Priest goes around country on bike, for life and peace

Picardal, Dean of Academics of the Redemptorists’ St. Alphonsus Theologate, will bike the entire stretch around the country alone, but will be accompanied along the way by local bikers.

Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla will send him off at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 24, at the Archbishop’s residence.

Picardal expects to be back in Davao City from Nabunturan in Compostela Valley on  May 18.

Arcbishop Romulo Valles of Zamboanga and Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Colin Bagaforo have expressed interest in joining Picardal from Surigao on May 13 to Davao  on May 18, Picardal said. Bishop Bagaforo will also join Picardal on Day One of his journey. Bishop Sergio Utleg, he said, is joining the Laoag leg.

Picardal will be “preaching the Gospel of life and peace in parishes where I will be staying overnight.”

“In my sermons I will be speaking out against the manifestations of the culture of death such as: widespread abortion; never-ending armed conflict; extrajudicial killings; and environmental destruction due to mining and logging,” he said in a press statement.

“I will also speak out against the culture of corruption which contributes to the perpetuation of the culture of death. I will preach  about the sacredness of life and call on everyone to respect life, to say no to abortion, to stop the armed conflict and resume peace negotiations, to defend the environment, and to end the culture of corruption.”

After his Northern Luzon sortie, Picardal will drop by Malacanang to deliver a letter to President Arroyo on Apri 27.

“I don’t expect the president to see me. But I will read the letter to the public outside the gate of Malacanang. In the letter I will express my disappointment and indignation that after over seven years of governing, the culture of death and corruption persist and that she stands accused of perpetuating these evils,” he said.

Picardal said he does not expect President Arroyo to invite him to her office. He will just hand over the letter at the gate but will read the letter outside the gate.

“Delivering a letter to Malacanang is just a side-trip and I don't expect the President to meet me or to read the letter – it is just symbolic. I will make the contents of the letter public – in it I will denounce the President for perpetuating the culture of death and corruption and for being a hypocrite (she goes to mass everyday and claims that it is God's will that she is president). Although I want her to resign, I will not be demanding her resignation because I know that it will be futile – she will continue to cling to power at all cost. I will just tell her that she will face the judgment of history and of God. Her worst punishment will be to live the rest of her life in shame and disgrace – knowing that the majority of the people have condemned her as a corrupt, greedy and power hungry president – no better than Marcos and Estrada. But I don't want to focus all my energy in just denouncing the president,” Picardal said in his blog (www.amadopicardal.blogspot.com).

Picardal’s itinerary:

March (Mindanao-Visayas)
3/24 M- Davao-Buda
3/25 T- Buda-Malaybalay
3/26 W- Malaybalay-Cagayan 
3/27 Th- Ferry Cagayan to Jagna, Bohol– Tagbilaran
3/28 F – Ferry to Cebu (rest)
3/29 S – Cebu-Santander-Ferry to Dumaguete
3/30 Sn- Dumaguete- Kabangkalan, Negros
3/31 M- Kabangkalan-Bacolod

April (Visayas-Luzon)
4/1 T – ferry to Iloilo (rest)
4/2 W- Iloilo-Kalibo
4/3 Th- Kalibo-Katiklan  ferry to Roxas, Mindoro
4/4 F – Roxas-Calapan
4/5 S – Ferry to Batangas City -Lipa
4/6  Sn – Lipa-Manila (via Tagaytay)
4/7 M – (rest)
4/8 T – Manila (Baclaran) – Cabanatuan
4/9 W- Cabanatuan – Bayombong
4/10 Th Bayombong-Ilagan
4/11 F- Ilagan- Tuguegarao 
4/12 S- Tuguegarao– Aparri 
4/13 Sn – Aparri-Claveria
4/14 M – Claveria-Laoag
4/15 T- Rest
4/16 W- Laoag-Bangued
4/17 Th – Bangued-Malibcong
4/18 F –  Malibcong-Lubuagan
4/19 S- Lubuagan-Bontoc
4/20 Sn – Bontoc-Abatan
4/21 M –  Abatan -Baguio
4/22 T-   Rest
4/23  W- Baguio-Alaminos
4/24 Th- Alaminos-Iba, Zambales
4/25 F –  Iba-Balanga, Bataan
4/26 S-   Balanga-Manila (Baclaran)
4/27 Sn- Bike around Manila , deliver letter to Malacanang, Preach at Manila Cathedral
4/28  M- Manila-Lucena
4/29 T – Lucena- Calauag
4/30 W- Calauag-Daet

May (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao)
5/1 Th- Daet-Naga
5/2 F – Naga- Sorsogon 
5/3 S- Sorsogon-Matnog Ferry to Allen-Catarman, Samar
5/4 Sn – Catarman- Gamay
5/5 M-  Gamay-Oras
5/6  T – Rest
5/7 W-  Oras- Llorente 
5/8 T – Llorente-Tacloban
5/9 F –  Tacloban-Ormoc
5/10 S-  Ormoc-Hilongos, Leyte
5/11 Sn- Hilongos- Liloan
5/12   M – Ferry Liloan-Surigao City (rest)
5/13   T –  Surigao-Butuan
5/14  W –  Butuan-San Francisco, Agusan
5/15 Th   San Francisco-Mangagoy
5/16 Fri – Mangagoy – Cateel, Davao Oriental
5/17 S –   Cateel-Compostela – Nabunturan
5/18 Sn – Nabunturan-Davao

Picardal, who is turning 54 in October, spent 18 days biking from Davao to the tip of northern Luzon, covering a distance of 2,083 kilometers in 2000 and 21 days on all sorts of road condition from Davao City to Surigao, to Agusan, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, the three Zamboanga provinces, Zamboanga City, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Davao del Sur and back to Davao City, covering a distance of 2,179 kilometers.

This year’s bike around the country will cover more than twice the number of kilometers Picardal covered around Mindanao two years ago.  During his bike tour in 2006, Picardal delivers homilies not only from the pulpits of the churches where he celebrates masses but also in the carinderias, sari-sari stores and roadsides they passed, the urgent messages to sop the war, resume the peace talks, stop summary executions and assassinations, impose a total log ban, repeal the mining act and stop drug abuse and trafficking.

Picardal has climbed Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak, seven times.

Aside from being a poet and theologian, he has also written a book on the Basic Ecclesial Communities and is considered a “BEC expert.”

He also describes himself as an environmentalist, occasional hermit, healer, musician,scuba diver, tai-chi practitioner, mountaineer, cyclist and peace advocate. (MindaNews)

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