PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE: Since 1997 © Copyright (PHNO) http://newsflash.org


PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below; pls. scroll down)

AN EIFFEL IN QUIAPO: SAVING SAN SEBASTIAN - HOW TO SAVE THE COUNTRY's ALL-STEEL CHURCH


JANUARY 10 -HEAVY, HOLY METAL As a tourist spot, San Sebastian Basilica, the only all-metal church in the Philippines, remains a largely undiscovered gem. RICHARD REYES
 Inspired by the success of Calle Crisostomo in Vigan and Intramuros in Manila, Quiapo’s San Sebastian Basilica is looking to attract more tourists to its community by restoring the church to its near-original state and, eventually, including it in guided walking tours together with nearby historical sites. Save San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation is spearheading the restoration and drive to promote the church to tourists. Guided public tours of the basilica will start in March, said Tina Paterno, the foundation’s executive director and conservator. The tour will focus on the history of the church, founded in 1621 and famous for being the only all-metal church in the Philippines, and the restoration process being undertaken. After earthquakes destroyed three other churches on the site, the Augustinian Recollect Fathers set out to build an earthquake-proof building. Designed by Eiffel  In 1891, they ordered from Belgium a prefabricated church consisting of 50,000 tons of steel and built the present neo-Gothic structure. It has long been reputed that Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer who built Paris’ Eiffel Tower, was involved in the design and construction of San Sebastian which features two openwork towers, steel vaulting and stained-glass windows. The basilica is also a popular pilgrimage site, for the statue of the very first image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, brought to the country from Mexico in 1617, which survived the earthquakes but not the loss of its ivory head which was stolen in 1975. During the yearly Black Nazarene procession in January, the traditional Dungaw takes place outside the basilica, when the image of Jesus Christ “greets” the image of His Mother before proceeding to the Quiapo Church. Two options Visitors will be offered two options. Basic admission, at P120, will take them around the church’s first floor and choir loft. Those with stronger knees may opt for the P150 full tour which will take in the church’s towers and belfry. Students, senior citizens and groups of 51 or more will get discounts. READ MORE...

ALSO: Proud to be Filipino


JANUARY 11 -THE IFUGAOS  A breakfast crony, expat AH, wondered aloud why Filipinos abroad seem to be less proud of their country compared with other peoples. “The most nationalistic,” he maintained, “are Americans. Say something against the US and you’ll get an earful.” EL chimed in, “Singaporeans may gripe about how they can’t even chew gum, the Chinese may keep silent about the powers that be, etc. but their love of country is never doubted.” Thus began an active discussion. Are we undemonstrative as a people? Not really, said TK. People crow about their children’s accomplishments and grandchildren’s cuteness. They are proud of their homes, hobbies, possessions. They are proud of their neighborhood or town or province. But somehow, demonstrated pride ends there. True, living conditions compel any number of Filipinos wish to escape overseas, notwithstanding assurances of six percent real growth. In any case, many are poor but proud. The Ifugaos JV thought the common responses to the question on what about the Philippines and Filipinos we can be proud of are something like: (a) our hospitality, (b) our faith in God, (c) we taught People Power to the world; (d) we’re a happy people; and (e) our beautiful beaches. Everyone agreed, “mababaw.” No one doubted that our record is mixed. The negatives are all too obvious, but positives are unrecognized. We do not realize what we have accomplished as a people, while experiencing traffic, pollution, ugliness, crime, government red tape, petty corruption. We export people and import food, clothing, and shelter material. Most important, and regretfully, hope for relief is undefined. RG, a management consultant, pointed out that designing a strategy, in this case to build national pride, requires an assessment of strengths, weaknesses, resources, and instruments, with explicit performance criteria and a control mechanism. We might begin with what we weekly sing as our National Anthem. Make sure that Filipinos know what we have done as a people and what we are doing to ensure continuing achievement. READ MORE...

ALSO: God never tires of forgiving, prefers sinners over self-righteous moralizers, Pope says in his 1st book


JANUARY 11 -Vatican City – Pope Francis lays out his case for emphasizing the merciful face of the Catholic Church in his first book as pontiff, saying God never tires of forgiving and actually prefers the sinners who repent over self-righteous moralizers who don’t.
“The Name of God Is Mercy,’’ a 100-page conversation with Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, is being published this week in 86 countries to help kick-start Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy. A copy was provided in advance to The Associated Press on Sunday. In the book, Francis condemns what he calls the “scholars of law’’ – the doctrinaire-minded rigorists who throughout the history of the church have challenged Jesus’ message of unconditional love and mercy for even the most wretched of sinners. He says often these self-righteous Christians are hypocrites themselves, using the law to hide their own “deep wounds.’’ “These are men who live attached to the letter of the law but who neglect love; men who only know how to close doors and draw boundaries,’’ Francis is quoted as saying. Francis has rankled many conservatives with his frequent dismissals of theological and legalistic arguments stressing doctrine over his more pastoral message of welcome and mercy for society’s most marginal. The clash in approaches has been particularly evident in recent church debates over marriage and divorce. “We must avoid the attitude of someone who judges and condemns from the lofty heights of his own certainty, looking for the splinter in his brother’s eye while remaining unaware of the beam in his own,’’ Francis says. “Let us always remember that God rejoices more when one sinner returns to the fold than when 99 righteous people have no need of repentance.’’ The Vatican is officially launching the book Tuesday with a high-level panel discussion featuring Francis’ secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and `Life Is Beautiful’ actor Roberto Benigni, signaling the importance Francis places on getting the message out. READ MORE...

ALSO: HOMETOWN NEWS -BSP shuts down Abra rural bank


JANUARY 11 -The BSP’s Monetary Board issued Resolution No. 4 on Jan. 7, shutting down the Rural Bank of Villaviciosa Inc. in Abra, as provided under Republic Act 7653 or the New Central Bank Act. File photo
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has ordered another rural bank closed barely a week into 2016, as it encouraged small banks to consolidate and strengthen the country’s banking system.
The BSP’s Monetary Board issued Resolution No. 4 on Jan. 7, shutting down the Rural Bank of Villaviciosa Inc. in Abra, as provided under Republic Act 7653 or the New Central Bank Act. The bank regulator prohibited the rural bank from doing business in the country, and ordered its assets and operation placed under the supervision of the state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC). The Abra rural bank was the first to be closed by the BSP this year. Last year, 14 rural banks were closed and placed under the supervision of the PDIC. BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. earlier said the bank regulator would continue to offer incentives in order to encourage weaker banks to consolidate, merge, and beef up their capital base. “In this manner, the banking system will be strengthened and bank closures will be minimized. On the issue of bank closures, it is important to consider this in the context of protecting the public and enhancing the service,” Tetangco said. The BSP together with the PDIC and Land Bank of the Philippines have issued the guidelines for the consolidation of rural banks. Data from the central bank showed the number of big and small banks operating in the country reached 635 in September last year, or lower by 17 than the 652 recorded in September 2014. THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: RELIGION BASED WAR - Maguindanao town fears BIFF, Christian militia sparking violence over land


JANUARY 10 -DATU ABDULLAH SANGKI, Maguindanao, Philippines – Local leaders and residents have expressed fears that two armed groups from other areas could ignite animosity between Muslims and Christians, similar to the martial law situation here in the 1970s. Former Vice-Mayor Datu Ali Camino urged local authorities and civil society groups to intervene, initially with an independent fact-finding mission to prevent a religious-based conflict that could be “ignited by outsiders.” Camino was referring to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) from other areas, which claimed responsibility for the December 24 killings in three sub-villages here and in Ampatuan town, and the reported massing-up from another province of the dreaded Pulahan group, a pro-government militia organized during martial law.
Camino said prior to the Christmas Eve killings of 11 farmers in Sitio (sub-village) Paitan in Barangay Banaba here, and in Sitio Sabadoan, Barangay Kakal in nearby Ampatuan town, armed skirmishes took place last October between BIFF and the Pulahans. Residents said the areas were too close to Barangay Durian, the common boundary of the two Maguindanao municipalities with Esperanza town in Sultan Kudarat. Municipal Councilor Anwar Emblawa said 15 families of Moro farmers were “installed” in April 2015 by the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO), as beneficiaries of the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in the area. Emblawa said that when the beneficiaries assumed possession of the 40-hectare land in Banaba, they were accompanied by police and military authorities along with the MARO and other agrarian reform officials to prevent conflict with neighboring non-Muslim farmers. Sammy Maulana, secretary-general of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), said what put a “religious color” into the conflict was that the BIFF attack took place on a Christmas Eve, which he described as “condemnable” and which has worsened the situation.READ MORE...

ALSO: NEWS SCOOP FROM ABS-CBN - Why Pia won't date PNoy anytime soon


JANUARY 9 -MANILA - Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach admitted on Friday that it would be difficult for her to go on a date President Benigno Aquino III due to her hectic schedule, especially after winning the international pageant.
In an interview on New York radio station PLJ FM, the 26-year-old Wurtzbach was quizzed over past rumors romantically linking her to the bachelor Philippine president. She talked about how the rumors started, saying: "I met him because I was a contributing writer for the lifestyle section of a newspaper in the Philippines, so I met him in a few social occasions."  Wurtzbach went on to explain: "I think that would be very difficult [to date him]. I haven't even had a full eight-hour sleep, it has been very busy. What more [if a go out with] a guy. But according to the Filipina, the Miss Universe organization does not have a rule barring her from entertaining suitors. "We have a chaperone when we do events and what-not, but they don't try to not allow us to go on dates or have a boyfriend. If you're responsible enough, I think they'll trust you," she said. In an interview on "Tonight with Boy Abunda" before she competed for the Miss Universe crown, Wurtzbach denied that he dated Aquino. She said that she is just friends with the president. Television host Kris Aquino, the presidential sister, drew laughs in an earlier press conference when she quipped that she doesn't think Wurtzbach liked her brother. "I think she entertained him but the thing is, you can tell from her character na single-minded. Kinailangan na ito ang focus ko muna. Grabe naman 'di ba nangalahati ang katawan and lahat ng training, pinagdaanan. Pero 'di ba pinadalahan [ni Noy] ng flowers bago umalis?" she said. (READ: Kris Aquino opens up on Pia Wurtzbach, PNoy)  THE FULL REPORT. THIS IS IT FOR THIS WEEK, UNTIL NEXT.......


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

An Eiffel in Quiapo: Saving San Sebastian - How to save the country's only all-steel church


HEAVY, HOLY METAL As a tourist spot, San Sebastian Basilica, the only all-metal church in the Philippines, remains a largely undiscovered gem. RICHARD REYES

MANILA
, JANUARY 11, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Annelle Tayao-Juego @inquirerdotnet - January 10th, 2016 - Inspired by the success of Calle Crisostomo in Vigan and Intramuros in Manila, Quiapo’s San Sebastian Basilica is looking to attract more tourists to its community by restoring the church to its near-original state and, eventually, including it in guided walking tours together with nearby historical sites.

Save San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation is spearheading the restoration and drive to promote the church to tourists. Guided public tours of the basilica will start in March, said Tina Paterno, the foundation’s executive director and conservator.
 

The tour will focus on the history of the church, founded in 1621 and famous for being the only all-metal church in the Philippines, and the restoration process being undertaken.

After earthquakes destroyed three other churches on the site, the Augustinian Recollect Fathers set out to build an earthquake-proof building.

Designed by Eiffel

In 1891, they ordered from Belgium a prefabricated church consisting of 50,000 tons of steel and built the present neo-Gothic structure.

It has long been reputed that Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer who built Paris’ Eiffel Tower, was involved in the design and construction of San Sebastian which features two openwork towers, steel vaulting and stained-glass windows.

The basilica is also a popular pilgrimage site, for the statue of the very first image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, brought to the country from Mexico in 1617, which survived the earthquakes but not the loss of its ivory head which was stolen in 1975.

During the yearly Black Nazarene procession in January, the traditional Dungaw takes place outside the basilica, when the image of Jesus Christ “greets” the image of His Mother before proceeding to the Quiapo Church.

Two options

Visitors will be offered two options. Basic admission, at P120, will take them around the church’s first floor and choir loft.

Those with stronger knees may opt for the P150 full tour which will take in the church’s towers and belfry. Students, senior citizens and groups of 51 or more will get discounts.

READ MORE...

The idea was pilot-tested at last year’s Visita Iglesia during which visitors were given free 10-minute tours.

“We hired a guy and gave him a picture book, and he walked them through what we’ve been doing [for the restoration]. What surprised us was who turned up. We had [people from] all walks of life: little kids, a welder, a painter, an 80-year-old, men in slippers. And they were interested. They got it, and they wanted to be involved,” Paterno said.

An oasis

Paterno and her team have just finished the first phase of a 10-year restoration program, which mainly assessed the church’s current condition. In three years, they found more than 300 leaks and pools of water inside many of the basilica’s columns, as well as evidence of corrosion. They are now preparing to design the repairs needed before fully going into construction.

To involve the community in their efforts, Paterno said they have reached out to other historic groups in the Quiapo area like Bahay Nakpil-Bautista and Kapitbahayan sa Kalye Bautista atbp. Lugar Inc. which is working to save Casa Boix (a heritage house), as well as Far Eastern University, noted for a number of historical buildings in the Art Deco style designed by National Artist Pablo Antonio.

These historical sites, plus the San Sebastian Basilica and Quiapo Church, could be included in organized walking tours in the future, Paterno said.

This section of Manila is known as the “university belt,” where several universities and colleges are located in close proximity.

“FEU is an oasis. It’s so clean, green and the buildings are so cool,” Paterno said.

Big obstacle

Paterno and San Sebastian parish priest Fr. Antonio C. Zabala Jr. said, however, that a big obstacle to a tourism promotion plans for the basilica is the community itself.


THEY’RE saving San Sebastian: Nicholas Sy, project manager for promotions; San Sebastian Convent local prior Fr. Rene Paglinawan; foundation project director Tina Paterno; Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle; parish priest Fr. Joy Zabala. PHOTOS BY KIMBERLY DELA CRUZ NEWSCOOP -Upon arriving from a trip to Rome recently, one of the first things His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle did was to perform in a sacred music festival at the San Sebastian Basilica in Plaza del Carmen, Quiapo, Manila. “I get invited to a lot of these events, not so much for the quality of my singing, but for face value,” quipped the Cardinal the night of performance last May 30. Accompanied by the San Sebastian Chamber Singers, the San Sebastian Parish Rondalla, and members of the Halili-Cruz Dance and Ballet Company, Cardinal Tagle delivered an earnest rendition of one of his favorite songs, “Sanlibong Buhay,” before a crowd that made sure to record his performance on their cell phones and iPads. The Cardinal, who appeared on the second night of the three-night event, headlined a festival that included tenor Lemuel dela Cruz (a last-minute replacement for McDonald’s Philippines chair George Yang, who developed throat problems during practice), as well as noted choirs Don Bosco Technical Institute’s Boscorale, Regina Coeli Choir, UST College of Science Glee Club, Mapua Cardinal Singers and others. Alfie Jacinto served as musical director and choir master of the festival. Arts and culture venue A brainchild of Joey Vargas, artistic director of San Sebastian College’s Center for Culture and the Arts, “Musica Sacra” was spearheaded three years ago by the San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation. FROM INQUIRER LIFESTYLE

“Basically, the basilica is already a tourist spot. The only hindrance in making it more famous is the locality,” Zabala said.

“It’s isolated, unlike Intramuros, which is like a one-stop shop. That’s why we’re working with the other nearby spots so that hopefully, more people will visit,” he said.

Tough neighborhood

Quiapo’s reputation as a tough neighborhood also poses a challenge, said Paterno, a matter which she and her team have taken up with the local government.

“We’d like to have barangay officials take folks around [as tour guides] so that it will really be locals chaperoning guests. Safety will also be less of a concern,” she said.

For now, however, Paterno said the focus is on repairing the basilica.

“The repairs have to be discreet. We’re not trying to change the building, we’re trying to stop further deterioration,” she said.

Generous parishioners

The restoration is being funded by grants from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, United States-based heritage preservation group Bakas Pilipinas and the US Department of State through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, via the US Embassy in Manila.

And though Quiapo residents are far from rich, many of San Sebastian’s parishioners have been generous in donating whatever they can to help the restoration, Zabala said. “The biggest amount we received was P20,000 from an anonymous donor,” he said.

RELATED STORIES

How to save the country’s only all-steel church?

Rust corroding all-steel San Sebastian Church


MANILA BULLETIN

Proud to be Filipino by Jaime Laya January 11, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share4


THE IFUGAOS

A breakfast crony, expat AH, wondered aloud why Filipinos abroad seem to be less proud of their country compared with other peoples. “The most nationalistic,” he maintained, “are Americans. Say something against the US and you’ll get an earful.” EL chimed in, “Singaporeans may gripe about how they can’t even chew gum, the Chinese may keep silent about the powers that be, etc. but their love of country is never doubted.”

Thus began an active discussion. Are we undemonstrative as a people? Not really, said TK. People crow about their children’s accomplishments and grandchildren’s cuteness. They are proud of their homes, hobbies, possessions. They are proud of their neighborhood or town or province. But somehow, demonstrated pride ends there.

True, living conditions compel any number of Filipinos wish to escape overseas, notwithstanding assurances of six percent real growth. In any case, many are poor but proud.

The Ifugaos JV thought the common responses to the question on what about the Philippines and Filipinos we can be proud of are something like: (a) our hospitality, (b) our faith in God, (c) we taught People Power to the world; (d) we’re a happy people; and (e) our beautiful beaches. Everyone agreed, “mababaw.”

No one doubted that our record is mixed.

The negatives are all too obvious, but positives are unrecognized. We do not realize what we have accomplished as a people, while experiencing traffic, pollution, ugliness, crime, government red tape, petty corruption. We export people and import food, clothing, and shelter material. Most important, and regretfully, hope for relief is undefined.

RG, a management consultant, pointed out that designing a strategy, in this case to build national pride, requires an assessment of strengths, weaknesses, resources, and instruments, with explicit performance criteria and a control mechanism.

We might begin with what we weekly sing as our National Anthem. Make sure that Filipinos know what we have done as a people and what we are doing to ensure continuing achievement.


Banggan Terraces in Ifugao

READ MORE...

• The Philippines is beautiful and productive, with great botanical and zoological bio-diversity and with enviable mineral wealth. This suggests greater care of our national parks, forest reserves, coral reefs, seashores, and decisiveness in resource utilization.

• We have fought for freedom, from the earliest times. We really should talk about something other than Jose Rizal’s love life and Padre Dámaso, Emilio Aguinaldo’s wartime decisions, Apolinario Mabini’s alleged STD, how terrible that our pre-Hispanic culture was erased by Spanish and American exploiters.

• Manila was a key center of international trade (the 17th and 18th century Galleon Trade) and the Philippines remains so.

• Filipino achievements in music, dance, architecture and design, literature, visual arts, and sports have been so great as to attain international recognition. We should focus on the restoration and care of our tangible cultural heritage; caring for our civic centers like Rizal Park, Liwasang Bonifacio, and Mehan Garden; and the development and support for the truly—emphasis on truly—talented artists and athletes.


Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan Image by Camille Ante


Philippine Eagle


Paoay Church in Ilocos

We must know our history and accomplishments; be aware that there is hope; and be convinced that purposeful strategy, plan, and action (including budgeting) are in place.

Comments are cordially invited. Address to walangwala888@gmail.com  


MANILA BULLETIN

God never tires of forgiving, prefers sinners over self-righteous moralizers, Pope says in his 1st book by AP January 11, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share0

Vatican City – Pope Francis lays out his case for emphasizing the merciful face of the Catholic Church in his first book as pontiff, saying God never tires of forgiving and actually prefers the sinners who repent over self-righteous moralizers who don’t.

“The Name of God Is Mercy,’’ a 100-page conversation with Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, is being published this week in 86 countries to help kick-start Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy. A copy was provided in advance to The Associated Press on Sunday.

In the book, Francis condemns what he calls the “scholars of law’’ – the doctrinaire-minded rigorists who throughout the history of the church have challenged Jesus’ message of unconditional love and mercy for even the most wretched of sinners. He says often these self-righteous Christians are hypocrites themselves, using the law to hide their own “deep wounds.’’

“These are men who live attached to the letter of the law but who neglect love; men who only know how to close doors and draw boundaries,’’ Francis is quoted as saying.

Francis has rankled many conservatives with his frequent dismissals of theological and legalistic arguments stressing doctrine over his more pastoral message of welcome and mercy for society’s most marginal. The clash in approaches has been particularly evident in recent church debates over marriage and divorce.

“We must avoid the attitude of someone who judges and condemns from the lofty heights of his own certainty, looking for the splinter in his brother’s eye while remaining unaware of the beam in his own,’’ Francis says. “Let us always remember that God rejoices more when one sinner returns to the fold than when 99 righteous people have no need of repentance.’’

The Vatican is officially launching the book Tuesday with a high-level panel discussion featuring Francis’ secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and `Life Is Beautiful’ actor Roberto Benigni, signaling the importance Francis places on getting the message out.

READ MORE...

In the book, Francis insists that his now-infamous “Who am I to judge’’ comment about gays was merely a repetition of the church’s teaching on homosexuality. Francis won praise from gays with the comment, uttered during his first press conference in 2013. But many conservatives have criticized the remark as vague and incomplete since church teaching also holds that gay acts are “intrinsically disordered.’’

Francis says the church has long held that gays should be treated with dignity and respect and seen as individuals. And he goes to some length throughout the text to cite scripture and previous popes to make clear that his radical agenda is fully rooted in the church’s basic teachings.

“People should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: Let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love,’’ he says. “I prefer that homosexuals come to confession, that they stay close to the Lord, and that we pray all together. You can advise them to pray, show goodwill, show them the way, and accompany them along it.’’

Francis has made clear from the start of his pontificate that his would be a papacy focused on mercy, and he called a jubilee year to emphasize it. Throughout the book, Francis refers repeatedly to his own ministry to prostitutes and prisoners in Argentina, showing how his own personal encounters with society’s outcasts have shaped his view about the faith and formed the bedrock of his papacy.

As a confessor, Francis is quoted as saying, “I have always tried to find a crack, just a tiny opening so that I can pry open that door and grant forgiveness and mercy.’’

But Francis’ opening isn’t a free-for-all: He says of course prisons can’t throw their doors open and let violent criminals out onto the streets. But he says once a debt is paid, prisoners must be reintegrated back into society and welcomed. And he distinguishes between ordinary and even repeat sinners and those who are corrupt, saying corruption is a condition, a state of life and often a hypocritical one incompatible with Christianity.

“The corrupt man often doesn’t realize his own condition, much as a person with bad breath doesn’t know they have it,’’ he says.

Some conservatives have balked at Francis’ mercy-over-morals priorities, saying it has sent confusing messages to the faithful especially after two previous popes spent so much time stressing doctrine. Even some cardinals have called on Francis to make clear-cut policy statements on certain hot-button issues, especially on the divisive question of whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion.

Church teaching holds that, if these Catholics are living in sin, they cannot receive the sacraments.

Francis launched a two-year study on the issue and other matters related to Catholic family life, and is expected to weigh in this year with a document on whether any accommodation can be found.

In the book, Francis doesn’t commit himself one way or the other, but he indicated that his ultimate decision may draw on a personal experience.

Francis recounts that one of his nieces wanted to marry a man who had children from a previous marriage but hadn’t yet obtained an annulment, a church decree that his first marriage was null.

The couple got married in a civil ceremony and went on to have three children. Francis recalls that every Sunday when they went to Mass the man went to confession and told the priest that he knew he couldn’t be absolved from the sin of adultery, but he asked for a blessing.

“This is a religiously mature man,’’ Francis said.

Progressives, led by the German bishops, have said such religiously mature Catholics should be allowed to participate fully in the life of the church, including receiving the sacraments.


PHILSTAR

BSP shuts down Abra rural bank By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 11, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


The BSP’s Monetary Board issued Resolution No. 4 on Jan. 7, shutting down the Rural Bank of Villaviciosa Inc. in Abra, as provided under Republic Act 7653 or the New Central Bank Act. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has ordered another rural bank closed barely a week into 2016, as it encouraged small banks to consolidate and strengthen the country’s banking system.

The BSP’s Monetary Board issued Resolution No. 4 on Jan. 7, shutting down the Rural Bank of Villaviciosa Inc. in Abra, as provided under Republic Act 7653 or the New Central Bank Act.

The bank regulator prohibited the rural bank from doing business in the country, and ordered its assets and operation placed under the supervision of the state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC).

The Abra rural bank was the first to be closed by the BSP this year.

Last year, 14 rural banks were closed and placed under the supervision of the PDIC.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. earlier said the bank regulator would continue to offer incentives in order to encourage weaker banks to consolidate, merge, and beef up their capital base.

“In this manner, the banking system will be strengthened and bank closures will be minimized. On the issue of bank closures, it is important to consider this in the context of protecting the public and enhancing the service,” Tetangco said.

The BSP together with the PDIC and Land Bank of the Philippines have issued the guidelines for the consolidation of rural banks.

Data from the central bank showed the number of big and small banks operating in the country reached 635 in September last year, or lower by 17 than the 652 recorded in September 2014.


INQUIRER

Maguindanao town fears BIFF, Christian militia sparking violence over land
By: Nash B. Maulana @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Mindanao 07:28 PM January 10th, 2016

DATU ABDULLAH SANGKI, Maguindanao, Philippines – Local leaders and residents have expressed fears that two armed groups from other areas could ignite animosity between Muslims and Christians, similar to the martial law situation here in the 1970s.

Former Vice-Mayor Datu Ali Camino urged local authorities and civil society groups to intervene, initially with an independent fact-finding mission to prevent a religious-based conflict that could be “ignited by outsiders.”

Camino was referring to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) from other areas, which claimed responsibility for the December 24 killings in three sub-villages here and in Ampatuan town, and the reported massing-up from another province of the dreaded Pulahan group, a pro-government militia organized during martial law.

Camino said prior to the Christmas Eve killings of 11 farmers in Sitio (sub-village) Paitan in Barangay Banaba here, and in Sitio Sabadoan, Barangay Kakal in nearby Ampatuan town, armed skirmishes took place last October between BIFF and the Pulahans.

Residents said the areas were too close to Barangay Durian, the common boundary of the two Maguindanao municipalities with Esperanza town in Sultan Kudarat.

Municipal Councilor Anwar Emblawa said 15 families of Moro farmers were “installed” in April 2015 by the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO), as beneficiaries of the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in the area.

Emblawa said that when the beneficiaries assumed possession of the 40-hectare land in Banaba, they were accompanied by police and military authorities along with the MARO and other agrarian reform officials to prevent conflict with neighboring non-Muslim farmers.

Sammy Maulana, secretary-general of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), said what put a “religious color” into the conflict was that the BIFF attack took place on a Christmas Eve, which he described as “condemnable” and which has worsened the situation.

READ MORE...

Until the December 24 attack, it had been a case of land conflict, since it started with the killings Penda Pangalam, 55, and his nephew Abubakar Maton, 17, in August 2015 allegedly by armed Pulahan men.

The Pulahans came from another province, purportedly to help local non-Moro residents oppose the awarding of Christian settlement lands to Muslim farmers, said an initial report by the CBCS, a federation or tri-people (Muslim-Christian and Indigenous People) non-government organizations.

In October 2015, five members of the group were killed in a clash with suspected BIFF guerrillas in Barangay Banaba, residents recalled.

Maulana said a fact-finding mission should also culminate with an interfaith dialogue. Some alumni of the Notre Dame of Dulawan High School, Maguindanao’s only Catholic school, in Datu Piang town volunteered to help facilitate an inter-religious dialogue to help prevent a situation of a religious-based animosity.

Sources at the Maguindanao Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (PARO), who declined to be named for lack of authority to speak, said the disputed area formed part of the Edcor Settlement, covered by territories declared public land by the American colonial government, before it was subjected to CARP.

They said the office had conducted a “series of dialogue with the affected parties, Muslims and Christians, prior to the awarding of the pre-patent land titles,” adding that they were not privy if any representative from the Pulahans were involved.

“But it may not be far-fetched that they (Pulahans) were misinformed and that what they knew is that the 40-hectare land given to the Moro tillers were squatted by its present occupants,” one of the sources said in Filipino.
SFM


ABS-CBN NEWSCOOP! ON PNoy & PIA...

Why Pia won't date PNoy anytime soon ABS-CBN News Posted at 01/09/16 2:31 AM

MANILA - Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach admitted on Friday that it would be difficult for her to go on a date President Benigno Aquino III due to her hectic schedule, especially after winning the international pageant.

In an interview on New York radio station PLJ FM, the 26-year-old Wurtzbach was quizzed over past rumors romantically linking her to the bachelor Philippine president.

She talked about how the rumors started, saying: "I met him because I was a contributing writer for the lifestyle section of a newspaper in the Philippines, so I met him in a few social occasions."

Wurtzbach went on to explain: "I think that would be very difficult [to date him]. I haven't even had a full eight-hour sleep, it has been very busy. What more [if a go out with] a guy.

But according to the Filipina, the Miss Universe organization does not have a rule barring her from entertaining suitors.

"We have a chaperone when we do events and what-not, but they don't try to not allow us to go on dates or have a boyfriend. If you're responsible enough, I think they'll trust you," she said.

In an interview on "Tonight with Boy Abunda" before she competed for the Miss Universe crown, Wurtzbach denied that he dated Aquino. She said that she is just friends with the president.

Television host Kris Aquino, the presidential sister, drew laughs in an earlier press conference when she quipped that she doesn't think Wurtzbach liked her brother.

"I think she entertained him but the thing is, you can tell from her character na single-minded. Kinailangan na ito ang focus ko muna. Grabe naman 'di ba nangalahati ang katawan and lahat ng training, pinagdaanan. Pero 'di ba pinadalahan [ni Noy] ng flowers bago umalis?" she said.

(READ: Kris Aquino opens up on Pia Wurtzbach, PNoy)


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2015 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE