AT this point, there is really no point in trying to determine which side–the Duterte government or the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its satellite organizations–erred and caused the scuttling of the ceasefire order given by President Duterte during his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 25, 2016.
What is happening now–Duterte and CPP chief Jose Maria Sison exchanging recriminations, and blaming each other in public yet–was bound to happen sooner or later, proving once more the point that peace cannot be ordered, or agreed upon, or even legislated. Peace to be real and beneficial must come from the hearts and minds, not only of leaders, but of the entire people as well.
When Filipinos no longer want war, either because they have become weary of fighting or because there is no more reason to fight each other, that’s when true peace descends upon us. Voluntarily and on their free will, people will stop arming themselves, they will stop killing each other. They will no longer wage battles, even if their leaders command them to do so.
The real question therefore in the pursuit of peace, whether in our country or elsewhere, is this: are the hearts and minds of our countrymen at peace? Or, better yet, are Filipinos capable of having peace, at this point, in their hearts and minds?
I am sure many of our readers here will say that, in the balancing of things in the lives of our countrymen, there will be more reasons not to be at peace, or there will be more reasons why our hearts and minds are agitated. And they could not be farther from the truth. Truly, Filipinos are troubled, in more ways we can even imagine.
Hearts and minds that are troubled do not, and cannot, have peace. They cannot even consider talking about peace, not even with a leader like President Duterte, or even if they are ordered to do so by their own leader like Joma Sison. Consequently, something must be done to address troubled hearts and minds, not only of the government negotiators, nor of the combatants from leftist groups.
It may be asked: just how do we do that–addressing troubled hearts and minds, that is? My view is that, we start with a large sector of our population who are believers in God, no matter what their religions or spiritual affiliations maybe. They could be Christians or Muslims, yet the formula should be the same, and that is increasing spirituality among them.
A campaign must be launched, perhaps with big cooperation from the different religious groups, to bring back believers into three basic concepts. My groups calls it as “The B-B-T principle”. “B-B-T” is an acronym which stands for “basa” (or “read”), “bulay” (study), and “tupad” (comply, carry out, or obey).
I believe that if people will read their Holy Books daily, study them day and night, and carefully obey them all the seconds of their lives, they would be more God-loving and God-fearing, and would be more loving and caring or more concerned with their fellow human beings. This is the true root cause of peace, for all peoples of all climes!
In the face of Vhon Tanto’s arrest after his murdering biker Mark Vincent Geralde on July 25, 2016, it would do well for all Filipinos to ponder on why Tanto appeared to have carried out the killing so easily, as if he was shooting a mere animal.
While we can no longer bring back the life of Geralde, we can nevertheless profit from the gruesome incident by figuring out what went on in the life of Tanto that transformed him into the killing machine that he is today, and make an effort among ourselves to avoid those pitfalls in our own lives.
For one, it would be well to remember that Tanto’s behavior, and patent nonchalant attitude towards taking the life of others, was predicted to happen among many. The only problem was, and is, that nobody seems to be paying attention anymore to the prediction, and others of its kind which have been handed down to us through the ages.
The prediction goes like this in part: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…”
Now, it might be asked likewise: why will people become so bad? The reason was also predicted quite accurately. The prediction said: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons…” And why will people abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and the teachings of demons?
It is because they will want nothing else but to satisfy their own desires, and this too was predicted to happen. Read: “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths…”
So, if these worsening behavior and attitude of human beings had been predicted and prophesied to happen, as they are in fact happening now as shown by the case of the Tanto-Geralde murder, is there anything we can do to reverse the prediction?
Yes, but only if we realize that the only thing we can ever do is go back to our Creator, the One who made us, and sincerely submit ourselves to Him once again. Truly, we, His creation, have become bad only because we have strayed away from Him by refusing to read and obey His Word, His command. Indeed, it would be good to ask Tanto if he had been reading the Word of God, the Bible.
We have been told many times over: if we listen to the Lord our God, and obey His commands, blessings and blessings, and not curses, will come upon us. If we read His Bible and put everything there into practise in our lives, we will be considered “wise”, and would be freed from the pitfalls of misfortune. So, what are waiting for? Read God’s Word, and obey His commands!