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CBCPMonitor vol12-n06

CBCPMonitor vol12-n06



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Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace
Vol. 12 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2008
Php 20.00
Manila Archbishop Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales talks to Sumilao farmers as he gives them blessing to do a “Jericho March” around Malacañang. The farmers want the President to make
good her promise made during their dialogue last December 17, 2007 to return the 144-hectare land in Sumilao, Bukidnon they have long been claiming.
Filipino / A6
Social / A6
Filipino priest to bike
4,750 kms for peace
Amado Picardal, 54
year old; is set to bike
about 4,750 kilome-
ters from Davao City
to the Presidential
palace in Manila to
hand over a letter urg-
ing President Gloria
The Lord is risen,
The Lord is risen,
The Lord is risen,
The Lord is risen,
The Lord is risen,
so must we - CBCP head
so must we - CBCP head
so must we - CBCP head
so must we - CBCP head
so must we - CBCP head
The Lord / A6
The prophetic role of
Church’s feeding program
doing m ore w ith less in Davao
Corruption, ‘cancer killing the nation’
MANILA Catholic bishops cried foul against al-
leged corruption in the government.

But in a critical pastoral statement, the bishops lead their flocks to what they think a reality that merely ousting Mrs. Arroyo cannot do.

Mrs. Arroyo is under growing pressure to step down following allegations of improper conduct over a government project involving other top public officials.

In the pastoral statement entitled “Towards a Morally Rebuilt Nation,” the bishops lamented the “social mess and political mess” that is continu- ously rocking public life.

“This however goes beyond the question of truth to the search for probity. Probity is about integrity of all, the accuser and the accused. We are unhappy and we feel betrayed,” it read.

Manila prelates have undeniably played a key role in nonviolent revolts that ousted two leaders in the last two decades, and a tough statement against her could have boosted protests against her.

Cancer of the nation

The bishops’ statement centers on the injustice of corruption, not just in the government but also even among ordinary people.

The bishops bewailed that corruption is a “can-
cer” that is killing the nation.”

“‘We cannot add more to the wrath of God for lies, untruth, injustice and evil.” it read. Our people are known to be God-fearing and God-loving; sadly, they fight, deceive and kill for money.

“Shamefully we have been known to be a nation whose prime industry has been identified as poli- tics simply because politics is the main route to power, which, in turn, is the main route to wealth.”

Not exempted

The statement that was read in churches through- out the ecclesiastical province of Manila during Palm Sunday said that government corruption breaks God’s commandment that says, “Thou shall not steal.”

They said that controversial government deals including that of the scrapped national broadband network project are not off the hook from this par- ticular divine law.

The statement was signed by 16 bishops under the Metropolitan Ecclesiastical Province of Manila, which includes the Manila archdiocese, the dioceses of Cubao, Parañaque, Caloocan, Pasig, Antipolo, Novaliches, Malolos, San Pablo and Imus, the Vi- cariates of Puerto Princesa and Taytay and the Mili- tary Ordinariate of the Philippines.

Change from within

The prelates also reiterated an earlier appeal of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines for “communal renewal” to defeat the country’s social ills.

“We also know that together we have the capac- ity to correct and purify the nation by starting with ourselves,” according to the statement.

Bishop downplays ‘divided’ CBCP
“WHEN it comes into issue of
ousting the President (Arroyo),
the bishops may vary in opin-
ion but we are united in terms of
faith, in the defense of the Doc-
trine of the Church, and of the
This was the statement of
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop
Oscar V. Cruz, in relation to per-
ceptions of a “divided” Catholic
Bishops of the Philippines. Such
RP mourns death
of Focolare founder
THE Focolare
Movement in
the Philippines
mourned the
death of its
founder, Chiara
Lubich (88).
L u b i c h ,
founder of the
Work of Mary,
better known as
the Focolare,
died March 15 in Rocca di Papa, near Rome.
She was taken home at her request after a
long stay at Gemelli hospital.
As soon as the news of her death reached
several Focolare centers across the country,
Holy Masses were offered, Ruben Banaag
from Sta. Mesa Focolare center, told CBCP
The basic philosophy of Focolare is to live
Gospel values or principle of love in ordinary
chores of life. It also promotes inter-religious
dialogue with other faiths and ecumenical re-
Knights of Colum bus Supplem ent
Church plays role in
stopping Ipil mining

WITH its unrelenting advocacy to put an end to min- ing operations in Ipil, the local Catholic Church has once again played a significant role in ensuring that environmental degradation will be prevented.

This came after Toronto Ventures Inc., (TVI) Pacific’s Mining Corporation has been denied per- mission to operate in Canatuan, Municipality of Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte following the oppo- sitions of the bishops from the ecclesiastical sub- region of Dipolog, Ozamis, Pagadian, Iligan and Marawi (DOPIM).

Prelature of Ipil Bishop Julius Tonel said the DOPIM bishops drafted a letter expressing their opposition to any kind of mining operations which have en- croached and destroyed the lands owned by indig- enous communities.

Tonel said that the Social Action Ministry of the prelature is also intensifying their information drive and educational campaigns to the indigenous peoples especially among the Subanons who have struggled a lot to fight for the lands which their ancestors occu- pied over a hundred years ago.

“Kinahanglan man gud nga masabtan sa mga lumad ang dakong panginahanglan nga maprotektahan ang ilang mga katungod ug ang ilang yutang natawhan,(There is a need

for the lumads to understand that their rights to an- cestral domain should be protected)” Tonel said in vernacular during a video call interview.

He added that because of big offers of money, many of the lumads are persuaded to give in to sell their lands to foreign companies.

The Subanons are the largest indigenous group in the southern Philippines numbering more than 320,000 people. One hundred years ago their ances- tors occupied the whole of Zamboanga peninsula.

Tonel said that because of lack of education some of
the lands of the lumad are occupied against their wish.

Tonel also added that according a report he ob- tained on the denial of FVI permission to operate, he said, “daghan naman gud ni sila (TVI) gibuhat nga mga

violations or irregularities sa ilahang operations.”

A data obtained from the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations showed that since 1994 the Toronto Ventures Inc. (TVI) a mining company from Calgary, Canada has already occupied their lands.

The newly assigned bishop of Ipil also said that the local Church will continue helping the lumads de- fend their rights. Their lands are the last that remain from the inheritance of their ancestors and the only gift reserved for their future generations who will continue to practice the Subanons’ ways of life

“Repeal the Philippine Mining Code (RA 7942) and uphold and respect the rights of indigenous peoples throughout the Philippines to determine the future of their ancestral lands,” Tonel said.(Mark S. Ventura)

By Roy Lagarde
I F Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain,” thus
says St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. (1 Cor 15:14).

This makes Easter the most significant feast of the whole Christendom, because it con- stitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s w ork and teachings.

Christ’s resurrection is the fulfillment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself when he came down to live among men, says the Church’s catechism.

Easter brings new life.

I t brings about justification that reinstates humanity to a life grace in God, “so that as Christ w as raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in new- ness of life,” says St. Paul in his letter to the Romans (Rom. 6:4).

But w hen the new life that Easter brings is seen only in rituals and not in day-to-day life, celebrating the resurrection becomes hypo- crit ical, says CBCP President Angel Lagdameo in his East er Message.

“But where involvement in the suffering of people, w here love is lacking, it is difficult to think that Jesus resurrected, almost hypo- critical to celebrate the truth of Easter,” says Lagdameo.

The living w itnesses of the truth of Christ’s resurrection “ must be ourselves, show n in the qualities of commitment in our Christian lives,” he adds.

Bp. Tagle to address Int’l Eucharistic Congress
want to remain silent although
they knew in themselves that
they don’t want Arroyo to re-
main in (the) presidency. But,
despite our differences in opin-
ion, we remain intact,” the prel-
ate told this reporter in Filipino.
The Archbishop also told this
reporter that he is waiting for
the new witness for the NBN-
ZTE’s inquiry in the Senate and
RP mourns / A6
Corruption / A6
perceptions came after the issu-
ance of the pastoral letter of the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
the Philippines (CBCP) which
many thought would call for the
ouster of President Arroyo, but
did not.
“On the issue of the
President’s ouster, there are
seven bishops who outrightly
condemn the President for what
is going on, and some of us, just
IMUS Bishop Luis Antonio
Tagle will be among the speak-
ers of the 49th International
Eucharistic Congress to be
held from June 15 to 22 in Que-
bec City, Canada.
Tagle will be speaking about
the theme “The Eucharist, the
Life of Christ in Our Lives” on
the fifth day of the eight-day
Together with Tagle as
speakers of the international
congress include Washington
Archbishop Donald William
Wuerl, Lyon Archbishop
Philippe Cardinal Barbarin,
Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge
Mario Cardinal Bergoglio,
Congregation for Evangeliza-
tion of the Peoples Prefect Yvan
Cardinal Dias, and Doula,
Cameroon Archbishop Chris-
tian Wiyghan Cardinal Tumi.
Coinciding with the 49th In-
ternational Eucharistic Con-
gress is Quebec’s 400th found-
ing anniversary as the cradle
of the Church in North
Meanwhile, the CBCP Per-
manent Committee for Inter-
national Eucharistic Con-
gresses will spearhead the ob-
servation of the 2008 National
Bp. Tagle / A6
Bishop / A6
Vol. 12 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2008
CBCP Monitor
CBCP Monitor
World News
Pope mourns death of
kidnapped Iraqi prelate
Social encyclical won’t be
ready for summer
Handicapped call abortion for reasons of birth
defects discrimination
Cardinal Bertone praises religious tolerance in
Azerbaijan, opens Nunciature
World Youth Day to
boost Australian
economy by $231 million
Church has no interest in priests being
politicians, says Nuncio in Mexico
Media is wrong
about 7 social sins,
says cardinal
Vatican bishop points to
modern social sins
VATICAN CITY, March 13, 2008—Benedict
XVI sent a telegram of condolence to the
leader of the Church in Iraq, expressing his
condolences at the death of the archbishop of
Mosul, who was kidnapped February 29.
In the telegram to Cardinal Emmanuel III
Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans,
the Pope expressed his closeness “to the
Chaldean Church and to the entire Christian
community,” reaffirming his “condemnation
for an act of inhuman violence which offends
the dignity of human beings and seriously
damages the cause of the fraternal coexist-
ence of the beloved Iraqi people.”
Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul
was kidnapped just after he had finished lead-
ing the Way of the Cross. The three men who
accompanied the archbishop, including his
driver, were killed.
The Holy Father’s telegram gave assur-
ances of his prayers for the 65-year-old arch-
bishop and invoked the Lord’s mercy “that
this tragic event may serve to build a future
of peace in the martyred land of Iraq.”
The kidnappers revealed in a phone call
Wednesday where the body of the prelate
could be found. AsiaNews obtained reports
that the archbishop had been dead for a few
days when his body was recovered. The cause
of death has still not been reported.
According to AsiaNews, Archbishop
Rahho suffered poor health and needed daily
medication, following a heart attack some
years ago.
Father Federico Lombardi, director of the
Vatican press office, said in a statement: “We
had all continued to hope and pray for his
release, something the Pope had requested
on a number of occasions in his appeals.
“Unfortunately the most senseless and un-
justified violence continues to be inflicted on
the Iraqi people, and especially on the small
Christian community to which the Pope and
all of us are particularly close in prayer and
solidarity at this moment of great suffering.”
“It is to be hoped,” Father Lombardi con-
cluded, “that this tragic event may once
more—and more powerfully—underline the
responsibility of everyone, and especially of
the international community, for the pacifi-
cation of so troubled a country.”(Zenit)
VATICAN CITY, March 1, 2008—A Vatican
official has listed a set of “social sins” to draw
attention to sinful acts that have social ramifi-
cations in an interview with the Vatican daily
L’Osservatore Romano.
The list which includes drug abuse, pollu-
tion, and human embryo experimentation
spawned sensationalist titles from the secular
press such as “Recycle or go to Hell, warns
Vatican” or “Seven More Sins, Thanks to
Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, the regent of the
Apostolic Penitentiary at the Vatican, exam-
ined today’s social sins in an interview pub-
lished Sunday.
“While sin used to concern mostly the indi-
vidual, today it has mainly a social resonance,
due to the phenomenon of globalization,” said
Bishop Girotti.
“You offend God not only by stealing, tak-
ing the Lord’s name in vain or coveting your
neighbor’s wife, but also by wrecking the en-
vironment, carrying out morally debatable
experiments that manipulate DNA or harm
embryos,” said Bishop Girotti, according to
The bishop classified as social sins drug
abuse, “morally dubious” experiments such
as embryonic stem cell research, polluting the
environment, excessive wealth, contributing
to income inequality, and creating poverty.
The seven social sins are: 1. “Bioethical” viola-
tions such as birth control; 2. “Morally dubious”
experiments such as stem cell research; 3. Drug
abuse; 4. Polluting the environment; 5. Contrib-
uting to widening divide between rich and poor;
6. Excessive wealth; 7. Creating poverty.(CNA)
Bishop Gianfranco Girotti
pediment to reach-
ing heaven, but he
noted that “going to
heaven is not easy,
the road is not
downhill. The Lord
said narrow is the
door and few are
those who find it.”
He also stated that
excessive wealth
“goes against social
justice; the goods of
the earth are for
all,” and he explained that the
Church’s “social doctrine
teaches that wealth should be
redistributed between business
owners and workers.”
The cardinal’s comments
came in response to media cov-
erage of an interview given to
L’Osservatore Romano by Arch-
bishop Gianfranco Girotti of the
Apostolic Penitentiary of the
Holy See, in which he explained
that today there are social sins
such as genetic manipulation,
that undermine respect for life,
drug use and social inequality.
The media incorrectly inter-
preted this application to the so-
cial sphere as an update of the
Church’s seven deadly sins.
March 13, 2008—The Arch-
bishop of Guadalajara, Cardi-
nal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, re-
sponded to inaccurate informa-
tion in the media about the sup-
posed “new sins” outlined by
the Vatican this week and said,
“The sins are the same, what has
changed is the how they are ap-
“The commandment is the
same: thou shalt not kill,” the
cardinal said, “and now there
are many ways to kill if we ap-
ply this to the field of bioethics
and scientific experiments,” in
which human embryos are of-
ten destroyed.
Cardinal Sandoval stressed
that the social sins are not an im-
MEXICO CITY, March 12, 2008—The Apos-
tolic Nuncio to Mexico, Archbishop
Christophe Pierre, said this week the Church
is not interested in having clerics be elected
to political office, “as she wants her priests to
be priests and her bishops to be bishops. She
does not want them to be directly involved
in politics,” he said.
“We are not going to fight to have a priest
as mayor, because we have a different mis-
sion,” the archbishop said. “The role of priests
is eminently religious. There is no reason to
waste time on this, we are not going to fight
for this; we know exactly what role we have
to fulfill.”
Archbishop Pierre made his statements in
Chiapas after blessing the first stone of the
new Seminary of Holy Mary of Guadalupe.
On Wednesday he is scheduled to meet
with victims of the flooding from the Malpaso
Dam. The archbishop will also visit the re-
gion where five months ago more than three
thousand people were evacuated in order to
escape the rising waters.(CNA)
2008¯Despite a state of emer-
gency in Armenia shortening his
visit, Cardinal Bertone has suc-
cessfully completed his trip to
Armenia and Azerbaijan. The
major theme of the visit was a
focus on inter-religious harmony.
Interestingly, the visit by the
cardinal followed in the footsteps
of Pope John Paul II, who visited
the countries in 2001 and 2002 re-
In Armenia, Cardinal Bertone
met with His Holiness Karekin
II, Supreme Patriarch and
Catholicos of All Armenians, and
gave him a Letter from Benedict
XVI in which the Pope expressed
his hopes for peace in the coun-
try and for continuation along the
path of ecumenism. The cardinal
ments of the cardinal’s
visit to this former
Soviet republic—
which is 94.3 percent
Muslim—was his visit
to the mosque of
Baku. Allashukur
Pashazade, head of
Muslims in the
Caucasus, received
the cardinal in his resi-
dence in the presence
of religious leaders of
the Russian Orthodox
Church and the Jewish community.
Religious tolerance was also a
theme for the Cardinal Secretary
of State’s meeting with the head
of Azerbaijan’s Foreign Affair
Mamedyarov. After meeting with
Mamedyarov, Cardinal Bertone
announced that the Vatican
would be opening a Nunciature
in Baku. According to Interfax, he
praised “the current religion tra-
ditions in Azerbaijan and the
state policy in religion affairs”
in his announcement about the
new diplomatic ties.(CNA)
Danny Casey.
Casey said that World Youth
Day will draw 125,000 pilgrims
to Sydney for the event, which will
take place between July 15 and 20.
“WYD08 will further project
Sydney as a leading global city
and further boost the cultural cre-
dentials of our great city,” said the
Hon. Patricia Forsythe, Executive
Director, Sydney Chamber of
Though the event is held pri-
marily in Sydney, in the week
prior to the event tens of thou-
sands of pilgrims will visit par-
ishes in other parts of the country
under a program called Days in
the Dioceses.
The event will mark Pope
Benedict XVI’s first papal visit to
SYDNEY, Australia, March 12,
2008—An independent study
claims that World Youth Day 2008
will bring $231 million into the
Australian economy.
The Sydney Chamber of Com-
merce report took into account an-
ticipated tourism earnings, busi-
ness opportunities, global brand
positioning, and cultural ex-
changes. Pilgrims’ expenditures
on food, accommodation, trans-
portation, and retail sectors are
expected to top $231 million.
“This study reinforces the view
of many that WYD08 will not only
deliver social benefits to Austra-
lia but will also inject substantial
immediate benefits into Sydney’s
tourism, hospitality and retail
businesses,” said World Youth
Day 2008 Chief Operating Officer
2008—Benedict XVI’s third en-
cyclical on issues related to
Catholic social teaching and glo-
balization probably won’t be
ready before summer, according
to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
The Pope’s secretary of state
told the ANSA news service Sun-
day during his visit to
Azerbaijan that he doesn’t think
it will be published before the
summer holidays as the Holy
Father continues to work on it.
He is “reflecting and revising,”
added the cardinal
The Pontiff dedicated his first
two encyclicals to the virtues of
love and hope. The Holy Father’s
first encyclical “Deus Caritas
Est” (God is Love) was released
in 2005, and “Spe Salvi” (Save in
Hope) was released last Novem-
“It needs to be written well.
The Pope is making his reflec-
tions and annotations and is
checking things rigorously,”
said Cardinal Bertone. “I’m not
saying the pope is a true perfec-
tionist, but in a certain sense he
The cardinal added that the
encyclical will also have to be
translated into various lan-
guages before its release, and
that the Vatican is hoping to
publish a Chinese version along
with the other main languages.
“Spe Salvi” was originally pub-
lished in eight languages.
MADRID, Spain, March 10, 2008—
The Spanish Committee of Rep-
resentatives of Handicapped
People has called a statute that
allows for abortion of fetuses
with birth defects “discrimina-
tory”, and “against human
rights”, stressing that “one of the
rights of the handicapped is the
right to be born.”
Roser Romero, member of the
committee, said the statute in the
law on abortion “goes against
the rights of persons.” “If nobody
should suffer discrimination, and
the current Government talks
about equality a lot, that statute
does discriminate,” he said.
Romero said abortion is a
“delicate issue involving ethical
convictions and religious be-
liefs,” adding that the question is
“not about when life begins.”
“Many women do not choose
abortion freely,” he added, “but
rather find themselves in a situa-
tion in which they don’t know
how to move forward, some-
times out of ignorance,” and
“sometimes they are quietly
pushed to abort by family mem-
bers or doctors.”
“One part of the problem is that
handicaps are continued to be
viewed as negative,” Romero
went on. “Nobody wants them,”
he noted, but “people don’t un-
derstand handicaps and what a
person is able to accomplish if
society will let them.” “It is
amazing that in this age of infor-
mation, there is still a failure to
provide access to such basic in-
formation as this,” he said.
Roser stated that even after a
prenatal diagnosis that detects an
abnormality, “the doctor is not
able to determine how much the
handicap will affect the baby or
how it will evolve after birth.”
He stressed that whether or not
a handicapped person advances or
regresses in development depends
on the kind of care he receives and
the means that are given to him.
“It is not the same to be born into a
society that helps people as it is to
be in one that leaves the problem
only in the hands of the parents,”
he said.(CNA)
also met with representatives of
the Catholic community of Ar-
menia, which is a minority in the
On March 6, Cardinal Bertone
began the second stage of his
journey, traveling to Azerbaijan
where, in the capital city of Baku,
he presided over the opening of
the church of the Immaculate
Conception, which was shut
down by the Soviets 70 years ago.
In his remarks at the opening
ceremony, Cardinal Bertone said
that the presence of the church is
a sign “of true religious toler-
ance” in a land with a Muslim
majority. “Civilization rests on
a rock that is concrete—the serene
coexistence of different reli-
gions,” he added.
One of the most symbolic mo-
Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Pope’s third encyclical to
Pope’s third encyclical to
Pope’s third encyclical to
Pope’s third encyclical to
Pope’s third encyclical to
be titled “Love in Truth”
be titled “Love in Truth”
be titled “Love in Truth”
be titled “Love in Truth”
be titled “Love in Truth”
CBCP Monitor
CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2008
News Features

Rural Congress changes
paradigm; now farmers do
the speaking, discerning

NGO launches program to empower migrant workers
Columban nuns empower indigenous
people through missionary work
Church’s feeding program
doing more with less in Davao
VATICAN CITY, March 14, 2008—Pope
Benedict XVI’s third encyclical will discuss
Catholic social teaching, touching on issues
as varied as poverty, peace, wars, interna-
tional cooperation, energy sources, and glo-
The encyclical will be titled “Caritas in
Veritate,” “Love In Truth,” La Repubblica
“Caritas in Veritate” will be Pope
Benedict’s third encyclical. His first encycli-
cal, “Deus Caritas Est,” examined the virtue
of love while the second, “Spe Salvi,” focused
upon the virtue of hope.
The four-chapter encyclical will no longer
be published on May 1 as previously planned,
but will be delayed so that translations, es-
pecially the Chinese translation, may be com-
The decision to offer a Chinese version of
the encyclical comes at a time when Pope
Benedict is seeking to improve relations with
the Chinese government. Last June, he sent a
letter offering dialogue with Chinese authori-
ties. In September, Chinese priest Father Jo-
seph Li Shan was installed as Bishop of
Beijing with the approval of the Pope, an
event that has not happened in fifty years.
Other Vatican-approved bishops are be-
lieved to have been installed in the official
state church in China. China has an estimated
eight to 12 million Catholics split between
an ‘underground’ Church loyal to Rome and
a state-run Catholic Patriotic Association co-
operative with the government.( C N A )
UNMINDFUL of difficulties just to help the
children suffering from chronic malnutrition,
the Church’s feeding program persisted in
doing more despite lesser funds.
Hapag-asa, the Church’s feeding program
and a flagship project of the Pondo ng Pinoy
Community Foundation headed by Manila
Archbishop Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales
and the Assisi Development Foundation, has
already fed more children since last year.
In a data furnished by CARITAS–Davao,
Hapag-asa marked down the problem of
malnutrition in the different parishes of the
archdiocese following the completion of the
six-month feeding program.
Caritas Davao Coordinator Sr. Gemelina
T. Gaudicos, TDM admitted that to feed the
undernourished children daily for six months
is not easy. That is why, she said, “help us
feed the hungry.”
She added that it really calls for concern,
compassion and love for the undernourished
children so that after six months, they will
already “graduate” from this program and
be considered healthy.
As of now, the parishes of St. Jude in Malvar,
Immaculate Conception in Mintal and the Our
Lady of Lourdes in Bangkal completed the
feeding program to more than a hundred
Gaudicos said that before the children were
admitted in the program, they look weak and
pale but after six months, they are already
very participative and are responding well
in their activities.
Meanwhile, in a report given by United
Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country
Representative Dr. Nicholas K. Alipui,
showed that malnutrition results in damages
to children which include lower intelligence,
reduced physical capacity and reduction in
productivity and sluggish economic growth
which perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
Alipui added that even in the international
arena, malnutrition remains to be the main
health problem that claims millions of lives.
More than 5.5 million children under five die
annually. In the Philippines, the malnutri-
tion situation has not substantially improved
in the last 15 years. Child malnutrition rate,
for one, has remained at the 30 per cent level
for over a decade.
The Philippines, through the DOH and
NNC, has committed to achieve the United
Nations MDG that include, among others, the
eradication of extreme poverty and hunger,
and the reduction of under-five mortality
Common action
Fr. Vic Candia, parish priest of St. Jude
Thaddeus parish this city that already com-
pleted the Hapag-asa feeding program said,
addressing the problem of malnutrition is
not only the task of the government.
“It must be a common action. Helping our
children by feeding them well to address
malnutrition problem must be the concern
of all,” he said.
Candia said that by nurturing the physical
being of the children, “we can also help them
develop become children of faith.”
Fr. Voltaire Dimol, parish priest of the Our
Lady of Lourdes parish in Bangkal, also added
that in helping the children, “we also help
shape their future.”
“Treat your children as God’s grace and
not liabilities,” Dimol told the parents who
attended during the culmination program of
the Hapag-asa 6-month feeding program in
the parish, February 29.
Presently, Caritas Davao has been reach-
ing out to the areas of Bucana, Roxas Boule-
vard , Diversion Road in Maa, St. Francis
Xavier Parish in Tibungco and St. James Par-
ish in Bunawan all in the city where there are
a number of identified malnourished chil-
Aside from that, Caritas is also continuing
its medical assistance for the poor who visit

their office coming from the different par- ishes of the Archdiocese Davao and neigh- boring dioceses. (Mark S. Ventura)

MISSIONARY Sisters of St.
Columban (SSC) make efforts
to empower “Subaneen” indig-
enous people of Mindanao
through missionary work for
the last 25 years.
Serving Subaneen people,
one of the tribes of Midsalip,
Zamboanga de Sur, has been
one of the priorities of the con-
gregation, Sr. Katherine M.
Midsalip is a two-hour drive
by public transportation from
During the last 25 years the
Columban Sisters have
launched several programs to
empower the Subaneen people,
such as health, education, live-
lihood programs, advocacy for
women’s education, agricul-
ture, justice, peace and integ-
rity activities.
Santiago said she worked for
two years among Subaneen
people helping their children
in education.
“Our missionary work and
presence also helped them to
become self-confident in their
lives,” the nun said.
One of the instances was
whenever the Subaneen people
went to market, they were very
hesitant to speak their own
Subaneen dialect among them-
selves due to fear/shyness or
inferiority complex, when
there were non-Subaneen
people around. But now,
Subaneen people have finally
overcome that shyness. They
now talk in their own dialect
even if non-Subaneen speaking
people are around, Santiago
Another instance is that all
the pastoral/developmental
programs of the sisters, such as
the school and health related
activities are run and managed
by Subaneen people them-
“It has been possible due to
tireless efforts of our Sisters,
who have lived with them thick
and thin, boosting their morale
and giving them sense of hope
to change their life for the bet-
ter through catechesis, educa-
tion and empowerment,” said
the 26 year-old Santiago.
Subaneen people are now
better conscious of their health
issues, education and take pride
in their distinct culture.
In the process of working
with Subaneen people, the sis-
ters also have learned a lot,
Santiago said.
The Columban Sisters first
arrived in Philippines in1937.
Today they have five houses
with 15 nuns (12 local and 3 for-
eign sisters). (Santosh Digal)
zation (NGO) has taken up the
cudgels of helping overseas Fili-
pino workers (OFW) as exodus
of Filipinos looking for the pro-
verbial greener pasture goes on
A program meant to serve mi-
grant workers, either already
working abroad or still applying
for an overseas job, and their
families left behind, was
launched on February 27 by
Silsilah Dialogue Movement.
Dubbed as Filipinos Overseas
for Dialogue and Peace (FODP),
the program is being imple-
mented through the Silsilah
Peace and Development Services
(SPDS), an endeavor of Silsilah
Dialogue Movement.
The FODP seeks to empower
migrant workers through educa-
tion and dissemination of perti-
nent information relative to over-
seas employment, like legal mi-
gration processes. FODP is col-
laborating with the Philippine
Overseas Employment Adminis-
tration (POEA) to achieve this
Likewise, it aims to develop
modules that can be used in the
Pre-Employment Seminars (PES)
required by POEA for Filipinos
intending to work abroad. Other
modules being developed for
these seminars intend to help pre-
pare Filipinos how to enter into
a dialogue with other cultures.
Another module provides sup-
port for prospective OFWs and
their families left behind who
need adjustment in the absence
of a family member.
The phenomenon of out-mi-
gration and its ensuing conse-
quences have rallied various non-
government organizations
(NGOs) including Silsilah Dia-
logue Movement to take up the
cause of OFWs. They go after il-
legal recruiters, hold seminars to
prepare would-be migrants to
embrace a new culture, counsel
them and their families on the
psycho-social impact of separa-
The social costs of migration
are high; broken marriages; chil-
dren growing up without a fa-
ther or mother present; illegal re-
cruitment; and women OFWs
being raped and forced into jobs
that rob them of dignity and self-
Although there are various
grounds why Filipinos may want
to go overseas, the primary rea-
son remains economic. Even with
the much-touted improved
economy and rising value of the
peso, most Filipinos still find
themselves jobless. Those hold-
ing jobs here get a salary that
does not measure up with their
counterparts doing the same kind
of work overseas.
An estimated 9 million Filipi-
nos are now working overseas
employed in various capacities;
holding consultancy jobs in
multi-national corporations,
doctors or nurses in hospitals,
construction workers, caregivers
or domestic helpers to wealthy
families. (Pinky Barrientos,
our unjust economic order,
the rural poor and the di-
minishment of their dignity
as people and as citizens,”
Enriquez said in an inter-
view aired over DXGN 89.9,
the archdiocesan radio sta-
Enriquez also outlined the
framework of the NRC II
which are the social teach-
ings of the church, constitu-
tionality, and non-violent
and democratic means.
He explained that the
phrase “as people and as citi-
zens” connotes the second
guideline in the NRC frame-
work—to review the social
justice provisions of the Phil-
ippine Constitution.
“The CBCP Pastoral state-
ment notes that “the big ef-
fort of the government at al-
leviating rural poverty has
been its on-going compre-
hensive agrarian reform
program. Despite deficien-
cies in the drafting of the law
by a landlord-dominated
Congress, government must
see to it that social justice
programs like the Compre-
hensive Agrarian Reform
Program (CARP) should be
reviewed and improved
through consultations, and
properly implemented to-
wards its completion. This is
for the common good of
small farmers and landless
workers,” Enriquez said.
He added that this review
also extends to other social
justice measures affecting
small fishermen, indigenous
people communities, rural
women and among others.
“Environmental issues as
consequences of irrespon-
sible mining and logging, as
well as of climate change,
have also become major con-
cerns today,” said Enriquez.
A third guideline, he said,
for the NRC process men-
tioned in the CBCP state-
ment is engagement with
government and the various
sectors of society through
non-violent and genuinely
democratic means, “by first
listening to the rural poor
themselves, by decrying the
shameful extra-judicial kill-
ings of unarmed crusaders
for justice and equality and
by calling on government to
The responsibility to act,
Enriquez said quoting the
CBCP statement “is just as
much ours as those who have
the official responsibility.”
“Demands for good gover-
nance, transparency and ac-
countability are thus essen-
tial factors in this call for so-
Enriquez stressed during the
“Radyo Katilingban” pro-
gram of DXGN station man-
ager Jose Neri Alminaza,
aired from 7-8 morning,
Monday to Thursday.
Enriquez said through the
social teaching of the Church,
the social justice provisions
of the Philippine Constitu-
tion and through “our active,
non-violent engagement
with government, we are
confident and hopeful that
this second National Rural
Congress can indeed provide
the renewed steps towards
the social transformation of
Philippine rural society to-
day,” he added. (Mark S.
IF the National Rural Con-
gress (NRC) of 1967 was par-
ticipated in mostly by dioc-
esan and parish social action
workers, now the paradigm
has changed.
Davao Archdiocesan Social
Action Center (ASAC) Coor-
dinator Fr. Rico Enriquez
said, today “our farmers
must do that speaking, the
discerning, the proposing of
their own ideas, the plan-
ning of how people come to-
gether to work for the com-
mon good of the country, and
of themselves.”
During the first Rural
Congress, participants
mostly diocesan and parish
social action workers tackled
the problems and issues of
the rural poor until they
came to the crucial conclu-
sion that the Church must go
to the barrios.
“We are now reaching to
the barrios. We wanted our
rural poor to actively partici-
pate now, and in doing so,
they will be effectively as-
serting the dignity that for so
long has been denied to
them,” he said.
Enriquez said the task of
the Church is to assist the
rural poor in their plans and
the reason was “the heavy re-
alization that the rural parts
of the country were the most
neglected by both the
government’s development
programs and the Church’s
pastoral care,” he added.
During the July 2007 Catho-
lic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP) assem-
bly, the organizational struc-
ture and process for the Na-
tional Rural Congress II were
approved already by the ple-
nary. Two parallel secretari-
ats were set up for local con-
sultations at the diocesan and
sub-regional levels.
There was also a timetable
that comprises two phases:
Phase I is from January to
March 2008 in two parallel
tracks. First, Diocesan con-
sultations on Basic Ecclesial
Communities (BECs) in rural
development to be conducted
by the National Secretariat
for Social Action (NASSA),
and the offices for BECs and
Indigenous Peoples (ECIP).
Second, is the sub-regional
consultations on rural poor
sectors and rural issues to be
conducted by the Philippine-
Misereor partnership (PMP),
the Association of Major Su-
periors of the Philippines
(AMRSP) and the Rural poor
Solidarity (RPS) coalition of
people’s organizations.
PHASE II is the congresses
in four clusters (Mindanao
Congress in June 18-20),
Davao Digos Tagum and
Mati cluster in March 12 with
the theme “Ang dignidad sa
Kabus sa Kabanikan–
tubagon sa Ebanghelyo” and
the national level congress
being planned to take place
July of this year.
Enriquez added that in the
archdiocese alone much in-
terest has been generated in
the NRC II from church
circles and the general pub-
lic including government
“We are again reminded of
the Social Teaching of the
Church to focus our atten-
tion on the greatest victim of

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