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Du30, to the contrary

The things we read about President Duterte make him so different, so unique as president of a country. They’re mostly derogatory. They call him by different names, think ill of his coddling the memory of the late dictator and the likelihood of returning his family to rule this country again. Critics despise his dictatorial tendencies, his rattling a sabre at those who cross his path and criticize him. He is no lover of freedom of speech and defenders of human rights.

But there are people who believe he is the savior of this country. 

And they happen to be pastors and lay persons of Christian churches.

Last Friday, at a friend’s birthday party, a church-loving right hand man of one of the country’s affluent men, told a table of incredulous listeners about the good future of our grandchildren being on the hands of President Duterte.

And last Sunday, after attending a service at the Christ Commission Fellowship in Pasig, over a tray of crackling chicken thighs in a café, I heard another churchgoer say good things about Duterte.

This last speaker had been heavy on drugs for nearly a decade but gave it up because, he said, one night he dreamed about people walking around his coffin, saying, “Kawawa si  brod, namatay dahil sa drugs.”  When he woke up, he decided to turn over a new leaf. “I went to a church whose door was open, and I gave myself completely to Jesus.” He went into rehab, and his life was never the same again.

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I asked him why CCF, which has millions of followers, does not touch on the subject of judicial killings. “No,” my friend said, “We don’t. We pray for the president.” They do not condemn him but pray for him.

The other friend said the same thing – and more. “Never have we had a president like him. We’ve had a lawyer, an economist, a military man, a housewife, as presidents. But none have done anything substantial to help curb the drug problem in our country. They probably did not realize the extent of the problem.

“We’re thinking of our grandchildren. If the drug situation has not changed by the time they’ve grown up, we will have a whole generation living in the clutch of addiction and corruption, of a country with no moral values.” 

My friend went to the extent of prophesying that Duterte will install a revolutionary government. “He believes that he has been chosen by God to lift this country out of its morass. Only when this happens will there be peace and stability in our country.”

I just received an invitation to attend the 42nd anniversary of the Philippine National Prayer Breakfast Foundation Inc. (PNPBFI) on Nov. 23, with the theme “Doing right brings honor to a nation, but sin brings disgrace” (Prov. 14:34). President Duterte has been invited to attend the breakfast meeting as the special guest of honor, and Sen. Manny Pacquiao as guest speaker and Bishop Noel as spiritual speaker. 

Justice Ruben T. Reyes (Ret.), PNPBFI chairman, writes that the trustees are inviting people to pray the “special Prayer for the Senate and House of Representatives.” Atty. Jose Tan Ramirez is the organization’s president. 

It will be good to listen to the honorable speakers’ words on the state of the nation.         

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The 2017 Annual Alay Lakad Walk-for-a-Cause will be held this coming Sunday, Sept. 24, at 8 a.m., at the Luneta grandstand. Theme of this year’s walkathon is “Kabataan Para sa Pagbabago.”

Alay Lakad was conceptualized in 1972 to raise funds for the benefit of thousands of out-of-school girls and boys. It became a foundation in 1975, with a membership consisting of 32 government and non-government member agencies and individuals. Chapters have been organized in different parts of the country.

According to Alay Lakad president Frank Evaristo, the likeable  chairperson of Alay Lakad Foundation Inc., the project has sent thousands of out-of-school youth to livelihood training opportunities. He hopes to have more beneficiaries this year, more donors, and more walkers.

Chair of this year’s Alay Lakad Foundation is no less than President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Will he join the walk, too? If he does, his picture, in shorts, and wearing a big smile, will be splashed in the papers, including abroad. His image will take a different turn.

Chairmen of the national coordinating committee are Lions Club International led by John Siy and Anson Ong, and the vice chairman is Rotary Club International led by Gov. Emmanuel “Loy” Cosico.

Actively participating in Alay Lakad is the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. led by its president Domingo Yap, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año, PNP Chief Dir. Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Lions Clubs International, Kiwanis International, JCIP, Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, YMCA Manila, YWCA, DILG, DepEd, PIA, PLPI, PARCNET, REACT-NCR, NYC, Delfin Go, Bel Zalameda, Dra. Teruko Haga and Puerto Princesa City chapter led by Rev. Leonida Salva.

Will you join and help our underprivileged youth, and probably help cut down the number of young addicts and suspects being shot down?

For more information on Alay Lakad, call 5226134 and cp 0909-7504733 and 0926-6874255.

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For the past eight years, Elizabeth Sison Tagle celebrated her birthday feeding 500 indigent children in BASECO, then in Muntinlupa to give cheer to relocated squatters from the Riles ng Train. She called the events “Christmas in September,” with Father Fernando Suarez officiating mass, followed by Jollibee lunch, complete with its mascot, and bring-home goodies distribution by Innerwheel Club of Manila.

Last Friday, to celebrate Elizabeth’s 70th birthday, her sons George, Ernest, Erwin and Eric, gave a lively dinner party for her at the patio of XO Heritage Bistro at S’Maison, Conrad Hotel. It so happened that a nearby hotel had fireworks dancing in the sky, as if they were intended for Elizabeth.

The boys brought best talents to entertain guests from high places. The Angelos, founded by George Tagle, and three of his tenors,  Johann and Paul Jacob Enriquez, and PHJ Gonzales, sang so well, of course, as they do at concerts held abroad. Violinist Merjohn Lagaya powerfully rendered the unforgettable song “Ikaw,” which he sang at the 400th year celebration of his alma mater University of Santo Tomas. Maddonna Decena sang Whitney Houston numbers; she is the first Filipina to join Britain Got Talent, and was a multi-medalist at the World Championship of Performing Arts 2017 in LA, USA. She is the female lead vocalist in Manny Pacquiao’s concerts. Jonathan Badon took our breath away as he sang “Granada” and “Till There was You.” It was a thrill listening to Sherwin Gozon as he sang numbers taken from “Strangers in Paradise.”

Surprise performer was Assistant Health Secretary Eric Tayag who showed off his dancing prowess. The most awaited of guests came late because he had to offer mass some place: Father Suarez.

Elizabeth, dazzling in a white dress and sequined rubber shoes and glittering fashion jewelry, happily showed off her first grandchild, Ellie, daughter of her son Erwin and his wife Sarah. Ellie is God’s gift to her lola on her 70th birthday.  

Happy birthday, Elizabeth.

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Email: dominitorrevillas@gmail.com

 

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