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Archive for September, 2006

Pope’s speech at University of Regensburg – full text

Posted by Editor on 30th September 2006

Editor’s note: The following is the prepared text from which Pope Benedict XVI  spoke as he addressed an academic audience at the Unviersity of Regensburg on September 12. As he actually delivered it, the speech differed slightly. Because the speech has aroused an unusual amount of debate– particularly regarding the Pope’s references to Islam and to religious violence—The author  strongly recommends reading the entire text.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a moving experience for me to stand and give a lecture at this university podium once again. I think back to those years when, after a pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began teaching at the University of Bonn. This was in 1959, in the days of the old university made up of ordinary professors. The various chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students and in particular among the professors themselves.

We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties. Once a semester there was a dies academicus, when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of universitas: the reality that despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason– this reality became a lived experience.

The university was also very proud of its two theological faculties. It was clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of the whole of the universitas scientiarum, even if not everyone could share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a whole. This profound sense of coherence within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our university: it had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God. That even in the face of such radical skepticism it is still necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: this, within the university as a whole, was accepted without question.

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on– perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara– by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned Persian.

The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur’an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the three Laws: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur’an. In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point– itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself– which, in the context of the issue of faith and reason, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.

But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words:

Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.

The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.

God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death….

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: “For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.” Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practice idolatry.

As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God’s nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: In the beginning was the logos. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with logos.

Logos means both reason and word– a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.

The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: Come over to Macedonia and help us! (cf. Acts 16:6-10)– this vision can be interpreted as a distillation of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.

In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time. The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and declares simply that he is, is already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates’s attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy. Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the words uttered at the burning bush: I am.

This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work of human hands (cf. Ps 115). Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature.

Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria– the Septuagint– is more than a simple (and in that sense perhaps less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: it is an independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history of revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act “with logos” is contrary to God’s nature.

In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle Ages we find trends in theology which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit. In contrast with the so-called intellectualism of Augustine and Thomas, there arose with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which ultimately led to the claim that we can only know God’s voluntas ordinata. Beyond this is the realm of God’s freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazn and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness. God’s transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions.

As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language (cf. Lateran IV). God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love transcends knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. Consequently, Christian worship is worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Rom 12:1).

This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history-– it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe.

The thesis that the critically purified Greek heritage forms an integral part of Christian faith has been countered by the call for a dehellenization of Christianity-– a call which has more and more dominated theological discussions since the beginning of the modern age. Viewed more closely, three stages can be observed in the program of dehellenization: although interconnected, they are clearly distinct from one another in their motivations and objectives.

Dehellenization first emerges in connection with the fundamental postulates of the Reformation in the 16th century. Looking at the tradition of scholastic theology, the Reformers thought they were confronted with a faith system totally conditioned by philosophy, that is to say an articulation of the faith based on an alien system of thought. As a result, faith no longer appeared as a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching philosophical system. The principle of sola scriptura, on the other hand, sought faith in its pure, primordial form, as originally found in the biblical Word. Metaphysics appeared as a premise derived from another source, from which faith had to be liberated in order to become once more fully itself. When Kant stated that he needed to set thinking aside in order to make room for faith, he carried this program forward with a radicalism that the Reformers could never have foreseen. He thus anchored faith exclusively in practical reason, denying it access to reality as a whole.

The liberal theology of the 19th and 20th centuries ushered in a second stage in the process of dehellenization, with Adolf von Harnack as its outstanding representative. When I was a student, and in the early years of my teaching, this program was highly influential in Catholic theology too. It took as its point of departure Pascal’s distinction between the God of the philosophers and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In my inaugural lecture at Bonn in 1959, I tried to address the issue. I will not repeat here what I said on that occasion, but I would like to describe at least briefly what was new about this second stage of dehellenization. Harnack’s central idea was to return simply to the man Jesus and to his simple message, underneath the accretions of theology and indeed of hellenization: this simple message was seen as the culmination of the religious development of humanity. Jesus was said to have put an end to worship in favor of morality. In the end he was presented as the father of a humanitarian moral message. The fundamental goal was to bring Christianity back into harmony with modern reason, liberating it, that is to say, from seemingly philosophical and theological elements, such as faith in Christ’s divinity and the triune God.

In this sense, historical-critical exegesis of the New Testament restored to theology its place within the university: theology, for Harnack, is something essentially historical and therefore strictly scientific. What it is able to say critically about Jesus is, so to speak, an expression of practical reason and consequently it can take its rightful place within the university. Behind this thinking lies the modern self-limitation of reason, classically expressed in Kant’s “Critiques”, but in the meantime further radicalized by the impact of the natural sciences. This modern concept of reason is based, to put it briefly, on a synthesis between Platonism (Cartesianism) and empiricism, a synthesis confirmed by the success of technology. On the one hand it presupposes the mathematical structure of matter, its intrinsic rationality, which makes it possible to understand how matter works and use it efficiently: this basic premise is, so to speak, the Platonic element in the modern understanding of nature. On the other hand, there is nature’s capacity to be exploited for our purposes, and here only the possibility of verification or falsification through experimentation can yield ultimate certainty. The weight between the two poles can, depending on the circumstances, shift from one side to the other. As strongly positivistic a thinker as J. Monod has declared himself a convinced Platonist/Cartesian.

This gives rise to two principles which are crucial for the issue we have raised. First, only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific. Anything that would claim to be science must be measured against this criterion. Hence the human sciences, such as history, psychology, sociology, and philosophy, attempt to conform themselves to this canon of scientificity. A second point, which is important for our reflections, is that by its very nature this method excludes the question of God, making it appear an unscientific or pre-scientific question. Consequently, we are faced with a reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which needs to be questioned.

We shall return to this problem later. In the meantime, it must be observed that from this standpoint any attempt to maintain theology’s claim to be “scientific” would end up reducing Christianity to a mere fragment of its former self. But we must say more: it is man himself who ends up being reduced, for the specifically human questions about our origin and destiny, the questions raised by religion and ethics, then have no place within the purview of collective reason as defined by “science” and must thus be relegated to the realm of the subjective. The subject then decides, on the basis of his experiences, what he considers tenable in matters of religion, and the subjective “conscience” becomes the sole arbiter of what is ethical. In this way, though, ethics and religion lose their power to create a community and become a completely personal matter.

This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer concern it. Attempts to construct an ethic from the rules of evolution or from psychology and sociology, end up being simply inadequate.

Before I draw the conclusions to which all this has been leading, I must briefly refer to the third stage of dehellenization, which is now in progress. In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament developed. True, there are elements in the evolution of the early Church which do not have to be integrated into all cultures. Nonetheless, the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith itself.

And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which reflects one of the basic tenets of Christianity. The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application.

While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.

Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology.

Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based. Yet the question why this has to be so is a real question, and one which has to be remanded by the natural sciences to other modes and planes of thought: to philosophy and theology.

For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding. Here I am reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised, and so Socrates says: “It would be easily understandable if someone became so annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of his life he despised and mocked all talk about being – but in this way he would be deprived of the truth of existence and would suffer a great loss”.

The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the program with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. “Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature of God”, said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.

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Senior UN Official Calls Burma Situation ‘Serious’

Posted by Editor on 30th September 2006

Senior UN Official Calls Burma Situation ‘Serious’
By Peter Heinlein
United Nations
30 September 2006

A top U.N. diplomat has described conditions in Burma as “serious,” and called on the country’s military leaders to restore freedom and democracy.

U.N. Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari briefed a closed-door Security Council session on Burma Friday. Gambari visited the Burmese capital Rangoon last May, giving rise briefly to hopes that detained democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi might be released.

He said Council members had responded positively to news that he has been invited back for another visit to the reclusive country, which is known at the U.N. as Myanmar, probably in early November. “I tried to put the situation in Myanmar into some historical perspective. And also in the context of my last visit,” he said.

Gambari said he would use the November visit to urge the Burmese military junta to honor its pledge to restore democracy.

The United States requested Friday’s briefing earlier this month after winning a long battle to have Burma included in the permanent Security Council agenda.

Washington’s U.N. Ambassador John Bolton suggested the briefing would likely lead to a resolution citing Burma as a threat to regional peace. But he agreed to withhold the measure pending the outcome of Undersecretary General Gambari’s November visit. “We didn’t put this issue on the agenda simply to have briefings, and absent substantial changes in policy by the government in Burma in connection with drug trafficking, with refugee flows, political repression, HIV AIDS and the like, all the reasons that we felt that Burma’s policies and conduct amounted to a threat to international peace and security, we will be prepared at an appropriate time to move to a resolution,” he said.

China’s U.N. ambassador Wang Guangya earlier said it was preposterous to place Burma on the Council’s peace and security agenda, and he did not attend the briefing. A junior diplomat sat in the Chinese seat at the Council table.

But Britain’s U.N. envoy Emyr Jones Parry, described the private meeting as conciliatory. He said its main aim was to support efforts by Gambari and Secretary-General Kofi Annan to coax Burma’s military rulers out of their political isolation. “I hope Undersecretary Gambari would find his task easier. The shared interest we have is to have a free, prosperous and peaceful Myanmar, nothing less than that, nothing more, and the objectives are shared not only be the Council, but by most members of the United Nations,” he said.

Burma’s U.N. Ambassador Kyaw Tint Swe also addressed Friday’s briefing. He rejected the characterization of his country as a threat to regional security. Afterward, he told two reporters there are no grounds to put his country on the Council agenda. “Myanmar is not a threat to international peace and security, as attested to by all of Myanmar’s neighbors, so if we’re a threat, our neighbors would be the first to speak out,” he said.

International human rights groups have repeatedly called on the Security Council to act in response to Burma’s human rights record.

First lady Laura Bush this month hosted a U.N. roundtable to highlight the country’s growing humanitarian crisis.

The United States has also been in the forefront of efforts to win Aung San Suu Kyi’s release. The Nobel laureate had been under house arrest for nearly 11 of the past 17 years.

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GEM unveils CLIC program for Mindanao computer literacy

Posted by Editor on 30th September 2006

Davao City (30 September) — Working with Parent-Teachers Community Associations (PTCAs) and school administrators, Greater Equity for Mindanao (GEM) Computer Literacy and Internet Connection (CLIC) program provides qualifying schools with satellite or microwave-based internet connections, up to ten computers, a local area network, a printer, relevant software, and a range of computer reference materials.

Together with its partners, it also offers training for teachers on basic computer maintenance and troubleshooting as well as internet usage. Through the CLIC program, students establish email accounts, communicate with other students throughout the world, and conduct research on various academic topics. Teachers enhance the students’ learning experiences by augmenting classroom lessons with additional materials obtained from the internet.

As of September 15, 2006, CLIC has assisted 385 schools in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and other conflict-affected areas of Mindanao (CAAM).

These schools have an enrollment of approximately 370,000 students instructed by more than 11,000 teachers. By August 2007, at least 650 schools in Mindanao will have been provided with computers and connected to the internet by the CLIC Program.

USAID’s CLIC initiative is being implemented in conjunction with several private companies and foundations. These include the Microsoft Corporation, the Intel Corporation, IBM, Innove Communications Inc. and the Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI).

To date, the value of the commitments made by these organizations has reached almost $1,000,000. These commitments enable CLIC to serve more students, and more schools, at lesser cost than would have been possible prior to such efforts.

Nicolas Barreras National High School – formerly known as Bentung Sulit National High School Annex – has a student population of 416 (of which approximately 45% are traditionally under-served minorities), instructed by 16 teachers. It is located at the boundary of General Santos City and the Municipality of Polomolok, South Cotabato. It is one of 11 CLIC schools in South Cotabato Province. There are also 14 CLIC partner schools in General Santos City.

The CLIC installation was completed in January, 2006 and the assistance package included a wireless broadband internet connection, seven computers, a printer, books on Specialist Training for selected teachers, and training in PC and Internet Maintenance, Troubleshooting and Repair for the school’s IT coordinator. The value of the CLIC package is approximately PhP327,000($6,400).

The PTCA will assume responsibility for maintenance of the computers and peripherals and for the payment of monthly internet connection charges, once the 12 month subscription provided by GEM expires. To support the sustainability efforts of the PTCA, the internet facilities are being made available to the public after school hours and during weekends, for a free. (USAID/PIA 12) [top]

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People’s backing kailangan ng Cha-Cha

Posted by Editor on 30th September 2006

by Rose B. Palacio

Davao City (30 September) — Ang people’s backing ay mahalaga kung talagang gusto ng Charter Change advocates na magtagumpay ang pag-amiyenda ng Saligang Batas, ani Davao City Council majority floor leader Councilor Emmanuel Galicia.

Ang totoo’y hindi bago ang tungkol sa Constitution ang taongbayan at alam din ng publiko ang kanilang karapatan sa ilalim ng Saligang Batas, subali’t hangga’t hindi nakukuha ng Advocacy Commission ng Charter Change ang simpatiya ng taongbayan, mahihirapan silang isulong ang pag-amiyenda nito, aniya.

Mismong si Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte ang nanawagan sa mga barangay leaders at taga-Davao upang suportahan ang Charter Change, at pati na rin ang Davao City Council ay sumusuporta ditto.

Umaasa ang sambayang Pilipino na sakaling magtagumpay ang pag-amiyenda sa Saligang Batas, ay magkakaroon ng malaking pakinabang ang pagbabago para sa mahihirap at sa kabuuan, aniya. (PIA-XI) [top]

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Borrowing the wisdom of Japan’s new prime minister

Posted by Editor on 30th September 2006

By Rodrigo S. Victoria

Naval, Biliran (30 September) — The first policy speech to parliament today by the newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is an appropriate words of wisdom that every Filipino should ponder as well as some of our country’s leaders since the country’s supreme law of the land is the subject of discussions and debates whether there is really a need to amend or not for the charter.

“The present constitution was established at a time when Japan was occupied and since then nearly 60 years have passed. Active debates are underway for a constitution that would be more suitable to a new generation” Abe said in a news report today.

The prime minister who was the first leader born after World War II cited a defect in a particular provision in the 1947 Japanese constitution which bars the country from using or even threatening to use force as a way to settle international dispute.

Japan, for we all knew is one of the countries of the world having a robust and highly developed economy Countries in Asia look Japan not only as a tiger economy but a benevolent neighbor having indulge in helping other underdeveloped and developing countries in Asia and other parts of the world in terms of development programs and projects.

It cannot be denied that Japan has already reached the pedestal of economic success and the country’s stability and any country for that matter largely depend on it and yet the newly elected prime minister has seen a great need to change the more than 60 years old constitution of Japan to suit to a new generation.

Comparatively, while to change the constitution is still a good plan of the newly elected premier, the campaign of the government to change the country’s constitution is already in its full swing and sooner or later a decision of the supreme court will be known whether to favor or not for its amendment.

It is quite unfortunate that there are Filipino intellectuals who occupy sensitive positions in the government who do not see the urgent need and look the equally important legitimate demand of the majority of the Filipino people to amend it for the sake of the country’s dream for a better and responsive to change society of ours.

It is too ironic, if not because of the inability of some of our country’s leaders to act fast on matters of vital importance for the development of the country, is one major reasons why every development efforts pushed by the one who holds the reign of government is seems always stalled by irrational views and indifferent actions usually employed by the people on the other side of the perimeter of governance.

We, Filipinos should broaden our grasp in the infinite horizon of progress and development. While other countries in the world are enjoying the benefits of progress and development brought about by the sensitivity of their leaders to catch-up the fast ride to development yet some of our country’s leaders are still at odds and in a state of disagreements until learning later that the country they ought to serve is already late in its flight to the great ride of development.

Hope it is not too late to some of our government leaders to ponder the good move of the Japanese premier in changing their constitution as well as for our county’s constitution to be amended in the soonest possible time.

The engine of the vehicle that carries the initiative to change the Japanese constitution has just started in Japan while it is already in full throttle in the Philippines, so it is best and it is high time now that some of our country’s leaders must borrow the wisdom of the new Japanese prime minister before saying now or never to progress and development. (PIA-Biliran) [top]

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BSP-Biliran in high gear over scouting activities this October

Posted by Editor on 30th September 2006

By Rodrigo S. Victoria

Naval, Biliran (30 September) — With only two days left from today before the month of October which is slated to be the scouting month comes, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) -Biliran Council is now in high gear in the preparation of different activities in line with the celebration.

Montano C. Asis, BSP-Biliran Scout Council Executive revealed during the Kapihan sa PIA over Radyo Natin-Naval that the month of October will be a very busy month for people involved in scouting as well as a lively month for scouts.

In the recent Kapihan forum, Asis presented several activities that will be conducted in line with the month-long celebration.

He said that this Sunday, which is the first day of October, a grand parade will be held as the opening salvo in the launching of the scouting month celebration.

The parade will be participated in by the drum and bugle corps of one pre-school, two elementary schools and seven high schools situated in the municipality of Naval. This was so far considered to be one of the most lively and colorful parade held in the capital town of the province since band members of each participating schools will be in their best form and will play the best marching music appropriate for the occasion, Asis further said.

Asis added that this would also be a big parade considering that the kab, boy and senior scouts from the participating pre-elementary, elementary and secondary schools will join the parade including the BSP-Biliran board members, staff and supporters of scouting here.

Based on the program, the parade will start at 6:30 in the morning at the Naval Port Area and will end up at the Municipal Hall Grounds where a mass will be held, followed by KAB Palabas wherein a skit, formation drill, song and yell and games involving the parents are part of, Show and Do with silk screen printing and other skills will be presented, Timpalakan that includes contests on declamation and on-the-spot drawing among Kab scouts, on-the-spot painting by the boy scouts, vocal solo by the boy and senior scouts, solo guitar, oration and poster-making contests by senior scouts. Native games termed as Laro ng Lahi will also form part of the first day activity and to include palo-ng-palayok, palo sebo, patentero, sipa, sipa takraw, semaphore flag drill and many other native and scouting games.

The BSP-Biliran Scouts Council Executive also informed that the different scouting activities to be conducted in October like the Basic, Refreshment &Skills Training for Unit Leaders of both the elementary and secondary that will be held on October 13-15 at Bunga Elementary School in Cabucgayan, Biliran and on November 10-12 at Naval Central Elementary School, preparation of the proposed Council Jamborette on December 26-30 and the council scouts participation to the 3rd National Scout Venture at Capitol Hills Scout Camp on October 22-28.

Asis said that he is looking forward to the success of the scouting month celebration in Biliran province and further encourage all the participants of the scouting activities to actively join in order to foster the camaraderie among the scouts and develop the values of a true scout. (PIA-Biliran) [top]

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