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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

EDITORIAL: CELEBRATION - SOLEMN OPENING OF THE JUBILEE OF MERCY


Pope Francis celebrates Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and the Solemn Inauguration of the Jubilee. - AP TODAY, Pope Francis will open the Holy Door of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome to mark the opening of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, which he declared through the Bull of Indiction, Misericordiae Vultus, on April 11, 2015, the Feast of Mercy. In announcing this jubilee, the Holy Father hopes that the whole Church will rediscover anew the mercy of God and find healing and comfort in his forgiving love. The Pope reminds us: “Do not forget that God forgives all, and God forgives always. Let us never tire of asking forgiveness. Let us henceforth entrust this Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey: our penitential journey, our year-long journey with an open heart, to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God.” The Jubilee of Mercy will be celebrated from December 8, 2015, until November 20, 2016. The Biblical concept of a jubilee is a special time of release of debts and universal pardon. In the book of Leviticus, the jubilee is mentioned as happening every 50th year, in which slaves and captives would be released, debts would be pardoned and there will be an abundance of God’s blessings shown in the goodness of the people. The Book of Leviticus states: “And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be unto three forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your hand. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you; ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.” (Leviticus 25:8-13) READ MORE...

ALSO Editorial: Hopes, expectations as Paris climate talks end today


It was not so much for its experience as victim of the world’s strongest storm ever to hit land – Yolanda in 2013 – that the Philippines drew attention at the ongoing United Nations (UN) climate talks in Paris, France, as for its espousal with 35 other countries of an initiative to promote geothermal energy in developing countries. The Global Geothermal Alliance had met last year at a summit organized by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. At the Paris conference this week, the alliance pushed for the development and use of geothermal energy which produces so much less carbon than fossil fuels such as oil and coal. Ninety countries in the world have geothermal resources but only 24 use them. The Philippines is today one of the leading users of geothermal energy, second only to the United States. image:The Philippines set up its first geothermal plant on Leyte island in 1977, producing 3 megawatts – 3 million watts – of electricity. Large-scale production of geothermal power began in 1979 with the operation of a plant producing 110 megawatts – 110 million watts – in Albay. By 2009, the Philippines had geothermal plants in Luzon, Leyte, Negros, and Mindanao producing 10,311 gigawatts – 10,311 billion watts – representing 17 percent of the nation’s total power generation. Geothermal power is produced by drilling into hot rock and using the natural energy to heat water which generates electricity. It is exceptionally clean and the source of energy – the earth’s heat – is unlimited. There is hardly any carbon emission in the entire process and it thus ranks high among the natural and renewable sources of energy – along with solar, wind, and wave – that climate change advocates are pushing to replace fossil fuels. READ MORE...

ALSO by Former Press Secretary Hector R. Villanueva: Many to choose from


HECTOR VILLANUEVA “There are too many politicians who believe, with a conviction based on experience, that you can fool all of the people all of the time.” — Franklin Adams There are six presidential candidates – Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Miriam Santiago, Sen. Grace Poe, even Mar Roxas and envoy Roy Señeres, who are obviously not impressed and do not believe in the competence of Pres. Noynoy Aquino. They believe in their own intellectual superiority to P-Noy and in their abilities and competence in resolving the nation’s problems towards an inclusive growth society. The Aquino administration has achieved a consistently high economic growth; maintained a sustaining truce in Mindanao; avoided any military coup attempt; and has preserved industrial peace in the last five years. Indeed, these are substantial gains coming from an “accidental” president who had not previously accomplished notable feats in his political career. Can the candidates for the presidency perform better than P-Noy? For starters, Mayor Duterte has seized the initiative in three crucial areas of advocacy which have been neglected by Pres. Noy Aquino. These are the rampant killings and criminality; drug trafficking; and corruption. While these three laudable objectives may end up as frustrating no-win missions, and could result in assassination, they have nevertheless catapulted Mayor Duterte to prominence and phenomenal popularity. The Filipino masses, weary of their misery and poverty, seek a leader of proven track record, strong-willed, honest, blunt, pro-people, and patriotic. READ MORE...

ALSO By Fred Lobo's Punchline: No contractualization, Duterte and Poe vow


Fred M. Lobo
“Presidentiables” have vowed to stamp out the practice of “contractualization” in the labor sector. Time to help workers and their families have a of economic security. *** Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe, and OFW party-list Rep. Roy Seneres, all presidential bets in the 2016 polls, have promised to delete the “contractualization” system. It has become the “usual practice “and a burden to workers and their families who can’t plan ahead, they cry. *** Duterte says jobs for the unemployed and the removal of contractualization will be among his prime concern. Not just the elimination of criminals and addicts, he vows. *** “This contractualization is the usual practice today because once an employee becomes permanent after six months, employers are obliged to give Christmas bonus and other benefits,” Duterte points out. “I would not allow this if I become president,” Duterte emphasizes. *** “If you keep on terminating our workers after six months he or she will get no gains, no expertise on the field or line of work where he or she should excel,” Duterte says. Contractualization “is an anti-Filipino policy” he condemns. *** Independent presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares also frowns at the prevailing contractualization of workers. I will push for the regularization of workers both in government and the private sector if I get the people’s mandate in 2016, Poe vows. READ MORE...

ALSO Editorial: A stand for democratic principles and human rights


BULLETIN EDITORIAL CARTOON DEC 13, 2015 -The terrorist threat posed by radical Islamist elements has gone straight to the center of the American election campaign, after leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a ”total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”  He was referring to the unexpected action of a Muslim couple living in San Bernardino, California, who armed themselves with automatic weapons, left their baby with the man’s mother, proceeded to a holiday party at the man’s county health department office, and killed 14 people in a shooting rampage. The couple appeared to have been inspired by the Islamic State extremists in the Middle East. Less than 24 hours after the attack, Trump, who has become known for speaking out in his mind on the most controversial issues, made his proposal for a ban on Muslim migrants – at a time when the US government is getting ready to accept thousands of refugees fleeing the war In Syria. No other candidate – Republican or Democrat – has picked up Trump’s call. President Barack Obama said the killing was an act of terrorism but it is not “a war between America and Islam.” Muslims are as much victimized by these groups as Christians or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists, said the UN High Commission for Human Rights. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Celebration: Solemn opening of the Jubilee of Mercy


Pope Francis celebrates Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and the Solemn Inauguration of the Jubilee. - AP

MANILA, DECEMBER 14, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) December 8, 2015 -TODAY, Pope Francis will open the Holy Door of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome to mark the opening of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, which he declared through the Bull of Indiction, Misericordiae Vultus, on April 11, 2015, the Feast of Mercy.

In announcing this jubilee, the Holy Father hopes that the whole Church will rediscover anew the mercy of God and find healing and comfort in his forgiving love.

The Pope reminds us: “Do not forget that God forgives all, and God forgives always. Let us never tire of asking forgiveness. Let us henceforth entrust this Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey: our penitential journey, our year-long journey with an open heart, to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God.”

The Jubilee of Mercy will be celebrated from December 8, 2015, until November 20, 2016.

The Biblical concept of a jubilee is a special time of release of debts and universal pardon. In the book of Leviticus, the jubilee is mentioned as happening every 50th year, in which slaves and captives would be released, debts would be pardoned and there will be an abundance of God’s blessings shown in the goodness of the people.

The Book of Leviticus states: “And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be unto three forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your hand. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you; ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.” (Leviticus 25:8-13)

READ MORE...

In the New Testament, Jesus’ words in the gospel of Luke fulfilled the tradition of the Jubilee Year: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)

The first jubilee year was declared by Pope Boniface on Christmas Day in 1299. In the wake of much suffering from war and plague, many people came to Rome, to repent at the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul in Rome.

In response, Pope Boniface VII proclaimed a “year of forgiveness of all sins.” After that, the jubilee was celebrated every 50 years. Pope Paul II fixed its frequency at 25 years in 1470. The last jubilee celebration in the Catholic Church was celebrated in the year 2000 – the Great Jubilee – the 2,000 birth anniversary of Jesus Christ. The next celebration is set for 2015 when Pope Francis celebrates an extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

This celebration of the Jubilee of Mercy is a time to rediscover the forgiving love of God in Jesus. It is also a time to show mercy to others.

Pope Francis exhorts all of us to “rediscover the richness encompassed by the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.” We have received mercy and forgiveness from the father, in turn, we must show mercy to our neighbor.

The invitation of this Holy Year is for us to be open to receive and grant forgiveness to others just as we have been forgiven for our offenses by the loving father.


Editorial: Hopes, expectations as Paris climate talks end today December 11, 2015 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share20

It was not so much for its experience as victim of the world’s strongest storm ever to hit land – Yolanda in 2013 – that the Philippines drew attention at the ongoing United Nations (UN) climate talks in Paris, France, as for its espousal with 35 other countries of an initiative to promote geothermal energy in developing countries.

The Global Geothermal Alliance had met last year at a summit organized by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

At the Paris conference this week, the alliance pushed for the development and use of geothermal energy which produces so much less carbon than fossil fuels such as oil and coal. Ninety countries in the world have geothermal resources but only 24 use them.

The Philippines is today one of the leading users of geothermal energy, second only to the United States.

The Philippines set up its first geothermal plant on Leyte island in 1977, producing 3 megawatts – 3 million watts – of electricity.

Large-scale production of geothermal power began in 1979 with the operation of a plant producing 110 megawatts – 110 million watts – in Albay. By 2009, the Philippines had geothermal plants in Luzon, Leyte, Negros, and Mindanao producing 10,311 gigawatts – 10,311 billion watts – representing 17 percent of the nation’s total power generation.

Geothermal power is produced by drilling into hot rock and using the natural energy to heat water which generates electricity.

It is exceptionally clean and the source of energy – the earth’s heat – is unlimited. There is hardly any carbon emission in the entire process and it thus ranks high among the natural and renewable sources of energy – along with solar, wind, and wave – that climate change advocates are pushing to replace fossil fuels.

READ MORE...

At the Paris conference, the Philippines also led a Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) campaign to limit the rise in global temperature to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The goal set by most of the developed nations is a more moderate 2 degrees Celsius. During the conference, the Vatican announced its support for the 1.5 degrees initiative of the CVF.

There are so many aspects of the climate change problem that the Paris conference is seeking to resolve. A proposed draft of an agreement – the result of months of talks among negotiators of various countries – was submitted to the conference the other day.

It contains goals set by each country in its carbon missions, proposals for funding by the developed nations to help still-developing nations make greater use of clean energy, and the overall goal of 2 degrees – or 1.5 degrees – to which global temperature rise must be limited.

The Paris conference opened last November 30 with such great expectations. By the time it ends today, December 11, there should be substantial agreement on the various aspects of climate change to put an end to worries about rising sea levels and worsening natural calamities and raise the world’s hopes on the future of our planet.


Many to choose from by Former Press Secretary Hector R. Villanueva December 10, 2015 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share35


HECTOR VILLANUEVA 

“There are too many politicians who believe, with a conviction based on experience, that you can fool all of the people all of the time.” — Franklin Adams

There are six presidential candidates – Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Miriam Santiago, Sen. Grace Poe, even Mar Roxas and envoy Roy Señeres, who are obviously not impressed and do not believe in the competence of Pres. Noynoy Aquino.

They believe in their own intellectual superiority to P-Noy and in their abilities and competence in resolving the nation’s problems towards an inclusive growth society.

The Aquino administration has achieved a consistently high economic growth; maintained a sustaining truce in Mindanao; avoided any military coup attempt; and has preserved industrial peace in the last five years.

Indeed, these are substantial gains coming from an “accidental” president who had not previously accomplished notable feats in his political career.

Can the candidates for the presidency perform better than P-Noy?

For starters, Mayor Duterte has seized the initiative in three crucial areas of advocacy which have been neglected by Pres. Noy Aquino.

These are the rampant killings and criminality; drug trafficking; and corruption.

While these three laudable objectives may end up as frustrating no-win missions, and could result in assassination, they have nevertheless catapulted Mayor Duterte to prominence and phenomenal popularity.

The Filipino masses, weary of their misery and poverty, seek a leader of proven track record, strong-willed, honest, blunt, pro-people, and patriotic.

READ MORE...

Mayor Duterte may not win in 2016 as the business elite and crime syndicates are averse and allergic to strong leaders.

But, there is always a first time like Catholic John F. Kennedy and African-American Barack Obama in America.

Second, unless Mar Roxas undergoes transformation in his persona and ceases to be a shadow and proxy of P-Noy, all efforts should be exerted not to prolong or perpetuate the influence of Pres. Aquino on Mar Roxas.

If in desperation, the admin will coerce the Comelec to postpone the elections, for whatever reasons, this nation will be looking into the abyss of chaos, a probable bloody coup d’état, and civil disorder.

It is conjectured that this admin will resort to the most insidious, machiavellian foul means and government resources to make Mar Roxas win at all costs as he trails behind the other candidates.

The Philippines cannot claim to be whole until it achieves an enduring peace and tranquility in Mindanao; a climate of equal justice; socialized wealth, and a viable “modus vivendi” with China.

These are the important advocacies that the other candidates can pursue for themselves.

You be the judge.


PUNCHLINE: No contractualization, Duterte and Poe vow by Fred M. Lobo December 10, 2015 Share6 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share39


 Fred M. Lobo

“Presidentiables” have vowed to stamp out the practice of “contractualization” in the labor sector.

Time to help workers and their families have a of economic security.

***

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe, and OFW party-list Rep. Roy Seneres, all presidential bets in the 2016 polls, have promised to delete the “contractualization” system.

It has become the “usual practice “and a burden to workers and their families who can’t plan ahead, they cry.

***

Duterte says jobs for the unemployed and the removal of contractualization will be among his prime concern.

Not just the elimination of criminals and addicts, he vows.

***

“This contractualization is the usual practice today because once an employee becomes permanent after six months, employers are obliged to give Christmas bonus and other benefits,” Duterte points out.

“I would not allow this if I become president,” Duterte emphasizes.

***

“If you keep on terminating our workers after six months he or she will get no gains, no expertise on the field or line of work where he or she should excel,” Duterte says.

Contractualization “is an anti-Filipino policy” he condemns.

***

Independent presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares also frowns at the prevailing contractualization of workers.

I will push for the regularization of workers both in government and the private sector if I get the people’s mandate in 2016, Poe vows.

READ MORE...

***

The senator tells the PGEA and TUCP that “perpetual contractualization results in perpetual insecurity of tenure.”

“It’s unfair and unjust.It contributes to poverty,” Poe laments.

***

Likewise, Rep. Seneres says he maintains his position against contructualization.

Workers should be treated fairly, he insists.

***

Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. urges the Aquino government to rethink the controversial Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) .

It has failed as an anti-poverty alleviation program, he claims.

***

“Now we hear that we are growing at a remarkable rate, but it is not felt by ordinary people. It is felt by big corporations, it is felt by rich people,” says Marcos Jr.

Let’s better build infrastructures that could spur economic growth and create more jobs, he asks.


Editorial: A stand for democratic principles and human rights December 13, 2015 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share6

The terrorist threat posed by radical Islamist elements has gone straight to the center of the American election campaign, after leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a ”total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

He was referring to the unexpected action of a Muslim couple living in San Bernardino, California, who armed themselves with automatic weapons, left their baby with the man’s mother, proceeded to a holiday party at the man’s county health department office, and killed 14 people in a shooting rampage. The couple appeared to have been inspired by the Islamic State extremists in the Middle East.

Less than 24 hours after the attack, Trump, who has become known for speaking out in his mind on the most controversial issues, made his proposal for a ban on Muslim migrants – at a time when the US government is getting ready to accept thousands of refugees fleeing the war In Syria.

No other candidate – Republican or Democrat – has picked up Trump’s call. President Barack Obama said the killing was an act of terrorism but it is not “a war between America and Islam.” Muslims are as much victimized by these groups as Christians or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists, said the UN High Commission for Human Rights.

READ MORE...

Trump’s proposed blanket ban on all Muslims entering the US is seen by most Americans as a distortion of what the US stands for. The actions of two individuals cannot be blamed on an entire class or group. What Trump proposed, a fellow Republican presidential candidate said, is “not what the party stands for – more importantly, it is not what the country stands for.”

We share in our own country, the Philippines, this rejection of the thinking that an entire group or class can be blamed for the acts of an individual. Our own Constitution declares that “the state values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.”

The Philippines has a sizeable Muslim community, some elements of which have risen against the national government in rebellion or secession. But the acts of a group like the Abu Sayyaf – blamed for so many kidnappings – are not blamed on the entire Philippine Muslim community which is, by and large, true to the democratic principles of our republic.

We do not see Trump’s proposal gaining any support or headway in the US. It should be able to to solve its problem of terrorism within its borders without turning its back on the basic principles of democracy and human rights – a stand which we in the Philippines firmly share.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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