NEGROS Island today is in the spotlight due to the murder and extrajudicial killings happening in the northern, southern and oriental side of the island. The Bishops of Negros had come out with their collegial statements amid these killings. Individually, they came with their pastoral letters and action in their respective Dioceses.
As a collective act, they request for the tolling of bells every 8 p.m. and the mandatory praying for peace (Oratio Imperata). They are doing their pastoral and spiritual care for the people of God. Other groups have also come out and condemned the irrational and indiscriminate killings in our island. Our brethren belonging to the revolutionary movement and embracing a different ideology as ours become the target of criticism and blame. Although they do not claim to kill innocent individuals, they are being pointed upon by the “Intelligence Committee.”
This is now the time to check if the PNP policies and mandate on peace and order are still relevant. They might only be good in papers. The Armed Forces are quick to respond to the problem. They will be sending in more troops to the island and may recommend to declare a state of emergency in the island. But having force with force will only result in great violence and worst, it will simply end with more dead bodies. Government has to remind itself that all conflicts can end on the table for negotiations otherwise all will be losers in “war.” My professor in Social Philosophy once told me that in war or violence, there are no winners, only casualties.
To put an end to all these killings, the people should do something. We need to rally behind the leaders who despise killings and murder and put to the chair of justice those leaders who seem to be apathetic at the issues of the day. Cleanup, demolitions, graft and corruption, infrastructure development and other recurring issues must not only be the concern of our leaders. They have to be concerned with the issues of the day and must take them seriously.
A few days ago, President Duterte suspended PCSO games and few days after restored the lotto operations in the country while still halting other small franchises of PCSO. On the other hand, he praised Pagcor in his Sona for giving his administration a greater slice of their pie. He even encouraged PAGCOR to do more (magsugal pa kayo). I cannot understand the standard of morality of the President, does he even have one? Is he against gambling or is he just simply after the revenue?
I was taught that gambling is unethical because one would put his or her fate on it and would no longer do more. It is a game of chance and no one wins except the bank (Banca). It is immoral for we put our end or purpose on the game of chance. The government legalizes gambling to make it as a revenue source. Even if an act is immoral or unethical but it pays taxes and revenues, then it becomes legal. “Not all legal is moral” is an old cliché that keeps on ringing but in this country, what is legal automatically becomes moral and even ethical. The inconsistency of the Duterte says it all.
Welcome lean months, Tiempos Muertos or tigkiriwi! August is usually, the dead season in Negros Occidental. It is a time when sugar centrals clean their machines and it is off-season. The palay plantations are not yet ripe for harvest and investors are not coming in. Foreign tourists are going home and people prepare for the opening of classes. Parents are opening their piggy banks for the payment of school requirements.
This is the time where we are reminded of the good times and the time of abundance. This is the time where we sit down and reflect on what have we done. If we had done well, then there is nothing to be sad of. If we have not done well, do not despair, the happy times are just around the corner. September and the “ber” months are coming.
St. Ezekiel Moreno, ST. Sebastian, St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Francis Xavier and St. Charles Borromeo, pray for us.