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An Interview with Alvin John Ballares — Member, HAPI

2022-12-13

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/12/25

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What do you see, and experience, as some of the main difficulties for freethinkers and humanists and formal irreligious in the Philippines?

Alvin John Ballares: For the first question, I always get misunderstood by people especially in the workplace. That I think is the consensus amongst us freethinkers and humanists in our workplaces. My long time GF broke up with me when she found out about my Atheism. I was frowned upon for countless times already by my colleagues when I told them about my atheism

Jacobsen: How did you find HAPI, and why did you join it?

Ballares: I found HAPI through a friend who was a practicing Wiccan. (He’s now dead) . I joined HAPI basically for that sense of community; people who share the same worldviews.

Jacobsen: What do you think are some of the bigger bigotries against irreligious people in the Philippines in law, in culture, and in social life?

Ballares: Biggest bigotry is on the moral side. Reproductive health issues, like church, discourage the use of condoms which is, by the way, one of our strongest advocacies in HAPI Bacolod. Irreligious people are tagged to be the ones promoting Reproductive Health. There’s this one time that we had to move away from the place where we were distributing condoms. People were sent to us by the local parish to fend us off.

Sex/sexuality is avoided like plague by the majority of people in this country. Most Filipinos are wired to think that it’s immoral to talk about sex. LGBT is quite of an issue up until now. We still don’t have same-sex marriage for the reason of immorality- say the pedophile priests.

The Philippine law doesn’t give us protection from persecution. We don’t get that privilege to express our secularism openly. It is often welcomed with sarcasm and curses from Hell.

Jacobsen: What seems like some of the activities and initiatives that are moving the dial forward towards more equality for humanists, freethinkers, and similar others in the Philippines?

Ballares: Basic activities would include building more platforms for the promotion of the arts: visual, poetry, etc. We initiated this event we call Rekindle to promote humanism through arts (modeled after the Renaissance). Whenever we gather as a group of atheists and promote secularism, people listen to us. We do it subtly.

Jacobsen: What are you hoping to do in the near-future on the activist front?

Ballares: I’m hoping to do more of what we do in Rekindle. We would like to promote Rekindle nationwide, to our chapters.

Jacobsen: Thank you for your time.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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