President's Message
Atty. Benedicta Du-Baladad Message from the President:

Benedicta Du-Baladad

To FINEX members and friends,

PRESIDENT’S REPORT
July 2017 Issue

Last June 21, in celebration of the Philippine Independence, we had two of the country’s prime-movers of arts and culture. Arch. Paulo Alcazaren shared with us the relevance of national heritage conservation, and Direk Joel Lamangan on the state of the local film industry and how it is developing as an art. Our June GMM was a diversion from our usual topics.

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A crisis cycle
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J. Albert GamboaBy J. Albert Gamboa

BUSINESS WORLD(FINEX Folio)
July 21, 2017

A crisis cycle

FINEX Folio is a rotating column of members of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines appearing every Friday in BusinessWorld, opinion section.

Members of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) had been excitedly anticipating the general membership meeting last July 19, as the confirmed guest speaker was Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana.

However, FINEX President Benedicta Du-Baladad was informed at the penultimate hour that President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s designated martial law administrator in Mindanao had to attend to important matters related to this weekend’s special session of Congress on the proposed five-month extension of martial law. Instead, he sent one of his undersecretaries to talk on “Securing the Nation: Marawi Crisis.”

This month’s issue of FINEX Focus, the premier financial organization’s official publication, revolves around authoritarian rule with the cover story written by FINEX’s past president Santiago F. Dumlao, Jr. on “Martial Law, Then and Now.”

Allow me to share a joint editorial with Media Affairs Committee Chair Manuel R. Guillermo published under our “Key Points” column:

The terrorist attack came hard, fast, without warning, and thus conclusive – from a strategic sense. What followed next was an admirably commensurate response from our armed forces, equally hard and fast, which could lead to a reclaiming of lost territory very soon.

At the epicenter of this chaos is Marawi City in north-central Mindanao, shaking the consciousness of Filipino citizens everywhere, and presumably those of our neighboring countries. The price has been high: hundreds of lives lost; thousands of families turned into pitiful refugees; scores of properties destroyed; and normal existence degraded.

President Duterte has been decisive, vowing to swiftly wipe out the Maute Group and their cohorts. Many of us have likewise quickly supported his declaration of Martial Law in the entire Mindanao to stem the conflict from spreading beyond Lanao del Sur.

There are fears that by its very concept, military rule could bring about a new crisis – the probability that it would eventually encompass the whole Philippines due to the slightest provocation. Such thinking might be tinged with paranoia, borne out of our nation’s experience under a notorious past regime.

In any case, we have enough safeguards in the 1987 Constitution to prevent the abuse of its Martial Law provisions, which the 1935 Constitution did not provide. Nevertheless, the Marawi tragedy calls for a more vibrant discourse among our people. Re-educating our Filipino youth on the perils of excessive counter-measures should be necessary and timely.

But unfortunately, this scenario currently prevails: The silence is deafening. A vehement outcry from fear and dismay is reduced to guarded whispers or even to a cat’s whimper. The apparent affliction of public apathy debilitates, far worse than an insidious form of cancer that destroys everything in its path. The father’s sacrifices are lost on the sons, while the lessons of the past are conveniently abandoned due to overwhelming indifference.

This inspires us to quote from Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller, who lamented the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and their subsequent purge of selected targets:

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out.”

Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, once wrote: “I am blamed for everything because I have been more outspoken than anyone else, more frank than others in saying what I thought, but never a hypocrite or traitor.”

And was it Irish statesman Edmund Burke who said this? “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

HOUSING AT THE CENTER

That’s the theme of the 6th Asia-Pacific Housing Forum on July 25-26 at the Novotel Araneta Center in Quezon City.

Organized by Habitat for Humanity Philippines, the forum will serve as an “urban thinkers campus” under the United Nations’ World Urban Campaign. Some 500 multi-sector thought leaders and housing stakeholders are expected to attend the two-day event with a wide array of global and local speakers.

Habitat for Humanity International started as a grassroots effort in 1976 and has become a leading non-profit group working in nearly 70 countries. Since 1988, its Philippine affiliate has supported more than 140,000 Filipinos in building or improving places they can call home. To learn more, donate, or volunteer, visit habitat.org.ph.

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