Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The President's decisive intervention on behalf of the Morong 43 have paved the way for their eventual release.

I appreciate that the workings of our democracy, imperfect though it may be, and the present executive will embodied by PNoy, being solicitous for each their personal rights, have produced for them the freedom many of us have hoped for.

Thank you so much, Mr. President. That they will be home with their families this Christmas is indeed in keeping with the spirit of the season which is peace and reconciliation.

The Morong 43 were apprehended on suspicion of complicity or active participation in the NPA. Those suspicions, I now hope, shall remain suspicions that, if they are truly unfounded, in time will eventually dissipate from the national memory.

Truth will out, our liberty permits.

Because, my fellow Filipino compatriots, if there is anything that we may all stand to learn from this somewhat confusing and untoward incident is that our democracy, fragile and imperfect as it is, is something worth loving and keeping and fighting for.

Truth will out, our liberty permits: Our democracy works and the timely and judicious release of the Morong 43 illustrates this point.

And they say, my fellow Filipino compatriots, that we're a "flawed democracy". No, we are a young Republic - and time is on our side. We will gain maturity and strength if we ascend with the ascent of time towards God and Country; towards the wholeness of truth that we are but one nation, one lineage of hope, 7,107 islands strong; towards the unity of peace and national destiny.

Towards this end, all Filipinos of every generation have but one common purpose. Towards this end of a vibrant, free and flourishing Republic, that awesome vision of a meaningful and lasting peace between all Filipinos among our one nation have its strongest foundation.

What oppresses us is division; what prevents us from obtaining from the LORD, our God, the peace that prospers is the War that we keep in our hearts - against our common humanity with each other. This War did not find a place in heaven, it most certainly must not find a place in the Filipino heart - of one accord, O my nation, must we learn to love with one love alone.

Our unity is an aspect of our liberty as a nation distinct but not apart from the one family of the nations of Mankind; it is part of the intrinsic strength of our democracy. Clearly, it is from a dearth of good will and liberty that we begin understand what it takes to be free. Because to understand our freedom, we must learn to endure its demands...

Today is AFP Day.

Sometimes, when dark and overcast days persist, we must learn to trust that the stars are out there, spread above us, upon the heavens, in the sky - because they are.

It is easy to get lost in this midnight darkness if we have nothing to steer a course in and through this exile time with - but we do.

Because as a nation, we are in ourselves, one whole sky.

Today we remember the vital importance of strengthening our AFP institution.

Our AFP recently established a Human Rights Office (HRO) as part of the HQ Staff of the AFP Chief of Staff. This Office shall oversee the operational conduct of all our soldiers across all three services down to battalion level to ensure ethical standards are met.

This is a milestone in Philippine military history.

Today we remember also the Samar 10 and the person of the soldier.

"Kawal" is a Filipino word for soldier. Our native tongue does not make the usual distinctions between soldier, sailor, airman, or marine. It particularly refers to the land force upon and around which the total force is built. But in a sense, "kawal" also applies to the total force.

It is in this universal spirit that I use the word soldier - "kawal" - or to be more specific, the person of the soldier.

The person of the soldier is the Soul of Army; souls
endowed by the Almighty with the heart that possesses the will that redeem time and again, in the sight of God, Angels and Men, the intrinsic honor and inherent nobility of the universal profession of arms.

The will of the fight is to win. For no one fights for the sake of fighting alone. But a person who hates and fights for what he hates soon forgets the will of the fight. Because what you love and what you must fight for in this world are always one and the same thing.

A citizen who knows in his heart and in his mind what he loves, who is willing to fight for what he loves, and has the means to fight for what he loves - that is a soldier.

Soldiers always fight to win.


O Soul of Army!
Defender of our Peace -
when in battle we weep
for those whose time has come
weep not because of anguish,
our tears are meant not for grief.

Cry not because they have fallen,
those sons and daughters of Country;
valorous souls who gave to us their utmost
and have bled their everlasting witness
to the universal mission of the eternal Army
from which all honorable armed professions
draw their great lineages of victory
Here, at the last fading away -
the quest for that one final sacrifice
the very last soldier to fall
before the breaking of the Day
in the name of Peace and for Sacred Life
in a relentless war that have lasted
from the dawn of Our exile time.

O Soldier of the Peace!
Noble Defender of Country -
You are life preserving life itself
for what is Country but a work of life.
Know you not why you respond
when duty calls you to battle?
Vague at times may your reasons be
especially amidst the desolation of war
and the darkness of war's attendant evils
but forget not what you love
and love shall forget not why you live
and none shall forget you if you shall fall
for in thy Country is thy longevity
Life itself shall be your resting place
and God will forever remember you
His Peace shall forever honor you
for the time you have given others -
more time for building,
more time for sowing,
more time for loving,
more time for hoping,
for kinder days to come.

O when shall the wounding stop
and the healing begin!
O beloved Soul of Army -
when is our last fading away?

Until mankind learns
to be better builders in peace
more than wanton destroyers in war;
until humanity learns
to value Sacred Life
than to seek those paths of death
Heaven and earth shall weep
with thee, O Soul of Army,
but never for those whose time has come
for the lost are never lost
so we must seek them not in vain.
Seek not our fallen with the dead
for life is life and death is death
so let the dead bury the dead!
Let us look for those who are triumphant
not with the defeated enemies of the Peace
but with the living as well as the everliving
for God Himself has declared Peace is over War.

It is for the oppressors of Country
and the enemy of Peace and Sacred Life
for whom the bell tolls
as we sing the songs of our fallen heroes
and their potent remembrance stir
in the hearts of those who yet believe
in the victory of the eternal Army
and in the timeless vision of God
to bring to bear in the name of All that is life
the final wrath that is to come
and bring to pass
Our last fading away;
that one final hymn of taps
at the joyful dawn of the Everlasting Peace
and the breaking of this midnight world.

So cry not because of the passing away
weep for loneliness but never for sorrow
for life is life and death is death.
Let us save most of our tears for those
who yet stubbornly cling to the lie
and believe in the heart in everything that is false
giving rise to all things that inflict evil to our poor world
and bring war and death to our suffering humanity.

For it is always for the reprobate that the bell tolls
to remind to those who sow in war what they shall reap.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! God bless us all.

Christmas Greetings!
Peace among the nations.
Good will to all men and women of peace.

Remembrance: The Ages of Country