Friday, November 27, 2015


Homo homini lupus”. Such is the Latin saying that forwards not only a lamentable but also an atrocious reality.  It is actually a lamentation that after all is said and done in favor of man, it is still man who tramples upon, desecrates and wastes his fellow man.  It forwards the sad and terrible truth that man is man’s enemy.  Translated in simple words, the Latin axiom forwards the phenomenon – based on his story and experience – that in the last analysis, “Man is a wolf to his fellow man.”  i.e., it is man who hunts and hurts, who wounds and even devours or kills man.

That man is man’s own enemy has become a self-evident truth.  Man hurts man.  Man steals from man.  Man kills man.  And so on.  Such living reality is what makes man dangerous if not fatal to his fellow man.  It is enough to think about slavery and dictatorship, about lawlessness and criminality, specially about revolution and wars.  This is not to mention the expensive and continuous research for deadly weapons:  The  more deadly they are, the better.  It is man himself who promotes such deadly enterprises.

The same enmity in a more or less similar gravity can and does exist between labor and capital, between workers and capitalists.  Such inimical relationship in effect means the loss of both labor and capital, of both workers and capitalists.  Without labor, capital becomes stagnant if not also deteriorated.  Without capital, labor remains unproductive and thus emerges unbeneficial to both the laborers and his dependents.  The main difference is such an antagonistic relationship is that while capitalists continue to have their fill, workers usually suffer from deprivation or want.

With APEC done and gone, certain key questions come to mind:  Why is it that as a rule, governments are quite attentive to and protective of capitalists over and above workers?  Why is that while laws can be just and fair to workers yet these are usually disfavored by figures of capitalism?  Why is it more often than not, while capital usually grow in amount and value, the workers as a rule remain the same in their financial standing – if not worse?  Why is it that as a matter of course, capital can afford to stop operations for a long time while workers can hardly afford to remain workless but for some days?  Why is  it that while capital managers usually feel and remain secure in their financial standing, workers on the other hand continuously feel needy and insecure as well.  Below are more salient rights of workers in civilized societies:

a.  The Right to a Just Wage.
b.  The Right to Rest.
c.  The Right to a Healthy Working Environ.
d.  The Right to Appropriate Subsidies.
e.  The Right to Social Security.
f.  The Right to Pension.
g.  The Right to Insurance.
h.  The Right to Assembly, Associations, Unions.
j.  The Right to Strike.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Labor or work comes in many kinds just as it is done in many ways through many means as well as for many purposes.  So is it that work/labor is more compound and complex than  usually understood and commonly considered.  But as to its specification as far as genre is concerned, there are but two kinds of labor in general, i.e., one mental and the other physical.  The first is done with intellectual ability as its basis and engine.  The second is done with physical strength as its source and premise.  Let it be said though that there is no mental labor that does not usually require physical potential one way or another – just as there is no physical work that needs no intellectual effort one way or another as well.  In other words, both the human mind and the human body complement each other in human labor/work – in various degrees and ways.  But then, let it be noted and affirmed that as distinct intellectual work requires more mental know-how, so is it that hard physical labor needs more biological strength – all as a matter of course in the realm of ground realities.

So it is said that no matter what people say and how the world looks at it, the truth of the matter is that the dignity of labor applies to both basically mental effort as well as primarily physical endeavor.  Reason:  Intellectual work as well as physical labor are done by human persons gifted with the same inherent human dignity and endowed with the same basic human rights.  This is objective truth – irrespective of what custom and tradition, culture and belief say.  Society however, looking at the mental qualifications or the physical capacities of workers in the realm of socio-economic realities, attributes more financial worth to the former (mental) compared to the latter (physical).  And so it is that while the former are usually called “employees”, the latter are “laborers/workers”.  Not only that while the former receive “salaries”, the latter however get simply “wages”.  It would be interesting to imagine what happens when someone  purely does mental ventures without any physical exertion or does purely physical work without any mental application.  Strictly speaking, while the former is for angelic creatures, the later is for brute animals.  In both cases, the human person – endowed with body and mind – is excluded therefrom.

There is really no attempt here to change realities, to alter actualities in conjunction with the appreciation and consequent compensation of employees and laborers/workers.  This is simply meant to say and confirm the following objective truths, considering the “Dignity of Labor” squarely anchored on human dignity:  One, let society in general neither look up that high at employees nor look down that low at laborers/workers whereas they are all human agents rendering their respective human services.  Two, let not capital make so much difference in esteem and appreciation between employees and laborers/workers as if the former have more human dignity than the latter.  Three, let not there be a whale of difference in their compensations – considering that they all have to pay the same price for the same essential consumer goods like food and drinks, gasoline and electricity – water included.

Monday, November 23, 2015


There is the well-known saying that as everyone is born bringing nothing in his hands, so it is that everybody passes without taking anything with him in death.  If someone has nothing upon birth and also brings nothing with him upon his burial – neither the clothes he/she are buried with, nor the coffin itself he/she is buried in – how then could anyone think and believe that anything could be absolutely and unconditionally  his/hers while still counted among the living?  Place one centavo in the hand of the dead.  After his/her complete corruption, the centavo remains in the coffin.

When some individuals practically have everything while other people actually have nothing; when some families corner, hoard, and keep so much wealth while others are in fact empty-handed, when certain characters live in classy houses, wear fine clothes, costly jewelries and indulge in fine dining when many people live in the streets, have tattered clothes to wear and barely have food to eat, something must be wrong, very wrong with the society they are members of – the Philippine society well-included.

Temporal goods – precisely such as food, shelter and clothing – are for the benefit of all and not but for a chosen few.  The gross violation of the elementary principle of the “Universal Destination of Temporal Goods” i.e., temporalities are intended for the common good, for the benefit and the well-being of all, equals likewise gross injustice which brings about social disorder which in turn can be anything but objective truth, societal peace, and human development.  This is not merely a speculative theory but a concrete reality as both past and present human history amply testify to – the future human plight included if such an errant thinking and erratic situation were not corrected.  It is basically the violation of the said “Destination” that ultimately brings about social disorder, human misery, wars included.

That some people  have more temporal goods than others, that certain families have more economic resources than others, that there are individuals who hold more material possessions than others – this is acceptable based on the reality that different people, families, and individuals have different abilities and/or differ in their industry and possibilities.  But it is unacceptable  -- wrong, improper, unjust – when there are those who have practically everything while others have practically nothing.  And as above already said, such an adverse phenomenon is precisely the cause of social dissent and unrest – violence included.  It is the dictate of reason based on the Universal Destiny of Temporal Goods that everybody should have something to eat, to wear, to sleep in.  And as a matter of fact, such an elementary truth is verified even among irrational animals such as something but instinctive.

In the event of the social liability of human want and misery, it is eventually human dignity that is defiled as it is also basic human rights that are violated.

Would that APEC took into serious consideration the above ground realities.

Friday, November 20, 2015


With or without APEC – before and after APEC –life goes on in the Country where the people are once again challenged to undergo a political exercise called “2016 Election”.  While some people appear to take the event seriously, others however look at it with disdain or take it as a big joke.  There are those who ask:  Whom will people elect  among the disabled if not in fact ineligible for election? How will people elect among those who are all basically alike in heavenly claims and starry promises if not also suspect in their competence and honesty?  What is election for when so  many thereof were already held before and the people are now even worst than before as well?  But time and again, there are clamors made in favor of participating in the election basically for their political representation in a democratic system of government.

In essence, political representation means that public officials elected by the people for the tenure and exercise of public authority should always remember that they are given the authority and the leadership more specifically in order to serve the people in general and particularly in responding to the former's needs and yearnings in the here and now.  In other words, woe to the people if their supposed representatives look out and work but for their own personal interests and family benefits – instead of looking after the public welfare and promoting the common good of the people.

Among the liabilities of the democratic system – and so with royalty and dictatorship – incompetence and dishonesty, graft and corrupt practices not to mention insensibility and shamelessness are the most serious ethical bankruptcy and moral degradation whose usual victims are the people themselves.  Such liabilities constitute a compromise of the proper and expected function of the political community which is synonymous to a marked disservice to and gross betrayal of the governed.  In their naked realities, graft and corruption are both the plain stealing of public funds given by the general public for public welfare.  Graft and corrupt practices in the government can be readily considered as a big curse or a downright malediction of the governed who in fact pay their governors with their unending taxes and who in turn as a matter of fact also steal from the already poor and suffering governed.

It is neither hard to understand nor difficult to accept the truth that the political community exercising public administration from the   local to the national levels, may not be oriented and dedicated to the service of the people in general.  Thus it is repeatedly said and emphasized that, “The State is the steward of the people’s resources” which is it administers in view of the people’s common good.  This is why “impersonal functionalism”, “overgrown bureaucracy”, “unjust personal interests” are some of the big, real and operative enemies of the citizens of the State.  No wonder then that with such negative perception of the political community in this Country, there are those who earnestly and even adamantly propose the boycotting of the forthcoming election.  This is neither surprising nor really unacceptable.  The truth however remains that political participation is a fundamental feature of a democratic society.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Practically all international as well as local flights shall be cancelled.  Many streets in Metro Manila will be closed to the common tao.  Security not only in the air but also in the land and the sea shall be tight.  Reason:  APEC is coming.  The bigwigs practically from all over the world are scheduled to arrive.  Their first class accommodations are being prepared.  Their likewise first class places of gathering are also being readied.  The centerpiece of the singular event is Economy.  Hence, let people think, talk and know some ground realities about economy.

Capital, management and labor, resources, commerce and industry, production, market and consumption – inclusive of profits and expenses, wages and inflation, poverty and abundance – all these factors and other concerns have immediate relevance to economy and eventual impact on economic life of the people.  All these particulars are evidently in the realm of the temporal goods, in the sphere of the material world.  But no matter how temporal and material they are, all of them nevertheless have human persons – men, women, and children – as ultimate subjects-objects.  It is humanity that authored economy and who are concerned and ultimately affected by the economy in living life.

The whole truth of the matter is that while man has his body that requires economic resources such as food, shelter, and clothing, he also has a mind that needs education, seeks the truth and thus know falsehood.  More.  He also has a will  that likewise needs value formation and its application.  More.  He further has a spirit that requires ethical norms and moral principles.  More.  He is naturally endowed with basic human rights.  More.  He has himself, his family and his  posterity whose present and future by and large depend on economy.

So it is that the Social Doctrine of the Church is much concerned with economy as such, with the economic life of the people – irrespective of their race, color, and creed.  And the Church has but one over-all interest and pre-occupation with the temporal – socio-economic – world, viz. the good of humanity, the welfare of man, the peace and order in the world, and all these are ultimately in favor of the people all over the globe.  Reason:  As far as the Church is concerned, the whole world with all its natural assets and beneficial features is to favor the lot and life of all peoples – not but some or a few of them as if they are not equal as human beings with the same human dignity and having the same basic human rights, all arguments and claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

So it is that economic activity as well as material progress should be considered as means intended for the good of man, for the welfare of society.  It cannot be overemphasized that all activity and progress, such as in terms of economic productivity and material development, must be envisioned and directed for the benefit of every human being and of the human community as a whole.  It is not only falsity but cruelty, not only ignorance but inhumanity if there are individuals, families, communities that are ex profeso excluded from the benefits brought about by economy.