Senator underestimates sensitivity of Filipinos

Thank you, Ms Sagra, for this enlightening comment.

On TV news last Nov. 25, our very assertive senator dished out sex like she were giving out lollipops to little kids. In that one minute or so coverage, her message must have sunk deep into the nation’s viewing audience.

What was very alarming was her sweeping statement that if you do not like sex, you’ve got to see a doctor because you are abnormal. What for? Because of a brain damage or something? Isn’t she aware that there are many people who opt out of sex for higher dimensions of spirituality? Surely priests and nuns, bishops and cardinals and, above all, the pope are not abnormal people, considering the responsibilities they are holding.

By endorsing a piece of legislation like the RH bill, this senator was expected by the people to do a candid but dignified handling of the topic because controversy over this issue has been raging for months. But no, she seemed to be taking it lightly, somewhat jokingly without regard to the repercussions of her pronouncements. And to think that it was a lady-senator who could have been our president telling university students to buy condoms if they could no longer suppress their sexual urges. It sounds like she was encouraging the indiscriminate use of condoms. No, madam senator, not that easy, not that fast. You have to be married first and, in a Christian society, we follow rules. Rules that preserve life, and rules that do not kill.

You have overlooked the fact that Filipinos have dignity and moral values. They don’t copulate like dogs by the roadside to satisfy a sexual urge. You underestimate the sensitivity of Filipino society. Please do not bark this way or the big bone will fall from your mouth.

—ESPERANZA M. SAGRA,

retired principal,
Surallah, South Cotabato;
espersagra @yahoo.com

from Inquirer.net

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‘Positive outlook, right suggestions’

IN another letter to the Inquirer, regular reader Fr. Cesilio Magsino is happily surprised by the paper’s “wise suggestions” with regard to a supposed impending world food crisis.

What a whiff of fresh air! That’s how I felt after reading the Inquirer’s June 16 editorial (“The coming crisis”) about the impending world food crisis. When I began reading it, I was all but set to jump to the conclusion that the Inquirer would surely recommend to curb our population growth so that there would be enough food for everyone. How glad I was to realize I was mistaken! There was no mention of such an idea.

Read the rest of the letter at the Inquirer website >>

Thank you, Ambassador Laviňa

LETTER SUBMITTED TO the Inquirer in reply to Ambassador Laviňa’s commentary. Pray that they publish it soon. 🙂

I am honored to receive a comment from former Ambassador Nelson Laviňa regarding my recent letters (1, 2) to the Inquirer’s editors (“Judge for yourself: is PDI for or against Church?” 17/02/11).

I agree with the good ambassador’s observation that the Inquirer does have several columnists who are apparently pro-life. But that’s beside the point my letters wished to raise. I was commenting on the quality of the Inquirer’s own opinions. As individuals having their own strong biases (which may be part of the reasons the Inquirer invited them to write in the first place), columnists are less inexcusable for the prejudiced articles they might write — but not the newspaper. We expect more from newspaper editors who write editorials and opine based on their own well-researched news reports and (journalistic) investigations. They are objective observers who listen to both sides of an issue before coming up with a judgment. My previous letters to the Inquirer only lamented the fact that the paper, exercising its opinion-making function, seemed not to weigh sound arguments first (at the same time clarifying facts) before coming up with conclusions.

It is also true that the Inquirer does not lack articles on certain bishops’ remarks. That’s one thing I failed to mention in my letters and which Ambassador Laviňa correctly observed. I disagree with him, however, when he said that such “kind of attention is only expected from the official news organ of the Vatican.” Newspapers write about matters of national interest. Please remember that more than 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholics. Thus I think the Inquirer is doing a good job giving prelates space in the paper’s pages, as much as the paper does publish stories by or about anti-Church people. Of course, the way the Inquirer ‘frames’ and ‘primes’ stories about churchmen is another story, but I will not elaborate on that for now.

I am flattered that the good ambassador also noted that, in my letters, I did “not sound like someone from or of UP, but seemingly is for the Catholic Church.” Well, I am indeed a Catholic — which is perfectly compatible with being a UP alumnus and student (I’m now taking my master’s degree in communication research). I am grateful to my alma mater for teaching me how to think and reason out, a skill that I find useful in understanding my faith better. Maybe Ambassador Laviňa just forgot that reason and faith are related; indeed they are the “two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth,” as the future Pope Blessed John Paul II said.

Ending his comment, Ambassador Laviňa asserted that “until Zamora could acquire a substantial interest in this paper, he could not dictate its editorial policy, style and content.” Thank you very much for that advice, sir. I shall try to foster greater interest in the paper, then. After all, I (and a good number of my fellow Inquirer readers) am interested in helping Philippine news media — the Inquirer among them — become better in serving each of their audiences. You may want to check www.peopleformedia.wordpress.com, a small advocacy blog I and my friends started. Through it, we provide feedback to journalists, at the same time help media consumers become media literate — all in pursuit of a better media industry that respects human dignity and serves the common good. May I invite you to write for us? Your keen insights would be very welcome.