S.E.L.F community marks silver milestone

Published September 10, 2017, 12:05 AM

by Noreen Jazul

By Deedee M. Siytangco

Angel Thoughts
“How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
How many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
How many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind”
Bob Dylan

How many more innocent minors will be raped, tortured, and gunned down before the police killers can   “call it a day”?

What if the next one is your son, or grandson, or nephew even? Will you and I finally find the courage to stand up to the evildoers before they drag one of our own away to some dark alley, pump bullets in their bodies or stab them like they were animals and plant sachets of shabu on them?

We hope the answer, my friends, is not “blowin’ in the wind!”

HOPE Martin Infante, seated in white shirt, at the Bulong Pulungan special forum with core group members at the XO Heritage Bistro at S’Maison
HOPE Martin Infante, seated in white shirt, at the Bulong Pulungan special forum with core group members at the XO Heritage Bistro at S’Maison

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Now the good news this month of Mama Mary’s birthday !

The Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, Lipa Chapter, will have a special celebration on the 12th of this month in honor of the feast of the Holy Name of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary. This we learned from our dear friend, Dr. Robert Magsino, one of the pillars of our group of Marian devotees who meet for holy mass in the Carmel chapel in Lipa, Batangas every first Saturday and now in charge of the Marian Center there.

Magsino, the chapter president, also told us that the celebration will also mark the 44th Anibersaryo of the dedication of the Monastery of the Lady of Carmel in Lipa. We were gathered for our regular First Saturday breakfast fellowship after attending the 6 a.m. mass in the Carmel chapel. Dr. Bobby was celebrating his birthday with us that day and his wife, Dr. Weng, was our gracious hostess. She is feeling good after her chemo sessions, she told us, and yes, she looked happy and well! One member of the “classmates” group who was absent is our beloved “sister” Nelly Lopez, 96, who is still recuperating.

There will be a procession in the patio of the Carmel convent at 1:30 p.m. on the 12th, after which Marian priests and bishops will give their sharing to be led by Fr. Melvin Castro. The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy will be recited before the mass, which will be celebrated by Bishop Guillermo Afable of Digos and Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan at 3 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join the activities. The activities have the blessings of Archbishop Gilbert Garcera, head of the Diocese of Lipa.

* * *

It depresses me no end how we simply love to look into people’s private relationships as if everything was for the gossip columns. Things also become a problem when these very same people try to join in the conversation on so little information: marriage relationships are supposed to be private, because they involve so much that is away from the public eye, for good reason.

Of course the marital woe of COMELEC chairman Andy Bautista is still talk of the town but it’s less shrill now. Sadly, what started out as an issue over divorce settlements quickly ballooned into the dumping of so much dirty laundry—clandestine affairs, corruption allegations, an impeachment complaint—to the joy of a controversy-hungry public and to the humiliation of the Bautista children.

My main interest here is the SALN discrepancies. Andy explained things clearly: joint accounts were not required to be included in a SALN, only those which were owned solely by the official were required by law. As a lawyer, he was in charge of most of the family’s money, whose papers were among those taken by his wife Tisha Bautista on that fateful day. He also reiterated why he had a huge amount of money in the collective bank accounts.

The funds, he explained, were from the time he was a practicing lawyer. For those who do not remember, he was country head for an international consulting firm and CEO of Kuok Properties, which manages Shang and other large real estate, before he got into government. Why should we begrudge him of his hard-earned money?

And no, he was never a member of the Liberal Party. He voted in favor of candidate Grace Poe, remember?

Currently, this issue is as far from its root cause as it can be: wife Tisha submitted herself to the Witness Protection Program supposedly for fear of her life and safety (despite not being a “witness” in the technical sense?), and six COMELEC Commissioners took to media to request the resignation of Andy (couldn’t this have been done in private and with delicadeza? Are they all lusting for his post?).

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Congratulations to the healing community nestled on the lush slopes of Talisay, Batangas, SELF (for Self Enhancement for Life Foundation, Inc). It is run by Martin Infante and his team. He is living proof that drug addicts can and do change for the better! SELF, founded by Martin after his rehabilitation and transformation, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month with activities that include seminars for local trainers and international and local experts.

Its theme for the celebration is “Rekindling Hope and Rebuilding Lives” and leading the panel of speakers is Dr. Gregory C. Bunt, M.D. an expert in addiction medicine. On Sept. 14, an international panel of experts will discuss therapeutic community approaches at the SMX Aura Function room 1. Residents and families of the SELF community, medical practitioners, and students will attend. (Wouldn’t it be nice if PNP’s top brass can attend to find other ways of dealing with addictions to illegal drugs aside from having them executed outright?)

SELF introduces the therapeutic community approach here and it has helped its clients over the years, Martin told us. They combine clinical intervention and the TC approach, but all residents have individualized programs, according to their needs. On Sept. 14, there will be an international round table of experts to discuss the future of the TC Federation of South Asia, and on the 16th, there will be a grand show directed by Fritz Ynfante at the SELF facility in Talisay. Participants are all SELF residents. Cheers to SELF!