Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Communicating Climate Justice" music album for children, an appeal for help

Former NCCP Staff Liza Lamis shared to us this email from Fr. David Arockiam. If you have the materials and is willing to help the Sanhtome Communications Center, please do contact Fr. David for details. - the Library Staff

My Dear Brothers and Sisters of WACC family,
Greetings of the Love and Peace!

I am Fr. David from Santhome Communications Center, Chennai.

Thanks a lot for your friendship and fellowship. The conference on "Communicating Climate Justice" was a wonderful experience for me. I personally thank Rev. Dr. Sam Meshack for introducing me to this family of communicators.

After a short stay with my Grandma at Alore Setare in Malaysia, I was back to my work last Tuesday (24th May).

I sincerely thank the Jogjakarta organizing team for their splendid job and making our stay a rememberable one. Particularly the Garden Hotel personals for their hospitality and delicious food, Fr. Augustine and his team.

By the way, I hope that you all remember about the production of a music album on "Communicating Climate Justice" for the school children. I request your immediate action on writing lyrics and if possible composing them too and mail it to (da24101966@gmail.com)

These songs should create an awareness and responsibility among the students (Children):

1. global warming; 2. protect forest; 3. saying no to plastic and polythene products; 4. saving water; 5. noise pollution; 6. Ozone layer damage; 7. forming small vegetable gardens in their own houses; 8. using paper, pencil, and other stationaries carefully and not wasting them; 9. love for nature, and so on.

Kindly write songs on the above topics and some other related topics and mail to me before the end of June.

Once again I thank you for your cooperation and let work together to communicate climate justice and love for nature.

With lots of love and prayers,

Fr. David Arockiam A.
Sanhtome Communications Center,
!50 Luz Church Road,
Chennai 600004.
S. India

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Invitation to attend a Forum on Reproductive Health Bill

For the past few days I've received several invitations in different formats to attend one single event, the Forum on Reproductive Health Bill.  First is a letter from the Board of Women's Work of the  United Methodist Church, second is the Program sent by Ms. Norma Dollaga, and two posters coming from no less than five people.  Please check them out, help disseminate the info and if you are able, please do attend. - the Library Staff

Dear Friends and Partners in Christ,

Greetings of Peace & Solidarity!

One of the contentious issues grabbing the headlines nowadays is the Reproductive Health bill. Leading the opposition side, the Catholic Church has actively mobilized its clergy and congregations to stop the passage of the bill, claiming that the proposed legislation would only promote abortion and the use of artificial means of contraceptives, thus, it is anti-life, anti-family and run counter to the teachings of the Church. To further strengthen its opposition to the bill, the Catholic Church has sponsored several anti-bill rallies, launched promotional campaigns against the bill, engaged in a fiery word war with President Benigno Aquino, and even welcomed the support of no less than “Pambansang Kamao” Manny Pacquiao.

On the other side of the issue, the authors and advocates of the bill maintain that such bill would allow couples to choose from several options of family planning methods, both natural and artificial, and give women, especially those in poor communities, greater access to health care and education. In response to the Catholic Church’s assertion that the bill is promoting abortion, Gabriela Women’s Party representative Luz Ilagan said RH bill advocates are pushing for “avoiding unwanted pregnancy through informed choices, not abortion.” (PDI, 10/9/2010)

Amid the noise and debates in the media and within the walls of Congress, a comprehensive campaign to educate the people on the proposed bill remains lacking. Public forum on the issue has been scarce and media coverage of the proposed bill has been limited to the word war between Malacanang officials and the leadership echelon of the Catholic Church, “name-calling” among the church clergy and exchange of diatribes between Pacquiao, Mommy Dionisia and Senator Miriam Santiago.

Given the significance and impact of the proposed bill to the life of every Filipino, especially women and youth, what is at hand right now is the need to provide a comprehensive and objective discourse about the RH bill and to promote a broader public debate for the voices and opinions of other non-Catholic sectors would be heard as well. As United Methodists, our Church vehemently supports the right of men and women worldwide to have the ability to choose when, or if, to have children. Affirming the right of women to access comprehensive health care services, including reproductive health, has always been a cornerstone of the United Methodist Church (GBCS Family Planning and Reproductive Health). Truly, there is an urgent need to collectively respond to this social concern as a community of faith.

It is in this uniting spirit that the Board of Women’s Work, the Board of Church and Society of the Philippines Central Conference and the Board of Church and Society of the Philippines Annual Conference, together with the organizations of United Methodist youth and young adults, would be holding a Forum on the Reproductive Health Bill. This will be held on June 4, 2011, Saturday, (8:30AM – 12:00 NN) at the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation, Inc. (KKFI) Multi-Purpose Hall (937 P. Paredes St., Sampaloc, Manila). 

We would like to invite you/your organization to participate in this forum. Please find attached the program and sketch of the venue. A registration fee of Php20.00/person will be requested as donation for our snacks and lunch. For your confirmation and other concerns, please get in touch with Jenny Meneses at mobile#: 0939-323-1410, office#: 524-5183 or email: umc.boardofwomenswork@yahoo.com.

Thank you very much and may God bless you!


President, PCC Board of Women’s Work

Executive Director, PCC – Board of Church & Society

Chair, PAC – Board of Church & Society


8:00 - 8:30 Registration

8:30 – 9:00 Opening Worship

9:00 – 10:30 An Exposition on the Comprehensive Reproductive Health
Bill: Going Beyond Population and Contraceptive Issues

Resource Person:
Rep. Emmi Amaya de Jesus, GABRIELA Women’s Partylist

10:30-10:15 Break

Special Number/Choir

10:15-11:15 What does the UMC say about Reproductive Health?
The UMC Social Principles/Scriptural Reflection
on Reproductive Health and Rights of Women

Resource Person:
Ms. Darlene Marquez-Caramanzana, Program Secretary
Program Unit on Ecumenical Education and Nurture
National Council of Churches in the Philippines

11:15-11:45 Special Number/Choir

Open Forum
11:45 – 12:00 Synthesis & Closing

12:00 Lunch Fellowship

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lupa, Kasarinlan, Kapayapaan: An event invitation

Shared to us by Romeo Alarcon.  Everyone is invited to attend the Ecumenical Worship & Solidarity Forum for Palestine-Israel to be held at the Bishop La Verne Diwa Mercado Ecumenical Center of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines in Quezon City on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 from 1:30pm - 4:30pm.

Poster by Romeo Alarcon

Click this link to view the location map of the event.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

CPBC Statement in Support of the RH Bill

Here is the Statement of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches as forwarded to us by Rev. Jenkins Banas of the Missions and Evangelization Department.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Defending Our Heritage

Below is the full text of the address of the Rev. Rex RB Reyes, Jr., General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines during the Cordillera Day celebration in Toronto Canada held May 7, 2011.

Defending our Heritage

I bring you greetings from your sisters and brothers in the Philippines and from the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. I wish also to acknowledge KAIROS Canada and the churches in the Canada for making it possible for me to join you on this momentous event.

I will not dwell on the Cordillera Day just celebrated in Abra. I am sure you can easily access this in some internet links. So let me share briefly the reason why I am in Canada. Two days ago I attended the Ecumenical Conference on Mining. This conference brought together representatives of the Canadian churches, Canadian first nations, indigenous peoples from various countries of the global south and a few from the United States and Europe. The indigenous peoples from the south came from countries where Canadian mining firms have either began operations or have pending mining applications. Canada is home to 75% of the world’s mining and mineral exploration companies and Canadian stock exchanges raise 40% of all mineral exploration capital worldwide.

I am told of the thirteen trans-national mining companies with applications in the Cordillera, six are Canadian firms. At this conference, the indigenous peoples’ representatives shared common stories of destruction and social erosion as a result of these mining operations. Our message to the Canadian churches was un-equivocable: “Not at our expense!”

In our country, a reason for the easy entry of trans-national mining firms is the liberalized policy on mining as shown by the Mining Act of 1995. Consider some of its features: generous tax holidays, a hundred percent repatriation of profits, and control of hundreds of thousands of hectares of land. For some reason the Supreme Court ruled some of the provisions of the Act unconstitutional only to reverse its ruling later setting the floodgates for applications. Contrary to what we have been told of a 50% share, studies have shown that mining contributed 1.2% to the GDP from 2005-2009 and 1.1% of the total tax collections. The Mining Act is a disenfranchisement for the indigenous peoples as it also declares the state as the owner of mineral resources. These resources are in mountains long inhabited by indigenous peoples.

We are not against mining per se. We are against extractive mining motivated solely for the profit of trans-national corporations and at tremendous expense to indigenous peoples and without regard to patrimony, environmental and ecological concerns as well as the future generations.

It would seem nowadays that the defense of patrimony and ancestral domain is a task only for activists and a few noisy Christians or faith-based groups. To be sure, activists are people who subscribe to genuine social change as opposed to those who prefer the status quo and thus are referred to as reactionaries.

Does this mean that indigenous peoples’ ways are incompatible with activism? In a situation like ours where the reactionary attitude allows the massive exploration and extraction of our natural resources, and therefore promotes social and economic injustice indigenous peoples’ ways is political activism. But far beyond activism is the profound spirituality that digs deep into the inviolable relationship between land and people. This is the tradition that has been passed on to us, a tradition that we parents are obligated to teach our children. This is a rallying point for indigenous peoples in affirming that they are the stewards of the land.

Were it not for this understanding the militant struggle of the Tingguians of Abra to resist the cutting of trees three decades ago would have no meaning; the equally militant struggle of the Bontoks and the Kalingas against the proposed Chico River dam in the same period would have no meaning; the current militant resistance of other indigenous peoples in the Philippines against the intrusion of profit-driven trans-nationals would likewise make no sense at all. Were it not for this understanding, our unity would have been shattered a long time ago.

As stewards, we are deeply conscious that being a part of the land, we have a responsibility for the welfare of future generations. This too, is a tradition that we have received from our parents and their parents before them. Shall we be the generation that shall dare break this tradition because of our negligence and non-involvement? We have seen how in times past and to the present day, state security forces would be used to break our resolve and will to preserve land and life against unbridled extraction and exploitation. Our mothers and fathers before us did that, too. Yet, here we are yet today, strong and resilient. Each time I make my way home to the land of my birth up in the mountains of the Cordillera, I behold the winding Chico River and as I climb to Sagada, I pass through swaying age old trees and hear their welcoming whisper. And I am grateful to our ancestors who have preserved these and I utter a prayer that our rivers, mountains and trees may remain for generations to come.

As stewards of the land, we cannot fully rely on the politicians. We have seen and continue to witness the connivance between some politicians and big business to cause us either to be disunited or to give up the cause of defending our land through deception, intimidation, outright ejection or through legal yet immoral manoeuvres. As stewards, we hold on to traditional values of community and sharing to resist the consumerism that is tearing us into individual shreds. Only the united and collective will of the people nurtured and protected by age-old values will carry us through in the struggle to defend patrimony. We neither romanticise nor idealise these. Rather, we internalise them as relational terms that continue to shape us and establish our identity. Even the churches must recover their prophetic task in this sense.

And there is hope.

There is hope when I see young people heeding the call of their elders to understand the reasons for defending the land and to rise and join the ranks of those who struggle for its preservation, if not for themselves then for those who follow.

There is hope when local governments resist impositions from trans-national corporations often through the national government and its agencies. In saying this, we do not become anti-government. Rather, we are calling government to responsibility to protect the interest of its citizens.  I am very pleased to hear that recently, the Baguio City Council passed a resolution condemning the harassment of the health workers belonging to CHESTCORE, a non-government organization involved with primary health care of the people in outlying areas in the Cordilleras for the last three decades. I am also pleased to note the growing number of local government units who have declared their provinces as no-mining zones and/or environmentally protected areas. There is hope when people who are directly affected by policies study the real and long-term implications of such policies, then unite and address those issues, resisting if need be. It is also good to see churches struggling to be relevant by taking on the people’s issues as their own.

There is hope when even you in many parts of the world are united and vigilant, acting with dispatch by studying the issues in the Philippines and sending your message to government leaders every time human rights are violated. (You are in Canada. Millions more are in other countries. At home more than 3,000 people apply for overseas employment each day.  Some of your children were born here. But, you have never really left home. To be sure, people have a right to migrate. But, it becomes a serious concern when people are forced to migrate and having to endure some of the worst indignities human beings cause to other human beings. Our country endowed with natural resources is one of the most impoverished in Asia, and with a high prevalence of human rights violations as people struggle for genuine social transformation. This is a concern that we cannot face alone in the Philippines. You cannot just watch or close your eyes to these realities. It takes worldwide solidarity.) “Binnadang” is our term to describe that solidarity. These, we have to tell our children.

These are the glorious heritage achieved not without a struggle and for which reason we celebrate today. Only then can we truly dance our dances – bowing in reverence to the land and rising for its defense, waving our arms like the birds soaring to freedom, swaying with the trees and along with the roar of its rivers resonate forever the chant of peace and justice.

Matago-tago tako am-in. (Mabuhay po tayo’ng lahat!)

General Secretary
National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

N.B. The portion in parenthesis was missed out in the oral delivery but was in the outline - rrbrjr

source: http://www.facebook.com/notes/padi-rex/address-cordi-day-toronto/173996845989629