The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPCC) National Assembly of the Dominican Family in the Philippines

The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPCC) National Assembly of the Dominican Family in the Philippines

The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPCC) National Assembly of the Dominican Philippine Province and Dominican Family held last August 10, 2016 at St. Thomas Hall, Colegio San Juan de Letran (CSJL), Manila (Philippines). It started with opening prayer by Mrs. Elsie Erranista and Letran Templars Singing Ambassadors. The participants was welcomed by Rev. Father Boyd Sulpico, OP, Execuitve Vice President of CSJL and followed by Opening Remarks given by Rev. Father Gallardo Bombase, OP, Promoter of JPCC.

Assistant Professor Mark Anthony D. Abenir, DSD, Director of UST SIMBAHAYAN presented the January 2016 National Assembly Report. He shared the JPCC’s 3 E’s strategies: Educated, Encourage, and Empower. These strategies will be keys in delivering and expressing concretely the JPCC Ministries in Anti-Human Trafficking, Street Families and Urban Poor, Women and Children, and Environmental concerns. Through these ministries, JPCC will have to establish concretely its advocacies through four (4) key programs to work with and these are Livelihood programs, Delas Casas Conferences, Advocacy Campaigns, and Publications and Researches.

After the presentation, there were substantial points raised by some participants, and these are the following:

a. 3 Es must be concretely translated into workable strategies in relation to the components of JPCC ministries;

b. appreciated the presentation of January 2016 report;

c. emphasized the importance of genuine involvement and engagement in the communities. This must be concretely expressed in working with communities for development and empowerment; and

d. emphasized on what is really the focus of the Dominican Family when it comes to JPCC concerns.

Reverend Father Virgilio Ojoy, OP, University of Santo Tomas (UST) Associate Professor of Theology discussed and delivered lecture for the part of “One Dominican Family Working Together in Doing Justice and Peace in the Philippines: A Challenge” through his paper entitled “Interpreting the Problem of Poverty in the Philippines: Towards Social Justice and Incarnation of the Church of the Poor.” Father Ojoy started the lecture by laying down the urban and rural/countryside poverty situation. His lecture considered urban poverty as a social phenomenon. The young people in the rural areas are not attracted to work at farm. He linked

the complex relationship between urbanization and globalization in a macro-perspective of poverty where the culture of consumerism and alienation are prevalence (quoting Reverend Father Pedro Salgado, OP). In a micro-perspective, Father Ojoy emphasized the need for sociocultural analysis and focus on human agencies by strengthening the positive characteristics of values of utang na loob, pakikisama, and projecting the future through concrete plan of action and measurable indicators.

With all the reasons and rationale mentioned, Father Ojoy posted challenges towards social justice and incarnating the Church of the Poor. These can be done through the following: a. reviewing and formulating policies on social justice-related matters in respective

Dominican institutions;

b. JPCC must advocate and work for equitable distribution of society’s resources;

c. micro-perspective of poverty must be drawn from the poor persons; and

d. simplifying lifestyle as a response to live social justice.

After the lecture, there were several points raised and discussed further by participants and Father Ojoy, and these were mainly critic on the situations during the first months’ incumbency of President Duterte:

a. The government is serious about the specific issues of illegal drugs, contractualization, and impact of globalization to laborers. We should support the initiatives of the government for these specific concerns;

b. The drug related-issues are contributing to the contemporary complex social realities. That the killings happening now can be categorized into three possible means: killing of assets by police; killing by drug lords; and resistance from the pushers.

c. Duterte’s effort must not be put into generalization and each case must be objectively assessed.

After the lecture of and discussion with Father Ojoy, another speaker in the name of Assistant Professor Louie Benedict Ignacio, former Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of CSJL, talked about the “Dominican Lay Partners in Education: Ways for Collaborative Work in Justice and Peace.” Professor Ignacio shared that education is a work of cultivating a civilized society. Through this mission, Dominican is living and witnessing the Dominican Charisms in education (evangelizing, integral development, and providing life-skills). These Charisms are guiding principles and at the same time, a challenge to be addressed in the midst of complexities of our times. Education has to be translated into responsiveness for social involvement. As teachers in Dominican educational institutions, teachers are agents of social change, justice, and peace.

After the lecture, there were vital points emerged that are crucial not only with the identity of the Dominican but also with other Catholic educational institutions:

 Most of the leaders of our society are graduates of Catholic schools but it seems that the characteristics of leaders are very unchristian;

 Leaders, as human beings, have the freedom to choose between good and bad;

 Leaders are pressured by their political and family interests. Other institutions also contributed to the “misguided tendencies” of leaders; and

 As a resolution and challenge to all participants, Dominican and Catholic educational institutions have the tasks to correct the mistakes and strengthen its mission in education toward social change.

After the discussion, there was a workshop through regional groupings on how to strengthen the collaboration on JPCC Ministries. The workshop was facilitated by Assistant Professor Aurora M. Penaflor, Directress of Center for Community Development of CSJL. The result of the respective workshops presented:

 The Mindanao group commits themselves to focus on urban poor and street families, and women and children. Especially with Badjaos in who migrated in Davao City. Their plan is to coordinate with barangay officials and conduct community profiling and needs assessment to be able to establish programs (like health and education).

 The National Capital Region commits themselves on anti-human trafficking and environment. In line with anti-human trafficking, the group will establish awareness program (training of pool of speakers and awareness campaign in schools and communities), and sheltering the victims of human trafficking. While in environment, group commits to establish programs that will witness Pope Francis’ Laudato Si.

 The group of Pangasinan, Tarlac and Pampanga commits themselves to campaign against human trafficking through preventive measures to protect the women and children. They will organize forum sometime on November 2016. Campaigns will prioritize the schools and parish in Manaoag, Pangasinan. Also, they commit themselves  to work for environment and indigenous peoples through education and will link with non-government organizations (NGOs) and government organizations (GOs).

After the workshop reporting, Sr. Cecille Espenilla, OP, JPIC Coordinator of Siena Schools and DSI-Regional Promoter of Justice and Peace in Asia Pacific presented the draft of the Dominicans in the Philippines’ Report to the United Nations to be able to validate and seek for the opinions and insights from the participants.

The assembly ended and closed through a Mass Celebration officiated by Reverend Father Gerard Timoner III, OP, Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines. The whole-day JPCC assembly was emceed by Assistant Professor Romulo Hobo, III and hosted by the CSJL.

By Assistant Professor Froilan A. Alipao, MCD Assistant Director, UST SIMBAHAYAN Community Development Office


(19 September 2016)