Tag Archives: Pope

[From the web] Children CAGED to keep the streets clean for the Pope: Police round up orphans and chain them in filth during pontiff’s visit to Philippines -MAILONLINE

Children CAGED to keep the streets clean for the Pope: Police round up orphans and chain them in filth during pontiff’s visit to Philippines
By Simon Parry, MAILONLINE
January 14, 2015


Street children as young as five are being caged in brutal detention centres alongside adult criminals in a cynical drive to smarten up the Philippines capital ahead of a visit by Pope Francis this week.

Hundreds of boys and girls have been rounded up from doorways and roadsides by police and officials and put behind bars in recent weeks to make the poverty-racked city more presentable when Pope Francis arrives tomorrow, a MailOnline investigation has found.

In a blatant abuse of the country’s own child protection laws, the terrified children are locked up in filthy detention centres where they sleep on concrete floors and where many of them are beaten or abused by older inmates and adult prisoners and, in some cases, starved and chained to pillars.

Six million people are expected to attend an open air mass conducted by Pope Francis in Manila’s Rizal Park on Sunday, which will watched by a global TV audience and officials appear determined to ensure that urchins are hidden from view.

Read full article @www.dailymail.co.uk
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[Statement] Urgent Call to Political Candidates: Celebrate Labor Day by Upholding Workers’ Rights and Dignity -VCDG

Urgent Call to Political Candidates:
Celebrate Labor Day by Upholding Workers’ Rights and Dignity

On behalf of the bishops and priests of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG), I would like to call on government officials and those running for elective positions to meaningfully celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Joseph the Worker and the International Workers’ Day on May 1, 2013, by enacting laws and implementing programs promoting the human dignity of workers.

We are one with Pope Francis who said in his book On Heaven and Earth, “We have to search for equality of opportunities and rights, to fight for social benefits, a dignified retirement, holidays, rest, freedom for trade unions. All of these issues create social justice. There should be no have-nots and I want to emphasize that the worst wretchedness is not to be able to earn your bread, not to have the dignity of work.”

Recently, workers from the different parts of the Visayas and the whole country have shared with us that their rights as workers have been violated due to the following: unemployment, low wages, contractualization, and union-busting. How can they joyfully celebrate May 1?

While May 1 celebrates the victory of the 1886 workers’ strike for an eight-hour workday, we are appalled that some garment workers in factories in the Mactan Export Processing Zone in Cebu are forced to work for more than 16 hours a day until the quota is reached, else they would be “shot by the guard.”

Pope Francis also said, “We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least.The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”

What the Holy Father said is also true in our country where amidst so-called “economic growth”, poverty incidence remained the same since 2006, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). So many of our workers have become jobless, hungry and homeless.

Last February 2013 in an Election Summit of the Archdiocese of Cebu, workers listed the following as their agenda: 1) Employment through developing domestic industries; 2) Decent and living wage: Support legislated wage increase; 3) Regular jobs: Abolish contractualization of labor; 4) Worker’s rights protected: Abolish the power of the Labor Secretary to assume jurisdiction of labor dispute.
We, the electorate must ask the political candidates to heed the Workers’ Agenda. A candidate’s commitment to the fulfillment of workers’ rights and the promotion of the workers’ dignity must be one of the important considerations in voting for him/her. All of us must do our share to address the workers’ plight, as Pope Francis reminded us that failing to do this “is going against the commandment of God which says that we have to transform the world.”

For reference:

Bishop Gerardo A. Alminaza, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro/ VCDG Head Convenor
Tel. No. 032-4068079

E-Mail Address: visayasclergydiscernment@yahoo.com

Press Statement
April 29, 2013

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[People] Rediscovering the heart of faith – Service by Fr. Shay Cullen

Fr. Shay Cullen

325-fr-shay-cullenWhen he bent down on his knees in the youth detention jail in Rome last Holy Thursday, washed and kissed the feet of the juvenile prisoners and also a mother and child and a Muslim, Pope Francis sent a message to Catholic Church leaders and to the world. It seems to say, change is here, we have to leave behind the pomposity, clerical child abuse and domination wherever it may be, and be humble servants of the poor and the wretched and give them dignity, justice and hope.

“To wash your feet, this is a symbol, a sign that I am at your service. But it also means that we have to help each other”. He then showed understanding of youthful impetuosity and their quickness to anger.

“It was normal to get mad at others, but let it be, let it be. If that person asks you a favor, do it. Let’s help each other. I do it with my heart because it is my duty as priest and as Bishop; I have to be at your service. It’s a duty that comes from my heart because I love doing this, because this is what the Lord taught me”.

He was of course imitating Jesus of Nazareth who washed the feet of his disciples as would a humble servant. Jesus was a charismatic leader with a passion for justice, equality and sought a spiritual and social revolution. How could the future leaders of the church be credible and teach, guide and expect others to follow moral principles and behavior, if they themselves did not teach by example. That is what Jesus was saying by his actions. Pope Francis seems to be repeating that message.

Blessed are the poor, Jesus said, theirs is the kingdom of God. This is what Pope Francis was saying also in a symbolic way. He sees a Church where humility has been replaced with arrogance and pomp, and privilege has replaced compassion and justice. He knows that abusive priests were allowed by some irresponsible Bishops to continue to abuse children with impunity. He knows that despite past apologies to victims by the previous Popes, church structures have not changed sufficiently to restore the trust and confidence of Catholics in the Church as a reliable, open, transparent, credible institution. Mitered heads may soon roll. Since his installation several years ago, my Bishop has never visited the homes for the juveniles in conflict with the law or the homes for the sexually abuse victims. It’s time to change.

Jesus challenged the religious authorities and infuriated them. Then they plotted his downfall and had him convicted as a political rebel and given the death penalty. They accused him of trying to be a King when in fact that was what he totally repudiated. That is the cruel drama that we reenacted last Holy week. Pope Francis will be walking on a few precious toes before long.

Jesus gave us the example of that special challenging love that drives a person to care for the stranger, and to help the poorest and most exploited and abused of society.

We can clearly see the message of Pope Francis when he was on his knees before the prisoners. He established by his words and action the rights, dignity and the fact that they should have a place in the world. He seems to be signaling to all Catholics to be a servant, a helper and to realize that being a follower of Jesus of Nazareth has duties and obligations that go far beyond attending mass and church ceremonies. This is what Pope Francis said of his mission today.

“I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons. Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil! Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious!”

Well, it’s going to be a troubling future for many a traditional conservative cleric if the Pope expects the clergy to do as he does and skip the scarlet robes, gold braided vestments and privileges and live outside the gilded palaces in small apartments like the Pope himself. Next, he might expect them to take public transport like he did as Bishop and Cardinal in Buenos Aires or even more challenging, to imitate Jesus of Nazareth. http://www.preda.org

Email: shaycullen@preda.org (Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times, in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

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[Statement] What one Government gives, another Government takes away

What one Government gives, another Government takes away

(Statement of Bishops and Priests of the National Clergy Discernment Group and the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group on the Barangay Luz, Cebu City Demolition)
October 17, 2012

Demolition in Barangay Luz, Cebu City Photo by Visayan Clergy Discernment Group

“To do all we can with what strength we have, however, is the task which keeps the good servant of Jesus Christ always at work: ‘The love of Christ urges us on’ (2 Cor 5:14)” [Deus caritas est, 35].

With these words of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, we, bishops and priests of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group and the National Clergy Discernment Group, give our full support to the legitimate and just cause of the families of 32 households facing demolition in Barangay Luz, Cebu City who are heirs of land given to them in the 1950’s by the government of President Magsaysay through Proclamation 394 on March 15, 1957. The barangay was then named by the people after his wife Luz Banzon Magsaysay.

More than 50 years later, another government takes away their land, through some technicality, as decided by the Supreme Court.

The Cebu City Council refuses to act on the Executive’s proposal for on-site relocation. The reason – the Council is dominated by the opposing political party. The usual trapo politicking results in more suffering for the people.

The judge who implemented the Supreme Court decision is now in a bind. The first nine families whose houses got demolished and he got evicted are told that their designated relocation lots are in fact already owned by other families. So, the evicted families are left to live under tents next to their own inherited land – ironic!

We hear them crying out, like Jesus on the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46) and we respond with collective voice in asking the Supreme Court to order the RTC of Cebu to postpone further demolitions until all the requirements of relocation are adequately in place; preferably that the heirs hold on to the land given to them by President Ramon Magsaysay.

Secondly, the bishops and priests of the NCDG urge the Executive and Legislative branches of the Cebu City LGU to lay aside partisan politics, and serve the people.

May the day won’t come that we would have to ask the Lord: “…When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we would not help you?” And may we would not have to hear the Lord reply: “I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting” (Mt. 25:44-46).


In behalf of the NCDG and VCDG,

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D. (SGD).
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro
Tel. No. (033) 3291625

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[From the web] It’s just a blog and has no copyright, says Sotto -INQUIRER.net

It’s just a blog and has no copyright, says Sotto.

By Fat Reyes,
August 22, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—It’s a blog and has no copyright.

This was how Senator Vicente Sotto III tried to dismiss claims by US-based Sarah Pope that the lawmaker plagiarized her blog.

“Ang tanong doon may copyright ba iyong blog niya? Kung may copyright iyong blog niya, either dapat mag sorry ako or mag-apologize ako. Or idemanda niya ako (The question is, is her blog covered by a copyright? If the blog has copyright, either I say sorry or I apologize. Or she can sue me),” said Sotto.

In an interview over Radyo Inquirer 990AM, Sotto insisted that Pope simply copied  her blog too from another source, Russian-born Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who claims that contraceptives cause an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in the intestines that breaks down defense against infection.

“The problem is she just copied it. Second, it’s a blog and has no copyright,” he said.

Read full article @ technology.inquirer.net

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[Statement] “Everyone Especially the Government Should Be Concerned With the Welfare of the Poor” -Visayas Clergy Discernment Group

“Everyone Especially the Government Should Be Concerned With the Welfare of the Poor”
A Lenten Message

We, the bishops and clergy of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group are one with Pope Benedict XVI in his Lenten message to be “concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works” (Heb 10:24).

This Lenten Season, the Holy Father invites us to reflect on the heart of Christian life which is charity. “Being concerned” means being responsible for our brothers and sisters and not being indifferent to their plight. The true followers of Christ hold the griefs and sufferings of the poor as their own (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 1).

In the context of the Philippine society, we witness the miserable situation of a sizeable number of our people who are hungry, jobless and homeless. The unabated oil price increases result to the skyrocketing price of basic commodities, which in turn, add a heavier burden to our already suffering people.

Pope Benedict XVI also exhorted in his Lenten message that we must not remain silent before evil.

With the resurrection of Jesus Christ, He conquered sin, death and the law. His resurrection spells hope and total salvation, the salvation of the whole person.

A challenging implication of this is that God chose to partner with us in his project of salvation. Since salvation is both a gift and a task, we have to struggle untiringly for the salvation of all.

In this light, we echo Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation in Caritas in Veritate that governments must safeguard and value the human person who is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life (cf. Caritas in Veritate,

Independent research institutions, however, have recently reported that oil companies have overpriced the pump price of oil by 8%-43%. In addition, the government is said to have benefited from the unregulated oil price increases as it earned revenues of P48 billion pesos annually or a total of P239.6 B in the last five years due to the 12% VAT on oil.

We thus call on the Aquino Government to manifest that it is indeed concerned with the well-being of the Filipino people by taking steps to alleviate their sufferings such as: regulating the oil industry so that oil companies will be stopped from overpricing the price of oil; removing the VAT on oil; and instituting price control over basic commodities.

May Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection inspire all of us to work for a transformed world: a new heaven and a new earth where there is no more hunger, injustice, oil price hike, exorbitant taxes, skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, graft and corruption, unfair labor practice, land monopoly, profit-orientedness and insatiable greed; where all people enjoy the fullness of life, truth, justice and genuine peace.

As Christ lives,

Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro/ Head Convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG)
Tel. No. (033) 3291625

E-Mail Address: visayasclergydiscernment@yahoo.com

[In the news] Pope urges ‘profound renewal’ in Catholic hierarchy to combat child abuse -InterAksyon.com

Pope urges ‘profound renewal’ in Catholic hierarchy to combat child abuse
Dario Thuburn, Agence France-Presse
February 7, 2012

VATICAN CITYPope Benedict XVI urged “profound renewal” on every level of the Catholic Church to prevent child abuse, as a top cardinal conceded that canon law was not enough to deal with pedophilia.

“Healing for victims must be of paramount concern in the Christian community, and it must go hand in hand with a profound renewal of the Church at every level,” the pope said in a statement released by the Vatican.

In his message to the 200 bishops, cardinals and academic experts taking part in the Vatican’s first-ever conference on the issue, the pope also called for “a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support.”

Catholic leaders from 100 countries were taking part in the closed-door four-day meeting, as well as the Vatican’s anti-abuse prosecutor, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, and just one abuse victim, Ireland’s Marie Collins.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

[Blog] Again, for Same-Sex Marriage.- Koi Hernandez

Again, for Same-Sex Marriage.
by koihernandez, You’re not supposed to be here.
January 11, 2012

 “When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.” ~Epitaph of Leonard P. Matlovich, 1988

Recently, I heard from the news that the Pope claimed that gay marriage is a threat to the future of humanity. According to Reuters, Pope Benedict said on Monday that gay marriage was one of several threats to the traditional family that undermined “the future of humanity itself”. He said that children need proper “settings” and that ‘pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman.’ He also said that, Policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.

While reading several articles regarding this matter, I was thinking along the lines of, “Of course, the church wouldn’t approve…” but I was also thinking, “But, why wouldn’t they?” Because, as I would have probably said for the nth time, the bible (The diary of saints from a long time ago — which became our unofficial rule book today) doesn’t have anything to say against gay-marriage or same-sex relationships. So, if it’s not written… it’s a crime? A sin?

The Roman Catholic Church, which has some 1.3 billion members worldwide, teaches that while homosexual tendencies are not sinful, homosexual acts are, and that children should grow up in a traditional family with a mother and a father.

What’s difficult about having some 1.3 billion members worldwide is, you can only control some of them fully, the rest have the capacity to weight our options. I am a Roman Catholic according to my Birth and Baptismal certificate and I live as one (but I’m not a religion-freak as some might call them.)

I blogged about same-sex marriage before and how people who are in such a relationship should be patient and be more considerate of the Judgmental World that we’re living in. In my other blog post, I cheered for the “closet” LGBTs. In this blog post, I will stand for the LGBTs once again in saying, The LGBT community is awesome!

Read full article @ koihernandez.wordpress.com

[Statement] Christian Families Must Celebrate the Feast of the Holy Child by Fulfilling Transformative Role

Christian Families Must Celebrate the Feast of the Holy Child by Fulfilling Transformative Role

 A Reflection on the Feast of the Sto. Niño of Cebu
January 10, 2012

“Sto. Niño, Refuge of the Filipino Christian Family” is a theme that strikes deep into our hearts in our present age. Today, families are greatly attacked by worldly values, decadent media, internet, and modern gadgetry. Moreover, a sizable number of marginalized Filipino families are living in utter poverty.

We have to ask the following question, “How can the Sto. Niño today become the refuge of families who are landless, jobless, homeless, hungry; and which lack the basic social services such as health, education, housing and others? Our celebrations will be like empty clanging cymbals (Amos 5:21-24) if the above concrete realities of the least of the Sto. Niño’s brothers and sisters are not addressed effectively.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his Christmas 2011 homily, said that God has appeared – as a poor child. In our world today, we must cry out to God, “We love your childish estate, your powerlessness, but we suffer from the continuing presence of violence in the world, and so we also ask you: manifest your power, O God. In this time of ours, in this world of ours, cause the oppressors’ rods, the cloaks rolled in blood and the footgear of battle to be burned, so that your peace may triumph in this world of ours.”

As Christians, we are God’s instrument in social change. Thus, the theme of the Sto. Niño of Cebu fiesta celebration will re-focus us to the liberating and transformative role of the family as the focal point of evangelization and the nucleus of faith-witnessing. This brings us back to the core of our being created in God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27) where the foundation of the family is to manifest that essence and to radiate God’s love to all.

God, who is love (I Jn 4:8), wants to share and carry on this love when He “inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion” (Familiaris Consortio [FC], 11). The family is the community of persons where parents and children, husband and wife are helping each other to realize the love they have received from God and to live with fidelity the reality of communion in a constant effort to develop an authentic community of persons (FC, 18).

Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2012 message for the World Day of Prayer for Peace, explained that “the family is the first school in which we are trained in justice and peace… May the parents encourage children by the example of their lives to put their hope before all else in God, the one source of authentic justice and peace.” Concretely, the family is the first school of values and deeper humanity (FC, 66) and a center to discern one’s own vocation and to accept responsibility in search for greater justice (FC, 2). “Parents …should realize that they are thereby cooperators with the love of God the Creator, and are, so to speak, the interpreters of that love” (Gaudium et Spes, 50).

The family is the “first community called to announce the Gospel to the human person during growth and to bring him through a progressive education and catechesis to full human and Christian maturity”(FC, 2). The parents not only communicate the Gospel to the children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as lived by them (Evangelii Nuntiandi [EN], 71). The family, as foundation of society, has an essential task in genuine societal transformation and a definite ecclesial task which places itself at the service of the building up of the Kingdom of God in history.

Just as the Lord Jesus “grew both in body and wisdom” (Lk 2:52) in the family, every family should provide the solid basis for Christian formation. Here, the young people can be strengthened and be trained for family, social and apostolic life, to build a new world where true democracy, equality, love, justice and peace reign.

As Christ lives,

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D.
Head Convenor

[Press Release] Palace ‘blessing’ for PAL layoffs a curse for all workers – Church group – CWS

A newly formed network of church people, workers and labor advocates opposed Malacañang’s approval of mass layoffs in Lucio Tan-owned Philippine Airlines (PAL), saying the decision is a curse for all Filipino workers, and is essentially a go-signal for outsourcing schemes in other companies.

Amidst the impending retrenchment of some 2,600 PAL employees, the Church People-Workers’ Solidarity (CWS) in its covenant statement in a recent national conference, declared that  “contractualization allows capital to violate the workers’ basic right to security.”

Plans of the said national conference of church people and workers include lobbying for the abolition of laws which promote contractualization and outsourcing.

“We regret that President Benigno Aquino III has chosen to unleash a deluge that will destroy job security of thousands of Filipino workers by giving blessing to the retrenchment of 2,600 PAL employees. Such move will embolden all other companies to do the same kind of injustice,” said Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro Gerardo Alminaza, one of the CWS convenors.

Bishop Alminaza is dismayed that despite workers’ resistance, the mass layoffs in PAL will occur just as the Church celebrates the 30th anniversary of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Laborem Exercens, an encyclical on the dignity and rights of workers.

“Three decades ago, the Pope wrote about the primacy of workers or of labor over capital in the production process. The human person’s welfare must be the goal of economic policies and decisions. We are alarmed that President Aquino is now declaring managerial prerogative’s primacy over workers’ rights.”

“The Pope also pushed for organizing of labor unions, which he called as an ‘indispensable element of social life’. Ironically, the approved outsourcing scheme in PAL leads to the local union’s disintegration as such will retrench a significant number of union members,” Bishop Alminaza said.

The CWS fears the scenario of companies using the PAL labor case as convenient excuse to implement labor flexibilization schemes such as contractualization and outsourcing to undermine wages, job security and other basic workers’ rights.

“We are in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who work in PAL in opposing the impending mass retrenchment and in asserting social justice,” said Bishop Alminaza.

The CWS is a nationwide network of Church people, workers, and non-government organizations advocating for the dignity and basic rights of workers.###


Bishop Gerardo A. Alminaza, D.D.,  Church People-Workers’ Solidarity (CWS) Convenor
Mr. Garry Martinez, Church People-Workers’ Solidarity (CWS) Convenor and Spokesperson
Mobile No. 0939-3914418
Email address: churchpeople.workers.solidarity@gmail.com

[Events] May 1 Eucharistic Celebration and Mobilization – Church-Labor Conference

The Church considers it her task always to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work, to condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and to help to guide the above-mentioned changes so as to ensure authentic progress by man,woman and society. Laborem exercens # 1

(to be presided by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, D.D.)

on MAY 1, 2011,
10:30 A.M.
at Mendiola, Manila


Kontra Kontaktuwalisasyon by CLC

Different labor groups will assemble at Mendiola on May 1 to commemorate the International Labor Day at the same time Celebrate the Beatification of Pope John Paul II. The Pope had been very vocal in his teachings and encyclicals about the injustices and oppression in the world of work.
We enjoin you to be part of this meaningful celebration. For inquiries please contact Des or Francis at tel. # 721-5916.

[Press release] Archdiocese of Cebu to Celebrate Mass for Workers on May 1 – SUGA

Sto. Rosario Parish Church, P. del Rosario St. by Cebucity.org

Sto. Rosario Parish Church, P. del Rosario St. Photo source: Cebucity.org

The Archdiocese of Cebu will hold a Mass for Workers on May 1 as a tribute toPope John Paul II on the day of his beatification at  the Sto. Rosario Parish Church, P. del Rosario St., at 2:00 in the afternoon.

All workers are invited and are encouraged to bring their tools which will be blessed during this mass.

The Mass for Workers  will be officiated by Cebu Vicar General and Visayas Clergy Discernment Group Convenor Msgr. Cayetano Gelbolingo, PA, and concelebrated by Fr. Dondon Aquino.

May 1 is a very significant day for the faithful, especially the workers, since on thisDivine Mercy Sunday, Pope John Paul II will be beatified; and on the same day, St. Joseph the Worker’s feast and the International Workers’ Day will also be celebrated.

SUGA, an Alliance of Cebu Electric Consumers, formed as a response of lay people to the problems of electric company workers and electric consumers, lauds theArchbishop of Cebu for giving his blessing for this mass.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, in a forum on Church’s Social Teachings on Human Labor referring to Pope John Paul II’s encyclical on labor said that, “The dignity of work depends on the dignity of the workers…”

In this light, the May 1mass will be offered for the intention that the rights of workers be respected.

The public is encouraged to join the mass, to be in solidarity with the workers, as exhorted by Pope John Paul II who said, “There is a need for solidarity movements among and with the workers. The church is firmly committed to this cause, in fidelity to Christ, and to be truly the church of the poor.”

For inquiries, please text or call the Secretariat at mobile landline # (032) 582-1085 or email to suga.cebu@gmail.com.

For Reference:
Ms. Armi Cornea
SUGA Convenor
Tel. No. 582-1085