Surigao cult blames corruption for ‘delay’
SURIGAO CITY—Call it post-doomsday recrimination.
A cult leader in Surigao del Norte province on Friday blamed corrupt government leaders for the “delayed” coming of their “Divine Government,” even as members of the Ecleo family of Dinagat Islands, who controls the Philippine Benevolent Missionary Association (PBMA), are locked in a doomsday-related tit for tat.
“The temporal government has not yet surrendered; it is perpetuating its lies to mankind,” said Berano Tamayo, 60, of the self-styled quasi-military and quasi-religious organization High-World (H-World).
Tamayo’s group began converging on a hill overlooking Lipata Port here in preparation for the beginning of what they believed would be the “end of the temporal world” and the beginning of the spiritual reign on earth of their deity.
He clarified, however, that the Dec. 21 prediction—coinciding with the ending of the Mayan calendar—did not originate from the group, and that they interpreted the date not as a definitive date for doomsday but as a marker of sorts for the coming of their deity.
“I did not say it would be an earth-shaking event; I said it is the day when darkness begins to reign in the hearts of men because of wanton perversions and vices,” said Tamayo when the Inquirer asked him again on Friday.
“Isn’t the world in a corrupted state as we speak?” he added in an apparent suggestion that somehow, the group has predicted the coming of their Divine Government.
But this didn’t mean that no tribulation is forthcoming, the cult leader said.
“Earthquakes, typhoons, even tsunamis will come if our temporal leaders worldwide don’t surrender their powers to the Divine Government,” he said, although he now says that only H-World members have the privilege to know the definite time and day when these doomsday scenarios will come.
In Dinagat Islands, where PBMA members scheduled a doomsday concert on Friday evening, members of the Ecleo family were divided on Dec. 21 end of the world prediction.
“They are making fools out of the people,” said Vice Gov. Geraldine “Jade” Ecleo of the PBMA leadership, which reportedly ordered their members to converge in the province’s capital of San Jose, purportedly because the place would be spared from the doomsday wrath.
“I appeal to the people, to the hard-core PBMA members, to once in a while use their heads and instead focus on how to improve their lives,” she told the Inquirer by phone.
Boats plying the Dinagat route have been overwhelmed by the unusual high passenger volume since last week, when talks of the end of the world associated with the Mayan calendar began to appear in social media sites and television reports.
To her consternation, Ecleo said she learned that work in government offices and school classes had been disrupted because of the end of the world “rumor mongering” of her family, from whom she has been estranged for a while.
“I believe that the world will eventually come to an end but for now, what the people should get busy about is demanding real services from their leaders; demanding accountability and transparency, instead of this nonsense talk about doomsday,” she said.
Sources inside Dinagat province said high school and college students on the island were instructed to watch the concert. The merrymaking was reportedly organized by Benjie Ecleo, son of PBMA Supreme Master Ruben Ecleo Jr., who remains at large after having been convicted of parricide and graft.
Local historian Fernando A. Almeda Jr. said talks of end-of-the-world scenarios “should now come to end.”
“This is a chance for humanity to begin a new chapter, to reflect and share values and experiences that would contribute to a better world,” said Almeda, who earlier launched a doomsday countdown at his private museum here.
Almeda and a local civic group has organized a post-doomsday “Save the World” fun run on Saturday, as the historian hopes to transform the buzz generated from his doomsday watch to a “sustainable movement where we encourage the young to care for our environment.”
“In this way, the dangers that would scientifically precipitate the end of the world, namely climate change brought about by human-initiated environmental degradation, would be prevented,” he said.
But in Davao del Sur, doomsayers maintained their doomsday watch.
Citing the “semi-darkness” that engulfed the province yesterday, doomsayers circulated text messages that insisted on the end of the world that was to unfold between Dec. 21 and Dec. 23.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) had earlier forecast that an intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) would prevail in Mindanao yesterday and the island would “have cloudy skies with moderate to heavy rain showers and thunderstorms.”
Text messages also started circulating here about some major planetary events that would supposedly take place until Sunday.
“Please prepare candles, matches, canned goods and other needs. There will be planetary alignments from Dec. 21 to Dec. 23. It would not end the world but some things would happen. We need to pray,” one text message warned.
Apparently, the same text messages had been circulated elsewhere.
In response, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) said the report on the supposed planetary alignment was a hoax.
“There is no planet alignment on the winter solstice in 2012,” Nasa Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. said in his blog. With a report from Orlando Dinoy, Inquirer Mindanao