Thursday, July 13, 2006

Filipino Masons declare independence, form new Grand Lodge

Masonic brethren in the Philippines this week announced that two Masonic districts, comprising nine lodges, have declared independence and formed a new Grand Lodge called the Most Worshipful United Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines.

The wording of their Declaration of Independence was patterned in part on the Declaration of Independence presented by Georgia Freemasons in 2005 when they left the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Georgia and formed the United Grand Lodge of America. The UGLA's Declaration was in turn based upon the original Declaration of Independence, written when the American colonists declared independence from England in 1776.

The good Brothers of these lodges met and discussed at length last week their plight and their dissatisfaction with their then-Grand Lodge. The complaints in their Manifesto were three:
  1. Funds which had been specially collected and earmarked for relief of brothers in a destitute condition were instead allegedly squandered by the Grand Lodge
  2. The Grand Lodge never sent official visitation and never provide any requested assistance to individual lodges
  3. There were alleged voting irregularities in violation of Masonic Code designed to keep current Grand Lodge members entrenched in their offices
Here's the text of the Filipino Masonic Declaration of Independence:
Declaration of Independence

WE, the officers and members of the Masonic Blue Lodges herein jointly assembled, do hereby DECLARE that:

Freemasonry is, and has always been, a progressive science whose growth, throughout the ages, has been borne on the wings of change. From its inception in the early 17th century, the Fraternity has spread and in the unrelenting pursuit of light, new Grand Lodges were constituted which process of continuous regeneration is the very life blood and binding force of the Craft.

WE hold the following ancient Masonic landmarks as the rule and guide of the craft by which all masons must abide by and comply with:

That all Freemasons are obligated only in so far as that obligation will not interfere with the duty that they owe to God, their country, their neighbors or to themselves. That the Craft is a peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols and its aim has been, and will always be, the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God. And, that Grand Lodges are instituted among Freemasons and derive its just powers only from and with the consent of the governed.

WE hold it to be true that all Masons are created equal, endowed with certain unalienable rights such as to assemble in lodges, elect officers to govern their affairs, make new Masons according to the ancient traditions and landmarks of the Craft, visit lodges, celebrate fellowship at festive boards and engage in all activities that traditional Lodges of Freemasonry, since time immemorial, have practiced in the pursuit of happiness.

However, human frailty is the enemy of all human institutions and through the passage of time, philosophical ideals are enshrined into rigid rules and practices that eventually become destructive to the aims of the original principles upon which they are based.

It is at this juncture that all institutions should be altered and NEW ONES INSTITUTED based upon the original principles and ancient landmarks of the Craft in order to effect and protect the HONOR, INTEGRITY and GENERAL WELFARE of those who are subject to them.

WE acknowledge that among all human beings, Freemasons willingly capacitate themselves to practice the virtue to await a time with patience and know fully well that the change in the system of government in Freemasonry should not be enacted without due cause.

But the reality and in the course of the past and present events, it has become inevitably necessary for us to dissolve 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.

The geographical situation of the country hinders the efficient and regular official visitation by the Grand Lodge of subordinate lodges which is the important duty to maintain and improve harmonious relations among brethren and that management thereof has been outgrown by its present size.

In the light of these due causes, WE 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.

Thus, WE, the Freemasons herein jointly assembled hereby do ordain and unanimously declare our independence and institute and constitute THE MOST WORSHIPFUL UNITED GRAND LODGE OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS OF PHILIPPINES.

Done in the City of Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines, on the 8th day of the month of July, in the year of our Lord 2006.


The Worshipful Masters, Senior Wardens, Junior Warden and Brethren of:

Masonic District RVIII-B
1. Makabugwas Lodge No. 47
2. Tacloban Lodge No. 221
3. Santiago Chua Lodge No. 336
4. Ormoc Lodge No. 234
5. Sogod Bay Lodge No. 337
6. Biliran Lodge No. 337

Masonic District RVIII-A
1. Mt. Huraw Lodge No. 98
2. Northern Samar Lodge No. 211
3. East Gate Lodge No. 232

Bro. Nicolas C. Risos, PDGL
Secretary — Makabugwas Lodge No. 47
Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines
The Burning Taper wishes the best to these brave brothers in their quest for excellence and honor in the Masonic Fraternity. Godspeed!

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  1. I guess they are acting on being "FREE" masons......
    FREE to walk away from leaders gone astary!!!!!
    god speed brothers and keep the course!

  2. I have cross-posted this story on my blog as well! these are indeed historical times!!!


  3. It's spreading.. I just hope that the newly formed Grand Lodges can pull together for the better of Masons world wide.

  4. funny that that is one of the primary goals, uniting the brothers into N ll encompassing acceptance, universal brotherhood,
    tolerance and equality. non title seekers who do noy want power or money.
    good luck brothers

  5. _Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote:_
    >The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
    >And God fulfils himself in many ways,
    >Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

    With any luck, the more these grand Lodge things change, the more they will NOT stay the same.

    _MWUGLFAMP wrote:_
    >The geographical situation of the country hinders
    >the efficient and regular official visitation by
    >the Grand Lodge of subordinate lodges...

    Hmm. Spoken as though this were a bad thing. In each of the four jurisdictions in which I've regularly sat, it seemed to me as though the Lodges would have been significantly better off *without* all the grandsters mucking about. Perhaps the bigger problem is having a "governing" grand Lodge at all -- not simply having the *wrong* grand Lodge...

    Anyway, here's hoping some sub-group of these Masons doesn't have the same things to say about the new grand Lodge tomorrow as these guys have to say about the old grand Lodge today!
    Sincerely and Fraternally,

    Gary D. Colby
    Concordia #67
    Jenkintown, PA USA

  6. Some days I don't actually see the point or purpose of ANY Grand Lodge.

    The old ones appear to be about power and title and pomp and tacky fake-gold chains and backslapping and backstabbing.

    The new ones suffer threats from the old, lack of funding, unpleasantries and feined superiority from the Antient rank and file, and egoism and inertia from within.

    I wish the new Grand Lodges all the best, and I hope they don't too rapidly turn into what the old Grand Lodges have become.

    — W.S.


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