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Lumad: Understanding the Issue.

Published Agosto 4, 2017 by jptan2012

Although, I have made some political forecast on this blog, this blog has never been political. One of the latest ‘political’ forecast I have written is about the 2016 Philippine presidential elections. Both my forecast regarding the presidential and vice – presidential results both came true. As I have said, those are forecast and although it is about politics, the nature of the post is not political.

Today, however, I’m going to write about something that may be perceived as highly political. I want to write about the plight of the Lumads. If you are a Filipino who have watched or been up to date about the current political situation in the Philippines, you would have heard about the Lumads. In fact, the Lumads has supported President Rodrigo Duterte in the last election. However, recently just before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) one of their leaders has come out and blatantly said that they regret supporting PDuts and that it was a wrong decision fro them to do so. Consistent with the President’s personality, if you criticize him, he will attack you, and so he did and said that he will bomb all the Lumad schools because they are run by NPAs. Since the announcement, the DND Secretary has since announced that no such move will be made.

After the SONA, I have heard of people attacking the Lumads, but upon probing they seem not aware of who the Lumads are and what are their plight. And so I have decided to write about Lumads and their sad plight. Please note that some parts of the post might be perceived as critical or as highly political. The truth is as much as I want to avoid being political there are truths that can’t be avoided and I do have to write about it, these truths, unfortunately, are political in nature.

So here’s a brief on the struggle of the Lumads.

Lumad is a generic term for all Mindanaoan tribes but I think this excluded all Muslim tribes. .

As tribes their ancestral lands have been threatened many times, on different issues, and by different groups.

Their usual struggle are with loggers, big and small scale, mining companies, big and small scale, etc. To put it simply, any group or anybody who threatens their ancestral lands is also a threat to the Lumads. For years they are being driven out of their ancestral lands to the point that they no longer have stability and peace. Different groups now reach out to the tribes – religious groups (Catholic and Protestant), International and Local NGOs. Government agencies are not as aggressive in helping, if not totally not felt.

Education is also a challenge because DepEd does not put up schools in remote communities. They expect the IPs (Indigenous People) to walk kilometers on end, and expect them to blend with non IPs.

Aside from the fact that DepEd’s curriculum is not IP friendly. It does not have special subjects on culture, tradition, and other IP related issues, which are very important to help them maintain their identity and culture.

Being so, different groups, in different areas different groups have opened IP schools, with volunteer teachers being given “allowances” only. Some teachers are really LET passers that doesn’t have the privilege of having backers at the DepEd and are unable to get a job. So instead of working as cashiers, store clerk or house maids, etc, they’d rather teach even if they only go home 1x, 2x a month and receive only allowance.

The curriculum in these schools are more sensitive to IPs. Of course, there’s emphasis on environmental protection like it’s not proper to cut down trees, and one should take care of rivers, seas, and mountains.

There are ares where the oppressors are aggressive. Mining companies that have driven out IPs maintain PAGs or Private Armed Groups which co exist with the local Phil Army. PAGs have high – end ammo, sometimes they are even than what the army carries. Several of my friends has seen some of them carrying AK -47.

In areas of Davao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, mining companies are trying to explore “other” sites, which are ancestral lands of the Lumads. These are also the sites where the oppressors are more aggressive.

Lumads doesn’t have any weapons, unless bolos are counted, but they only use it for their daily life like chopping bamboos.. Lumads are generally peaceful tribes or people. They’re not warriors like the Tausugs. So when threatened, they NEED to look for help. So when they become vulnerable because of a threatening situation, they don’t have much choice but to ACCEPT the help of the NPA. The Lumads also admit that there are a few ‘renegade’ Lumads that are being recruited by the PAGs. Of course, in situations like this, money is involved. These renegade Lumads turn their back on their tribe.

As mentioned Priest and Nuns also help the Lumads. The nuns who sells Turmeric Powder, they usually get it from the Lumad communities.

Of course, each group has it’s own approach. The church usually helps in education, livelihood and spirituality. The NPAs provide protection and security.

At this point I would like to make it clear that there is no way I condole violence and support the ideology of the NPA.

2 years ago, a foreign owned mining company that seems to have ties with a Congressman from Visayasdrove out and burned a community in Surigao which they have been wanting to EXPLORE but the Lumads have tried so hard to protect. Because of this the PAGs killed the executive director and 2 volunteer teachers in Surigao IN FRONT of the whole Lumad community. PAGs with the local Army (of course they denied), gathered the whole community, separated the men, women, children they then slit the throat of the ED, then gun down 2 teachers in full view of the shocked Lumads.

Governor Pimentel (although some say he is also connected with Mining companies) took the thousands of Lumads and housed them for over a year at the provincial sports complex. He challenged the national agencies (NBI, PNP, AFP) to arrest and disarm the PAGs.

The national agencies said, why didn’t the police of the Governor arrest them? But according to the governor the .38 caliber of their police is literally rusty, how can they fight with PAGs with AK47!

Anyway, no apprehension was ever made.

It is sad that lately the Lumads are evacuating the area again because they are being harassed either by PAGs or the Army.

This problem has been existing for quite some time, and it is difficult to put the blame on a single administration. However, it is also clear that mining is one of the main reason of this attrition. But so far, mining continues, despite of the pronouncement that the administration is against it, it does continue to these days. Gina Lopez was supposed to be the hope and savior of the Lumads, but her efforts were put to an end when the Commission on Appointments didn’t approved her, and it is perceived that the president didn’t put pressure on CA to have her approved.

Anyway, so every so often, this is what happens to the Lumads. PAGs will threaten Lumad communities, the church will help, but when violence erupts it really are the NPAs who help them.

The Army is said to hate the IP schools because IP kids become more intelligent and know their right because of the IP schools.

Before I end this post, I would like to state that this is how I understand it, but please feel free to learn more about it by doing your independent research. I would like to stress here, I don’t mean to put what the NPAs are doing in a good light, neither do I support any form of violence, be it from the rebel or from the government. I also don’t support the ideology of the NPAs.

For questions, comments, and suggestions please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

 

Another Lesson on Karma: There’s Nothing Good That Will Come From Cursing A Person Using the Name of the Buddha or a Bodhisattva or Deity or Even A God!

Published Marso 10, 2017 by jptan2012

It is so ironic that some people will use the name of a god or a Buddha or a Bodhisattva to curse some people, thinking that it will make it more powerful or thinking that they are right to do this.

Saying – MAY GOD / BUDDHA / BODHISATTVA PUNISH YOU! – Is actually creating bad luck for the one who utters it and not for the one who receives the curse! And yes, saying that a person should be punish is a curse because it creates an energy of suffering for the one you hate, but unfortunately since you are the one who directed that kind of energy using the name of a God or a Buddha or a Bodhisattva, it will bounce back to you. Not because they will punish you instead but because the law of karma indicates that using a holy being for your evil desires will make that energy bounce back to you.

I cannot speak for the Christian or Muslim God, but in Buddhism, the Buddha or Bodhisattva are compassionate beings who are incapable of feeling anything negative. It’s all about compassion. In fact, when we do something wrong they through the merits that we generate will save us from hell or a bad rebirth (if we have enough merits). They never punish us.

When we suffer, when we have bad luck, that is because the law of karma. The Buddhas or Bodhisattvas has nothing to do with it. It’s part of the law of the universe where it is not controlled by the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas.

Obviously, karma is a very complicated topic. The Buddhas or Bodhisattvas has nothing to do with it, although they can help save us from some bad karma if we have enough good merits or if they shower upon us some blessings. Wearing their images or amulets is a ways of earning those merits. But they will never put upon us some negative karma to let us suffer. If we do something wrong, it is our own karma to pay. It can’t be passed on to us.

Having said that, and going back to the topic, cursing for somebody to be punished or suffer using the name of Buddha or Bodhisattva will only create negative karma on the person who wishes it!

For your questions, comments, and suggestions please email

Whether You’re A Christian, A Buddhist, or A Muslim…Thou Shall Not Mention The Name of the Lord Thy God in Vain!

Published Oktubre 1, 2013 by jptan2012

Recently a Christian friend believes in Feng Shui ask me whether what do I think is the basis of the Christian rule that states that – THOU SHALL NOT MENTION THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN.ten commandments

This got to me thinking, but it was then I realized that I will never mention the noun Buddha, or Bodhisattva or Kuan Yin, etc. just because I feel like mentioning them. For me it always has to be in the context of a real conversation and never in a joke.

I called up my Feng Shui teacher who is also a practicing Taoist and Buddhist. He explained to me that mentioning the name of the Lord or God, whether your Lord or God is Allah, Jesus Christ, or Buddha in vain creates a lot of negative karma because this shows a total disrespect to THEM.

But what is in vain? It’s easier to site some example rather than explaining it. So here are some of the examples.

Saying – OH MY GOD! – although you didn’t specifically mention Buddha or Jesus Christ, or Allah, by saying God in reference to your God or Lord is tantamount to mentioning His name in vain.

Another example is saying – THE LORD IS GOOD – then proceeded to a negative statement is also earning a negative karma. For example, THE LORD IS GOOD AND HE WILL PUNISH YOU! – earns the person saying it a thousand fold of negative karma. Why? Because it is not for us to judge who gets to be punished or not, furthermore, LORD or GOD was mentioned in the context of a negative thing.

Saying the name of the LORD or GOD in the context of insulting a person or threatening a person is another example of mentioning it in vain and earning a person a thousand fold of negative karma. Another example – THE LORD IS GOOD AND JUST. HE WILL PUNISH THOSE WHO DESERVED TO BE PUNISHED! – again this statement although true obviously is used negatively.

What are the possible effects? According to my guru Lama, whom I also called to ask about this, said that the negative effects of mentioning the name of Buddha (and I guess this applies to Allah and Jesus Christ or Lord or God as well) are quite big although it can be gradual. According to my guru Lama, that some of the effects that he has seen are the following:

Bad family life. According to my guru Lama, there is this Buddhist woman who used to drop the name of Buddha as if Buddha is her personal soldier. When she doesn’t like what a person did she would say – BUDDHA IS GOOD. WE WILL SEE IN THE FEW MONTHS OUR KARMA. Unfortunately, although she continuously to be well off, her family life became really bad. Her grown up children don’t care for her. Her biggest stumbling block to achieving real happiness is her own mother. Furthermore, her husband left her, and while she has another partner, the guy was a source of burden to her because he was unable to fully commit to her. She’s always afraid that he might leave her like what he did to her before! After several split up, the guy found his ‘true love’ and left her permanently!

Painful and difficult death. My guru Lama didn’t specifically shared any story, but he said that mentioning the name of our God in vain may cause and painful and difficult death because of the negative karma one accumulates!

So remember, do not mention that name of the Lord thy God in vain. And again, whether your Lord or God is Buddha, Allah, or Jesus Christ!

 

Taking Home Some Good Chi from Holy or Sacred Places

Published Marso 31, 2012 by jptan2012

Whenever I go on a trip, I always make sure to visit a holy or sacred place. In China, I always try to visit a famous temple or a sacred site like Mt. Putuo. In Bangkok, I visit the famous Four – Faced Buddha. In France, I try to visit Lourdes.

An image of the largest Kuan Yin in the world which is found in the holy mountain in China - Mt. Putuo.

It doesn’t matter whether the holy or sacred place is a Buddhist site or a Muslim site or a Catholic place. As long as it’s considered holy or sacred I try to visit it and take with me a slice of good chi from the holy site.

I do this by getting a small amount of earth from the site, or in the case of Lourdes I buy some ‘holy water’, or I get some burnt incense ash from their incense burner.  I then bring them home and put them on my altar or in the garden.

The natural things found in these places imbibes the positive chi of the holy or sacred place and bringing them to your house will ‘bless’ your place with their chi.

However, you should make sure you mentally ask permission first before you get anything from these places. It is also advisable that you do a thank you offering for the ‘blessing’ that you’re taking home.

There are different ways of doing an offering. You can either offer some flowers, incense, or donate some money.

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