Strengthening Faith and Morality: Santiago City’s 6PM Habit

Jemerson Eugenio | Santiago City, Philippines

“Noong bata pa kami kapag tumunog ang kampana pagpatak ng alas sais, lahat ng tao tumitigil sa ginagawa nila maski naglalakad o naglalaro, nawala lang yung gawaing yun noong 1971- Martial law,” said Mr. Eduardo Carreon, a tricycle driver residing at Centro West, Santiago City, Isabela.

A new ordinance was signed by Mayor Joseph Tan and the other eleven (11) councilors including Councilor Paul De Jesus (the author of the ordinance) which is the ORDINANCE 9THCC-044 otherwise known as “ONE MINUTE DAILY PRAYER” or “6PM HABIT” which took effect last August 1, 2017.

This ordinance states that when the clock strikes at six in the evening government vehicles are expected to turn on their sirens and roam around the streets to remind motorists, pedestrians, students in school and employees at work to stop for a minute of prayer.

More so, all are enjoined to pause and pray orally or silently “regardless” of their religion this also includes those people shopping for groceries and those in their car driving.

However, most people even upon its effectivity last August 1 do not know yet the regulations of this ordinance.

“Parang wala namang 6PM Habit dito sa Santiago ngayon at noong mga nakaraang linggo, wala namang sasakyan na tumitigil parang kami-kami nga lang ng mga ka-toda ko at yung mga estudyante sa School of St. James the Apostle yung mga nakikita kong tumitigil, “ added Mr. Carreon.

Looking back from the past

In the olden times, it was a custom for the lay folk to recite 3 Hail Mary’s to honor our lady in her singularly exalted role as the Mother of God. Accordingly, it was recited three times a day. This prayer is intended to remind the faithful of the Annunciation when Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced the news that she was conceiving Jesus.

In the early years, pausing and stopping for a moment of prayer means a lot, for it sanctifies the first part of the day for centuries and prays to rescue Christianity in difficult moments. Like a heavenly messenger, this calls man to interrupt his daily earthly routines and turn his thought to God.

In addition, proponents of the ordinance said it was a response to a 1992 proclamation that established a national campaign for moral recovery due to the “need to strengthen the moral resources of the rooted in the Filipino culture.

And this can be exemplified by the Proclamation No. 01 S. 1992 signed by Fidel Ramos which calls for moral renewal in order to eradicate the social ills that have plagued us for the several decades such as graft and corruption and many more.

Also, it says that moral recovery is an integral aspect ensuring success to the government’s economic development and people empowerment programs and projects.

Looking then, it really has a good purpose. But will everyone practice it “regardless” of its religion and even though it doesn’t have any penalty clause?

“Siguro hindi pa masyadong nainform yung mga ibang tao tungkol sa ordinansang ito, sana magtulungan yung DPOS (Department of Public Order and Safety) at yung mga pulis para maayos ito. Maganda siya eh, para tumino-tino naman yung mga tao,” Mr. Carreon said with conviction.

For now, mixed reactions and opinions are rattling into the minds of Santiagueños, but for sure this ordinance will help us a lot in having at least a minute to reflect and to ease ourselves.

Despite all the killings, calamities and problems which scourge the city of Santiago in the last few months this ordinance will surely make us pause and think of how much our worth as children of God is. Through this, we can restore who we are, participate at least for the good goals of our government for its development, influence others too(since we are practicing this as a Salettinian) and lastly strengthen our image as true Santiagueños practicing our faith and fostering resiliency in every streets of the Queen City of the North.

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