On June 28, 2018, Duterte gave a speech at his hometown, Davao City, where he slammed the “God” From the book of Genesis as “Stupid”. “What He did was, Eve eats the apple, then she wakes up Adam… So Adam eats the apple. Then malice was born. Who is this stupid God ? That [expletives] is really stupid if that’s the case,” Duterte said.

This “God” that he was referring to is “the Alpha and the Omega”. God is omnipotent. God is bigger than anything, everything, and anyone. God does not need defending nor proving.  Any speeches against our God are irrelevant including that of Duterte’s. Such blasphemous speech was  a blessing in disguise that paved the way to a sudden national awakening. Filipinos have realized that the popular President, who was then against our Pope, is really against our  God, the Father, and against our Christ.

As a result, the President’s popularity and approval ratings went downhill from 72% in December 2016 to 45% in June  2018, according to the country’s Social Weather System (S.W.S.). The way to enlightenment has been hard and excruciating. The majority of the population have become disoriented.  There  has  been  no  clear  leadership  to  oppose  the  populist.  They  do  not  know  where  to stand and whom to trust.

Based on my observations, many families, organizations, and friendships have been destroyed because of the different political beliefs, disorder, and massive fandom. Moreover, many people have fallen prey to the systemic propaganda and fake news that eventually became that of Duterte’s administration sponsored tactics. Similar to cancerous cells, the se poisonous tactics have affected the entire nation and the whole world of social media.

Sadly, the majority of the population are still numb or have become desensitized to the casualties that have  affected  the  country.  According  to  the  statistics  provided  by  the  Philippine  National  Police,  the  killings  have  already  reached  over  23,000  Filipino – mostly  from  those  living  in  poverty  or  below  the poverty lines. And the number is growing. These lives lost have also affected the psyche of thousands of families.  Loved  ones  gone  have  affected  their  families  and  relatives,  resulting  in  a  feeling  of  sadness, grief, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and hungry orphaned children, to name a few. The devil has corrupted the minds of the people, from the simple to highly respected ones.

In a recent speech of Fr. Albert Alejo S.J. during the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization 5, he shared one conversation with an unnamed Monsignor who was told to be justifying the killings with a “ready theology” quoting the Bible from the book of Luke. Still, there remains various groups and individuals holding the line and bravely lifting their lights during this dark times.

From  the  get-go,  during  the  first  month  of  the  killings,  a  group  called  HEMA,  which  stands  for  Holy Eucharistic  Mass  Action,  headed  by  Fr.  Bong  Sarabia,  CM,  had  gathered  together  with  the  bereaved families  of  the  victims  of  Extra  Judicial  Killings  (EJKs) in  three  separate  Requiem  Masses  and  other outreach programs. It was also a gathering of many volunteers from different sectors, which provided spiritual, legal, psychological, materials, financial assistance, media coverage, and even music therapy through curated Mass songs. A throng of courageous disciples came together and we strongly shouted: “Stop the killings!”.

Initiatives  from  many  groups  have  created a rippling effect against the gruesome “War on Drugs”. Compassion went a long way and it has served as a weapon to combat the cycle of violence. The  current  socio-environment temperament in the country has also left many wondering: ‘What is happening to the commodities in our country?” When the inflation rate soared to 5.2% as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority in July 2018, it was not surprising to see people becoming distressed or  agitated  because  this  directly  affected  their  stomachs  and  their  pockets.  Basic  commodities  have skyrocketed  since  then.  Millions  of  marginalized  population  have  been  hit  the  most  because  their incomes are less than that of  their expenses. The rich becomes richer and the poor becomes much poorer in my country. Also, numerous anomalies and scandals have been discovered, which were committed by the highest appointed officials, and have rattled the Government.

Outside  of  the  country,  the  ongoing  territorial  issue  between China  and  the  Philippines  in  the  West Philippine Sea is making international headlines. Failure to fight for our rights will result to a deprivation of the entire Philippine population from its riches. In the south of the country, the war in Marawi has just ended and has left an unlivable condition due to massive  destruction.  The  force  evacuation  of  many  natives  in  Mindanao  where  Martial  Law  is  still enacted.

The list of suffering is long. Yet Filipino people endure. My people have been known to be resilient. We have endured colonizations, dictatorships, poverty, hunger, and even storms that wiped out entire towns and cities. On July 23, 2018, about 40,000 people from different churches, schools, organizations, and individuals had united and marched on the streets of Manila. Various reports cite that this gathering has been the biggest to voice out their disapproval of Duterte and his administration during the President’s State of the Nation  Address  (S.O.N.A.).  Moreover,  rallies  had also  been organized  and well  attended  at  major cities around the country, and other parts of the world. For God has put down the mighty from their thrones and He has exalted the humble.