Archive for February, 2010

Honor thy Father and thy Mother (Exodus 20:12) (“Ang hirap magpalaki ng magulang”)

February 23, 2010

As said in the Bible children should honor their parents that they may live long. Of course honoring parents is not as simple as being courteous to them. It entails discipline, complying with their commands, and listening to their admonitions. Disciplined and respectful children to their parents are children who most likely succeed in life. Undisciplined and unrespectful children are most likely the one who met a tragic end.

Marami na tayong nabalitaang mga kabataan na napahamak dahil lang sa hindi nila pagsunod sa payo ng kanilang mga magulang. Sa totoo lang walang mga magulang ang nagnanais na mapahamak ang> kanilang mga anak. Kaya lahat na lang na mga pangaral at pagdidisiplina ay kanilang ginagawa upang hindi mapariwara ang buhay ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay. Ngunit sa kabila ng lahat na pag-aaruga at pangaral ng mga magulang sa kanilang mga anak ay binabale wala lang ito ng ibang anak. Akala nila kaya na nilang mabuhay na hindi ginagabayan ng mga magulang. Lumaki silang walang disiplina, mga pasaway at kung minsan ay gumon sa mga masasamang bisyo.

Ilang mga kabataang babae na rin na ayaw makinig sa pangaral ng mga magulang ang napahamak; may mga pinaslang, iyong mga iba ay pinagsamantalaan, may nanganak na dalaga, at nakakapanghinayang naging kalapating mababa ang lipad magkapera lang para matustosan ang mga bisyo lalo na sa droga. Anong mararamdaman ko kung ikaw ang isa sa mga magulang ng mga kabataang ito? Di ba halos na madurog ang iyong puso?

Sa isang banda may mga magulang din na nagkukulang sa pangaral sa mga anak. Pinababayaan lang ang mga ito dahil sa paghahanap-buhay, o sila man din ay mga dilingkuwenteng magulang. Gumon din sila sa bisyo, sugal, alak, droga, sex, at kung ano-ano pang bagay na makapagbibigay sa kanila ng panandaliang kaligayahan. At ano ang iyong aasahan sa kanilang mga anak? Di ba mga isinusuka din ng lipunan dahil sa mga masasamang gawain?

May mga anak pulitiko at opisyal nga diyan ng gobiyerno na ipinapangahas nila ang kapangyarihang taglay ng mga magulang kaya sila’y naghahari-hairan diyan at siga sa lansangan. Matitigan mo lang ay gulpe sarado na ang iyong aabutin. Pero kapag nakaharap din nila ang kanilang katapat, ayon sa kulungan o kung hindi man ay sa sementeryo ang bagsak. Nakakalungkot, pasama nang pasama na ngayon ang ibang mga kabataan. Nagnanakaw, pumapatay, naninira na ari-arian ng iba, at nanakit pa sa iba. Kapag kinanti mo naman ang mga iyan ay katakot-takot na reklamo ang kakaharapin mo sa mga kunsintidor na magulang.

Hindi lang sa mga mayayaman nagmumula ang mga pasaway at tila asal hayop na mga kabataan. Sa mga mahihirap din. Ipinapangahas ng mga ito ang pagiging mamatay tao, siga, at koneksiyon ng mga magulang sa mga masasamang pulitiko, opisyal ng gobiyerno, pulis at saka militar. Mga magulang kasi ang ginagamit ng mga ito sa mga illegal nilang gawain. Pero may mga kabataan din diyan na sa sobrang kahirapan ay hindi nakapag-aral at hindi natuto ng good manners and right conduct. Kulang sila sa values education, hindi nila alam kun ano ang masama at kung ano ang mabuti para maging karapat-dapat silang bahagi ng lipunan.

Sa ngayon ay maraming lumalabag sa kagandahang asal, marami diyan ang mga kabataan na walang respeto sa iba. Maraming tao ang naging masama dahil isinantabi nila ang ika-limang bilin ng Diyos: “Honor thy Father and thy Mother.”

Sa kabila ng lahat, mga magulang pa rin ang siyang sisisihin at mananagot (morally) kung bilang naging salot man sa lipunan ang kanilang mga anak. Kahit saan mang antas ng lipunan sila nabibilang, ang tanong, ginampanan ba nila ng mahusay ang kanilang mga responsibilidad bilang mga mabubuting magulang?

“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14)

February 15, 2010

Adultery is a “Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse” according to American Heritage Dictionary. Likewise Webster similarly defines Adultery as “Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband.” Between the two, I would prefer the Webster’s definition it is more comprehensive and encompassing.

On the other hand, what if a couple engages in pre-marital sex? How do we define their acts altogether? According to Webster a “Consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other” is known as fornication. Similarly adultery and fornication are two morally and legally sinful acts. But how is one different from the other? Adultery refers to “MARRIED” persons engaging in unlawful sexual acts while fornication applies to unmarried persons engaging in pre-marital sex. Both are immoral acts of sexual infidelity. Although Bible scholars debate in so many aspects with regards to the definitions and parameters that characterize sexual immorality be it adultery and fornication.

In this article I am more concerned however on the consequences of illicit sexual acts pre-marital sex or adultery. Let the theologians and legal minds do the differentiations and qualifications of immorality and sexual misconducts to address the issues on sodomy and homosexuality. As a socio-behaviorist I am more concerned on the social and personal implications of sexual immorality in terms of social order and sound social life.

It is difficult too to question people’s moral values and motive when it comes to preferred human sexuality and sexual behavior. But there are moral and legal guidelines however that regulate human’s sexual acts and behavior. Admittedly there are physiological, social as well as psychological factors that drives one person to commit acts of sexual immorality and mis-behavior. But to dwell on these issues require lengthy discussions. Suffice to say there are personal choices we make because we are not in control of ourselves. We have physical attractions and emotional drives that help us plunge into sexual misbehaving and immorality.

If such immoral sexual acts happened to one or more persons then who takes the blame; the family, the church, the educational institution, and the community? Moral values are supposed to be taught in school, church, and the family. But there are instances also when negative values are caught in said social institutions. Many young people have engaged in sexual immorality because their parents have failed to discipline them and protect them from all sorts of moral distractions. What is ironic is that some children have learned these things at home. Likewise many young people have been conditioned by the media particularly the internet on free expressions including human sexuality. It is easier now for young people to engage in pre-marital sex, sexual abuse, and adultery because of “bad” media influence.

But what are the consequences of adultery and all forms of sexual immorality? The Bible speaks of spiritual death, our legal system deal with adulterers with criminal liability. But going further there are social and psychological consequences to consider as well:

Pregnancy is just one of the serious consequences of sexual immorality to unwed couples. For one thing its not only the couple but the entire family is affected with out of wedlock pregnancies. If ever the out of wedlock pregnancy is sustained, there is still that problem of supporting the child (illegitimate or legitimised) financially, socially, and psychologically. This is one of the problems encountered now by Mer’s friend. Even at this time, many Filipinos are still uncomfortable dealing with illegitimate children. There are children who refuse to go to school or mingle with other people because they are afraid to be called on the streets “Bastardo.” While this does not happen to all, many children born out of wedlock are susceptible to emotional as well as physical abuse. The stigma of being an illegitimate child will always be there and sometimes it works against the emotional and social development of the child. In parallel terms there are reported cases too of illegitimate children who are undisciplined, unruly, delinquent, and drug abusers. While this does not apply to all too, many of those born out of wedlock from “women of the street” do take the footsteps of their parents later in life. But the worst thing to happen to unguided young women who have problems of unwed pregnancies could be suicide and abortion.

Parents still play a very important rule in disciplining their children and teaching them the values of moral servitude. An open line of communication shall be established for children and their families so as to guide them morally and spiritually. Parents who spend lesser time with their children are most so often of having children engaging in pre-marital sex. Young adults need to communicate often with their parents and friends about their feelings and relationship with the opposite xes so as to be enlightened and affirmed always not to be seduced but stand firm with their moral convictions. But what shall we do to one who is already pregnant out of wedlock? We have to exercise more compassion, understanding, empathy, and gentle admonition so as to avoid duplication of similar problem again in the future.

Unmarried couple going to the motels again to celebrate the Valentines day, think it again!

Sangang Landas-kung saan ka man nanggaling ay doon ka rin babalik

February 7, 2010

Magkababata sila, magkalaro, and they shared almost everything. Hubad mang naliligo sa ilog ay wala silang malisya. Alam ng lalaki na may nunal sa ari magkabilang labi ng ari ang babae. Ang babae naman ay nabuo na sa kanyang isipan na ang ari pala ng lalaki ay parang ibong may talukbong at dalawang itlog na hindi pa napipisa. At huwag na huwag mong susundotin dahil itoy maninigas sa galit at parang kobrang tutuklawin ka.
Pero hindi tuklaw ng makamandag na kobra ang naranasan ni Belen nang minsan ay naglambitin siya dito habang silang dalawa ni Aquilino ay sumisisid sa ilog kundi magkapatid na sampal. Ikaw ba naman ay paglambitinan sa iyong ibon at itlog ano ang iyong mararamdaman?
Ito na ang huling pagkikita at paguusap nila. Sa matuwid na landas napadpad si Aquilino. Pinakiusapan ng kanyang tito Martin na sakristan ang kanyang bosing, si Father Damian Tomaneng na tulongan sana ng simbahan ang pag-aaral ni Aquilino para maging isang pari. Natuwa ang tomador, este si padre Tomaneng sa narinig. Kukunti na lang kasi ang gustong magpari. Kung mayroon man, ay hindi nagpapatuloy ang mga iba dahil nababaling ang kanilang atensiyon sa mga naggagandahang anak ni Eva.
Kaya ganon na lang kasusi ang pagtatanong sa kanya ni Father Tomaneng tungkol sa pagkatao ng pamangkin.
“Ala e, natitiyak ko sa iyo padre na mabuting bata itong aking pamangkin. Ulila nang lubos at ako na lang ang umaaruga sa kanya. Kaya bago po siya makitim ng sioktong ay ipadala na natin sa seminaryo para mapalapit po siya sa Diyos.”
“Alam ko Martin, pero pogi at mestisohin iyang pamangkin mo baka paglaki ay pagaagawan ng mga babae. Sa halip na maging pari ay maging padre de pamilya?”
Umiling ng 360 degrees si mang Martin.
“Hindi mangyayari iyong padre. Sanay na iyang makakita ng ari ng babae.”
Nagulat ang pari sa narinig.
“Pssst, huwag mong lakasan ang magsalita. Bakit sinabi mong siya’y sanay na makakita ng ari ng babae?,” bulong ng pari.
“Ay si padre naman kung ano-ano ang iniisip. Babae po ang kanyang kalaro araw-araw at madalas silang naliligo sa ilog na hubad. Kabisado na nila ang isat isa.”
Kabisado nga ba? Hindi na po.
Iyong inaakalang ibong nakatalukbong na may dalawang itlog na hindi pa napipisa ay hindi mo na makikilala ngayon. Tinigpas ng kultura at tradisyon ang kanyang kinamumuhiang talukbong. Ngayon ay wala na siyang ipinag-iba pa sa isang pingas na panabong. Kung noon ay isa siyang maliit lamang ng bulate, ngayon ay isa na siyang anaconda na nangangailangan ng makakapal na damo upang magtago. Nandoon pa rin ang dalawang itlog na naglalambitin, hindi pa napipisa at mabubugok na yata sa kanyang pagtira sa apat na sulok ng seminaryo.
Kung may nagbago man kay Aquilino ay gayun din kay Belen. Mas malalaki na ngayon ang kanyang mga dedeng na noon ay ga-nunal pa laman. Kinaiinggitan na ngayon ang kanilang mga laki at hubog. Hindi lang maganda sa tayo at pagkabilog, mapupula pa ang mga utong. Kung ang dating kepyas ay payat at panot, sa pagdaraan ng mga panahon ay tumambok na at napapalibutan pa ng nagkakapalang damo. Ngayon kung siya’y tawagin ay PP (paraisong panundotan).
Sa mga panalangin nagabayan si Aquilino kaya hindi niya binigo sina mang Martin at padre Tomaneng. Isa na siyang ordinadong pari ngayon at gusto nang magretiro ni father Tomaneng sa pagpapari dahil may edad na siya (“Edad, ipagtempla mo nga ako ng kape iha”) at wala na siyang gagawin pa kundi magrosaryo na lang tuwing rosary hour (“Rosario, halika pakimasahe mo nga ako sandali sa kuwarto iha”).
Mga tugtuging mahaharot naman ang siyang pumukaw sa tulog na kamalayan ni Belen sa kamundohan. Hindi na naalis pa sa kanyang isipan ang ibong pinakaiingatan ni Aquilino na kanyang pinaglambitinan noon. Ngayon hindi na siya naglalambitin pa, pagkatapos ng unang karanasan sa isang pilyong binatilyo ay pinakinabangan niya ng kanyang mga labi at dila sa pagpapaligaya ng kanyang mga kustomer na Hapon, Arabo, at mga Amerikano. Ilang siya sa mga Pilipino baka masampal pa siya uli kapag nanlambitin na naman. Una siyang naging dancer hanggang naging ganap na sex worker. Kahirapan ang sumira sa kanyang pagkatao, maging ang kanyang kalusogan.
Umuwi siya sa kanilang bayan upang doon na hintayin ang kanyang kamatayan. Ngunit bago mangyari pa ito ay kailangan niya muna ang maghugas ng kanyang mga kasalanan. Isa siyang Magdalena na naghahanap ng isang Kristo na magpapatawad sa kanyang mga pagkakasala. Kaso hindi na lang siya dumeretso kay Bro, naghanap pa ng pari.
Kay padre Aquilino siya nangumpisal, kay padre Aquilino niya ipinagtapat ang lahat ng kanyang mga saloobin. Ang kanyang lihim na pag-ibig sa dating kalaro na si Kelly. Kung hindi pa gago ito bakit siya iniwan ng dahilan lang sa kanyang paglalambitin sa ibon nito. Natatawa man sa narinig si padre Aquilino ay pinigilan ang sarili. Isang spiritual na bagay ang kanyang ginagawa kay manatili siyang tapat at seryoso sa pakikinig sa sino mang mangungumpisal.
Pagkatapos mangumpisal ni Belen ay kaagad naman niyang natamo ang kapatawaran sa pari. Iyong nga lamang ay magdasal siya ng sampong “Our Father” at sampong “Hail Mary.” Maliit lang ang task na pinagagawa sa kanya ng pari dahil kahit si padre kumpesor ay may kasalanan din sa kanya. Ngunit paano niya ito maihihingi ng tawad. Kailangan ba niyang lumuhod sa isang dating Pokpok upang humingi ng tawad sa kanyang pagkakasampal dito?
Mabuti na lang bago nalagutan ng hininga si Belen ay nakausap pa niya ito ng personal. Isinakay niya sa isang tricycle si Belen at dinala sa ilog na dati nilang pinupuntahan upang maligo at maglaro. Gustong sariwain ni Kelly kasama si Belen ang lumipas nilang kamusmosan sa Ilog Paraiso.
Pero pati ang hitsura ng ilog ngayon ay nagbago na rin. Wala nang linaw pa ang tubig nitong umaagos na gustong-gusto nilang pagbabarang maghapon noon. Ngayon ay tanging mga nagkakapalang bula ang siyang umaapaw at umaagos dito ngayon sanhi ng mga Chemical wastes na itinatapon ng isang malaking pabrika na pagaari ng mga dayuhang Intsik at Koreano.
Gayon pa man ay saglit nilang nakalimutan ang mga nakakarimarim na tanawin sa kapaligiran.
Ang tanging nakikita nila ngayon ay ang dalawang batang napakasaya at walang sawang naglalaro sa mala-paraisong ilog. Kaya nga tinawag siyang Ilog Paraiso dahil sa likas na yaman at ganda ng kapaligiran. Para sa kanila wala nang gaganda pa sa mga naririnig na awit ng mga ibon at haplos ng hangin sa mga naghahampasang sanga at dahon ng mga puno. Hindi na muling babalik pa ang kanilang paraiso ganon din ang kanilang kamusmosan.
Nakangiting iniwan ni Belen ang daigdig na ito para mauna na sa tunay na paraiso ng Diyos. Gaya ng kanyang kahilingan ay isinaboy ang mga abo ni Belen sa ilog kasama ang iba pang mga dumi.
At habang nandiyan ang mga isyu at dumi ng lipunan ay manatili sa kanyang tungkulin si Aquilino bilang isang pari upang gabayan ang mga tao nang di mawala sa tuwid na landas. Mahirap nang linisin pa ang pisikal na anyo ng daigdig, ngunit sa ispiritwal na buhay ng mga tao ay may pag-asa pa.
At bilang isang pari ay tatahakin niya ang landas na ito hanggang sa kahulihuliang hininga ng kanyang buhay. Nais niya na sa langit din sila magkikita ni Belen, at mabuhay ng walang hanggang sa glorya ng Diyos.

POLITICIAN’S BROKEN PROMISES- (Yes, may pag-asa pa!)

February 3, 2010

It’s a heated political discussion in Secondlady’s Parliament of the Extreme. The wise and the fool want to trace the roots of poverty and underdevelopment in this land. These wise men and women pretending as senators and congressmen are now closing in to the eye of the problem. They temporarily abandoned the concept of greed, ignorance, and incompetence in the government so as not to see a couple of horns in their heads.

Gloria, not her excellency, raised the question: ” Is there such a thing as politician’s broken promises?”

But Randy the KSP and pasaway made fun with her question.

“Why did somebody promise you a grand wedding but instead ran away with a gay?”

Laughter followed. I had to intervene.

“This is a serious class discussion, behave or I’ll send you out.”

Emong the OFW son manifested his intention to participate. Permission was granted.

“Ma’am Seg, my classmates I just want to be clarified about a few things in relation to our topic. First, in the use of the word ‘promise.’ What is that being ‘promised’ by the politician? His platform of goverment or the programs/services he intends to do/accomplish during his/his term of office; second how does a politician arrive at his platform of government? Is it with consultation to people around him or he just based it on what he things/knows as best and right for the interest of his country and people; and third, for a politician to pursue his platform of government he has to translate everything into specific programs and services to be implemented. The question is this, are people involved (particularly those in the grassroots) in the identification of these needs, problems, solutions and their aspirations to keep the public official busy during his term of office? If not, nothing worthwhile is expected hence the notion of a broken promise.”

Samantha, the free thinker in the class raised her hand. I acknowledged her.

And she said: “Emong used the term “platform of government.” Is it really a “platform of government” that he is talking or he means a “political/party platform?” To me kasi, the the term platform of government is a more neutral term, it is a collective vision of what a government should be. This is people’s ideal not necessarily be that of a politician and his party.”

“And what’s the point you’re driving at Samantha Samantha?” I asked.

“Whether you are LP, NP, PALAKA, PM, KBL, UNO, etc., when you talk of platform of government your ideals and goals to serve goes beyond the boundaries of your personal/party interest. Everything you do is for the general interest of the majority of your people/constitutents, be they are rich or poor. And this is what Emong is saying as consultative goverment/governance. But I bet, most of these politicians are mouthing only the political platform of their party. It may not necessary address the needs of the majority but of the few. E, sabi pa naman, the government exists for the interest of the majority not of the few.”

Before I could say something somebody called our attention that Gloria’s question is not yet answered.

Joy the pragmatic mind stood up and said: “Kaya nga iyong sinasabi ninyong broken promises is a result of subordinating people’s interests over personal and party’s interest. The politician once elected into office has to attend first to his party’s interest, particularly those who support him during elections rather than those of his general constituents when it comes to implementation of programs and services. Siempre uunahin niya kaagad iyong mga bomoto sa kanya. Ladies and gentlemen this is partisan politics. This is the root of all the evil of governance in this country.”

Laughter and much applause followed.

“Para kang si Brenda niyan,” somebody shouted.

“Hey tumigil ka diyan, if you really know something makipag-participate ka ng maayos.

I saw somebody raising his hand at the corner. It’s Joel the son of a minister and the class’s moralist.

“Okay class let’s hear from Joel. Joel…”

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). The problem with us is that people have impinged their hopes to the politicians with the notion these men and women in the government chosen by the majority of the electorate to serve are fix-all technicians. Governance is a participative process, tell them what you need and discuss how you collectively act on it. Ma’am Seg said once, no public servant is really a servant at all. If I understand her right, sa akin lang, kung gusto ng mga tao ang pagbabago ay kumilos din sila. They too have to participate. She used the term “makialam.”

Somebody butted in. “Kaya nga hindi tayo nagkakaisa masyadong maraming pakialamero diyan. We have an abused system and abused exercise of democracy. The government, politicians and officials at that, are overwhelmed by so many issues and problems of the country. They just don’t know where and how to start. They are at lost how to satisfy everybody. And they just don’t know what else project they do to make money.”

Metring, the working student, also expressed what is in her mind. “First of all I would like to say there is an incongruence of minds– from the government institutions, the politicians, officials, and the people. People are also divided on what they think as the problem of the country. The government institutions plan and propose budget to fulfil their mandates based on their studies and feedback from their own people in the field; and what the politicians understand about programs and services is nothing but personal accomplishments which will have an impact to the electorates later. It may not be the need, it may not be the solution to the need, it’s a kapalpakan. Suma tutal, nagpapapogi lang. For all you know what they claim as accomplishments are failed projects to the people. Perhaps you can even say- to those who failed to see the significance of these projects may consider the same as ‘the broken promises’ of ‘an honest government sana’ kung hindi nila ito pinagkakitaan.”

And now the activist mind stood up and said: “The government is a system of power which reside on the will of the people. But the politicians thwart this ideal once in power. Once elected they think they are now the power themselves not the people. Classic example the Maguindanao case. They are now the government, they are now the laws, they are now in control of everything including the people’s mind. They say to the people, this is your need, and this is what the government can do. And all of these things ay ‘utang na loob ninyo’ sa aming mga politicians.”

Raising his fist he said, “down with all those politicians who act more for the advantage of foreign interest than our national interest. Mga nagpapagamit lang iyan, mga salot na sanhi ng paghihirap ng mga tao. They promised to pursue the welfare and interest of the people but sad to say they preserve instead the interest of their capitalist masters. It’s not on hanging projects and services alone which they have failed in their promises, it is on subordinating the interest of their nation for their personal gain. Example? Ito, Seg este Sec. may dalawang daan ka rito.”

His political statement created much laughters and uproar in the class.

I wish I could have more time with them discussing political issues. This is not a political science course, it’s a class on social problems and development. But we all agree on one thing, a political problem is a social problem, and a social problem is a political problem. Both impair efficient and honest governance. We have graft and corruption in the government because it runs in the system. People are fragmented by their political party affiliations. We perceive that politicians, businessmen, industrialists, and foreign powers have a hand on this. In a highly corrupt and politicized system, all what the people could expect from them politicians are nothing but broken promises. The have a faulty view of their political platform, they neglect people’s interest to give way to their party interests. And when they talk about programs and services, it is not on what the people want but on what they believe is useful and necessary to them.

But as they say it in the neighborhood, puwera de los buenos. Which means while there are corrupt public officials and politicians there are also a few good ones. But their tribe is still need to increase. Until such time we see more of them, we will never be done with politician’s broken promises.

My students do not showcase the best minds in the world. Many of them are struggling to survive in many of their subjects. But there is one strength (a glimpse of hope for tomorrow) I see in them, they are aware of issues and they will never give up on what they believe is right. Yes, right for their country.

Our class is no Senate, although one or two attempted to be a clown in the circus. But these are serious students who still believe, we are not done yet with the Philippines.

Yes, may pag-asa pa!