TO TOUCH the soul of another is to walk on holy ground- Stephen Covey
This week seems an opportune time to reconnect with people, the past and the future. A time of reflection on one’s purpose on earth, the experiences in the past and connecting with the now and the time to come.
The 29th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Central Philippines was just concluded. Delegates are send back to the local churches inspired to testify to the Gospel of God’s grace. It was renewing friendships and knowing some new people, since it was 5 or so years ago that I have been a delegate to the convention. It is unfortunate that during these conventions those who go don’t attend all the sessions. Do they not realize that by choosing to be the representative of their unit, they deprive the others who would have wanted to be part of the convention? That it is not a personal pride but being a delegate bears with it not only a privilege but carries with it a great duty and a responsibility as a Christian connecting to other member of a congregation and society.
Another dot is the city’s festivities. The Panagbenga celebration will attract people from all over and from all walks of life – the good and the bad- into our already congested place. Prior to the street dancing and the float parade is the Ibaloi Festival. It is one where the Indigenous Peoples of Baguio are given significance and a chance to gather together to strengthen them as a people and as a part of Baguio’s melting pot. They have to assert themselves and refresh a history of the land and from there towards a future where their descendants can appreciate their roots and contributions to the city. How do we connect this with the other dots in our existence as a city?
Adding to the flurry of activities is preparation of several sectors for the celebration of the Women’s month of March. It has to be celebrated as more and more women issues have been raised towards everyone’s awareness. Compared to other countries, the Philippines is more advanced in accepting the role of women as a productive member of society. I have joined international conferences include the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW) for a couple of years and it has made me have close contact with women leaders fighting for the rights and protection of women in countries. Though it is the same issue worldwide, it takes several forms. Human trafficking is a universal issue, but the form it takes in the Philippines is different from that of the Middle East, where women are considered a property.
EDSA Revolution of the 1980s is something to be remembered and celebrated today. This is so because some of our younger generation may not even have any inkling of what it is. I remember it too clearly when the political uprising was so intense but the people power emerged and we have the EDSA Bloodless Revolution. The religious played an important role in turning the tide of leadership and public support. People were urged to pray and remain in sobriety through media that was being strangled but the innovative spirit of the Filipino emerged and the airwaves were able to reach the homes of people. Ordinary people became the power that changed our society in the middle of the 1980s. The people were fearless because the campaign was for Peace in our land and to reject a dictatorship which strangled the democracy in this country. Many lives have been touched, but they are slowly going home to the Creator too.
A dot in history is the EDSA Bloodless revolution recorded as February 22-25, 1986. The revolution gathered more than two million people from all walks of life and came together to oppose a dictatorship. But we know that it was not a three day revolution, it was a series of events until the 25th including the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in August 21, 1983, the snap election where Cory Aquino was pitted against Ferdinand Marcos which resulted in differing counts of the COMELEC and NAMFREL.
In contrast to EDSA bloodless revolution, the present times is a bloody war against drugs and against each other. On one hand are people crying out for the sanctity of life and on the other hand, a strong “Duterte-Bato hero worship” to kill even without due process. How does this really connect with our spirituality and our past? We deserve what we have done, is what others say – but we should not compromise the century old value “all life comes from God, he gives and takest away.”