Showing posts with label Social Justice & Human Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Justice & Human Rights. Show all posts

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Weekend Getaway in Boracay


I need a vitamin sea. That's how  millennials or young travelers would say whenever they need a break.

The sea is a medicine. Prescribed not by physicians, but none other than our very own friends, our colleagues or people closer and special to us.

When we are in a body of water, we feel calm and relaxed. And so, our mind becomes clear and our soul is renewed.

Our wellbeing is healed and rejuvenated.
And that's an ultimate goal to achieve.

The truth is, we want to escape reality once in a while. The reality of work-related stress.

We take a pause, pack our things and go for a travel and adventure.

Dream on and go on...


Back in April 2016, I had a great weekend getaway in a small Island on the west coast of Panay Island in the Philippines.

Boracay Island. One of the world's best.

It's a hotspot of the world's beach and Island lovers. A multi-cultural hub where the east meets the west.

That was my 5th time to visit Boracay in about 2 decades. And each time I visit, there were several transformation, not just with its ecosystem, but with the culture.

The Boracay culture I used to love.

Perhaps I have seen Boracay during its pristine days when it's less developed and had its Island vibe.


Last year when it underwent temporary closure, it became like a ghost Island. Not much tourist and businesses closed for about half a year.

If we humans deserve a break. A busy Island deserve a much needed break too.

When its ecosystem has been damage due to commercialization, it has to clean and heal itself before it could serve people again.

And so other popular Islands in the country and Southeast Asian region followed suit. They also rehabilitated their Island paradise. A great move with great sacrifice and love.

Taking a break from the crowd. The party. The noise. The pollution.

I love Boracay. It has a different vibe among Philippine Islands and beaches. And so, I am pro rehabilitation if needed. For it to breathe again and get rejuvenated -- just like us human beings.

That weekend getaway in Boracay in 2016; was still a magical day and night escapade.


The Nami Resort over the hills was exhilarating as you are transported from an old style elevator reaching the hilltop.

Nami resort got the best view of the Island and it was just awesome.


The food, the music, the ambiance. The experience was great ever.

Boracay was again closed just recently. This time due to pandemic. And so, when people are able to travel again without restrictions, Bocacay will again open its paradise for responsible business owners and kind travelers.

Boracay is for everyone. One day, I may be able to swim on its water again. Witness its captivating sunset. See the sandcastles and leave footprints in the sand.

© 2020 Del Cusay


Friday, June 12, 2020

122nd Philippine Independence Day: Holding the Line


We can never attain real freedom if we're still a slave through colonial mentality and feeling inferior from other races. Same thing that we can't totally be free when our very own government is terrorizing and putting down its own people. 


That may be our very own story today. The state of our current societal freedom. A prisoner of faith and hope.

That's not what our valiant heroes have fought for; just to free us from hundreds of years of foreign invasion and rule. The pain and struggle may have left an imprint on our being as passed on the blood  flowing from our veins by our Forefathers.

Today, the Philippine society may have evolved through the years and the new generations of young Filipinos may have been detached from the history, but attached to the modern living of comfort and convenience.

Today's society, however, is still struggling with defending our freedom; to be free in our speech. That's the freedom of expression being threatened to be taken away from us.


We can be the most law-abiding citizen, but that doesn't mean we will remain to be silent and be blind of what's happening in the government; how it's being run that affects the way we live. We follow the rules and regulations, but that doesn't mean we will also follow and have higher tolerance with the wrongdoings; the abuse of power and rampant violations of human rights.

The Philippine society today is in a threat of losing its voice. The voice of the masses -- the powerless and the most vulnerable.

People critical of the government are being silenced in a form of harrassment and false accusations and worst is detention. If this can happen to political personalities and mass media, then it can happen to almost anyone who has the strongest voice of dissent or opposition.


I believe we have a good democracy, but what happens when the government has a massive power for manipulation, power tripping, intimidation and control. Slowly, public dissent is being killed. No more voice to speak up or you may be served a sentence without a due process of law.

Democracy is what this country survived and thrived over a century; if not, we may still be a colony and in control of a powerful country. But, with our great resistance to put an end to foreign rule, we became a winner -- we regained our independence and freedom.

People now has the ability to discern what is right and wrong; of what is real or just a manipulation. People can express their thoughts with higher judgment and discrimination.


If the govenment is shutting us down, then let us hold the line. We know our limits. The government must know its limits too. Power vested on our leaders comes from the people and we can take it away from them. Eventually, power has to come to an end. It's never permanent.

It's when we know how to hold the line that we can protect ourselves and we can uphold our freedom. The freedom that we Filipinos deserve. 

© 2020 Del Cusay


Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Tulfo Justice and Why That Should Bother Us

Image: https://pinastify.com/raffy-tulfo-in-action-grade-2-teacher-melita-limjuco-might-face-child-abuse-case/

When people's advise is "Ipa-Tulfo mo" or someone utters "Ipapa-Tulfo kita" that would mean instant justice or the 'Tulfo Justice'  that people think they deserve.

That would be the case for many Filipinos who would bypass the due process to seek the help of an instant justice on-air; a radio-show trial by publicity hosted by an influential Anchorman which has been a household name for helping thousands of oppressed Filipinos deprived of social justice and human rights.

The recent judgment of a radio-show, 'Raffy Tulfo in Action' which has gone viral and gained online outrage from Netizens is one of the negative side of seeking instant justice on this popular TV show.

That episode of Tulfo's show may have gone far and have caused damage to the reputation of the accused through false justice with the absence of judicial process on his call to action or outright judgment.

The teacher who was judged by Tulfo and favored the call of the parents for the revocation of her license is a one sided truth, but not to hear the side of the teacher is the unheard version of truth resulting to false judgment and false justice.

The parents who sought for 'Tulfo Justice' may just be one of the thousands of Filipino who believes that the Tulfo is the modern day 'Sumbungan ng Bayan' or the 'Barangay-on-Air' and that they feel they are truly heard and served justice on an instant and free of cost.

Whatever happened to our Philippine justice system? The mediation and conciliation process in the Barangay or even a simple filing of a formal complaint through a Government Agency? Or how about filing a lawsuit to bring the justice in a judicial court? Well, that could be a thing of the past. But how come?

In today's time, people may have been tired and hopeless of a 'Justice delayed is a justice denied' system; a justice system that is costly and causes too much stress. What could have been more effective for some is to be favored by their Idol for whatever issue they may have against someone. That 'Instant justice' mentality may just be enough to make them feel a winner for the justice served them right.

However, the public humiliation the accused have suffered may not be erased on a digital footprint. It stays online even until both parties have reconciled through a mediation process. Just in the said case, the parents and the teacher have gone through a reconciliation through the Department of Education Supervisor. The issue between parties may have ended peacefully, but the humiliation and shame may stay forever.

Why all of these should bother us anyway? Because people are now demanding for a speedy trial. People are wanting to be heard and favored for their complaints. And people are looking at Tulfo as the face of the Philippine Justice System not the police complaint desk, the Barangay justice system or even the higher judicial court justice system.

Will that make our Philippine justice system obsolete? Well, one thing that we can learn about the 'Tulfo Justice' is that it can put the real Philippine justice system to shame when millions of Filipino people are already shouting out for 'Tulfo' when they seek for the 'Justice and Human rights' that they deserve.

However, just like the loopholes with our Philippine justice system, the "Tulfo Justice" must practice fairness and stay away from biases, unfair judgment and treatment for nothing lasts forever in a corrupted system.

The Philippine Judicial System may be losing appeal and trust, but one thing is certain that the 'Justice-on-Air' will continue to be the voice of the poor, the abused and the hopeless. And if one day, we will be on this case, we might find the 'Tulfo Justice' to have saved and have truly helped us in our desperate times and needs.

© 2019 Del Cusay




Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Resilience of The Filipino Spirit: The People of Guimaras Island

The Island-Province of Guimaras in Western Visayas, Philippines is blessed with natural ecosystem and the booming ecotourism. This tiny Island is peaceful and wonderful that many people are attracted with its natural splendor.

I have visited the Island of Guimaras for the first time in March 2014 and have met a Religious Community in the town of San Lorenzo. That was just about 2 hours of immersion but I have felt the warm welcome from the Religious leaders and the members. That was the Iglesia Filipina Independiente or Philippine Independent Church that I have served through a practical health talk as part of our WellLife Program delivered in key cities in the Philippines.

Apart from meeting with the Religious Community, I was able to enjoy swimming at the beach with its semi white sand and clear waters and so I promised to come back to explore the other side of the Island. In December of that same year in 2014, I came back and enjoyed a day in the islet called "Tatlong Pulo" in the town of Jordan and that was my first ever camping in a cove and my second and last visit on the Island that I call a paradise. 

WellLife Program in San Lorenzo, Guimaras in 2014

On August 3, Saturday, I was saddened by the news about the tragic incident of the 3 passenger boats that have capsized in Iloilo Straight; just in the middle of the waters of the province of Iloilo and the Island of Guimaras. This happened inspite of the absence of a typhoon signal, but the presence of strong wind and water currents. Of more than 50 passengers, there were reported survivors, but the sad part is the number of casualties and the missing passengers whose lives were not saved.

I feel their loss and empathize with the stories of some survivors and those who are mourning  for the loss of their love ones. Who could have imagined the sudden death from a tragedy that could have been prevented to happen.

I suddenly remember what I have learned from the AGOS forum about Disaster Relience back in July 2017 when they have discussed the possibility of zero casualty by following the 3 goals which is to Prepare, Respond and Recover. On this case about the boat incident, there might be lack of preparedness on the part of the authorities when they have not suspended the boat operations despite of inclement weather. They may not be prepared with higher anticipation and their right judgment that have caused the lives of innocent people. 
To have responded and recovered would be an essential goals, but there's always one goal that we tend to neglect and that is "preparation" and so this tragic event will keep on repeating itself until we learned our lesson on the essense of preparation. 

This would be one of the most tragic maritime incident in the Iloilo Straight and we can better prepare so that this will be prevented. I believe that accidents do happen no matter how careful we are, but there are things that we are of total control. Hence, we can improve on our right judgment, leadership and sense of responsibility and accountability.

On a personal level, one lesson would be a need for an enhanced survival skills like swimming to avoid drowning and this could be part of our preparation in a possible maritime incident. We can't always play a victim for something which we can do something. Nowadays, we can't predict or anticipate an accident to happen, but one thing is for sure that survival skills and techniques will go a long way if we value life and become a survivor. 

The people of Guimaras and Iloilo and those families affected may not be able to recover easily and may need our deepest sympathy and prayers. I have known them being a deeply spiritual people and they will remain to be strong and will always rise up again from this sad fate.

As a Filipino we will always rise up from tragedies... we can rise up from natural calamities. Our resilience remains amidst sorrows and pain. But one thing is certain that we may be able to recover, but not cover the pain. We can live our life again with the best learnings and wisdom we can gain.

© 2019 Del Cusay



Thursday, June 20, 2019

World Refugee Day: In Memory of President Quezon

Photo courtesy of America Public Television 

A striking and heartfelt stament was uttered by President Manuel L. Quezon during the Philippine Commonwealth Period in the early 40s . And he said, 

the people of the Philippines will have in the future every reason to be glad that when the time of need came, their country was willing to extend a hand of welcome.”

That statement was in response to the strong intent of Quezon to accept thousands of Refugees during the Nazi Germany Holocaust where millions of European Jews were persecuted under the powerful command of their leader, Aldolf Hitler.

Although physically weak and dying due to a pulmonary disease during that time, Quezon chose to be a humanitarian to give social justice to those who are persecuted. Of the potential 10,000 refugees that Quezon would want to accept, about 1,200 refugees were given a shelter. We have opened our doors and welcomed them wholeheartedly. They were given a piece of land and a livelihood for security and survival.

Quezon was right after all. Fast forward to that future which our present day.  In the year 2018, a film was produced in his honor entitled "Quezon's Game" which was shown to the world in the month of December and in the Philippines in May, 2019. The film was a showcase of our solidarity and compassion to others that we have an open-door policy in accepting refugees.

I have watched the film on this month and it gave me a sense of pride as a Filipino that we are indeed a Nation of kind-hearted people with a sense of humanity and social dignity.

When the world turned down those refugees, only one nation embraced them with open arms and those are the Filipinos. We gave them not only a shelter, but we have helped them regain their identity and sense of humanity and that goodwill was recognized by the Jews when a statue of Quezon was built in Tel Aviv, Israel in his memory and the goodwill of the entire Filipino nation.

When some of our present day leaders would utter words of killing his own people, President Quezon was different and indeed a gentleman with highest regard to human life by saving more than a thousand lives.

Today, we need a leader who is not only tough, but someone who values and upholds the sanctity of human life. There are currently hundreds of millions of stateless people in the world seeking refuge due to wars, armed conflicts, persecution and even economic downfall. They are sick, dying and unwanted by their own people. However, they are still hopeful for a miracle for a second life they deserve.

Today, June 20 is World Refugee Day and it is also a celebration for us Filipinos of our sense of dignity and pride. May our sense of humanity be upon us all for those who are abandoned, unwanted and persecuted. We are a Filipino and we are a life-saver from our past and until forever.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Social Commentary: Universal Healthcare for All Filipinos


It was in August 2018 that I fell in line to pay for the annual Philhealth contribution of my sister and her family and I was glad to see hundreds of people who were there to invest for health insurance in exchange for a good Healthcare benefits offered by the agency.  As a Healthcare worker, I have pledged not only for the healing of the sick people but also to become an advocate for health promotion and prevention. That time as I was seated on a chair to wait for my priority number to flash on the screen, I had a realization that people no matter their economic status are now becoming more aware of the advantages of having a healthy family that is free of illnesses and diseases and becoming a productive contributor in the society. 

But how about those individual or families who have no access to basic healthcare due to economic hardship? They may feel ineligible and intimidated for their Healthcare rights and they remain to be vulnerable to health crisis and health threat. 

I am glad to know that on February 20, 2019, finally the Universal Healthcare Act was enacted into law which grants all Filipinos to have access to affordable and better healthcare. This is a positive and perhaps the greatest measure towards a healthier citizens leading to productivity and wellness. 

Talking about the agency that has the mandate for its implementation, the Philippine Health Insurance Company or better known as Philhealth will have to ensure the automatic eligibility and membership of all Filipinos regardless of social and  economic standing; a greater service for our less privileged families and individual. 

The Fight for Universal Healthcare

This new law is not just an achievement of the legislative and executive body, but this is a great achievement of all Filipinos who have long been hoping for this initiative.

Just imagine how could Western countries able to give Universal Healthcare to its citizens that have started several years or decades back and why couldn't our country do the same? This has been a puzzle to me and perhaps to other Filipino who had a glimpse of the Healthcare status in a foreign country. 

Now our time has come, but the implementing rules and regulation of the new law is yet to be laid and we have to be aware of the Healthcare coverage, how we can truly benefit from it and when shall we start to benefit from it. 

Benefits of the Universal Healthcare Law

What the Philhealth can guarantee is the basic Healthcare services to existing premium contributors, indirect contributors or the indigents like our Senior Citizens and Persons with Disability and the non-indigent or non-premium contributor. That would mean free consultation, laborary tests and diagnostic tests are among the basic services covered to everyone. Almost all scope of health is covered including preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care which gives holistic health and wellness to everyone. 

Sustainable Healthcare development 

Although we welcome the great Healthcare measures, we are yet to experience how it will be delivered. The funding source has been determined and the implementation of this new law will be gradual considering that the funding will be coming from a pool of different agency funds. 

The new law is very promising, however we would like also to see its greater success and development from now and in years to come and not to be exploited and mismanaged by our people in Healthcare authority. 

Issues in the Philippine Health Insurance

Our National Health Insurance Company, the Philhealth and private Health Management Organizations (HMO) has been delivering its healthcare services in partnership with our Healthcare institutions; hospitals, clinics, health centers nationwide. They have always been to the rescue whenever we seek medical help, however their insurance coverage is not comprehensive as they do not cover all health conditions and other health services and this has been a challenge for those who couldn't afford or having financial difficulty at the time of seeking medical attention. 

When I was working at The Medical City in Iloilo, I have already learned about issues like non-payment or delay of payment of Philhealth for hospital claims to several member hospitals in the country. This would also cause for delay in the hospitals to pay their medical providers and this has led to another issue that some medical providers would charge their clients an additional cash payment for professional fee which is already covered by Philhealth. This issue happened to my sister and she asserted her rights against the double charging of her provider.  This scenario would lose the confidence of other Philhealth members if such case happens to them which is against the primary goal of Philhealth on its mandate to lessen the financial burden of Filipinos upon seeking medical treatment. 

Continuous Healthcare reform 

The Universal Healthcare law is a good start in providing Healthcare access to All Filipinos; a measure that no one will be excluded and left behind in Healthcare services due to poor economic status. 

However, challenges in Government and corporate social service is still something that Filipinos must all fight to be able to achieve a better healthcare for all. 

For the Philhealth, may the agency uphold good governance and continue to update their policies and coverage to package benefits that are not selective to particular medical condition. This is a burden to the Filipino people because we do not choose the kind of disease once it strikes just to be covered by our insurance provider. We do not choose when to get sick and when to get treated. We do not choose the end of our physical suffering and the end of our life. 

We do not have control on our health crisis, but we can do something for its promotion and prevention so we will not suffer and pay for its consequence. We have to take good care of our health so we will be spared from illnesses and diseases. Though it is inevitable, we can help ourselves, our families and communities by choosing healthy lifestyle that is away from too much stress and vices so we can achieve health and longevity leading to a productive citizen that we can be.

As we continue to contribute towards nation-building, we have to be respectfully assertive of our healthcare bill of rights and at the same time be supportive of our Government's mandate in providing better healthcare to All Filipinos so we can achieve wellness and so we can live our greatest life.

© 2019 Del Cusay



Sunday, February 17, 2019

Social Commentary: The Voice of the Filipino Farmers


The Philippine Agriculture was once a very promising sector in its excellence in providing sufficient agricultural products to every Filipinos through active and strategic partnership between our farmers and the Government. We were an agricultural leader in Asia back then and our Agricultural Scientists used to share their expertise in rice farming to other Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand.

I remember back in the late 80's when we used to play by throwing muds in the newly plowed rice field just after the harvest season; the time when rice farming was the major source of livelihood of most families in our town. Whenever we visit other barangays from the town center, we get to breathe in fresher air passing through the green field of newly planted rice during the planting season, while during dry season just before the harvest in March or April, the field turns into a beautiful golden brown grains of rice.

Those were the days when rice farming was a robust industry and highly profitable for both rice farmers and traders who are in the business of buying and selling rice. Those were also the busy days for my parents on making a living as a rice trader in our town that lasted for about 2 decades.

As a kid, it was hard to compete for attention with our parents on some busy days when they buy hundreds of sacks of rice from our local farmers, but that was also a good time for play whenever it is already stacked in our warehouse; the kind of play that some kids of today may not relate. Those were the past and one of the happiest moments worth remembering.

Challenges in the Agriculture 

Starting the new millennium several challenges emerged in our Agricultural sector most especially in the rice industry. There were corruption issues with the Agriculture Department and the National Food Authority; a Government agency that regulates and maintains sufficient rice supplies for the staple food of Filipinos. Other issues include lack of government support for farming machineries like pre and post harvest facilities, conversion of agricultural land to residential or industrial, and the low trade price of rice produce from the farmers due to the proliferation of rice cartels.

Just in the recent years our Government faced even more challenges like increasing price of commercial rice due to artificial low supply against its high demand to feed millions of Filipinos. With the lack of agricultural facilities, we are not able to produce the best quality and quantity of rice leading to lesser productivity and profitability of our rice farmers

The Rice Tarrification Law

Fast forward in 2019, just recently on February 15 when Rice Tarrification Bill was enacted into law with a measure to deregulate rice importation of private businessmen and individuals from countries like Thailand and Vietnam. The law also made some restrictions on the power of NFA for regulation and importation of rice, and they will just maintain enough stocks of rice for calamities. One of the best promises included on the revised law is the annual 10 billion peso Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund for a 6-year period and will be assessed whether to continue or revise the measure. The RCEF is a common fund that will come from the rice import taxes that is said to be given to farmers in order to address the existing challenges in rice production like the purchase of farm machineries, to provide credit or loan service to farmers and for skills development in farming.

The effect to our rice farmers

This new law seems a short term goal to address the current inflation when our poor families couldn't even afford to buy expensive rice. However, this could also affect our local rice farmers when they could not sell their produce at a good price making them helpless and leaving no choice but to continue rice farming as a means of livelihood.

The flooding of cheaper commercial rice in the market will be beneficial for the Filipino consumers in general, however the promises on the newly enacted law would not be as promising as it seems. We could not forget the alleged agricultural scams like the fertilizer fund scam, diversion of agricultural funds to fake NGOs and the present day 'bukbok' rice or the insect infested imported rice despite of its lower price. Hopefully, this RCEF would not be another corruption in the making.

If there's an existing curruption in the Agricultural sector which remain to be a culture, the new law shouldn't be at the expense of our local farmers. Although we can give the new law a chance for the benefits it could give, still I feel for the unheard voices of our farmers. I am a son of a rice farmer and I have seen the hardship of our farmers who sweat it out under the sun and even through the rain to give us a staple food to eat on our table. Our farmers deserve to have a better life through the full support of our government from laws and programs that would help improve their greatest source of livelihood.

We do not want to see one day that our farmlands that are previously owned by an ordinary farmers will become a gated community or townhouse owned by an oligarch. We do not want to see our country losing agricultural scientists who preferred to work abroad for a greener pasteur. We do not want to see our future children losing interest in agricultural studies and activities. And we do not want to see our farmers dying because even them don't have something to eat because the government killed the rice farming industry.


As I go back home in our hometown, another townhouse that is previously a farmland might be rising and another hectare for private houses along the road are built. This happens when farmers sell their land to real estate developers for residential or industrial development.

In few years time our next generation might not be able to enjoy the greenfield and the golden brown rice harvest that we used to enjoy. Those years of pure happiness away from modernity and technology that the present time have embraced. In few years time, we will gradually be shifting from agricultural to industrial and the vast farmland and lush greeneries will just be a thing of the past.

Let us help save our Agricultural sector by hearing the voices of our farmers who are the source and major producer of our food on the table. Let us patronize local produce and learn to appreciate and embrace agriculture in our modern way of living and so we can help our farmers thrive and live a decent and comfortable life they deserve.

© 2019 Del Cusay



Friday, February 8, 2019

Social Commentary: Lessons from Vaccination Scare and Disease Outbreak



It was on February 6, 2019 that the Department of Health declared an outbreak of measles disease in the National Capital Region including regions in Luzon; Central Luzon and CALABARZON. Just a day after, it was declared that the outbreak expanded in the Visayas; Central, Eastern and Western Visayas.

The disease outbreak is just a year after the controversial Dengvaxia scare with several deaths of children linked with the Dengvaxia: a vaccine for Dengue.

Although it was not medically proven through studies and investigation by the Department of Health, still the Public Attorney's Office headed by its Chief, Persida Acosta defended the human rights of her clients when she insisted that it was indeed Dengvaxia vaccine caused the death of children who received it.

How the deadly controversy started

It was revealed late last year by Acosta  that the President himself ordered her office to pursue on filing a criminal complaint to several personalities of the past administration who are allegedly involved in the Dengvaxia controversy and that includes former President Aquino, Former Department of Health Secretary Garin and the present DOH Secretary Duque.

Since then Acosta actively pushed for public information on the dangers of  Dengvaxia and the vaccination program, and this controversy led to discouragement and fear against vaccination. 

Dr. Acosta has the interest to fight for the rights of her clients and to follow his excellency, the President. As a Doctor of Social Development, she has the expertise and advocacy for human rights and legal aid; that I believe where she is coming from on this matter.

From Advocacy to Disaster 

Apparently, Acosta's advocacy went wrong when her allegations about the Dengvaxia-related deaths caused a sudden drop in immunization records of the DOH starting in 2018 until the present. Parents are scared to have their children get vaccinated by Dengvaxia and even other vaccinations including MMR vaccines (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) which has caused an epidemic of measles in several regions in the country and was reported to be thousands of cases and several deaths already. 

Disinformation and fake news can kill

With the Dengvaxia scare, over 2 million Filipino children are currently at risk of contracting measles which is a highly contagious airborne disease causing respiratory complications that can be lethal. 

This would not have happened if there was no mass hysteria coming from several personalities from broadcast media and social media. The disinformation easily spread and was accepted by their followers to be an absolute truth. 

Nowadays, thousands or millions of Filipinos are a victim of fake news or disinformation with social media in particular. Social media influencers has to be responsible for their words or statement so not to create confusion, and also for followers and the general public to learn how to decipher real news from the fake ones.

Turn around of circumstances

With the rising number of measles cases across the country, the Department of Health and President Duterte himself have step up to lead a campaign on national television for families to have their children get vaccinated from diseases. The public call was followed by Vice President Robredo and now, the Chief Public Attorney, Persida Acosta who seemed to be remorseful when she expressed to the public not to be scared of vaccination to spare children from getting measles considering its alarming rates: a step she made just after the call for her resignation by our Senators and some people. 

Our leaders have the biggest role to play in all of these circumstances affecting the state of health of the Filipino children. They may have reflected on their shortcomings and they are now doing their part to correct the mistakes they have caused. For the Chief Public Attorney, her sudden active campaign for vaccination may not be an admission of guilt, hence taking responsibility for her actions if her advocacy to fight for her clients led to health crisis our country is facing. 

Our Call to action 

May this health crisis serve as a call to other media personalities and social media influencers to do the same thing and to stop from disinformation campaign causing trial by publicity and untoward events and worst is loss of lives. We have lost the confidence of our people in our Government's immunization campaign and it might take time for others to regain the trust.

Full immunization is very important in developing immunity against highly communicable diseases. Imagine if all children received full immunization, we are closer to eradicating diseases like measles.

We have already eradicated diseases like polio, maternal and neonatal tetanus, hence we can also achieve a measles-free country and eradicate other diseases through full immunization. It may be a challenging task for our healthcare workers, but with the active campaign of our government and the cooperation of the public, the goal can be achieved. 

As a Healthcare advocate, I want to protect my family and the public through health education for them to live their best life that they deserve. Whoever we are, we have the capacity to become a health advocate and our advocacy can create a ripple effect towards a healthy citizenry and community. 

© 2019 Del Cusay


Sunday, January 27, 2019

Social Commentary: Terrors of the Bangsamoro People


I have never visited the Island of Mindanao, but I always look forward to see and explore its beauty and hidden gems. I believe that the entire Island has so many beautiful wonders to offer to visitors amidst the chaos and wars that tainted the reputation of the place.

Since the 'Battle of Marawi' in 2017 where hundreds died and thousands left wounded and homeless, I am one of those who condemn the barbaric act and inhuman activities of the terrorist groups responsible for the attacks. The battle may be a result of a challenge from the country's most powerful man who showed no restraint in his words, but the collateral damage were the thousands of people who are victims of the war.

The peace process in Mindanao may be endless due to the conflicts resulting to bombings in many places in Mindanao, from Zamboanga City to Davao City and just recently the twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu when a Roman Catholic Cathedral was blasted with an improvised explosives that killed more than 20 innocent lives and others wounded. This time it may be due to the result of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law where the Sulu province voted for 'NO' which means they wouldn't want to be included in the new Bangsamoro region.

Islamic state-inspired group have claimed the attack, but this is about religious attack. I condemn it because as a Catholic, I also feel being attacked with my faith. I also feel wounded in spirit. I can't imagine how people have lost their lives in a sacred place. I also can't imagine how I can be a potential victim when I visit Cathedrals anywhere in the country or when I celebrate religious festivals.

Our Catholic faith has been a target of verbal attacks by the current President himself. We have endured several insults against our faith and the leaders of the church. Our Pope and Bishops have been mocked and even our God has been insulted. These verbal attacks may be the reason why terrorist groups could easily destroy us. The President has to protect its people, but we are being prosecuted in his words and deeds as suffer the consequences. This may not be the first religious  attack, but there may be more unwanted attacks in the future; it could be in a church in my hometown, in a minor basilica where I usually visit or a simple Chapel full of people.

As a Catholic faithful, I strongly condemn any form of terrorism that take away the lives and properties of anyone regardless of faith  may be Christian or Muslim. I have known some people who are from Islam faith, but I believe they are the good ones. What this world wants is to eradicate the radical Islam ideology which aim is to create chaos and wars versus non-Muslims.

I believe that God is good, but could there be A Violent God in Our Time when what we are experiencing are violence and religious attacks and not so Godly activities by those who belong to a certain faith.

We are now on the 21st century and 2 years from now the Philippines which is predominantly a Christian country will be celebrating its 500th years of Christianity. It will be a joyful celebration of a massive flock of faithful and devotees. I hope when that time comes would be truly a peaceful and joyous celebration to everyone.

We can achieve lasting peace between Muslims and Christians especially in Mindanao if leaders will set aside personal and selfish political interests and abandon radical Islam ideologies. It's not about the Moros, but Mindanao is for everyone regardless of religion. The time comes when Mindanao attain peace is a great achievement for those who worked hard for the peace process. It will be the time when we see more Christian churches in a predominantly Muslim state of Mindanao where people solemnly express their faith and will not be fearful for their lives.

© 2019 Del Cusay


Monday, June 26, 2017

Eid'l Fitr: A Moment of Peace


After a month-long of battles between the Philippine Government forces and the local terrorist group, finally our Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters in the city of Marawi in Mindanao have a glimpse of a peaceful hour for today's celebration of Eid'l Fitr or the end of Ramadan a meaningful religious festival to break the 30-day fasting. Though a short duration of ceasefire, it may have given them hope to escape and to live a peaceful life away from their devastated city. 

As I reflect on the significance of this religious celebration, we are in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters who sacrificed their life to achieve a peaceful living. Islam as a religion of peace brings a message of hope and not to instill fear and terror among fellow Islamic faithful; may be opposite of the current events where a fearful people cries for justice, unity, solidarity and peace they deserve. As a Christian in faith, I condemn the evil acts of terrorism and wars brought by greed and selfishness. Even the religion of peace would have condemned the same adversity that they have experienced for a long time. A never-ending conflict and war in the region resulted to political instability and has affected the social and moral welfare of the people. The psychological traumas in children and even adults will forever leave a permanent scar in their being. Unless they rise up to adversity, they will continue to suffer until the end of their days. 

We are not certain of what the future will bring to the people of Marawi, but we are one in prayers for their rehabilitation  their hopeful journey to recovery. It may be a spiritual test, but part of the recovery is to understand the nature of the Divine. A Violent God in Our Time would punish his people for the greater good and eventually achieve a heaven on earth living. Everyone can become a victim and a sacrifice for the future of humanity. It may be unjust, but that's the present reality in this world. People can kill others for the sake of wealth, power and influence; a dictator can order a massive killing of his own people; countries may bombed a non-allied nation. There's really evil in this world that is trapped in the hearts and minds of the radicals. 

People are getting anxious, fearful and powerless. Nations are getting upset and always on fire. The world is getting so chaotic that we sometimes ask, Is There A Divine Light in A troubled Nation? This might give clarity and answer to the untoward events that are happening everywhere. In situations like this, we remain steadfast and faithful to the most powerful force in the universe. When human being has lost its divinity, we again go through the process of purification to regain the divinity that is lost. With perseverance and faith in God, we can become whole again if there's a belief that There's A Certain Holiness in You. Humanity has to regain the lost beingness, so we can live in harmony and camaraderie with our brothers and sisters with different faith. We are one nation that belongs to one world with universal feelings and emotions. We can always make a difference in other people's wellbeing through our loving and compassionate nature. No matter what race you and I belong, our spiritual nature guides and directs us towards our purpose  to live and reign peace and harmony in our hearts forever.

© 2017 Del Cusay

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Where is The Divine Light in a Troubled Nation?


It was just recently that President Duterte declared  martial law in the entire Island of Mindanao, southern Philippines due to clashes of the government troops versus the local terrorist group "Maute" which is identified as an ISIS-linked group. That was late evening of May 23rd, this year when the news brought anxiety and fear among many Filipinos especially those who have remembered the negative effects of the 1972 martial law imposed by late President Marcos. Widespread violence and violation of human rights triggered the memory from the distant past; a horrible fate experienced by our countrymen on this kind of rule where there is absence of due process in a civil disobedience act.

Every year as we commemorate the People power revolution in 1986, it flashes back the kind of life Filipinos have lived under the martial rule; freedom of expression was suppressed and thousands were victims of cruelty and summary executions under the hands of the military people. 

That was a history! and now the history repeats itself. This time the cause of the declaration is different. Martial law was imposed due to massive civil disobedience back then, but now the declaration is due to rising power and terrorism of the local terrorist group called "Maute" which is gaining popularity in the country and getting recognized by the international terrorist group -- ISIS who is known to be behind deadly attacks in major cities in the world. To date, thousands have been killed including the lives of innocent people; children heavily injured and killed due to conflicts and wars. People got sick and experienced post traumatic-stress symptoms that they will perhaps carry on for a lifetime. Their life was totally a hell on earth that some would have wished to die than to suffer. 

In times of chaos and war, our government's primary goal is to bring back stability, peace and order by protecting its citizens from from harm and its negative effects. It is a tough challenge and putting it on the hands of our national defenders would make a difference in resolving the conflict. However, isn't it  that martial law was declared to protect our people? or is it a disguise for a hidden ulterior motive? We may never know the truth.

It's been centuries long of battle against terrorism in Southern Philippines, but it hasn't been totally resolved until the present time. Martial law may be extended even up to a year or might be declared in the entire archipelago, however it will not be the ultimate solution to end this national problem. 

Where is God at these times? When people are praying for peace, evil forces are gaining more strength and spreading the darkness. Is God an absolute good? or Is There A Violent God in Our Times ? No one is spared, but anyone could be the next victim of this darkness even those who may bring the light. In moments like these, we need a Divine inspiration -- a Divine light to shield us from evil forces in this world. But why do God allow his people to suffer? The Philippines is a troubled nation despite of economic development and the invasion of darkness makes us become blind.

We have been fighting for different kinds of war; the drug war already killed thousands of suspected drug users including the dealers. It is right for the government to protect the good versus the evil and to eradicate them all has never been easy, instead we co-exist with these evil forces all throughout and in our lifetime. While terrorism can't be defeated easily, we desperately call for forces of Divine light to shower in us and to protect our love ones and the entire nation. We can't pass on to the next generation of Filipinos the kind of suffering we are currently living. We cant imagine our offspring to blame us of the problem that they inherit. Looking forward to 2025 or 2030 and beyond, what will be the fate of our nation? How will we live as a Filipino? Will there be a peaceful Philippines in years to come or are we about to start living in our darkest era?  Let there be light on our people; the defender of our democracy -- our leaders and the chosen ones. Let there be Good Governance Towards A Better Philippines and surely we will see the light after a long tunnel of darkness we're going through. I believe that where there is darkness, there is light! There's a healing in every pain and injury and there's a happy ending in eternity as long as we keep on fighting for goodness sake while unleashing the Divinity from within.

© 2017 Del Cusay