MANILA, Feb. 7 2017– Catholic bishops continue to tackle the problem of human trafficking as four Church agencies have teamed up in a renewed effort to work together in the fight against modern slavery.
Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), said the collaboration was critical to combat a booming illegal industry of human trafficking.
“Through this (collaboration), we will have the ways and means to rebuild their (victims of human trafficking) lives,” Santos said.
The bishop made the call on Feb. 6 at a consultation and training workshop attended by leaders of the Commissions on Social Action, Youth, Women and Migrants.
Held two days before the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of victims of human slavery and trafficking, the meeting was also attended by representatives of some dioceses in Metro Manila and different religious groups who are working in the migrants ministry.
He emphasized that through complimentary action the Church could maximize resources and make a united effort against the traffickers.
The initiative will also focus on broader education campaign about human trafficking and wider support for victims through spiritual and social services.
“Pope Francis is urging us to ‘provide victims with welcome, human warmth and the possibility of building a new life’ and that is what we are doing today,” said Santos.
Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the bishops’ youth ministry, said they are committed to fight the problem in a country which have been a known source of trafficked persons in the world.
Most of the victims including women and children are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.
“We all have to work together to totally remove this from our society,” Garganta said. (R.Lagarde/CBCPNews)
DAVAO City, Feb. 7, 2017 —Theirs was an offer of friendship, an invitation to get to know each other better, and to help one another in their shared desire to curb the drug menace.
Instead of condemning them for being drug users, the local church of Davao and a state university here have offered hands of friendship to those many consider to be problems of society.
Through the Sagop Kinabuhi Program 2 Fun Day, drug users have experienced new hope, that they too can become productive citizens of the country. The Archdiocese of Davao, the University of Southeastern Philippines, and different partners joined in the fun to foster friendship.
Different sports activities, parlor games, team-building activities, moments of reflection were organized to strengthen the bond of camaraderie among the partner agencies and the drug users who voluntarily submitted themselves for reformation and participated in the two-day event from Jan. 27 to 28 at Eden Nature Resort in Toril, Davao City, headed by the University of the Southeastern Philippines (USeP) and the Archdiocesan Social Action Center of Davao.
Every life is sacred
ASAC director Fr. Leonardo Dublan, Jr. said every life is “a gift of God” and is sacred.
According to the priest, like the mustard seed that falls to the ground, every life is bound to undergo a process before it can bear fruit, and the same is true for everyone, regardless if one is a drug user, a priest or a religious.
“No one is bound for waste. Walang pa-tapon,” Dublan said in his homily during the opening Mass, adding that every endeavor can succeed, but it becomes more fruitful with the help of God.
This same reason also prompted USeP to finance the SKP 2, knowing that drug abuse has become a major problem in the country. Sagop Kinabuhi is a Cebuano term which means “save lives”.
Dr. Danilo Pacoy, vice president of the Research Division Extension of USeP, said the academe wants to volunteer its expertise to help address the drug crisis.
Helping them are heads and representatives from the Davao City Police Office, Philippine National Police Talomo, City Social Services Development Office, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Education, barangays and their officials who accompanied the drug users, as well as other partners who also believe that drug users deserve a chance to reform themselves through different activities.
Change starts within
Perry (not his real name), one of the participants during the SKP 2 Fun Day, said though society wants them to change for the better, it is only they who can decide for their future and whether or not they will get killed in one of the police’s anti-drug operations.
“I did not promise to others that I will change. I promised to myself, only to myself, that I will have to change for my own good,” Perry said.
ASAC coordinator Sr. Ma. Marissa Arado, TDM said the activities lined up for the drug users have just begun as they are expecting to run SKP 2 in the parishes and in their respective barangays.
Mervin Gascon, SKP 2 project director said the program can only push through with the cooperation of the reformists and the help of the different partners.
He said he also looks forward to the fruits of SKP 2, which will run for three years, and how it could help former drug users recover and become more productive. (John Frances C. Fuentes / CBCP News)
BACOLOD City, Feb. 7, 2017 – Amid the fast-changing social and philosophical realities influencing the way people think, a priest-educator reminded religion teachers that “the study of religion has to be in touch with the realities of the present generation.”
In a conference held in this city by the Philippine Association of Catholic Religious Educators (PACRE) on Feb. 4, Fr. Deogracias Aurelio V. Camon, PhD, chairman of the Annual Research Conference, underscored, “the duty of religion teachers to educate themselves with current issues on the relationship of religion and society.”
“As Catholic educators, we have to participate actively in forming the hearts and minds of our students,” he said.
Faithful to the Magisterium
The priest stressed that Catholic educators should not only uphold their identity in the faith but, through regular formation, also allow this faith to enrich the culture of society:
“We have to contribute to the marketplace of ideas our own brand of teaching that is faithful to the Catholic Magisterium but abreast with up-to-date research that can allow us to transmit our Faith in a meaningful manner to the youth.”
“We cannot take for granted the Philippines is still a predominantly Catholic country. We cannot be passive!” added Camon.
Continuous development for Catholic educators
PACRE was established by concerned religion teachers and members of the laity with the aim of providing professional and spiritual development for Catholic educators
To this end, PACRE is continuing its lecture series program to update interested religion teachers.
The ongoing course on Christology started on Feb. 4.
The lecture series, offered for six Saturdays, is offered by PACRE in partnership with the La Consolacion College – Bacolod School of Graduate Studies.
Accumulated units are credited for the Master Arts in Education major in Religious Education.
Annual Research Conference
Another successful program of PACRE was the inauguration of its Annual Research Conference, which was held on Dec. 21, 2016 at the L’Fisher Hotel. Some 48 researchers and scholars of religion from the Visayas participated in the said event.
Dr. Enrique Oracion, dean of the Graduate School of Silliman University, delivered the keynote speech on qualitative research and Bishop Patricio Buzon, Bishop of Bacolod, shared his reflection on the theme, “Communion and Mission.”
Five researchers presented the results of their studies on various topics that were considered significant for the growth of religious education. They are as follows:
- Dennis Madrigal, PhD: “Understanding and Practice of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist”;
- Dexter Paul Dioso, MA: “Motivational Factors Influencing Students’ Attendance on Scheduled Masses”;
- Fr. Leo Alaras, OAR: “The Augustinian Recollect Music Tradition in the Evangelization of Filipinos during the Spanish Period”;
- Sotero L. Milos Jr., PhD: Teaching in the Light of the New Evangelization: The Lived Experiences of Educators”;
- Aaron C. Tolosa, PhD: Paraliturgical Celebrations in the Diocese of Bacolod”.
Those interested for information about PACRE may email Dr. Dennis Madrigal at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)