My personal spiritual journey with LAIKO

December 13, 2010

Teaching them to fish

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roy San Buenaventura @ 1:16 pm
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I have just created the website for the Living for Christ Foundation, Inc.. It is a foundation born out of a desire of a group of friends to implement a sustainable program for the poor with a wholistic approach to bring out the best in the poor people by re-orienting values and re-building their character starting with the younger population.

LFCF was registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission in May 18, 1994 and channeled its fund resources for the poor through the network of Couples for Christ.
In late year 2002, LFCF decided to work independently with its own vision. It adopted an identified poor community in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, as its first community project under the direct management of its own volunteer directors and full time workers.
Fund support to LFCF are mostly from private donations of the Chinese circle of friends of LFCF members. As a way of bridging unity between Chinese and fellow Filipinos, LFCF community projects are named NAYONG TSINOY (coined from the words INTSIK and PINOY).
The website can be accessed at

February 13, 2008

Why Neri did not tell all

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roy San Buenaventura @ 12:35 am

I received an email from a friend, with the content supposedly from the Black and White Movement and written by Jun Lozada in October 2007. It explains why Romulo Neri was afraid to tell the Senate during the hearing on the ZTE-NBN deal. There are many reasons stated why Neri was afraid to tell the truth.

Neri was afraid about the expenses of the government during another impeachment proceeding, because more public funds will be spent to buy the silence and favour of the greedy legislators and local executives.

Neri was afraid that the opposition will not pursue a serious impeachment proceedings because they don’t want Noli de Castro to become the President in case Arroyo is impeached.

Neri was afraid that the military will not move because the officers are much indebted to Arroyo for their position and the perks that goes with their position.

Neri was afraid that the media will simply wither in the torrents of cash and favors.

Neri was afraid that the businessmen will be reluctant to rock the board of the current economic uptrend.

Neri was afraid that the Civil Society is not tired of mass actions after witnessing two failed EDSA revolutions. Neri was afraid that the middle class is now indifferent to the corruption that goes around them.

Neri was afraid that the Masa, the students, the workers are now too poor and impoverished to be able to afford the time to join mass actions against the abuses of the Arroyo administration.

About the church:
Neri is afraid that even if the Church knows the truth about Arroyo’s direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN deal, the Church will still not call for her resignation due to the closeness of Arroyo’s trusted lady liason to the Cardinal of Manila who was very effective during the “Hello Garci” crisis. That Arroyo’s Religious Affairs Operators have the Bishops firmly in their “donation” graces, as again manifested by the quick rebuttal of the Mindanao Bishops’ of the call of their fellow bishops in Luzon who where calling for the resignation of Arroyo just after Arroyo gave them a visit in Mindanao.

The church is against corruption. But it seems that some of our leaders are “corrupted”. How can we be effective in our fight against corruption?

The lay people should take up cudgels to arouse the public

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roy San Buenaventura @ 12:24 am

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — The lay people should now take up the cudgels and initiate moves to arouse the conscience of the public to make the government accountable for anomalous acts and responsible to all, Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra said Monday.

“The Church does not advocate violence, but there should be concerted efforts to pressure the culprits to ease out the truth,” he said.

The Catholic bishops’ leadership has called for “communal action” following Lozada’s exposé on the alleged bribes and overpricing involving top public officials in the now scrapped National Broadband Network contract.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president and Jaro, Iloilo, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said the time has come to liberate the country long held “captive” to government corruption.

When do we move, LAIKO? Let us heed the call of the bishops…. As the lead lay organization, we should initiate in evangelizing and arousing the people against anomalous acts and the people who commit these acts.

CBCP urges ‘communal action’ vs. gov’t corruption

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roy San Buenaventura @ 12:11 am

MANILA, February 11, 2008 – The Catholic bishops’ leadership has called on for ‘communal action’ following Rodolfo Lozada’s expose on alleged corruption involving top public officials.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said it’s about time to liberate the country that has long been ‘captive’ to government corruption.

Lagdameo said the “confession” recently made by Lozada and ousted House speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. may save people from being “hostage to scandalous and shady government deals.”

“Only the truth, not lies and deceits, will set our country free. This truth challenges us now to communal action,” he said.


I have yet to hear the statement or direction of the President of the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas on this issue. I cannot speak for LAIKO, but I support the call of the bishops for “communal action”.  Corruption is one of the main causes of poverty in the Philippines. If we really want to be with the poor, or help the poor, we have to join the fight against corruption.

February 11, 2008

Do we really love God by loving our neighbors?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roy San Buenaventura @ 1:48 am

The editorial of the recent CBCP monitor in response to the pastoral statement of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines during its 96th Plenary Assembly, states in part:

“How come we have such a long standing and corrupt and corrupting government? How come such dishonest, detestable and distrusted leading public officials now have and continue to hold high elective public offices? How come the leading character in all this composite national catastrophe plus its loyal cohorts and subservient minions afford to continue acting the grand master of the country—with many people cowering in fear, keeping silent, staying still? Why?”

“Something is fundamentally wrong when a supposedly democratic form of government is patently not of the people, neither from the people, nor for the people—but exactly the other way around. Something must be basically wrong with us—the people—who allow such basically anti-people government to continue and rule. Something must be wherefore done by us too—the people—eventually for the purpose of putting moral order—truth, justice and peace—in our dear Philippine society precisely by big lies, glaring injustice and profound disharmony.”

“That is precisely why the CBCP echoed the challenging call of the Gospel: “Reform yourselves.” It is not right that we just keep blaming the infamous trio of lying, cheating and stealing by those in government. It is neither enough that we merely complain about the poverty, misery and sickness in many parts of the country as primarily caused by huge, continuous and vulgar government graft and corruption done as a matter of fact. Much less is it about giving in to frustration and despair, to just give up and keep off, to curse or leave the country.”

“That is specifically why the CBCP made the disconcerting but awakening conclusion. “We as a people are still devoid of social conscience.” Among other things, this means that we do not really care for our suffering neighbors, our impoverished communities, our divided nation. Reason: We are too preoccupied with our own selves—our private good, our domestic design, our dynastic design.”


December 20, 2007

Who owns the land?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roy San Buenaventura @ 1:24 am

We have a couple-friend who are very active in the apostolate. They have gone to Basilan, to Infanta, to Aurora and to many remote places in the Philippines conducting seminars and retreats to couples and families who are poor enough to pay for the accomodation in retreat houses but rich enough for having the time to listen to the Good News.

The couple is one of the “owners” of a 3-star hotel in Makati, which we sometimes use for our meetings. They don’t want to be called the real owners of the property because they said that “Nobody can own something which will outlast and outlive you. We are just the caretakers of this property.” Truly, we cannot own something which we cannot bring when we die.

Do we really need to own a property like a land, a building?

The Pastoral Constitution on the Church and the Modern World – Gaudiem et Spes promulgated by Pope John Paul VI on December 7, 1965 states: “God destined the earth and all it contains for all men and all peoples so that all created things would be shared fairly by all mankind. (#69)

St. Ambrose, one of the Doctors of the Church states: “You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. The world is given to all, and not only to the rich.”

Martin Luther Kings, Jr. also said: “Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on. It is not man.”

It is ironic that the farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon who are also members of the Higaonon tribe have to walk  1,700 kilometers to dramatize their right to till the land. From my point of view, the farmers initially just want to have a land to till. It is only now that they want to “legally own the land” so that they can work on the land without any problems. For most tribal farmers, they don’t care if they have the title to the land, as long as they can freely till and plant so that they can live (thus they become exploited by the “lowlanders” who have the connections to get paper titles to the land).

After two months of walking, the farmers reached Manila. The Church has expressed her support to the cause of the farmers. PGMA has already ordered that the process for the conversion of the the 144 hectare land to agricultural land paving the way for the process of returning the land to the Sumilao farmers.

We hope and pray that the farmers will eventually get their land.  God has always given His people a promised land.

November 11, 2007

Blessed are the poor…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roy San Buenaventura @ 9:25 pm
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“God must love the poor. Why else would he have made so many of them? — Abraham Lincoln

“Poverty is the worst form of violence” – Mahatma Gandhi

“If a person lives on less than $1 per day, he/she is living on extreme poverty” – World Bank

“If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin. ~ Charles Darwin

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours” – Jesus Christ based on Luke 6:20

“Do not say that it is God’s will that you remain in a condition of poverty, disease, unhealthy housing, that is contrary in many ways to your dignity as human persons. Do not say ‘It is God who wills it'” – Pope John Paul II

“Following the way of the Lord, we opt to be the Church of the poor” – Second Plenary Council of the Philippines

Last week, Mariannet Amper committed suicide in Davao City. She is 12 years old and according to the news, she did it out of desperation. Her family is so poor that she can’t afford to go to school because of lack of fare money. The Philippine government has taken responsibility for her death when Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said “We take responsibility for everything. Because we are leaders of the government, we need to ensure that services are there,

Aside from Mariannet, there are a lot of children who die daily because of poverty. We don’t see or hear them on the news because they are not news-worthy material.

Even if the Philippine government continues to harp on the economic development, the reality is that millions of Filipinos are experiencing hunger. We don’t need to cite statistics to prove that the so called economic growth does not benefit the majority of the Filipinos. We just have to look around and we can see the “poor and the hungry”.

But what does the so-called Church of the poor do about the situation of the poor and hungry people? We have heard about the feeding program of the Pondo ng Pinoy. There is another “feeding program” to be undertaken by the members of a big group of Catholic lay organizations. There are some parishes which have regular feeding programs initiated by some individuals and lay organizations in the parish.

How about the leadership of LAIKO? Are there initiatives to help the poor? Are there social action programs which directly counter the hungry stomach of the faithful? Are we really the ‘Church of the poor’?

“The ‘Church of the poor’ is one whose members and leaders have a special love for the poor.”
“The ‘Church of the poor’ will mean that the pastors and other Church leaders will give preferential attention and time to those who are poor, and will generously share of their own resources in order to alleviate their poverty and make them recognize the love of the Lord for them despite their poverty”.
“The Church of the poor’ is one that will be in solidarity with the poor. It will collaborate with the poor themselves and with others to lift us the poor form their poverty.” (Acts and decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 125-136)

Pope John Paul II also said “Before today’s forms of exploitation of the poor, the Church cannot remain silent. She also reminds the rich of their precise duties. Strong with the Word of God, she condemns the many injustices which unfortunately, even today are committed to the detriment of the poor. Pastors and members of the Church will courageously defend and vindicate the rights of the poor and the oppressed, even when doing so will mean alienation or persecution from the rich and powerful.” (L’Ossevatore Romano, January 21, 1985, p 8 )

The Church is not the bishops, the priests and the religious. The Church is the people, all who are incorporated into Christ through baptism. Thus, as a people we need to act in order to be called the “Church of the poor”. This is actually our challenge and our mission.

October 31, 2007

Afraid of dying?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roy San Buenaventura @ 9:20 pm

Last Saturday, October 27, 2007, I was given a FREE accident insurance by PhilAm Plans worth P25,000 for 1-year. It was actually a marketing gimmick to lure me into buying one of their insurance packages.

When I went to their office, I told them that the P25,000 is enough to buy a memorial plan, when I die. The lady was dumbfounded and knocked her knuckles on the table saying that “Sir, you are too young to die. We should not be talking about death”.

“Why, are you afraid to die?”, I asked her. I then realized that for most people, discussing about death is a taboo, as if the person talking is praying for his/her own death which is considered a misfortune.

I told her that I am not afraid to die, in fact I will be happy to die because I know that God has promised not only a better place but the best place for His creatures. There will be no more sickness, no more hunger, no more poverty, no more corruption, no more war, no more sickness. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom where there is LOVE, JUSTICE and PEACE.

I told her that for most people, they are afraid to face the reality of death because they are not prepared to face God. They have been busy preparing for their stay here on earth like studying hard so that they can graduate and get a better-paying job for their family and work like crazy until retirement and wait for their eventual death. For so many people, they have not prepared their souls to face their master.

Death is like a thief in the night.

My father would not know that he will die on the day he was stabbed by somebody who was envious of his being a teacher in the barrio. My mother may know that she will die soon but the exact date and time is a mystery for her after suffering from a second stroke. My brother would not know that he will die on the night he was gunned down by a hired killer due to his expose on corruption in the school where he taught.

Would anybody who died in the Glorietta 2 explosion knew that they will face death on that moment? Carlo Cruz whose wife Leslie died during the explosion sent an email to his friends and eventually the email was all over the internet. He said  “I have so many regrets. I should have met her sooner. I should have ran instead of a brisk walk. I should have not chose to park where I did. I should have braved the dust and went in the blast site. I should have …” I SHOULD HAVE, three words indicating that there were some tasks that may have been done to avert something to happen.

In our life now, we can still do something and be prepared and happy to meet our God. We should not wait until we can only say “I SHOULD HAVE..”

Our preparation should not only be about our personal relationship with God. It should not be only about how often we go to mass or recite the rosary. When we face our master, we will be asked “When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was thirsty, have you given me water to drink? When I was a stranger, have you given me welcome? When I was naked, have you clothed me? When I was ill, did you care for me? When I was in prison, have you visited me?”

The poor and the hungry is waiting for us…. so that they will also be prepared and happy in the Kingdom of God…

October 26, 2007

Being pro-life amidst the hunger and poverty of the people

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roy San Buenaventura @ 11:46 am

I will quote some paragraphs from the column of Jose Ma. Montelibano in (Glimpses, Last updated 02:04am (Mla time) 10/26/2007), entitled “A second look at the church”. He said:

The primacy of life is not a theory or concept, not even a possibility. Life is most present in the here and now, and being pro-life is first expressed at life that already is than life that might be. If there is a general lack of interest by the Catholic public in the Catholic Church’s advocacy called pro-life, it is because there is a general lack of interest by all concerned at how poverty, hunger and violence disrespect the value and sanctity of life. No sector is unduly alarmed by the massive incidence of hunger — except the hungry, of course. When no one cares that much at abject suffering by the alive, there will be even less concern for injustice at life that is not yet.”

I agree with his statement on being pro-life. Being pro-life is not only about the issues on the DEATHS Bills (Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control, Homosexual Union, Sex Education) being proposed by the legislators belonging to the well-funded Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD). Being pro-life is being aware, concerned, and acting upon the issues affecting the LIFE of the faithful and the people. Being pro-life is being aware, concerned and acting upon the widespread poverty of the Filipino people.

During the congressional election last May 2007, the Alliance for the Family Foundation of the Philippines (ALFI) has a list of congressmen it endorsed for being pro-life. On the list is Jose de Venecia. I was aghast seeing his name on the list. For me, JDV is an epitome of an anti-life congressman who has not done much as the Speaker of the House to uplift the LIVES of the Filipino people. He is the picture of the TOTAL POLITICIAN, who is always involve in the wheeling-dealing to serve his personal interest, or the interest of the elite.  

Mr. Montelibano further states:

“it may be Christian tradition in the Philippines that not only tolerates hunger at massive levels but may have helped cause it in the first place.

Hunger is a byproduct of poverty, and poverty is a byproduct of corruption. Corruption is a byproduct of immorality, and immorality is a byproduct of a religion that may be well preached but not well practiced. It is not abortion or contraceptives that are the primary faces of what are anti-life in the Philippines, it is hunger. In the latest SWS estimates, 19 million Filipinos experience involuntary hunger. That is more shocking than ZTE contracts, more immoral than open bribery in the palaces of presidents. Yet, the hunger of millions does not deserve indignation from Christians, not even from the college of bishops.”

Poverty is not just a byproduct of corruption. A document of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines states: “Dehumanizing economic structures, reinforced by the political situation is the cause of poverty, political instability and unstable economy.”  It is the unequal distribution of wealth, the lack of concern for the poor of the elite, and the impact of globalization which push the poor deeper into the quagmire of poverty.

The church and its pastors have been advocating active involvement of the faithful. Archbishop Angel L. Lagdameo, DD stated in his Pastoral Exhortation for the Year of Social Concerns entitled “Building a Civilization of Love”  said: “Our present Philippine situation calls us to be more actively committed to living out the social teaching of the Church. Political turmoil, moral corruption, and environmental degradation have worsened massive poverty and scandalous social inequality.”

The Vatican has also spoken. The document “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes)” states: “Faced with a world today where so many people are suffering from want, the Council asks individuals and governments to remember the saying of the Fathers: “Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you do not feed him you are killing him,” and it urges them according to their ability to share and dispose of their goods to help others, above all by giving them aid which will enable them to help and develop themselves (GS, no. 69).

The message and the call of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines is clear. The Filipino Catholics are being called to evangelize, to proclaim above all of salvation from sin, the liberation from everything oppressive to man; the development of man in all his dimensions, personal and ultimately the renewal of society in all its strata through the interplay of the Gospel Truths and man’s concrete TOTAL LIFE. This is our TASK. This is our PRO-LIFE MISSION.

At the end of the celebration of the Eucharist, every Christian is being sent on a mission and have a commiment to work for a transformed society. Truly, as we offer ourselves like bread and wine, the fruits of the earth, we also live the sacrament like the broken bread which is being shared for the life of the world.

October 22, 2007

With Pepe Lugay

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roy San Buenaventura @ 8:30 pm

I was invited by Sol Badoy (who was my roommate in Tagaytay during the 15th Biennial LAIKO Convention) to attend the Asian Forum for Solidarity Economy in UP Bahay ng Alumni.

I saw Pepe Lugay sitting in front, thus I sat beside him and I introduced myself. He remembered my sharing during the convention and eventually my election to the Board of Trustees of LAIKO.

During our conversation, I have known that he had been with LAIKO since the 1990s, after the 2nd Plenary Council of the Philippines. He is also the current Chairman of Committee Against Graft and Corruption of LAIKO. The said committee trains and recruits volunteer observers to the Bids and Awards committees of different government institutions.

Although we have a big age gap, we have something in common. Both of us attended the Marriage Encounter under Fr. Jess Fernandez, SJ. He was with the Christian Family Movement, while I was with Tuklasan. He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Ephpheta Foundation for the Blind, Inc while I am a volunteer of the said foundation as the webmaster of its website.

I hope that I can learn more about LAIKO and about the lay apostolate from people like Pepe Lugay who have been involved with the organization for so many years.

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