A glorious attempt to pacify Romans 13 warriors 🙂 With historical background and context of Romans 13, brief analysis on the 21st Century Philippine Government, the Sacred Contract, and Jesus.
“The Constitution is indeed a “sacred contract” between the “sovereign Filipino people” and the public servants who were elected or employed to serve the people. This document is our “governing authority.” The authority of our public servants flow from this Constitution. By ratifying it, we the Filipino people agreed to be governed by it. All of us–may we be ordinary citizens or elected public servants–are to be subject to this “governing authority.” No one is “above the law.”
…Understanding this, we can say that government officials are accountable to us, the sovereign people. Furthermore, I believe it is we the “sovereign Filipino people” that will give an account to God for the kind of government that we allow to operate so that the justice and righteousness of God may be established in our nation.” ~ Caloy Magsakay Diño
I’ve gotten myself into a number of discussions on social media and small group huddles lately, about what followers of Jesus are supposed to do during these politically turbulent times. Every now and then, someone would give a sharp critique of certain actions of the government, critiques which I consider to be quite reasonable.
So I find it strange when in response to these criticisms, someone would say, “but should’t we just obey Romans 13?”
I do not know any of them personally; I haven’t had any encounter with them in the past. But when I heard the news about the gruesome killing of some of their men, mixed grief and anger were enough to tell me that same blood rushes through our veins, that I belong with them and they with with me; and that compels me to raise my voice and shout #StopLumadKillings.
They are the Lumad–an indigenous group of people in Surigao del Sur, Mindanao in the Philippines. They are not slaves. They are a free people. They are the Lumad–my kapwa Pilipino, my kapwa tao.
Three of the Lumad leaders were recently killed for refusing to give up their ancestral lands to those who wanted to build coal mining plants in their place. The alleged killers were identified as the paramilitary “Mahagat-Bagani”.
Michelle, one of the eyewitnesses of the incident recalls: ““…armed men forced everyone to go out. In front of all those gathered at the basketball court, sat my father (Dionil Campos). They began shouting– because you believe this man and refuse the mines coming here we remain poor, we could all have better lives! Drop down!– they shouted to everyone and began shooting over our heads. Then the gun was turned on to my father, and at close range he was shot in the head…”
In one of the statements released by the Diocese of Tandag, Surigao del Sur, the diocese said, “One can see and understand that only those community of [lumads] who firmly stand to protect the forest and reject mining activities and anything that destroys nature were obviously the ones being hounded and intimidated supposedly by the aforementioned notorious group.”
In the militarization of Lumad schools, one man stood up to fight for a noble cause, and that is to provide a learning center for the Lumad children. He was Emerito Samarca or known as Tatay Emok, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development. He was found dead in that same school where he devoted his life, with stab wounds in his neck, and a slit across his throat.
Manobo elder, Datu Juvillo Sinzo, was also not able to escape the evil hands of Mahagat-Bagani. He was “pulled to the tub. He was beaten, his arm broken, and shot” as told by another eyewitness.
All these three Lumad fought for what they know is right, and for what they know their people deserve–a land and natural resources of their own, a decent and peaceful life. But because of the capitalists’ greedy pursuit of profit, wealth, and power, they were robbed of the chance to provide this kind of life to their families and their community.
BUT THEY HAVE US–their fellow Filipinos, their fellow humans. Their fight would be declared ‘defeated’ if we refuse to continue their battle and if no single person would at least try to do so. If we do, then the fight goes on.
Currently, Lumads are still being forced to leave their lands caused by corporate mining interests. There are about 680 Lumad displaced through their neighboring cities, looking for refuge and safe haven. While there is still one of the last remaining intact rainforests of the Pantaron Mountain Ranges inhabited by the Lumads, the mountain range is threatened by mining concessionaires set to exploit 9000 hectares for coal mining, 2000 hectares of which is already in operation, and 6000 hectares for gold mining.
This is a form of modern day slavery, as what also occurs in many parts of indigenous lands across the globe. Lumads are free; but they are being oppressed and enslaved by heartless people who prefer to put profit over humans and the planet.
But let us remember this: we are much greater in number than these greedy oppressors. They may have strong connections with the higher ups; they may have the amount of wealth that can buy them resources and manpower. But on our end, we have our voices. If only we, in solidarity, would shout and cry out for justice, our collective voice would surely drown theirs. We would surely win this fight. So then, let us keep going to put an end to modern day slavery and other forms of social injustices.
The campaign on #StopLumadKillings will be hyped on October 26–on this day, over 700 Lumad will arrive in the Philippine capital, Manila, from a 1,500-km walk starting from Mindanao, to assert their right to life, land, and justice. Their struggles are our struggles. Let us join together and stand with the Lumad.
You can also help amplify their voices by joining us on Twitter in demanding PH president Noynoy Aquino to #StopLumadKillings.
This is my personal contribution to the Blog Action Day 2015 themed, #RaiseYourVoice
17 goals with 169 targets can be quite overwhelming to meet for an organization or even a nation. But if we take one step at a time and work collectively, we can meet these goals.
While we act in our own little way, we should demand more from our governments. They need to prioritize the SDGs, put into place well researched policies and programs and ensure they are implemented.
There is no other way as if we don’t act now, we endanger our future. This is our hope for humanity.
Last September, I, together with other members of various civil society and non-government organizations and climate activists, was privileged to see the world premiere screening of “This Changes Everything”, a film adaptation of the same titled book by Naomi Klein. It is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change and poses the question, “What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?” Towards the end of the film, Klein said that those who are up there, drunk with greed and selfish desires in pursuit of the fraud ‘economic growth’, cannot be stopped unless they see a strong force of resistance from below—that’s us.
A similar idea was shared by Michelle Brown, a British academic and historian and a contributor for You’re History: How People Make a Difference, who said, “Once ordinary people become more socially and politically aware and active, it can become harder for their governments to be wantonly exploitative and corrupt – unless society becomes so cynical and blase about its politicians and their motives that it leaves them to get on with it without demanding better.”
I hope that cynicism won’t drown us, Filipinos. Instead, let hope arise and let our frustrations be converted into actions. We have much to offer and much to take care of, as we progress on several fronts.
Now we need to take the time to understand these SDGs and think of small ways on how we can contribute to the attainment of each goal. We must also try to think of innovative ways we can urge governments to implement the SDGs. It is through our actions, what is done at the grassroots level, that can bring about the achievements of the SDGs.
Be inspired by this video and join the people from all over the world to push for the #GlobalGoals.
I hope that the interview will also inspire my readers in this blog. This privilege caused me think if I should put up a “Worship Leader’s Journal” or “Worship Leaders’ Corner” page in my blog. What do you think guys and gals? 🙂
Let’s start our “love talk” series by first revisiting the two greatest commandments in the Bible. We’ve heard about it many times in Sunday sermons or perhaps in Bible study. But let us see what else can we extr
act from it and how else can we show our obedience by practically applying it in our lives. I must admit, the insights I would share with you in this post are triggered by my partner in our Praise and Worship Team (Jake, who I know is just out there, reading some materials about humanity/theology/music/anything under the sun). Jake is currently studying in a seminary and taking up Theology. He’s very passionate about learning Christ’s life here on earth, his connection with humanity and society, and how we ought to live like him.
The two greatest commandments:
36 “Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
I have been a church kid for so many years and I thought back then that since I am of a Christian family, my salvation would automatically follow. So I got involved in various ministries not really knowing if I did it on purpose, for self-gain, or for other vain reasons.