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CBCPMonitor vol10-n12

CBCPMonitor vol10-n12



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CBCP MonitorCBCP Monitor
 Vol. 10 No. 12
September 25, 2006 
CEAP Marks 65 Years of EnduringCatholic Education in the Philippines
By Malou Mahilum-Acebedo
NO DOUBT, Catholic education in the Phil-ippines is yet a shining force to reckonwith—or so it is.All roads invariably led to the historicManila Hotel last September 13-15 for theover 2,000 delegates from the strong 1,220-member Catholic schools nationwide as theCatholic Educational Association of thePhilippines (CEAP) held its 65
NationalConvention and anticipatingly also mark-ing its Diamond Jubilee fete.
Page 3
ECIP and PANLIPIPartnership Advancing theCause of Indigenous Peoples
Page 5Pope Benedict XVI andthe Clash of Faith andReason
Page 10Faith, Reason and theUniversity Memories andReflections
Page 13On Charter Change andthe Common Good
 Archbishop Reaffirms Church’s Respect Archbishop Reaffirms Church’s Respect Archbishop Reaffirms Church’s Respect Archbishop Reaffirms Church’s Respect Archbishop Reaffirms Church’s Respect
for Muslimsfor Muslimsfor Muslimsfor Muslimsfor Muslims
CBCP Spokesman / P4
CBCP SpokesmanDefends Pope Amid Muslim Fury 
CATHOLIC Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) SpokesmanMsgr. Pedro Quitorio defended PopeBenedict XVI against allegations thathe had attacked Islam in a speech lastweek as worldwide Muslim fury con-tinued.
CBCP: Con-con is worth spending for
IF it is for the people and the commongood, a Constitutional Convention(Con-con) is a better idea that it isworth spending for, the bishops said.In a Pastoral Exhortation, theCatholic Bishops’ Conference of thePhilippines (CBCP) reiterated itssupport for holding a Con-Con in-stead of amending the Constitution
By Roy Lagarde
AS the Muslim world enters themonth of Ramadan, the CBCP Epis-copal Commission for InterreligiousDialogue (ECID) chair, ArchbishopAntonio Ledesma, reaffirmed theChurch’s respect for Islam hopingthat Muslim faithful continue to beinstruments of goodness.“May your reverent recitationof the Qur’an during the month of Ramadan grant you Allah’s guid-ance, mercy and compassion,” hesaid.In his message, the archbishophoped that the Qur’an continue toinspire and show Muslims thestraight path “so that you may con-tinue to be instruments of God’speace, justice, unity in our countryand in the world.”
Archibishop Reaffirms / P4
Caravan vs. Killings Launched
A CARAVAN for humanrights kicked off from Ma-nila early morning of Sep-tember 22 on its way toNueva Ecija to protest theunabated human rightsabuses and political kill-ings in the country.In a statement, theAssociation of Major Re-ligious Superiors of thePhilippines (AMRSP) saidthe right time has come “to
“Weak” Juvenile Justice Law Worries ECPPC
Weak / P4
THE CBCP Episcopal Commissionon Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC)and other groups working on theissue of child protection have ex-pressed concern about juvenile jus-tice act, calling it as “weak” andneeds amendment.The ECPPC, Coalition AgainstDeath Penalty (CADP), PhilippineAction for Youth Offenders (PAYO)and other groups had a forum lastweek and found loopholes in the Ju-venile and Welfare Act approvedlast May.Also known as RA 9344, the rul-ing, which seeks reform in the jus-tice system, exempts offenders be-
RP Honors Filipino Seamen
Caravan / P4
OFW’s AS MISSIONARIES: CBCP President Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo (right) is flanked by Bishop Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB (middle), chair-man of CBCP Commission on the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) and Fr. Edwin D. Corros, CS (left), ECMI ExecutiveSecretary, during the 5th International Consultation Meeting on the Filipino Ministry Worldwide held in Tagaytay City, Sept. 15, 2006.
“As you begin the Ramadan,the Catholic Church commends theMuslim community of the Philip-pines as you submit to Allahthrough prayer, almsgiving and fast-ing,” he said.Ledesma, also the CBCP Vice-president, made the statement in thewake of criticism from some Muslimcircles over the speech PopeBenedict XVI gave last week at theUniversity of Regensburg in Ger-many.He reiterated that the entireCatholic Church hold great respectfor Islam, the Muslims and theirProphet Muhammad.“The Second Vatican Council of the Church in its document,
low 15 years from criminal charges.Those 15 to 18 may only be charged,if they committed the offense, know-ing it was a crime.Children who come in conflictwith the law will undertake a “di-live up to our prophetic call-ing—to stand with themeek and deprived, to joinhands with the oppressedand dehumanized.”AMRSP said the cara-van is also a part of thecountry’s celebration of the United Nations Day of Peace to embark informa-tion drive about the “deep-ening social crisis” thecountry is suffering.At least 20 vehiclespacked by religious con-gregations and their mis-sion partners left Manilaaround 6 a.m., as the cara-van trekked its waythrough Malolos Cathe-dral, St. Scholastica Col-lege in San Fernando inPampanga, thenCabanatuan and San Josein Nueva Ecija.THE 11
National Seafar-ers Day (NSD) was cel-ebrated on September 24and honored this year’soutstanding seamen andthose who died on duty.Hundreds of seamenand their families gath-ered together at theQuirino Grandstand inManila to join the cel-ebration that coincideswith the National Mari-time Week (NMW).While the NMW isimplemented under theleadership of MARINA,the NSD commemorationwas organized by theApostleship of the Seawith the theme: “FilipinoSeafarers: Our Pride”.The celebration wasopened with a “Rite of Remembrance” and hon-ored about 250 seafarerswho died during the yearwhile on duty or on ac-count of sickness and ac-
Migration / P4RP Honors / P4CEAP Marks / P3
Pope Meets Islamic Envoys, Stresses Common Cause
CASTEL GANDOLFO,Sep. 25, 2006 — PopeBenedict XVI reaffirmedthe importance of dialoguebetween Christianity andIslam, at a September 25meeting with envoys fromIslamic countries and orga-nizations.The Holy Fatherstressed the interests thatChristians and Muslimsshare in upholding the im-portance of faith, in “aworld marked by relativismand too often excludingthe transcendence anduniversality of reason.”The Pope did not re-fer directly to the contro-versial speech that he haddelivered in Regensburgon September 12. But hedid remark, near the begin-ning of his talk, that “thecircumstances which havegiven rise to our gatheringare well known.” Vaticandiplomats had workedquickly to invite Muslimdiplomats to CastelGandolfo, hoping tosoothe the tensions thathad arisen in the Islamicworld after the Pope’s talk.Pope Benedict spokein French to the group,which included the ambas-
Pope Meets / P2
Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace
 Vol. 10 No. 12September 25, 2006Php 16.
   ©    R  o   l  e  x   d  e   l  a   P  e  n  a   /  e  p  a   /   C  o  r   b   i  s
Migration—A New Way of Evangelization
A MEETING of Filipino CatholicChaplains and Pastoral Workersoverseas in Tagaytay City recently,organized by the Catholic Bishops’Conference of the Philippines-Epis-copal Commission for the PastoralCare of Migrants and ItinerantPeople (CBCP-ECMI) reiterated apositive side of migration—thatmodern day evangelization can beachieved by migrant workers.CBCP President ArchbishopAngel Lagdameo said that morethan contributing to the work forcein 193 countries, Filipino migrantworkers has “more important” tooffer to the world.Along with our smiling faces,he said, we are offering to the re-ceiving countries or Churches, ourChristian faith lived in the contextof different cultures and religions.“Coming from a predominantlyCatholic Christian country, thesemigrant Filipino workers in searchof livelihood could be equippedwith the disposition and skills of lay missionaries, who will not nec-essarily preach, but live the Gos-pel of Jesus in the context of cul-tural and religious pluralism,” saidLagdameo.“They are Filipinos in dia-logue with other cultures and reli-gions, which for them would be anew way of being in mission, be-yond adding to the number of church-goers in the receivingChurches which have fallen victimsof materialism and secularism,” headded.
Providential coincidence
Migration reveals the need forpeople to go to other countries forvarious reasons, most especiallybecause of economic hardship.When before the labor forcewas dominated by men, it’s nota-
 Vol. 10 No. 12
September 25, 2006 
CBCP MonitorCBCP Monitor
 World News
Building Ecclesial Communion is everyBishop’s Duty
VATICAN CITY, September 21,2006—This morning in the ApostolicPalace at Castelgandolfo, in a tradi-tional encounter for this time of year,the Pope received a group of re-cently-appointed bishops who areparticipating in a meeting in Rome.“Following Christ’s example,”the Pope told them, “each of you, inthe daily nurture of your flock, mustbecome ‘all things to all men,’ pre-senting the truth of faith, celebrat-ing the sacraments of our sanctifica-tion and bearing witness to theLord’s charity. Welcome with anopen heart those who knock at yourdoor, advise them, console them andsupport them on the way of God.”“Demonstrate this care, in thefirst place, towards priests. Alwaysact towards them as fathers and el-der brothers who know how to lis-ten, accept, comfort and, when nec-essary, also correct.”Benedict XVI then went on toremind the bishops that, by virtue of their power to govern, they are called“to judge and discipline the life of the people of God entrusted to theirpastoral care, with laws, indicationsand suggestions, in accordance withwhat is laid down by the universaldiscipline of the Church. This rightand duty of bishops is absolutelyvital in order that the diocesan com-munity may be internally united andprogress in profound union of faith,of love and of discipline with theBishop of Rome and with the entireChurch. ... Building ecclesial com-munion,” he said, “must be yourdaily duty.”“Serenity in relationships, deli-cacy in dealings with others and sim-plicity of life are gifts that withoutdoubt enrich the human personalityof a bishop. ... The total giving of self, which the care of the Lord’sflock requires, needs the support of an intense spiritual life nourished byassiduous individual and communityprayer.”The Holy Father called on thebishops to ensure that their days becharacterized by “a constant contactwith God,” and explained how “liv-ing in intimate union with Christ willhelp you to strike that vital balancebetween inner meditation and theexertions required for the multipleoccupations of life, avoiding thedanger of excessive activism.”“Following Christ, the Pastorand Bishop of your souls,” he con-cluded, “you will be encouraged totend tirelessly towards sanctity,which is the fundamental aim of thelife of all Christians.
sadors accredited to the Holy Seefrom countries with Muslim majori-ties, and about 15 representativesof Islamic groups active in Italy. Inan unusual break from commonpractice, the Vatican furnished anArabic translation of the Pope’sremarks. The Arabic television net-work Al Jazeera provided live cov-erage of the meeting.The Pope said that he wantedto express his “esteem and pro-found respect” for Muslims, andreminded the group that “from thevery beginning of my pontificate”he had sought to continue thepolicies of his predecessor, PopeJohn Paul II, in making commoncause with Islamic leaders. He citedhis remarks to Muslim leaders inCologne last August, when he saidthat cooperation between the twofaiths is “a vital necessity, onwhich in large measure our futuredepends.”Gently introducing a maintheme of his lecture inRegensburg, the Pontiff said thatthis cooperation is necessary inorder to counteract the growingpower of secularism and relativ-ism. Christians and Muslims, heobserved, can unite in manycauses, “especially those con-cerning the defense and promo-tion of the dignity of the humanperson and of the rights arising fromthat dignity.”In pursuing their dialogue, thePope continued, Christian and Islamicleaders should learn from “the lessonsof the past,” and recognize that it iscrucially important “to guard againstall forms of intolerance and to opposeall manifestations of violence.”The Pope concluded his remarksby sending his greetings to the Mus-lim world as the annual season of Ramadan begins. The Pope’s addressreceived warm applause from the dip-lomats who were present atCastelgandolfo. After finishing histalk, the Pontiff made a point of greeting each one of his guestsindividually. The diplomatspresent for the 30-minute audienceincluded envoys from Albania,Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, Kuwait, Indo-nesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jor-dan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco,Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal, Syria,Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen.Alsoincluded were representatives of the Arab League and the IslamicCouncil of Italy.
Use media effectively, Vatican officialtells new bishopsAmid Criticism and Violence the First Balanced Views aboutthe Pope’s Speeach Appear
VATICAN, Sep. 25, 2006—The presi-dent of the Pontifical Council forSocial Communications has advisednewly appointed bishops that theyshould take care to develop goodrelations with the media.Archbishop John Foley spokeon September 23 to a seminar for newbishops, organized by the Congre-gation for Bishops. Offering his ad-vice, he said that bishops shouldstrive to develop a “climate of confi-dence” with the media, and learnsomething about the workings of newspapers, radio, television, andpress agencies in their dioceses.Noting “certain recent scan-dals” that had demanded publicstatements from diocesan leaders, theAmerican archbishop said that bish-ops should be prepared to make useof the mass media to respond to ur-gent inquiries and to spread theirown messages.It is desirable to use the mediawhenever possible to spread themessage of the Catholic Church,Archbishop Foley said. “Unfortu-nately, these opportunities are notseized” often enough, he said. Whilerecognizing that at times the mediamight act as adversaries, he re-marked that bishops might neverhave better opportunities to presenttheir messages to the public.He cautioned the new bishops,however, that they should be care-ful never to say anything that theywould not want to see repeated inthe headlines. He also told the bish-ops that if they are unsure about theappropriate answer to a particularquestion, they should not give ananswer that might later prove inac-curate; he urged them to recognizethe tactical use of responding to aquestion with a question of theirown.Archbishop Foley said that di-ocesan officials could do more workto ensure media coverage of eventsin the life of the Church. Ceremoniessuch as confirmations, he said, of-fered chances to explain the Church’srituals to the public, while the mediaorgans would be more likely to coverevents that involve local residents.
ROME, September 17, 2006– FormerIranian President MohammadKhatami said the full text of the Popespeech in Regensburg should beread before making any commentson its contents.“I hope that the reports in thisregard are misinterpreted as suchremarks [as reported in the press] areusually made by uninformed and fa-natic people but my impression of the pope was rather an educated andpatient man,” Khatami said after hisreturn to Tehran from a two-weekvisit to the United States.Khatami’s is the first balancedstatement to come out of the Mus-lim world with regard to the Pope’sremarks about statements made byManuel II Palaiologos, who said thatthe “new things” brought by Islamare only evil things.Today during the Angelus,Benedict XVI again insisted that theByzantine emperor’s words do notreflect his views.As made clear in yesterday’spress release by the Vatican Secre-tary of State Cardinal TarcisioBertone, the text of the Pope’sproclusion (inaugural address)shows that the Pontiff only wantedto express his “rejection of the reli-gious motivation for violence, fromwhatever side it may come”.So far reactions in the Muslimworld, which have ranged from out-rage and criticism to violence, havebeen based solely on media excerpts.There are not as yet any translationsof the Pope’s speech into Arabic orany Eastern languages.Like Iran’s Khatami, IndonesianPresident Susilo BambangYudhoyono has also been more bal-anced in his reaction. Speaking fromHavana (Cuba) where he is attendinga summit of non-aligned countries, hesaid that “Indonesian Muslimsshould have wisdom, patience, andself-restraint to address this sensitiveissue. . . . We need them so that har-mony among people is not at stake”.Susilo, who presides over thefate of the largest Muslim country inthe world, urged the Holy See to “bevery quick to respond this very sen-sitive issue by issuing some correc-tions and constructive gestures thatwould decrease tension” betweenMuslims and Christians.In the meantime protests andviolence continue in some parts of the Muslim world. Some 200 Iranianclerics and seminary students gath-ered on Sunday in Qom, 135kilometres south of the capitalTehran, to protest against what theycalled anti-Islamic remarks by PopeBenedict XVI. In protest against thepope’s remarks, the country’s clergyseminary centre said all seminariesthroughout the country would beclosed on Sunday.In the West Bank two churchessuffered damages when stones andMolotov cocktails were thrown atthem.
Cardinal Toppo: “Face Islamic Protests with Truth, Courageand Prayer”
RANCHI, India, September 16,2006—The president of the CatholicBishops’ Conference of India hastold
 AsiaN ews
that the recent pro-tests against the speech of BenedictXVI in Regensburg are a great gift tothe Church, to be used at this his-toric moment in time to launch seri-ous and lasting inter-faith dialogue.The Christian community in In-dia must face Muslim protestsagainst the Pope’s address “withChristian courage and prayer be-cause truth needs no other defense”.This was the thrust of a statementgiven to
by CardinalTelesphore Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi and president of the Catho-lic Bishops’ Conference of India.We publish the text of the state-ment in full: “These protests by ourMuslim brothers, which started yes-terday after Friday prayers, are mis-placed as the Pope has not com-mented on Islam; he only quoted aByzantine emperor and another greatPersian scholar. I have read the textof Benedict XVI, it is an eight-pagespeech and what has sparked all thisis just one quotation extrapolatedfrom the context.The crowds that have taken tothe streets of India are probably re-acting to articles in local newspapersabout the speech of the pope, wheresome of his phrases have beenquoted out of context.This is also symbolic of the situ-ation today: without even contextu-ally situating the text, or dwelling onits meaning, some people have takenthe quotation as a cue to take to thestreets in protests.This is the time for all Christiansto be patient and pray for those whodo not understand. The situationwhich comes at this point in time isalso a great gift for the church - forus to engage in serious and lastingdialogue with our brothers and sis-ters of different faiths. A true cultureof tolerance is possible only in a dia-logue of religious identities.The Holy Father was quotingfrom history and he was trying toshow us a way through faith and rea-son in today’s terrorist ridden soci-ety. These reactions are indicativeof what the Pope was trying to em-phasize—only reason and enlight-enment through faith bring aboutmutual respect and peace.I am not saddened by these pro-tests: we have to face them withChristian courage and prayer be-cause truth needs no defense.The teachings of any religionspreach justice, peace and brother-hood. These elements bring aboutunity in humankind, if applied and aqualitative change in people’s lives.Truth, beauty and unity residein the heart of man who seeks andprofesses authentic religion.Benedict XVI was making a veryclear emphasis, that violence is notcompatible with the nature of God.Violence and killing is contrary to thenature of the Divine. He was veryclear that God is love and love en-sures and brings forth life. God islife-giving. That is the fundamentalreason why such a respected andhighly-acclaimed theologian like thepope gave such a clear message inhis first encyclical -
 Deus Caritas Est 
Card. Vidal: “Terrorism must notstrike ASEAN summit”
CEBU CITY, September 22, 2006—The Archbishop of Cebu City, Car-dinal Ricardo Vidal is praying thatthe upcoming ASEAN meeting willbe a success and he has appealed to“all those who may want to strikeleaders of Asian nations: stay awayfrom the meeting, which is takingplace here to achieve good.”Speaking to
, the car-dinal said the upcoming meeting of the Association of Southeast AsianNations Summit, due to be held inCebu from 11 to 14 December, couldbe a “target for terrorists withscruples. We must pray nothing hap-pens.”The 12th ASEAN gatheringbrings together political and eco-nomic leaders of Brunei, Cambodia,Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Malay-sia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam,East Timor and the Philippines. Top-ics on the agenda include povertyreduction andthe war on ter-rorism.CardinalVidal said:“For the pasttwo weeks, aspecial prayerfor the suc-cess of theASEAN Sum-mit has been said at the end of Massin Cebu churches. I urge police andlocal officials to ensure adequate se-curity measures for the delegatesand I ask my co-citizens to help sothat this summit may proceed with-out hitches.In the cardinal’s view, “the au-thorities should work to make theentire country secure so foreign del-egates will feel confident they aresafe while attending the summit.”
Pope Meets / from p1
Pope Benedict XVI (L) addresses a meeting on Monday, 25 September 2006 at hissummer residence in Castelgandolfo. The pontiff met Muslim ambassadors andItalian Islamic leaders on Monday in an unprecedented move to try to defuse angerover his use of a medieval text which says their religion was spread by violence."Christians and Muslims must learn to work together ... in order to guard against allforms of intolerance and to oppose all manifestations of violence," the 79-year-oldPope said at the meeting in a frescoed hall of the papal summer palace.
   I  m  a  g  e  :   ©    O   S   S   E   R   V   A   T   O   R   E   R   O   M   A   N   O   /  e  p  a   /   C  o  r   b   i  s
CBCP MonitorCBCP Monitor
 Vol. 10 No. 12
September 25, 2006 
News Feature
ECIP and PANLIPIPartnership Advancing theCause of Indigenous Peoples
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
The Jubilee celebration andnational convention adopted thetheme,
“Facets of Learning, Facesof Love.”
Explaining about thetheme, CEAP national executive di-rector Mariano Piamonte said,“Since we are celebrating our 65
year or already a Diamond Jubileeitself, we have adopted this theme.
Facets of Learning
because themain work of our schools is reallyto educate, to form the individualnot only academically but integrallyaccording to all aspects of learn-ing. You see, there are other aspects(of learning) that the individualneeds to harness in order to sur-vive in this very complicated world.And,
Facets of Love
because edu-cators face their students and ineach face one can really see the faceof love, or the reflection of Jesus,as each one of us is created untothe likeness of God.”With some 2,200 delegatesfrom the various Catholic schoolsnationwide who trooped to thisyear’s CEAP national gathering,Piamonte said that the event was“so far the biggest CEAP nationalconvention ever” in terms of at-tendance.The 3-day event kicked off lastSeptember 13 with a solemn Massat the Manila Cathedral presidedby Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Car-dinal Rosales, and was followed withthe convention’s opening ceremoniesat the Manila Hotel. Dr. Onofre R.Pagsanghan, a multi-awarded educa-tor from Ateneo de Manila University,delivered the keynote address.The second day, September 14,was started with a Mass at 7:30 AMwhich was presided by CBCP Presi-dent Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo.Highlighting the activities throughoutthe day were the paper presentationsand sharing of experiences by desig-nated Catholic schools on the work-ing theme or topic, “How Catholic IsYour School?” This was followedshortly with concurrent sessions andworkshops by CEAP’s various edu-cational committees or groups, namely:(1) Higher Education group; (2) BasicEducation institutions; (3) SecondarySchool academic administrators; (4)Pre-Elementary and ElementarySchool administrators; (5) ReligiousEducation/Catechetical Program coor-dinators, Campus Ministers, NSTP co-ordinators, Community and ExtensionServices coordinators, StudentActivi-ties coordinators, Guidance Counse-lors, Student Organization moderators;(7) Human Resource Development of-ficers, Personnel Directors, Facultyand Employees Association presi-dents or representatives.Department of Education(DepEd) Secretary Jesli Lapus, whotalked on “New Directions in BasicEducation,” was the guest speakerduring the event’s closing ceremonieson the third day, September 15.The 3-day national conventionand Diamond Jubilee celebrationwas capped by a solemn mass pre-sided by the apostolic nuncio to thePhilippines, Most Rev. FernandoFiloni.For CEAP, according toPiamonte, the grand event aptly calledfor “both rejoicing and reckoning”,one reason which made the affair strik-ingly different from CEAP’s past con-ventions. “In terms of human age, weare supposed to be of retirement age.But to an organization like us, 65 isalready an age of maturity. So we re- joice at the reality that we have reachedthe majority age despite our manyproblems. But at the same time we haveto look back what we have done in thelast 65 years as educators. We cel-ebrate our successes, but we also re-pent on our mistakes and on thingsthat we failed to do. And at the sametime, we recommit ourselves to renew,to become better educators so that wecan really contribute more to nationaldevelopment and the formation of theyouth,” Piamonte explained.Piamonte added that Catholiceducation in the Philippines, while yettouted as a “shining force to reckonwith” by far, however has not beenimpervious to some current strains orchallenges like the problem of viabil-ity or sustainability of Catholic schoolsdue to unabated enrollment decline,student exodus from private to publicschools, socio-economic constraints,and others. “Yes, it cannot be denied,there are many challenges that we arefacing. For example, the survival issue.We are facing a lot of competition vis-à-vis the public schools which chargepractically no fees. They are heavilysubsidized by the government, so theydon’t have problems with survival. Butwe in the private school, we don’t re-ceive any direct assistance from thegovernment, unlike in other countries,although we are playing a complemen-tary role with the government in theeducation of the youth. Then also, wehave the issue of continu-ing decline of quality edu-cation both in public andprivate schools. Of course,one reason is limited finan-cial resources in both pub-lic and private schools.The second reason is themigration of our teachersto better paying jobsabroad.”CEAP is the nationalassociation of Catholic educationalinstitutions in the country operat-ing through its regional divisionsin the 15 regions nationwide andwith a current total enrollment popu-lation of about 1 million studentsthroughout the Philippines. As anational association, it representsthe interest of Catholic educationalinstitutions in national and inter-national fora, fosters unity of ac-tion with other organizations ineducational matters, and assists itsmembers, particularly those in mis-sion areas, to achieve common andspecific aims. Commissioned bythe Church to advance the teach-ing function of the CatholicChurch, CEAP promotes religiousinstruction as an essential elementof Catholic education geared to-wards character formation and citi-zenship building.PANLIPI, a non-governmentorganization that offers freelegal assistance to indigenouspeoples (IP) is a foremost ad-vocate in IP developmentsince 1987. The organizationhas a pool of committed law-yers and professionals whogo to different indigenouscommunities all over the coun-try to assist the IP in variouscapacities. This includes para-legal training, orientations andskills training, according toPANLIPI Executive DirectorAtty. Vicenta De Guzman.“It depends on what thepeople need,” De Guzman ex-plains. “For example, inQuezon we gave project man-agement skills, because theyhave been given a project bythe Embassy of Finland,which they have to manage ontheir own. In Gabaldon, wegave them accounting semi-nar because they did notknow how to count.”Since it started, PANLIPIhas collaborated with CBCPEpiscopal Commission on In-digenous Peoples (ECIP) andother Church organizations inorganizing the indigenouscommunities and educatingthem on their rights. Their on-going seminars have facili-tated interaction among indig-enous groups and havehelped IP’s to become awarenot only of their personalstruggles but of others aswell. As De Guzman testifies,the IP’s have graduated frombeing mere participants to be-coming facilitators. “They arethe ones facilitating their com-munity seminars now,” saysde Guzman.The recent seminar-work-shop for IP’s which PANLIPIorganized in Baguio City lastSeptember 15-18 hoped tostrengthen strategic action forpeace and development in IPcommunities and toconscienticize them on theirrights as well. The three-daymeeting was held in collabo-ration with ECIP and othernon-government organiza-tions.ECIP chairman, BishopSergio Utleg, said that theoverriding goal of ECIP forindigenous communities is forthem to reach self-determina-tion. In an earlier issue of ECIP’s newsletter
Tribal Fo-rum
Utleg cited the followingpre-requisites as essential forIP’s to reach self-determina-tion. He emphasized, that ashuman beings, IP’s shouldhave dignity based on justice,peace and love. He also men-tioned the right of indigenouscommunities to take posses-sion of their ancestral domainsand to be united with one an-other and live in peace. TheIP’s have also the right to pro-claim freely their faith withinthe context of their own cul-ture, and to possess the ca-pacity to resist anything thatdelineates them into becom-ing a community that is pro-people and pro-God.Utleg reiterated the samemessage in his opening re-marks during the seminar-workshop held in Baguio say-ing that the IP’s have the rightto make decisions for them-selves just as much as otherpeoples. The Commission,Utleg clarifies; is there only tohelp and guide, but decisionson how to run their lives de-pend on the IP themselves.Important concerns thatwere discussed during themeeting included the issues of human rights which involvedencroachment on ancestrallands which led to displace-ment and devastation of en-vironment, delineation of an-cestral domains, and militari-zation in certain areas. Partici-pants were given inputs andworkshops on affidavit mak-ing and networking thatwould equip them with nec-essary skills to help them dealeffectively with issues con-cerning human rights.According to DeGuzman, the current legal is-sues they are working on in-volves land encroachment(taking of land forcibly fromIPs) and development aggres-sion (companies getting inwithout free and prior in-formed consent or forcing theIP to sign contracts onerousto them).The enactment of the In-digenous Peoples Rights Act(IPRA) into law in 1997 wasseen as a solution to the prob-lem of land grabbing and otherhuman rights violations per-petrated against the indig-enous people. IPRA, in fact,has opened a lot of avenuesfor IP to become more asser-tive in pushing their rights toachieve self-determination,and to reclaim the ancestrallands that have been handedto them by their forefathers.De Guzman believes thatthe passing of the IPRA lawhas improved the lives of IPin general because of the con-sciousness it has generatedboth among IPs and non IPsas well.De Guzman noted thatIP’s became more confident inasserting their rights afterIPRA. She cited as example re-searchers who usually cometo the communities to conductstudies. “Before IPRA, they(IP) didn’t know that researchcan also be controlled bythem. After IPRA, after know-ing that within the free andprior informed consent (FPIC),that, it includes the researchesthat are being done in theircommunities, they themselvesdemand from the researcher—first secure our FPIC, tellus what the research is allabout.”Without FPIC from indig-enous communities, any ac-tivity on ancestral lands in thename of development cannotprosper.Nevertheless, ten yearsafter IPRA, the issues hound-ing the indigenous peopleshave remained the same.Development aggressorscontinue to create havoc in theenvironment and destroy therhythm and harmony of theland in the name of develop-ment. Development aggressionconsequently led to the dis-placement of many indigenouscommunities from their ances-tral lands. Although the IPRAlaw contains articles thatwould protect ancestral do-mains of indigenous commu-nities from development ag-gression, there is still so muchto be done in terms of fullyimplementing all its provisions.
CEAP Marks / from p1

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