Folly and terror and nothing more motivated the perpetrators of the recent bombing of the Cathedral of Jolo, and they have no business attaching their horrific deed to any political or religious cause, for violence upsets polity and blasphemes a deity.
We pray for the victims of the act of terror. May they, cruelly plucked from this earth, rest in eternal peace. May their grieving loved ones find deep consolation and be protected from the thorn of vengefulness. May the authorities swiftly arrest the perpetrators and bring upon them the full force of the law.
Some friends of mine overseas checked whether I was safe following the bombings. It was no comfort to say that ground zero was closer to neighboring nation-states than the rest of the Philippines. The strife that has torn apart many communities in Mindanao has been going on for at least five decades.
I hope that all concerned would accept the terms of the peace processes. People should open their eyes. Fratricide should stop. It can stop. In the late ’90s, the Irish ended their decades-long conflict.
Keeping the peace in portions of Mindanao is so much harder when several factions engage in saber-rattling. Fragments of disgruntled communities ready to use arms to register their discontent distract security forces who should be alert, martial law or no martial law, against lawless, ruthless elements who get a kick out of bloodbaths.
When the divided communities in concerned areas in Mindanao can put their heads together and join hands in the quest for peace and progress, securing people against terrorist will become a less daunting task.
Since a large portion of people’s money is allotted for national security or for intelligence funds, I hope with all persons of good will that the quality of security arrangements across the country will be heightened. Vulnerability notwithstanding the government’s investments in security and militarization has been underscored in the unwanted loss of lives in Jolo. May investments in security not prove futile in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the recent bloodshed demands circumspection among Filipinos in both private and public conversations. The attack on the mother church of Jolo and on believers is an attack on all sorts of religious adherents whose contemplation of truth stands on both faith and reason. We cannot afford to let the attack confound openness and strain relations between people of different religions. To do so would be to complete the task of warmongers.
Faith and reason have become more mutually enriching as of late in big festivals like Cebu’s Fiesta Señor in honor of the childhood of Jesus.
Effectively taught by the Order of Saint Augustine, Santo Niño devotees, at least within the premises of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, no longer release balloons to which strings their prayers are tied and that end up being eaten by animals where they fall. Fireworks displays at the basilica have been halted that would otherwise pollute our air. Waste disposal within the churchyard has improved.
It is only right that we who count ourselves subjects of the Creator of the world take good care of our world.
At a time when the Pope, among other Christian leaders has been calling on theological grounds for care for the planet as our common home the continuation of the Sinulog prayer dance under a toxic fireworks display would have been a study in irony.
For consistency and for scientific as well as religious reasons, fireworks displays, which leave toxic chemicals in the air and in the soil should also be banned across the country.
According to scientists, non-polluting fireworks remain a pipe dream. Researchers have yet to make pyrotechnics totally eco-friendly, with findings likely to only help reduce by about 40 percent their polluting effects.
This is the reason companies and communities across the world have given up using fireworks and elected green alternatives for use on special occasions. Among the choices are LED and drone light shows.
But when all is said and done, ascetics and mystics remind us that as light of the world according to no less than Jesus himself, we can constitute the most impressive light show as long as we choose to love consistently.
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