Walk for Life Laguna. Life is what we make it, or take
I estimated 2,000 of them in this 2013 Walk for Life in this City along Jose Rizal Avenue; compare that to my estimate of 1,000 warm bodies in the 2012 Walk for Life on the same street. "We Choose Life" says a printed placard. I think our National Hero Jose Rizal would have chosen Life - he grieved when Josephine lost her baby because of his prank.
And the enthusiasm of the walk was palpable today. I'm not surprised. We have a new Pope who walks his talks: love for Simplicity, Humility, Life. He will walk for life - if you ask him. From what I've read so far, Pope Francis shuns exclusive and expensive limousines; if he had the choice, he'd rather walk.
Cardinal Bergoglio's motto was "Miserando atque eligendo" (I literally translate that into "miserable but worthy of being chosen"), which now that he is Pope Francis I liberally translate into "Comfortless yet chosen" that has 2 meanings: (1) He sets focus on the poor and disadvantaged and have mercy on them, and (2) He has chosen the life of the deprived rather than the life of the privileged. When we Walk for Life, we choose Life over Law or License.
Today, Saturday, 16 March 2013, at the Liceo de San Pablo Gym on the grounds of the Cathedral of Saint Paul, the talk was "We Choose Life" and the walk outside was "Walk for Life Laguna."
Very interesting. The Cathedral is named after Saint Paul the First Hermit (Wikipedia); hermits are not known for their walk, not even their talk, are they? But if you listen to them, they have words of wisdom.
Before the Walk was the Talk. The Guest Speaker of the seminar was Dr Rene Josef Bullecer, Director of Human Life International Philippines. (Sorry I arrived too late to catch his words of wisdom.) The sponsors of Walk for Life Laguna were the Diocese of San Pablo, Knights of Columbus (I'm a KC, in case you ask), and Commission on Family & Life.
Last year, when Bishop Leo M Drona was still Bishop of San Pablo Diocese, there was a Walk for Life and I wrote about it the day after (25 March 2012, Frank A Hilario, blogspot.com). One of my main points in that essay is that in 2004, twenty-two (22, yes) minds co-authored a single paper "Population and Poverty: The Real Score" (econ.upd.edu.ph); here are the authors alphabetically arranged, take a deep breath:
Ruperto P Alonzo, Arsenio M Balisacan, Dante B Canlas, Joseph J Capuno, Ramon L Clarete, Rolando A Danao, Emmanuel S de Dios, Benjamin E Diokno, Emmanuel F Esguerra, Raul V Fabella, Ma Socorro Gochoco-Bautista, Aleli P Kraft, Felipe M Medalla, Nimfa F Mendoza, Solita C Monsod, Cayetano W Paderanga Jr, Ernesto M Pernia, Stella A Quimbo, Gerardo P Sicat, Orville C Solon, Edita A Tan, and Gwendolyn R Tecson.
I did say it was an overpopulation of authors. Why did I not simply cite "Ruperto P Alonzo et al" as author following a rule in technical writing that I should know because I've been an editor of 3 technical journals? I'm just following the battle-scarred wisdom of Sun Tzu: "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."
Poverty is a complex phenomenon, and many factors are responsible for it. Rapid population growth alone cannot explain poverty. Bad governance, high wealth and income inequality and weak economic growth are the main causes. But rapid population growth and high fertility rates, especially among the poor, do exacerbate poverty and make it harder for the government to address it.
Before I comment on that excerpt, let me tell you about those co-authors I'm most familiar with: Arsenio M Balisacan, Professor of Economics at UP Los Baños and who is now NEDA Director General; Solita C Monsod, Professor of Economics at the University of the Philippines, Convenor of the Philippine Human Development Network and who has always been a soldierly scholar; and Gerardo P Sicat, with an MA in Economics from UP and who as first DG set the tone of NEDA, that is, mainly economics for development.
Do you see? The economists of UP will tell you, as any Keynesian economists will, that a country cannot develop except under economic terms of reference. They know, and you don't. If the economists say we are over-populated, then we are; if they say our birth rates are too high, then we are producing too many babies too fast for them to count in peace! They are the bean counters; they would rather count beans than human beings.
Today I'm counting the ones who matter: babies. I've counted 13 babies of my own, if you didn't know. A zygote is a life, count 1; a fetus is a life, count another. A child in the womb is a life; count your blessings!
In the United States, they call it "March for Life" and do it 25 January every year; this year, the March commemorated the 40th anniversary of Roe vs Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion in the United States. At the DC Archdiocese's Youth Rally & Mass for Life at the Verizon Center, Bob Rice said, "In the United States today, one of the most dangerous places to be is in the mother's womb" (Patrick B Craine, 25 January 2013, lifesitenews.com). Life is what we make it, or take. "Because they can't speak and they can't march, we can and we will."
March for Life! Today I'm counting the days of March:
02 March, Sunday: At 71, we learn that Bishop Drona had applied for early retirement for health reasons, and Pope Benedict XVI had approved it; so this year, we have a new head of the San Pablo Diocese, Bishop Buenaventura Malayo Famadico. The name augurs well for the Walk for Life Laguna, his first in this diocese: Buenaventura means Good tidings. God be with you (babynames.com). He became Bishop just 2 weeks ago, on 02 March (Fr Romy O Ponte, 01 March 2013, cbcpnews.com).
13 March, Wednesday: At 76, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected the new Pope for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. He has chosen Life. Even as a Cardinal, he has spoken against the "Culture of Death" (Steven Ertelt, 13 March 2013, lifenews.com). To him, abortion is a "death sentence" to the unborn. I say the American and Filipino liberals talk about human rights but deny the right of life to the baby in the womb. Women talk about their rights to their bodies but deny the rights of their unborn babies to theirs. Life is what we make it, or take.
16 March, Saturday: Did you know that today is "For God So Loved the World Day?" (forums.catholic.com). God chose you; He chose Life; you are His gift to you. Your gift to God is your choice: If you truly love God, choose Life!
 1 died of a fever of unknown origin, at 10 years of age.