Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thank God! A Framework for Peace Agreement between the MILF and the GPH. What about with the NDF?

This is the moment that I have longed for. I was filled with joy seeing on TV and reading the news on the internet and newspapers about the signing of the framework for peace in Malacanang.
I'm glad that the MILF leadership and the government negotiators after a long process have been able to come up with this agreement. They have heard the clamor of the ordinary people who are tired of all the killings that have cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
Congratulations and thanks are due to the peace negotiators as well as the third-parties who brokered the process - the other countries, the civil society groups and ordinary citizens - Muslims, Lumads and Christians, Mindanaons and Filipinos alike.

Like many peace advocates, I have experienced a lot discouragements and frustrations in the past especially when expected breakthroughs that were sabotaged by extreme forces on both sides.

For over a decade I have always prayed and fasted for life and peace - while biking across the Philippines in 2000, around Mindanao in 2006 and around the Philippines in 2008 and running and walking across Spain in 2010 and across the Philippines in 2011.

Of course, there is still much to be done and support is still necessary for the final peace agreement will be signed and implemented fully.

The guns will be silent in Mindanao - but not fully. The armed conflict between the government forces and the CPP/NDF/NPA continues all over the country. There is still another peace process that has to be resumed - between the NDF and GPH. This process has been going on and off since 1987 - that's too long. I hope the government leaders and the CPP/NDF leaders will seriously listen to the clamor of the people. We want peace based on justice. We are fed up with all the killings and the never-ending war. Majority of the people do not suppor the "people's war" and the combatants in both sides are tired of the fighting ,while the leaders are aging. It  is unrealistic and foolish to expect a military victory.

I continue to  pray that the guns will totally be silent and peace will reign all over the Philippines.

Meanwhile, we give thanks to God for this recent achievement.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Celebrating my 58th Birthday

           I turn 58 today - two more years to go before legally becoming a senior citizen. But I do not feel that old. I set my alarm clock for 4:45 am but I ignored it and slept longer. I finally had my morning meditation and mass at 7 am. It was already 9:30 am when I set out for a long-distance run/walk around Metro-Manila. I was just reflecting prayerfully about my life-journey and giving thanks to God for all the blessings. I stopped by  a fast-food restaurant  for a bite at 1:30 pm and continued on. I got back to Baclaran at 5:30 pm.
            No birthday party for me. The confreres in Baclaran community didn't know  that it's my birthday but I got a lot of birthday greetings in the  cyberspace  from my Facebook. friends. How, ironic.
            I feel very contented with where I am now - working outside the congregation and making a major contribution to the whole Philippine Church in promoting the formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) all over the country. This month for example I will be the guest speaker for the silver jubilee celebration of the Basic Ecclesial Communities in the diocese of Digos. Then immediately after, I fly to Cebu and will be one of the speakers during the National Institute of Seminary Formators (there three speakers - Archbishop Chito Tagle, Bishop Gerry Almazan and I). I will be speaking about BECs and Seminary Formation. After that I have to fly back to Manila and will be the guest speaker during the Kalookan Diocesan BEC assembly. Next month I will be the guest speaker during the Daet Diocesan BEC assembly. This will be followed by the Mindanao-wide BEC assembly and then the Novaliches diocesan BEC assembly.
            I feel that I am fulfilling my life's destiny. I am making a maximum impact. There is still much to be done. I have to finish writing and editing the manuscripts for publication. The following are my book projects: The Beloved (Memoirs, Diaries and Letters of a Priest), The Vision of a Renewed Church (Ecclesiology of Vatican II and PCP II ),  Manual  for  Developing BECs, Ministry and Orders, Pastoral Leadership and Management.  When published I know that I will make a greater impact. I don't know how much time I have remaining .  I have to make sure that these will be published as soon as possible.