The Agony of Mother Nature

The Agony of Mother Nature

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Her womb brought forth life of many sorts

On top of the list is man – wise, clever, shrewd

A creature so sharp, with ego that knows no bound

He, whose selfishness, lifted him up from the ground.

 

At the start, his simple desire brought him food

Also, skins and leaves to cover his bare fragile frame

Then, his carnal yearnings brought him abundant broods

Who later inhabited vast lands – plains, valleys and woods.

 

Man’s desire has no end, never satisfied, not a bit

He not only breached, what to others are sacred realms

Unmindful and blind to whatever will be the consequence –

He even dares to break Mother Nature’s idyllic, blissful silence.

 

Greed drove man to scalp mountains of their trapping –

Verdant and lush forests he fell by indiscriminate burning

Reverberating scream of his chainsaw fill nooks and crevices

That drowns panicky calls of birds and their desperate screeches.

 

Immaculate white and sandy beaches strewn with shells

Though, still practically fringing undiscovered islands and coves

They may no longer be what they are now, as found by those lucky

For their days are numbered just like the rest, now drowned in misery.

 

Islands pockmarked with diggings for much-coveted minerals

Pitifully belch residues to rivers, lakes, coves even gurgling springs

While man grins his widest for the cash, illicitly and cruelly-gained

Mother Nature just cringes in agony, abused, that for long she’ll pain.

 

The air that man breaths for whiffs of comfort, relief and dear life –

Now has become a mist of poison, the scourge of his irresponsibility

For bringing forth metallic contraptions belching toxin just everywhere

And even break auditory succor, shaking the world with so much clatter.

 

With Mother Nature in agony –

man is left…alone,

to determine his destiny!

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Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be Poverty because of Corruption

Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be

Poverty because of Corruption

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Perfection should be ruled out in the reckoning of a progressive country, because there will always be poverty due to corruption somewhere in the system of governance. In other words, the glitter of progress cannot hide poverty. For ultra-progressive countries, the signs may be insignificant as they try to blend with the glamour of urbanity. But in other countries, especially, the third-world, the signs are very prevalent, so that there is always a massive effort to cover them up occasionally, literally, as it is done every time there are special occasions such as visits of foreign dignitaries. This practice is successful in the Philippines.

 

Practically, poverty is the shadow of progress, and literally, too, as where there are looming high-rise buildings that are pockmarks of progress, not far from them are slums or homeless citizens who huddle together under bridges and nooks. These are misguided citizens who flock to the cities after selling their homestead, that have been farmed for several generations, to deceitful land developers, at a measly price. These are the urban squatters willing to be relocated but found out that the promised “paradise” do not even have a deep well so they go back to their sidewalk “homes”. These are contractual workers who have no job securities as they earn only for five to six months, after which they leave their fate to luck while looking for another job.

 

How does corruption ever be involved in the sad fate of the exploited? Simply, by the government’s negligence  in providing decent relocation sites with job opportunities and basic facilities to those uprooted from their city abodes for more than so many years; by its cuddling of the spurious contractualization perpetrated by greedy employers; by its failure to guide and protect the rights of farmers who sell their rice fields to subdivision developers at measly prices that are not even enough to sustain them for six months; by its failure to provide the citizens with the basic necessities as funds are allowed to be pocketed by corrupt officials; and practically by looking the other way despite the availability of laws against vote buying.

 

Third- world country leaders should stop using the word “progressive”, but instead they should use “surviving” to describe their respective economy. If a country’s economy cannot sustain, much less, provide a “comfortable life” to majority of its citizens, then it is still “ailing”…hence, expect poverty to be trailing behind, just a few steps away from the pretentious allegations!

 

 

 

Religion, Christian Faith, and Immorality

Religion, Christian Faith, and Immorality

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

I am wondering whether those who profess religiosity based on what they practice really “understand” what they are doing. They claim that the bible contributes a lot to their spiritual development. The problem with these people though, is that, while some stick to just the New Testament, others devote their time more to the Old Testament, when the two sections of the bible are supposed to complement each other. So what happens is that, while some of them learn about the teachings of Jesus which are in the New Testament, they do not have a slight idea that the religion that they follow can be traced back to Abraham who is in the Old Testament, and whom they hear only as a name when mentioned in sermons. The ignorance came to light when I asked one Catholic Lay Minister if he has an idea on who the eldest son of Abraham is. I found out that all he knew was that Abraham has a son and that, he was Isaac. When I told him that Ishmael was his eldest son bore to him by Hagar, the handmaid of Sarah, he was surprised! He even asked, how can it be possible when the name Ishmael is a Muslim?

 

From the desert, the Abrahamaic faith, also called Mosaic faith that also hinges on the belief on the coming of a “redeemer” spread. When Jesus came, he followed a new path along which he spread his teachings that filled the pages of the New Testament. When he died on the cross, his followers insisted that he was the sacrificial lamb for the sins of mankind – the redeemer who have finally come and did the act of redemption. But many refused to accept this, as they even keep on questioning his identity if he, indeed, belongs to the House of David from where, the redeemer should come from, more so with the allegation of his being the son of God.

 

If Jesus was the result of a “virgin birth” that gives credence to the “annunciation” as one of the “mysteries”, then, he does not belong to the House of David, because Mary, herself, as his biological mother does not, but only Joseph, who is his “foster father”, therefore, not his “biological father”. In other words, he is not the prophesied “redeemer” as insisted by his followers. Such question is one of the so many asked since the medieval period when the pagan Romans were converted into Christianity, and overdid their religiosity by incorporating pagan practices into what was supposed to be a simplistic way of spirituality. Instead of giving enlightenment on the issue, the early church leaders added problems, one of which is the question on “Trinity” that even widened the “schism”. Is it not immoral to keep the truth from the people who thought they are following the right path?

 

The “extensions” of the Church of Rome distributed throughout Europe as the 15th century was ending, was purported to be the largest “landholders” during the time. That was also the time when Christianity was forced into the inhabitants of the islands that came to be known as Philippines, so named by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, in honor of the Spanish king, Philip II. But before the Spaniards came to the shores of the archipelagic islands, they had already sacked the long- thriving Inca and other highly developed cities that they converted into their colonies, and they called the natives “Indios”. For the Spaniards, the natives that they suppressed and made to kneel in front of the cross are called “Indios” who, for them are ignorant… this is how the natives of the Philippines and America were first called, and not by their real indigenous names.

 

The Spanish Christian missionaries who were also fond of shouting “punyeta”, “sin verguenza”, and “hijo de puta” to the natives, did the same hideous conduct of conversion they used in South America, when they came to the Philippines, as they went into the frenzy of burning cultural and intellectual treasures, because for them those were “demonic” and did not conform with “Christianity” which for them still, was the “righteous way”. They even went to the extent of executing “babaylans” or native priestesses.

 

During the closing of the 15th century, the Roman Church owned practically, almost half of France and Germany, and two-fifths of Sweden and England, not to mention Mexico and other South American colonies and the Philippines where, the early haciendas were located in Cavite, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Rizal, as well as, the islands of Negros, Panay and Cebu. While the colonies in Europe were not so productive, in the Philippines, the vast tracts of land that were literally grabbed from the natives were planted to sugar cane, rice, and coconut. Today, a few Filipino families who are also into politics are “hold-over owners” of these haciendas. And, they are so much devoted Roman Catholics!…and so, exploitation goes on!

 

Because of  her exploitation disguised by evangelization, Rome grew splendidly and gloriously. To maintain such splendor and glory, the papacy resorted to requiring all ecclesiastical appointees to remit their revenues to the “papal curia” in Vatican. A scandal that gave birth to the Reformation movement and also widened further the “schism” is about the pope’s selling of indulgences. Imagine the pope selling “tickets” to heaven! The large sum of money that flowed into the Vatican’s coffer led to more corruption, most prominent of which were committed by:

 

  • Sixtus IV (reign: 1471-84), who spent enormous sum of money in building the “chapel” that he named after himself, the “Sistine”, aside from causing the enrichment of his nephews and nieces;
  • Alexander VI, a.ka., Rodrigo Borgia (reign: 1492-1503) who allegedly, openly acknowledged and afforded financial opportunities to his illegitimate children;
  • Julius II (reign: 153-13), nephew of Sixtus IV, and who was said to be warlike, notorious politician, and who also spent lavishly on art, but failed in his duties as Head of the Roman Church.

 

During the time, the papacy did not monopolize immorality, as there was a popular adage then, that said, “if you want your son to be corrupted, make him decide to become a priest”.

It was alleged that confessors solicited sexual favors from female penitents, and thousands of priests were said to maintain concubines. Reformists were making a mockery of the church by saying that for Jesus’ ministers, it’s always money – from baptism, marriage, till death, with such greed and perversion spreading to Hispanic colonies.

 

Today, in the Philippines, so many Christian ministries have sprung up in almost every corner of big cities, sporting different names and congregate in inauspicious apartment units, former offices, multi-purpose halls of subdivisions, former movie theaters, and for the richy…Cultural Center of the Philippines and Folk Arts Theater which are the projects of Imelda Marcos within the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

 

There is a joke today about the unemployed, but with an oratorical gift to just put up a “ministry” in order to survive out of the tithes or “love offering” from members. These followers attend the gatherings and listen to the same never changing themes about love that they fail to put into practice, as they go back to their old “selfish” ways when they go home by keeping to themselves – within the security of their homes and company of select friends. Still, some enterprising bible-toting ministers even go to the extent of using the religious book in soliciting money from commuters by hopping on to buses and jeepneys to “share” the words from the bible in exchange for money to be put in envelops that they patiently distribute. As this kind of undertaking is some kind of a money-making enterprise, those who conduct such should be taxed!

 

The pope, himself, acknowledges the proliferation of immorality and corruption in the Roman Catholic Church that is why lately, an external auditing firm has been contracted to check on the Vatican records. He even apologized for the abuse committed by some members of the clergy. In other words, nobody among the members of the Vatican-based church is free from the stain of immorality. Still, in the Philippines, the Iglesia ni Cristo, biggest Christian church next to the Roman Catholic, is rocked with a scandal that is undergoing an investigation. There could still be other religious scandals going around, but just get to be contained due to their insignificance, compared to the cursing of Duterte who is running for presidency during the 2016 election.

 

The world today is full of “habitual” sinners – “immorals” in the eyes of the “moralists”, just because these people that they despise do not attend religious services or utter curses habitually, or just simply, polygamous. Can they be compared with those who attend these so-called religious services but got no slightest idea what compassion means? Can they be compared with husbands who fool their wives by playing around with their “queridas”, or wives who squander the wage hard- earned by their husband abroad, on their kept “lovers”?

 

Worst, these “moralists” are emboldened by the thought that it is alright for them to commit sin because they can go to confession, afterwards anyway! ….or worse, eat the host, bread or biscuit that symbolize the body of Christ, the better for them to get “cleansed” immediately! (I read stories about pagan tribes who eat the body of their brave opponents so that such character can be made part of them).

 

Some of these “good” people do not even know the name of their neighbors, so how can they say they love God that they cannot see, but cannot love their neighbors who are just a few steps away from them? Is it not sheer hypocrisy which is just another form of immorality?  Some of them still, who have become more financially stable than the rest, act like horses pulling indigenous “calesas”, that are allowed to look just straight ahead, which is a manifestation of selfishness.

 

By the way, I do not deny that I am a sinner through and through!…please pray for me!

May Pag-asa pa Kayang Makabawi ang Pilipinas sa West Philippine Sea?

May Pag-asa Pa Kayang Makabawi
ang Pilipinas sa West Philippine Sea?
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Masakit sabihing parang wala nang pag-asang magkaroon pa ng katuturan ang mga paghihirap ng Pilipinas sa pagsampa ng mga kaso sa international court laban sa Tsina tungkol sa usapin sa West Philippine Sea. Hayagang sinabi ng Tsina na hindi nila rerespetuhin ano man ang kalalabasan ng imbestigasyon. Ibig sabihin, hindi nila pinaniniwalaan ang poder ng korte.

Ang ASEAN naman na inaasahang magbubuklod laban sa Tsina ay halatang wala ring magawa bilang isang organisasyon. Ang Amerika na halos panikluhuran ng administrasyon upang masandalan sa harap ng banta ng Tsina, ay pinaiigting ang joint exercises at ng sinasabing kasunduan sa pagkakaroon ng animo ay pansamantalang “kampo” at mga daungan sa Pilipinas, mga bagay na hinahadlangan naman ng iba’t ibang makabayang grupo. Sa isang banda ay tama ang mga grupong ito dahil parang ang gusto lang ng Amerika sa Pilipinas ay gamitin nila itong harang sa anumang hindi kanais-nais na kilos ng Tsina sa mga susunod na panahon. Kaya, magkabombahan man, Pilipinas ang unang tatamaan!

Subali’t habang nagpapakita ng pakikipagtulungan ang Amerika sa Pilipinas, pinapalakas naman nito ang ugnayan sa mga Tsino. Ibig sabihin, parang pinaglalaruan lang ng Amerika ang Pilipinas. Malaki daw ang utang ng Amerika sa Tsina.

Nagkaroon kamakaylan lamang ng isang exhibit ng old maps na nagpapakita na noon pa mang unang panahon, ay talagang wala namang ginawang pag-aangkin ang Tsina sa kahit na anong bahagi ng mga karagatan sa paligid ng Pilipinas. Ang mga Tsino noon ay “dumadayo” lamang sa mga isla ng Pilipinas upang makipagkalakalan, hanggang sa magkaroon sila ng sariling distrito sa Maynila na tinawag na “parian” noong panahon ng Kastila, na ngayon ay ang maunlad na Chinatown sa Manila. Sa exhibition ng mga lumang mapa, wala ni isa sa mga ito ang maski may kapirasong pagtukoy ng pag-angkin ng anumang bahura ng Pilipinas, lalo na sa pinag-aagawang West Philippine Sea.

Ang bagong henerasyon ng mga lider ng Tsina ang malinaw na may pakana sa pangangamkam ng mga bahura sa bahagi ng kanlurang karagatan ng Pilipinas, kaya pati ang mga karatig- bansa ay nadamay na rin, dahil pati ang dati na nilang kinikilalang mga bahura ay inaangkin na rin ng Tsina.

Sa mga bansa na may kinalaman sa problemang angkinan, bukod tanging Pilipinas ang mukhang kawawa. Ang nag-iisang barkong kinulapulan na ng kalawang at talaba, na ginawang headquarters ng mga bantay-dagat ay nagmumukhang yagit kung ihambing sa mga dambuhalang barko ng Tsina, at maski ng Vietnam. Maaaring kung hindi pa nabahura ay hindi pa ginawang headquarters at malamang naiwang nakatiwangwang ang bahurang inaangkin ng Pilipinas. Malamang pa rin na, natayuan na rin ng headquarter ng Tsina tulad ng ginawa nila sa ibang bahura. Ngayon, may isa pang bahura silang pinatatayuan din mga estruktura, at pasok na pasok din ito sa teritoryo ng Pilipinas. Sa kabila nito, walang magawa ang Pilipinas kundi manood!

Paano pang matatanggal ang mga estruktura ng Tsina sa mga bahurang pinag-aagawan, kung yong iba ay kung ilang dekada nang nakatayo at ang isa pa ay patapos na?

Malaki ang tiwala ng Tsina sa kakayahan nito ngayon pagdating sa mga bagay na may kinalaman sa kaunlaran – pang-ekonomiya man o pandigma. At dahil dito, hindi basta-basta yuyuko ito sa anumang ipag-uutos ng maski isang international Court. Nakikita ng Tsina na humihina ang United Nations bilang organisasyon ng mga bansa. Wala itong nagawa sa mga nangyayaring kaguluhan sa Middle East at Yuropa. Nakikita at nararamdaman ng Tsina ang kahinaan ng Amerika na dinadaan na lang sa verbal bluff ang mga babala. Napahiya si Obama nang may ilang bansa sa Middle East na hindi lubos na nagbigay sa kanya ng supurta upang “mapulbos” ang Islamic State (IS). Kaya ano pa ang magagawa nito sa Southeast Asia na ang ekonomiya nga lang ay nakagapos na sa Tsina? ….kaya kahit toothpick at cotton buds ng mga bansang miyembro ng ASEAN ay galing Tsina!

Malamang sa malamang, kompromiso ang mangyayari sa West Philippine Sea kung saan hahayaan na lang na pangasiwaan ng Tsina ang mga bahurang napatayuan na nito ng mga estruktura, dahil wala naman talagang kakayahang bumangga ang Pilipinas dito. Maaaring naghihintay lamang ang Tsina ng isang provocative na kilos ng Pilipinas upang gumawa ito ng nakakabahalang aksiyon…na sana ay hindi mangyari. Kaya, kung sa tanong na may magagawa pa ang Pilipinas, sa kabila ng mga inihain nitong reklamo sa international court…para sa akin, ang sagot ay isang malungkot na…wala.