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Sinulog 2013: Socialism vs. Christianity?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

The priest who celebrated the mass that I attended this morning started his homily by emphasizing the relevance of Sto. Niño (Child Jesus) as the whole province is celebrating Sinulog (Feast of Sto. Niño). He explained why God chose to become human and undergo childhood, so on and so forth, until he came to what has become the focal point of his entire homily. He began by saying that there are two conflicting ideologies in the society today. First, he pointed out Socialism and defined it as a socio-political system (that started in French Revolution) based on égalité (equality), fraternité (fraternity) and the other principle, liberté (liberty), that he admitted he forgot.

His first statements were affirmative as he said that there is no objection to Socialism’s equality. He went further by emphasizing that the concept of equality is derived, actually, from Christianity which came first than Socialism. However, he stressed that there is a problem with Socialism’s equality, i.e., a person will keep on asserting his/her rights without considering the rights of others because he/she is pre-occupied in making sure that he/she is equally treated. Socialism lacks the concept of social responsibility which, on the other hand, Christianity (the other ideology he referred to in his premise) upholds. Unlike Christianity, he said, Socialism does not include caring for and defending the weakest among men and women. Christianity promotes preferential option for the poor, he added. He, then, concluded that Socialism is a selfish kind.

However, looking at his arguments, it seemed he was referring to Capitalism which is another social system that emphasizes individual rights. This social system, which became a global system at present, is the ultimate cause why there is a great gap between the rich and the poor, why only few own the lands and riches of the earth, why prices are high without regulation despite its promise of low prices due to competition, why people need to pay much for basic social services such as education and health, and why most people strive only for themselves, competing with one another for survival in this money-driven system.

But the priest forgot Socialism’s other principle that he mentioned which could have saved him from misinterpreting Socialism – fraternity. This principle is what makes Socialism different from other social system. In Capitalism, there is also liberty; it’s just that it is a blind liberty. It also asserts people’s rights but focuses much on individual rights. But with fraternity, Socialism does not limit every person to just asserting his/her individual rights, welfare and liberty but the rights, welfare and liberty of others, as well. With fraternity, Socialism inculcates in the mind of every person the concept of collective – that we are brothers and sisters who shall work together for progress, who shall protect one another and who shall look after the weakest among us as we aim for collective progress, liberty and equality. Unlike Capitalism where individualism and self-centeredness reigns brought by competition, in Socialism, there is unity. This principle is actually the same with what he said Socialism lacks.

In the middle of the priest’s homily, I thought of walking-out like what Carlos Celdran did but I did not have the courage. Also, why would I let a priest’s misleading homily ruin my purpose of attending the mass which was communing with Christ? If only that mass was like the synagogues around 2000 years ago where Jesus Christ would entertain questions and comments from His listeners, I would have raised all the points I wrote here and asked the priest and the church-goers in the end, “So, is Socialism really a selfish kind of social system? Is it really conflicting with Christianity on the matter of its basic principles?” Because for me, it is not. The priest, with all due respect, was just barking at the wrong tree.

First published at: http://www.facebook.com/notes/kristian-jacob-casas-abad-lora/sinulog-2013-socialism-vs-christianity/10151265476814794

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UP and SUCS’ Budget Increased! | With Our Militant Action, We Win!

History will never fail us to appreciate that our victories in our struggle for equality and justice and for our rights have been achieved with our guided militant action, specifically speaking about our fight for greater state subsidy for basic social services including education.

We welcome, but with no single amount of complacency, the recent developments of our struggle:

“Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said that 34.8 percent or P698.4 billion of the P2.006-trillion proposed budget has been earmarked for social services, higher by 14 percent compared with this year’s P613.4-billion funding” (Leyco n.p.).

For State Universities and colleges (SUCs), particularly:

“…DBM also increased the total budget of 110 state universities

and colleges (SUCs) by 41.25 percent from P26.29 billion in 2012 to 37.4 billion next year. The increase is also particularly attributed to the 97.73 percent or P3.7 billion increase in the MOOE of SUCs, from P3.21 billion this year to P6.42 in 2013” (Mariano 3).

As for UP budget:

“The P10.78 billion budget approved by DBM for inclusion in the 2013 National Expenditure Program (NEP) is 57.6 percent higher than the P6.84 billion allotted to UP this year under the General Appropriations Act (GAA)” (Mariano 3).

Photo from Philippine Collegian FB Account

 

With our MILITANT Action, we win!

“Last year, our definition of ‘paggugol na matuwid was spending that has direct, immediate and substantial impact to the people—’diretso sa tao.’ This year, we defined “paggugol na matuwid” as something that the people, especially the poor, have been asking for—even demanding for—from their government,” DBM Secretary Florencio Abad said (Mariano 3).

Though there are matters in the DBM proposed budget that are questionable despite the increase, it is clear that the increase in budget is brought about by our MILITANT COLLECTIVE ACTION through the years. This credits much our rallies, walkouts, pickets, cultural protests, etc along with dialogues with the government and lobbying in the Congress, that were geared towards our call for greater state subsidy, among others.

Last month (June 21), our fellow Iskolars in UP Diliman and Manila trooped to the Dept. of Budget and Management (DBM) office to lobby for budget increase while we had our signature campaign (by our Student Council and NUSP Cebu). UP Student Regent Cleve Arguelles then tweeted, “Matagumpay ang protesta natin ngayong araw sa DBM. Dialogue resulted into an agreement that there will be an increase in the budget.”

Last year (September), students from SUCs around the country walked out while we had our black-shirt, candle-lighting and planking protest.

In November 2010, around 400 of us walked out as we support the Nationwide WALKOUT for Greater State Subsidy. The massive mobilization shook the Aquino government and the Congress, pushing the latter to increase the (MOOE) budget for SUCs by more than P400 Million.

Courtesy of NKE

 

No single amount of complacency

However, we should not consider the recent increase as an “ultimate victory” in our struggle for greater state subsidy. Our movement should not stop because everyday is a struggle. It is worth noting that the recent increase is just on the DBM level. The proposed budget will still undergo Congressional Proceedings, wherein it may be approved, disapproved or amended.

Unless the sufficient percentage of the national budget is automatically appropriated and the automatic appropriation for debt servicing is repealed, we must not settle; instead, we must remain vigilant and must keep on fighting.

KABATAAN Partylist has filed House Bill (HB) 1962 that pushes for automatic appropriation of at least 6% of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to education and other basic social services while repealing automatic appropriation for debt servicingthat eats up more than one-third of our national budget, annually (“HB 1962” n. p.). We mustsupport the passage of this bill. At the same time, we must back this up with our mobilizations in the streets — the same mobilizations that brought us the recent tactical victories.

As what Kabataang Makabayan (that fought against Marcos regime) founder Jose Maria Sison said, “Only through militant struggle can the best in the youth emerge” (Sison n. p.).

 

Congratulations, mga Iskolar ng Bayan!

Join the National Youth Day of Protest on July 17!

Iskolar ng Bayan, ipagpatuloy ang laban hanggang sa kapanalunan!

Fight for Greater State Subsidy!

Continue pushing for a Nationalist, Scientific and Mass-oriented Education!

Change the System!

SERVE THE PEOPLE!

 

Disclaimer: This my personal statement and does not reflect the views and opinion of the organizations I am affiliated with.

 

References:

“HB 1962 – Repeal of the Automatic Appropriation for Debt Service.” KABATAAN Partylist n. d.: n. p. Scribd. Web. 15 Jul. 2012. (http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/365230/dbm-details-2013-proposed-budget)

Leyco, Chino S. “DBM Details 2013 Proposed Budget.” Manila Bulletin 9 Jul. 2012: n. p. Manila Bulletin. Web. 15 Jul. 2012. (http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/365230/dbm-details-2013-proposed-budget)

Mariano, Keith Richard D. “DBM OKs more than half of proposed 2013 UP budget.” Philippine COllegian 11 Jul. 2012: 3. Philippine Collegian. Web. 15 Jul. 2012. (http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/193/9/9/philippine_collegian_issue_4_5_by_kule1213-d56xr9u.pdf)

Sison, Jose Maria. “Youth on the March.” The Philippines Free Press [Quezon City] 2 Nov. 1968: n. p.