Wednesday, March 22, 2017

PHILIPPINES, MY POOR PHILIPPINES!


 This is certainly not merely about the poor, the pitiful if not downright miserable socio-economic standard of living of a big number of Filipinos.  Neither is this but the phenomenon of many men/fathers and women/mothers thus leaving the Country to find and have their means of living in foreign Nations and wherefore about the thousands of poor and miserable people who live under the bridges, have their houses by the canals, sell whatever things in the streets, sleep on the sidewalks – not to mention those who occupy houses built for others.

This is about ENERGY – with its up and down prices, its ill-effects on health and the environ.  Their producers lord over the consumers who then resort to illegal and hazardous connections, who use candles or gas to light up their houses.

This is about TRAFFIC – that harasses passengers, that takes a lot of precious time to go from one place to another.  So many traffic chiefs have been named one after the other.  But traffic jams even become worse from one year to another.

This is about DRUGS – which is anything but life-giving, life-enhancing.  So it is that prohibited and thus illegal drugs have become synonymous with death, be someone a user, a seller, a distributor, a manufacturer.

This is about CRIMINALITY – that means among other things, downright selling of women and/or children, grossly cheating or  stealing, seriously crippling or downright killing these and those individuals for whatever reason or purpose.

This is about the DEATH SENTENCE – that goes hand-in-hand  with an unjust Justice System where the powerful and the wealthy are exempted therefrom, when  only the helpless and miserable are strictly covered.

This is about MINDANAO – that is synonymous with discontent that leads to unending deadly warring  tribes lording  it up in different sections of the region, and where foreigners are now and then kidnapped for ransom under penalty of death.

This is about the NPA and NDF – whose members have become experts in causing apprehension and fear, collecting taxes here and there, destroying assets, ending lives such that it has come to treasure deadly dissent instead of unity and peace.

This is about CHINA – that is now slowly but surely conquering the Philippines in the latter’s territorial rights not with guns and bullets but with economic baits and social commitments and promissory benefits.  USA already did this before.

This is about the USA and the EUROPEAN UNION – that look down at the Philippines as if it were under their socio-political jurisdiction, telling if not threatening the latter  with economic sanctions and socio-political pressure.

Philippines my poor Philippines!



Monday, March 20, 2017

PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY


In Practice, the “Principle of Subsidiarity” basically means the following three main normative application or observance thereof:  One, what individuals can do by themselves should not be denied or taken away from them particularly by government agencies, by public officials, or civil authorities.  Two, what individuals cannot accomplish by themselves out of their own personal possibilities and effort for their own good or betterment, should be attended  to and helped by the said public entities.  Three, the Principle wherefore  in substance means that there should be supplementation and complementation by the able to the unable, between the capable and the helpless.  All these normative observances are in accord with human dignity and social relationship among people – where the less capable is not downgraded nor the more able acquires superiority complex.

The “Principle of Subsidiarity”  is a constituent element of the Social Doctrine of the Church from the very start whereas it is basically along the nature and spirit of the cardinal mandate of “Love of neighbor.”  -- which is second only to “Love of God.” In the realm of standard and civilized human society, while the love of neighbor certainly includes everybody, it has special relevance and significance in favor of those who have less in life and capability in the present and in the foreseeable future.  It is then incumbent upon those who are more able and have more, to give them “Subsidium” – or help, support, assistance and the like.

In essence wherefore, the above said “Subsidium” – which is the root word of “Subsidiarity” – means subsidy, i.e., aid, subvention  or assistance handed or extended  to those who need it for being less able  and for those having less in life and resources.  But the same principle of “Subsidiarity” also says that those who already have what they need and are wherefore already able to provide for themselves – these should be left alone in the sense that social officialdom should instead give their beneficial attention to those who really need it, not withstanding all the latter’s honest efforts to be self-sufficient, self-reliant.  Otherwise, dependency if not downright indolence would be instead fomented which is abrogative of human dignity.

So it is that the “Principle of Subsidiarity” – as affirmed and promoted by the Social Doctrine of the Church – defends people from abuses by high level social authorities  and calls on the same public figures and intermediate groups to make people not only exercise their rights but also fulfill their duties as individuals, as members of society, as citizens of a Country.  The “Principle” is imperative because every human person, human family, and human intermediate groupings have something original to offer to the community as a whole.  So it is that someone may be helpless but not hopeless, may be poor but not useless, may be wanting but still counted among the living – and human life is priceless.

Certain marked opposites of the “Principle of Subsidiarity” are public supremacy instead of public service, superiority complex rather than substantive equality, egoistic self-service in place of altruistic attention and care.  So sad yet so true.       

Friday, March 17, 2017

PRIVATE PROPERTY


The official Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church formally released by the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace (ISBN 88-209-7651-X)  brings to fore in right and proper, plain and succinct language, the substance of the fundamental, realistic as well as altruistic Social Teaching of the Church in terms of realities and truths that find relevance specially during these times – with the existent contradiction that the wealthier the world becomes, the more these and those people suffer from misery and destitution, from hunger and sickness.  Among other truly negative realities existent in today’s materialistic world are found primarily existent in the errant understanding of “Private Property” as if this has no social dimensions at all of any kind, in any given circumstance.  So it is that in the Philippines today, while there are well-endowed families and clans that live in this and that wealthy and thus famous plush villages, there are very much more people practically naked and usually starving that live under the bridges, by the canals if not in downright public sidewalks.  This is strange but true.  And the big culprit in such a nauseating and disgusting phenomenon is by and large the wrong understanding of “Private Property”.

It might be then not only necessary but also practical for the sake of brevity and clarity, that the following key contents of the Social Doctrine of the Church about “Private Property” in general be forwarded in some kind of an outline form for their easy, ready, and better understanding:

1.  That with the employ of the gift of intelligence, the observance of industry and the use of skill, people acquire dominion over temporal goods which become their private property basically by virtue of their private initiative, pursuant skill, and consequent personal industry.

2.  That the right to private property however is neither absolute nor beyond regulation through proper legislations and pursuant implementation thereof, considering that the said right is within the broader context of the universal destination, the social dimension of temporal goods.

3.  That the various forms of juridical regulations of private property are but means in respecting the universal destination of material assets, thereby making private property but a means and not an end – with the simple thought that the wealth of the world is not but for some but for all people.

4.  That any form of private ownership may not erase the social dimension and function of temporal goods whereas otherwise, there would be nothing less than human beings themselves who could be unjustly left with nothing at all which is clearly unjust and could be unhuman as well.


5.  That so it is that an equitable distribution of land itself remains not only mandatory but also critical, particularly in developing Countries where some families claim/have so much thereof and thus practically leaving many others empty-handed.    

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

UNIVERSAL DESTINATION OF GOODS

In her formal, consistent and emphatic teaching on the inherent rationale of temporal goods – material assets, developmental resource, temporal gains – the Church has a Social Doctrine, a key principle of which is the universal right to use the goods of the earth squarely based on the principle of the “Universal Destination of Goods” (cf. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, 2004, ISBN 88-209-7651-X).  In other words, no one is altogether excluded from having temporal goods for the well-being of his/her person – body and spirit which together means human life.  In the same way, no one in his/her right mind could in any way claim that he/she is the sole beneficiary of the material goods the world over.  Thus rests the fundamental meaning of the “Common Good” – an asset that should ultimately benefit all and that should not in fact exclude anyone from the good it brings about.

The truth is that even private property of someone does not really lose its imprint of commonality the moment his neighbors have the dire need to benefit therefrom somehow, someway – together with its private owner.  This is in no way meant to praise indolence.  It only proclaims the superior truth that it is humanity as a whole that is the universal destination and beneficiary of temporal goods, i.e., neither one family nor one Country but all peoples the world over – irrespective of race, color and creed.

The meaning of the “Universal Destination of Temporal Goods” is wherefore squarely founded on the following truths:  One, that it is Divinity that made all the goods of the earth – above it, on it, inside it – with their actual as well as multi-potential built-in benefits.  Two, that it is also Divinity that placed humanity on earth to live herein as well as to live therefrom through their actual and potential beneficial features from the sky, the sea and the soil.  Three, that the two previously said basic truths are intimately paired such that to separate one from the other is nothing less than against the will and design of Divinity for the good and welfare of humanity.  So is it that when people even but dare to separate the said pairing – Divinity and humanity – they are the very ones who eventually suffer for such fatal error and consequent devious practices potentially productive of social anger, unrest if not deadly revenge.

In other words, earthly goods should be fairly shared in the light of equity and in the spirit of charity.  Again:  The whole earth – its assets, resources, and potentials – is for the whole of humanity, for the fruition and sustenance of all its members.  No man, woman, or child can live and continue living without temporal or material goods whereby he/she grows, lives, and associates  with others in accord with his/her nature as a social being.  The following basic truths are thus worth remembering:  One, every human person has the natural (innate) right to use earthly goods for his/her maintenance, growth, and development.  Two, the ingrained right of every human person to use and benefit from the earthly goods is beyond any legal system to cancel or altogether deny.  Three, all other rights however, such as the right to private property, the right to free trade and the like, remain subordinate to the nature and meaning of the “Universal Destination of  Temporal goods”.      








Monday, March 13, 2017

AGE OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY

Specifically  in the matter of good manners and right conduct, one of the now well existent big predicament of young people up to fifteen years (15) old sadly consists in their personal witnessing of the truly bad manners and really  wrong conduct of older individuals – be these their own elders, close friends and/or these and those adults they come to meet and to know.  There is a rather well-known saying that Words are mere sounds but examples entice.  So it is that given the many and serious errant examples, amoral action and reaction patterns of their  elders, a good number of young people themselves nonchalantly commit downright crimes to the surprise, apprehension and even disgust of the older individuals.

The immediate conclusion and instant recourse of their elders – the Legislators  in particular came loud and clear:  Lower the age of criminal liability from fifteen (15) years old to whatever agreed  much younger age!  This move would frighten even but really young people to commit crimes, would make them obey the laws  of the Land and thus become better individuals of their communities, better citizens of the Country.  In other words, apply the Penal Law of the Country even to young people below fifteen (15) years old and there will be a more trustworthy and dependable young people, a more safe and peaceful Philippines.

Wrong!  Why?  If a good number of the youth of today behave badly, do wrong and even engage in criminal acts as a matter of fact, the more realistic reason for such socio-moral malady is not really their young age of fifteen(15) years old.  The more common and pervasive causal factor of their criminal actuations is the more and more criminal actions and reactions of their elders who are in fact becoming more in number and insensitivity.  This very disturbing phenomenon find its basic causal factor in way downright killings day and night, here and there that have practically become the standard reality and practice  of the times.  Human rights there are none – except for the rich and powerful.

What is right or wrong, what is just or unjust do not matter really whereas might is right.  This is the living lamentable  as well as dangerous  socio-unethical reality  now obtaining  in the Country that is so evident that it is downright foolish to ask for evidence or proof thereof.  What is more pitiful and unreasonable is that there are supposedly learned and even wise Legislators who want to resolve the above said social liability by simply lowering the physical age of the youth – to but boys and girls – for their criminal prosecution.  This is a case of proposed solution much worse than the problem.

“The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines implores the Congress of the Philippines to keep intact the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, specially regarding the age of criminal liability.”  (CBCP Statement on the Age of Criminal Liability, 10 January 2017)


Is it so hard to understand that if the young people of today are not exactly angels, when incarnate devils they become, this is by and large on account of the devilish value system and consequent amoral action patterns of their elders?  Correct wherefore the elders – not penalize the youth of the Country.