WHY ARE FILIPINOS SUFFERING DESPITE THEIR SUPPOSED FAITH AS CHRISTIANS? If you will try to find the reason why Filipinos are experiencing difficulties, hardships and failures in everything they do, you will certainly be directed to Deuteronomy 28:15 to 68 of the Bible, which contain a listing of the 53 curses which God promised to rain down upon a nation which no longer listens to His Word nor obeys His commands and decrees, and which now afflict all of us.
This must be totally jolting to many who think of themselves as devout and pious, and who usually take pride in the claim that the Philippines, as a result of its four-centuries long indoctrination by Spanish priests and friars on the Catholic faith, is the only Christian (Catholic) nation in the whole of Asia.
But, the real question that we must all answer is this: if we were indoctrinated for more than four hundred years by Spanish priests and friars on the Catholic faith on how to have a prosperous and healthy life, how come many of us are admittedly mired in the difficulties and hardships and failures and in the illnesses which the Bible promised in Deuteronomy?
What (or who?) went wrong?
CHED’S SIDE ON ACCREDITATION ROW: Chairman Emmanuel Angeles of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) sent me a letter he first sent to Fr. Joaquin Bernas, a former law dean of the Ateneo University and now a columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, in relation to his article regarding a conflict between the CHED and its Coordinating Council for Accreditation (CCA).
The CCA is an agency that, under an executive order issued by Malacanang, the CHED itself created for purposes of setting up accreditation standards for the operation and management of colleges and universities nationwide.
Here are parts of the letter of Chairman Angeles: “Dear Fr. Bernas: Peace be with you and may I wish you a happy and prosperous new year! Please allow me to clarify some of the issues that you raised in your article `CHED attempts ‘martial law’ over school accreditation’, which appeared in your column `Sounding Board’ of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on December 21, 2009.
“The public should know that in the Philippines, there are five (5) accrediting agencies, each operating on its own set of guidelines and procedures and all are accredited by CHED. The commitment of CHED on the usefulness and value of private accreditation cannot be questioned. For your information, close to PhP100M has been disbursed by CHED to support private accreditation over a number of years...
ACCREDITATIN G AGENCIES FAILED TO COME UP WITH POLICIES AND GUIDELINES: “I would like to clarify for the record that on April 10, 2008, four (4) months before I assumed the office of Chairman of CHED, Executive Order 705-A was issued by Malacanang. This Executive Order amended EO 705 and created the Coordinating Council for Accreditation (CCA) headed by the Commission on Higher Education....
“In compliance with this above provision, I created the CCA on November 27, 2008. It is composed of representatives from the five (5) accrediting agencies. To my knowledge, Father, to date, CHED has not issued any governing policies, guidelines and requirements on accreditation that mandates standardized fees, composition of accreditors, etc.
“Such guidelines, I hope, will be recommended to the Commission by the CCA in the very near future as I requested. I have met with the CCA twice and I have impressed on them the need to harmonize our policies on accreditation as mandated by EO 705-A. I have yet to hear from them on their proposal on the matter.
“Between the periods January to April 2008, I visited all seventeen (17) regions of our country and had the opportunity to gather first-hand the views and comments of heads of higher education institutions, both public and private, on problems they face in running their colleges and universities...” More of this next issue.
VISIT OF MARY TO ELIZABETH CONFIRMS BLESSINGS TO MARY: “Visitation” is what Roman Catholic Christians call the second mystery in the Mysteries of Joy (or Joyful Mysteries) of the Holy Rosary, and it is an account of Mary, the Virgin Mother of Jesus, visiting her ageing but pregnant cousin Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah, just after Mary had an encounter with Gabriel, the Angel of God.
The account of the “Visitation” is narrated in Luke 1:39 to 45 of the Bible, and there we will see that upon Mary’s arrival at the house of Elizabeth and Zechariah, the baby which was in the womb of Elizabeth leaped inside her, with the Holy Spirit coming down upon mother and baby.
In a loud voice, Elizabeth exclaimed to Mary: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear”, confirming Mary’s status as someone blessed by God, as well as the holy status of her child.
Significantly, these words of Elizabeth are now enshrined in the Holy Rosary where the faithful intone: “Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”
What is more, the greeting in that prayer, “hail Mary, full of grace”, is the very same greeting that Mary got from Gabriel, the Angel of God, when it was announced to her that she will be with a child who will be called Jesus (Luke 1:28).
Elizabeth then confirmed the blessings that would come to anyone who believes in God, when she said to Mary: “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished…”