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Cebu Archbishop: 'Our care and concern for the poor goes beyond needs for mere survival'

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu (PHOTO BY RUEL TENERIFE)

The Archbishop Jose S. Palma of Cebu said that the church’s care and concern for the poor should go beyond their needs of survival. 

The message was delivered at the launch of the Caritas Justice and Peace Program at the Balamban sports complex on December 10, Cebu, the Philippines.

"Our love for the Anawim - the lost, the least, and the last - goes beyond needs for mere survival' and, more importantly, for their integral well-being," he explained. 

The Archbishop said, "love for neighbour includes upholding their dignity as fellow human beings and as God's children," adding, "this is the true meaning of our faith, and this is the true result of our love."

More than 90 chapel leaders from the Parish of San Francisco de Assisi and Caritas volunteers from five district parishes took part in the event. 

The archbishop also lauded Cebu Caritas for putting together Justice and Peace as one of its faith-based "tripod" programs through a campaign to teach and inform people at the local level.

He said such a program will hopefully continue to empower the marginalized, who will become not just passive receivers but active agents of their own well-being and development.

Cebu Caritas Justice and Peace Team and Cebu Caritas Good Governance Committee (Photo credit: Caritas Cebu)

The activity, which carried the theme "Good Governance through People’s Empowerment and Participation," coincided with the worldwide observance of International Human Rights Day, the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In its advocacy statement, the Justice and Peace Program of Cebu Caritas says, "It is not enough that the Anawim (the lost, the least, and the last) are given aid, relief, food, health care, shelter, and other basic necessities." 

"Through a grassroots-level education and information program, the Anawim are enabled and empowered to exercise their rights as citizens, to actively participate in governance, and to hold public officials to account," the statement read. 

Volunteer lawyers from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu and law students from the University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance assisted with the program by providing free legal services such as consultations, notarization of simple papers, writing of legal documents, and assistance with national ID registration. -Kasmir Nema


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