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Hear the Voice of the People, the Voice of God

(Vox Populi, Vox Dei)

Kim’s Dream Orlan Ravanera

FICCO Opposes Sale of Xavier University to Cebu Land-Masters, Inc.

With a firm collective intent, the First Community Cooperative (FICCO) has recently passed a General Assembly Resolution showing full support to the opposition of the sale of the Xavier University Main Campus and the sale of 14-ha. Manresa Farm, a project deal between the Xavier University and the Cebu Land-Masters, Inc. The strongly worded Resolution states, “Whereas, the Xavier University Main Campus is a priceless cultural heritage located in the heart of Cagayan de Oro, dating back to its foundation in 1933. FICCO is linked with this rich historical treasure, funded originally as the Ateneo Credit Union in 1954 in the XU main campus by the late Rev. Fr. William F. Masterson, S.J. (the Father of the Cooperative Movement in Mindanao), and the XU personnel community, FICCO has grown to what it is today, a multi-billionaire cooperative (the biggest in the country) with some half a million members. For this reason, FICCO’s function hall in the newly-built FICCO Admin Building is also named after Fr. Masterson. Whereas, Manresa Farm and the Xavier University College of Agriculture was also founded by Fr. Masterson, for whom the “Fr. Masterson Avenue” in uptown Cagayan de Oro was named in his honor, and honored as an “Adopted Son of Cagayan de Oro City.  Whereas, the XU-CLI project deal of the sale of such heritage treasures us a misrepresentation to the heritage legacies.  Now therefore, we the half- million members, many of whom are graduates of Xavier University, are strongly opposing such a project deal, even desecrating the burial ground of Fr. Masterson and the Jesuit pioneers whose life of service had advanced transformative cooperativism in highly skewed societal order for people, planet, prosperity, and peace – all for God’s greater glory.”

Indeed, there is no greater grandeur sight in the world than of these Jesuit pioneers led by Fr. Masterson, fired with a great purpose, dominated by one unwavering aim: to develop human potentials to be men and women for others. Thus, as graduates of Xavier University, we are inspired by their vision to make life better for the needy, the oppressed and the downtrodden, as the Philippines then during those years, was described as a social volcano ready to erupt. Such social analysis stemmed from the highly stratified socio-economic structure where the wealth and power were and still are concentrated in a few elites/oligarchs where feudal rule seemed to the order of the day. These Jesuit pioneers have trailblazed social transformation by harnessing the collective power of the people through cooperativism as exemplified by FICCO. To them, our firm salute and warm embrace. But why sale Xavier? By how much? Billions of pesos but sacrificing its amazing cultural heritage? WHY?

Based on the study of Oxfam, high veneration to the profit-motive has already captured the mindset of all governments, all institutions, all universities and even of religious groups. Therefore, there is so much denigration of spirituality because based on the analysis of social scientists, humanity is now buried in unbridled materialism and consumerism, focused on maximizing consumer goods and short-term profit. That seems to be contrary to the declaration of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes when he said, “Wealth, fame and power are meaningless, utterly meaningless; what is important is how we have served the “least of our brethren.” Indeed, human beings are more than form (physical) but consciousness (spiritual) and must be connected to the Unseen Formless Being called God. Thus, we must not maximize profit or consumer goods but MAXIMIZE OUR VALUES to live a different way of life that gives high reverence to the inter-connectedness and oneness of life, of nature. 

As exemplified by FICCO, there is no mistake on the very essence of cooperativism that have been trail-blazed by the Jesuit pioneers when they established SEARSOLIN, promoting the cooperativism not only in our country but all-over South-East Asia, otherwise we are no better than the neo-liberal capitalists whose development paradigm can be likened to the workings of an auto-immune disease syndrome (AIDS), where no less than the body’s defense mechanisms are attacking vital organs. Let notice be served to one and all that we in the cooperative movement as taught to us by the Jesuit pioneers are firmly adhering to the United Nations’ definition of development as the full development of human potentials, the expansion of choices and opportunities. That for development to be so, it must pass a three-way test: first, is it ecologically sustainable? This means, it does not harm the environment but instead nurtures it; second, does it benefit the people? This means, responsive to their needs; and third, does it have people’s participation? Unless all these criteria are satisfied, no development can take place, only mal-development or development aggressions. 

What the Cebu Land-Masters, Inc. will advance in converting Manresa as business centers (i.e. massive malls, etc.) exemplifies maldevelopment or development aggression, focusing on maximizing consumer goods and not on maximizing values, which runs counter to the essence of development. When that happens, it will destroy the mini-forest in Manresa which is home to some 40 species of birds which is a gross violation of the declaration of His Holiness Pope Francis in Lau DaTu Si, “to hear the cry of the earth.”  Thus, that shameless sale, while earning billions of pesos will put to extinction 40 species of birds not to mention the desecration of the “holy ground” where our beloved Jesuit pioneers are buried. Such is not acceptable to us especially when we have discovered that the development of SEARSOLIN and XU College of Agriculture became possible because of the donations of the Jesuit pioneers’ inheritance especially that of Fr. Masterson.  

It is therefore our firm collective stand to strongly oppose the sale of Xavier University. In the United States, a people’s movement called “Occupy” has loomed to oppose the high veneration to the profit motive being advanced by powerful corporations and financial institutions that are now called “the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE” whose religion is ‘MARKET KNOWS BEST” to dominate the Earth as ordered by Yahweh, the reason why hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, mostly children, are killed now in Gaza, Palestine by the Jews in cohort with Modern-Day American Imperialism. These powerful corporations are described as the “architects of government policies” who are sacrificing Mother Earth to the altar of greed and profit as what CLI will be doing. Some 7,765 protesting Americans have been arrested for advocating against these MASTERS who are now putting humanity in the precipice of its 6th extinction. They are shouting WE WANT AN EGALITARIAN WORLD; WE OPPOSE SOCIAL INJUSTICE AND GROSS INEQUITIES AS THE WEALTH OF ONE PERCENT IS MORE THAN THE ASSETS OF 7.2 BILLION PEOPLE ON EARTH, WE DEBUNK THE MAXIMIZATION OF PROFIT AND CONSUMER GOODS BUT TO INSTEAD MAXIMIZE VALUES TO LIVE A DIFFERENT WAY OF LIFE. Yes, these brave Americans are not afraid to go to prison, SO ARE WE! PLEASE, nullify the sale of Xavier to CLI because this time, we will strongly oppose even if we go to prison!

As pointed out by thousands of social-scientists world-wide, there are two kinds of intellectuals in the world. First, are those spiritually awakened intellectuals with high consciousness exemplifying oneness with the universe, with nature, with all human beings and with all life. They use whatever talent and skills to serve the least of their brethren, to protect God’s vanishing creation which they considered the highest form of worship as the doomsday clock is now set at “one minute before midnight.” Life on earth may soon end either through nuclear war or through environmental catastrophe, thus, all efforts should now focus on maximizing not consumer goods but our values to debunk our contemporaneous belief systems centered not on spirituality but on unbridled materialism and consumerism. If you are that kind of intellectual, you will be isolated, mocked, imprisoned, or even killed.

The second kind of intellectuals are those using their skills and intellect for wealth, fame, and power, highly devoted to short term profit, to enrich themselves, to go to politics to accumulate power, buried in the fallacies of life and religions. If you want to be an Executive Officer of a corporation, you must promote corporate globalization, exploit the natural resources, oust the Indigenous Peoples from their ancestral domain and convert the blessed lands into massive plantations through outpourings of toxic chemicals as what is happening now in Mindanao in cohort with power-that-be.

The Jesuit pioneers belong to the first category whose burial ground is now being desecrated. Those in the second category are those converting Manresa as business centers for short term profit, sacrificing 40 species of birds and even creating chaotic traffic in upper portion of the City of Cagayan de Oro. These intellectuals are still in deep unconsciousness, controlled by the EGO that has buried humanity in collective insanity. This time, LIBERATION TIME has come. Hear the voice of the people as the voice of the people is the voice of Almighty God. Indeed, VOX POPULI, VOX DEI. 

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