Dear Father Edgar,
I commend your noble intentions but question the wisdom of its execution. I believe that your primary duty should have been to stay in your parish and tend to the spiritual, emotional and psychological needs of your flock during this deeply sad period in their lives when they needed you the most. If your objective was to “show the vastness of the destruction” through a few measly cell phone photos, both the national and international TV networks have already done that for you. If you wanted to do a personal appeal for your parish, town, city or province, you could have just sought out a TV reporter near your local area (GMA, ABS-CBN, CNN, Fox-News or their local affiliates, among others, have them in the major devastated cities) and by asking for an “on air” appearance to deliver your message, you could have instantly reached a national or even international audience without abandoning your flock. Did you really believe that you could single handedly speed up the delivery of relief supplies to your area when roads are still being fully cleared and the logistical challenge of trucking or air-dropping these supplies are still being sorted out? The three days you wasted riding a motorcycle from Matarinao, Eastern Samar to Manila (plus the three or more days you will presumably waste recovering from that tiring ride and driving back home to Eastern Samar) were days you could have spent giving daily comfort and solace to your flock through the Sacrament of the Eucharist, anointing the sick and the dying, as well as conducting Catholic funeral rites. I would like to ask why you have such an overwhelming need to acquire satellite phones. Does your flock need these phones more than your spiritual ministry to them? I saw the coverage of you on TFC and DZMM TeleRadyo and you strike me as a rather young priest. I surely hope that as a Parish Priest, you have the right set of priorities figured out. Let me be blunt with you, Father… you deserted your flock in their time of greatest need and you did so without first informing your local Bishop who entrusted them to your pastoral care. You are either an unapologetic publicity seeker or simply an adventure seeker needing the adrenalin rush of a cross-country motorcycle ride for dubious reasons, not fully realizing that you would have been more effective had you stayed in ground zero where your pastoral care and reassuring presence as your flock’s Parish Priest could have done the greatest good. Having said that, thank you for going the proverbial extra mile. Take care, Father…I will be praying for you and our other kababayans who have been affected by this devastation.