Monday, March 17, 2008

Biking and advocacy

The Philippine Daily Inquirer yesterday came out with an article about my forthcoming Bike-Tour starting next week. The title: Priest to Bike 4750 km to ask GMA for Reforms.

I do not like the heading of the article because it gives an impression that the main purpose of my biking is to ask the president for reforms. It also emphasizes that I am not asking the embattled president to resign.

The primary purpose of my biking and preaching is to draw attention to the culture of death and corruption that afflicts Philippine society - from top to bottom (from Malacanang to the barangay). Delivering a letter to Malacanang is just a side-trip and I don't expect the President to meet me or to read the letter - it is just symbolic. I will make the contents of the letter public - in it I will denounce the President for perpetuating the culture of death and corruption and for being a hypocrite (she goes to mass everyday and claims that it is God's will that she is president). Although I want her to resign, I will not be demanding her resignation because I know that it will be futile - she will continue to cling to power at all cost. I will just tell her that she will face the judgment of history and of God. Her worst punishment will be to live the rest of her life in shame and disgrace - knowing that the majority of the people have condemned her as a corrupt, greedy and powerhungry president - no better than Marcos and Estrada. But I don't want to focus all my energy in just denouncing the president.

As I bike around the Philippines (from Davao to Aparri and back), I will be preaching the Gospel of Life and Peace. I will speak out against the culture of death and corruption in society. I will focus my advocacy on 5 specific concerns which I believe are manifestations of the culture of death: abortion, the ongoing armed conflict, extrajudicial killings, the destruction of the environment (especially through logging and mining) and graft & corruption. What links all my other advocacies is the call to respect life. This means stopping abortion, stopping the war (call for resumption of peace negotiations), stopping extrajudicial killings, stopping the destruction of the environment (an appeal for total log ban and the repeal of the mining act), and stopping graft & corruption (search for truth and accountability, abolish pork barrel).

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