In 2006, I stood in front of the Philippine Consulate office in Vancouver together with other activists to protest the killings of church people. Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Iglesia Filipina Independente was brutally murdered on October 3, 2006.

 

Musings on my 78th birthday…

By Ted Alcuitas
Editor & Publisher
philippinecanadiannews.com

What does one do at 78?

Many thoughts came to mind as the day approached.

Two days before, I saw the world premiere of the documentary ‘A Spirit of Reconciliation’ by my friend Fr.Larry Lynn.

The movie explores the often difficult issue of forgiveness and how survivors of Canada’s residential schools struggled to forgive  and moved forward to healing.

It was also the day President Donald Trump announced the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Just weeks before, I returned from a ‘pilgrimage’ to the  Holy Land. On the ground, I saw the fragile peace that existed and is now threatened by Trump’s decision.

It was also the week of the murder of the human rights activist Fr. Tito Paez in Nueva Ecija in the Philippines.

Fr. ‘Tito. Paez was murdered on December 4, in San Jose, Nueva Ecija by motor cycle-riding assassins.

His murder brought back memories of my trip to the same province in 2006 as part of a Canadian fact-finding mission on human rights under the Arroyo regime.

During that trip, I saw with my own eyes the horror and terror sowed by the military in their brutal war on terrorism. (See my article).

Face to Face with Terror in the Philippines

Today, the impunity that allowed the killings to happen is still doing havoc to the country. The lowly army private who probably did the bidding of their generals are now the generals themselves.

We know that under President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’, more than 7,000 killings are alleged to have been committed since he took office in June 2016. Now he is waging war on communist rebels and human rights workers.

Fr. Paez is just one of his latest victim.

And what ever happened to the ‘berdugo’, Gen. Jovito Palparan under whose watch so many extra-judicial killings were committed.

But despite all these gloom and doom, I am inspired by the message of hope that Christmas always brings.

I am inspired by the courage of the survivors in the movie “In the Spirit of Reconciliation’.

And my heart is full of gratitude for all the love and support from my family and friends. Salamat sa mga bumabati sa aking kaarawan.

I wish you all hope and healing in your own families, in your relationships, in your communities and the planet we all share.