Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On Mar Roxas and the plight of Filipino seafarers: a dialogue with my pro-Duterte friends

Mar Roxas signing the helmets of seafarers (Source: Mar Roxas' blog. License: fair use.)

I had an enlightening conversation with two of my friends who are supporters of Duterte in one of my public Facebook posts regarding Mar Roxas undeniable triumph in the Third Presidential Debate. It's an interesting conversation since it reveals the grievances of the Filipino seafarers even if Mar Roxas has done much for them, so they look to Duterte to solve their problems. I'll remove their names here and replace them as Friend 1 and Friend 2, because the issues are more important than the personalities. Since the discussion is in Filipino, I shall translate the texts:

Friend 1: talaga bang wlang bahid si MAR ROXAS..,E KWENTO MU YAN SA PAGONG...HINDE YATA AWARE SA MGA NGYARI SA BANSA NATIN YUNG NAGPOSE NITO O KAYAY NAGBULAG-BULAGAN,O DI KAYAY BAYARAN,,..SEAFERERS SOLID VOTE FOR DUTERTE,..TUNGO SA PAGBABAGO...

[Translation: Is it really true that Mar Roxas is unstained? Tell that to the turtle. The one who posted this is not aware of what is happening to our country or just playing blind, or a paid hireling,... seafarers solid vote for Duterte... towards change.]

Me: Libo-libong mga seamen na mawalan sana ng trabaho noong 2012, dahil ayon sa Europa kulang daw ang training standards natin dito sa Pilipinas. Ano ang ang ginawa ni Mar Roxas noong sa DOTC pa siya? Pinakiusapan niya ang MARINA na tuparin ang 1987 International Convention sa STWC (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers). Kaya naagapan agad at marami sa mga kaibgan mo may trabaho pa ngayon. Ganyan si Mar Roxas. Mabilis umaksiyon. May malasakit sa mga seafarers na tulad mo. Ano ang nagawa ni Digong para sa mga seafarers tulad mo? Wala. Mahirap paniwalaan ang puro salita. Masdan natin sa gawa.

[Translation: Thousands of seamen could have lost their jobs in 2012, because according to Europe, the training standards here in the Philippines. What did Mar Roxas do when he was in the DOTC? He requested the MARINA to implement the 1987 International Convention in STWC (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers). That's why the problem was immediately solved and your friends still have jobs until now. That is Mar Roxas. He acts fast. He has a heart for the seafarers like you. What did Duterte do for the seafarers like you? None. It is difficult to believe the one who only talks. Let's look at his works.] Reference: Roxas to Seafarers: Daang Matuwid Leads PH to Safe Harbor.

Friend 2: hala. sir Quirino Sugon Jr., as far as i know, napakiusapan lamang nang nagkaroon na ng leak when the certificates of trainings ng mga seafarers ay bumagsak sa audit ng EMSA.. kasi, even if Mar Roxas begged for the EMAA regarding the accreditation again sa seafarers, huli na at nagkandarapa ang MARINA for this.. so what did they do? pinahirapan ang mga seafarers sa trainings.. a lot of it na kahit hindi necessary na irerenew ay naging renewable na after 5 years.. now what is the reason bakit ang TINIG NG MARINO, LUNETA SEAFARERS union, AMOSUP at Angkla and Marino partylist supported Duterte instead sir? because he then had a plan for seafarers to clean up the mess that the Marina is doing. ang kinukuwestyon lang kasi ng EMSA ay ang authenticity ng STCW numbering ng mga trainings kung updated ba ito. ang problema pinerahan pa tuloy ang mga seafarers.

[Translation: Oh, Sir Quirino Sugon Jr.. As far as I know, they were only able to request such accommodation when there was a leak that the certificates of trainings of the seafarers failed in the audit of EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency), because even if Mar Roxas beggesd for the EMAA regarding the re-accreditation of the seafarers, it's too late and MARINA is already stumbling on its way for this. So what did they do? They made life difficult for seafarers in trainings. A lot of these trainings were required--even those that were not necessary for the renewal, they made it renewable after 5 years. Now, what is the reason why TINIG NG MARINO, LUNETA SEAFARERS union, AMOSUP, Angkla, and Marino Partylist supported Duterte instead, sir? Because he then had a plan for seafarers to clean up the mess that the MARINA is doing. What EMSA is only questioning is the authenticity of the STCW numbering in the trainings, if these were updated. The problem is that the seafarers were milked with their money in the end.]

Me: Can you post the url link to the plan of Mayor Duterte regarding this from his website or from a news source?

Friend 2: here it is sir Quirino Sugon Jr.: Unveiled at MMP Forum: Duterte Maritime Platform:

Duterte is aware of “agony and travails” of overseas workers, even seamen in a different situation. One is also uprooted from family, with loneliness that kills. Depression sets when the wife gives birth and you are not around. For that alone, Duterte gives OFWs the highest of respect. If he becomes President, he will give what OFWs want.
Paramio of Marino PartyList says there are more than 450 private manning/crewing agencies and shipmanagers in the country employing more than 400,000 seafarers. Delays in processing documents sometimes lead to cancellation of overseas employment. He then asks how will Duterte shorten the process to avail of immediate employment.
Duterte: Not just seafarer documents but all clearances or permit in three days, maximum. He plans an Overseas Maritime Authority, or something. Marine Authority, one department or maybe an agency with 5 to7 signatories, acting within 30 days. One should not follow-up, just get a card and give the agency the problem of processing. Mulcting is also be avoided if one is not seen in the premises.
Every province or city shall have processing centers, including the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). He adds governance is common sense. He quotes US President Lincoln’s famous lines that the government is of the people, by the people --- but here, it is not for the people. The government in the Philippines is “all corrupt to the core.” Duterte is convinced a bureaucrat commits a crime when one demands applicants to keep coming back, to ask for grease money.
He repeats all are working for the same paradigm: about the sea, employment of seafarers. Why, then, should applicants move from agency to another agency? He wants one overseas maritime authority, period. Waiting period is 30 days, Duterte will provide the needs, all the computers necessary. If there are no ocular or physical examinations, do not procrastinate and issue the document. End of story, Duterte stresses. He wishes to see everybody transacting business with government. If necessary, government will work Saturdays; of course, with corresponding increase in pay.

Friend 2: that is the reason why majority of the seafarers are for duterte..

Friend 1: Sir Quirino Sugon Jr. Di ba may ebidinsya..

[Translation: Isn't this an evidence?]

Friend 2: hehe.. sir Friend 1, tinago ko po itong source na ito for discussion purposes.. mahirap kasing maniwala agad sa maling ahensiya ng nagpapahayag ng balita about seafarers dahil tayo, bilang mga seafarers know what is really Mar's wrongdoings when he was still the DOTC secretary. . hanggang salita lang siya.. wala naman talagang nagawa.

[Translation: hehe.. sir Friend 1. I am keeping this source for discussion purposes. It is difficult to believe in the wrong agency that talks in the news about the seafarers because we seafarers know what is really Mar's wrongdoings when he was still the DOTC secretary. He is only just words. He has not really done much.]

Friend 1: Tama ka sir...!god bless..kita kits nalang puhon..

[Translation: That's right, sir! God bless. Let's see each other when we can.]

Me: Friend 2, Maraming salamat sa link. Marami palang plano si Duterte para sa seafarers :) Yung Marino Partylist supports Duterte, subalit wala silang representative sa 16th Congress. Yung ANGKLA ay yung merong representative sa Congress and ANGKLA supports Roxas.

[Translation: Thank you for the link. I realized that Duterte has many plans for the seafarers :) The Marino Partylist supports Duterte, but they don't have a representative in the 16th Congress. ANGKLA has a representive in Congress and ANGKLA supports Mar Roxas.] Reference: Roxas To Seafarers: ‘Daang Matuwid’ Leads PHL To Safe Harbor:

He also shared the concerns and anxieties of workers in the maritime industry, which has proven to give Filipino families their fighting chance to survive. “Sa kabila nito ay mayroong pamilya, mayroong marino na lumalayo sa kanyang pamilya, mayroong mga kamaganakan na umaasa sa tagumpay sa progreso ng ating bansa…malungkot ang buhay subalit nagtitiyaga, nagpupursigi, dahil sa kanyang trabaho tinataguyod niya ang nasa isip niya ang kanyang pamilya,” Roxas said...
MARINA then became a one-stop-shop for all matters related to the compliance with the STWC, while Roxas developed the Philippines’ own version called the National Quality Standard System....
In turn, ANGKLA Party-list signed a manifesto last June 25 (International Seafarers Day) declaring its support for Roxas in 2016, in pursuit of Daang Matuwid. “Ang marino ay para kay Mar Roxas, si Mar ang angkla ng maritima,” Cong. Jess Manalo said on behalf of the ANGKLA Party-list. “Dapat magkaroon tayo ng lider na tutulong at may kredibilidad na ituloy ang programa sa maritima ,” added Capt. Roland Enrile, a member of ANGKLA Party-list.

[Translation:

He also shared the concerns and anxieties of workers in the maritime industry, which has proven to give Filipino families their fighting chance to survive."On the other side of this there is a family, there is a seafarer who leaves his family, there is a relative who hopes in the triumph of progress in our country.... life is sad, yet still trying had, because in his work he thinks about his family," Roxas said...
In turn, ANGKLA Party-list signed a manifesto last June 25 (International Seafarers Day) declaring its support for Roxas in 2016, in pursuit of Daang Matuwid. "The mariner is for Mar Roxas and Mar is the anchor of the maritime industry,” Cong. Jess Manalo said on behalf of the ANGKLA Party-list. "We need a leader who is willing to help and who has the credibility to continue the program of the maritime industry,” added Capt. Roland Enrile, a member of ANGKLA Party-list. "With your help, with our unity and participation, we shall craft a ship for the whole Filipino nation where each Filipino can find a way to fulfill their dreams,” Roxas told the seafarers’ group. (PNA) SCS/PR/RSM]

Friend 2: yes po, angkla is the first one to be at the congress. sila kasi yung unang na-form as a partylist.. 2 terms na po silang nandiyan BUT there are flaws in their group that was felt by the seafarers. that was also the time when they became the representative of seafarers in the congress that is sending a NON-SEAFARER or had no link with the SEAFARERS po that is why in order to stop this, some ANGKLA members are.divided to support their presidential bet, and choose the other candidates but they are more interested to DUTERTE and others just formed MARINO partylist BECAUSE the advocasy of the newly formed party is not just in the MARITIME trade but also concerns on the welfare of MARITIME STUDENTS since those chosen to be candidates for that are maritime educators or instructors of Maritime institutions. kaya nga po sir Quirino Sugon Jr., again, i repeat po, no one can deny, MAJORITY of the seafarers are for duterte.

Me: Let's hope that majority of them are really for Duterte. But even if a sizable yet influential minority is only for Roxas, it still means that the vote for Duterte by seafarers is not as solid as you claimed at first.

[I made a mistake here: I mistook the claim of Friend 1 as that of Friend 2.]

Friend 2: that I do not claim din naman sir Quirino Sugon Jr. pero i can have the guarantee to you po na duterte is the talk of the town sa mga seafarers fora po.

Me: Ok. I hope they really talk more about Duterte. Too bad the plight of the seafarers was not brought up in the Third Presidential Debate.

Friend 2: i guess Grace Poe mentioned it first and Duterte was the 2nd but with a more emphasis on it.. anyway sir, this is settled whether we agree or not in this issue. God bless us all.

Me: May God bless us all!
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"We've had disagreements. But let me say this: it was never personal for me. It was always for what I thought was right. It was always what was for the common good.--Mar Roxas

Saturday, April 23, 2016

On Mayor Duterte: Does God call the qualified or qualify the called?

Rody Duterte for President Movement International: God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
Question: "Good day Brod. do you have an article regarding Mayor Duterte slamming our Bishops? and his supporter comparing him with Old testament heavies such as David, Abraham and even to St. Peter?"

REPLY

I have no specific article for this, but you may wish to read two of my articles on Mayor Duterte:
But let's check out the argument of pro-Duterte apologists:
Jacob was a cheater, Samson was a womanizer, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran away from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, sarah was impatient, Thomas was a doubter, Elijah was depressed, Moses stuttered, Zacchaeus was short, Abraham was old, Peter denied Christ. And Duterte curses... a lot!

God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
A. Is Duterte a Saint or a Hero?

The outline of the argument goes like this:
  1. The saints and heroes in the Bible were sinners or flawed characters
  2. Duterte is also a sinner or a flawed character.
  3. Therefore, Duterte is similar to the saints and heroes in the Bible.
The fallacy of this argument is that it ascribes to the whole what is only true for a part, i.e. a false induction. If a cow has two eyes and a man has two eyes, then a cow is a man? All of us are sinners, too. All of us have flaws. Does that make us saints and heroes? Of course, no. To be called a saint or a hero depends on the manner of your death, i.e. how you acted in the last two minutes of your life.

Just like in basketball: if you have been shooting those 3-pointers well for all four quarters and you missed that game-winning or game-tying shot before the final bell, all your heroics won't be remembered by those who watched the game, for they will only remember and talk about what you missed. The converse is also true, if you have not been making your shots from the field for four quarters and in the final seconds you grabbed the rebound and hurled the ball to your teammate at the other end of the court for a game-winning fast break, you will be remembered as a hero.

It is the last two minutes of your life that matters. As God said through Prophet Ezekiel:
But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live. He shall not die! None of the crimes he has committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the justice he has shown. 23j Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked—oracle of the Lord GOD? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live? 24And if the just turn from justice and do evil, like all the abominations the wicked do, can they do this evil and still live? None of the justice they did shall be remembered, because they acted treacherously and committed these sins; because of this, they shall die.k 25l You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!”* Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair? Are not your ways unfair? (Ez 18:21-25)
Duterte has not yet died. So it is prudent not to compare him with heroes of the past, since even President Marcos, for all his brilliance as a lawyer and orator (and as a World War II veteran--if you believe his medals) was now only remembered as a dictator who was ousted by People Power at EDSA and who can't even be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (The Graveyard of Heroes).

Similarly, it is not also prudent to compare those who are still alive, e.g. Duterete, with religious figures in the Bible. As St. Ignatius of Loyola said:
We ought to be on our guard against comparing those of us who are still living with the blessed of the past. For no small error is made when one says, for example, “He knows more than St. Augustine,” or “He is another St. Francis, or even more,” or “He is another St. Paul in goodness, holiness, and the like.” (Catholic Rules of Orthodoxy)
B. Does God qualify the called?

"God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called."

This statement presumes that God has called Duterte to become the President of the Philippines. Yet it is also possible that the idea to run as President of the Philippines did not come from God but from the devil or from Duterte's own troubled mind. This requires discernment. And even if God anointed someone like Saul as King of Israel when the Prophet Samuel poured oil on his head, there is still no assurance that that the person whom God anointed would continue on the right path, for even King Saul strayed and disobeyed God, so that God stripped the kingship from him.

When God calls us, we must obey. And this means abandoning our sinful ways and walking on the righteous path with God until we die, for obedience is what distinguishes a sinner from the saint:
  • Jacob was a a cheater who pretended to be Esau to get the first-born's blessing from his father Isaac. But Jacob later brought a part of his wealth back as a gift to Esau to ask for his forgiveness and regain his favor. (c.f. Gen 33:1-17)
  • Samson was a cheater, but in the end, he saved Israel even while blind, while pushing the pillars that house the Palestinians in their victory merry-making. (c.f. Jgs 16:23-31)
  • David had an affair with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed in battle, so God punished David by killing his son with Bathsheba. And since that time, David has remained faithful to the Lord. (c.f 2 Sam 12:13-25)
  • Noah got drunk and then he fell asleep. He cursed Canaan for not covering his nakedness in his sleep, but who instead informed his brothers. Noah remained faithful to God until he died. (c.f. Gen 9:18-29)
  • Jonah ran away from his mission, but a giant fish swallowed him and sent him to Nineveh where he preached repentance in the entire city. (c.f. Jon 3:1-10)
  • Saul had Stephen stoned to death. Saul later repented when God blinded him with light and Saul became Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. (c.f Acts 9:1-22)
  • Gideon was insecure, and yet he obeyed God by destroying the statues of Baal in Israel. Because of this God made him defeat his enemies even with only 300 men. Gideon remained faithful to God until his death. (c.f. Jgs 7:1-25)
  • Miriam was a gossiper, because she envied Moses' relationship with God saying, "Is it through Moses alone that the LORD has spoken? Has he not spoken through us also?" God reprimanded her and Aaron, though Miriam alone was punished with a scaly infection for 7 days. After that, Miriam never murmured against Moses again. (c.f. Num 12:1-16)
  •  Sarah was impatient. Actually she laughed when the angels of the Lord said to Abraham that she would be pregnant even in her old age. But after she was corrected by the angels, Sarah has always remained faithful to God until her death. (c.f. Gen 18:9-15)
  • Thomas was a doubter, and yet when he saw Christ and placed his finger on his wounds, he believed and proclaimed, "My Lord and my God!". (c.f Jn 20:24-29)
  • Elijah was depressed, since Queen Jezebel sought his life after learning how Elijah killed the Prophets of Baal. And yet Elijah obeyed God by anointing Hazael as King of Aram and Jehu as King of Israel. He also anointed Elisha as the prophet to succeed him as God commanded. (c.f 1 Kgs 19:1-18)
  • Moses stuttered in his speech, but God did not remove this defect; instead God appointed Aaron to be Moses' spokesperson. Nevertheless, Moses also sinned against God by striking for the water to come out, and not simply by commanding the rock to yield its water. Because of this, God punished Moses by not allowing him to enter the Promised Land, but only see it from a distance. Nevertheless, Moses has remained faithful to God until his death. (c.f. Num 20:10-12)
  • Zacchaeus was short, a tax collector by trade--the most despicable of all jobs in Israel at that time, because he is an instrument of the Roman oppressors. And yet when Jesus told him that He will visit his house, Zacchaeus was so pleased that he promised our Lord: "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” (c.f. Lk 19:1-10)
  • Abraham was old, but because he is willing even not to spare his own son Isaac out of obedience to God, God made a covenant with him and made him the father of many nations. (c.f Gen 22:1-18)
  • Peter denied Christ three times after Christ was arrested and tried in court by the Sanhedrin. But when Jesus appeared to Peter again, he nullified his denial by his three-fold confession of his love for Him. (c.f. Jn 21:15-19)
 Thus, what separates the sinner from the saint is conversion.

C. Duterte curses a lot

Duterte is a man with unclean lips, just like the Prophet Isaiah. But before God sent Isaiah as a prophet, He first "qualified" him by cleansing his foul mouth with burning ember:
Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!* For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips,d and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” 6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7He touched my mouth with it. “See,” he said, “now that this has touched your lips,* your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”  (Is 6:5-7)
Were Duterte's unclean lips purged? Apparently not yet since he keeps on speaking foul words until now. Here's a sample:
So it appears that God has not yet qualified Duterte to run as president in the same way that God has qualified Isaiah to be a prophet by purging his unclean mouth with burning embers.

Purgatory is the place or condition when our soul is purged from our sins through fire, so that we can be fully clean to go to heaven and see God face to face:
1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. 1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607 As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608 (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Let us pray for Mayor Duterte that his unclean lips be purged if not in this age, then in the age to come.
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