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The Night We Sang for Heroes

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, 7 April 2015 12:55 PM

By Kristine Leigh G. Domingo

For weeks now, the news has been about the 44 gallant men- heroes who were slain in their line of duty during the dreaded Mamasapano incident on January 25, 2015.

Upon hearing, we take such story of sacrifice with a heavy heart and a shake of the head; we heave a heavy sigh; we refrain from feeling terrible by changing the channel or by turning off the television.

Many of us tried to look the other way for we couldn’t handle the heartbreak, we couldn’t comprehend how and why something so horrid could have happened. Our helpless, powerless selves tend to think that the best thing to do is remain clueless, ignorant. This is my easy way out – my easiest way out.

We keep saying that we don’t want any part of it because we don’t have the power and we are oblivious of the matter. We keep mum as if we never heard of it. We try to remember all those mantras that would convince and console us from the poignant truth. Life goes on. Life does not stop for anybody.

But then we remember, these 44 brave, courageous heroes are fathers, sons, husbands, fiancés, and friends. They are someone to somebody.

Though our sole memory of them is that they bravely sacrificed their lives to fulfill their duties, for their loved ones, they are more than that.

They are so much more than that that the pain they are feeling is beyond our comprehension.

During the necrological services, when the families and friends of the fallen 44 stood by the heroes’ coffins, we witnessed how words are sometimes not enough to show what they feel.

Standing and grieving, they remembered the good times – their last moments together, their promises to each other – the memories that they hold on to. They were bereft of words that could express their agony, emptiness and heartbreak.

As days passed, we learned more of what these men went through that fateful and harrowing day. We knew about the days and events that led to it. We looked for faces to blame, people we could point our fingers at. We needed to be angry because that is how we grieve.

That was how it worked. We masked the pain with anger and searched someone to scream at, to criticize, to lambaste. In our angry search, all roads led to the Commander-in-Chief. It made sense to most – it did seem that he was the one to blame for everything that transpired.

But amidst the harsh and acrimonious words thrown and fingers pointed at him, the requests (or demands) for his resignation, one man decided to give a helping hand.

On the 16th of February, Bro. Eli Soriano tweeted “#NoynoyParin”, which his twitter followers quickly picked up on. Not long after, the hashtag landed on the Philippine trends and peaked at number one.

“Let us support a [government] not supportive of religious caprices! #NoynoyParin,” he tweeted the following day as the hashtag continued to trend on the social media platform.
“Instead of blaming PNoy of an incident beyond his mental & physical control [let’s] help him help our fallen heroes!” he posted on the 19th of February. On the same day, he finally voiced out his plans of launching a charity concert in partnership with Dr. Daniel Razon of UNTV for the benefit of the families of the Gallant 44.

A month later, SM Mall of Asia Arena was filled to the brim with people who responded to Bro. Eli’s call. The benefit concert was entitled, “Songs for Heroes.”

Before the concert began, the families of the Gallant 44 were already escorted to their seats my friend and I sat near them and just observed.

They were quiet. Some were talking to the person next to them. One can sense hint of excitement but at the same time, it felt like something was holding them back. But then, I saw that there were children playing amongst each other, all smiles as they exchanged stories. It was then when I realized and remembered, this is the reason why this gathering is very important.

The 44 brave men sacrificed their lives for the comfort of others—for our comfort—and I feel that the least that we can do is to ensure that their families, especially the children, could live a life that our heroes had envisioned for them.

We can let them know that there are people – strangers and more importantly, fellow Filipinos – who are there for them; we can help them grow up without any bitterness, any desire to revenge in their hearts; we can give them a remembrance, a young memory of an act of kindness where strangers have gathered to help them live better lives.

Even though they lost a loved one, they will be consoled of the fact that they are not alone for during that evening, they were surrounded with people who care for them.
On that night, I was also reminded of the power of music.

Hans Christian Andersen was right when he said that music speaks. Sometimes words are not enough, but we are thankful that there are songs crafted to mend a broken heart and ease a weary mind.

I was taking photos of the performances when I noticed a woman in the front row silently weeping as she sang along. The woman next to her covered her face with a handkerchief and I saw her shoulders shake a little. I, too, had a little lump in my throat, like what I am sure everybody in that arena had that night.

Perhaps, one of the most emotional moments of the night was when Noel Cabangon performed his hit, “Kanlungan”. Joining the woman in front were the people around her –they let their tears stream down their faces, they gave off shaky breaths and at the end of the song, they showed a tiny smile and looked like a burden has been lifted from their shoulders.

During the performance, Noel asked the crowd to light up the dimmed venue with their phones. The audience willingly obeyed and the lights that swayed along with the rhythm of the nostalgic melody added magic to that wonderful instant.

There were many more moments worth sharing but I can’t possible mention them here for the lack of space. But another notable part was when Gerald Santos sang his rendition of Luther Vandross’ iconic song, “Dance With My Father.”

Midway through the song, I noticed a man put a little boy on his lap as he wrapped his arms around him, giving him a warm embrace. Another one who looked much older than the boy on the lap rested his head on the man’s shoulder. They earnestly watched Gerald’s performance.

A few rows behind them was a woman embracing a child as she cried. At times, she would squeeze the child tightly. It was as if it that could be the last time that she could do that. It was as if someone would take her beloved one away.

The concert was indeed a night to remember. It was an evening where everyone who supported played a significant role in making the event a success. May he or she be seated at the very back or near the families of the Gallant 44; may he or she be one of the performers or the crowd who was mesmerized with a PNP member’s performance of The Beatles’ “In My Life” and with an AFP member’s rendition of “Go The Distance”; may he or she be one of those in the remote areas of the country or abroad who joined the event by tweeting about the concert.

Everyone was part of the reason why that little boy safe in the man’s embrace could someday look back and remember that despite a tragic loss, there was a night when he felt sincere care; why that woman in the front row who cried for most of the time was able to put a smile on her face, knowing she has someone by her side.

Everyone was part of the reason why the grieving families and friends have felt that they were not alone in their fight for justice for their fathers, husbands, brothers, fiancés, and friends…for the fallen 44.

Before the night ended, Dr. Daniel Razon went up the stage and gave a little speech to cap off the night. He mentioned how he had troubles finishing the voice-overs for the concert because the whole time, he was thinking of his young daughter and how he was and will continually be grateful for he still have her precious one by his side.

I am sure that the crowd shared the same sentiment. Throughout the evening, one could not help but think of their own loved ones – husbands, brothers, fiancés, friends – and realize that they are fortunate to still have them in their lives…that they, we should be thankful for that.

That night, MCGI and UNTV were able to raise 6 million pesos in total for the families of the Gallant 44 and for the injured members of the PNP, and an additional 1 million pesos from Bro. Eli Soriano for the AFP. The evangelist also awarded the children of the Gallant 44 scholarships to La Verdad Christian School.

Peace is priceless, Bro. Eli said. But this assistance could somehow help them rebuild their lives and attain peace.

On that occasion, Bro. Eli made a promise, a promise that this will not be the last time, the last night where we will sing for our heroes.

To God be the glory.

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Bible notes parents are still liable for children age 20 y/o and below – Int’l Televangelist

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 23 January 2019 07:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Holy Scriptures state that it is an injustice to hold a child criminally liable at a tender age of 9 years old, according to international televangelist Bro. Eliseo Soriano.

Brother Eli said, the God of the Bible allows a person to make his or her own decision in life only when he or she reaches the age of puberty.

“(In) First Corinthians chapter 7 verse 36, ang pag-aasawa (getting married) is one of the major decisions na maaaring gawin ng tao (that a person can make). Ibinigay ng Dios iyon sa katamtamang gulang, (God allows it at a proper age)” Brother Eli, the overall servant of the Members, Church of God Intenational (MCGI) explained.

“Kung titingnan natin sa Ingles (If we read it in English): “If she passed the flower of her age”. Kapag lampas ng (when he or she reaches the) age of puberty ang ‘flower of her age’. Ini-a-allow na ng Dios na magdesisyon ang isang tao, pinapayagan na ang magulang na ang kaniyang anak magdesisyon sa kaniyang sarili, (God allows a person to decide, a parent lets the child make his or her own decisions),” he added.

Brother Eli noted that even science supports the belief that a person develops his or her skills in decision making only at the age of 20 years old.

“There’s now incontrovertible evidence that the brain continues to develop throughout the adolescence. Some regions of the brain including parts responsible for decision-making and impulse control are not fully mature “until at least the age of 20”, Professor Nicholas Mackintosh once said, an experimental psychologist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge.

FILE PHOTO: Bro. Eli Soriano of Members Church of God International

Brother Eli noted that in the Bible, when a child commits a crime, it is most likely because of external factors such as the surrounding circumstances, environment, culture or religion.

Therefore, it is not right to hold a nine-year-old child criminally liable for his actions.

“Kung magbabatay tayo sa may ari ng ating being, iyong nakakaalam ng ating mga kaisipan, mga emosyon natin – para sa Dios – ang bata (If we ask the Owner of our being, the One who reads our mind, our emotions – for God) 20 years old below cannot be held fully liable. I’m saying he or she cannot be held fully liable of his or her sins. Inabswelto nga ng Dios, (God absolved him)” Brother Eli explained.

“Alam kasi ng Dios ang kanilang circumstances, (God knows their circumstances) because of the way their parents are bringing them up. Maaaring may pagkukulang sa parte ng kanilang mga magulang. (There might be shortcomings on the part of the parents). Kaya hindi iniatang sa bata, (that’s why a crime is not blamed on a child) 20 years and below. Binigyan ang bata sa Kaniyang salita ng karapatang mag-decide sa kaniyang sarili (A child is given the freewill to decide only) if he or she passed the flower of her age, according to the bible,” he added.

Instead, the parents of the child who committed a crime are the ones who should be punished because it is their responsibility to guide and mold their children to develop into better persons.

“Para atangan natin ang siyam na taong bata, tawagin nang kriminal anong malay natin na iyon ay (For us to punish a nine-year-old child criminally, call him a criminal, we don’t know it might be) insinuated by the culture, by the environment, by some other people. Hindi ang bata ang dapat managot duon. Dapat ang papanagutin siguro, iyong mga kasama ng bata, mga magulang na di nagtuturo sa kanilang mga anak, walang disiplina, (It’s not the child who must be held liable for that. The persons who should be held criminally liable are the ones who surrounds him – the parents who do not discipline or teach their children,)” the International televangelist noted.

“Kasi ang anak, ang bata nasa total discipline ng magulang. (A child is under the total discipline of the parents) Chapter 22 verse 6 of the book of Proverbs (it says): “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Turuan mo ang bata sa daan na dapat niyang lakaran.” Kaya ang bata, nasa pangangalaga ng magulang, (Train up a child in the way he should go. A child should be under the care of the parents).” Brother Eli concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Ang Dating Daan: 38 years of advocating love, hope, and faith through global evangelism and public service

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, 14 December 2018 02:30 PM

 

For 38 years, the program “Ang Dating Daan” has been consistent in touching the lives of people.

From its humble beginning in the Philippines, the program has prospered and has reached almost all countries in the world.

True to its purpose of preaching the Word of God, the program has exhausted almost all means of communication, this time through cyberspace to further its reach.

Through the collective efforts of its members and by the guidance of Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon, the Members Church of God International (MCGI) which manages the program, has established broadcasts in all continents reaching as far as South America specifically in its largest country, Brazil.

Touching Lives

In Brazil, the program has successfully penetrated even far flung areas in the country.

Almeirim in the state of Para is among the remotest areas in Brazil. To reach Almeirim requires a five-hour travel by plane to reach the closest airport in Macapa, in the states of Amapa. From the airport, one would need another six-hour land travel through the Amazona state to reach the remote village of Almeirim.

One family in the village is thankful to have heard the preaching of the Word of God through the program ‘O Caminho Antigo,’ the Portuguese name of the program ‘Ang Dating Daan.’

“I no longer want to go to church because all I see (and hear) are false teachings,” said the family’s patriarch Francisco Rodrigues in Portuguese.

 

 

(L-R) Ednida Rodrigues and Francisco Rodrigues

Having the longing for the true church, Francisco fervently prayed to God for guidance so he would find the Truth.

“I never asked for wealth, new clothes, car, or a life of luxury. I only asked God for a Church, for the Truth. That’s the only thing I prayed to God,’ he said.

“(I just feel that) God has a Church. God has His people. I just don’t know where to find them. But I know for sure there is God’s people, there is His Church,” said Ednida Rodrigues, Francisco’s wife, who was emotional during the interview.

When Francisco was able to hear the program ‘O Caminho Antigo’ broadcasting through the radio, his attention was immediately caught by the manner Bro. Eli was preaching especially when he explained things supported by Biblical verses.

From that moment on, he said, his views on religion changed. His belief that the group Bro. Eli is leading is the true Church of God has grown more and more. He persisted to establish connections with other members of MCGI in Brazil. To his joy, he was able to receive a response and the group even traveled far to visit their place.

Francisco was overwhelmed.

“It was unbelievable that they traveled a long way to get here. Here in this forest area in the Amazon, a very remote place. I just cannot believe it. A brother knocked at the door to finally administer our baptism. I was overjoyed,” he said.

Francisco and his family are all active Members of the Church of God International (MCGI) and listening to ‘O Caminho Antigo’ has become a household routine for them.

Facts and the Bible

Dubbed as the longest-running religious program in the Philippines, ‘Ang Dating Daan’ has archived a massive collection of audio and video clips of religious triumphs in debates with leaders of different religions not only in the country but also in other countries.

Bro. Eli’s strong will as defender of the Truth in the Bible has captivated even the educated or the professionals in various fields to learn the Word of God.

One of them is Architect Ram Aurelio, a former member of the religious group Construction Ministry.

Former member of the religious group Construction Ministry, Architect Ram Aurelio

Ram admits he used to copy Bro. Eli’s biblical explanations on the internet and share them in his ‘testimonies’ in his former church.

“Marami akong napupulot na hindi mo mapulot doon sa iba. In fairness, I’m not against the other preachers or lecturers when it comes to biblical. Pero ang biblical in major aspects of the society when you talk about the economy, politics, ang cultural background natin bilang isang tao, mas marami kang natututunan doon sa kaniyang lectures base sa laman ng biblia kapag hinimay mo,” Ram said who works as an arbitrator at Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC) under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

To his surprise, Ram said, he discovered that some of his co-members in the church were also avid listeners of Bro. Eli’s program “Ang Dating Daan” online.

“Halimbawa mayroon kaming adult fellowship. Kapag dini-discuss, sabi ko parang napanood ko iyan. Alam ko kung saan galing yan. Iisa kami ng source. Iisa kami ng reference,” he happily shared.

Ram said it amazes him how Bro. Eli convinces people even those who belong to the so-called upper classes in the society and makes them believe in the Bible with the way he relates things with the verses in the Bible.

“(In) history kasi lumabas din ito, iyong mga history nung architectural facts. Ginagamit din niya. Iyong major aspects of the society wherein the cultural aspect of the society ay ginagamit niya lahat. Mahalaga iyon kasi when you talk about facts dapat alam mo lahat i-giya itong mga ito, kunin lahat. Hindi lang pwedeng ang paguusapan ninyo is all about religion. When you talk about legal, when you talk about economy…kahit saan ka pumunta,” he explained.

Architect Ram said he feels proud that Bro. Eli is a Filipino, someone who is courageous enough to stand for the Biblical truth even against other religions proclaiming themselves as true.

“Proud ako na isa siyang Pilipino.  Hindi lang naman ako ang nagsasabi niyan pati yung mga kaibigan ko, na may isang Pilipino na tumitindig pag dating sa aspeto ng Bible,” he said.

Ram hopes to see Bro. Eli in person someday so he could personally ask questions to further widen his knowledge about the Holy Scriptures.

Meanwhile, De La Salle law professor, Atty. Jose Mejia, considers himself a student of God’s law despite being an expert in the Constitution and court laws,

De La Salle law professor, Atty. Jose Mejia

He admits Bro. Eli is his favorite when it comes to exploring the Bible.

“Napaka sensible noong mga sinasabi niya. Ang kaniyang mga message ay very timely, universal at talagang, sa akin, may napupulot ako,” the former member of the Judicial Bar Council (JBC) said.

He testifies that Bro. Eli’s manner of preaching the Word of God is exceptional.

“Very credible. Ang dating sa akin parang hindi yung parang run-off-the-mill. Hindi (gaya ng) some people just mouthing phrases from the Bible. Sa kaniya, makikita mo talagang aral, at talagang may mga batayan yung mga sinasabi niya. Sabi ko nga, universal. Ako, hindi ako kasapi ng Dating Daan, pero pinapakinggan ko siya kasi nga naiaangkop ko ito sa aking pang-araw-araw na buhay,’ he said.

Like Ram, Atty. Mejia admires Bro. Eli’s knowledge in almost all aspects of life which makes him so credible as he relates everyday life with insights from the Holy Scriptures which he shares in his program.

“Sabi ko nga ibang klase itong taong ito. Talagang erudite, I think that’s the term. Aral. Hindi nagpapanggap. Lahat ng discipline mayroon siyang alam.

 38th years of unconditional love, hope, and unwavering faith

Through the years, the world has become a stage of chaos, violence, poverty and various evils. People have become lovers of self than being selfless.

But through the works of God, there remain a religious program that advocates genuine love and willingness to serve others without asking for anything in return.

This is how MCGI’s Ang Dating Daan has been known for decades and the people behind it who were taught to honor God through good works.

Among the group’s projects include free ride, medical, legal and dental service; free college education; free facilities for the elderly and orphans as well as regular blood donation drives and other public services.

 

In celebration of the program Ang Dating Daan’s 38th years of advocating unconditional love, hope and unwavering faith to the Lord, MCGI gives thanks to God for making Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel instruments in answering questions of faith and reaching out to the needy, regardless of religion, race and status in life.

“That’s one of the reasons why we are not afraid to shout all of these things because we believe that with God’s help, the doctrines that we have heard from Bro. Eli Soriano are doctrines that are purely written in the Bible,” said Bro. Daniel Razon, MCGI’s second overall servant and Ang Dating Daan’s director and producer.

“There are components of true religion. Number one is charity, to visit, to be compassionate to the fatherless, and to the widows, to the less fortunate. To practice charity is part of the true religion in the Bible. It is pure religion and undefiled,” the program’s host, Bro. Eliseo Soriano always tells his listeners.

Ang Dating Daan began airing on AM Radio in 1980 and began its broadcast on television in 1983.

With the advent of modern technology, the program became known in the religious world and reached households across the globe.

It is now translated into different languages specifically English, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Hindi and many more including local dialects. — Marje Pelayo

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La Verdad Christian School delivers first batch of K-12 scholars

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, 29 March 2018 03:53 AM

Mrs. Pia Mallari with her daughter posing for a photo on the stage as they were called during the graduation ceremony at the La Verdad Christian School in Apalit, Pampanga.

MANILA, Philippines — Pia  Mallari had experienced difficulty in choosing which private school to enroll her daughter in after the government implemented the K-12 program.

Mallari is a Muslim from Jolo Sulu. She previously thought that La Verdad Christian College does not accept non-MCGI members.

This was until she proved that what other people were saying was false and that she liked the discipline being instilled by the school in its students.

“Para sa puso at isipan ko, number one ang La Verdad. Lalo pang bumabait ang mga kabataan. Lalo pa siyang bumait,” said Mallari.

(I wholeheartedly think La Verdad is the best. The children are becoming better individuals. My daughter has become kinder.)

Honor student Love Jezchem Colis said she will forever bring with her the valuable lessons she learned from La Verdad as she takes up architecture at a university in Manila.

“There are many valuable life lessons na nakukuha mo from the teachers not just the lessons that you need for academics,” said Colis.

(There are many valuable life lessons that you get from the teachers not just the lessons that you need for academics.)

For Love’s mom, Joy Colis, the scholarship program of Bro. Eli Soriano and Kuya Daniel Razon is a huge help to a single parent like her.

“Fair. It’s open for everybody. Talagang yung heart nila to help others. Very proud kami na pumasok dito yung anak ko,” said Joy.

(Fair. It’s open for everybody. They really have the heart to help others. We are very proud that our child is studying here.)

In the graduation of 299 scholars who are part of the first batch of the government’s K-12 program, the Department of Education (DepEd) sees the potential of the school to produce children who can lift their families out of poverty.

“Ang La Verdad Christian School nasa mapa na (La Verdad Christian School is already on the map). Nasa record na ng (It’s already in the records of the) division of Pampanga as one of our best schools, even in the regional and even in the national,” said  DepEd Assistant Schools Division Superintendent officer-in-charge Rowena Tizon-Quiambao.

“I would be ordering Sir Alvin Gozum to give the same awards that we gave to our public schools. We counted the number of winnings and we gave them the achievement award. I’m sure if we count al isl the winning that you had yesterday, you’ll rank one,” said the official.

La Verdad’s founding chairman Bro. Eli Soriano and its president, Dr. Daniel Razon, emphasized to the students the importance of being humble and grateful so they could achieve their dreams in life.

“Una niyong pag-aralan ang tumanaw ng utang na loob. Una sa Dios. Ikalawa sa mga nagpalaki sa inyo. Ikatlo, sa mga tinatawag nating pangalawang magulang sa eskwela, ang ating mga guro, our mentors,” said Bro. Eli.

(The first thing you should learn is how to be grateful. Firstly, to God and secondly, to those who raised you. Thirdly, to those who we call, our “second parents” in school — our teachers and mentors.)

Meanwhile, Razon reminded the students, “Saan man tayo makarating, anuman ang kaalamang ating makuha sa buhay na ito, ay maisip natin, hindi natin ito dapat ipagmalaki. Hindi natin ito dapat ipagyabang, kundi ang ating maalala sa tuwina ay mayroong nagbibigay sa atin nito.”

(Wherever you may end up, whatever we learn from this life, we should remember to stay humble. We should not be arrogant about it but to always remember that it was given to us.) — Jun Soriao | UNTV News & Rescue

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