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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, March 27, 2018
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Palm Sunday artistry

Ninfa Leonardia

One can see the Filipino talent in creativeness and artistry with the use of the simplest materials during the rituals of Palm Sunday. I am sure this was also noted in other parts of the country, so those in Bacolod may not be the most unique, but still the creations of the palm leaf wavers really amazed me. I am referring to the different designs created by our people in making various shapes and representations from the simple coconut tree fronds that they brought into churches for the Palm Sunday blessing.

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I saw beautiful creations from young coconut leaves woven or twisted this way and that to look like, birds, orchids, different sorts of flowers, aside from crosses, or streaming like green fountains – all created from coconut leaves! They all looked as if they had been produced by inspired and worshipful hands of people who realized what they symbolized. Of course they must know what their creations were being used for was to commemorate the time when Jesus entered Jerusalem and was welcomed with waving palm leaves and shouts of joy and love, as the Master.

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But what happened was that the same crowds that had welcomed Him with joy and praise only a few days before were also the ones crying out later for His conviction and crucifixion! What followed that event was what we are celebrating in the next few days, when He was brought before King Herod, the coward, who, afraid of the people’s wrath if he did not agree with their demands, also condemned Him, but later washed his hands of his own cowardly decision. Of all this we shall again be reminded when we go through the next days of this week when we once more mourn the crucifixion and death of our Saviour, and triumph with Him at his resurrection.

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By the way, tomorrow will be the birthday of President Rodrigo Duterte, but he has stressed that there will be no grand celebration or any fuss, as he will go home to Davao, and spend it quietly with his family – if his old friends and new favor-currying ones, allow him. What we can do for him is to pray for him to be enlightened as he leads our country, and granted the grace to make the right decisions and actions, because we will have him as our leader for several more years. And this Holy Week, with its very special days, should be the best time to pray for his enlightenment and openmindedness to the suggestions of the well-meaning people around him.

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The lines are drawn. Only senators who are allied with the PDP Laban of the President can be sure of being included in the line-up that will be fielded the party’s bets for the 2019 elections. That may be some time yet, but already, the party has announced the names of those in the favored list. But I believe it has also been made clear to the aspiring ones that they have to profess their support of the President’s pet proposal – the switch to Federalism. Those who are not supportive, or are against it had better forget any dreams they have getting into the sacred line-up. “He who is not with me is against me”. Remember?

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But those who were named recently by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, can be “campante” because it means they have the benediction. When election times comes, very, very lucky is anyone who is not in this golden list now who may make it. That could be comparable to an election miracle which nobody believes will occur. And woe also to those who may be questioning the proposed shift to Federalism, and have been vocal about it. Even if they know majority of the Filipinos know next to nothing about its ramifications, they keep silent to keep the peace.

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But it was quite a surprise – a pleasant one, that is – to see the report saying that President Duterte has likened the communist rebels to the serpent in the garden of Eden. Remember the one who enticed Eve into eating the forbidden fruit and who later also convinced Adam to do the same? In his speech in Davao City recently, that was what the President told leaders of an indigenous group who were holding an anniversary celebration. A friend who read the item in the Philippine Star, wondered how come President Duterte remembered to use an example from the Bible. Ah, I told her, don’t you remember the saying the “Even the devil can quote the Scripture”!

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What is the matter with those six senators who are reportedly urging the President to resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front and the Communist Party of the Philippines? Hasn’t he tried before and nothing came out of it? After he had ended the talks and even declared them as “terrorists”, will he back-track and take back his pronouncements if they demand for it as a condition? His reaction to that may only make matters worse. Maybe we should all just keep on praying, especially this Holy Week, for the enlightenment of everyone, including the so-called rebels, who must also be getting tired of all the conflict and the life underground. “More things are wrought by prayers than this world dreams of”, you know.*

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