January 2011

Mediums of communication between the earthly world and world of spirits always look like to be entirely unjustified. And so, pastoral guidance that sways millions of people using God’s words for block voting during national elections.

In the most successful campaigns of El Shaddai and Iglesia ni Cristo, words of encouragement morphed faithful beliefs which once appeared to be a goodly deed is now changing to dirty politicking.

No question that religious faith or supernatural worship becomes one of the tactics practiced in Philippine elections.

Noticing millions of devotees from El Shaddai and Iglesia ni Cristo, it is inevitable that this issue recites new twist of dirty politics and suggests a playing field for all political groups to party to.

Evidently, these two sects do not relinquish some continuing religious domination over the years. Imagine how many devotees attend weekly meetings. The growing number is not barring blunders of voter’s individuality, instead, creates a major gridlock between people’s beliefs and God’s words and values.

It is clearly stated in the Commission on Election’s (COMELEC) Omnibus Election code Article 22 Section 261 that any individual is not allowed to campaign for any aspirants in the selections of candidates.

To realize how block voting takes part in the build up of Philippine elections, politicians always seek potential use of bigger mass people.

One example would be the winning of former president Fidel Ramos in the 1992 presidential election. It was rumored that Ramos’ presidential throne was made possible by El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde’s influence during campaign rallies.

This was also followed by former president Joseph Estrada’s 1998 presidential bout. It was believed that almost half of his accumulated votes came from the devotees of the two sects.

In addition, the same scene happened when late Cardinal Jaime Sin expressed his likeness favors to 10 running Senators in 1987.

This simply implies that the church really has the power to affect the nation. Is this the same reason why sometimes the church just agrees to any decisions the government does?

Before President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo enjoyed her presidency in 2001, religion, specifically Sin, had an important role in Arroyo’s vow in EDSA.  The bible, which Arroyo put over her right hand, was assisted by Sin.

Digging deeper, the tactics purely remind each devotee or the Filipino people of the huge privileges a candidate may offer; as to what the bible and the religious goodness their God gives.

Pastors may have easily corrupted devotees’ mind. Pathetically speaking, the influence is reachable and cheap.

The usual scene would be: a pastor will come out from the backstage on a Sunday morning, offering some insights and thoughts on how and why Philippines is stagnating, then endorsing to spectators who should be voted.

Jumping into God’s suit as a symbol of what politicians call as money politics, pastors only accumulate debts that one day might bite them.

The manifestation of this practice will throne a leader by the use of an amass empire of prayers, money and brain washing.

Devotees may have generally viewed the words of their pastors as truth information as it tests their loyalty to God’s words. But believing to what has planted to them, people lose their practice of voting freely.

Like what Youth Vote Philippine Convenor Jaime Garchitorena said in the Boto ni Piyu forum last September 23, the good leader will only come out based on our personal conviction and instincts. No one can decide for yourself who you should vote.

Using God’s words only battles for an impossible cause. Pastors may be subjective to what they feel; but keep in mind that they do not possess some supernatural powers, seeking beyond help from the bible and even miracles.

Tagging Filipinos as superstitious and old-style followers, allow ourselves to vote according to what the country needs.

Once the influential pressure starts and is being put on followers, absolutely, no one can predict how far things can go.

Plot your points and draw a line at raffychris_dominguez@yahoo.com

Uprightness as one of the three core values of FEU serves and caters the totality of being part of the proud Tamaraw community.

Even if we define it in cunning play of words, we still end up elaborating uprightness as plain as “the act of doing what is right.”  But how can we ascertain if what we are doing is right or not? The answer basically varies on different settings depending on what set of accepted standards you conform with.

Generally speaking, different institutions establish their own law of actions and conduct deemed necessary for their people to follow and cultivate. Whatever purpose it may serve, it is most often than not, observed for a common benefit.

Capture it in the four corners of our own campus. For 82 years of its existence, Tamaraw has been a proud emblem proclaiming victories in the East from numerous combats, may it be in the field of arts, sports, or of the academe. This paved the way for a more disciplined implementation of official policies to improve concordance for various functions in and out of the school premises. In line with this was the conception of the three core values initialized with the University’s acronym—F that stands for fortitude, E for excellence, and U for uprightness.

As defined in Student Handbook for School Year 2010 to 2011, “A Tamaraw is characterized by uprightness. Full development of morality and integrity is among the primary purposes of FEU as an educational institution. Thus, FEU steadfastly adheres to a set of principles and a code of conduct which are integrated into the curriculum and academic and management policies and instilled in all members of the FEU community. This way, FEU aims to contribute to the moral advancement of Philippine society.”

Possibly, our humble thoughts ask by now, what particularly must be done in upholding this virtue?

Students, per se, set foot on the threshold of FEU as a ground of laborious search for knowledge and moral development. They play an integral part in realizing its vision, to such a degree, they are given much attention.

Consequently, they are subject to many disciplines embedded in the student code of conduct. Generalized are, wearing of complete uniform at all times, entering the school without any influence of prohibited substances like drugs and liquor and possession of any form of objects which are  morally offensive and are life threatening.

Students are also expected in the preservation of all University properties and sanitation in usage of its facilities. They must not also involve themselves in schemes and any form of destructive activities. They must not commit in any form of dishonesty and must always be sensitive in dealing with others.

These rules should always be obeyed. If all things start from small and simple matters, then the genuity of uprightness is, therefore, like the simplest idea at all.

Upholding uprightness can simply be achieved by giving full dedication to studies, showing respect to fellow students and authorities and obedience to rules and regulations of the University.

The staff, clerks and maintenance personnel help significantly in the provision of a healthy, safe and harmonious environment to give refuge to the whole FEU family. The different departments, that hold non-academic transactions of the schools, reflect records fairly and practice their profession with prudence.

In addition, upholding uprightness is attained by fulfilling promised duties to offer services on the best of their ability.

Academic functions are products of the minds behind perspectives of the gold and greens. Faculty, academic officials, organizational heads and executives work hand in hand for improving quality education and efficient operations. They too sweat blood in outdoing more than what is expected on them.

Adhering on their commitment of producing highly-principled and competent graduates who are envisioned with ideals of morality and integrity, the University invests a full-time asset of morally-inclined values.

Simply put, whatever role you play in this academic institution, it is your responsibility to build a good image of FEU by dignifying your every deed.

Upholding uprightness in the University alone is a turning point for the country. The values that FEU had set to the whole community diminish the probable cause of having a nation with tarnished slate.

This formula—Fortitude, Excellence and Uprightness—sets students, faculty members, administrative officials and University personnel to be a good individual themselves, which will eventually be reflective to the country.

From viewing a spot in Morayta, Manila, let’s have a closer look at the bigger picture of this whole canvass—the national setting.

We can say that distinguishing deeds whether right or wrong can be associated with choosing the most right ingredient to an all-time favorite Filipino delicacy.

Each ingredient serves respective contributions. If all Filipino reckon that they themselves are a part of a greater picture, Philippines would be donning a day with booming sunshine and optimism from then on. If that then happens, it will give back the nourishment the country has been depriving for decades.

The practice starts by assessing our very own selves. Have we clearly defined the indispensability of this virtue in our beingness?

How we are raised into the person we are would greatly reflect what we will be in our society. Indeed, this value must be observed right in our very own homes. Our family has lots to do in sharpening our moral being. As we step out in our neighborhood, the simple flaws we see could be corrected by setting a good example to others, and as we journey even further in life’s diversity, it would be easier for us to recognize the dignity of our doings by having a good foundation, right from the simple details of living righteously. Remember that the leaders of the nations are sons and daughters of these ordinary individuals who choose to hone the substinence of being upright.

All of these as well shape our moral wholeness to become effective individuals even beyond boundaries of our respective institutions as we take our separate undertakings.

More to point, collegiate level is inevitably the stage where students can be impulsive and indecisive. For the record of FEU, the impression soared with flying colors as the University itself has produced prominent alumni

By the living legacy of Dr. Nicanor Reyes, his wisdom that always instills every Tamaraw will be a widespread link that could touch and reach even the remotest area in the country.

His providential tale of these values—which has been proven to be so remarkable to the extent—lives on and on as it recited a twist of morally-inclined FEU community that passes from generation to generation. It is a general virtue that extends from the boundaries of University’s par walls.

The stepping stone can be either narrow or broad; being upright inside the campus sets the standard of the future situation of the country.

“Nais kong makaalpas sa abstraktong mundong ito. Paano man ito, lalakbay ako sa pagsasakongkreto ng aking buhay… ”