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NOY SLAMS PRIEST-CRITICS IN FRONT OF HIS VISITOR


Francis listens to President Benigno Aquino III’s message to him during a ceremony in Malacañang. AFP and Malacañang Photo Bureau ---PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III used his speech before Pope Francis at the Palace Friday to take a swipe at clerics critical of his administration and former Presidents Gloria Arroyo and Ferdinand Marcos With the Pope, senior government officials and the diplomatic corps in attendance, Aquino recalled how he, as a 12-year-old boy, had “a front-row seat to the tyranny and persecution” during Martial Law under Marcos.CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: He didn’t criticize me, PNoy says


AQUINO KISSING POPE'S RING ---PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said Monday he did not feel alluded to when Pope Francis spoke of the need to protect and help the poor, even as he assured the public that the government’s anti-poverty programs would continue to bear fruit. In an interview at Villamor Air Base after sending off the Holy Father, Aquino was asked for his comment on the message of Pope Francis that statements on the need to help the poor must become reality. “I don’t think that message was directed at me,” Aquino said. “We have removed two-and-a-half million people from the poverty level. We have created about 1 million to 1.6 million new jobs. “Of course the results won’t be felt overnight, but we are on the right path and we are going there.”  Helping the poor and “scandalous inequalities” were the common themes of the pope’s speeches and homilies during his five-day state and apostolic visit. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Confidence in Aquino dips in Manila, Visayas


AQUINO --
Public sentiment in the Aquino administration is deteriorating with double-digit drops in the satisfaction grades in Metro Manila and the Visayas despite a net 34 rating in a December survey which pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) described as being steady compared to a quarter ago. In Metro Manila, the rating dropped from 36 percent in Sept. to 21 percent in December while in the Visayas, it dropped from 45 percent to 31 percent. The administration also scored good in just seven of 17 issues with low scores in reconciling with Muslim and communist rebels, providing jobs, fighting crime and terrorism and eradicating graft and corruption. In “Balance Luzon” which included the Aquino bailiwicks, however, it improved by 11 points to net 35 from the net 24 score in the third quarter. By socioeconomic class, SWS said public satisfaction with the Aquino administration stayed at the “good” level in all classes. It rose by two points to 40 from 38 among those in class E where satisfaction ratings have been 40 and above in 15 out of the 18 surveys since September 2010. It “hardly moved” to 32 from 33 among class D or the masa from above 40 in the previous 15 surveys to March 2014. It received a poor negative 41 on resolving the Maguindanao massacre case.READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Palace backs Pope’s call for responsible parenthood


LACIERDA --Malacanang yesterday said the Philippine government is one with Pope Francis in his call for responsible parenthood. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that both government and the Catholic Church want parents to be responsible in rearing their children. “Parents should be responsible for the well-being and the care for each child that they bring into the world… and that’s where responsible parenthood comes in,” Lacierda said. “Hindi tayo nagkakaaroon ng issue sa responsibility ng magulang na mag aruga ng kanilang mga anak [We don’t have any issue on parents being responsible in caring for their children],” he said. Lacierda however said the difference between government and Catholic Church is on the method for family planning. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO MANILA TIMES EDITORIAL: Pres. Aquino’s ‘kindred spirits’ should disavow him PRESIDENT BS


Aquino said many outrageous statements in his Malacañang welcome speech for Pope Francis that wasn’t. Among these are these words directly addressed to the Pope:
“I believe that you are a kindred spirit, one who sees things as they are, and is unafraid of asking, ‘Why not?’ Some of your statements might have been shocking or offensive to some peers. But Your Holiness is meant to be the instrument through which the Kingdom of God is allowed to flourish. In your example, we see the wisdom of continuing to ask, ‘Why not?’ We see joy, a sense of authentic service, and an insistence on a true community of the faithful. We thank the Lord for other kindred spirits like Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Father Catalino Arevalo, and Sister Agnes Guillen, who have always been voices of reason, and who are spiritual people who will always be natural allies, along with so many others. We would like to think that even more will join us in the truth, in the fullness of time.” Those words reveal how diametrically opposed is the perspective of our Smartmatic PCOS-machine created President from that of Pope Francis, who indeed “sees things as they are.” Which is why despite Mr. Aquino’s delusional presumption that he is something similar in truthfulness and rectitude of intention to the Holy Father [“we tread this path with people such as yourself”], Pope Francis said to President Aquino and the guests in Rizal Hall: READ FULL EDITORIAL...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

PNoy slams priest-critics in front of his visitor


Below, Francis listens to President Benigno Aquino III’s message to him during a ceremony in Malacañang. AFP and Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, JANUARY 24, 2015 (MANILA TIMES) By Joyce Pangco Panares -
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III used his speech before Pope Francis at the Palace Friday to take a swipe at clerics critical of his administration and former Presidents Gloria Arroyo and Ferdinand Marcos

With the Pope, senior government officials and the diplomatic corps in attendance, Aquino recalled how he, as a 12-year-old boy, had “a front-row seat to the tyranny and persecution” during Martial Law under Marcos.

While he praised Church leaders for standing up against the Marcos dictatorship, he criticized them for being silent on the abuses of the Arroyo administration and for questioning some of his decisions.

“There was a true test of faith when many members of the Church, once advocates for the poor, the marginalized, and the helpless, suddenly became silent in the face of the previous administration’s abuses, which we are still trying to rectify to this very day. In these attempts at correcting the wrongs of the past, one would think that the Church would be our natural ally,” the President said.

“In contrast to their previous silence, some members of the clergy now seem to think that the way to be true to the faith means finding something to criticize, even to the extent that one prelate admonished me to do something about my hair, as if it were a mortal sin.”

“Is it any wonder then, that they see the glass not as half-full, or half-empty, but almost totally empty. Judgment is rendered without an appreciation of the facts,” Aquino added.

Internet users and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan blasted the President for his speech, saying he turned the pastoral visit into another gripe session.

“Once again Aquino manages to make the event about him and not about his esteemed guest, the Pope and his message of change. Aquino used the event to discuss his issues with the Church,” Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said in a statement.

“Unable to rise above his own concerns, Aquino turned the event into a gripe session even as he conveniently omitted the exclusion and inequality pervading the country under his watch,” Reyes said.

Ateneo political science professor RR Rañeses expressed dismay over the tone and content of Aquino’s speech.

“In the spirit of mercy and compassion, I’ll just think of President Aquino’s speech this morning as ‘sorta inappropriate’,” he said in his Twitter account.

The executive director of Jesuit Communications said Aquino’s combative speech was in appropriate.

“That really surprised me a bit. You have the leader of the Catholic Church as your guest and you sort of attack his brothers here, his bishops here. That’s quite surprising. I don’t think this is the right venue for that,” said Fr. Nono Alfonso in a television interview.

“This is the first time that they are meeting and exchanging words and you bring up this historic past between the Church and the state,” he added.

The President said in his speech Friday that his aim was not to criticize other people.

“Everything I have said has not been to criticize, but to speak the truth, for the truth shall set us all free. If we are able to settle our differences, can we not benefit our people quicker?” Aquino said.

“I believe that you are a kindred spirit, one who sees things as they are, and is unafraid of asking, ‘Why not?’ Some of your statements might have been shocking or offensive to some peers. But Your Holiness is meant to be the instrument through which the Kingdom of God is allowed to flourish,” the President added.

Malacañang defended the President’s speech amid criticisms that it was too political and vindictive.

“The President spoke of the role of the Church through the years, from Martial Law up to the present period -- the noticeable shifts in the fight for justice over the years,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

“These are two heads of state speaking frankly to each other -- one as the pastor of the Catholic Church and the other a member of the Catholic Church of the Philippines. One spoke of fighting corruption, the other spoke of the silence of the Church in the face of corruption,” Lacierda added.

Last year, the Aquino administration came under heavy fire from various sectors, including Church leaders, over the discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program and for hinting that he might seek another term, a possibility that the President himself raised, then dismissed.

Aquino held a one-on-one meeting with the Holy Father ahead of the general audience at Rizal Hall in Malacañang.

The President gave the Pope two commemorative coins from the Central Bank and a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, Undoer of Knots carved from a century-old acacia tree that once stood on Palace grounds but was felled by typhoon Glenda last year.

His Holiness gave Aquino a medieval Atlas from the Vatican. 


MANILA STANDARD

He didn’t criticize me, PNoy says By Joyce Pangco Panares, AFP | Jan. 20, 2015 at 12:01am


AQUINO KISSING POPE'S RING

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said Monday he did not feel alluded to when Pope Francis spoke of the need to protect and help the poor, even as he assured the public that the government’s anti-poverty programs would continue to bear fruit.

In an interview at Villamor Air Base after sending off the Holy Father, Aquino was asked for his comment on the message of Pope Francis that statements on the need to help the poor must become reality.

“I don’t think that message was directed at me,” Aquino said.

“We have removed two-and-a-half million people from the poverty level. We have created about 1 million to 1.6 million new jobs.

“Of course the results won’t be felt overnight, but we are on the right path and we are going there.”

Helping the poor and “scandalous inequalities” were the common themes of the pope’s speeches and homilies during his five-day state and apostolic visit.

“It is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good,” the 78-year-old pontiff said after state ceremonies at the Palace grounds on Friday.

“[The great biblical tradition] bids us to break the bonds of injustice and oppression, which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities,” Francis said.

“Reforming the social structures, which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart.”

For 2014, the full-year average of self-rated poverty in the country was at 54 percent or close to 12 million households, a survey by pollster Social Weather Stations showed.

For the fourth quarter, 52 percent or about 11.4 million households saw themselves as poor, slightly down from 55 percent or 12.1 million households in the third quarter.

On the other hand, 41 percent or about 9.1 million families considered themselves food-poor in the fourth quarter, slightly down from the 43 percent in the third quarter.

SWS said the average self-rated food poverty rate for 2014 at 41 percent was worse than the 39 percent in 2013.


FROM BUSINESS WORLD Posted on December 28, 2014 10:18:00 PM By Imee Charlee C. Delavin, Reporter 2014 self-rated poverty worst in 8 years FEWER FILIPINOS consider themselves poor as 2014 comes to a close, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said in a new report, although the annualized average of self-rated poverty turned out to be the worst in eight years. The latest survey found 52% -- equivalent to an estimated 11.4 million households -- considering themselves poor, down three points from the third quarter’s 55% (or an estimated 12.1 million people)

SWS said the self-rated poverty threshold, or the monthly budget poor households need for home expenses not to consider themselves poor in general, was at a record high in Metro Manila and Visayas.

In Metro Manila, this was P20,000 from P15,000 in the third quarter, and P12,000 from P8,000 in the Visayas.

But the threshold stayed at P10,000 in Mindanao and fell to P8,000 from P10,000 in Balance Luzon.

Pope Francis left the Philippines though his message of compassion for the poor and the need to end the corruption that sustains their suffering will continue to resonate in a country where a quarter of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day.

The 78-year-old pontiff took his message from the halls of the presidential palace to the streets of storm-battered Tacloban and Palo in Leyte and again to an estimated 6 million people who joined his mass in downtown Manila on Sunday. The Argentine pope flew back to Rome Monday after spending four days in Asia’s most-Catholic nation.

“Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart,” Francis told an audience including President Aquino on Jan. 16, his first public address in the country. He urged the people “to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and to make concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man and woman and child in the community.” On Sunday he made a similar call.

Poverty remains a critical issue in the Philippines where about 24 million people, more than 24 percent of the population, live below the poverty line even with economic growth averaging more than 5 percent a year since 2012. Successive governments have made limited progress in the fight on poverty, which stood at 22.6 percent in 2003, with corruption one of the biggest impediments to government action.

“The visit of Pope Francis is significant to the over 80 million Catholic Filipinos, but more importantly, to those from the 30 percent of the population who live below the poverty line and rely only on faith to get by,” Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said in mobile-phone message in reply to questions.

Some of the faithful looked to the pope for a miracle to end their suffering and took to the streets in hope of a chance encounter and a blessing.

Delia Santos brought her four-year-old son to wait outside the pontiff’s temporary home in Manila the whole day of Jan. 17, hoping that even the fleeting touch of Francis could cure her child’s hydrocephalus.

“I wanted Pope Francis to touch him so he might get healed,” the 35-year-old mother said.

In Tacloban, the city hardest-hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, the first-ever visit by a pontiff meant the world to the suffering people of the region, Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin said. The strongest typhoon to hit land killed more than 6,200 people, mostly in Tacloban, and damaged more than a million homes.

“It’s like God sent him as a medicine to heal the festering spiritual wound in our hearts caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda,” the vice mayor said, using the local name of Haiyan.

“The pope obviously has made a huge impression on the country, especially with his tough language against corruption, his unequivocal statements on the need for social justice and care for the poor among our political elite, and the need to address man-made climate change,” said Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science professor at Dela Salle University.

The pontiff’s remarks could “rekindle efforts at political reform in the country.”

Aquino, 54, won the presidency in 2010 after a campaign in which he pledged to fight corruption rampant among officials since dictator Ferdinand Marcos ruled the country from 1965 to 1986. Aquino’s predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was arrested on charges of electoral fraud. Arroyo’s predecessor Joseph Estrada, who is now Manila’s mayor, was detained for six and a half years on corruption charges and later pardoned by Arroyo in 2007.

Under Aquino, there has been some improvement with the country’s score on the Transparency International corruption index, rising to 38 out of 100 in 2014 from 34 in 2012. Still, the country ranks 85 on the index of the 175 nations surveyed, where a No. 1 ranking signals the least corruption.


FROM THE TRIBUNE

Confidence in Aquino dips in Manila, Visayas Written by Joshua L. Labonera Wednesday, 21 January 2015 00:00 By Joshua L. Labonera

GOOD SCORES IN ONLY 7 OF 17 ISSUES — SWS


AQUINO

Public sentiment in the Aquino administration is deteriorating with double-digit drops in the satisfaction grades in Metro Manila and the Visayas despite a net 34 rating in a December survey which pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) described as being steady compared to a quarter ago. In Metro Manila, the rating dropped from 36 percent in Sept. to 21 percent in December while in the Visayas, it dropped from 45 percent to 31 percent. The administration also scored good in just seven of 17 issues with low scores in reconciling with Muslim and communist rebels, providing jobs, fighting crime and terrorism and eradicating graft and corruption.

In “Balance Luzon” which included the Aquino bailiwicks, however, it improved by 11 points to net 35 from the net 24 score in the third quarter.

By socioeconomic class, SWS said public satisfaction with the Aquino administration stayed at the “good” level in all classes. It rose by two points to 40 from 38 among those in class E where satisfaction ratings have been 40 and above in 15 out of the 18 surveys since September 2010. It “hardly moved” to 32 from 33 among class D or the masa from above 40 in the previous 15 surveys to March 2014. It received a poor negative 41 on resolving the Maguindanao massacre case.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.claim the administration did everything in its power to hasten the delivery of justice, saying it respects the court processes since the judiciary is considered a co-equal branch of government.

“Let us understand the order here. The case is in the hands of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. The case is being tried by the judiciary. The government is doing what it can through the national prosecution service under the Department of Justice (DoJ),” he said.

The resolution of the Maguindanao massacre was among the campaign promises of Aquino. Five years after Aquino sat as President, the case still languishes at the courts.

 “We understand that when this is asked our countrymen in surveys, their view may not be as detailed in dissecting all the branches of the government because what prevails for them is they want to witness the win or delivery of justice,” Coloma said.

The net satisfaction rating of the Aquino administration on the issue of the case remained virtually unchanged in 2014, hovering from negative 41 to negative 44 from first quarter to third.

“We are one with the nation in the desire to let justice prevail in this case, and I think that in the flow of time, the public opinion on this matter will be better and it will be seen that each individual had direct participation in handing the decision,” Coloma said.

“We hope that the executive could have done more but in the system of our democracy, we can see that we respect the whole process of justice while we stand as one with the people in the hope that justice will prevail,” Coloma said.


COLOMA

According to the survey results, 58 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the government’s performance, while 24 percent said they were dissatisfied. Some 17 percent of the respondents were undecided.

The issue on fighting inflation received a “poor” rating of -12; while the issue on resolving the Maguindanao massacre case with justice got a “bad” rating of -41. “Neutral” ratings were given to eradicating graft and corruption, +6; fighting crime, +5; ensuring oil firms don’t take advantage of oil prices, -8; and ensuring that no family will ever be hungry, -9. Respondents also gave a positive rating on the government’s foreign relations and helping the poor after both got a rating of +33 as well as on preparing for climate change, +31.

Four issues got “moderate” rating namely reconciliation with Communist rebels and providing jobs, +17; and reconciliation with Muslim rebels and fighting terrorism, +15.

Among the issues that received a rating of “good” were: helping victims of disasters (+42); defending the country’s territorial rights (+40); providing enough supply of electricity (+38); promoting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (+38); foreign relations (+33); helping the poor (+33); and preparing for climate change (+31).

The survey was conducted through personal interviews on 1,800 respondents or 300 each in Metro Manila, the Balance of Luzon and Mindanao, and 900 in the Visayas with a sampling error margins of positive and negative two percent for national percentages, positive and negative six percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon and Mindanao, and positive and negative three percent for Visayas.

The area estimates were weighted by National Statistics Office medium-population projections for 2014 to obtain the national estimates.

The Social Weather Survey items on public satisfaction with the general performance of the National Administration, and its performance on specific issues, are non-commissioned, according to SWS.

These items were included on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service, with first printing rights assigned to BusinessWorld.

The satisfaction rating with the general performance of the National Administration is based on a single question, and is not an average of answers to separate questions on specific issues.

The general rating is repeated in every quarterly survey, whereas only a core of the specific issue-ratings are repeated, the SWS said.


MANILA BULLETIN

Palace backs Pope’s call for responsible parenthood by Madel Sabater - Namit January 21, 2015 Share this:


LACIERDA

Malacanang yesterday said the Philippine government is one with Pope Francis in his call for responsible parenthood.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that both government and the Catholic Church want parents to be responsible in rearing their children.

“Parents should be responsible for the well-being and the care for each child that they bring into the world… and that’s where responsible parenthood comes in,” Lacierda said.

“Hindi tayo nagkakaaroon ng issue sa responsibility ng magulang na mag aruga ng kanilang mga anak [We don’t have any issue on parents being responsible in caring for their children],” he said.

Lacierda however said the difference between government and Catholic Church is on the method for family planning.

Pope Francis, following his five-day visit to the Philippines, had said that Catholics should not “breed like rabbits,” as he stressed the Catholic Church’s stand to use natural family planning method.

The Philippine government, on the other hand, has passed the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 or Republic Act (RA) 10354 on December 21, 2012, saying that it does not have any bias to any particular family planning method , whether artificial or natural.

“We’re also encouraging natural family planning method if it is in accord with your conscience. For those who would prefer other uses, there are the options that are provided,” Lacierda said.

“We’re not imposing one particular method over the other that’s why we have a conscious and mature decision to choose what method you want.

“The bottom line is: the family is the foundation of a strong society. We need to encourage that, we need to protect that and bringing into the world children that we cane make sure will grow healthy, make sure they are mentally and physically healthy – that’s the responsibility of the parent,” he added.

Pope Francis, during the Meeting with Families, said the world needs “good and strong families” to overcome threats to Christian morality.


TRIBUNE

 


MANILA TIMES EDITORIAL

Pres. Aquino’s ‘kindred spirits’ should disavow him PRESIDENT BS
January 20, 2015 10:44 pm

Aquino said many outrageous statements in his Malacañang welcome speech for Pope Francis that wasn’t.

Among these are these words directly addressed to the Pope:

“I believe that you are a kindred spirit, one who sees things as they are, and is unafraid of asking, ‘Why not?’ Some of your statements might have been shocking or offensive to some peers. But Your Holiness is meant to be the instrument through which the Kingdom of God is allowed to flourish. In your example, we see the wisdom of continuing to ask, ‘Why not?’ We see joy, a sense of authentic service, and an insistence on a true community of the faithful. We thank the Lord for other kindred spirits like Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Father Catalino Arevalo, and Sister Agnes Guillen, who have always been voices of reason, and who are spiritual people who will always be natural allies, along with so many others. We would like to think that even more will join us in the truth, in the fullness of time.”

Those words reveal how diametrically opposed is the perspective of our Smartmatic PCOS-machine created President from that of Pope Francis, who indeed “sees things as they are.”

Which is why despite Mr. Aquino’s delusional presumption that he is something similar in truthfulness and rectitude of intention to the Holy Father [“we tread this path with people such as yourself”], Pope Francis said to President Aquino and the guests in Rizal Hall:

“Today the Philippines, together with many other countries in Asia, faces the challenge of building on solid foundations a modern society—a society respectful of authentic human values, protective of our God-given human dignity and rights, and ready to confront new and complex political and ethical questions.

“As many voices in your nation have pointed out, it is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good. In this way they will help preserve the rich human and natural resources with which God has blessed this country.

“Thus will they be able to marshall the moral resources needed to face the demands of the present, and to pass on to coming generations a society of authentic justice, solidarity and peace.

“Essential to the attainment of these national goals is the moral imperative of ensuring social justice and respect for human dignity. The great biblical tradition enjoins on all peoples the duty to hear the voice of the poor.”

This shows that Pope Francis knows that President Aquino’s “Daang Matuwid” is a grand sham.

The Pope—unlike leaders of foreign countries and the presidents of international bodies who have untruthfully praised Mr. Aquino for waging a successful anti-corruption campaign—knows that corruption during the four years so far of the Aquino presidency is worse than in previous regimes.

The Holy Father’s insistence, like other popes before him, on respect for human dignity—and life—has always included compassion for even unborn children, which Mr. Aquino’s Reproductive Health Act attacks.

Kindred spirit indeed!

President Aquino probably came to conclude that Cardinal Tagle is among his “other kindred spirits” because he was wrongly reported to be “soft” on the Philippine Pro-Life Movement’s opposition to the passage of the Reproductive Life law.

Archbishop Cardinal Tagle defended Pope Francis’ the other year when the Holy Father was reported in secular media to have said that “the Catholic Church must shake off an obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality and become more merciful or risk the collapse of its entire moral edifice.”

Cardinal Tagle explained, most correctly, that this emphasis on mercy has always been the Church’s teaching following the very words and example of the founder, Jesus Christ.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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