A Just Society

Quoted from the first encyclical of Pope Benedict, Deus Caritas Est.

The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply.

The Church, thru some of her constituents, sometimes meddle a bit too often with the workings of the governement, but I think it’s justified. A just a society ought to be a government’s main objective, not the Church’s.

Given our history where the boundary between Church and State has been crossed too many times, it should not a be a surprise when the Church takes an active role in our society. It is this innate desire for the Good that ought to move us – as officials in power or as ordinary citizens – to achieve (or at least, try to achieve) what is best for our society.

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Again, Again

I recall reading in an article a long time ago that the greatest invention of the recent century is this: the eraser. (Or the correction tape or pen of the more modern time.) And amidst today’s greatest technological advancements, I find this to be the the most useful: the undo button (Ctrl+Z).

Both the eraser and undo give us a second chance. Or a third. Or a forth. Essentially, they give us the tool and the power to correct an error, to fix a mistake. It’s undeniable that they do have their benefits. Quite a lot really. Yet in certain ways, they somehow spoil us.
But in Life, some mistakes cannot be removed. Decisions cannot be revoked. And so, we are stuck with the consequences – more often than not, the punishment. Once you have crossed the line, it is next to impossible to go back. Sometimes. Lines, no matter how thin they are, are there for a reason.

It doesn’t matter whether you get a “second chance.” Or a third. Or a fourth.
Becuase the result can still go either way. And for repeat offenders, Fate may not be so kind the second time around.

The truth is, although one cannot really “go back”, for some people having that second chance is more than what he or she can ask for. To take another risk. To take another dive. Again and again.

Because some plunges, whether it’s perfect or plakda, is worth the leap.

Non Multa, Sed Multum

A priest once told our class back in high school, “Non multa, sed multum. Not many, but much.” I already forgot why and under what context he said that, but the latin quotation stuck with me: quality over quantity.
However, I recently observed that as I grew older, achieving quality anything has become more, well, challenging. From quality education to quality food, from quality material things to quality relationships – a decent quality of life, in a broader sense.

Sometimes I prefer buying “value meals” over a full meal. On other occasions, I enjoy buying affordable imported clothes, n shirts for x pesos, rather than saving up for one really nice shirt in this store. I find it convenient to have quick hi’s-hello’s with friends instead of endless conversations about petty issues and lifechanging decisions with a few close friends.
It’s not that bad really. Especially when quality is hard to come by these days.

Sometimes, quantity makes up for (the lack of) quality.

Kids are a bundle of joy. Sometimes.

I’ve heard the statement before. Many, many times. Parents, particularly mothers it seems, are often the ones who impart the younger generation with such beliefs about having and raising children. And I’m sure they mean well.

Yes, kids say the funniest, smartest, and the cutest things. Sometimes, it’s not what they actually say or do, but how they say or do it. They act and speak in a certain innocent-but-not-that-innocent way that some grown-ups, myself included, find all amusing and adorable. Kids – from babies to 7ish ones – are a bundle of joy. But we all know that that‘s not always the case.

What professional parents conveniently forget to tell is how kids can drive you crazy, how they can turn your place – or any place! – into a complete mess effortlessly, how annoyingly noisy they can get when they’re hungry, happy, or plain cranky. And these are just the little toddlers ha.

When they start going to school and have absorbed enough radiation from the tv, life gets more interesting. All of a sudden, you’re not the only source of knowledge, habits, and some questionable values. They now have cartoon characters that display all sorts of behaviors, a plethora of classmates and friends from all sorts of backgrounds.

It sucks when you realize that even though you’re a parent, you’re not the only one doing the parenting. And you wake up one day accepting you’re not the most influential person in their lives anymore. That you’re just one among the many.

It’s just one of those days. This too shall pass.

Council of State Begins

The Council of State has begun, but with out the presence of the opposition. I’m half-expecting it so no surprise here. So much for getting the inputs of key personalities from all opposing sides and various sectors.

What surprised me though was finding out in this article that there’s already an existing body – the Legislative-Executive Development Council – which functions similar to the CoS. Until now, I didn’t know that Ledac existed.

If that’s the case, then I agree with Sen. Joker Arroyo when he described the CoS as “a decorative body without any real power or clout.” The way I interpret it, the essential function of CoS is to come up with answers  that address the burning issues that our country is facing. Or to put it simply: mere words on paper.

And like everything else, such actions entails costs. Costs paid by us (or most of us). Spending time and the people’s money on the CoS is utterly senseless, considering that Malacañang already has Ledac! And besides, I doubt if the people will even consider their output as “clean and untainted.” Or if the people will even care since CoS is a Malacañang-initiated move.

Anyhow, since it has started already, we might as well see what they can come up with. And to the opposition: it would have been more interesting if one of you were present. Just one. For the sake of some sort of balance.

‘La na

Nora Oliveros of the Department of Budget and Management said that only PHP “5 billion remained of the confiscated Marcos wealth.” After being spent and allocated to the CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) and various departments through the years, only the said amount remained. Wow. More details here. Further more, the budget for CARP this year is PHP 16 billion and yet, they’re only left with PHP 13 billion, from which PHP 8 billion will still be deducted to compensate the human rights victims.

“(It’s) practically gone, your Honor,” Oliveros said.

If I were present in that Senate hearing, I would have loudly reacted, “Huwat???”

How could you spend that much money so fast? Where did each centavo go? Well, the answer should be easy: Just collect the “receipts” whether they’re official print-outs or written on table napkins. There ought to be a paper trail. Somewhere. Assuming though that every entry is accounted for, it still does not answer how can they spend so much in such a short amount of time? And be under budget now?

The only answer I can think of as of this writing is this: they overspent. Case in point, they hired 10,000 personnel for CARP. Did (or do) they really need that many people to work for CARP? Ten thousand people just seem far too many don’t you think?

Sigh. The government needs to hire better managers next time. (I’m pretty sure there will be a next time.)

Pacquiao Effect

This news article made me laugh. Last Sunday was a crime-free day for Metro Manila! Was that even possible? I asked myself. Whether that claim is completely true or not, the point was everyone was watching the big fight of Manny Pacquiao. Now, I’m thinking, we should train and send more boxers around the world to fight for other boxing titles.

And when Monday began, it was back to normal for our hard-working politicians. But not quite. Still reeling from the victory of Manny, they went into a frenzy of resolutions and proposals – from lauding the boxer’s skills and sportsmanship to declaring Manny’s arrival as a non-working holiday. Although I found it commendable that they made effort to make sure that Pacquiao’s achievements didn’t go unnoticed, I just felt that they’re overdoing it. And how long before all the glory and attention start to fade? We’ve had other boxers – as well as other athletes! – who brought home titles as well, but where are they now? Has our government, through the generosity of our loving politicians, fulfilled and sustained any of the promises they gave to these athletes?

I realized now that all *these* simply illustrate how deprived the Philippines is of something that we can be proud of – as individuals and as a nation. And please, give Manny Pacquiao a break.