My Vocation

My vocation has become clearer as the years go by: to study the unchanging God without something else to do, some pragmatic reason or result. This is what I feel most called to do: simply enjoy the study of God – not write about it, not view it in relation to its political residue or imagine that my opinions will have some visible  social effect. The joy of inquiry into God is a sufficient end in itself, not only as a means to some practical consequence.

Thomas C. Oden, The Rebirth of Orthodoxy, p. 95

(Photo by Ben White on Unsplash)

Paternity Leave for Probationary Employees

I haven’t blogged on law for a long time. I’ve been planning to but I just couldn’t get around to doing so. But every now and then a client would ask me an interesting question and it occurred to me that maybe I could hit two birds with one stone: Do research on that question and convert it to a blogpost!

So here’s the question: Can probationary employees avail of paternity leave?

But first, What is paternity leave? Here’s the definition according to Section 3 of Republic Act 8187 (Paternity Leave Act of 1996):

SECTION 3. Definition of Term. – For purposes of this Act,  Paternity Leave refers to the benefits granted to a married  male employee allowing him not to report for work for seven (7) days but continues to earn the compensation therefor, on the  condition that his spouse has delivered a child or suffered a  miscarriage for purposes of enabling him to effectively lend support to his wife in her period of recovery and/or in the  nursing of the newly-born child.

And who may avail of this Paternity Leave? Section 2 of the law gives the answer:

SECTION 2. Notwithstanding any law, rules and regulations to the contrary, every married male employee in the  private and public sectors shall be entitled to a paternity leave  of seven (7) days with full pay for the first four (4) deliveries of  the legitimate spouse with whom he is cohabiting. The male  employee applying for paternity leave shall notify his employer of the pregnancy of his legitimate spouse and the   expected date of such delivery.

For purposes of this Act, delivery shall include childbirth  or any miscarriage.

The law mentions “every married male employee in the private and public sectors”. But does he have to be a regular employee before he can avail of paternity leave? Section 1(b) of the Implementing Rules clarifies the meaning of employee in this provision:

“Employee” refers to any person who performs services for another and receives compensation therefor, provided an employer-employee relationship exists between them.

We are now in a position to answer our original question: Can a probationary employee avail of paternity leave? Yes, because the paternity leave law (as clarified by the Implementing Rules) doesn’t distinguish between regular and probationary employees. Of course, he still has to comply with the conditions provided in the law, but probationary employment status by itself doesn’t disqualify him from availing of paternity leave.

Incidentally, there’s a new law that came out early in 2019 that expanded maternity leave. This new law allows a female worker entitled to maternity leave benefits to allocate up to seven (7) days of said benefits to the child’s father, whether or not the same is married to the female worker. But that’s going to be a blog post for another day.

God’s Comfort

Isaiah 40:1-2

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the LORD’S hand
double for all her sins.


In this passage, we read of God’s directive to his prophet and by extension to his ministers to comfort his people for he knows that they very much need it. And in the matter of giving comfort, as in everything else which God bestows for our good, our God is not stingy but very generous. Thus, in this passage we learn that there is in our God an abundance of comfort, which consists of rest and pardon.

Isaiah here is prophesying to God’s people (Israel or Judah) who will someday be exiled to Babylon as punishment for their sins. Although God will discipline them, still he intends to bring them back to their homeland. Hence, the Lord instructs his messengers to comfort his people. There are spiritual truths here however that extend far beyond the particular case of the Babylonian exiles.


Ours is Endurance and Faith

“When we live in a world of violence long enough, it is easy to adopt violent means ourselves, especially when we know that our cause is righteous and the opposition is evil. Religious faith, especially when zealous, is no stranger to the exercise of violent force. And so St. John, having set down his counsel to endure, yokes it with a warning to not defect into violence. That would be just as bad as defecting into cowardly compliance. Had not Jesus, in as violent a scene as any of us will find ourselves, said, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword’? (Matt. 26:52). Killing the opposition is the sea beast’s [Revelation 13:1-10] way of solving its problems. It is not ours. Our is endurance and faith.

“This combination, endurance and faith, is not dumb passivity … The Christ-followers had learned something profound about sacrifice and death: endurance and faith are aggressive forces in the battle raging between God and the devil. It requires high energy to meet the sword with willed suffering, with embraced sacrifice.”

(Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder, p. 125)

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

God is in Control

“Christians cannot promise that life on earth will get better as time goes on; we have no assurance that it will. It is perfectly possible that our civilization will decline as ancient Rome did, and that our descendants will live through another dark age. The sinful passions of fallen man have not been defeated, and Satan is still active. We may be caught up in things that defy our imagination, and it is perhaps better that we do not know what will happen to us or to our children in this life. But what we can say for sure is that God is in control of events, that whatever happens will resound to his glory, and that no power in heaven or on earth can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:39).”

– Gerald Bray’s Augustine on the Christian Life (p. 210)

(Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash)

What is the Gospel?

Galatians 1:1-10

Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ


God Our Provider

(Philippians 4:14-23)

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


In these difficult times, we are prone to worry about basic necessities. Some of us have lost their jobs, our businesses have closed down, our income has taken a huge hit. And we ask: Will we go hungry or will we be provided for?



Philippians 4:10-13 ESV

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. [11] Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. [12] I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. [13] I can do all things through him who strengthens me.


In times like the one we presently face, we are prone to be discontented. Our circumstances are not only unacceptable, they are intolerable. Our inability to be content serves only to exacerbate our misery.


Thinking and Doing

Philippians 4:8, 9

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

So much of our lack of peace is the result of wrong thinking. We focus our minds on the things that discourage us instead of the things that encourage us. We think of things that lead us away from God instead of things that draw us nearer to him.


The Peace of God

Phil. 4:6,7

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Because of the present pandemic, we need peace more than ever. The troubles we face – physical, financial, emotional – are beyond our control. We are prone to worry. What shall we do? The Bible wants us to realize these three things.


Blessed are the Persecuted

Matthew 5:10-12

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


Those who belong to Christ will be persecuted. If the Master himself was persecuted, his disciples will be persecuted too.


(a) Persecution in the workplace.

Such was the experience of a committed Christian who tried to set things right in the corrupt government agency she worked in. She was ostracized and given a desk in a corner of the workplace where in virtual isolation she practically had no choice but to be left alone and to leave others alone.