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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, April 28, 2016
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with Benjamin Calderon

Cold-blooded murder

Benjamin CalderonOur country got into the international headlines with the unlawful premeditated killing of Canadian John Ridsdel by the Abu Sayyaf Group. The selfish act was done without emotion or pity, was deliberately cruel and callous. What a way to get international recognition. Again we are deeply humiliated or embarrassed and extremely sad to extend condolences to the family and loved ones of the victim.

Understandably, Bishop Marin Jumoad of the prelature of Isabela de Basilan reacted with a statement saying that the incident reveals that government's security forces, particularly the military, are not doing their work well. I agree. Do you?

Expressing an opinion is easy compared to doing the actual field work of facing the armed kidnappers. Hopefully this incident shall propel our security forces to do a better job and that our government shall significantly improve, as soon as possible, the peace and order situation of our country.

This incident highlights the frustration we have over the Mindanao peace and order situation which has spanned for as long as I have lived i.e., six decades (my current life span). I think that the approach of meeting force with force or violence with violence has become an attractive alternative that has been clearly expressed in the current survey of presidential candidates. We do have a very challenging task in making the needed choices in terms of personal values and the hopes for the future of our family, community and nation in the coming national elections. Please permit me to enjoin you to take the time to carefully choose the values and kind of leadership that we shall have in the near future that is before us.

Let us end with an anecdote that encourages us to smile while we make our choices with implications in the future. Three Pastors in the south were having lunch in a diner. One of them said, "You know, since summer started I've been having trouble with them flying bats in my loft and attic at church. I've tried everything, but nothing seems to scare them off.    Another pastor said "Yes, me too. I've got hundreds living in my belfry and in the narthex attic. I've even had the place fumigated, and they won't go away!"  The third pastor said, "I baptized all mine, made them members of the church, and they haven't seen one back since!"*

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