Alliance of Concerned Parents against Condom stage a rally in front of Department of Health

MANILA, March 12, 2010— Filipino parents took out a rally in Sta. Cruz district to protest against the state government’s promotion of condom and other contraceptives across the country.

The government health department is currently on aggressive campaign to push the use of contraceptives as part of its campaign against HIV. The advocacy also aims to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

But in Manila, around 60 people from the group, Alliance of Concerned Parents against Condom, stage a rally Friday in front of the Department of Health. “The use a condom is another way to promote free sex,” said Jose Rufo Fernandez, one of the protesters. He called on the authorities to implement effective measures if only to stop the spread of the dreaded disease and that is according to moral principles. During the rally, protesters distributed flyers, reading “There’s no such thing as safe sex” to pedestrians and motorists. The group vowed to initiate more rallies in other parts of Metro Manila in the coming days, saying the public needs to know the real score about the government pro-contraceptive policy.

Another protester Alice Mendiola called on the government to close down short-time motels and ban prostitution in the country. She said it’s ironic that the government flaunts its anti-HIV campaign and yet tolerate major venues which cause the disease to spread. “Why do they have to promote condoms that have been proven to be ineffective in the battle against AIDS in other countries,” Mendiola said.

The protesters also called on President Arroyo to clarify the stand of her administration on artificial family planning. Arroyo had been claiming that she is still for natural family planning but the health department, so far, is doing otherwise. Mendiola said the fate of the promotion of contraceptives—considered one of the most contested issues among Church leaders and State officials—still lies in the hands of the chief executive. (CBCPNews)

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Jane Stangle of the Holy Mary of Good Success Latin Chorale

Good pm Dr. Sugon, Mr. Rameses,

Congratulations on your new TLM group which I heard about. I immediately opened your blogspot which came to my attention.

I am not a student, but being a former Protestant instantaneously converted by Mary, I seek the Latin Mass and was instrumental in moving it forward in some ways.

With two seminarians, I assisted in establishing TLM in Bacoor, Cavite doing liaison for its approval by Bishop Tagle. TLM continued there for a year only.

Having formed many choirs in Las Pinas, In December 2009, I formed an all-female Latin Chorale and we have been practicing once a week for a year now. However, I have not taught them responses, which is why we do not service any Latin Mass as yet. But should I do so, it will be the Missa de Angelis.

I have been spreading devotion to Holy Mary of Good Success of Quito, Ecuador since 2004 till today, the Patroness of Catholic Tradition, which includes the saying of the Latin Rosary with sung Litany. Thus, the name of our female Latin Choir is the HOLY MARY OF GOOD SUCCESS LATIN CHORALE. We are seven regular members that can stretch to ten, three being irregular. Our choir is an Apostolate, our aim being to spread the Latin Rosary, Latin Liturgical Music and the devotion to Holy Mary of Good Success.. I have been in touch with your Jesuit recording in the hope of someday getting our music recorded.

Together with the seminarian who introduced us to Holy Mary of Good Success, we were able to celebrate the Feast Day of Holy Mary of Good Success in February, 2005 in Malacanang Palace with TLM attended by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. We were able to ‘borrow’ a priest who knew Latin Mass who flew in from Butuan, Fr. Josilo Amallah, and received permission to say the Mass from the priest who baptized me, Msgr. Josefino Ramirez of Quiapo Church (who by the way sponsored TLM in Binondo Church early on, which I used to attend way back).

Should there be an organist to accompany us in the future (since I join the choir singing the tenor part), we would be happy to sing at some special Mass as a guest choir free of charge so long as we are informed well in advance so we can prepare our repertoire. We can rehearse with the organist a few hours before the Mass.

My speciality is voice. I took a masteral in voice workshop under Madame Raquel Adonaylo at the CCP. Adonaylo is faculty at the Curtis School of Music and trainor of the Boston Opera. I took some informal lessons on the reading and interpretation of chant, enough to teach the choir.

Music is only an avocation. I am a journalist (editor level) and coffeetable book author.
In 2009, I was more into music and semi-retired from my writing. I am currently producing a musical idiom for the Musika Filipina Foundation, a project of former Tourism Secretary Mina Gabor.

Again, congratulations. Thanks be to God that Catholic Tradition moves forward more and more.

Jane Stangle

Gibo Teodoro’s presidential campaign: the problem of product positioning

The Pulse Asia survey for the first week of December 2009 results: Aquino (45%), Villar (23%), Estrada (19%), and Teodoro (5%). (balita.ph)

Estrada and Villar has the same message: they appeal to the poor, the masa.  Thus, we expect that their ratings will roughly be the same: 23% vs 19%.

Aquino and Teodoro has a lopsided discrepancy: 45% vs 5%.  The reason for this that Aquino has positioned himself as a man of character and this character is defined as being anti-Gloria.  It is true that being the son of two Philippine national heroes Ninoy and Cory Aquino helps, but being anti-Gloria takes away the votes of people who would have admired Gibo for his Galing (competence) and Talino (Intelligence), for Gibo would not disown President Gloria who gave him the chance to run for presidency.  If people will not vote for Gibo because of Gloria, and they don’t like the pro-masa message of Villar and Estrada, the only person that they will vote for is Noynoy.

Thus, to win the presidency, Gibo should focus on Noynoy and forget about Villar and Estrada.

It would be fatal for Gibo to be ingratitude to Gloria: he would lose his political machinery.  This is what happened to Escudero when he despised the NPC; he was left out cold.

To defeat Noynoy, Gibo must redefine the meaning of the word “character” from being “anti-Gloria” to something else.  This would  hopefully reposition Gibo vs Noynoy and the tide shall turn.

Noynoy Aquino is not as competent and intelligent as Gibo.  This is how Gibo is currently packaged.  But only 5% will accept this as sufficient to become president.

Noynoy Aquino is supported by diverse pressure groups with their own individual interests.  Noynoy’s ideas and government platform are made not by Noynoy but by these pressure groups.  He is their mouthpiece.  Gibo, on the other hand, has his own ideas and platform of government.  His political party will support him regardless of whatever he thinks is good for the country, because Gibo is perceived to be intelligent and competent.

To defeat Noynoy, Gibo must divide Noynoy’s supporters.

Noynoy’s Achilles’ heel is his support to the Reproductive Health bill.  The Catholic Church is very concerned about this.  The Church tried to talk to Noynoy about this several times, but Noynoy is adamant.

Gibo was also vocal in his support to the Reproductive Health bill.  Then he wavered together with his wife.  He will not anymore support the bill as it is; he wants to have certain punitive restrictions removed.  What is the effect of this decision on his ratings?  None.  Because Gibo is seen as competent and intelligent.  This wavering is only a sign of his intelligence.  Gibo’s political machinery is still intact.

Gibo has the support of the military, because he was once the Secretary of National Defense.  Gibo has the political machinery; he inherited it from Gloria.  If Gibo can win the Catholic Church to his side, the scales may tip in his favor.

The Western Civilization is built on three pillars: Roman administration, Greek philosophy, and Jewish morals as represented by Christianity.  Gibo has the administrative competence and the philosophical intelligence.  But his presidential campaign would not stand without a moral pillar.

To defeat Noynoy, Gibo must, like Constantine, mark the shield of his legions with the sign of Christ and cross the Milvian bridge.  To waver is to fall.  To delay is to lose.  Gibo must give up trying to hold to opposites using nuances: Gibo must abandon the Reproductive Health Bill, not because of its punitive provisions, but because of its contraceptive mentality itself.  Gibo must stop thinking of the new born child as a national liability but as a human resource, a manpower.  The national contraception program espoused by the bill will, as Pope Paul VI prophesied in his Humanae Vitae,  only weaken the family by promoting pre-marital sex and marital infidelity.  Gibo makes it clear that he does not support abortion, but what is abortion but the last recourse when artificial contraception fails?

If Gibo will campaign against the contraceptive mentality itself, he will have the bishops behind his back.  By doing so, Gibo will have redefined the meaning of “character” from being “anti-Gloria” to being “pro-life, pro-family, pro-morality”.  Character is never defined with respect to a person but with respect to unchangeable truths about man.  It is a scandal for the faithful to see a Catholic Presidential candidate receive holy communion when his beliefs on artificial contraception is against the explicit teachings of the Catholic Church as taught by Pope Paul VI in his Humanae Vitae.

When the bishops make the list of candidates not to vote because of their support to the Reproductive Health Bill, Noynoy would top the list: Noynoy is running for the highest position of President and his surname starts with letter A.  The pro-life supporters of Noynoy will then see the folly of supporting a presidential candidate who is not pro-life when there is another one who is: Gibo.  And Gibo is more competent and more intelligent than Noynoy.

By campaigning against contraceptive mentality, Gibo would cut Noynoy’s voter base into two and the presidential campaign would be evenly matched at about 20% rating for each candidate.  When this happens, Gibo can sprint ahead by emphasizing his Galing at Talino, and thereby win the presidency.

Government should not force Catholics to observe Muslim and Iglesia ni Cristo holidays

Today is the Feast of the Birth of Our Lady, but here in Ateneo de Manila University we are having classes. The reason is because there are already too many class hours missed because of government imposed holidays:

MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared September 7 and 21 as non-working holidays, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said Friday night. Arroyo declared Monday next week a national day of mourning for Iglesia ni Cristo Executive Minister Eraño “Ka Erdy” Manalo, who will be buried that day, Remonde said. “All flags will be flown at half-mast,” he said in a text message to reporters.

On September 21, the Muslim Filipinos will be marking Eid’l Fitr, or the end of holy month of fasting, Ramadan, according to Remonde.(Philippine Daily Inquirer)

I think it is time to put some quantifiable measures on determining whether a day should be a national holiday or not.  I shall propose the following two parameters:

  1. The number of those celebrating the holy day is 50 percent or greater of the national population
  2. Those celebrating the holy day must leave their work/school offices.

I propose that these two parameters must hold in order for the Government to make a reasonable declaration of a holy day as a holiday.

Catholics in the Philippines comprise about 80 % of the national population.  Members of Iglesia ni Cristo are 2.3 % and Muslims are 5%.  So the only possible national holidays in the Philippines are those of Catholics.  Some may call this unfair.  But look at it this way: if Muslims or INC leave their work to celebrate their holy days, the Philippine government can still function. But if Catholics leave their work to celebrate their holy days, the Philippine government grinds to a halt. So the government has no choice but to declare a holiday.

Rules 1 and 2 are applicable to any country.  For countries with Muslim majority like Indonesia or Saudi Arabia, the government should not declare Catholic holy days as holidays but only those of Muslims. For countries with Orthodox majority like Russia, the government should not declare Catholic holy days as holidays but only those of Orthodox, e.g. Catholics and Orthodox Christians does not celebrate Easter at the same day because Catholics use the Gregorian Calendar while the Orthodox use the Julian Calendar.  (The INC is still a minority in any country.)  Otherwise, if we try to accommodate all holy days of minority religions in a country or city as legal holidays, it would arrive at a point where most days of the year are holidays. This is not good for business or for education.

Christmas, Holy Week, and All Saints Day are legitimate Philippine holidays by force of tradition after centuries of Spanish Colonial Government.  By tradition, each person goes to his or her family during these days, even if the person works in Manila and his or her family is in the province.  Today, September 8, the Birthday of Our Lady, there is no tradition of leaving work during this day, so the government may not declare it as a holiday, though all Catholic schools may call it a holiday.

So what should be a reasonable government position regarding holy days of Muslims and Iglesia ni Cristo.  Adherents to these religions may be allowed to celebrate their holy days with work pay; if they choose to work during their holy days, they will be given double their work pay for that day, which is the standard rule for Philippine holidays.  But in no way must the government impose these holy days as holidays for the pre-dominantly Catholic Philippines.  This is simply not just.  If the NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) revoked the Sep 7 and 21 holidays for BPO and Electronics sectors for economic reasons, then why can not the government revoke these holidays also for the Catholic sector for religious reasons?

Catholic institutions, like the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University, will have added number of holidays: secular holidays and Catholic Feast days.  If the government imposes additional holidays which are properly celebrated by other religions, the first reaction by Catholic institutions is to scale down the number of their own holidays.  Thus, for example, today, the Birthday of Our Lady, should be a school-wide holiday and no classes should be made during this day, like all Catholic schools in the Philippines.  But because of these new holidays, we have to make Sep 8 a working holiday.

I think Mama Mary is very sad.  What do we call the Ateneo Basketball Team?  It is the Hail Mary Squad.  What is Ateneo Alma Mater Song?  The Song for Mary:

We stand on a hill between the earth and sky.
Now all is still where Loyola’s colors fly.
Our course is run and the setting sun ends Ateneo’s day.
Eyes are dry at the last goodbye; this is the Ateneo way.

Mary for you! For your white and blue!
We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true!
We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!

Down from the hill, down to the world go I;
rememb’ring still, how the bright Blue Eagles fly.
Through joys and tears, through the laughing years,
we sing our battle song:
Win or lose, it’s the school we choose;
this is the place where we belong!

Mary for you! For your white and blue!
We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true!
We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!

This is very sad.  This is very, very sad.