Church and State

Opinions Unlimited

by Atty. Tony(APA) Acyatan (Atty. APA – chairman of Acyatan & Co., CPAs-DFK International is president of PICPA in 1990 and ASEAN Federation of CPAs (1998-2000) and Accountancy Hall-of-Famer (2006).

CONSTITUTION:  As we started forming our fundamental law as an independent nation, there is always that provision recognizing the separation of the church and state. It is apparent that the government and the Filipino people want to avoid potential conflicts among the political lords and church leaders (particularly those from the dominant catholic church as well as the expanded Christian population).

Currently – two “major-major” issues are testing the resolve of both sides:  the Reproductive Health bill  and “jueteng”.  There are potential compromise formulae with respect to “family-planning” – anchored on the statistical fact that the Philippines’ population is growing faster than our capability to provide the living requirements of our people.  The opening of job opportunities is lagging behind the increase in our workforce components.

ISSUES:  The church is sticking to its stand that the only way to lower our birth rate is via the natural method – “pigilin ang panggigil” and just time the marital act during the “safe” period.  The government actually is NOT in favor of abortion; but it recommends use of “acceptable” gadgets – principally condoms (also justified to avoid transmission of STDs).  Regardless of the premises, the Filipino majority agrees that we have to limit our population growth so that there will be jobs and necessaries for all.

The “jueteng” debate should be simplified (Archbishop Cruz has this in mind).  Are we in favor of gambling, or are we not?  If we say let us abolish gambling, then the Lotto, the small town lottery and more so, the casinos – will have to go.  “Jueteng” is probably just a name (in fact the equivalent is “masiao” in the south).  If the real issue is moral values – the debate must center on gambling and not the possible revenues from legalized jueteng.

FRAT WARS:  At the center stage again are college fraternities and sororities.  After the issues on fatal “hazing” incidents (which snapped the lives of young, promising students) – they are now being blamed for the frat-wars which may have triggered the grenade blast at the close of the 2010 Bar Exams (at DLSU).  There are proposals to abolish old fraternities-sororities and ban the organization of new ones.

Actually – as a frat member myself, I experienced the advantages of bro-sis relationships.  I was helped by my fraternity and my fellows in attaining student leadership and scholarships.  Frat membership props up social, academic and fellowships standings.  Instead of abolition – regulators should just promulgate strict controls on activities of fraternities/sororities.  Just like in rallies, there must be identified “marshals” who must be responsible for unlawful or undisciplined actions by their members.

DENGUE:  Every year, we always experience the dengue season.  We know that the sting of the special breed of mosquitoes causes the fever.  Since prevention is better than  cure, cleanliness and sanitation are recommended to limit the multiplication of the pests – by eliminating the breeding places of  mosquitoes. We have a simple suggestion. Instead of fumigation, barangays should purchase mosquito-killer lamps to eliminate the pests before they come to breed!

We have one such mosquito-killer lamp in our house, which is surrounded by frequently moist vegetation.  The lamp has reduced the number of flying pests by a good percentage.  The sound of “kills” everytime we switch the lamp on (at dawn and at dusk) is music to my ears.  We also keep our water stock in white containers so that we are able to see when the mosquitoes start breeding.  Alertness and technology can help safeguard our health.

LESSONS:  Roses are fairest when they are budding new; and hope is brightest when it dawns from fear.

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