Simultaneous WYD2016 Celebrations Guidelines


Your Excellency:

Greetings in our Lord who is Mercy!

The 31st World Youth Day will take place this year, on July 26-31, in Krakow, Poland; within the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, this event becomes the Jubilee of Youth.  Aside from the international meeting taking place in Poland, simultaneous celebrations in other dioceses around the world are also encouraged.  May we then invite your ecclesial community, possibly through your youth ministry office, to celebrate this jubilee in your own particular church and the settings therein.

The Episcopal Commission on Youth prepared a set of guidelines which we hope will be helpful in planning and preparing this simultaneous local celebration.  On a related note, as we journey towards 2021, the 500th year of the Christianization of our country, we are including the conceptual plan of the Youth Forum, our proposal as the particular participation of youth ministry in this pilgrimage we are making as Church in the Philippines.

We trust that you will welcome this suggestion, making possible the participation in the WYD2016 of our young people in spirit.  After the event, we kindly ask that a report form be accomplished and sent back to us for the purpose of documentation and evaluation.

Thank you for your kind attention and continued support to youth ministry!  Imploring the Lord’s mercies upon you and your communities, especially the families, I remain

Yours in our Eucharistic Lord,

Executive Secretary

Taize Prayer Schedules in the Philippines

The following are the regular schedules of Taize prayer in the Philippines:

Every Monday
Shrine of Mary Queen of Peace-Our Lady of EDSA, Mandaluyong City (Archdiocese of Manila)
After the 5:30 PM Mass

Every Friday
Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Cathedral, Maasin, Southern Leyte (Diocese of Maasin)
7:00 PM

Every Saturday
San Isidro Labrador Gagmayong Kristohanong Katilingban-GKK (Basic Ecclesial Community-BEC), Davao City (Archdiocese of Davao)
7:00 PM

Every 1st Friday of the month
St. Joseph Bamboo Organ, Las Pinas City (Diocese of Paranaque)
After the 6:00 PM Mass
St. Peter Thelmo Parish, Aparri, Cagayan (Archdiocese of Tuguegarao)

Every 1st Saturday of the month
Holy Family Parish, Pasig City (Diocese of Pasig)

Every 2nd Saturday of the month
San Roque Parish, Pateros (Diocese of Pasig)
St. John the Baptist Parish, Taytay, Rizal (Diocese of Antipolo)

Every 3rd Saturday of the month
St. Clare of Assisi Parish, Santa Clara, Santo Tomas, Batangas (Archdiocese of Lipa)
6:00 PM

Every 4th Saturday of the month
Nuestra SeÒora del Santissimo Rosario Parish, Lantic, Carmona, Cavite (Diocese of Imus)

Every last Saturday of the month
Jesus of Nazareth Parish, Quezon City (Diocese of Novaliches)
7:30 PM

Once a month
Santuario de Santo Cristo, San Juan City (Archdiocese of Manila)

NASSA/Caritas Philippines holds Laudato Si Forum

The National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace (NASSA/Caritas Philippines) convened the Laudato Si Forum entitled The Cry of the Earth is the Cry of the Poor, a forum held in celebration of the first anniversary of the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si.

Laudato si

Archbishop Rolando Tria-Tirona, Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace, welcomed the attendees of the forum while Rev. Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Executive Secretary of NASSA/Caritas Philippines shared his reflection on Laudato Si.

Laudato si

Present during the forum were six (6) sectors who presented their agenda to be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte. These sectors are: (1) Farmers and fisherfolk, (2) Indigenous People, (3) Labor and Urban Poor, (4) Climate Justice, (5) Mining and (6) Disaster Risk Reduction.


After their presentation, the attendees of the forum were sent into six small groups representing the sectors and were then asked to choose three priority agenda to be taken up and acted upon in their respective faith-based organization of origin. After the group discussions, a representative from the group reported which three agenda will be raised to the attention of the new president.

Laudato si

The forum ended with each attendee committing to do their share in taking care of the environment, raising awareness in this advocacy, as a response to Pope Francis’ challenge to take care of our common home.

Pilgrimage of the YOUCAT Cross of Mercy

The following is the schedule for the nationwide pilgrimage of the YOUCAT Cross of Mercy:


– May 21 – June 06: Central Luzon Region

– June 07 – 24:  Northern Luzon Region

– June 25 – July 10: Southern Tagalog Region

– July 11 – 26: Bicol Region

July 11 – 15:  Diocese of Daet
July 15: Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres
July 15 – 17: Diocese of Legazpi
July 17 – 20: Diocese of Virac
July 20 – 23: Diocese of Sorsogon
July 23 – 26: Diocese of Masbate

– July 27 – August 14: Western Visayas Region

– August 15 – 31: Central-Eastern Visayas Region

– September 01 – 20: Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference

Sept. 1 – 4: Cabustam; Person-in-charge: Mr. Ronald C. Bocboc
Sept. 5 – 8: Daditama; Person-in-charge: Fr. Leomel P. Puerto 
Sept. 9 – 12: Kidmaco; Person-in-charge: Mr. Rodrigo Z. Guerrero Jr.
Sept. 13 – 16: Dopim; Person-in-charge: Mr. Jaypee M. Veradio
Sept. 17 – 20: Zambasuli; Person-in-charge: Mr. Mark Anthony A. Saavedra

– September 21 – October 07: Military Ordinariate

– October 08 – 25: Federation of National Youth Organizations

– October 26 – November 12: National Capital Region

– November 12 – 20: c/o YOUCAT Philippines


Information posted here is subject to change.

For more information, please contact the following:

The YOUCAT Cross of Mercy Pilgrimage Team

Mr. Randy Fuentes
+639176992631 |

Ms. Jean Allado Abad +639178432215

Mr. John Carlo Perez +639154292181


Covenant of Partnership Against Human Trafficking

A Covenant for action against human trafficking between the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines(NCCP)


The PCEC, CBCP and NCCP are committed to stand against human trafficking in all its diverse forms and to support victims of human trafficking to reclaim their dignity and to seek justice. We are compelled by the biblical truth that every person bears the inherent likeness of God and the dignity that implies (Gen 1:27), the call of Jesus Christ to love one another (John 13:34), and to set the oppressed free and ‘proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord’ (Luke 4:18-19). We also affirm the basic human right that every person bears ‘to life, liberty and security’ and that ‘no one shall be held in slavery or servitude’.1

Human trafficking is about exploitation and forced servitude; it represents the extreme commoditization of human lives, and thus is often viewed as a contemporary form of slavery. The Global Slavery Index 2014 suggests, what appears to be a very conservative estimate, of around 35.8million people globally living in a state of modern day slavery.2 In 2012 the US State Department estimated that as many as 27 million men, women, and children around the world are victims of what is now often described with the umbrella term “human trafficking.”3

Human trafficking takes many diverse forms for example; sex trafficking and labor trafficking both within the country and across borders, the recruitment of children for labor, sexual exploitation and street begging, the exploitation of people in the sale of human organs, and increasingly the forced coercion of people to acquire sexual images for circulation through the internet.

In September 2013 in a “Declaration of Solidarity Against Human Trafficking” the CBCP, PCEC and the NCCP declared that “we have bonded together to form the Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT)”. Over the intervening years we have achieved much together in terms of raising awareness within our churches and with the wider society in regard to the evil of human trafficking.

In this current covenant we affirm our on going support to the Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT)and commit together to finding appropriate mechanisms through which we can share our resources in supporting this important movement. We also commit to sharing our experience, learning and knowledge in respect to our work in supporting victims of human trafficking so that we can be of mutual benefit to each other in this important work of compassion and justice.

Human trafficking is an evil that arises out of the greed and lack of compassion of those engaged in trafficking, it corrupts our society through the complicity or intentional inaction of those in positions of authority, and inflicts deep wounds on the bodies, minds and spirits of those who become its victims. Human trafficking is an evil that must be banished from our society, the wounds of those who have been trafficked must be healed, and as national organizations of our respective communions of churches we covenant together to:

* Support our churches to become places of welcome, healing and hospitality for victims and survivors of human trafficking, providing places of sanctuary, legal support, emergency funds, and medical and psychological support;

* Take an active role in educating our local congregations and their local communities on the reality of human trafficking in its many diverse forms;

* Provide forums and venues so that the voice and stories of survivors of trafficking may be heard and their hidden oppression revealed;

* Engage in lobbying through international and national networks of which we are a part to ensure that all forms of human trafficking are addressed by governments and their legal judicial systems;

* Create a network of those members and organizations within our respective councils who are providing direct services to victims of human trafficking so that there might be mutual learning, understanding and referrals of survivors of human trafficking so that they might access the most appropriate services to meet their specific needs;

* Strengthen the response of each council by sharing with each other our experience, learning and knowledge in respect to our responses to human trafficking;

* Continue to support the Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT) which has been a significant ecumenical initiative of our three organizations, which underlines the importance we together place on addressing human trafficking, and to establish mutually agreed mechanisms for resource sharing to ensure that there are adequate resources for the ongoing work of PIMAHT; and

* Abide by our Governing Rules and Bylaws.




Most Rev. Ruperto C. Santos, DD
Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant People
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines

Rev. Rex R.B Reyes, Jr.
General Secretary
National Council of Churches of the Philippines

Bishop Noel A. Pantoja
National Director
Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches

Keynote Speech on the 3rd Bishops’ Institute for the Lay Apostolate (BILA) on Youth

Bishop of Bangued
Chairman, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines –
Episcopal Commission on Youth

Bp Leopoldo C Jaucian SVD

To our dear bishops, youth ministers, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant morning.


We came from different corners of Asia. We travelled long distances. We temporarily left our ministry work in our respective countries and responded to a greater call. Today, we are all gathered here in Pace Bene Center, Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu to participate in the 3rd Bishops’ Institute for the Lay Apostolate (BILA) on Youth. Attending to this event affirms our role in recognizing the Asian youth as “agents and co-workers in the Church’s mission in her various apostolic works of love and service” (cf. Ecclesia in Asia, no. 47) and validating our commitment to be one with them.


Almost two decades ago, the first BILA on Youth came into existence and was held from January 6 to12, 1997 in the Philippines with the theme “Youth in the Socio-Economic Development of Asia: A Challenge to Integrate Faith in Youth Life and Work.” It was in response to the clear and urgent call of the Church to improve the ministry to Asian youth. To sustain this, the second BILA on Youth was held ten years after from November 10 to14, 2007 here in Malaysia with the theme “Youth Ministry in Asia: Reliving the Emmaus Story.”


After these two meaningful gatherings, let us ask now ourselves with the following questions:

  1. Have we achieved our goals from the first and second BILA on Youth?
  2. Where are we now?
  3. Where is the Youth Ministry in Asia heading?


Dear Friends, we are meeting today a year after the visit of Pope Francis to South Korea to grace the 5th Asian Youth Day with the theme: Wake Up! Asian Youth! The Glory of the Martyrs Shines on You! Let us all reminisce this event once more.


VIDEO: 6th Asian Youth Day snippets


In his homily during the concluding Mass of the 6th Asian Youth Day, Pope Francis reminded the Asian Youth of two things:

  1. To wake up. It is the duty to be vigilant, not to allow the pressures, the temptations and the sins of ourselves or others to dull our sensitivity to the beauty of holiness, to the joy of the Gospel.
  2. To be in union with Christ and the Church, which will surely bring us much joy.


After the success of 6th Asian Youth Day, another important occasion for the youth ministry is now taking place here and now. With the theme “Catholic Youth – Transformed by Christ and His Church, Transforming Asia,” the 3rd BILA on Youth is guided by the following objectives:


  1. To reflect on and evaluate the changing needs and concerns of young people vis-à-vis the present realities of Asia in the context of pastoral youth ministry
  2. To encourage the bishops and youth animators in committing themselves further to assist and accompany the youth towards a personal and growing relationship with        Christ and His Church
  3. To empower the participants in motivating and shepherding young people as agents of the Gospel in the face of burning issues today (e.g. moral relativism, religious        discrimination, the poor and the marginalized, and globalization)
  4. To identify resources and establish networks that will recognize and support pastoral workers in youth apostolate in Asia


Relating the two reminders of Pope Francis during Asian Youth Day and the theme of our celebration today, we are invited to recall the story of the Samaritan Woman. This is one of the beautiful evangelization stories in the Gospel of John; a story that we can all relate to – as Christians who, in the course of our daily life, are called towards continuing transformation in our Lord; and as youth ministers, who are challenged to imitate Christ’s ways in bringing about genuine conversion in the hearts of young people whom we encounter in our mission. These two things are indeed difficult for us to fulfill, as the journey towards fullness of life in God challenges us to enter through a narrow gate. (cf. Mt. 7:13)


Looking into the Gospel text, we can learn from Jesus the way to enter the life of a person and bring about transformation in his or her life. As youth ministers, Jesus remind us of three things:


  1. We have to pass through “Samar’ia”: In the Gospel, Jesus had to pass through Samar’ia, not because there is no other way to go towards Galilee, but because He     knows that his mission of bringing the good news of salvation is not only limited to the        Jews, but it is a grace offered to all who will believe in Him. As youth ministers, we are           challenged not to remain complacent with the number of young people who are already       “in the Church” – those who already participate in the life of our church. We all know        that there are many more young people whom we have not yet reached, those who are    in the vast “Samar’ia” of our society.


VIDEO: Meaningful pictures depicting the present realities of young people


Samar’ia, as the Bible experts say, is a place that is avoided by the Jews. In fact, they despise the Samaritans. For them, they are pagans; they are sinners. But Jesus, a Jew, did not have second thoughts of entering this place. It is because it is clear to Him that the Samar’ians are also important to Him; He knows that they too, are souls to be saved. This can also be a good thought for us to reflect upon: How do we look at our young people, especially those who are in their own “Samar’ia”: do we gaze at them with the loving and merciful eyes of our Lord? Do we see them as more souls to be saved? Or do we easily see them as pain-in-the-neck, waste of our time, good-for-nothing? The latter questions may not be applicable to you (thanks be to God!), otherwise you will not be present today in this gathering.


As we come together for this BILA on Youth, it will be helpful for us to ask ourselves these questions. These will help purify our hearts from the doubts, disappointments or frustrations that we have about the young people today. Because for our Lord, young people are special to Him, regardless of which kind of “Samar’ia” they are into right now: slaves of technology and materialism, confined into poverty and misery, engaged in fleeting moments of pleasure, broken brought by damaged relationships, deprived of justice and freedom, indifferent to the sufferings of others, trapped into the relativism. These problems being faced by young people requires the Church to constantly remind the young of their responsibility for the future of society and the Church (cf. Ecclesia in Asia no. 47). As our Holy Father Francis affirms, young people have the capacity to become revolutionaries – that is, to bring about a positive change in our world today. Young people are capable of swimming against the tide, to rebel against today’s culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes they are incapable of responsibility, that believes they are incapable of true love.” (cf. Message of Pope Francis for the 30th World Youth Day 2015)


It is our responsibility as youth ministers to effect a positive, holy transformation in the lives of our young people today, the way Jesus transformed the Samaritan Woman.


  1. We have to offer Jesus to the young as their source of new life: The Samaritan Woman, in her meeting with Jesus, who requested water from her, replied with another question: “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samar’ia?” Our efforts to enter the “Samaria” of our young people may surface various reactions from them: surprise, interest, wonder; or even annoyance, anger, indifference. Like the Samaritan woman, it will not be easy for them to trust us; there will be doubts and apprehensions on their end. But let us not give up at once; let us enter the world of our young people. The invitation remains the same – let us be present where they are, not for any other reason, but only because we want to bring Jesus to them; offering Him as the “Living Water” who will quench all the thirsts of their heart and soul and will bring new life in them.


As many of our young people nowadays are too preoccupied with their own concerns, dreams, hopes, even worries and anxieties, they do not easily recognize God’s voice speaking deep within them, initiating communication to them. It is our task as youth ministers to guide our young people that they may come to truly encounter the Lord in their lives. Like Jesus, we must take the first step to communicate to them. And we communicate not to bombard them at once with sermons about God and judgments on how they deal with their life; but instead, we offer an ear to listen to them attentively and fully. Sometimes, what is more important are not the words that we say, but the acceptance and the trust that they receive from us – these become an opening for them to express themselves more freely; paving the way for friendship to begin. As friendship is planted, it becomes easier for them share their concerns, and pose their deepest questions about life and faith that are seeking for truth and enlightenment. As friends that they trust, we have to guide them to find the answers all to their questions in nothing and no one else but Christ Jesus, the Truth who makes us free. (cf. Fides et Ratio no. 15)


Young people are aware of their own influence in the life of society, and deep inside them is the longing to make a change. (cf. Gaudium et Spes, no. 7) As youth ministers, it is also part of our task to unleash in our young people this noble desire to transform this world, and to begin this transformation in themselves by accompanying them towards conversion of heart in Christ.


As we spend the days of the BILA on Youth together, it will also be good for us to reflect how well we are communicating with our young people – can we really say that we know them and not just know something about them? Do young people really feel comfortable and confident when they are with us? Do they feel that they are listened to and trusted whenever they are with us? What still keeps many of our youth away from the Church? Furthermore, we let us also ask: Does my life and the way I minister to the young lead them towards building and strengthening their relationship with Christ? Can I say that it is the Lord whom they encounter whenever I am with the young?


PERSONAL SHARING: A powerful experience of accompanying a young person towards Christ


Let us allow the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to learn and be engaged in an enriching exchange of thoughts and knowledge how we can better accompany our young people towards a real and transforming encounter with our Lord.   It is also worth keeping in our minds the continuing challenge of the New Evangelization – have we, as an Asian Church, already exhausted all the possible means to be in touch with the realities of our youth and provide opportunities for them to receive the Good News in a new way, proclaiming it with new ardor, new methods and expressions (St. John Paul II) to our young people, for them to realize not only the relevance of the Gospel, but for them to fully embrace it and receive new life in Christ.


  1. Young people are moved to transform others as a fruit of their transformation in Jesus: Jesus, in His encounter with the Samaritan woman, confronted her with the difficult reality she is into, living a life that is away from God’s grace. But Jesus’ way of confrontation is not degrading, or rejecting, but a revelation of a sinful life that the Samaritan woman should leave behind with the help of God’s love and mercy. Realizing that the person in front of her is no ordinary person, but Someone sent to her to reveal something great and life-changing, she opened herself to receive the Good News of salvation, and from that moment on, her life was totally transformed. She believed in the words of Jesus: “the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.” (Jn 4:23)


But her story of transformation did not end there. Filled with the joy and wonder of encountering the Messiah, the Samaritan woman spread the Good News to all the people in the city. She testified on how she encountered the Lord and confronted her with the life she had and offered the gift of salvation. Her powerful story was enough to stir interest and curiosity among the people, and so they went to Jesus and asked Him to stay with them. In those two days, the Samaritans have witnessed themselves the goodness of the Lord. And so they said in return to the Samaritan woman, “It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (Jn 4:32)


What a grace-filled day for the people of Samar’ia, having experienced for themselves the saving love of God in Jesus!


And indeed, this is also the same thing that we want to see in our young people! This is our dream for our Asian youth: that with their powerful experience of being transformed by Christ and His Church, they too will become evangelizers, transforming their fellow youth and bringing them to the faith. All our efforts of evangelizing our youth will fall short if they will not commit themselves in turn to zealously work towards building God’s kingdom on earth, proclaiming Christ to others, especially to those who are athirst to the Gospel of Life. Our youth ministry efforts should form and mold our young people for them to become sharers of the faith and co-workers in God’s vineyard. This is a concrete indicator of the effectiveness of our youth ministry, if more and more young people will commit themselves to become missionaries of faith to their fellow youth. With this, we can be assured that the Church will continue to live and flourish.


As youth ministers, we cannot be contented that we have our fellow collaborators working with us. We must stabilize our structures and processes that will ensure that the Catholic youth ministry in Asia will be able to form and develop more young people as future youth ministers who will faithfully commit to continue, and even strengthen the work that was planted ever since its humble beginnings.


This 3rd BILA on Youth, we continue to remember the dreams and visions that were expressed and realized from the previous two BILA on Youth. But today, we are invited not only to dream, but to continue the mission and make it better. Let us imitate the Samaritan woman, who did not remain contented with receiving the Good News by herself, but joyfully went out and shared the Good News to others. Let us commit ourselves to become more daring and focused in fulfilling our mission as youth ministers. We continue to dream big for our Asian youth, while taking the necessary steps together towards the actualization of our vision for the Catholic youth ministry in Asia.


But while we keep the youth of Asia in our mind in these days of the 3rd BILA on Youth, let us also be reminded that this gathering is not just about them, the youth of Asia, but as equally important, it is also about us, the youth ministers of Asia. Let us allow this event to refresh us, to recharge us, to renew us, that we may continue embracing and fulfilling the mission of transforming the lives of our young people towards Christ, our Lord. And the best way for us to keep our spirits high is by remaining rooted in our relationship with the Youth Minister Par Excellence – in the Eucharist, in our personal and community prayers, in our reflection of God’s Word, in our moments of sharing as a faith community.


Let us help and support one another to experience that great joy of encountering Christ in this gathering that we may gain renewed zeal and enthusiasm in bringing Christ to the young people entrusted to our care.


As a way of affirming us, youth ministers – we, who are like the Samaritan woman, sinful, weak, imperfect that we are – let us allow this video to remind us that God does not choose the qualified, He qualifies those whom He calls to work as stewards in His vineyard. This has been His standard since the beginning of time. Let this video prompt us to remain humble and at the same time, selfless in giving ourselves to Him as youth ministers.


VIDEO: The March of the Unqualified


In the story of the Samaritan woman, her union with Christ changed everything in her             life. She met Jesus. She listened to Him. She received the grace. She spread the news.


Our theme “Catholic Youth – Transformed by Christ and His Church, Transforming Asia” invites us to be the Samaritan woman. We must not be contented in meeting Jesus, listening to Him and receiving His graces. We must invite others to do the same thing – to meet Jesus, listen to Him and receive His graces as well.


It is my aspiration that as we continue participating in the workshops and other activities prepared to us in this BILA on Youth, may we also continue to reflect on God’s call and invitation to us. And in responding to this invitation, may we be transformed so we may also transform Asia. Let us make this week a meaningful one – a week devoted to learning, fellowship and prayer.


Again, a pleasant morning and God bless us all!


Group Picture

WYD Minute

Check out the episodes of WYD Minute series with information and news about the preparation for WYD Krakow 2016.  Share it with your friends!


For more episodes, pls. subscribe to: Światowe Dni Młodzieży Kraków 2016 / World Youth Day #krakow2016

Statement of the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference on Human Development on the May 9, 2016 Elections

In 1971, before the onset of martial law, bishops and businessmen established the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference for Human Development (BBC) committed to fight against the “exploitation of the many by man”. This was exemplified by the existing economic, social and cultural inequalities that even worsened during martial law.

In 1984, the BBC organized NAMFREL which fielded 500,000 volunteers in the 1986 snap elections to protect the ballot which eventually led to the historic people power revolt of EDSA. It felt like the dawn of a new day with the writing of a new Constitution whose heart was social justice, with the poor at the center of our development

Today, we must admit that we have not done well by our country and by our poor. While we restored certain features of democracy, we remain the laggard among our neighbors in economic growth,   human development and in addressing inequality. The children of our poor have no future without quality education and quality health care, and even more so when they live in the middle of wars.

Studies throughout the world and of our country show that corrupt politicians and political dynasties are mainly responsible for the lack of the country’s human development. Corruption is strongly linked to development outcomes (lower GDP per capita) and social indicators (income inequality, infant mortality, education), retards the emergence of strong institutions and discourages investments.

Our country has a long history of failed development because we have repeatedly voted corrupt politicians and political dynasties into office. And we know this must change.

The May 9 elections brings us to the crossroads of our Future. Many reforms remain to be completed to bring our poor into the mainstream of our social, economic, and political lives. The outgoing administration has achieved limited successes in bringing our performance scores up e.g.

  • Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International from 134th out of 178 countries in 2010 to 102nd out of 180
  • Real GDP average growth rate of 5.95% per year (2010-2015), higher than any of the 7 past administrations
  • Estimated per capita real income growth rate of 4% per year, double the average per year of 1.58% from 1960-2009;
  • Social Development, a successful conditional cash transfer program that all candidates promise to continue or improve further; universal health care; education, where kindergarten classes are now the norm rather than the exception.

These achievements, while limited, are real and need to be advanced further if we are to achieve sustained Inclusive Growth. That depends on how we vote in the coming May 9 elections.

Clearly, we cannot vote for anybody who is tainted with corruption or who belongs to a dynastic family. Neither can we vote for anyone who has done nothing to apprehend the perpetrators of more than 1,400 extra-judicial killings under his city administration.

We appeal to our people to think deeply about their choices and discuss these with your families, your friends, your co-workers. 

We are God’s people. We want leaders who are god-fearing, decent, and able to choose the more difficult righteous path of governance, with the character, competence, courage, integrity and energy to do it. Leaders who will go against their self-interest to serve the most neglected and oppressed of our brethren. Leaders who have loved this country all their lives and will do nothing to hurt it or its peoples and will stay the course when violent short-cuts or political convenience or false promises to get votes are easier choices to achieve their ends.

May God guide and bless us all, especially on election day.



+ Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, D.D.                    Christian S. Monsod
       National Co-Chairman                                          National Co-Chairman


+ Bishop Roberto C. Mallari, D.D.                        Meneleo J. Carlos, Jr.
        Vice Co-Chairman                                                       Vice Co-Chairman


Members of the National Executive Committee

+ Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo, D.D.                               + Bishop Arturo M. Bastes, D.D.

+ Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J.                              +  Bishop Ruperto C. Santos, D.D

+ Bishop Antonio R. Tobias, D.D.                                        + Bishop Crispin B. Varquez, D.D.

Roberto W. Ansaldo                                                                  Jose S. Concepcion, Jr.

Alejandro Teves Escano                                                          Victoria P. Garchitorena

Luvinia M. Lapid                                                                       Mediatrix V. Villanueva




Pastoral Appeal in the Spirit of Our for Love of God and Country


My dear countrymen:


We address you as we get nearer the crossroads of our journey as citizens of this land and citizens of heaven. We bring to you a message of truth that may be painful but hopefully liberating. We offer you a hand to unite and our prayers to the Lord to heal our land and people divided by politics.


This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about Church pronouncements on political issues: It is a part of the Church’s mission “to pass moral judgments even in matters related to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it. The means, the only means, she may use are those which are in accord with the Gospel and the welfare of all men according to the diversity of times and circumstances.” (CCC 2246)


Discerning our Choices


The nationally telecast debates as well as the publicized utterances and actuations of our candidates, particularly those who vie for the high office of President of the Republic, have given us all a glimpse of who they are, what they represent and the causes they champion – or reject.


There is a fundamental difference between right and wrong, and not everything is fair game in politics.  A choice for a candidate who takes positions that are not only politically precarious but worse, morally reprehensible, cannot and should not be made by the Catholic faithful and those who take their allegiance to Christ and his Kingship seriously.  One cannot proclaim Christ as King and at the same time accept the governance of one whose thoughts, speech and demeanor are diametrically opposed to the demands of submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.


The desire for change is understandable.  Our people have suffered from incompetence and indifference.  But this cannot take the form of supporting a candidate whose speech and actions, whose plans and projects show scant regard for the rights of all, who has openly declared indifference if not dislike and disregard for the Church specially her moral teachings.


The Catholic Church has never asked any political candidate to seek its endorsement, but the Catholic Church has always demanded of Catholic voters that they cast their votes as an act not only of citizenship but also as a public declaration of faith.  We ask this most earnestly of all of you, Catholic brothers and sisters, in the forthcoming election.


A Nation at Prayer


We commend the various initiatives of our Catholic laity and other youth associations to come together and pray for guidance in choosing the right leaders. In particular, we encourage you to pray the rosary every day and receive Holy Communion starting May 1 until May 9. In this novena of rosaries and Masses, we claim from the Lord the gift of a godly electoral process. With the permission of the bishops, the Blessed Sacrament may be exposed for public adoration to beg the Lord for the gift of peaceful elections.


To you our dear candidates, we plead.


In less than two weeks, the sovereign people will choose who should govern them.  It is this that makes us a free people.  We, your bishops of this country, therefore ask of you to allow each Filipino the free and untrammeled right to an informed choice.  This means, among other things, that you cannot deceive or mislead the people by proffering them falsehoods, much less defraud the nation.




The campaign period has been rancorous.  This is regrettable.  Many wounds have been inflicted.  This is true not only of candidates but also of their supporters.  Even close friends have parted ways because of differences in political persuasion and in the choice of candidates to support. As we advise our voters, so we also say to you dear candidates: Pray! Pray not only to win but pray that the Lord may show by His signs His chosen leader for this nation, this nation who calls on Him at the crossroads of its national life.


Time to Unite


When the elections shall have been concluded and winners proclaimed in accordance with law, we beg you all, in the name of Jesus Christ, to be instruments of peace, reconciliation and healing.  Let those who prevail rise in nobility above the hurtful words that may have been uttered by opponents, and draw them rather into a government of unity, but unity that firmly rests neither on expediency nor compromise, but on truth and justice.


We ask all who shall be sworn in to remember that when they take the oath that the law requires of them, they call on God as their witness — and even if they may not expressly do so, they swear in the sight of God’s People.  Every public official swears to uphold and to defend the Constitution and to do justice to every man and woman.  Not whim then, nor arbitrariness, not vendetta nor revenge, but the rights of God’s people enshrined in the Constitution and their demand for justice, unity, progress and peace to which every law must respond!


Whoever wins honestly, whoever takes the oath of his or her office seriously, whoever strives to heal the wounds of the divisiveness of politics, whoever respects the rights of all and is earnest in his or her fear of God and is zealous for his precepts has the support of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and we will do everything together with our priests so that all our people, to the remotest barangays to which we minister, may rally around a just and God-fearing government that visits no vengeance on foes but is characterized by mercy and compassion for all, not only for allies!



I invoke the Blessed Mother to cover our nation with her maternal love and to beseech her Son to grant us all the favor of meaningful, peaceful elections and a government thereafter that unifies our people in the sight of God and in accordance with His will.


Lord heal our land. Lord heal our land.


From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, May 1, 2016



Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

On Bishop Labayen, Founder of CBCP-NASSA

On Bishop Labayen, Founder of CBCP-NASSA
from the National Director


Fifty years ago in 1966, Bishop Julio Xavier L. Labayen, OCD, founded the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) as a secretariat of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), and led it as National Director for the first 15 years until 1982.  CBCP-NASSA is the social action arm of the CBCP.

bishop labayen


He truly lived his faith and prayer, and embodied the vision of the “Church of the Poor.” He was best remembered for his pro-active witness and promotion of the Social Teaching of the Church.  He was known as the strong voice of the poor and marginalized, serving the cause of the poor in the field of social action.  Particularly, during Martial Law (1972-1986), he was among the figures that conscientized the people about the evil of dictatorship, remained strong in exposing and denouncing human rights abuses, a prophetic voice for a true land reform and in promoting the equitable share of wealth of the nation; he was instrumental in publishing the IMPACT magazine amidst the suppressed media.  During the Arroyo administration, his intervention was visible in all national issues and problems besetting the country – and was even among those arrested for allegedly supporting the mutineers who held out at a hotel in Makati City calling for withdrawal of support for Arroyo in 2007.


He was also pioneer of the Basic Christian Community-Community Organizing (BCC-CO) which was eventually re-named Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) as the thrust of the Philippine Catholic Church, and remained steadfast in truly empowering the lay people in both the governance of the Church as well as in the celebration of the sacraments.


His “influence” did not remain in the Philippines, but throughout Asia: he was the Chairman of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference’s Office for Human Development (FABC-OHD) from its beginning in 1971 to 1978.  Under his leadership, Bishop Labayen set the Philippines as example of social action in Asia, through the work of NASSA.  His contemporaries commended NASSA for serving wide range of aspects of the human condition, helping man live the reality of his true dignity as son of God; he was recognized for his dedicated services and programs for the poor, strong voice against human rights abuses, as well as training centers for Asian Church leaders, and for leading the dynamic NASSA during the Martial Law, while keeping faithful to its Christian identity.


Bishop Labayen was installed Bishop of Prelature of Infanta from 1966 to 2003 and well-loved by the people who have known him from his priestly ministry since 1959.  After his retirement in 2003, Bishop Labayen did not stop his struggle for the promotion of a spirituality that lived in the humanity of each person, particularly the poor.


These are the works and legacy he has left us, which I humbly feel the responsibility to continue: first as his successor as Bishop of Prelature of Infanta (2003-2012), and now, at CBCP-NASSA – the dynamic Catholic organization that my senior confrere has founded, where I have been serving as National Director since 2013.


On a more personal note, Bishop Labayen is first and foremost a Carmelite – we belong to the same congregation, OCD – Order of Discalced Carmelites – and for years, I have known him to have lived, in the midst of his many activities, the Carmelite spirit of deep prayer and love for the Word of God and the Blessed Mother.  As a Pastor, he had a big heart towards the weak, the vulnerable and especially towards priests in/with personal difficulties.  As a lover of Justice and Peace, he committed his life to proclaim the Justice and Peace that Jesus Christ lived and died for.


Indeed, Bishop Labayen is an icon in what it means to be a servant-leader patterned after Jesus.  We are grateful for his person and ministry and his Big Heart!  We are also grateful for his family who has nurtured and supported him so much that we are able to share his love and service.


The legacy he leaves us in CBCP-NASSA, and many other organizations he founded and supported, is indeed too much to fill – alone – and that is why, not to decentralize my responsibility in NASSA, we who have been touched by him, his spirit and passion, inspired by his dedication and service and in any way “benefitted” from his work in justice and peace directly or indirectly, are also invited and called to continue his mission in good works of dedicated service and grow in our love for the Word of God in prayer, which can be traced as the source or “root cause” of the great service he was able to provide to proclaim and practice the Justice and Peace of Christ.


May he rest in Peace!


National Director
CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (CBCP-NASSA)


Schedule from Prelature of Infanta