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ARCHBISHOP Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops\u2019 Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the outcome of the recent bid to impeach Mrs. Arroyo did not come as a surprise.
In an interview, Lagdameo said that the Catholic bishops were already foreseeing that the impeachment pro-
CBCP Episcopal Commission on In- digenous Peoples (ECIP) chair, Bishop Sergio Utleg, said the Com- mission aims at helping the unfortu- nate state of tribal minorities living in the country today by developing the value of \u201cself-determination\u201d.
A big crowd is ex- pected to gather at the Carmelite Monas- tery in Lipa City on September 12 for a pilgrimage and mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
As a spiritual preparation, hun- dreds of delegates from several vicari- ates in the Archdio- cese will troop to Lipa for a triduum to be held at the San Sebastian Cathedral
Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said that on the final day, September 12, it is ex- pected to attract sev- eral thousands of devo- tees from all over the country including bish- ops and priests. Last year, more than 20,000 pilgrims attended the event.
\u201cWe would like to continue this new but laudable marian tradi- tion and engage as
MALOLOS Bishop Jose Oliveros has condemned the operation of Small-Town-Lottery (STL) in his dio- cese saying that the promise it could offer to the people is an \u201cillusory hope of progress.\u201d
\u201cWhatever form of gambling, legal or illegal, is clearly not the an- swer and solution to the spreading poverty in our midst,\u201d said Oliveros.
The government believes the revival of STL will provide jobs to displaced \u201cjueteng\u201d workers and ad- ditional revenue for the government.
Oliveros however said that the recovery from poverty can in no way be addressed by the promotion, be it legal, of STL and other forms of gambling.
MANILA Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales urged Vice-presi- dent Noli De Castro to help railway families living adjacent to a dumpsite in Laguna province.
In a letter sent to De Castro, chair- man of the Housing and Urban De- velopment Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Rosales said the evictees, who have been relocated to the Southville Housing Project Cabuyao,
He said that what the country needs are effective programs that will uplift the people from poverty through dignified living and upright means of livelihood.
\u201cWhat the country needs is a noble government imbued with com- mitment for dignified public service,\u201d the bishop added.
Archbishop Paciano Aniceto of San Fernando, Pampanga, Bishops Socrates Villegas of Balanga, Bataan, Sofronio Bancud of Cabanatuan and Mylo Hubert Vergara of San Jose, also issued statements saying they didn\u2019t want the numbers game anywhere in their jurisdictions. (CBCP News)
Laguna province, are suffering under \u201cinhuman conditions\u201d and face \u201chealth and environmental hazards\u201d by living next to a dumpsite.
\u201cIt appears to me that the cur- rent relocation program in Cabuyao, Laguna fails to take into consideration the health and environmental hazards that living next to a mixed waste dump might cause to the relocates,\u201d he said.
FATHER Regino Cortes, the only Filipino and Asian mem- ber of the Vatican Pontifical Bib- lical Commission (PBC), died August 28 of heart attack.
Cortes, 64, had just fin- ished giving a retreat to stu- dents of the College of Fine Arts and Design, where he was a regent, when he reportedly collapsed in his room at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Father\u2019s Residence.
He was rushed to the UST Hospital but the doctors pro- nounced him dead-on-arrival.
A respected professor of Sacred Scripture at the Faculty of Sacred Theology, he was ap- pointed by Pope John Paul II in 2001 as member of the Pontifi- cal Biblical Commission for a term of five years.
He was awarded the degree of Licentiate in Sacred Scripture by the PBC after passing the
examen praevium and the lectio magistratis in 1970 (cum mentione).
many faithful as pos- sible, inviting them to pray and make repa- ration,\u201d
The National Movement for Mary Mediatrix of All Grace has extended invita- tions to all the arch/ dioceses to attend this event, which Catholic Bishops\u2019 Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) head Archbishop An-
AS the oil spill reaching other parts of Iloilo, the Archdiocese of Jaro has called on the faithful to continue sending aid for the people of the affected communities.
Angel Lagdameo said that though \u201cwe can- not be responsible\u201d for the accident, \u201cwe can reach out immediately to the affected families of the affected barangays in terms of material help, because they have lost their liveli- hood.\u201d
\u201cLet us be in solidarity with them through whatever organized help we can extend to them,\u201d he said.
The Archdiocese of Jaro cov- ers Iloilo and Guimaras, where 92 percent of 2.7 million people are Catholics.
Lagdameo said that his archdio- cese has already taken up steps in the relief effort led by the Diocesan Social Action Center (JASAC) and Jaro Archdiocesan Pastoral Secre- tariat (JAPS).
\u201cAs one \u2018Body of Christ\u2019, the tragedy suffered by one part is felt too by the entire body,\u201d said Lagdameo who is concurrently presi- dent of the Catholic Bishops\u2019 Con- ference of the Philippines (CBCP).
The oil spill started August 11, when a tanker sunk south of Guimaras Island, about 312 miles southeast of Manila as it was trans- porting more than 500,000 gallons of bunker oil of Petron Corporation.
The province was immediately put under a \u201cstate of calamity\u201d fol- lowing what authorities called as the country\u2019s worst spill.
\u201cThe causes of this tragedy need to be fully and honestly inves- tigated in order that justice may be served,\u201d said Lagdameo.
MATI, Davao Oriental\u2014Catholic Church leaders are spearheading a signature campaign urging the gov- ernment to impose a total log ban in this province following the death of nine people in Cateel town due to ille- gal-logging operations.
Immediately after the accident, a group composed of religious organi- zations and civil society groups gath- ered together at the St. James the Apostle Parish in Cateel and unani-
In a statement, they lambasted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for its \u201cin- capacity and organization con- straints\u201d to protect and regulate natu- ral resources and biodiversity of the province.
\u201cWith the increasing and magni- fying effects of natural and man-made disasters in the province, elsewhere
in the country and globally, we strongly proposed and recommended that a total log ban be implemented in Davao Oriental,\u201d said the statement.
Sr. Melvin Manligoy of the Di- ocesan Social Action Center said they will send the position paper to Ms Arroyo and Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes after gathering enough signatures.
gether and take a common stand against all forms of environmental destructions.
\u201cBefore, we only act when some- thing happened and nothing can be heard after. That should not be the case,\u201d said Manligoy.
The group lamented the apathy of logging companies, buyers and processors to manifest its socio-eco- logical corporate responsibility.
CHINA, Aug. 26, 2006 - A bishop of China's underground Catholic Church has been released after more than 10 years in prison, the US-based Cardi- nal Kung Foundation reports.
Bishop An Shuxin, an auxiliary of the Baoding diocese in Hebei province, was set free on August 24. He had been arrested in May 1996, in a government raid on the Baoding seminary, where he was rector. Since that time his where- abouts had been unknown.
In what could be a significant step forward for Catholics in China, Bishop An reportedly has received the government's recognition as a bishop, and permission to do pastoral work. The AsiaNews service reports that he accepted the government's recogni- tion, but refused to register with the government-sponsored Catholic Patri- otic Association.
The Patriotic Association, which is affiliated with the Communist Party, has sought to establish a Chinese Catholic Church independent of the Holy See. The underground Catholic Church, which maintains loyalty to Rome, has been treated as an illegal or-
There are six other Catholic bish- ops of the underground Church in Hebei province still in Chinese pris- ons; in some cases the faithful are not sure whether the prelates are still alive.
Bishop Su Zhimin of the Baoding diocese, where Bishop An served, was arrested in 1997 and his current condi- tion and location are unknown.
Bishop Han Dingsiang of Yong Nian, also in the Hebei province, was arrested in 1999 and his current condi- tion and location are unknown.
Bishop Jian Zhiguo of Zhengding, Hebei, was arrested in June of this year; he has been arrested 9 other times in the past three years. His current status is unknown. Bishop Shi Enxiang of Yixian, Hebei, was arrested in 2001; his current condition and location are unknown.
Bishop Yao Liang, an auxiliary of the Xiwanzi diocese in Hebei, was ar- rested in July of this year, and is being held in Zhangjiakou.
Bishop Zhao Zhendong of Xuanhua as arrested in December 2004; his current condition and loca- tion are unknown. (CWNews.com)
CASTELGANDOLFO, Aug. 28, 2006\u2014Troubled families today can receive great comfort from the lives of St. Monica and her son St. Au- gustine, said Pope Benedict XVI yes- terday, prior to the Angelus. Sunday was the memorial for St. Monica; to- day is the memorial for St. August- ine.
Monica (333-387), born of a Christian family, lived her life as a wife and a mother in an exemplary way, helping her husband to dis- cover the beauty of the Christian faith and the strength of Gospel love, said the Pope. After her husband\u2019s death, she dedicated herself even more fully to her three children. Au- gustine caused her great suffering with his rebellious character.
But Augustine (354-430) would later say that his mother bore him twice. The second time was after a long spiritual labor, consisting of prayers and tears, but in the end filled with the joy of seeing him not only embrace the faith and receive bap- tism, but dedicate his whole life to the service of Christ, the Pope said.
\u201cHow many difficulties are there in families even today and how many mothers are distressed because their children are taking the wrong paths!\u201d the Pope exclaimed. \u201cMonica, a woman who is wise and solid in the faith, invites them not to be discouraged but to persevere in their mission as wives and mothers, maintaining a firm faith in God and holding on to prayer.\u201d
As for Augustine, his whole ex- istence was a passionate search for truth, the Pope continued. In the end, not without a long interior struggle,
he discovered in Christ the full and ultimate meaning of his life and of all of human history.
In adolescence, attracted by worldly goods and beauty, his ac- tions were guided by egoism and possessiveness. His actions would cause great pain to his mother. But along his journey, and thanks to the grace of his mother\u2019s prayers, he con- tinued to open himself up more to the fullness of truth and love to the point of conversion, the Pope re- counted.
Augustine\u2019s ultimate conver- sion took place in Milan under the guidance of St. Ambrose, then bishop of the northern Italian city.
Augustine remains today a wit- ness, for all people, of the journey toward God, supreme Truth and Goodness, the Pope stated. \u201cLate have I loved you,\u201d Augustine would write of his love for God in his fa- mous autobiography, The Confes- sions.
The Pope prayed, \u201cfor all the young people who, thirsty for hap- piness, are seeking it by following the wrong paths and losing them- selves in blind alleys,\u201d asking for St. Augustine\u2019s intercession.
The Pope closed by entrusting to Mother Mary all Christian parents so that they, like St. Monica, will ac- company their children with good ex- amples and prayers. He also en- trusted to her all young people so that they, like Augustine, will jour- ney always toward the fullness of Truth and Love, which is Christ.
\u201cOnly Christ can satisfy the pro- found desires of the human heart,\u201d he concluded. (CNA)
VATICAN, Aug. 25\u2014The Pontifical Council for Migrants has issued a statement for the World Day of Tour- ism, encouraging travel but criticiz- ing the financial organization of the tourism industry.
The World Day of Tourism will be observed on September 27. In the past the Vatican has released a mes- sage for that day signed by the Pope. But this year the message is signed by Cardinal Renato Martino (bio - news) and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto: the president and secre- tary, respectively, of the Pontifical Council for Tourism.
The scope of international tour- ism is steadily growing, the Vatican document observes. But it goes on to say that there are two very dis- tinct approaches to the industry: some see tourism as a source of
wealth and entertainment; others see it as an opportunity to become bet- ter acquainted with other cultures and with nature.
The perception of tourism as a source of capital wealth tends to ag- gravate economic inequality, the document says. The real wealth to be gained, the Pontifical Council says, lies in the appreciation of other places and other cultures.
The document speaks of "the richness offered on the face of each brother and sister, a permanent and perennial gift from God." Last year Pope Benedict signed a statement for the 26th World Day of Tourism, fol- lowing the pattern set by Pope John Paul II. This year he did not sign the Vatican statement. No explanation was offered for the evident policy shift. (CWNews.com)
HONG KONG, August 28, 2006\u2013 Lack of prenatal care among expectant mothers from mainland China is becoming a prob- lem in Hong Kong, as revealed by an increasing number of babies with abnor- malities abandoned in the Territory.
More and more women seek to deliver their babies in hospitals in the ex-British colony and many abandon them after they are born: they are un- aware that most paediatric medical problems are easily resolved.
These \u201ctourist mothers\u201d migrate to Hong Kong because their children will immediately be granted local citizenship by virtue of being born in the Territory. According to the Census and Statistics Department, 11,716 babies, or about 20% of all births in Hong Kong from mid-2005 to mid-2006, were to parents who were
\u201cSince there is no prenatal care in China, this can put pregnancies in high risk," said Cheung Kam-lau, consult- ant paediatrician at Prince of Wales Hospital's neonatal care unit. "Most of these mothers expect healthy, chubby babies, but things just don't always happen ideally." He continued: \u201cMany mothers are not prepared for abnormal births or congenital dis- eases, such as Down's syndrome and so they abandon them.\u201d
Cheung said many mothers-to-be admitted themselves to hospital at a very late stage of pregnancy, some- thing that created further problems in monitoring the foetus. Often they felt revulsion for babies born with defects that could be dealt with.
The doctor recalled how \u201cabout three months ago, we took care of a boy whose ears and jaw were deformed. The parents already had two healthy girls and were shocked. I explained to them that with surgery, the boy would be able to hear normally but they abandoned him.\u201d He added: \u201c"We all feel very sad about the baby's future. There is one more or- phan in this world.\u201d
In another case, a non-resident couple was about to abandon their son who had Down\u2019s Syndrome. The doc- tor said: \u201cMany \u2018tourists\u2019 don\u2019t know what kind of treatment we offer here in Hong Kong. In this case, we convinced the parents that the son could enjoy a decent quality of life and we managed to persuade them not to abandon him.\u201d (AsiaNews/SCMP)
ganization, and harassment by govern- ment forces has been most severe in the Hebei diocese, where the under- ground Catholic presence is strongest.
The AsiaNews service reports, however, that the stance taken by Bishop An-- accepting the government's recog- nition but refusing to join forces with the Patriotic Association-- was a solu- tion proposed by Vatican officials in in- formal talks with the Chinese govern- ment. AsiaNews has reported mounting tensions between the Patriotic Associa- tion and the Beijing government this year, with the government eventually pressing the Patriotic Association to stop its illicit appointment of new Catholic bishops without Vatican approval.
In reporting Bishop An's release, Joseph Kung of the Cardinal Kung Foundation said that he hoped the move "is not an isolated case, but rather the beginning of the release of many dozens of other Roman Catholic bish- ops, priests, and faithful." A much broader release of Catholic prisoners of conscience, he said, would "show China\u2019s sincerity about improving its relationships with the Vatican and its
IMPHAL, India, August 24,2006\u2014Re- ligious leaders led a rally of protest in the capital of northeastern state of Manipur on Wednesday against gov- ernment apathy towards the excesses carried by the army and linguistic marginalization.
Thousands of people marched through the streets of Imphal, protest- ing the recent grenade attack on the ISKCON temple. Religious leaders be- longing to various faiths said people in Manipur are denied peace and justice.
\u201cWe are treated like second class citizens. The Army personnel attack the poor people here, bombs go off in religious places of worship. There is a total breakdown of civil rights in Manipur,\u201d said Christian leader E. Johnson, secretary general of Interna-
He said people in Manipur have been denied all human rights. \u201cNo in- vestigation takes place here against bomb attacks on people and religious places of worship,\u201d Johnson said.
Hundreds of students, rights ac- tivists and religious leaders cut across faiths joined the protest march.
The rally, organised by All Manipur Joint Action Committee for Prevention of Terrorism, said the gre- nade attack on the temple while devo- tees were engrossed in a Ras Lila per- formance on Janmasthami was targeted against the basic faith of the people.
Five persons were killed and 50 others were wounded in the attack. The victims included two children.
city culminated at the Thangmeibandh Athletics Sports ground. Speakers during the rally condemned the attack and called for a united stand against \u201cacts of terrorism\u201d.
A delegation of the All Manipur Joint Action Committee for Prevention of Terrorism met Ibobi Singh after the rally and submitted a memorandum to the government.
The Apunba Lup, the spearhead of the campaign against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, showed solidarity with the protesters against terrorism.
\u201cThe international community should condemn the attack on a holy place where vulnerable people like women and children were present,\u201d said Phulindro Konsam, a leader of the Committee On Human Rights. (ICNS)
ALLAIPIDDY, Sri Lanka, August 25, 2006\u2014Catholics in northern Sri Lanka are calling for the truth about a priest\u2019s disap- pearance in Jaffna to be revealed \u201cwith- out delay\u201d. As the authorities keep silent, the community can only continue to pray.
Thirty-four-year-old Fr Jim Brown was last seen by a fellow priest on 20 August at a military checkpoint at Allaipiddy. Accompanied by Vimalathas, a father of five children, he was waiting to go to his parish church, destroyed days before in clashes between the army and rebel Tamil Tigers. Both men have disap- peared without trace.
While the diocese of Jaffna anxiously awaits news of their fate, another Christian priest has been reported missing in Jaffna since 11 August: Fr Vincent Vinodharaja of the Christian Church of the Apostle.
On 24 August, priests, religious and lay people flocked to an adoration service held at St John\u2019s church in Jaffna for Fr Jim and Vimalathas. The service was followed
by a silent march to the office of the local Government Agent [highest government representative at district level].
Fr M. Savundaranayagam, Dean of Jaffna Ecclesiastical District, addressed the church gathering, stressing that \u201cour government has the responsibility to give a truthful and reasonable answer to this serious problem.
\u201cWe cannot understand how a priest in his full priestly uniform along with his pillion rider, riding a red coloured motor- cycle could have mysteriously vanished during daylight hours in an area where there is a concentration of security forces,\u201d he said. \u201cWe request that the truth about this matter be revealed to us without delay.\u201d
Fr Savundaranayagam tempered his direct appeal by thanking the security forces for the \u201crespect\u201d they usually showed priests, even allowing them to travel for essential services during cur- few hours sometimes.
KARACHI, Pakistan, August 28, 2006\u2013 The archbishop emeritus of Karachi was \u201cone of the best shepherds of the country, a modern Moses\u201d, whose work \u201ccontributed to strengthening the faith of local Catholics\u201d said Fr Robert D\u2019Silva.
He was speaking at the start of the funeral mass of Mgr Simeon Anthony Pereira, which took place yesterday in St Patrick\u2019s Cathedral in Karachi. The cathedral was crowded with thousands of believers who came from all across the country for the mass.
The bishops of Hyderabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Quetta and Islamabad were present at the cer- emony as was the Vatican Apostolic Nuncio in Pakistan, Mgr Adolfo Yllana, who read a message of condolence from the Holy See. Over 20 religious orders of the diocese attended the ceremony.
blessed by Mgr Evarist Pinto, current archbishop of Karachi, who described his predecessor as a \u201cman who chose to serve God with his life and who made respect for life his mission.\u201d He added: \u201cHis death saddens all who knew him. We have lost an excellent shepherd.\u201d
During the mass, youth from the diocese sang the choruses in Urdu and English: one of the main objectives of the deceased bishop was precisely to create a liturgy in the traditional lan- guage of Pakistan to help youth ap- proach the Gospel.
At the end of the funeral, the bishop\u2019s coffin was laid to rest next to Archbishop Joseph Cordeiro, who was the first cardinal of Pakistan; Bishop Pereira had been his pupil and friend.
The archbishop emeritus passed away on 21 August aged 78 after he suffered a heart attack. He retired in 2002 but remained very active in diocesan pastoral work. (AsiaNews/DT)
or unwilling, to help. All requests to the authorities and efforts by the church to discover the whereabouts of Fr Jim and Vimalathas have proved fruitless. Fr Savundaranayagam said he went in per- son to Allaipiddy to search for Fr Jim and Vimalathas on 22 August, and the follow- ing day, he accompanied the bishop of Jaffna, Thomas Savundaranayagam, to St Philip Neri Church there. \u201cUnfortu- nately we were unable to get any new information about them,\u201d he said.
While waiting and hoping Fr Jim is safe, his friends are recalling his selfless service. \u201cFr Jim did his best to help the Allaipiddy people, risking his own life to face a barrage of shells,\u201d said Fr Savundaranayagam, referring to an attack on St Philip Neri church during crossfire on 12 August.
The people of the neighbouring dio- cese of Mannar, where the priest worked for two years, also held prayers and a march for Fr Jim today. (AsiaNews)
MT Solar I, carrying more or less 2 million liters of bunker fuel, sank 21 km. off the southern coast of Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. The good gov- ernor of Guimaras, the Honorable JC Rahman A. Nava, MD, calls it the \u201c8-11 tragedy.\u201d His report to the joint Regional Disaster Coordinat- ing Council (RDCC) and Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) meeting said: \u201cThen came the tragic incident of 8-11. No, we did not have planes hitting our land- marks as what happened in 9-11. We were knocked off our feet and got the scare of our lives with the sink- ing of MT Solar I. All of a sudden our clear waters were blotted with ugly, messy, and smelly sludge, as part of the 2 million liters of bunker fuel leaked out of Solar I\u2019s cargo hold . . . we can only watch in horror how oil spill can undo in a few days, our initiatives which have taken de- cades to implement.\u201d
The report likewise said that \u201cmore than 4,000 families largely de- pendent on fishing have been dis- placed, comprising about 26,000 in- dividuals. Some 220 kilometers of coastline have been ravished, with thick, black slimy oil slick as mute witness to the tragedy. In addition, 454 hectares of mangroves have been devastated. These included our prized mangrove forests in the TINMAR area, the natural mangrove plantation
the Inampologan island resort as well as our numerous mangrove reforesta- tion projects scattered in the barangays mentioned. Also 58 hect- ares of productive seaweed planta- tion, some of which are ready for har- vest, have been attacked, with its profitability down to almost nil.\u201d
The official report of the Depart- ment of Social Welfare and Devel- opment (DSWD) as of 24 August says that 27 Barangays in 3 munici- palities of the province of Guimaras are affected by the oil spill. The fami- lies affected in these Barangays to- tal to 3,487 or approximately 17,435 individuals if each family has aver- age of five members. The Philippine Coast Guard reports that the oil spill threatens 45 municipalities in the provinces of Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros occidental.
The effect of the oil spill to the livelihood of the people is pictured out vividly by the report of the Gov- ernor: \u201cIn only 4 days, about 14% of the province\u2019s population has lost its main source of income\u2014fishing. Sustenance fishermen who eke a liv- ing from the bounties of the coasts now have nowhere to fish, and no fish to catch, their gears rendered useless by the oil spill. The fish and mollusks were either gone, have di- minished in number, or if collected, were too unpalatable to even find their way to the kitchen sink. Even those who sell fish (panting) woke up to find no fish to sell, or those who have, found no buyers.\u201d
The provincial government im- mediately created Task Force Sun- rise to coordinate relief works. Com- munities in the coastal Barangays were encouraged to make improvised spill booms to prevent bunker fuel oil from damaging the shorelines. Medical assistance and relief goods were immediately provided. Surveys of household affected were made, tests on water and fish were facili- tated and right information was pro- vided. As of this writing, relief op- erations are still going on.
The local provincial govern- ment of Guimaras recommends the following: 1. Retrieval of the sunken tanker. 2. Protocol of waste disposal. 3. Integrated damage and needs as- sessment as basis for relief, rehabili- tation and recovery efforts.
I was talking to an oceanogra- pher from U.P. Visayas, and he im- pressed upon me the urgency of re- trieving the tanker the fastest pos- sible time. Estimates of the oil spill
runs to as many as 200,000 to 300,000 liters which means that there are still more or less 1,700,000 liters of bun- ker fuel oil under the sea. The ocean- ographer I was talking with talked about the pressure under the sea on the tanker, thus before it creates more damage the tanker must be re- trieved. I do not know what is taking Petron so long to do this. It would seem to me that Petron does not un- derstand the URGENCY. Some po-
litical leaders have already even sug- gested that we boycott Petron. I have!
Waste disposal is another big problem. Residents of two Barangays from Nueva Valencia liv- ing within 100 meters from the shore were already evacuated to the nearby school buildings upon order of the National Disaster Coordinating Council. And the reason for the evacuation is the presence of the oil
waste. Again Petron should do some- thing about this waste IMMEDI- ATELY!
Civil society groups are doing an integrated damage and needs as- sessment. This will become the ba- sis for the ongoing relief work they are facilitating at the moment and of the eventual rehabilitation. Coordi- nation and sharing of data on this matter is needed for a more effective relief and rehabilitation work.
The local church at the moment is vigorously campaigning for help in terms of rice, dry goods and cash for the victims of this tragedy. Our work on this is coursed through the parish priests of Sibunag and Nueva Valencia. Our parish priests in these two municipalities are instructed to coordinate with the local chief execu- tives to maximize the fruitfulness of relief efforts.
This coming Monday, 4 Septem- ber, we will engage two oceanogra- phers from U.P. Visayas to be better informed about the situation and forecasts that will be needed in the rehabilitation program that we intend to do. Meanwhile, any help you want to extend please give to your parish priest, who would be responsible in bringing it to the social action cen- ter or you may also directly bring your donation to the office of the Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center, Jaro Cathedral Compound, Jaro, Iloilo City and do not forget to ask for an official receipt for proper accounting.
Let me end with the words of Gov. JC Rahman A. Nava, MD: \u201cWe can only hope that this incident will bring out the best in the Guimarasnon spirit, and together with your support, see us through, scarred perhaps, but better persons, better communities, better people.\u201d
In solidarity with the people of Guimaras, let us not only PRAY for them but also BE GENEROUS to them, remembering that God cannot be outdone in generosity! Let us ex- tend our undying support to the Guimarasnons!
Msgr Melito Oso, is the Director, Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center of the Archdiocese of Jaro in Iloilo.
IN the light of the worsening social crisis brought about, among others, by extrajudicial killings of po- litical activists and journalists, the Association of Ma- jor Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) is spearheading an information and education drive to bring to people\u2019s greater awareness the deteriorat- ing human rights situation in the country.
Aside from the extrajudicial killings of journal- ists and political activists, AMRSP also pointed out other activities sanctioned by the government which impinged on the rights of citizens, such as: ordinary citizens being forced to obtaincedulas as a means of identification, curfew hours enforced on certain ar- eas, setting up of military detachments besides schools and churches, and inside barangay halls.
The religious superiors also rebuked Macapagal- Arroyo in her declaration an all-out-war against CPP- NDF-NPA. AMRSP believes that a militarist solution goes against the teachings of the Catholic faith and will not resolve the principal causes of insurgency.
In a letter addressed to fellow religious and friends, the AMRSP reiterated its call to remain vigi- lant in the light of the country\u2019s aggravating human rights\u2019 condition and to oppose all kinds of violence.
\u201cWe in the AMRSP cannot and will not stand idly by and accept this situation as God\u2019s will. It goes against every tenet of the Christian faith we believe in. We are pro-life and not for death and destruction. We are for peace and not for violence. We are for the common good and not the rule of the few. We are for love, compassion and grace and not for hate, divi- sion and sin,\u201d the letter said.
AMRSP urges fellow religious and mission part- ners to live up to their prophetic calling, saying that it is now the time \u201cto stand with the meek and deprived, to join hands with the oppressed and dehumanized \u2013 to proclaim the good news of salvation.\u201d
The association is spearheading several activi- ties in this month of September to highlight their cam- paign for peace and human rights. A Caravan for Peace and Human Rights and Hope is scheduled for September 22, which will traverse the dioceses of Malolos, Cabanatuan and San Jose, Nueva Ecija. Prior to the caravan an International Day of Peace vigil will
In their recent separate annual assemblies, both women and men religious superiors of the Philippines called on the government to put an end to extra-judicial killings that are being perpetrated against journalists and political activists in the country, and to uplift the lives of suffering Filipinos.
The Association of Major Religious Superiors of Men and Women in the Philippines take their pose dur- ing their 2006 Biennial Conven- tion.
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