Philippine church must be ‘prophetic’: Sr. Mary John Mananzan

Montreal, Quebec

Martial law from below’

By Ted Alcuitas

A Philippine activist nun called for the Philippine church to be “prophetic” as it faces the prospect of martial law under President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Duterte is having a martial law from below, ” Sr. Mary John Mananzan (OSB) told in a telephone interview from her hotel room in Montreal.

“He has been preparing the people for it.”

The controversial Duterte, whose seven-month term has allegedly racked up over 7,000 extra-judicial killings (EKJ) has always threatened to declare martial law if his plans are thwarted.

The outspoken and feisty nun fought the Marcos dictatorship in the 70s and is still actively involved in rallying against the EKJ and other issues like the Marcos burial at the Heroes Cemetery.

When asked why Duterte is still popular among Filipinos despite the widespread EKJs and his foul-mouth, the 80-year old Benedictine nun says “ Duterte is also an enigma to us like he is to you overseas Filipinos.”

“Filipinos think he is the only one that can change the Philippines, rejecting the so-called traditional politicians (‘trapos’).”

“Admittedly he has done some good things – his appointment of people like Judy Taguiwalo, Rafael Mariano, Liza Maza and mining secretary Gina Lopez….of course, the Peace Process too. But he is so undiplomatic.”

“ Duterte is a macho whose favourite word of choice is ‘patay’ (kill) and is threatened by strong women like Senator Leila de Lima, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Serreno among others.”

Ora at Laban

Mananzan is proud of the activism of the students of St. Scholastica who transformed ‘ora et labora’ (pray and work) into ‘ora at laban’ (pray and resist) in their opposition to Duterte. Mananzan was dean of the school for 18 years and its president for six years.

“That is the kind of education that we need – critical and willing to stand up against injustice.”

On Pinoys abroad, she says she is not in favour of migration because of its high ’social cost’ .

“It’s not an ideal situation at sana bumalik naman para make-contribute sa ekonomiya.
But you cannot blame them because of the lack of work at home.”

Mananzan was in Canada on the invitation of Development & Peace-Caritas Canada (D&P) for its 50th anniversary celebrations.

Rally against Marcos burial at Heroes Cemetery, (FB)



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