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“Where is your Brother?”

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in altum

 

Atty. Aurora SantiagoMost Rev. Pablo Virgilio “Ambo” David, Bishop of Kalookan, issued a Pastoral Letter entitled “Nasaan ang Iyong Kapatid?” (Where is your brother?). He agrees with President Duterte that the biggest plague in the country is widespread crime and illegal drug pushing and addiction; that this pestilence should be eradicated because they kill the lives of our countrymen; and they destroy the future of many people.

Bishop Ambo said that drug pushing and addiction is not only illegal, it is also immoral. It is a grave sin which tear down the very core of the victim, destroys his family, destroys the community and destroys society. It causes systematic killing which calls the curse of heaven to those who are engaged in illegal drugs. However, in the campaign against illegal drugs, we must keep in mind that crimes cannot be solved by killing the suspects; due process of law must be followed. We must educate the community on the bad effects of illegal drugs. The justice system in the country must be strengthened.

The bishop also said that drug addicts are not criminals, they are persons who are sick, except when they sell illegal drugs and are drug pushers. Drug addicts might have been forced to use illegal drugs due to problems involving his spouse, his children or his job; that he is hopeless and pushed to the wall, that he could not find any solutions. The drug dependents who surrendered or who want to surrender because they want to lead a drug-free life must be given assistance and guided to return to the mainstream of society.

Bishop Ambo calls on all parishes and schools to extend a helping hand to those who would like to surrender to the authorities but are afraid to do so for fear of being hurt or killed. The Bishop said that the government was not prepared for the many drug dependents who surrendered. There are not enough rehabilitation centers and it is not right to make jails a rehabilitation center. Assistance can be extended in the form of “spiritual support groups” or bible study of the BEC (basic ecclesial communities) which will guide those who want to lead a new drug-free life.

The Bishop advised those who are into illegal drugs and afraid to surrender for fear of being killed, even if not resisting arrest, to go to their priests to help them surrender. To those who know that their family members sell illegal drugs but did not do anything, they commit a grave sin especially if they benefitted from such illegal acts. If we want change in our society, we must start the change within ourselves. We must strengthen our family, our community in the barangay level, it being the basic institution of our country.

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In response to the Pastoral Letter of Bishop Ambo, the Council of the Laity of Kalookan initiated a fund raising project to finance the rehabilitation program of the Diocese of Kalookan for drug dependents who surrendered to the authorities. The Concert for a Cause is entitled “LaYKo si Pads, Level Up (Habag at Awa)”. The performers are the Clergy of Kalookan, together with surprise guest celebrities. The Concert will be held on November 18, 2016, Friday, at 7:00 p.m. at the PICC (Philippine International Convention Center), Cultural Center Complex, Pasay City.

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The 2nd National Media Convention 2016 held in Angels’ Hills Retreat House in Tagaytay City was a huge success. The Convention was spearheaded by the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communication (ECSC) chaired by Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara. The keynote speaker, Mr. Sean Patrick Lovette of the Vatican Radio English Section, was practically the darling of everyone. He discussed the Vatican Perspectives in organizing the Philippine Media Ministry and the challenges to Filipino Catholic Media practitioners. He conducted his talk in the unconventional way, which was easily understood by the participants. Different tracks were discussed and the participants were given topics—radio and television, social media, and print media—which were discussed in group workshop.

Lovett’s advice to the Catholic Media practitioners “A prophet steps out of his comfort zone. He thinks, he acts and he speaks out of the box.” He told the participants that “the effectiveness of media practitioners in proclaiming God’s word relies on themselves, regardless of the technology being used. He challenged them to answer key questions on identity, possibility and creativity, as well as to see things from an unconventional perspective.”

Lovett also named other challenges, such as “synergy or sharing of experiences and resources, ethical standards, training for budding and future practitioners, and time constraints.”

Lovett mentioned that the Vatican’s various media institutions have been combined to form the Vatican Communications Secretariat, replacing the former Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

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Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was canonized by His Holiness, Pope Francis, last September 04, 2016 at St. Peter Square in Vatican. She had been called the living saint during her lifetime as she took care of the sick, seeing Christ in those sick people.

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Happy Episcopal Anniversary to Most Rev. Francisco De Leon and congratulations on his Canonical Installation as the 4th Bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo. We pray for your good health and a successful shepherding of the Diocese!

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Happy Birthday to the September Celebrators of our family: My eldest sister, Violeta Santiago-Rosales and her eldest son Marc Glenn Rosales. My youngest sister Flordeliza Santiago-Imperial and her eldest son Roberto Enrico Imperial. My nephew Paulo Roberto Santiago, the eldest son of my youngest brother Roberto Santiago. Praying for all of you, to have good health and more birthdays to celebrate with your respective family and with us. May God bless you more!

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