Saving lives

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    FORMER Presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were well aware of the concession contracts between the government and Manila Water and Maynilad. You would think that Congress or any of its two houses would have strong objections to the hugely onerous deals. President Duterte has retreated from his galloping tirades against the owners of the two water distribution firms who have been his major campaign contributors and that of his predecessors. He threatened them with graft and plunder charges.

    Instead, the Ayalas and Manny Pangilinn will likely get what they want – a renegotiation of the contracts against which Duterte had raged and vowed to rescind. For some time during the tenures of FVR and GMA, several congressmen and senators raised a howl but has effectively been stifled by the paralyzing glitter of you know what. The unmistakably corrupt-ridden renewal of the two gargantuan contracts certainly involved a powerful syndicate led by Malacananag and DOJ officials who had crowned themselves with a monumental triumph of greed and thievery.

    ***
    It seemed providential that Roger Casugay’s remarkable feat of giving up a gold medal in the SEA games to save a man’s life had taken place before Christmas. It is both heartwarming and, nonetheless, depressing. The nation was suddenly awakened, beguiled that a man like Casugay, a provincial folk, who learned to conquer the waves had shown us how to conquer himself. He did not think of it as a heroic act. To be sure, he must have been in the business of saving people from other distresses, while thinking less of himself – or the danger and discomfort that go with it. If Casugay’s heart goes out to injured cats and dogs, it must be big enough to help save a part of humanity.

    Many people are unsettled with Casugay’s selflessness which they applaud, anyway, because they know that they are incapable of it. He was invited by President Duterte, no less, in Baguio to probably bestow on him a special award for his utterly inspiring example of recasting the image of the Filipino athlete as aspiring for more than medals. Shouldn’t he try to carry on the business of saving people before the President who is simply impressed with his stunning act of sacrifice?

    Would he be bold enough to plead for the lives of fellow citizens still under the muzzle of the gun for their wayward acts in the drug war? Would he similarly plead with the President for the AFP and the PNP to genuinely reach out to the NPA rebels to finally end the insurgency and to, among others, concede confidence-building measures, mainly the condonation or dismissal of countless trumped-up criminal cases against them? Would Casugay be brazen enough to remind the President that saving democracy is also about saving lives so that Filipinos can stop killing each other?

    Casugay’s exceptional act brings to mind that, to our Lord, every life is precious and indeed Christmas should make us look beyond ourselves and to look after our neighbors weighed down by sickness, emotional pain, abandonment and material lack. “For God so loved the world that He sent His only Begotten-Son into this world that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life.” The “world” in John 3:16 includes our homes, our community, our schools, our offices, hospitals and orphanages, police and military headquarters, as well as NPA camps.

    The Christian world is mourning the death of Rev. Reinhard Bonnke, 79 years old, Founder and President of the worldwide ministry, Christ For All Nations (CFAN). He was the modern-day American-German Pentecostal evangelist known for his numerous and huge crusades in Africa. He preached with “fire and passion” of the Holy Spirit and often mesmerized his audiences with miraculous healings. CFAN told CNN Bonnke has brought 67 million people to Christianity. The international broadsheet, Christianity Today, reported his crusade in Laos, Nigeria in 2000 that was attended by 1.6 million.

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