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Masonic Discusion


O N   R E C O G N I T I O N
By Bro. Jim Bantolo
Grand Master, IGLPI
November 14, 2007
There had been questions and responses about “recognition”. Other Grand Lodges have used the term “amity” instead because of the controversial standards on recognition used by other Grand Lodges. There were also misinterpretations on the 2007 Report of the Commission on Information for Recognition of the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America . Its report on the Philippines follows”
“On July 8, 2006, nine Lodges in two Masonic districts of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines declared their independence from the Grand Lodge and announced the formation of a new Grand Lodge, subsequently called the Independent Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippine Islands. The Lodges turned in their charters and were issued new ones by the new Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge of the Philippines summarily declared these Lodges, its members and anyone else who joined them to be clandestine.  Even though the reasons for this separation may be valid and the Lodges are regular in origin and practice, the new Grand Lodge was not legally constituted, and they do not have exclusive territorial jurisdiction in the Philippines . It is therefore the opinion of the Commission that this Grand Lodge does not meet the standards for recognition…”
The opinionated report does not refer to the IGLPI. The fact is that, on July 8, 2006, nine Lodges from Leyte and Samar Provinces , Philippines of two Masonic Districts of the GLP declared their independence and formed the United Grand Lodge of the Philippines (UGLP). No charter was turned-in or new ones issued. The GLP did NOT summarily declare the Lodges or their members or anyone joining them “clandestine”. They elected MW Edward Chua as their Grand Master.
We should take note that the Commission on Information for Recognition states that “This Commission provides this data for use by our Grand Lodges (i.e. by North American Grand Lodges) and does not attempt to influence or recommend what actions should be taken. The Commission serves in an investigative and advisory capacity only…”  The Commission was formed in 1952 and is guided by Standards of Recognition adopted by the Conference of Grand Masters of North America. The Commission uses these guidelines to evaluate “Regularity” of a Grand Lodge and determines whether it is worthy of consideration for recognition by the member Grand Lodges. In short, it is still the individual Grand Lodges which decide on the matter of recognition.
Freemasonry is universal and is a worldwide organization. Freemasonry has NO boundaries. It is seamless.  It is ancient and exists in many parts of the world. Freemasons are organized in the smallest group called a Lodge. Several Lodges are thence organized into a District or Bodies; with Districts further organized into a Provincial Grand Lodge, or a Regional Grand Lodge and the larger organization called a Grand Lodge or a Grand Orient. Each Grand Lodge is autonomous. In each country, state, province, region or even a big City, you find a Grand Lodge or many Grand Lodges
In the practice of the principal tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, we maintain ties of friendship and brotherly affection with other Masons around the world. If you belong to the same Lodge or under the same District or Regional Grand Lodge or Provincial Grand Lodge or a Grand Lodge, then you are covered or bounded by similar rules and regulations; practice the same rituals, customs, and traditions; governed by a common Constitution, Edicts, and General Regulations.
If you leave your grand jurisdiction, or travel or settle in another land where there exist a Freemason Lodge; thence, there are rules that will govern your Masonic conduct.
It is correct that wherever you are, your Mother Lodge has jurisdiction over you. You are obliged or feel obliged to maintain your Masonic ties, i.e. communicate, attend their activities or fellowships, etc; with other Masons or Lodges in the locality, thence, you will be governed by certain rules of conduct. These governing principles, standards, policies, guidance, coordination, agreements, rules are normally embodied in a document that are traditionally incorporated in the so-called Recognition Act or Treaty of Amity between Grand Lodges.
This process started probably after the division and unification of the “Ancients” and the “Moderns” lodges of the Grand Lodge of England. The split created schism, quarrels over domains, territories; quarrels and competition in the formation of lodges; and the worst of all is when they called each other as clandestine; and hence all their off-springs are deemed also clandestine. It may have started with the issuance of a  “Warrant”,  which authorizes individuals to form Lodges as a basis for regularity and which later expanded to a more sophisticated process of weeding out the so-called “secret societies” or Triads which imitates the rituals or forms of Freemasonry.
Later on, the process of recognition has been criticized as a tool for elitism as it tended to confine the fraternity among a select group or an existing group; maintaining the status quo and isolating others who may wish to from another Grand Lodge. It was even criticized as a racist tool to prevent the formation of Grand Lodges among the non-white. But by and large, the recognition act either led to the spread of Freemasonry or caused enmity between Grand Lodges and fostered criticism of the Fraternity which preaches harmony, unity in a BROTHERHOOD of MEN under the FATHERHOOD of GOD..
But, between Masons, there are ways and means by which one may know or recognize the other to be a Mason and a Brother. This is the more important and sacred to any Brother which will open the doors of brotherly love, relief and truth.
If your Grand Lodge does not expect to go beyond the boundaries of your Lodge or Grand Lodge jurisdiction or does not see it fitting or proper for its members to communicate outside of its core membership, then recognition may not be pursued. There exist many Grand Lodges in the world that are not recognized nor even seek recognition for whatever reasons there may be.
As one defines a Grand Lodge as an assembly of elected lights of the lodge, the immediate past masters, the grand lodge officers, which is opened annually or quarterly to meet and discuss matters, approved laws, elect new officers, hear and approve reports, etc. With this definition, are we limiting ‘recognition” to this assembly only?
If for certain reasons, “recognition” is not sought for, why then give so much emphasis on this issue as if, it becomes the gateway to be accepted among the elites; and to deny access to this exclusive club to any and all others. If a Grand Lodge, which by self-serving basis and for political reasons of being afraid to be dismembered; unilaterally declares any other aspiring or forming Grand Lodge to be “illegal”, “irregular” ‘clandestine” or “spurious”; and will asked the other members of the elite club to do the same; where does Freemasonry goes? What more if the new Grand Lodge was a product of Lodges decision to separate for very valid reasons? Are we propagating a new version of Masonry as a “brotherhood of few selected men under the Fatherhood of GOD”? Will you exclude the other duly made Master Mason in duly constituted Lodges but whose Grand Lodge is declared “illegal”, “spurious”, “clandestine”, or “irregular” or “not recognized” by another based on her own definitions?
So, what are the Standards of Recognition by which each Grand Lodge may grant full and complete Masonic recognition to another Grand Lodge? What are these distinct criteria where Grand Lodges exchange Grand Representatives? What are these conditions where all other actions normally associated with Masonic recognition between Grand Lodges are made? What are these standards whereby amity will be forged between and among Grand Lodges?
The following are the Standards of Recognition of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia F.A.A.M. in USA :
1.       Belief in the G.A.O.T.U. and His revealed will.
2.       All Initiates in lodges under the Grand Lodge take their Obligations on or in full view of the open Volume of the Sacred Law.
3.       The three great Lights of Freemasonry are always exhibited when the Grand Lodge or its Subordinate Lodges are at work
4.       The membership of the Grand Lodge and individual Lodges is composed exclusively of men; and no Masonic relations are had with mixed lodges or bodies which admit women to membership.
5.       The Grand Lodge was established lawfully by a duly recognized Grand Lodge or by three or more Lodges which can show that they have consistently professed and practiced the established and unaltered principles of regular Freemasonry.
6.       The Grand Lodge has sovereign jurisdiction over the Lodges under its control. It is a responsible, independent, self-governing organization, with sole, undisputed and exclusive authority over the Craft or Symbolic Degrees. It is not in any way subject to, nor divide such authority with a Supreme Council or other Power claiming control or supervision over those degrees; and it does not extend its authority into, or establish lodges in, a territory occupied by a lawful Grand Lodge, without the expressed consent of said Grand Lodge.
7.       The Grand Lodge recognizes and believes that the dominant purposes of Freemasonry are charitable, benevolent, and educational. Discussion of sectarian religion and partisan politics is strictly prohibited from all activities under their auspices; and the principles of the Ancient Landmarks, usages and customs are strictly observed.
The Commission on Information for Recognition of the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America adopts, since the 1950’s, the following Standards for Recognition of Grand Lodges:
1.       Legitimacy of Origin – That the Grand Lodge has been lawfully formed by at least three just and duly constituted Lodges, or that it has been legally recognized by a Grand Lodge in fraternal relation with the Grand Lodge from whom recognition has been requested. That such Grand Lodge must be “under the tongue of good repute” for an adequate number of years before such fraternal recognition is extended. An existence for such a period as satisfies the Grand Lodge whose recognition is sought, during which time the highest standards of the Craft have been practiced by the applicant Grand Lodge, may cure what would otherwise be considered illegitimacy of origin.
2.       Territorial Sovereignty – That it is an independent, self-governing organization, having Masonic authority within the governmental territory over which it assumes jurisdiction - - - whether Country, Province, State or other political subdivision; or else shares such exclusive territorial jurisdiction with another Grand Lodge by mutual consent and/or treaty.
3.       Ancient Landmarks – That it subscribes fundamentally, ritualistically and in all its relations to the Ancient Landmarks, Customs, and Usages of the Craft. This requires adherence to the following:
a.       Monotheism – An unalterable and continuing belief in God.
b.       The Volume of the Sacred Law – an essential part of the furniture of the Lodge.
c.       Prohibition of the discussion of Religion and Politics.
The issue of “Territorial Jurisdiction” varies in many countries or states in USA . States like Arizona , District of Columbia , Indiana , North Carolina , Texas , Wisconsin , Wyoming , and such other Grand Lodges as in England refers to sovereign jurisdiction over the Lodges under its control and not to political territorial jurisdiction reserved only to sovereign governments of such countries. Hence, in some states, we find a Grand Lodge existing with another Grand Lodge, both of which are duly recognized by other Grand Lodges. The issue of mutual consent or treaty prior to allowing another Grand Lodge to be established has become an issue devoid of Brotherly Love and created more divisiveness for Masonry. There are countries where a Grand Lodge exist; however there also exist Lodges or even Regional Grand Lodges that were constituted and under the jurisdiction of other Grand Lodges. Hence the issue of territorial jurisdiction or exclusive territorial jurisdiction, or concurrent jurisdiction, or of supreme Masonic authority becomes a divisive cause of quarrels and enmity between Grand Lodges and a further criticism of Masonic harmony and unity .In effect, this “doctrine of territorial jurisdiction” is no longer useful
In the Philippines there existed / exist 14 Grand Lodges or Provincial Grand Lodges or Regional Grand Lodges or Supreme Councils or Grand Orient since the late 19th century. There were quarrels over the issue of territory with the other claiming an “Open Masonic country” and the others claiming “exclusive territorial jurisdiction”. It was an issue of a new power USA and a declining power Spain .  Apparently, after the Philippines; wherever the American Armed Forces went, the GLPI followed suit and also Masonically “invaded” Japan, South Korea, Guam, China, South Vietnam to claim “exclusive Masonic jurisdiction” in the Far East where there are NO Masonic Grand Lodges despite the presence of Lodges or Regional Grand Lodges of other countries or jurisdiction. Is it an issue of who organized a Grand Lodge first? Or does it imitate the acts of travelers who landed in foreign soils and declares the land as a territory of the King!
At the Lodge level, there is still the lingering issue of “Lodge territorial jurisdiction”. Lodges claim territories. Therefore, applicants should apply in a Lodge nearest their residence, otherwise the other Lodge will complain. Except for the police, military or the diplomats, all others must comply with the “residency rule”. Even visiting Masons fall under the jurisdiction of the nearest Lodge. This becomes more confusing and irrelevant with 24 Lodges located in the same Grand Lodge Temple in Manila , or so many more Lodges located in the Scottish Rite Temple in Manila . How do you divide Manila into a lodge territorial jurisdiction? The answer - - make Metro Manila an “open Masonic area”. So what gives in a larger scenario?
For want of membership, this “residency rule” or “Lodge territorial jurisdiction rule” had been disregarded by Lodges. Members desire for a particular Lodge for many reasons; and so, residence is “faked” to appear within the Lodge vicinity. Thus despite rules, lodges had to adapt. Indeed a time to change or to enforce strictly the rules? So where is “free will and accord”?
What then are the rules in the Philippines ? The Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands (GLPI) adopted on January 27, 1932, the Standards of Recognition used by the Grand Lodge of England. These are the following:
1.       Regularity of Origin – i.e. each Grand Lodge shall have been established by a duly recognized Grand Lodge or by three or more regularly constituted Lodges.
2.       That a belief in the Great Architect of the Universe and His revealed will shall be an essential qualification for membership.
3.       That all initiates shall take their Obligation on or its full view of the open Volume of the Sacred Law, by which is meant the revelation from above, which is binding on the conscience of the particular individual who is being initiated.
4.       That the membership of the Grand Lodge and individual Lodges shall be composed exclusively of men, and that each Grand Lodge shall have no Masonic intercourse of any kind with mixed Lodges or Bodies who admit women to membership.
5.       That the Grand Lodge shall have sovereign jurisdiction over the Lodges under its control, i.e. that it shall be responsible, independent, self-governing organization, with sole and undisputed authority over the Craft or Symbolic Degrees within its own jurisdiction; and shall not in any way be subject to or divide such authority with a Supreme Council or other Power claiming any control or supervision over those degrees.
6.       That the three Great Lights of Freemasonry shall always be exhibited when the Grand Lodge or its Subordinate Lodge are at work, the chief of this being the Volume of the Sacred Law.
7.       That the principles of the Ancient Landmarks, customs, and usages of the Craft shall be strictly observed.
By and large, based on the above; the Independent Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands (IGLPI) satisfy the Standards of Recognition for new Grand Lodges. The IGLPI is indeed REGULAR in origin. It was established by three or more duly constituted Lodges. It was constituted in a regularly held ceremony with authority emanating from the manifested free will and accord of the governed Lodges through “Lodge Resolutions” passed by the majority or unanimously of the members present in a regularly held Stated Meeting, to separate from the present Grand Lodge and join or form a new Grand Lodge. It does NOT need a Warrant from another Grand Lodge, as it is NOT forming a Regional or a Provincial Grand Lodge under the former. Following Masonic traditions in other Grand Lodges, it did not ask the former Grand Lodge of any permission to separate and form another Grand Lodge. It exercises jurisdiction and sovereignty over its Subordinate Lodges It complies with the standards of Ancient Landmarks. Some of our Lodges were constituted much earlier than the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands / Grand Lodge of the Philippines and thus, the GLP was a creation of one of our Lodges.
The process of recognition takes a short period or even hundreds of years. When the Grand Lodge of England recognized the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in December 1994; the Grand Lodge of the Philippines (GLP) followed suit in 1998 with the condition, that the Prince Hall Grand Lodge will not constitute any other Lodge in the Philippines and will allow the existing Prince Hall Grand Lodge -  Mabuhay Lodge at Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines to continue. Many more Grand Lodges in Northern part of USA also recognized the Prince Hall Grand Lodges. However other Grand Lodges in the Southern part of USA still have not recognized the Prince Hall Grand Lodges. The GLP took a long time and was Nr. 25 in recognizing the Grand Lodge of Japan (GLJ), which broke away from the GLP. Further the GLP imposed conditions like; that the GLJ allow the other GLP lodges in Japan and Okinawa to exist and remain under the jurisdiction of the GLP and for its equity share in the Tokyo Masonic Temple . In 1912-1915, the Gran Logia Regional de Filipinas of the Gran Oriente Espanol questioned and complained the formation of the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. The GLPI/GLP in 1920-1924, petitioned the Grand Oriente Espanol to stop constituting new lodges in the Philippines and to arrest or recall the Charters of Lodges it has issued earlier. The GLPI/GLP also questioned or petitioned the formation of the  “Gran Logia del Archipelago de Filipinas” (in the 1922-1924) by the Grand Oriente Espanol from among its original Lodges and other newly formed lodges in the Philippines . The Grand Lodge of Scotland imposed a condition that her Perla del Oriente Lodge No. 1034 in the Philippines should continue to remain under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Scotland before she recognize the Grand Lodge of the Philippines for reasons that the Lodge existed before the GLP.
The Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands (GLPI) then, did not have fraternal relations of amity or “recognition” with the Grand Oriente Espanol. In principle, it can not recognize many of our Masonic heroes as Masons as they were raised in Grand Oriente Espanol Lodges.
There are many more old and recent controversies over such issue of “recognition” of new or emerging Grand Lodges in Europe as reported in the Annual Reports of the Commission on Recognition of Grand Lodges under the Conference of Grand Masters of North America .. As if, it makes you a “better man” if you become branded internationally. Or the contrary prevails, that it is only for “mercenary motives” or for “transactional value” to advertise oneself abroad to foreign brothers.
Such is the process. It takes time to mature. There will be conditions to be imposed. There will be negotiations to pursue. By and large, the issue of territorial jurisdiction is the most controversial; having been violated if not disregarded; otherwise it is imposed, on case-to-case basis at the will and pleasure and interest of the Grand Lodge.
So back to the question – “What makes you a Mason?”, “How do I know you to be a Mason?” “Where were you made a Mason?”
The IGLPI will await their time with PATIENCE. It will progress and moved-on.
IGLPI – Research and Information Center
BBL4 Masonic Center
Cavite City, Philippines
Friday February 15, 2008
Truth  -  The Key To Set Us Free(Series Nr 1) By Bro. Jim Bantolo PGM MW Jaime Gonzales GM of the GLP, wrote in his article “Wisdom: A Key to Moving Forward to My Self-Assigned Task” as published in their Cabletow, that among the myriad problems he face upon installation as GM was that which arose from “the exclusion of certain candidates for the position of Junior Grand Warden at the Cebu Ancom. Certain brethren from Leyte and Samar reacted and proposed the formation of a United Grand Lodge, and the proposal got some support from other brethren in Luzon . Fortunately, the delegates to the convention of the two districts repudiated the move; instead, they proposed an alternative, namely, the formation of Regional Grand Lodges. This proposal was formally presented during the Visayan Regional Convention last August 2007, but it was voted down by the majority of the delegates thereto…” The TRUTH - At the election for JGW during the April 28-30, 2006 Cebu ANCOM, the Past GMs excludes   three (3) strong nominees in the final nomination for JGW for reasons that they were unworthy. Pressed for clarification on the basis for their decision and whether the nominees were given due process, more than half or about seven hundred (700) delegates walked-out as the Past GMs failed to answer the queries satisfactorily. After two (2) months, on July 8, 2006, in a convention of nine (9) lodges from two (2) Masonic District of Leyte and Samar , a Declaration of Independence was made. A Manifesto was signed for the formation of the United Grand Lodge of the Philippines . MW Edward Chua was elected Grand Master. This was announced in the Masonic world. The GLP hierarchy harnessed its forces and sent Past GMs to pacify the region. PGM YU came and offered a Regional Grand Lodge be formed in the region. The region became divided as a group opted to move-on; while the other group opted to be a Regional Grand Lodge. At the ANCOM 2007, NO Regional Grand Lodge for Leyte and Samar was formed by GM YU. The GLP Constitution provides for the GM to organize Regional Grand Lodges. At one time, the GM appointed Regional Deputy Grand Masters. I am made aware that the issue was for a Regional Grand Lodge in Eastern Visayas . There was no move for the whole Visayas to be a Regional Grand Lodge. As compared to Mindanao , only three (3) districts were proposing for a Grand Lodge of Mindanao but the GLP rejected this. There was no convention of Mindanao lodges or districts to decide or recommend the proposals of the three (3) districts.             POINTS OF INTEREST: 1.       The first problem was election reforms. The efforts of PGM PUNO since 1984, for election reforms fell on deaf ears resulting on election scandals in 2003, electioneering in other elections, and then the 2006 election walk-out. 2.       The walk-out of seven hundred (700) delegates or more than half of the delegates is a serious problem as it was spontaneous. It looks like a serious breach of Masonic discipline of voting. But in the final analysis, it is symptomatic of a bigger problem of organizational failure and leadership crisis. As there was no quorum, the voting is questionable. The result is not representative of the delegates attending. 3.       The formation of the United Grand Lodge of the Philippines was a reality. It was premised on three (3) issues; namely, the ACACIA bankruptcy, the failure to address the problems of lodges, the 2006 election scandal or irregularities. 4.       The GLP proposed a Regional Grand Lodge as a form of appeasement. Despite of assurances, NO Regional Grand Lodge was formed. 5.       The UGLP failed to move-on. The task of GM Gonzales to resolve the problems will stretch over time. His term will not resolve the issues he inherited from a decade of avoidance and disregard. The wound of divisiveness and demoralization is growing bigger and painful. The effort for electoral reforms made by PGM Puno since 1984 has never been realized. It has resulted to more turmoil, more electioneering, and more election scandals. The move for a Grand Lodge of Mindanao in 2003 which was rejected by the GLP has resulted to the formation of two (2) other Grand Lodges in 2006.   UGLP lasted for several months, but the dream remains. IGLPI is being watched all over and the success of IGLPI is most feared that the GLP embarked in both judicial and extra-judicial efforts to impede its growth or even its existence at ALL COST.
Hanford Lodge No. 279
Grand Lodge of CA (F&AM)
the report is indeed a welcome remark coming from brothers who are impartial. The report only proves that the IGLPI is not clandestine as they recognize that our origin and works are regular anmd that the actions of the GLP during GM Yu's term were harsh and was done without due process. the UGLE itself has been reconizing Grand lodges who share common territories. as to the question of some brothers regading our reasons maybe they should take a look at the history of the Grand Lodge of Japan and why the GLP itself was formed. remember that the three lodges that fromed the GLP were not ease with the Grand Lodges that were existing at that time.
with this in mind and wiht the report of the conference i can now safely assert that we are not and will never be clandestine. 

Brethren email from
RW, Manuel (Nonoy) Carranza
Senior Grand Warden IGLPI
The results of the CONFERENCE OF GRAND MASTERS OF MASONS IN NORTH AMERICA should be taken as a welcome development. Although obviously there was a mix up in the information gathered about the IGLPI and the UGLP, we should appreciate the fact that the conference has somehow addressed our case. In its report, the fact that the IGLPI is not a duly constituted Grand Lodge was the only big issue that stands along the way to recognition. Maybe, given the proper information and the full documentary coverage of our Declaration of Independence and subsequent constitution they will be able to make a beter assessment of our present status as a new Grand Lodge. The IGLPI after one year has survived the ordeals that normally confront new Grand Lodges. We now have eight member lodges which meet regulalrly and perform its basic functions as blue lodges. The IGLPI has already accomplished its primary goals... to establish a truly democratic Freemasonry in this jurisdiction: one that adheres to the basic tenets (BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF & TRUTH) and cardinal virtues of Freemasonry (TEMPERANCE, FORTITUDE, PRUDENCE & JUSTICE) as well as the basic democratic principles of LIBERTY, EQUALITY AND FRATERNITY.empower its member lodges without necessarily rendering the IGLPI powerless. a truly DEMOCRATIC FREEMASONRY is what the IGLPI is all about. Its basic role is to foster harmony among its member lodges within its jurisdiction and harmony with other Grand Lodge jurisdictions. The IGLPI Constitution and By-Laws and the implementing Legislative, Judicial and Administrative Codes which provide its basic framework are now in place and just awaiting final ratification. We had exhaustive discussion during the last District Meeting about the Legislative and Administrative Codes and all there is left is the finalization of these drafts and its ratification come November 30 - December 1 during our 2nd IGLPI Grand Assembly.
 Dear Brethren,
> We are aware of this report from the Conference of Grand Masters in North America. The Report pertains to the formation of the United Grand Lodge of the Philippines last July 8, 2006 in Tacloban, Leyte Philippines where 9 lodges from Leyte and Samar BROKE away for many reasons cited. Elected was MW Ed ward Chua as Grand Master These Lodges nor their members were NOT declared "clandestine" by the GLP
> .
> The Report does NOT refer to the IGLPI.
> TRUTH is a principal tenet of Freemasonry. May Brotherly Love prevail
> .
> Please pass to all concerned Filipino Masons withersoever dispersed Thanks.
> Bro Jim Bantolo

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