HomeChurch & AsiaUPDATED: FABC head lifts Radio Veritas Asia’s ‘suspension’ 

UPDATED: FABC head lifts Radio Veritas Asia’s ‘suspension’ 

*** Correction: Cardinal Charles Maung Bo as president of FABC made the announcement, not the FABC as a collegial body.

The president of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC) on August 10 announced the lifting of the suspension of Radio Veritas Asia (RVA) operations in Manila.

“It is imperative that we continue to go forward with the work of RVA in proclaiming the Good News in Asia through the means of communication,” said Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, president of FABC in a statement.

On March 29, Cardinal Bo suspended “all activities and programs” of the continental media network because of alleged “disorder and anomaly happening” in the management of the organization.

However, Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila on March 30 declared that RVA “remains in full operation”. He said the “suspension” of RVA that Cardinal Bo announced “cannot be implemented” because the corporation — Philippine Radio Educational and Information Center, Inc. (PREIC) — that has been managing RVA for years “is accountable to Philippine laws.”

Cardinal Advincula said that based on Canon Law, a set of ordinances and regulations for the government of the Church, the suspension order issued by Cardinal Bo “is null and void for lack of competence.”

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On Thursday, Cardinal Bo said the “revocation” of the suspension order was carried out due to the fact that the raised issues are already “being duly addressed by the concerned authorities”.

He said the Committee of Bishops, which was appointed by the FABC “to look into certain outstanding concerns” of RVA, “have listened” to all stakeholders.

“The Committee is expected to present its report and recommendations to the FABC Central Committee for further decisions concerning RVA,” the statement read. 

The prelate appealed to all concerned individuals and groups to “continue their services with whole-hearted commitment” in the church-run media network.

RVA History

Radio Veritas Asia traces its roots back to 1958 when more than 100 bishops from all over Asia and Australia met in the Central Seminary of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila under the presidency of the special Papal delegate, Cardinal Gregory Peter XV Agagianian, and resolved to establish a radio station for the Catholic Church in Asia.

The bishops decided to establish the radio station in the Philippines because it was then the only predominantly Catholic country in Asia.

The late Cardinal Rufino Santos of Manila contacted Konrad Adenauer, chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and obtained assurances for financial assistance. The German government committed to pay 75 percent of the expenses to put up the radio station.

Vatican’s Propaganda Fide and various mission organizations of the German Church — the Bishops’ Conference of Germany, the Archdiocese of Cologne, Aid to the Church in Need, Misereor, the Holy Childhood Association under the umbrella of Missio — joined to support the project.

RVA would become the first and the only “Catholic Continental Radio Station” of the Catholic Church.

In 1961, Cardinal Santos set up PREIC as the legal body for the planning and construction of the project.

In 1964, the radio franchise of the University of Santo Tomas was purchased, and the Archdiocese of Manila allocated a property donated by the family of Jose Yulo in Fairview, Quezon City, for the project.

Tests broadcasts started in 1967 and on April 11, 1969, the first overseas broadcast via shortwave technology began with two 100 KW transmitters.

CBCP’s role in RVA

In 1974, FABC sought the help of the archbishop of Manila to establish what later became RVA by riding on Radio Veritas Philippines (RVP), which was the one established in 1961.

RVP was registered under the name Philippine Radio Educational and Information Center, Inc., also known as PREIC, in the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission

The Archdiocese of Manila later decided to involve the CBCP in the project, resulting in an agreement between the FABC and CBCP in 1974.

The agreement defined the participation of FABC in the “overseas service” of RVA while acknowledging PREIC’ as the “legal owner of Radio Veritas.”

“No less than a majority of PREIC’s membership shall at all times consist of bishops,” read the agreement.

It said that FABC shall only have the maximum membership in the company as permitted by Philippine laws, that is three bishops “based on total membership of twenty.”

The same agreement specified that “in the event that the law should completely prevent the membership in PREIC of non-Filipinos, FABC shall have the right to appoint at least three Philippine bishops of their choice, to represent FABC.”

Both RVP and RVA operate under PREIC through a board that consists of seven members. The agreement specified that “as required by Philippine civil law, the board of directors will be made up of all Filipino members” who “shall also elect their own chairman.”

The board takes responsibility over RVA’s “administration, appointment, and discontinuance of personnel.” – with reports from Joe Torres

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