Tag Archives: Pope Benedict XVI

[Statement] What one Government gives, another Government takes away

What one Government gives, another Government takes away

(Statement of Bishops and Priests of the National Clergy Discernment Group and the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group on the Barangay Luz, Cebu City Demolition)
October 17, 2012

Demolition in Barangay Luz, Cebu City Photo by Visayan Clergy Discernment Group

“To do all we can with what strength we have, however, is the task which keeps the good servant of Jesus Christ always at work: ‘The love of Christ urges us on’ (2 Cor 5:14)” [Deus caritas est, 35].

With these words of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, we, bishops and priests of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group and the National Clergy Discernment Group, give our full support to the legitimate and just cause of the families of 32 households facing demolition in Barangay Luz, Cebu City who are heirs of land given to them in the 1950’s by the government of President Magsaysay through Proclamation 394 on March 15, 1957. The barangay was then named by the people after his wife Luz Banzon Magsaysay.

More than 50 years later, another government takes away their land, through some technicality, as decided by the Supreme Court.

The Cebu City Council refuses to act on the Executive’s proposal for on-site relocation. The reason – the Council is dominated by the opposing political party. The usual trapo politicking results in more suffering for the people.

The judge who implemented the Supreme Court decision is now in a bind. The first nine families whose houses got demolished and he got evicted are told that their designated relocation lots are in fact already owned by other families. So, the evicted families are left to live under tents next to their own inherited land – ironic!

We hear them crying out, like Jesus on the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46) and we respond with collective voice in asking the Supreme Court to order the RTC of Cebu to postpone further demolitions until all the requirements of relocation are adequately in place; preferably that the heirs hold on to the land given to them by President Ramon Magsaysay.

Secondly, the bishops and priests of the NCDG urge the Executive and Legislative branches of the Cebu City LGU to lay aside partisan politics, and serve the people.

May the day won’t come that we would have to ask the Lord: “…When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we would not help you?” And may we would not have to hear the Lord reply: “I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting” (Mt. 25:44-46).

SIGNED BY 86 PRIESTS FROM DIFFERENT DIOCESES IN THE COUNTRY AND SUBMITTED TO THE SUPREME COURT ON OCTOBER 17, 2012.

In behalf of the NCDG and VCDG,

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D. (SGD).
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro
Tel. No. (033) 3291625

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[Statement] Celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker and International Workers’ Day Through Legislating a Substantial Wage Increase

Celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker and International Workers’ Day
Through Legislating a Substantial Wage Increase
May 1, 2012

As we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker and the International Workers’ Day on May 1, we remember Blessed John Paul II who was beatified last year on the same day; and who urged everyone to uphold the principle of the “priority of labor over capital”. Blessed John Paul II, who was himself a worker, emphasized “the primacy of the human person in the production process, the primacy of people over things” (cf. Laborem Exercens, 12).

We are saddened, however, that the said Catholic teaching is not well-received in our country, the cradle of Christianity in Asia. We witness that the majority of our people continue to suffer constant increases in the prices of petroleum products, fare, basic commodities and other daily needs. As there has been no substantial increase in their wages, the real value of their wages plunges. The gap between their minimum wages and the prices of commodities continues to grow.

We are alarmed of the following findings of recent surveys:
– In an August 2011 survey by Swiss firm UBS, it was learned that Manila has the second lowest wage levels and third lowest purchasing power in the world.
– An Ibon Foundation study shows that for the period 2001-2011, wages increased by 45 per cent while prices increased by 62 percent.
– A Social Weather Station (SWS) survey shows that hunger incidence in the country went up to 22.5 percent at the end of 2011.

Indeed, our impoverished people must be given relief; and a legislated substantial wage increase is one immediate measure which will address our workers’ misery.

We also take note of studies by independent research institutions that:
-Employers in the Philippines can afford a substantial wage hike if only they accept a cut in their considerable profits. The total cost of the proposed wage hike of P125 will only be PhP194.9 billion. When subtracted from total profits, this will still leave establishments with PhP1,434.6 billion in profits, which is only a 12% cut in their profits. In 2009, all the establishments in the country of all employment sizes had combined profits of PhP1,629.5 billion and 3.94 million employees (2009 Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry (ASPBI) of the National Statistics Office).
– Despite the onset of the global crisis, the combined net income of top 1,000 corporations in 2010 nearly doubled the PhP416 billion net income in 2008, which affirms their ability to absorb a significant wage hike.
– The transfer of money from rich to poor households will increase aggregate demand and stimulate the economy.

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2012 Lenten Message reminded us, that the Sacred Scripture warns that our hearts can become hardened by a “spiritual anaesthesia” which numbs us to the suffering of others. In his encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, he also said that we must be just first, before we can be charitable. Being charitable is giving “what is mine to the other”, while being just is giving the other what is due to him (cf. Caritas in Veritate, 6). Loving our brothers and sisters, the workers, means being just to them by upholding their rights as human persons, who are also God’s co-creator. We affirm that, indeed, it is high time for high-income households to lend a hand to low-income households who are so deprived of basic necessities.

Hence, as a fitting way to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker and the International Workers’ Day on May 1, we urge the government legislators to heed the call for a legislated substantial wage increase; for all sectors concerned to show love and justness especially to those who are hungry and in need; for all of us to uphold the dignity of labor through the defense of workers’ rights.

As Christ lives,

BISHOP GERARDO ALMINAZA, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro/ Head Convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG)

VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
E-Mail Address: visayasclergydiscernment@yahoo.com · Tel. No. 033-3291625

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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

[Statement] “Everyone Especially the Government Should Be Concerned With the Welfare of the Poor” -Visayas Clergy Discernment Group

“Everyone Especially the Government Should Be Concerned With the Welfare of the Poor”
A Lenten Message

We, the bishops and clergy of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group are one with Pope Benedict XVI in his Lenten message to be “concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works” (Heb 10:24).

This Lenten Season, the Holy Father invites us to reflect on the heart of Christian life which is charity. “Being concerned” means being responsible for our brothers and sisters and not being indifferent to their plight. The true followers of Christ hold the griefs and sufferings of the poor as their own (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 1).

In the context of the Philippine society, we witness the miserable situation of a sizeable number of our people who are hungry, jobless and homeless. The unabated oil price increases result to the skyrocketing price of basic commodities, which in turn, add a heavier burden to our already suffering people.

Pope Benedict XVI also exhorted in his Lenten message that we must not remain silent before evil.

With the resurrection of Jesus Christ, He conquered sin, death and the law. His resurrection spells hope and total salvation, the salvation of the whole person.

A challenging implication of this is that God chose to partner with us in his project of salvation. Since salvation is both a gift and a task, we have to struggle untiringly for the salvation of all.

In this light, we echo Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation in Caritas in Veritate that governments must safeguard and value the human person who is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life (cf. Caritas in Veritate,
25).

Independent research institutions, however, have recently reported that oil companies have overpriced the pump price of oil by 8%-43%. In addition, the government is said to have benefited from the unregulated oil price increases as it earned revenues of P48 billion pesos annually or a total of P239.6 B in the last five years due to the 12% VAT on oil.

We thus call on the Aquino Government to manifest that it is indeed concerned with the well-being of the Filipino people by taking steps to alleviate their sufferings such as: regulating the oil industry so that oil companies will be stopped from overpricing the price of oil; removing the VAT on oil; and instituting price control over basic commodities.

May Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection inspire all of us to work for a transformed world: a new heaven and a new earth where there is no more hunger, injustice, oil price hike, exorbitant taxes, skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, graft and corruption, unfair labor practice, land monopoly, profit-orientedness and insatiable greed; where all people enjoy the fullness of life, truth, justice and genuine peace.

As Christ lives,

BISHOP GERARDO ALMINAZA, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro/ Head Convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG)
Tel. No. (033) 3291625

VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
E-Mail Address: visayasclergydiscernment@yahoo.com

[Press Release] Visayas Clergy, Bishops’ Lenten Message: Aquino Government Should be Concerned with the Poor’s Welfare

Visayas Clergy, Bishops’ Lenten Message: Aquino Government Should be Concerned with the Poor’s Welfare

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, head convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG), in a Lenten Message, called on the Aquino Government to show its concern for the poor Filipinos by taking steps to address the unabated oil price increases.

Quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s Lenten message to be “concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works,” Bishop Alminaza said that “being concerned means being responsible for our brothers and sisters and not being indifferent to their plight.”

The priests and bishops of the VCDG said that in the Philippine society where many are hungry, jobless and homeless, the occurrence of the “unabated oil price increases result to the skyrocketing price of basic commodities, which in turn, add a heavier burden to our already suffering people.”

As Pope Benedict XVI exhorted in his Lenten message that Christians must not remain silent before evil, Bishop Alminaza said that we share in God’s work of salvation; therefore, we have to struggle untiringly for the total salvation of all.

Bishop Alminaza is concerned of reports that oil companies have overpriced the pump price of diesel by 8%-43%;  and that the government is said to have benefited from the unregulated oil price increases as it earned revenues of P48 billion pesos annually or a total of P239.6 B in the last five years due to the 12% VAT on oil.

Quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate,  VCDG said that governments must safeguard and value the human person who is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life.

VCDG is urging the Aquino Government “to manifest that it is indeed concerned with the well-being of the Filipino people by taking steps to alleviate their sufferings such as: regulating the oil industry so that oil companies will be stopped from overpricing the price of oil; removing the VAT on oil; and instituting price control over basic commodities.”

VCDG  hopes that Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection inspire all people “to work for a transformed world: a new heaven and a new earth where all people enjoy the fullness of life, truth, justice and genuine peace.”

For reference:

BISHOP GERARDO ALMINAZA, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro/ Head Convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG)
Tel. No. (033) 3291625

VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
E-Mail Address: visayasclergydiscernment@yahoo.com

Press Release
March 20, 2012

[Statement] A statement on the Corona impeachment proceedings by Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D.

A STATEMENT ON THE CORONA IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS
by Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D.

Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro and Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG) Head Convenor
February 21, 2012


In Mark 4:22, Jesus said, “Whatever is hidden away will be brought out into the open; and whatever is covered up will be uncovered.”

This year, the Church celebrates the Year of Faith with the motto: Living truth in charity. I am praying with the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for truth to be held supreme… “Since God is love, truth is expressed in charity, and charity in turn reveals the truth.”

Likewise, the Holy Father reaffirmed the need for a profound conviction of the truth of God’s revelation in His Son Jesus Christ, because “if there is no truth, we have no compass and do not know where to go.” Life can be rich and beautiful only if there is truth. This conviction for truth makes it possible for the Church to re-evangelize humankind today.

Thus, I am praying that the Philippine Senate as an impeachment court against Chief Justice Renato Corona will unravel the “truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

I am praying that the impeachment court exhaust all available means to ferret out the whole truth.

Furthermore, I am praying that the court remain vigilant and prevent any attempt to suppress, hide or dilute the whole truth.

I am praying that the senator-judges, as elected servants, look at the truth from the point of view of the sovereign people of the Philippines, their Boss. Therefore, I am praying that they become aware of any personal, political or other vested interests that might becloud their lenses as jurists.

I am praying that the final verdict would always be for the Common Good, never for the benefit of just a few.

I am praying that the final verdict is reached as early as possible. Therefore, if there is enough evidence to warrant a fair, just and loving decision, I pray that this final verdict be pronounced the soonest possible.

I am praying that after giving a swift, objective, and pro-people decision on the impeachment proceedings, the senator-judges and the members of the House of Representatives, as an act of charity, return immediately to their respective legislative houses so that the many bills that are for the Common Good are passed after sufficient study, and with reasonable speed.

May the Holy Spirit of Wisdom, Justice and Love guide us. May Mary, our mother and all the saints support us.

In the Holy Spirit,

BISHOP GERARDO ALMINAZA, D.D. (SIGNED)
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro/ Head Convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG)
Tel. No. (033) 3291625

[In the news] Pope urges ‘profound renewal’ in Catholic hierarchy to combat child abuse -InterAksyon.com

Pope urges ‘profound renewal’ in Catholic hierarchy to combat child abuse
Dario Thuburn, Agence France-Presse
February 7, 2012

VATICAN CITYPope Benedict XVI urged “profound renewal” on every level of the Catholic Church to prevent child abuse, as a top cardinal conceded that canon law was not enough to deal with pedophilia.

“Healing for victims must be of paramount concern in the Christian community, and it must go hand in hand with a profound renewal of the Church at every level,” the pope said in a statement released by the Vatican.

In his message to the 200 bishops, cardinals and academic experts taking part in the Vatican’s first-ever conference on the issue, the pope also called for “a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support.”

Catholic leaders from 100 countries were taking part in the closed-door four-day meeting, as well as the Vatican’s anti-abuse prosecutor, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, and just one abuse victim, Ireland’s Marie Collins.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

[Statement] Christian Families Must Celebrate the Feast of the Holy Child by Fulfilling Transformative Role

Christian Families Must Celebrate the Feast of the Holy Child by Fulfilling Transformative Role

 A Reflection on the Feast of the Sto. Niño of Cebu
January 10, 2012

“Sto. Niño, Refuge of the Filipino Christian Family” is a theme that strikes deep into our hearts in our present age. Today, families are greatly attacked by worldly values, decadent media, internet, and modern gadgetry. Moreover, a sizable number of marginalized Filipino families are living in utter poverty.

We have to ask the following question, “How can the Sto. Niño today become the refuge of families who are landless, jobless, homeless, hungry; and which lack the basic social services such as health, education, housing and others? Our celebrations will be like empty clanging cymbals (Amos 5:21-24) if the above concrete realities of the least of the Sto. Niño’s brothers and sisters are not addressed effectively.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his Christmas 2011 homily, said that God has appeared – as a poor child. In our world today, we must cry out to God, “We love your childish estate, your powerlessness, but we suffer from the continuing presence of violence in the world, and so we also ask you: manifest your power, O God. In this time of ours, in this world of ours, cause the oppressors’ rods, the cloaks rolled in blood and the footgear of battle to be burned, so that your peace may triumph in this world of ours.”

As Christians, we are God’s instrument in social change. Thus, the theme of the Sto. Niño of Cebu fiesta celebration will re-focus us to the liberating and transformative role of the family as the focal point of evangelization and the nucleus of faith-witnessing. This brings us back to the core of our being created in God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27) where the foundation of the family is to manifest that essence and to radiate God’s love to all.

God, who is love (I Jn 4:8), wants to share and carry on this love when He “inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion” (Familiaris Consortio [FC], 11). The family is the community of persons where parents and children, husband and wife are helping each other to realize the love they have received from God and to live with fidelity the reality of communion in a constant effort to develop an authentic community of persons (FC, 18).

Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2012 message for the World Day of Prayer for Peace, explained that “the family is the first school in which we are trained in justice and peace… May the parents encourage children by the example of their lives to put their hope before all else in God, the one source of authentic justice and peace.” Concretely, the family is the first school of values and deeper humanity (FC, 66) and a center to discern one’s own vocation and to accept responsibility in search for greater justice (FC, 2). “Parents …should realize that they are thereby cooperators with the love of God the Creator, and are, so to speak, the interpreters of that love” (Gaudium et Spes, 50).

The family is the “first community called to announce the Gospel to the human person during growth and to bring him through a progressive education and catechesis to full human and Christian maturity”(FC, 2). The parents not only communicate the Gospel to the children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as lived by them (Evangelii Nuntiandi [EN], 71). The family, as foundation of society, has an essential task in genuine societal transformation and a definite ecclesial task which places itself at the service of the building up of the Kingdom of God in history.

Just as the Lord Jesus “grew both in body and wisdom” (Lk 2:52) in the family, every family should provide the solid basis for Christian formation. Here, the young people can be strengthened and be trained for family, social and apostolic life, to build a new world where true democracy, equality, love, justice and peace reign.

As Christ lives,

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D.
Head Convenor
VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
visayasclergydiscernment@yahoo.com

[Press Release] Archbishop Lagdameo summons the Church to side with the oppressed – CWC

On his address to the delegates of the CWS National Conference,
Archbishop Lagdameo summons the Church to side with the oppressed

The Church must not stay in the sidelines in the fight for justice.”

From Pope Benedict XVI, the above quote was emphasized by outgoing CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, D.D., in his keynote address to the delegates of the first plenary session of the Church People-Workers Solidarity National Conference in Cebu City.

Speaking before 800 church people and workers, Lagdameo recognized the extreme injustice and oppression experienced by the workers throughout history and averred a saying, “[i]f we are neutral in a situation of injustice, then we choose to side with the oppressors.”

Lagdameo’s message focused on the development of the Church’s social teachings which dates back to 1891 with Pope Leo XII’s Rerum Navarum, a seminal encyclical on Labor and Capital, up to Pope John Paul II’s Laborem Exercens published in 1981. The said encyclicals, which Lagdameo stressed must be lived out by the Church, underlines the modern Catholic principle of “preferential option for the poor,” and affirms the “primacy of labor over capital.”

“[These are the] Catholic Church’s best kept teachings [which are] rarely taught on pulpits and talked about in Church circles….[The Church must]  reclaim its tradition [for this is the] bench mark for the living out of our faith in this world,” Lagdameo furthered.

Sr. Emelina Villegas, ICM, Board President of labor NGO, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, was pleased with the address. She said, “I am glad because the Archbishop presented the history of the encyclicals in a developmental manner – how the Church is adapting and responding to the changing issues that confront society. Although still reactive, the Church is somehow able to cope with our changing reality. With this, my hopes are renewed and I can see that concrete action will result from this [conference].”

“No room for neutrality”

Kilusang  Mayo Uno National Chairperson, Elmer Labog, agreed with the Archbishop’s message that the Church must not be neutral when there is injustice, “In these times when connivance between capitalists and the government is ever inflicting more suffering to workers and the poor, there is no room for neutrality [for the Church]. Because if the Church will be neutral, then the workers have no one else to run to and the Church might be more easily swayed by reactionary forces.”

Valid and just calls

Former Anakpawis Partylist Representative Joel Maglunsod who also attended the conference said that learning about the Church teachings on the value of labor and human work puts Anakpawis in a high moral ground to further their calls and legislative agenda for just remuneration, security of tenure, and protection of workers’ rights and freedoms. Maglunsod noted, “The teachings of the Church only validates that the proposed bills of Anakpawis are just and legitimate in the same way that these bills were aligned with International Covenants and the 1986 Constitution.”

Why only now?

Lagdameo noted why it took decades before the Church is actually talking and doing something about its encyclicals. He explained that the canons of the Church is continuously developing and changing as society change. And while the issue of work and labor appears to be a very important concern, there are also new issues confronting society which the Church still lack knowledge of and social teachings about. These concerns include the issue of women, ecology, and the Eurocentric framework of the Church.

For his part, Labog said that it is always better late than never and the move of the Church to reach out to the workers is still a welcome development. “We hope that this conference will result to concrete steps that will truly help the workers in organizing and forming unions. Forming church people-worker groups in economic zones in Mactan, Cavite, Mindanao and some parts of Central Luzon will be of utmost help as workers in these areas experience severe exploitation and oppression.###

Reference: Roxanne Omega Doron, Media Liaison CWS, cws.cebu@yahoo.com, churchpeople.workers.solidarity@gmail.com, 09217862022.

[Events] May 1 Eucharistic Celebration and Mobilization – Church-Labor Conference

The Church considers it her task always to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work, to condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and to help to guide the above-mentioned changes so as to ensure authentic progress by man,woman and society. Laborem exercens # 1

CHURCH-LABOR CONFERENCE (CLC)
INVITES YOU and YOUR COMMUNITY
TO JOIN THE
EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION
(to be presided by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, D.D.)

and MOBILILIZATION
on MAY 1, 2011,
10:30 A.M.
at Mendiola, Manila

End ENDO by CLC

Kontra Kontaktuwalisasyon by CLC

Different labor groups will assemble at Mendiola on May 1 to commemorate the International Labor Day at the same time Celebrate the Beatification of Pope John Paul II. The Pope had been very vocal in his teachings and encyclicals about the injustices and oppression in the world of work.
We enjoin you to be part of this meaningful celebration. For inquiries please contact Des or Francis at tel. # 721-5916.