The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines will “leave no one behind” in times of need and in the face of threats of whatever humanitarian crisis.
“No one is going to be left behind,” said Father Antonio Labiao, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines.
“We will make sure the Church’s presence will be felt in times of need and humanitarian crisis,” he said at the gathering of social action workers from across the country in General Santos City.
“We will always be there, ready to respond,” said the priest at the 40th National Social Action General Assembly, which carries the theme “Leave No One Behind. Caritas Promise.”
The gathering of social action workers from June 13 to 17 will be a first in two years due to the pandemic.
“This is the biggest gathering in the history of the national social action general assembly,” said Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines.
“This is a very good indication of how we will be moving forward with the many things our Church needs to address,” said the prelate in an interview over Radio Veritas 846.
Among the issues that are expected to be discussed during the meeting is the engagement of the Catholic Church with the incoming administration of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Father Labiao said the social action network is “ready to engage in principled politics with the new administration to ensure that no Filipino is left behind.”
In an earlier statement, Caritas Philippines said “it will exercise principled cooperation” with the Marcos administration and will support programs that are aligned with the Church’s values on human rights and human dignity.
Caritas Philippines is the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Since its establishment in 1966, it has been in the forefront implementing programs on poverty alleviation, sustainable agriculture, empowerment of women and children, and ecology protection.
Its flagship program is “Alay Kapwa” (Offering of oneself to one’s neighbor), the Lenten evangelization and resource mobilization program of the Philippine Catholic Church.
It also implement programs on good governance, peace building, agrarian justice, micro-finance, and emergency response.