Angeles bishop puts curse on polluters of creek
() - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

ANGELES CITY , Philippines   – Local Bishop Pablo Virgilio David has declared a curse on local folk who would continue to pollute the Sapang Balen creek that runs through the heart of this city.

“Magmula sa araw na ito, binibigyan ko ng sumpa ang Sapang Balen. Sinuman ang lalapastangan nito ay magiging malas sa buhay (From this day on, I am putting a curse on Sapang Balen. Whoever dares to show disrespect to it will be unlucky in life),” the Holy Rosary Parish blogsite quoted David as saying, using a portable sound system, as he walked along the banks of the creek.

John Martin Baron, who identified himself as David’s assistant, confirmed that the parish has put up the blogsite hrp-sac.blogspot.com.

The entry titled “Sapang Balen’s Curse” was dated last July 30. The bishop was reportedly at a meeting when The STAR contacted his office.

The bishop’s curse, according to the blog, was meant to warn the people “to stop killing the helpless river lest they want to be unlucky for the rest of their lives.”

It said David “could hear gasps and whispers from onlookers and passersby” as he declared the curse.

“Then, a handful of residents living near the river joined his group and hastily picked up some trash lying in heaps along the riverbank,” it recalled.

The blog entry asked: “Why would a bishop go to this extent to help revive a waterway?” It then quoted David’s answer to this: “The river has life and anyone who dumps garbage without compunction is killing it slowly. Laws and ordinances do not seem to work at all; people just ignore these. Let us see how they will react to a curse from a bishop.”

David is known to the local faithful as Bishop Ambo, a name he uses in his regular local television program “Men of Light.”

He is the younger brother of professor Randy David who has declared his plan to run in Pampanga’s second district should President Arroyo seek the congressional post there next year.

But the blog said the bishop himself offers “an easy way out of his sumpa.”

It quoted David as saying: “Kung gusto ninyong pagsisihan ang inyong ginawang paglapastangan, mangumpisal kayo at ang tanging parusang ibibigay ko sa inyo ay magpulot kayo ng dalawang sako ng basura mula sa ilog (If you want to make amends for the sin you committed, just confess to me. For your penance I will ask you to collect two sacks of trash from the river).”

Fr. Jose Mercado, parish priest of Lourdes Sur here, said he believes that the bishop was merely moved by “disgust” over the severe pollution of the Sapang Balen creek when he declared the curse.

Mercado said he did not believe in curses anyway. “When I was young, I believed in curses. Now, I don’t. I don’t think that God would put curse on us. Curses cited in the Bible, such as the curse put on Jesus on a fig tree that had no fruit, should not be taken literally but in a certain context,” he said.

International renowned Catholic writer Michael Brown, in his website (spiritdaily.com), said the issue of curses has remained “a controversial aspect of Christianity.”

“Some say they see no biblical basis for it. Others argue that there are repeated references to just such a thing from Genesis through the New Testament – not only from God, who is often mentioned in the way of cursing sinful men, but also the curses of others,” he said.

“In Proverbs it says that a curse without cause cannot have an effect but implies that there is indeed such a thing and that it can come from others,” he added.

The Angeles parish’s blog also quoted David as saying that “as a Filipino, I believe in sumpa.”

It said such curses “are very much part of Filipino culture and tradition. Usually pronounced by someone in retribution for an extreme act of disrespect or wrongdoing, a curse is believed to be effective especially when pronounced by a person of authority such as one’s elders or by a priest.”

“To Kapampangans who are well known for their legendary love and respect for the clergy, being the object of a priest’s sumpa is a fearsome prospect,” the blog said.

David, according to the blog, “has been deeply involved in the revival of Sapang Balen” since the Sagip Sapang Balen Project was launched by the Holy Rosary Parish last May 23.

“The aim is to revive the dying river which used to be a haven for aquatic creatures and a beautiful sight to behold for many Angeles folk of old,” it added.

This city’s garbage problem has worsened amid the failure of the city government to pay its P60-million debt to a sanitary landfill in Barangay Kalangitan in Capas, Tarlac. Because of the debt, the landfill operator refused to accept the tons of garbage coming from this city.

BALEN BARANGAY KALANGITAN BISHOP BISHOP AMBO CURSE DAVID HOLY ROSARY PARISH SAPANG BALEN
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