"... pangalagaan, gabayan, ipagtanggol at samahan ang sambayanang ito lalo't higit ang mga dukha at mahihina, kasama na ang kalikasang ating NAG-IISANG TAHANAN na tinawag ng ating Santo Papang COMMON HOME, na nalalapastangan ng pagkaganid ng iilang mga tao." - Most Rev, Marcelino Antonio M. Maralit, Jr., Bishop of Boac
The stakeholders' loud and united clamor to waste no precious time in moving Marinduque's class suit to Canada has been going on for more than two years now. That was the result of numerous meetings and stakeholder consultations organized by the concerned local government units following rejection of an unacceptable settlement offer being rammed into the people's throats.
Yet, even with blatant attempts by the powers that be to still manipulate the minds of a "people not capable of deciding what's good for themselves", as a provincial official has been reportedly saying repeatedly, the people of Marinduque have not been swayed. This time they showed their capacity to separate the truths from the myths related to this environmental and social issue.
That said, it does appear completely justified then when Bishop of Boac, Marcelino Antonio M. Maralit, Jr. ('Bishop Junie' to his flock), was prompted to formally ask provincial officials in the provincial session hall, thus:
"Kayo po ba ay naniniwalang napakalaki ng inyong responsibilidad sa mga tao sa lalawigan, sa bayan, at higit sa lahat sa Diyos, sa mga hakbang na inyong gagawin patungkol sa kasong ito?"
The Bishop continues, "Muli po, kung inyo pong sagot ay OO, ako po bilang Obispo ay magbibigay ng suporta at makikiisa sa inyo sa anumang hakbanging inyong gagawin na TAMA at MABUTI. Sapagkat ang aking atas na magsilbing pastol sa bayan ng Diyos dito sa Marinduque ay humihiling na aking pangalagaan, gabayan, ipagtanggol at samahan ang sambayanang ito lalo't higit ang mga dukha at mahihina, kasama na ang kalikasang ating NAG-IISANG TAHANAN na tinawag ng ating Santo Papang COMMON HOME, na nalalapastangan ng pagkaganid ng iilang mga tao."
Again, were the elected provincial officials being addressed by the Bishop listening? Or could it be that their loyalty is not to the people, bayan or sa Diyos, but to other 'forces', judging from their apparent attempt as an official government body to discard the people's call?
The Catholic faithful in Marinduque comprising 87% of the local population to this day utter the same prayer petition in barangay chapels, churches, public schools and government offices during mass.
|Folkloric morion masks of Marinduque.|
Chronicle Magazine cover, 1962
Could it be that some decision makers (they go to mass yes, making sure they're seen in religious places), are in fact willing to perform actions contrary to beliefs, ideas and values we hear them promising their constituents? Or is it that they'd simply play deaf and blind to such prayer petitions holding more dear the more impressive pecuniary benefits they could take home - that has eluded them so far with the people's rejection of the onerous settlement offer?
The good bishop has taken time out to tenderly remind them: "Huwag po ninyong kalilimutan ang atas at pagtitiwala sa inyo ng mga Marinduqueno na kayo ang nagtataguyod sa kanilang mga karapatan at nagtatanggol sa kanila sa kahit anong kapahamakan."
|Ordination of Bishop Maralit by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales |
at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Lipa, March 2015. Photo: Diocese of Boac
"Resolution of Thanks to the Most Reverend Marcelino Antonio M. Maralit, Jr., D.D. Bishop of the Diocese of Boac FOR HIS UNWAVERING RESOLVE TO GUIDE THE PEOPLE OF MARINDUQUE IN THEIR CONSTANT QUEST FOR THE ELUSIVE SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE".With that kind of recognition for the Bishop's valuable efforts, we, the people would expect the provincial government to take heed, right?
Not quite. Guess what really happened in what might be described as 'the height of undeniable deception and treachery'.