The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines will “recalibrate” its “strategic focus” to give more weight on ecology and good governance programs.
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines, made the announcement during the 40th National Social Action General Assembly in General Santos City on Tuesday, June 14.
“We need to make sure that no one is left behind amidst the worsening climate crisis and that we amplify the voice of the people while we engage in the process of local good governance,” he said.
More than 240 social action workers from 71 dioceses attended the national assembly that tackled various pressing ecological and good governance concerns.
Bishop Bagaforo said the social action network will advance more ecological campaigns in the diocese and parish levels in the next two years.
“Time is a luxury that we do not have. We need to craft local environmental campaigns that propel concrete ecological actions and require the involvement of the community,” he said.
In recent months, Caritas Philippines has been instrumental in the formation of various ecological campaigns, such as the anti-coal campaign in Southeast Asia and the movement to protect the Verde Island Passage in Luzon.
Father Antonio Labiao, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said the social action network is also set to launch a movement that focuses on “post-election accountability campaign.”
The priest said the post-election initiative is part of Caritas Philippines’ core program on “good governance” that aims “to widen the active participation of Church people in local governance for nation-building.”
“There is a need for continuing participation of church people in principled politics for the renewal of society, which is the heart of the new evangelization,” he said.
He said the program on good governance will require the active participation and “faith-impelled” engagement of people in local good governance processes.
Father Labiao said the movement on good governance aims to produce and organize “good governance advocates and champions in different levels.”
“This program aims to institutionalize good governance processes starting from the barangay level for common good,” he said.
Caritas Philippines will present the details and design of the good governance program before the plenary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in July.