as Facebook. Facebook is now challenged by the business community that is withholding advertising from Facebook until it changes its support for hate speech. It is doing so.

What we have to understand is that racism is not just a few white supremacist people lording it over the African-American or brown or Asian people and considering them as inferior. It is a “political and social power” issue. South Africa was ruled by white supremacist leaders for a century until Nelson Mandela came to lead a national protest. The US Congress and Senate are a majority of white politicians.

The American white supremacist ruling elites were shocked and deeply angered by the election of Barack Obama, the first African-American to be president of the United States. Then, in retaliation it seemed, they got Trump elected. Trump, a white supremacist, and racist himself did everything to destroy the Obama legacy and achievements and criminalize the protesters today.

The Movement began more than 300 years ago when Africans were enslaved and shipped to the Americas. At its very worse, racism is the mentality of powerful people in a nation that consider the poor, those of different skin color and the indigenous peoples to be almost sub-human and that killing them is a public service as some police and military around the world do like in the United States, France, Syria, Brazil and elsewhere. The police killers in the United States and military who kill with impunity have no empathy, compassion, and respect for others. They have animal-like “killer instinct.” They act on emotion, not reason. So it is they that are less fully human than their victims.

Removing statues that glorify the racists and slavers, banning the confederate flag, changing the name on racist skin bleaching creams, boycotting Facebook, bringing in new laws on policing are just symbols of change. While social justice, equality, and respect for all people has to be an immediate goal, long term change to eradicate racism has to be in the hearts and minds of the people. It starts in the classroom, where education is the key, and a next-generation needs to know, practice, and live by the values of community equality and mutual respect, true social and civil justice, and love of neighbor.

http://www.preda.org
shaycullen@gmail.com

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[People] US and China Spar over the Philippines -by Fr. Shay Cullen

US and China Spar over the Philippines
Fr. Shay Cullen
27 June 2019

The fishermen of Masinloc and Sta. Cruz, Zambales had fished the Scarborough Shoal for generations. In the past several years, the Filipino fishing boats have been harassed and prevented from fishing near the fish-rich shoal by the incursion of Chinese fishing and militia boats.

In June 2019, a Chinese militia ship sank a Filipino boat in the West Philippine Sea in an act of aggression that left the Philippines looking weak and powerless. The Chinese Navy has boldly sailed its aircraft carrier and escort ships through the Philippine Sibutu Passage without prior permission, violating Philippine sovereignty. China is claiming exclusively almost all of the territory of the South China Sea that includes the West Philippine Sea within a nine-point -dash line that it has drawn around the edge of the South China Sea.

The Scarborough shoal, the Spratlys and Pag-asa groups of islands and other islands are well within the Philippines 12-nautical mile territorial sea and the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. In the face of Chinese claims, this right has been upheld by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. In a historic decision, the court declared “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line.” “Having found that none of the features claimed by China was capable of generating an exclusive economic zone, the Tribunal found that it could — without delimiting a boundary — declare that certain sea areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China,”

China does not recognize the international arbitration decision and did not attend the hearings. Instead, it continued to build up its military power in several Islands claimed by the Philippines, installing long-range surface to air missiles and building structures and aircraft runways. In a belated response, the Philippines has begun in 2020 to build up infrastructure in Pagasa Island, one of its biggest inhabited islands in the Spratly Islands.

Despite Chinese objections, after two years of delay, it has built a landing ramp and a wharf for small ships to dock and land equipment to pave the existing 1.2-kilometer dirt runway. Pagasa Island is just twenty-six kilometers northeast of the Subi Reef which is now a large Chinese military installation(one of several) on a man-made island and armed to the teeth but is within Philippines territorial waters.

The Chinese send their warships through the Philippines ‘ territorial waters as if they own them. In 2018, 35 Chinese naval ships traversed Philippine territorial waters without prior permission which is a violation of Philippine sovereignty. The Philippine defense department said that in 2018 as many as 434 Chinese ships traversed Philippines waters without prior notice and in 2019 the number was 389 ships. For sure, the source of this information is from the US Navy which keeps a close watch on all ship movements in the region.

The US has sent its warships passed the islands claimed by the Chinese to establish that they are in international waters and they have the “Freedom of Navigation.” They are challenging the naval might of the Chinese navy that cannot thwart them without starting World War III.

The Chinese taunting of the Philippines and probing of the US response is a very serious problem for the Philippines. They are caught in the middle of a global power struggle. The Chinese claim the area by “power of possession.” It is adverse and illegal possession by international law, which they ignore. The Philippines is powerless to stop them and the US will not intervene. It is as if China is annexing Philippine territory. The Chinese will benefit by drilling for oil and mining minerals in the ocean’s depths and the Philippines will lose their rightful natural resources. So it is not just the hundreds of tons of fish that the Chinese are taking every day from Philippine waters but soon they will be exploiting the rest of the Philippine natural resources. In 2016, the Philippine government put aside these concerns and entered into a new relationship of friendship with China and took out huge loans from the Chinese government, creating a debt-bondage relationship.

The only check on the powerful Chinese Navy is the United States. It was the ruler of the waves in the Asian region for decades and is still a force to be reckoned with. The United States lost access to its huge military bases in the Philippines in 1992. This was due to the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption, diplomatic blunders, and a strong social and human rights campaign by NGOs. Started and led by Preda Foundation, they campaigned successfully to convert the bases to Filipino civilian use because of the sexual exploitation of women and children in the huge military-driven sex industry.

On May 27, 1999, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) came into force. This allows the US access to Philippine airfields and navy ships to dock in Philippine ports. There are three presently at Subic Bay. However, on 11 February 2020, the Philippine government suddenly announced the termination of the VFA causing consternation in Washington because of the denial of a US visa to a political ally of President Rodrigo Duterte. The termination was due to take effect on 11 August 2020. The Chinese were delighted, always seeking ways to lure allies away from the US and weaken the US military presence in the Asian-Pacific region. However, Filipinos with millions of relatives in the United States and thousands planning to join them much prefer the pact with the US than a deal with the Chinese Liberation Army.

So on 3 June 2020, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin announced that the Philippine government would extend the VFA at least until the end of the year. This may be to counter the dominating Chinese presence or a negotiating tactic to wring more concessions from the United States. Only time will tell.

http://www.preda.org

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[People] When the Light Shines Again -by Fr. Shay Cullen

When the Light Shines Again
Fr. Shay Cullen
19 June 2020

It was a happy day for Joshua. He graduated from the Preda vocational training program and proudly held a student’s driver’s license and his graduation certificate while the camera clicked to record the moment and everyone there applauded. It was his day when the light shone for him.

He had completed and passed his driving test at the Preda Home for Boys and completed a course in shielded metal arc welding. He can apply for a job as a basic welder or driver when he gets his license. He was only seven months in the Preda program and his life had dramatically changed at that time.

Joshua was once a child prisoner, locked in a small bare prison cell with graffiti on the walls, a hole in the floor for a toilet, and what a dark dangerous smelly place it was. The dark dungeons of Dicken’s novels were the only comparison.

He became a fighter, a rebellious child prisoner. He opposed all authority, even the cell boss-man couldn’t control him so they beat and kicked him. The world for Joshua was a mean and dangerous place where his survival was threatened every day. They fought over the small food allowance of rice and expired cans of fish. He fought off the bigger youths that tried to rape him. He kicked and gouged and defended himself.

The day came when he was saved from this hell-hole of misery. He was released from the unjust and unnecessary detention. His only so-called crime was he was homeless and broke curfew. His father died when he was ten years old and his stepfather beat him and cursed him. He ran away and took to the streets; there was no home, no acceptance just rejection. The local officials locked him in the youth detention center where the Preda social workers found him bruised, angry, and rebellious.

With the release order signed by the judge, he came to the Preda home for boys in the countryside without fences, no cells just freedom and friendship. It was not an easy transition. His old survivalist ways dominated. He bullied others and fought for dominance as he believed that was what he was supposed to do in this world. He had learned on the streets and the jail cells that no one cares, no one helps, no one loves him.

That changed day by day as he realized that he was cared for, that he was respected, no one bullied him, he joined values formation sessions, education classes and slowly he realized he had landed in a family that cared.

He was respected for the first time in his life and was free to choose to stay and to change and learn. He had emotional release therapy and screamed out his buried pain and hatred for the abuse he suffered. He joined the sports, outings, games, and picnics. Soon, he was taking vocational training. He was transforming. He tamed himself.

He is now a happy, intelligent mature youth together with twenty classmates who are also growing and changing at the Preda home. Most of them are also taking the vocational training course as part of their diversion program under the Philippine Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (JJWA) or Republic Act 9344 that promotes restorative justice rather than harsh punishment. His graduation day and chance to be reintegrated into his sister’s family were when the light shone for him. It was a new day, a bright shining moment when he knew that he was truly accepted respected as a person of value and had true friends and would be helped to succeed in life.

Benjie, only 16, has completed many hours of electrical repair training and driving which will be a good chance for him to get a job when he leaves the Preda home and becomes of legal age. He has completed his Alternative Learning System (ALS) education which is a substitute for the years he missed for high school after he was arrested for making and possessing illegal drugs. He discovered his true self, has human value and dignity at Preda home for boys. Thousands have been helped since 1974 to find recovery, peace, and success in life. The light has shone for many like Benjie. His life story is a sad one as he tells it.

“My parents are separated; I was left with my grandmother in the slums when I was 10. Lola (grandmother) became old and sickly because we had no money and I begged for food. When I was 14 years old I tried to support her by selling vegetables from the open market but it was wasn’t enough for survival. We ate the rotten ones and bought pag-pag (uneaten leftovers from restaurants). Then a drug dealer recruited me, offered me cash and food, and then drugs. I got hooked myself and I owed him money and worked for him. I was controlled by this gangster drug dealer, there was no way out. He threatened me and would kill Lola if I ran away and refused to deliver his dirty drugs. I was set for a life as a criminal and would likely be dead because of the war against drugs. If I was not saved by Preda and that lawyer from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), I would have been killed for sure.”

When Preda social workers intervened and the judge agreed to send Benjie to Preda, that was when the light shone for him. He graduated and has a bright future ahead of him. He can make his way in life and will succeed and his children will learn the values of respect and love and dignity.

As many as 1,230 children are confined today in youth detention centers as far as we know. There could be more that we don’t know. They are deprived of liberty and behind bars or in cages around the Philippines. The Preda Foundation has campaigned for the release of the children and as of today the number released is 323 children so far. There is hope and we must continue to advocate for the release of the unjustly jailed children.

shaycullen@gmail.com
http://www.preda.org

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[People] Are PLDT and Globe Enabling the Transmission of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children? -Fr. Shay Cullen

Are PLDT and Globe Enabling the Transmission of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children?
Fr. Shay Cullen
11 June 2020

The Internet Server Providers (ISP’s) such as PLDT and Globe in the Philippines and thousands around the world must be challenged and held accountable for allegedly failing to block effectively, with the latest AI-enabled software, the transmission of child pornography and the heinous crime of online sexual exploitation of children live-streamed to paying pedophiles around the world. Child abuse and pornography is an international crime and needs a local and international response. Globe is planning to expand into Europe, but we will campaign against it if there is no change.

The Philippines has been named as the world hot spot for child pornography and online sexual exploitation of children. Only a few weeks ago 13 children more were rescued from cyber-crime dens in Biliran. Home for under investigation clerical sexual abuse, where a US priest, Kenneth Pius Hendricks and others sexually abused children for decades.

The ISP’s must be held accountable for failing to obey and fully respect the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 otherwise known as the Republic Act 9775 by installing up-to-date effective blocking software in their servers. This is the only effective answer to the rampant widespread child pornography “pandemic” sweeping the Philippines and the world.

Globe informed me that after eleven years of failing to comply with the law they installed in 2017 DNS software to block websites that they know or contain child porn and said they depend on the Department of Justice to inform them of such websites. This is most likely a category based and very simple and cheap software. It is most likely to be very ineffective since there are daily streams of child porn passing through Globe servers and those of PLDT. The illegal and horrific images of little children being sexually abused live on the internet is capable of reaching the computers, tablets, and smartphones of Filipinos and pedophiles abroad as detected by law international enforcement.

As Globe tells me there is a new child porn website to quickly replace the old. That’s because they have outdated ineffective cheap DNS software. What they should have, and they know it is Real-time; Artificial Intelligence (AI) based software. This continues to crawl the worldwide internet for signals and sites promoting child porn and live streaming. It detects instantly and continues to update in real-time by machine learning using Artificial Intelligence (AI). No human employees needed, it is strong, and lives forever once installed as a High-Tech expert from Zyalin Software Company informed me since they design such effective software.

Pldt/Smart responds and informs me that to meet their requirements under the RA 9775, 2009 law where they are required to install software to block child pornography but have not done so for eleven years, said they are proposing a solution to Government to act, not them. “We have been suggesting that the government consider the use of a technology solution developed by Microsoft for this purpose”. Also, they said in a letter to me: “For example, at this point, it is not possible for ISPs to selectively block bad content being live-streamed via global internet platforms. If Philippine ISPs attempt to do this, the entire global internet platform will be blocked”. This is totally wrong as companies with powerful AI blocking software can do it.

PLDT/Smart and Globe can stop the horrible sex crimes against children and prevent them from happening. They must obey the law and install the latest effective blocking filters. However, why do they not have the latest most effective child porn blocking software? Because it will slow down their Network, that’s why. Because customers will have to wait a few seconds longer to connect and might switch to a rival ISP. Really it is about greed and money not about children being raped and abused over the ISPs servers. Perhaps, they have some sweetheart deal with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to ignore the law and pay a small fine for not complying.

If President Rodrigo Duterte is the strong-minded, iron-fisted champion of law and order and child protection, to save the nation he will act bravely and decisively order the ISP’s like PLDT/Smart and Globe to obey RA 9775 the Anti-Child Pornography Law of 2009. I believe that he is already planning to do this.

Republic Act 9557, under Section 9, says: “The duties of Internet Server Providers (ISP) to monitor the content passing through their servers notify the police of illegal content and provide the authorities the particulars of users who gained or attempted to gain access to an Internet address which contains any form of child pornography. All ISP’s shall install available technology, program, or software to ensure access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered.”

The Cyber-crime Prevention Act of 2012 otherwise known as the Republic Act 10175 also bans cybersex and child pornography, among other things. President Rodrigo Duterte can increase his huge popularity, now at 72 percent, if he will recommend a swift amendment to the law that will increase the penalty to the ISP’s for non-compliance to ten million pesos a day until they fully comply with the law and install the most effective efficient child porn AI-based blocking software. The fines paid can be for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to help child victims. The law can back-fine the ISP’s for violating the law for 11 years, at a million a day.

As you read this, thousands of young Filipinos are exposed to viewing, damaging, disturbing, and psychologically hurtful content passed through the ISP servers on the Internet. These are illegal graphic images on home-made videos of young children- girls and boys- being sexually raped and abused. Your child could be viewing these terrible videos and pictures without your knowledge. You can be sure they won’t tell you and you will never know but might notice disturbing changes in their personality and character.

You might think it is due to drugs but now think- child pornography. Their teenage peers download them and share them through the Internet-enabled by the ISP’s. Some teenagers also make child pornography videos of their own sexual abuse of young girls and boys and share them with classmates or gang-mates or upload them on YouTube. They extort sexual favors and money from underage victims by threatening to post the videos. A young uncle of two small children abused them and uploaded the child sexual abuse on Youtube possibly through Globe or PLDT or their subsidiary. He is now charged with child abuse and cybersex abuse of children. Hundreds of children are sexually abused daily and The ISP’s go free, for now.

This online sexual exploitation of children through the ISPs must change. Globe and PLDT/Smart must obey the RA 9775 law. Every day, more children are sexually abused and damaged and it could be your child. It is time to act and hold the ISPs accountable for eleven years of disobeying the law and allowing thousands of acts of abuse over their servers.

shaycullen@gmail.com

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[People] The Racism that Surrounds Us -by Fr. Shay Cullen

The Racism that Surrounds Us
Fr. Shay Cullen
4 June 2020

The world is seeing once again the upsurge of a vicious “virus” that has spread to every corner of the world. This time, the “virus” is that of social, cultural, economic, political, institutional, legal, and religious discrimination against people of different skin color, social status, and historical origins. Racism is everywhere and people around the world are on the streets once again protesting against this insidious discrimination following the latest documented murder of George Floyd by four United States police and systematic police brutality.

His cruel death is one of many in recent years where police and killers have seldom been held accountable. Three of the officers involved in the murder of George Floyd are walking free. A culture of invincibility and impunity pervades some police forces that are predominantly composed of white officers. This is common in many countries where the police and military are above the law and abuse authority and kill citizens as they please. It makes a sham of democracy and the judiciary.

People of color in Europe are also discriminated against by racist people who wrongly believe that these “other” humans are inferior to them and who declare themselves to be superior human beings, in a more exalted, dominating status with a desire to trample on others. These racist attitudes that wrongly brand others as having criminal minds have led to the greatest crime against humanity- genocide. The Holocaust, the Rwandan massacres, the Armenian genocide, and many more in history happened because of racists attitudes with other causes.

Migrants and refugees seeking shelter from the Syrian massacres and other social evils meet a wall of racial indifference fueled by systematic racism in some European countries and the present administration of the United States. What the white-skinned racist person or government officials and racist police lack most of all is empathy, compassion, and respect for other human beings. The racists are supremely arrogant, dominating, oppressive, and selfish. They are greatly diminished as persons and have excluded themselves from the community of the good and caring people of the world who love their neighbors.

The roots of racism run deep in history but in modern times ideologies like Nazism and forms of nationalism gave rise to it in Europe and growing racist attitudes are present in European countries today and the United States. Under President Trump, “Make America Great Again” means “Make America White Again.” Racism is not only about skin colour but it is also about power, control, exclusion, and domination. However, the slogan “White is Might and Right” and promoting white people like celebrities and movie stars reinforces racism. The higher social status demanded by some white people can create self-loathing, lack of self-esteem, and an inferiority complex among people of color. Some are persuaded to buy skin bleaching and whitening creams to try and lighten the color of their skin for greater acceptability. The racists have successfully planted their insidious racist ideology and unthinking people have fallen for it. Commercial corporations manufacture racist creams and profit greatly without shame.

More than 13 million Africans- men, women, and children- were captured, enslaved, and transported, chained in horrendous ships, it went on for 400 years in atrocious conditions. An estimated 1.2 million died at sea. Many were thrown overboard in a storm. The movie Amistad released in 1997 tells it well. They were auctioned as slave labor for the cotton and sugar cane fields, coffee and tobacco plantations, gold and silver mining, and then for the industries of the new capitalist America in the making. Besides the Spanish and Portuguese, the British, French, Dutch, Belgian and Danish empire builders all participated in the slave trade.

Racism and outright hatred and human rights violations were part of everyday life for the slaves. Today after 400 years of oppression and suffering and no restitution, naturally, a just anger, hunger for justice, and equality is in their genes. African-Americans are still considered by many Americans as repulsive and racially inferior. In the past, many were murdered and lynched by mobs on false charges. Recently, a woman called police in Central Park to falsely accuse a black passerby of assaulting her because he asked her to put her dog on a leash. She went berserk. He videotaped it. It went viral and she was fired from her job for her lies and a racist attitude. Had police come, he could have been killed, too, like George Floyd. The civil rights movement in the 1960s brought in new anti-discrimination laws but they did not change ingrained racist attitudes against black people. They continued to be discriminated against and many were killed by police.

The ruling elite billionaire capitalists of America are unaware that American wealth and prosperity began with the sweat and blood of the black slaves from Africa. Their racist beliefs in white superiority cannot fully accept that the US Constitution grants all citizens equal rights. No matter how gifted and educated, many of these citizens are excluded from a life of dignity. The election and re-election of Barack Obama as president of the United States angered many racists. Their greatest nightmare was having a highly educated African-American and his intelligent lawyer wife, a descendent of slaves, occupy the White House for eight years.

The White Supremacists believe that his (or her) white skin colour confers on him (or her) superiority over the African-Americans or persons of color. The racists are convinced that the descendants of the black slaves must be continually branded inferior and to be denied an equal respectful place in society. Perhaps racist Americans suffer historical guilt for their cruel legacy of slavery. Every harsh, unjust police act of discrimination, violence, or killing that spreads on social media is remembered by the black community and builds to a boiling point. This is the root of the anger seen today: injustice, lack of respect, dignity, and equality. It is seen and heard in the shouts for justice from the thousands of black and non-racist white protesters on the streets in 57 cities across the USA.

The violence and chaos caused by the extreme left and right factions are criminal and to be abhorred but it is the price that America pays for its historical racism, slavery, and sins of oppression. When there is true repentance, penance, and restitution- true equality and justice for all- across racist America, only then will there be reconciliation and peace.

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[People] Child Abuse over the Internet -by Fr. Shay Cullen

Child Abuse over the Internet
Fr. Shay Cullen
28 May 2020

They are the two latest arrivals at the Preda Foundation’s beautiful home for exploited children set in the countryside surrounded by wooded hills beside a small stream. The children are Pedro, 12, and Angelica, 7, victims of online sexual abuse perpetrated by the uncle with the knowledge of their parents. They are now rescued and are happily playing with toys and recovering from the abuse.

They were rescued from an abusive uncle who sexually abused them. He made a video whereby he put his cell phone into his briefs and blindfolded the children and told them to look for it. He videotaped the sexual abuse that followed and uploaded it on YouTube. He was detected and the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) of Region 4A tracked him down and arrested him.

A week previously, three more child victims of cyber sexual abuse were rescued also through the intervention of the International Justice Mission (IJM) together with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the PNP-WCPC. The children were brought by government social workers to the Preda home. The government has no more capacity for the victims and has no commitment to financially support them at the Preda home. They had been sexually abused by their own step-mother in online exposure to Australian pedophiles over the Philippine internet service providers either PLDT/Smart or Globe when arrested. These companies are violating Philippine law by not blocking child pornography and allowing live streaming of child sexual abuse. Soon, there may be international sanctions against them if they don’t obey the Philippine and international laws to protect children online.

The Philippines is a global hot spot of child sexual abuse online. It is growing more severe with the Coronavirus lock-down and restricted international travel. Many more foreign pedophiles are seeking sexual gratification by having children abused live online while they watch. Parents and relatives are the perpetrators and the ISPs that enable it.

The frequency and number of reported incidents of online sexual child abuse have exploded. The US-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which operates the Cyber Tipline Report (CTR), has a hotline for cases of online exploitation of children and has recorded 279,166 reports from March 1 to May 24, 2020, according to the Philippine Department of Justice. The number is greater by 264.63 percent or by 202,605 incidents in comparison to the figures recorded at this time last 2019. Then there were 76,561 reports of on-line sexual abuse of small children. This a shocking and disgusting figure of this heinous crime. The NCMEC is a US private non-government agency funded by the US government.

Another study led by the International Justice Mission (IJM) shows that Philippine internet-based child sexual abuse had tripled in the past three years. The study showed that the number of Philippine IP accounts that were used for child sexual exploitation online increased from about 23,333 in 2014 to the whopping total of 81,723 by 2017. So over a three year period, the increase in the number of Internet IP addresses used that shared images and acts of sexual abuse of children increased from 43 per 10,000 IP addresses to 149 per 10,000 IP addresses- a massive and shocking increase in the child sexual abuse of Filipino children.

This evil inclination of the pedophiles and their enablers that are damaging thousands of children shows a serious failure of irresponsible government officials to implement existing laws to protect the nation’s children. The enablers that make it possible are the internet server providers such as PLDT/Smart and Globe Telecommunications. Soon, a new player DITO Telecommunity will be a provider of access to the internet.

The ever vigilant and straight-talking man of action, President Rodrigo Duterte, intolerant of child sexual abuse, must use all his presidential power to protect the children and get the National Telecommunication Commission, headed by Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba and Deputy Commissioner Delilah F. Delesto to explain why the Electronic and Internet Service Providers such as PLDT/Smart and Globe have not installed detection software to block the uploading and downloading of child pornography and online live-streaming of the sexual abuse of children as provided by law.

The NTC was so quick to issue a “Cease and Desist Order” against ABS-CBN for no fault other than the non-renewal of its franchise but how much more important is the protection of little children, some three-year-olds from online sexual abuse about which the NTC appears to do nothing, favoring PLDT and Globe? These powerful Internet Servers PLDT headed by Manuel V. Pangilinan and Globe headed by Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala must answer for the child abuse that is happening over their internet servers. Have they “captured” the regulators at the NTC and have an arrangement NOT to implement the clear provisions of the law? Would they lose the revenue of more than 82,000 or even 100,000 paying customers perhaps?

Republic Act 9557, under Section 9, says: “The duties of Internet Server Providers (ISP) to monitor the content passing through their servers notify the police of illegal content and provide the authorities the particulars of users who gained or attempted to gain access to an Internet address which contains any form of child pornography. All ISPs shall install available technology, program, or software to ensure access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered.” (See the complete law at http://www.preda.org). The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, Republic Act No. 10175 bans cybersex and child pornography, among other things.

What appears to be a collusion between government agencies and the telecommunications companies enables 24/7 access to horrific images of children being tortured, raped, and abused. The pernicious and evil abuse of online streaming of children being sexually abused must be stopped by the NTC and the ISPs. Can President Duterte be the one man that can do it? Who are the worst criminals? They who do it? They who order and pay for it? Or those in the NTC and ISPs who enable it to happen? All three must be held to account and face the sanctions of the just laws.

http://www.preda.org

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[People] Without a Mother’s Love -Fr. Shay Cullen

Without a Mother’s Love
Fr. Shay Cullen
15 May 2020

In many places, people are enjoying the freedom of release from lock-down and so they should in safety and with great care so that they do not infect anyone else if they are asymptomatic. Our lives are changed and our lifestyle has to adapt, adjust, and all in the name of staying healthy and virus-free and they need to survive. With the number of infections going down in some places and going up in others, we can never be too careful as we all want to survive.

On Mother’s Day, we celebrated the love of our good loving mothers. But some children forget the love their mother had for them and I share with you a poem below. The audio of it can be found on http://www.preda.org by this link https://www.preda.org/2020/the-prayer-of-the-prodigal/

The Prayer of the Prodigal
She bore me in her womb, a mother as good as gold
She nurtured me with mother’s milk as I grew so big and strong
And then the years were passing and she was growing weak and old,
I forgot her love and care and I know I was truly wrong

I lost my way and traveled far and still I see her hair
Once a shiny brown that had slowly turned to gray,
I saw her wrinkled features and there was nothing I could say
But to mourn her sudden passing and wish I had been there.

Mother, listen to me cry, my voice is in this song
The corona came and took you and we knew it was so wrong
They didn’t have the things you need, and you were lost to me and all.
The medics tried to save you and risked their very lives
The corona got them too and still the virus spreads and thrives.

I felt so helpless and so alone and wished there was more I could have done,
but all I had was pain and there was nowhere I could run.
Now I see the value of living, good and true,
I promise now to change my ways and take your good advice
Lord, hear me too and forgive me not only once but thrice.

The days have passed me by and peace I now have found.
I kneel and pray and kiss your grave and bless the Holy ground.
Together we will overcome the suffering and the fear
May life return to normal and may your presence be close and near.

Such is the great value of life and yet through neglect and wanton incompetence so many good beautiful people have died because of Coronavirus. They could indeed have been saved but government officials were to slow to respond and react to order immediate lock-downs and provide testing kits and protective gear for the medics. Their first duty is to protect the people. Hundreds of doctors and nurses have given their lives to help and protect the sick and heal them but fell victims of the deadly virus.

Many families have lost their loving parents and to be young and alone without parents is a traumatic experience. The thousands or so children locked inside the Philippines’ children’s jails and youth detention centers, called Bahay Pagasa (House of Hope) have no hope for freedom or a better life. They are arrested and jailed without evidence, trial or hearing for no crime but for breaking curfew or taking food because they were hungry. They suffer imprisonment and physical and sexual abuse in filthy disease-ridden cells behind bars. Now the threat of Coronavirus is waiting on the doorstep and there will be no escape from it. These are the children that we are campaigning for to be released to the parents if they have any alive or to the NGOs that care for such abandoned children.

Added to this long-term, hopeless lock-down is the misery of not seeing their parents. Without a mother’s love children are distraught, lonely, and damaged for life. These children long for their mother’s care, support and embrace. Some are as young as 10 to 15 and are victims of abuse inside the jail cells.

Recently, we were able to coordinate with Fresh Start Media in the UK in the making of a FYI report for Skynews children’s channel on the situation of the Filipino children in jails. The impact of the report is that it is presented by children for children. The TV report will surely awaken and release all the more the goodness and compassion that we believe lies buried in the hearts of the Philippine politicians responsible for the children. They will see the truth and reality for the first time when they view this story. We can all help to bring this truth to their attention by sending the link to the Mayors of Metro Manila: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_96Du7MWaE

And you can send this video message to the Mayors also https://drive.google.com/open?id=1vjHr1lrOAUpxPDUi1GYzVoKT0I3KUQU0.

People ask what can I do to help? Here is a draft letter of appeal that any reader can copy and reword and send in an email to the officials. “Dear. . . There are hundreds of children in jail cells behind bars in overcrowded Bahay Pagasa and Youth Detention Centres suffering hardship and deprivation and in danger of the Coronavirus. We appeal to you to instruct your local social worker to release those children 15 years and younger to the custody of their parents or competent NGOs that will care for them in safety. Please view the video report at this link that shows the situation in some government facilities. Urgent action is needed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_96Du7MWaE

Send your letter to any of the good active mayors:
Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, sectothemayor.caloocancity@yahoo.com

Paranaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, elo_official@yahoo.com

Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, mayorsofficemarikina@yahoo.com

Pasig City Mayor Victor Ma. Reghis Sotto, vicosotto@outlook.com and ewinabeto@gmail.com

They are surely good people and strong leaders willing and able to help the children. They need your support and concern to do good. You can do your share to help the children by joining the campaign “Free the Children Now.”

http://www.preda.org

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[People] We All Want to Live -by Fr. Shay Cullen

We All Want to Live
Fr. Shay Cullen

What do we recall these holy days but the life-giving love and compassion of one person who changed the world by teaching mankind that justice is more powerful than revenge, that compassion is greater than condemnation, that believing in goodness and truth to overcome evil is a power that can change the world. That person is Jesus of Nazareth, truly a revolutionary who worked to convert the nation and corrupt leaders by calling for justice, loving the poor, respecting their dignity and rights. He stood with the downtrodden and for him, the children were the most important of all and women had equal rights. He was rejected by the leaders, despised, falsely accused, charged as a rebel and given the death penalty.

Yet those values he introduced are alive today but are rejected by corrupt leadership. Jesus of Nazareth had a deep conviction in the power of goodness and truth. He taught that people who had conviction and was one in goodness would live a fuller life of happiness and this would change the world. Everybody wants to live, be secure, healthy and happy and avoid death. These dreams and desires are supposed to be made reality by a just government of integrity.

The tragedy of the human species is that so many of the leaders succeed by nefarious ways to get and remain in positions of political and economic power. The bad ones are people of low moral values, devoid of principles and integrity. They despise the weak, exploit them and steal from the public purse to enrich themselves. They silence the speakers of truth; they kill the doers of good. These world leaders are the greatest threat to the well-being of the people and the planet. They lack commitment and concern for climate change. They are devoid of wise and learned action for the common good and bring the people and planet closer to the brink of disaster. So it was in the time of Jesus who called for change before it was too late.

This disastrous failure of leadership today has allowed the latest catastrophic spread of the Coronavirus to every nation, community and parish. It was foreseen, predicted, and a stupefied immoral leadership failed to act. Some leaders and their rich cronies and supporters, in order to preserve their economic wealth and prevent the stock market from crashing, resisted a lock-down. It was a policy of fatalism. “There is nothing we can do,” they said. Let the weak die and create “herd immunity” for the strong. Fatalism is a form of spiritual and mental paralysis, it denies the truth, undervalues people’s lives and freezes decision-making that would have saved many. As a result, death is all around us. Friends, relatives, parents are dying because of the failure of leaders to act in time against the deadly pandemic Coronavirus.

I saw shocking video clips from Indonesia of people in public places convulsing and choking to death with Covid-19 and no one would dare to help them. One brave woman rushed to help a dying woman. She acted on an impulse of compassion and empathy to try and help the stranger. She risked her own life. Who or what motivated her and others to act in a self-sacrificial manner? Patients have willingly given up their life-saving ventilators to others younger and choose to die so that others could live. What motivates health workers to report for work where they could be fatally infected themselves and die?

It is the power that comes from the unshakeable conviction, the belief that goodness and truth will overcome evil. It is called faith. That kind of faith is a true and good conviction that every person is of value, has dignity and right to life. Such faith and belief motivates and empowers people. They are the few who leave their comfort zone and choose to help others. They help others out of kindness, integrity, and goodness. They love the poor and work for justice. People stuck in fatalism and despair cannot act in this way.

Their conviction that goodness and truth will triumph over evil is an inner experience that flows out into action for justice for the poor. It is the unseen immeasurable power of a spiritual experience. It is akin to hope, for hope too is a conviction that goodness will triumph over evil. The world urgently needs such conviction to challenge with courage the despots and tyrants, the money moguls and corrupt captains of industry that oppress and exploit the downtrodden making them refugees, homeless and hungry. The leaders that Jesus wanted were to be believers in goodness and truth that protect, serve and help the poor, the oppressed, the deprived, the abused children.

The world community is facing a catastrophic situation right now like no other in history. Not only is the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world but even more damaging are the deadly effects of climate change. The indifference and apathy of many world leaders and their business partners accelerates deadly climate change that is threatening the human race and bringing the natural world close to collapse. To return to doing the good and taking right action based on faith in the goodness and dignity of every human with the right to a sustainable life is what the world needs. This will bring justice and peace to all. Without such values, evil will triumph and we will face the consequence of a faithless society, devoid of spiritual values, one that is based on selfishness, greed, exploitation, and power.

Yet if enough people unite believing in the force of goodness, the power of loving each other, respecting the rights of all and making it a movement, there will be change. There will be a halt to the pandemic, to climate change, to global collapse of the world economy. We can change the world for the better. We need to believe that we can and that our faith will save us. That is the powerful reason Jesus gave to those who were healed. No one did it. They healed themselves. “Your faith has made you whole,” he said. For doing good and wanting a just and equal society, they killed him, nailed on a cross, a cruel death for an innocent man. He left a meal of friendship. Do this in memory of me, he said, and we remember his powerful message how to change the world. Many good innocent people are killed today for doing justice and believing in goodness.

http://www.preda.org

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[People] What is the Meaning of Life? -by Fr. Shay Cullen

3 April 2020

What a challenging world we live in. Half the people on the planet are cowering inside their homes and shelters. Many are in fear of Coronavirus, too nervous to go out. The poor are hungry, millions are unemployed, the economy is in free fall and people are worried and asking when it will all end. That no one knows. The challenge is for us to embrace the power of goodness, to build up our strength, to be resilient, compassionate, just, caring, sharing and helping each other and strangers.

The threat to shoot to kill the protesting hungry people in Tondo, Manila is totally unjust and would be seen as a crime against humanity. Their need is for food and help to live, not bullets and death. There has been more than 200 billion pesos (US $4 billion) set aside for the alleviation of hunger. It must be shared.

Children and adults are locked in overcrowded sub-human prisons around the world all in danger of mass death from the virus. In the Philippines, hundreds of children 13 years and older suffer abuse and torture in jails. They must be released. Many adult prisoners should be released, too, before the guards have to carry out thousands of infected corpses including some of their own.

Brave doctors and health workers are risking their lives every hour to help save others. Many doctors and nurses have died. They have limited protective garb and know the danger yet they courageously worked on, heroes all for the sake of humanity.

Many died because the government health systems around the world are unprepared. Some leaders are too dumb, ignorant or corrupt to see and understand the danger and prepare a stockpile of protective gear. The simple truth is that this virus cannot be easily stopped, there is no cure and it kills.

There are too few available life-saving respirators and doctors have to make the agonizing heart-breaking decisions whom to save. Will it be the 85-year old or the 23-year old younger patient? One older Catholic priest in Italy willingly gave his respirator to a younger person and the priest died. It was a heroic act of self-sacrifice, may his spirt it live on.

This is a virus that is a monster from hell and all the ingenuity and science of humankind is almost defeated. Everyone must stay as isolated as possible to defeat Coronavirus. Although it is not a living organism but a protein, it needs a human host to replicate itself.

The experts tell us that the virus needs to attach itself to our cells and use the RNA there to pass information about itself to the new round of viruses that are being cloned and multiplying in the human body. The virus is evolving as if it were alive, and likely causes the infected person to cough or sneeze so it can transfer itself to another person. It is clever for a non-living, non-thinking protein. It seems to be similar but smarter than some non-thinking billionaire politicians whom we hope will not replicate themselves.

There is no known reason or purpose why it exists. Why does anything or anybody exist in the first place? Is there any purpose to it or life itself or none at all? Some say there is no purpose, we just are. Yet we and all life exist on a tiny speck of a planet in a vast universe among millions of galaxies. The universe, scientists tell us, came into existence from a big bang, an explosion of energy apparently from nothing but at that infinitesimal millionth of a second all material matter came into existence. That’s some amazing true story. And we came from that. The universe of which we are an intimate part of (although insignificant) is vast, endless, existing for no known reason. Does there have to be a reason at all and can something come from nothing is the question.

What is human reason anyway, did it evolve as the ability of the human species to be self-ware, to think and to then know that we exist? As the philosopher Rene Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” But what if we don’t think, don’t converse with ourselves, what then is the purpose of existing?

In a less philosophical frame of mind, we may recall Coronavirus came from some people eating wild animals, like bats, and other exotic wild creatures in a market in Wuhan. Well, the Chinese government has to stop all that illegal trade in animal parts that is destroying the animal kingdom and human lives. Some authorities there are accused of trafficking in human body parts, too. They execute prisoners without just trials to harvest their body parts for medical operations.

Coronavirus is a non-living protein yet a seemingly almighty invisible force that has brought every nation to its knees, making millions sick and causing death. Is there no positive virus or protein that can lift up the human species and improve its value of life with strong moral values and principles?

Some believe that there is a spiritual power that can motivate people to choose the good, live a moral life, love truth, honesty and justice and to care for strangers in need and treat them as friends. It is the gift of belief in a supreme intelligent being that is the ultimate cause of the the universe and the big bang and humans. To be in close union with this Supreme Being, the universal force of goodness and love is happiness. That gives purpose of all life, especially human life.

In these days of great challenge and dramatic life changing events, we can survive the Coronavirus and be happier if that universal force of goodness and love is with us and we are with the force. That will be enough for anyone of us to self-sacrifice and give our respirator to someone younger than us.

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[People] Challenges of the Coronavirus -by Fr.Shay Cullen

We are facing an immense challenge around the world. Everyone has to realize the danger and stay at home and practice strict hygiene. Thousands are dying- friends, relatives and many die alone. We are people with rational intelligence. Everyone is important and equal in dignity and rights and we have to respect all and give help and support so more will be saved.

During lock-down, together with family members, we can do practical tasks, forming bonds and showing others we care for them and love them. We can call our parents and tell them that we love them and thank them for giving us life and education and support so we can live a healthy meaningful life. Parents should call their children to say that they love them, too. In these challenging times, we all need to come closer in spirit with each other when we must practice social distancing.

There is economic damage and loss and many jobs are gone. The government can provide help. Let us consider ourselves more fortunate than the abandoned, unemployed, migrant workers, Filipinos among them, on the streets of Dubai and Doha or locked down in the industrial area of Doha. There, the COVID-19 infection is spreading out of control among the thousands of workers locked in and guarded by the military in their confined, overcrowded quarters. There is no hospital there. There will be a high death toll, and no one will know how many. The World Cup will be played over the bodies of the dead. For those too in other Middle Eastern countries, the Philippine Government must reach out through the Embassy and rescue them. They are in dire straits, a journalist told me over the phone.

Everyone in stay-at-home quarantine faces challenges. There will be stress and tension of close confinement, arguments will erupt and there may be violence and broken homes as a result. But the happy side for those who have lived isolated lives and are separated from family is that they will hopefully come together to talk and listen to each other and have a new family experience by sharing life stories and experiences and be united.

The other challenge of the lock-down is having the children at home all day with their parents if the parents are not in essential jobs. It is a great chance to spend quality time with the children and parents can get to know and understand and interact with them. They can do many things together: lessons, games, singing, chatting, playing music, cooking, watching movies or television together.

If isolated alone, read books. I recommend two of my own, Passion and Power, the story of my life in the Philippines, doing human rights work and fighting the sex mafia and their political backers for 46 years. A work that is still providing healing for the victims of child abuse through the Preda Foundation. If that is too heavy, try the reflective, thought-provoking novel, Ricky and Julie, an adventure story based on real events. Both are available on Amazon.com or I can send you a free copy as a gift, just send me an email.

There is a negative tragic side to the lock-down. Children who are victims of child sexual abuse by a parent or relative will be locked in the house or apartment with the abuser and will have little chance to escape and run on the streets and have no one to tell. These will be terrible times for them. Child protection agencies should open telephone hotlines where a child might be able to call for help. Preda Foundation has one: +63 9175324453.

Coronavirus challenges us to be compassionate and caring for suffering patients when sickness strikes. There is the physical pain of this dangerous flu, headaches and body pain. There is the emotional stress of not knowing if you or your parents or relatives have it, and if yes, will you or they survive? We need to let others know that love and support is there in abundance. We stand together in the face of this pandemic. It is the great leveler, the rich and the poor can get it. But the rich Filipino politicians have taken unfair privileges getting themselves tested when they had no symptoms and testing kits in short supply.

The homeless, are challenged above all. They are without family or friends, adrift on the streets, sleeping in doorways and under bridges. If they are crowded into shelters, the coronavirus will get them too. Many are already doomed. They need all the help the social services department can give.

The challenge is for slum dwellers to survive. They are the poorest and the most vulnerable. They are malnourished, have weak immune systems and cannot isolate themselves. In the teeming slums, social distancing is not possible where shacks and shanties, hovels and plastic shelters are crammed together. Many will die unknown, uncounted until they gain herd immunity if ever.

What a challenge it is for the doctors to stay free of infection. Many have died already because they lacked protective gear. They have to decide who will live and die when there are only a few ventilators in the hospital for too many patients in desperate need of the breathing apparatus. These are heartbreaking decisions to be made. A suffering priest in Italy got a ventilator as a gift from the parishioners but he gave it to a younger patient and the good priest died. That is self-sacrifice worthy of a saintly person.

When there is no life-saving ventilator, for some it is like a death sentence. They die alone, isolated from friends or relatives, no one can come close- such is the contagious nature of this plague because it is an incurable plague that all of modern medical science and knowledge is unable to conquer. A vaccine is far off. Yet, despite the previous similar outbreaks like Avian flu and SARS, the world did not learn, it was not ready.

Taiwan and South Korea were prepared and acted quickly to impose lock-down and made millions of testing kits and has been and is testing everyone. They have efficient epidemic control centers since the SARS. They have isolated those positive for the infection and trace all with whom they had been in contact with and quarantined them, too. It worked and has the pandemic under control. They have shown the world how to do it. Will the world take the challenge and learn that prevention is infinitely better than cure?

http://www.preda.org

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[People] The Good and Bad Side-Effects of Coronavirus -by Fr.Shay Cullen

The good side-effects we can see during this medical crisis brought about by the coronavirus is the love, concern, and care shown by the dedicated caregivers, nurses and medical workers. It is phenomenal. The goodness and love of millions of humans have come shining through. There are neighborhood help movements growing online. In Canada, an online network is helping the elderly, neighbors are helping neighbors. In Italy, people are singing from balconies to cheer up those in quarantine. People are changing to a healthy diet also.

Preda Fair Trade Dried Mango fruit with loads of Vitamin C and no chemicals are selling fast in the UK and Ireland. People are changing to a healthy diet to strengthen their immune system to fight off and prevent the flu and hopefully coronavirus.

The Preda dried mangos are available online for the order if you can’t leave home. Go to the http://www.forestfeast.com online and ask a friend to do it. If you can go shopping in Tescos, Dunnes or Waitrose, you will find the Preda Dried Mangos there under the Forest Feast brand. Buy lots. All earnings from sales go to support the abused children rescued by Preda Foundation and protect them from the Coronavirus. You are doing good for all.

But the greatest good is the dedication of caregivers and medical workers. Eighty-year-old Elizabeth would not survive the coronavirus if not for Margi, her devoted caregiver. Every day, Margi Gonzalez risks getting infected on her rounds visiting her many patients in the community center. She treats any sores, takes blood pressure and temperature and sees that they are comfortable, fed, and taking her medicine on time. Elizabeth and others are being monitored for the coronavirus after one member of the community tested positive. Thousands of caregivers like Margi are slowing the spread of the deadly contagious infection. She was a migrant from the Philippines to Britain.

There are many good people like Margi on the front line. Many are former migrants or refugees, who fled poverty, oppression, fear, and suffering for a new, better life. Now the rich, developed nations benefit from their skills and service. That is a positive result of a sad history of human rights violations and injustice. Margi was marked as a protest leader and fled the death squads employed by a mining firm to quell the protest against the mining corporation taking over their farmland.

That is the paradox, the poor flee as migrants or refugees the hardship caused by the greedy multinational corporations supported by their governments. They exploit the natural resources of poor nations in cahoots with the local corrupt ruling families. These three are the corrupt players behind every conflict. They drive the poor to become migrants and refugees. They, in turn, become the caregivers of the nation that exploited and harmed them.

Another positive outcome of the disastrous impact of the coronavirus is the lock-down and restricted international travel. The end to cheap flights and the grounding of thousands of planes, strict screening, setting up roadblocks, demanding IDs, all have a positive effect. This helps to curb the human trafficking of young girls and boys into Western countries from Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is the modern slave trade that has hopefully been slowed.

In an overnight decree, governments banned any and all travel of most people, including the travel of sex offenders, pedophiles and sex tourists and pedophiles on child rape holidays. That is another kind of epidemic. There is no specific law against it. There should be. As the multinationals rape the land of its minerals, the rich pedophiles come and rape the children. Preda Foundation is fighting this and rescuing the child victims for healing. Preda Fair Trade helps us in this fight as serious as coronavirus. You can help, too.

The young girls and boys are lured into servitude with false promises of well-paid jobs by mafia-like networks. The victims are held in debt bondage and forced to work in the Philippines or rich countries for little or no pay. They are slaves, threatened with beatings and harm to their families in their home countries if they don’t cooperate and become slaves or sex workers. Preda Foundation rescues and heals many.

Thousands of Descendents of Irish migrants are in the medical profession around the world now fighting coronavirus. From 1845 to 1849, starving Irish migrants fled from British colonial exploitation of Ireland and the famine that they caused and allowed. British politicians and families had taken Irish land by force and became rich. The Irish were impoverished. They fled as refugees and migrants to America.

The United States was then a land of freedom, hope and opportunity for the oppressed and the poor. Thousands of Irish fought and died in the civil war against slavery. Now, under Trump, it is a closed fortress ruled by an anti-migrant white supremacist clique incapable of responding strongly and correctly to the coronavirus pandemic and allowing it to spread.

We all are challenged to fight the coronavirus by avoiding all contamination by self-quarantine, hand washing, keeping social distance, and getting tested when protocols require. We must respect, honor and support those who are risking all to help us win.

http://www.preda.org
20 March 2020

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[People] The Invisible Enemy: An Unseen Virus and Sexual Abuse -by Fr. Shay Cullen

Think about it. It is amazing that one tiny, invisible smart virus, a product of evolutionary processes, still mutating and changing its profile, can avoid detection and spread itself far and wide with impunity. It is able to bring the human species to its knees, to overpower nations, halt economies, crash the stock market, stop the flow of products and goods, paralyze communities, empty malls, ground airlines, close schools, and all sports gatherings.

It has the power to confine millions of people to their homes, rooms, apartments, and cruise ships. Thousands are in hospitals and many have died. Its power can motivate governments around the globe to take action and stop overnight the once free movements of people. It’s almost more powerful than nuclear war and we can’t even see it. We have to believe that this unseen enemy of the human race is out there, lurking and waiting to infect. It has killed a reported 4,000 people already worldwide. Is its danger overestimated? I will get to that later.

No new complicated laws are needed to control the right and freedom of citizens to travel and enjoy complete freedom of movement. But this once sacred freedom is now curtailed by instant decree. The COVID-19 is king. The innocent suspects of being carriers, without medical proof, are locked up and quarantined and in some countries, they will be fined large sums of money if they do not obey. So now banning convicted pedophiles from traveling to poor countries should be easy to do. This is a proposed law I suggested and was filed by Maureen O’Sullivan TD before the Irish Parliament. Two years and yet to be acted upon. Now without a law, anyone with coronavirus flu can be stopped from traveling.

It is something to which people everywhere are very sensitive and acutely aware of this dark and dangerous threat to health that can cause death to the most vulnerable. It is COVID-19. There is nothing much we can do other than being quarantined, avoid groups of people to curtail its spread, wash our hands frequently, stand back six feet from people that might be infected. It can change human behavior, drastically alter social contact and bring about new attitudes and understanding among people. They face a common threat. Many people are worried. It has struck and is striking fear and anxiety around the world, all are afraid of the single, tiny unseen “enemy,” more powerful than all the armies in the world.

Yet, there is a greater threat and actual evil that has infected the whole world and especially male sexual abusers. Until very recently, people did not care much about child and women abuse until the #MeToo and anti-child abuse movement began. Yet, it touches the tip of a great iceberg of abuse. It is the abuse, violence, and oppression of women and children that is highlighted in this recent International Women’s Day. Yet this violence causes more lifelong pain, suffering, sickness, and death than the COVID-19 ever will. Soon it will die out. But the lifelong suffering and pain endured by silent, downtrodden victims of sexual violence will not.

In Mexico, a reported murder of ten women a day are killed, hundreds of more unreported murders go unnoticed. It has been reported by the Centre for Women’s Resources (CWR) recently that at least one woman or child is abused every 10 minutes in the Philippines. The figures of reported cases are 6,315 women and 6,054 children were reported as victims. Only six percent of victims report the abuse to the authorities. Rape and abuse are like pandemic worldwide.

The UN Special Rapporteur and expert Maud de Boer-Buquicchio briefed the Special UN Human Rights Council last March 2, declaring that child sexual abuse and prostitution of children is in “every part of the world.” The sexual abuse of children over the internet is perhaps the very worst form of child sexual abuse, she said. “Children continue to be sold and trafficked within their own countries and across borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation.” She also said that “children are coerced into participation in pornographic performances online. Young girls and boys are lured with false promises and coerced into the sex trade, domestic servitude, forced labor, begging and forced marriage.” She reported that 28 percent of the child victims were under 10 years of age.

Such violence and the government and public apathy, indifference, lack of concern of society in general, is more destructive and hurtful to human lives than a dose of the coronavirus from which most people recover with treatment and go on to lead normal lives. Victims of abuse do not.

There is no known medication that will cure a person of COVID-19, everything is being tried and a vaccine is in the works. There is talk about seasonal influenza killing more than the estimated 4,000 victims of COVID-19 dead already world-wide. In the United States alone, as many as 18,000 people have died from seasonal influenza since September last year, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the International Federations of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations, as many as 290,000 to 650,000 die from it yearly worldwide. This is about .14 percent whereas the COVID-19 has a potentially higher fatality rate of approximately 0.2 percent, higher than the seasonal flu.

However, we have to take everything in perspective and do all that can be done to contain the spread of COVID-19 and save lives but so much more has to be done as the world slowly awakens to the horrific prevalence and frequency of the sexual abuse of women and children. The same energy and government action to control COVID-19 should also go to stop and contain child and woman abuse.

http://www.preda.org

13 March 2020

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[People] The Revenge of Nature- Coronavirus? -by Fr. Shay Cullen

The coronavirus threatens the health of millions of people around the world if it spreads uncontrollably. Every precaution must be taken to prevent its spread and that means practicing greater personal and public hygiene and avoiding contact with people traveling from an infected area. We must show concern and never discriminate against anyone. Besides strict containment, strict personal hygiene, washing of hands, and clean surroundings can hold its spread. Public health officials must be prepared for an outbreak. The flu-like disease does not have a high fatality rate: only two people in every hundred die from it. People can get very sick with severe respiratory problems and yet recover. Others can have the virus but have no symptoms.

Everywhere, including the Philippines, doctors and medical personnel have been briefed and advised on the potential health problem and we are reminded that prevention is better than cure. So there is no need to panic or raise alarm but intelligent planning, preparation, and prevention are what is needed. Besides, most people are recovering from it with good medical care.

The big hope is that the virus cannot survive in high temperatures so bring on a hot summer everywhere, and with global warming, we can expect that. The highest temperatures ever recorded in Australia and parts of Europe in 2019 are stunning. That is because of man-made climate change. That might kill off this deadly virus and tropical countries like the Philippines might be spared. The good news is the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the virus may have reached its peak in China as fewer daily infections have been recorded. The coronavirus is also the result of ill-advised and illegal human behavior.

We have seen the outbreak of many deadly diseases and viruses in recent decades. More viruses that are affecting humans are crossing over from other mammals and birds. Remember the avian flu? The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is said to have crossed over from monkeys when people ate them as bushmeat. Likewise, ebola likely came from eating monkeys, they say. Then, we had the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), said to have originated from bats, and today the 2019 coronavirus that possibly came from bats, too, although it is not yet proven.

You might say these diseases are the revenge of nature. The natural world is striking back at the disastrous human exploitation of the rain forests, the oceans and all wildlife by driving them to extinction. There is destruction in almost every habitat in the developing world and in some parts of the developed world, too. Illegal trade and trafficking in many endangered animal species for huge profit could be the cause of coronavirus.

China is a big market for endangered animals and thousands of animals are butchered each year, mostly in Africa, to provide elephant ivory for the China ornament trade, now banned but still thriving. In 2009, there were as many as 109,000 elephants in Tanzania but due to poaching and slaughter, there were only 43,000 left in 2014, a 60 percent loss according to government reports. There is even less today. In 1970, the number of rhino had decreased to 70,000 and as of today there are only 29,000 left on the planet.

They are on the way to extinction like the white rhino by bandits killing them for their valuable horn for Chinese traditional medicine. Scientific research has shown the horn to have no more medicinal value than horses’ hooves.

Hundreds of creatures are killed and collected to supply the demand for Chinese traditional medicine, most of which are ineffective, have no medical benefit and are unnecessary considering the huge advances in Chinese health care.

The small ant-eating creature called pangolin could be responsible for the jump of the 2019 coronavirus from animal to human. They are the most widely traded and trafficked creature stolen from the wild in Southeast Asia, India and Africa. They are now practically extinct in China since they killed them for food and their scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine. They have been found in the wild food market of Wuhan where the coronavirus first made the cross-over leap from animal to humans.

According to an investigative report by The Guardian, one shop was found to have for sale live animals such as “live wolf pups, golden cicadas, scorpions, bamboo rats, squirrels, foxes, civets, hedgehogs (probably porcupines), salamanders, turtles and crocodiles.” All destined for the cooking pot, it seems. Bats are known carriers of many viruses and the forest-dwelling pangolin could have picked up the virus from the bats droppings on the forest floor, some speculate. This is a likely cross over for the virus. Or some humans ate the bats. They are on sale in wildlife markets.

Corrupt governments like that in Brazil allow traders and loggers to attack the last of the rain forests and destroy their natural beauty by cutting trees, driving out and killing their indigenous people and trafficking their wildlife. We can expect more health problems in the future. Nature will rebel just like the mighty storms and heatwaves caused by man-made climate change are coming back to hit us.

Why can’t we respect nature, preserve the forest, protect the environment and its wildlife? The answer is easy. It is because of human greed. It is an insatiable, unquenchable drive beyond control. To stop the greed and trafficking of wildlife and the cross-over of animal-borne viruses to humans, the authorities world-wide have to go after the traffickers and traders of wild-life. They must identify their bank accounts and confiscate their property, assets and money and jail the big-time traders. It is essential to ban all sales and trading in wildlife.

http://www.preda.org

27 February 2020

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[People] The Rise of the Political Extreme Right -by Fr. Shay Cullen

An authoritarian tyrant whose name will live in infamy has crushed, oppressed, bombed, executed and gassed women and children, jailed and tortured his opponents and dissidents in Syria. Almost a million of them that remain in Idlib, North-Western Syria are under daily attack and continuous bombardment. Schools, hospitals, clinics, and markets are the favorite target of the Russian and Syrian forces. Two million Syrians who have already fled are now in Turkey. Many more from the recent attacks are refugees, freezing and hungry in flimsy tents without toilets or water camped outside the barrier wall along the Turkish border. A million more Syrians are refugees in Jordan.

President Erdogan of Turkey has abandoned an agreement with the European Union (EU) to house the refugees and prevent them from coming to Europe. The EU is paying him one billion euros to house the refugees in camps and prevent them from flooding into the EU. Greece is on the front line trying to hold them back. No European country wants them in such numbers because their incursion will arouse and inflame a strong anti-refugee emotional response. Rejection and racism are rife. This response causes anti-refugee demonstrations and fuels the growth and spread of the negative and unacceptable political ideology of the extreme right-wing, neo-Nazi movements, groups, and political parties.

The conflict in Afghanistan, the war in Syria, the oppression and poverty in Eritrea, Ethiopia and other African nations, have filled the coastline of Libya with thousands of migrants looking for a way to Europe. There, they are oppressed, enslaved and killed by local militia and human traffickers. They are not wanted either. The EU is paying the Libyan coast guard millions of euro to hold them back. It’s a crisis at the gates of Europe once again. Thousands have traveled by boats and rubber dinghies aided by people smugglers to cross the Mediterranean Sea and many have perished in the treacherous crossing. Children’s bodies have washed up on empty beaches.

The fear and worry of the European governments are that a new wave will trigger a surge in popularity for the right-wing extreme neo-Nazi and fascist-leaning parties that have made spectacular gains in recent years in European politics. Fascists get power by promoting a loud, outspoken leader who preaches fear and hatred of foreigners, promoting isolationism, nationalism and proclaims to make their nation great again- as Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Assad did. Even Donald Trump shows traits of being fascist. That’s why Bernie Sanders says he is the most dangerous president ever. Trump craves impunity, promotes white supremacy, and ignores the rule of law.

The present right-wing governments in Europe talk about leaving the European Union. The United Kingdom under Boris Johnson has done so. The British establishment, the aristocratic titans of industry who yearn for the lost empire and imperialism want to run the UK economy free of any restriction of European standards and free of the European Courts of Justice and human rights. They lean toward the right-of-center ultra-conservative government. They want foreigners out and will strictly control immigration. Refugees or migrants will have little chance.

Hungary and Poland, both members of the EU, have enacted laws and policies counter to EU mandates. They are moving to be extreme-right-of-center governments. They have racist views and are against minorities, refugees and are anti-media. Some are accused of violating human rights. While there are not any fascist governments in Europe at present, some are leaning that way. It is the EU that has kept the peace for 70 years.

The groups with the extreme right-of-center ideology, neo-Nazis are the most dangerous. They have entered the government of Austria until exposed in a corruption scandal. In Germany, the Alternative for Germany is right-wing to a far-right political party. They have seats in the German Bundestag and in some states. These groups are on the rise. They have won seats in the European Parliament. They favor nationalism, they are racist and want to leave the EU.

In Brazil, there is a fascist government well in the making under Jair Bolsonaro who is burning the rain forest, flouting the laws of the nation, acting with impunity and declaring open season on minorities killing them with death squads, and eliminating his opponents. How did he get power? He jailed Luiz Da Silva who was likely to win the election.

Right-wing populist parties and politicians are on the increase too. They share some of the authoritarian, racist and nationalist exclusion policies with some traits of fascism. They are strongly against migration and other religious groups and promote white supremacy. Marine Le Pen in France is an example. Hugo Chavez in Valenzuela sports a certain kind left-of-center form of popularism. Populists have come to power in Italy with Silvio Berlusconi of the Forza Italia party being the most aggressive anti-migrant and exclusionist popular politician. It is now excluded from the government by a former partner, the far-right anti-establishment party Five Star movement. Populists claim to be the only representative of “The People.” They take on the image of the savior of their nation, anti-foreigner, anti-establishment and anti-elitist. They say they will save the poor and fight corruption.

In Asia, populist politicians say in their campaigns that they are against the rich and will bring down the oligarchy. Yet, populism is just a tactic to gain the popular vote, giving a tough iron-fist image of promoting law and order. They are part of the ruling oligarchy and quickly install their own family dynasty and cronies to rule with authoritarian iron fist policies like Marcos did in the Philippines.

We cannot say which is the best kind of political party. Those that have proven integrity, honesty, absence of corrupt practices and respect for human dignity, civil and human rights are among the best. They support women and children and social programs for the poor and promote gender, economic and racial equality. They are anti-war, pro-peace and rule with compassionate policies caring properly for the poor, disabled, the homeless, the sick and youth. They have a strong moral basis to lead a nation to a respectful and dignified life based on justice for all.

http://www.preda.org

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[People] Overcoming poverty -by Fr. Shay Cullen

There is extreme poverty in the world, 1% of rich people have more money and wealth than the combined wealth of 4.6 billion people who have almost nothing. Worldwide there are about 735 million people in extreme poverty. In the Philippine, there are an estimated 6 million people in extreme poverty. Why is there so much inequality in the world?

Can the power of goodness bring social justice and overcome the devastating harm done by powerful greedy, selfish people? They must be challenged, opposed and resisted by those dedicated and committed to doing well. Humanity develops when there is sharing, cooperation, justice, freedom, and equality among people. When these values pervade daily life, they bring peace, harmony, and well-being. The people have to change peacefully the political and economic forces that allow them such a life.

Each of us can help our neighbors and find ways to open the cage of poverty and let them fly free. Everyone needs a job and a just wage to support their family. The following is a true story, one that is repeated many times over.

Lusito was a boy from a hungry homeless family. They lived in poverty under sacks at the edge of a beach. His father was a simple fisherman but when international fishing companies were given commercial fishing permits in Philippine waters by corrupt officials, the fish disappeared. Thousands of Filipinos were thrown into the pit of poverty. Lusito then 15, the eldest, collected, junk, plastic bottles, anything he could sell for a few handfuls of rice. That’s all they had it wasn’t enough. Sickness took his father.

One day Luisito, who was emaciated with hunger, was seen by the owner of a basket weaving shop and invited to learn basket weaving. He was a person of conscience and he saw, judged the right thing to do and did it. Lusito was amazed when he was paid, in advance, a generous trainee’s allowance. Immediately he bought rice and fish for the family, the first that they had in weeks. He was totally determined to succeed and joined several workers in the small factory. Quickly he became a skilled worker and was paid a higher just wage and given shelter in the workshop. The cage was open.

Lusito saw a way to overcome poverty. He went to evening classes and graduated high school and with the help of the basket shop owner, he eventually graduated from college and found a managerial job. He saved his family and his own children. They became college graduates and they have good jobs today. That was and is the exception rather than the common reality.

That was thirty years ago. The Philippine population is now 110 million and while poverty has lessened, there are 23.1 million Filipinos going hungry every day down from 28.8, the figure in 2016 according to the World Bank survey. That is still 23 million to many. Yet many more millions of Filipinos while not grievously hungry are still living in poverty.

The world has moved on to new economic challenges and new skills and education are needed help to make a just economy where the youth of today will find good pay in high-tech jobs with dignity and equality. The nation needs to produce more high values products in a sustainable way that protects the environment and heals the damaged planet. To help bring this about Pope Francis will launch a new initiative the “Economy of Francis” at a world meeting of economists and business people with a conscience. It is to be held in Assisi, in Italy, March this year 2020.

Global action is urgently needed. Millions of people around the world demand change and refuse to be submissive and docile or live in fear of the rich. They now protest inequality, low wages, poverty, unemployment, environmental destruction. They raise their voices in rallies, marches, and demonstrations or quietly advocate and create public awareness of social injustice. Equality will have to come by the action of just governments that will tax the rich and compel them by law to pay higher wages and the government must provide social development, health, housing and employment with just wages. The government is supposed to be the service of the people, for the people, by the people to overcome poverty.

It is the rich that control the congress, they rule by family dynasty and will very seldom legislate against their own interests and only under intense public pressure. What is to be done to overcome poverty? One is to defeat and remove the corrupt officials. Politicians promise to do this in order to get elected and have power, but most are corrupt themselves. As the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported in January 2020: “The Philippines slipped 14 notches from its previous ranking in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a rating of global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has shown. In the group’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2019, the Philippines scored 34 to land in the 113th spot – a decline of 14 places from its previous rank at 99 in 2018.

Despite that vexing and painful truth, there has been a change to the good. There are millions of children and youth getting a better education nowadays thanks to many Filipino people of compassion, with a social conscience, who don’t tolerate injustice and poverty and lobby and pressure government officials to act justly. It is a slow and frustrating incremental progress.

The restless youth and workers can’t wait they are demanding jobs and higher wages and benefits, a life free from hunger and want. The rich oppose this, they grow rich from low wages, restrictive labor laws, and short-term contract workers and exploitation and plundering the natural resources and paying low or no taxes. The labor movement is frozen.

Educated workers are frustrated and migrate with their brainpower, skills, and knowledge. The Philippines can lower the rate of poverty if the government will invest in advanced technology training and encourage business to create higher-value employment and make high-value products. This will give more spending power to the people. That in turn, spurs greater economic growth. Breaking the cycle of poverty will only happen when many more millions develop a conscience, have compassion and give equal opportunities to the poor by sharing their wealth. Together we can help the poor to rise out of poverty and open the door of the cage so they can fly free.

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[People] Saving the Planet and Ourselves -by Fr. Shay Cullen

As I write this, monster typhoon Kammuri is ravaging the Bicol region in central Philippines. It is packing winds at 209 kilometers per hour (130 mph) and it is more ferocious than the previous typhoons to hit that part of this nation’s archipelago. Tidal surges are wrecking houses and the wind is ripping away and shredding the light bamboo structures of the poor. On the mountain, landslides threatened whole villages. This is climate change for the worst, the very worst as the earth grows hotter and the oceans warmer causing massive evaporation and forming the typhoons and massive rainstorms that are causing flooding everywhere.

It is not only the Philippines that is being pounded with excessive storms and massive flooding. Australia, California and central and South Africa were recently hit by severe drought. Seemingly endless forest fires are ravaging the forest worldwide and the smoke and smog is killing thousands of people. The great Amazon rainforest is burning. Thousands are suffering. Plants and animals perish. Over a hundred elephants died from starvation in Zimbabwe this year.

This we must and can stop. The experts and advocates saving the planet call it an “ecocide” where the ecology and environment is being destroyed before our eyes. There is always hope that humans can change their destructive lifestyles and convert from using coal and fossil fuels that drive industrial production to renewable sources of energy such as geothermal, solar and wind power. The United Nations Climate Change Conference called COP25 is bringing together more than 50 heads of state in Spain where the nations must present new climate control action plans if we are to control the rise in world temperatures.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that action and important decisions must be made now to cut the greenhouse emissions that are pumping deadly gases into the atmosphere. The coal-fired power plants and factories burning oil are the main culprits as well as the millions of diesel- and gas-powered vehicles around the world. The change to renewable sources of electricity has to be urgently accelerated if we are to hold the rising temperature to 1.5 degrees and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. That is to produce no more CO2 than the forests and oceans can absorb and offset by planting trees, using carbon capture technology and a zero tolerance for greenhouse gasses.

The greater risk, according to some climate advocates, is what UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said this week. It is that the “point of no return is no longer over the horizon.” What he means is the point when the climate gets so hot that it is not possible to stop or reverse it. When the planet has heated up to melt the permafrost, billions of cubic feet of methane gas will rise into the atmosphere and thicken the blanket around the planet so no heat can escape and the sun will bake us as if we are in an oven. The ice in Antarctica and the Artic is melting so fast there is too little ice to reflect the sun’s rays back into space. It could lead to disastrous drought globally and food crops will fail and mass starvation will be the result.

The scientific evidence is clear. The years 2014 to 2023 will be marked as the hottest years in 150 years. That indicates that the climate has warmed one degree centigrade since the levels in 1850-1900. The forecast of temperature rise will be between 1.03 and 1.57 degrees above pre-industrial levels in the coming years. However, if nothing is done now, by the year 2100, the increase will reach a critical disastrous 3.2 degrees increase. If the industrialized nations act now to change, then the increase will still be a very dangerous and a disastrous 2.9 degrees increase.

The biggest polluters on the planet are the United States and China. India is not far behind. President Trump does not believe the scientific evidence that the climate is changing since he lives in permanent climate-controlled environment with air conditioning. China wants to be a global power as powerful as the United States and keep building coal-fired power plants to produce and sell to the world and grow economically and militarily.

However, the good news is that leading Democrats from the United States Congress are in Spain for the conference. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at the opening of the conference that in addressing the climate injustice, many small island nations must have support and there must be “economic and environmental justice for all.” The President of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific said that they are fighting for life as oceans rise due to melting ice caps and are inundating their low-lying islands.

Another deep concern posed by the rising waters around the Marshall islands is the huge concrete dome known as the Runit Dome that encases 3.1 million cubic feet of deadly radioactive debris and soil including the death-dealing plutonium. Susanne Rust of the La Times reports the United States detonated 67 nuclear bombs between 1946 and 1958 in the Marshall Islands.

Several islands were vaporized and thousands of islanders were evacuated and exiled. Many were suffering the severe effect of radiation. The huge dome is gradually under threat from the rising oceans and the radioactive waste will likely seep out and contaminate the ocean waters and the marine life. It could be goodbye to the Marshalls and their wonderful resilient people. We hope not and if global action is taken to curb global warming there is a chance they and mankind will survive.

Read Ricky and Julie A Story of Survival on http://amzn.com/B07DXKX4SV

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[People] The Attempted Abduction of Jemma – Reflection by Fr. Shay Cullen

It’s a case of child abuse and human trafficking that has caught much media attention. It is being held in the court of Honorable Judge Maria Angelica T. Paras-Quiambao, Regional Trial Court Branch 59, Angeles City, a judge of known integrity. It concerns a US national, John R. He is accused of sexually abusing two young girls, call them Sybil and Jemma (not their real names).The younger Jemma is 13 and Sybil is 14 years old. John R. allegedly paid his pimp CM to recruit them and bring to his apartment where he sexually abused them many times.

The two children were rescued by the social workers of Mabalacat, Pampanga and of the Preda Foundation. The children were brought to the Preda home for girls in Zambales where they were successfully undergoing recovery.

The US investigative service at the US Embassy has taken a serious interest in the case and they have already interviewed Jemma and Sybil. They will eventually file charges against John R. in the USA under the US extra-territorial jurisdiction law and perhaps his supporter, Lilian May Zimmer. He is presently in hiding and Philippine arrest warrants have been issued against him.

Last March 6, there was a large rescue operation in Mabalacat and twenty children were rescued from the Golden Victory Hotel and another resort. There, the twenty children had been lured and recruited to engage in sexual relations with local and foreign sex tourists. The twenty girls were referred to the Preda home for girls where they were welcomed and assisted in every way with kindness and understanding. They were given emotional support, shelter, clothes, and personal needs. Their parents were invited over to be with them. There were many emotional scenes as the parents embraced their rescued children and they were reunited.

Click the link to read more:

https://www.preda.org/fr-shay-cullens-reflections-the-attempted-abduction-of-jemma/?fbclid=IwAR2Hwv2DO9R6JtP1awebKM-1J_Jj63rII67ZTbKJzO0pFU4B–XjhiGwcqg

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[People] Children are Treated as Criminals

Children are Treated as Criminals
Fr. Shay Cullen
25 January 2019

The lower chamber of the Philippine Congress is going to approve the lowering of the minimum age of criminal liability of a child from the present 15 years-of-age to 12-years-of-age. They really want to reduce it to 9 but public outcry forced the politicians to change. Yet, 12 year old is too young to impute criminal liability. What knowledge and discernment do uneducated, impoverished hungry street children at 12 years old know and understand?

The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act is a good law if it were to be implemented. But it is not. Out of more than a hundred highly-urbanized cities and provinces that are supposed to build homes for the children, only 40 have done it. Unfortunately, some of these supposedly homes for children called Bahay Pag-asa are in reality jails for children where thousands now languish hungry, underfed and abused.

At present, these are cruel detention centers where the children are mostly treated as criminals held for weeks and months behind steel bars. Practically no activities, exercise, entertainment or education is provided in most places. Many of the children suffer bullying, sexual and physical abuse by the older detainees. If the minimum age of criminal liability is lowered to nine or 12, even more will be added to these numbers.

This we know since our work at the Preda Foundation for the past 45 years has been to rescue them and give them a happy home in an open center without guards, gates or fences .We give the freedom of choice to decide to stay and get educated and 95 percent choose to stay. They are not criminals in the power of criminal syndicates as congress people assert.

This is the present reality of child detention centers with only a few encouraging exceptions. Thousands of small children are in fact behind bars in sub-human conditions, their rights violated day and night. It is a horrific disgrace for the proud Filipino people.
(See https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5jvt2o2y7pc06le/AABUYknPy7PrjM2q0gZXu7ata?dl=0)

This law is not being implemented to this day. The small children, some as young as ten, are in fact locked up in these overcrowded cells in stinking, sub-human conditions. The Philippine Congress, in its lack of understanding and knowledge about this reality, will condemn many children as young as 12 to rot in jails where they will be sexually and physically abused. That will be on their conscience.

They should make it mandatory for each local government to build a real home for children under the direction of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC) and to mandatorily fund its operation every year. Local governments must not put children behind bars. The congressmen and senators will not call child victims of these horrid cells to testify before them. They might hear the truth. They have never visited the child detention centers and they know nothing about human suffering.

These child detention centers have a small cell with a dozen teenagers and small children crammed inside in some of them. There is a dirty stinky toilet clogged with human waste. They sleep on the concrete floor in most of these child detention centers.

It is untrue and a wild fantasy of congress people to think the children will have recovery, therapy, values formation, medical care, education in nice children’s homes run by a caring, benevolent local government. It is the opposite: the children are treated as criminals and suffered hardship, hunger and are devastated as human beings that do not even have hope of anything better.

Millions of pesos have been provided to the Juvenile Justice Welfare Council established to oversee the implementation of the Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act but much of the money has gone unused. Local mayors do not listen or follow the advice of the Council. The JJWC has no power to compel compliance with the law.

The local government officials are not interested in building a nice, clean well-managed home for abandoned children at risk or in dire circumstance or in conflict with the law. The politicians consider the ragged, hungry, homeless abused street children, not as children in need of help, but as vermin, pests, undeserving poor, throwaway creatures, useless and not even human. “They have criminal minds,” one top official said about street children.

If a nation is judged in its reputation as a moral upright dignified nation by the way it treats its poor and its neglected children, then the Philippines is getting a very low score if any at all. The national pride of the Philippine nation is absent when it comes to the plight of its neglected street children. National dignity is sullied and it is nowhere to be found.

The officials and politicians, all uncaring rich elite having never been deprived of anything, unjustly and wrongly call the thousands of hungry children criminals and accuse them of working for crime syndicates and drug delivery boys and girls. But there is no sound, proven information or evidence to back up that unrehearsed assertion and false accusation.

Child detention in the Philippines today is a horrific, unjust, undeserved punishment that is detrimental and destructive of the child. Look at the facts: Out of all recorded crimes, 98 percent are done by adults and only 2 percent by minors.

Out of all alleged wrongdoing done by minors themselves, only 2 percent are allegedly committed by children less than nine years of age. Children nine to 11 years of age are responsible for 7 percent of all wrongdoing by minors. Then minors 12 to 15 years of age are responsible for 43 percent of wrong doing by minors whereas youth 15 to 18 years of age are responsible for 48 percent of alleged wrong doing committed by minors.

It is clear that the 2 percent of crimes committed by minors is miniscule and does not deserve harsh treatment and punishment.

The children see that some of the rich politicians get away with massive crimes of plunder and wallow in putrid corruption creating poverty and homeless children. The children struggle to survive and eat one scant meal a day.

Preda Foundation was founded 45 years ago to help children at risk and in conflict with the law and those falsely accused and abused and jailed without evidence. The many children rescued have the given testimony of what they suffered. They were saved and started a new happier life at the Preda open center of freedom and dignity.

http://www.preda.org

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