Interview with Jamie Del Rosario Martinez

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What was family and surrounding culture like growing up? I know memories can fade and become distorted. However, there are themes, which can help set the groundwork for our discussion here today.

Jamie De Rosario Martinez: I was a product of a broken family, eldest of 4 siblings, I was a battered child being beaten from small to no reasons at all getting punishments even if it was not my fault, I have a womanizer and a gambler dad and a Martyr mother and community full of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) members, all my relatives from my mother side are INC members and so do we. I was forced to stop from school at the age of 14 so I could work and bring my siblings to school since my father doesn’t want to take that responsibility I started working as an entertainer in Japan at the age of 15 using fake passport etc. to look like 19yo. To earn money only to be confiscated by my father and leave me with only 500 Pesos ($10) this routine continued until my father permanently left us to go with other women.

Jacobsen: When did you begin to question God?

Jamie: when I was 16 I was excommunicated from INC and I found out that my cousin reported to INC that I was working as an entertainer in Japan. And they judged me without even asking my side they accused me of doing things that are against the will of their god they accused me of selling my flesh to Japanese men which made me really mad and made me realize that they are so judgmental, I worked abroad to be able to send food to my family and to be able to send my siblings to school.

Jacobsen: How did you find HAPI? What is its main goal? Why is it important to build irreligious communities, especially in hyper-religious countries?

Jamie: I was in a Reproductive health law Rally with a friend in Baguio when I met this group of young guys from HAPI they were so kind and gentlemen, during lunch time our leader told us to go back to the bus and have lunch but me and my friend went to the cr first and when we get back to the bus there are no more pack lunch left for us to eat having only enough money to go back home me and my friend went out the bust to by biscuits while we are falling in line some HAPI members saw us and asked if we already had our lunch and we said No because there are no more lunch for us in our bus, surprisingly they offered me and my friend a free lunch it was like WOW how kind these guys are a total stranger like us then I asked them do HAPI has FB page or group that I could join and the rest is history

HAPIs main goal for me is to spread humanity to all regardless of beneficiaries’ religion especially kids they promote humanity and critical thinking based on my personal observation.

Currently, I am not yet aware of the importance of building Irreligious community as I myself I still under transformation from religious to nonreligious.

Jacobsen: What are some of your more notable initiatives with HAPI in the past and the present?

Jamie: I have a monthly feeding of 200 kids through HAPI, Self Sufficient because of the HAPI Farm, I also have HAPI Merchandise for fundraising.

Jacobsen: How are things for the religiously unaffiliated, socially and legally, and politically, in the Philippines?

Jamie: socially; still need to hide due to stigma as a non-believer.

Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, Jamie.

Original Publication in Humanist Voices.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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