The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) declared February 5 next year as National Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.
The declaration stemmed from a request from the CBCP Cluster Against Human Trafficking (CCAHT) to strengthen the Church’s campaign against modern-day slavery.
The CBCP Permanent Council approved the petition during its meeting in Manila on November 23.
CCAHT was formed in 2017 to further collaborations among the different CBCP Commissions led by the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI).
In his letter to the bishops, ECMI executive secretary Father Roger Manalo stressed the need for “more rigorous efforts” in the campaign against human trafficking.
The Church in the Philippines has been observing February 8 as the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, patron of human trafficking and slavery victims.
However, the CCAHT emphasized that observing the national day of prayer on a Sunday “can have a more meaningful impact in terms of information and mainstreaming too the parishes in general.”
“Other than national celebrations, the declaration can also facilitate diocesan and sub-regional celebrations or observances,” said Father Manalo.
CCAHT’s main activity for next year’s NDPAAHT will be held at the EDSA Shrine in Quezon City.
Manalo also said they will again appeal to the CBCP to make the National Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking a yearly observance every first Sunday of February.
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