A new month

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

The month of March had been ushered in by Ash Wednesday which opens the Lenten season. Until Easter Sunday, our Lord's Resurrection, believers are reminded to fast, to repent, to remember that we are mortals who cannot serve both God and mammon. This is the season that reminds us about God's love for us - He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ to be crucified on the cross so that all of us are saved and redeemed.

As this new month starts with a day of prayer, a day of fasting, a day of repentance, we sincerely hope the Church considers enjoining all to extend fasting, repentance, and prayer not only for personal or family intentions. We hope the Church leads the daily prayer for our nation that so badly needs reconciliation and unity. We hope that not only the Catholic and Christian churches but all other religions in this country consider a daily prayer movement to start today, for our country to be healed, for God to heal our country from all forms of evil: hatred, deception, dishonesty, abuse and more.

March allows us to look up and follow God's path for us all, towards love, back to Him Who loves us best. That is very difficult to do when so many are preoccupied with matters of this world, of this country, and when many forget that God is the ultimate and highest treasure for us all. From now, till the rest of the Lenten Season, hopefully, our nation and our people enter into a deeper spiritual mode and we look forward to renewed Filipinos, united and respectful, despite diversity and differences. We look forward to leaders who inspire the ordinary Filipino to consider the ways of the Lord, rather than just the ways of mortals.

There remains so much more to be done together. May March usher in the start and sustainable journey together to make our country a truly better place for all. Jobs for the increasing jobless, steady and sustainable livelihood for all, less poverty from this month on, more hope and optimism based on effective, honest, responsive, and participative governance.

We look forward to a more protected environment, where our resources are sustainably managed to benefit our own people, especially those in the forest, those by the sea and those who till our land. We pray Secretary Gina Lopez is confirmed as DENR head so that we can be assured of a protected Philippines for our Filipino people. Earth Day will also be celebrated this month of March. What a beautiful gift for our people, for us all to have a genuine public servant like Secretary Gina Lopez.

Her anti-mining advocacy has been met by criticism and challenges, especially from those who have benefited and who continue to benefit from the wealth derived from mining. They counter that safe, clean mining has been practiced. Perhaps so, but despite the knowledge and technology to ensure protective mining, most of the mining companies that Secretary Lopez has ordered to be closed or suspended failed for years to protect the communities and the residents. There are those who question if it was mining that caused the poverty of the residents or whether the residents have been poor even before mining set in. Will a devastated, abused environment, with polluted water, with greenery gone ever sustain and support residents who used to enjoy clean air, clear water and lush greenery to survive through centuries? Can the destruction and damage to people and nature caused by abusive companies ever be reversed?

March holds so much promise for all of us, for deepening our faith among ourselves, faith for our environment, for our nation, and most especially faith in our God.


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