Sunday, July 13, 2008

Schism in Filipino Freemasonry

By Rudy Olano

In a manifesto issued after an assembly held in the historic Tacloban City, Leyte, in central Philippines, a splinter group calls for dissolution of "the political bond which have connected us with The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines and assume the powers of Freemasonry, that is, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and that of the Great Architect has entitled us" and the formation of United Grand Lodge of the Philippines (UGLP). Charges of election and financial irregularities were cited in the Declaration of Independence dated 8th of July 2006. The group declared that due to reasons stated in the manifesto they “are now compelled to assert our rights, as freemen and masons, to abolish our former system of Masonic government and institute a new one based and founded upon the original principles and ancient landmarks of the Craft.” It is a sad day in the history of Freemasonry in the Philippines indeed.

Weeks before the Tacloban assembly, the announcement generated considerable responses in the GLP forum which is not surprisingly a hot topic. The opinions ranges from dismay, support, and spiced by exchanges regarding the use of all capital letters in the body of the text. Nevertheless, the call for moderation, lost and brotherly love did not prevail. Here is the official declaration of schism of Freemasonry in the Philippines. We live in a free country, breaking away and forming a separate group although not encourage is not entirely unlawful. Each has their own reasons and will certainly responsible for their own actions including its consequences. Veja vu. One can not help himself to recall the recent and parallel development of so called "United Grand Lodge of America." After being displeased with their own state Grand Lodge due to various stated reasons, a group of "Young Free-Masons," formed a Grand Lodge of their own. Instead of limiting their "authority" to the confines of their state, this group claimed the whole country! And again using what seems to be a contradiction to the meaning---“United Grand Lodge of….”

Our brethren who are planned and attended Grand Assembly must be aware of the significance of their action, as a participant of historical event of Freemasonry in the Philippines. Redundant this may be, let this humble brother repeat what he has been written before. “The outcome may not only affect the unity of Filipino Freemasonry but could have far more serious ripple effect to the country as a whole. The influence of our Brethren in the local, regional and national level whether in government and/or business affairs must not be taken out of the equation. Some may see this as presumptuous thinking but let it not be said that Filipino Freemasons initiated the spark which led to the division of their own Nation. Let us pray that I am terribly wrong.”

Freemasonry is more than opportunity to climb the ladder of fame. Its essence is beyond the chance of wearing the wreath or purple of the Fraternity, and has greater meaning than impressive sounding titles. It is a peculiar science of morality veiled in allegories and illustrated by symbols. It is a notion that seeks or dreamed of a world of brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God. A utopian wish undeniably but as a mere mortal being, what else we can dream of?


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