Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oldest Filipino bishop marks Golden Jubilee

SAN PABLO City, July 22, 2011―Bishop Pedro N. Bantigue, the first Bishop of San Pablo, will celebrate his fiftieth anniversary as a bishop come July 25, Feast of Saint James the Apostle.
The announcement was made by Msgr. Melchor A. Barcenas, the Vicar General of the Diocese of San Pablo, last July 18, during the monthly Clergy Assembly.
A celebration is scheduled on July 25 to commemorate the 50th Episcopal Anniversary of Bishop Bantigue and the 24th Episcopal Anniversary of San Pablo Bishop Leo M. Drona, who was also ordained bishop on the same date last 1987.
To mark the event, a solemn Mass is scheduled at 5:15 pm at the Cathedral of Saint Paul the First Hermit, San Pablo City, and will be followed by a simple dinner at the Bishop’s Residence. Bishops, priests, religious and laity are expected to grace the event.
Bishop Bantigue is currently the oldest living Filipino bishop, by age and by date of episcopal ordination. He was ordained bishop on 25 July 1961 by His Eminence Rufino Jiao Santos, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Manila, and was given the Titular See of Catula and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Manila.
Upon the creation of the Diocese of San Pablo in the Philippine Islands, Bishop Bantigue was appointed its first bishop by Pope Paul VI.
Born in Hagonoy (Bulacan) on January 31, 1920, Bishop Bantigue proved to be a trusted priest in the Archdiocese of Manila. Shortly after his priestly ordination in 1945, he served as Private Secretary to three archbishops of Manila: Archbishop Michael J. O’Doherty, Archbishop Gabriel Reyes, and Cardinal-Archbishop Santos. As a young prelate, he participated in the third session (14 September to 21 November 1964) of the Second Vatican Council .
Upon becoming the first Bishop of San Pablo, Bishop Bantigue guided the newly erected diocese in its early years. One of his hallmark acts as its Bishop is the convocation of the First Diocesan Synod of San Pablo in 1994.
After twenty eight years of being the Pastor of the flock of San Pablo diocese, Bishop Bantigue retired at the age of seventy five years and four months. He was succeeded by Bishop Francisco C. San Diego.
At present, the Diocese of San Pablo has Bishop Leo M. Drona as its current shepherd.
July 25 is a double celebration in the Diocese of San Pablo, for it marks the celebration of two great jubilees: that of its first shepherd and its current Bishop. (Fr. David Reyes)

After giving money, TV host donates cars to bishops

MANILA, July 21, 2011— After donating cash yesterday, television host Willie Revillame is giving two new vehicles for the charity work of some Catholic dioceses.
Lawyer Romulo Macalintal said that Revillame is donating one Foton 15-seater van and one Foton pick-up car.
“Revillame is making the donation to show his deep concern for the needs of our bishops,” Macalintal said.
Yesterday, the television personality also donated P100,000 to a fund drive that will be used to buy utility vehicles for some dioceses.
The total donation has already reached P1.5 million as of July 21, nine days after the fund raising campaign was launched.
Macalintal and former Mayor Lito Atienza are leading the fundraising drive for the seven bishops who were maligned over the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) donations controversy.
Last week, the prelates, four from Mindanao and three Northern Luzon dioceses, returned the utility vehicles which they bought from PCSO donations in 2009.
The decision was made after the current PCSO administration told media that former President Gloria Arroyo distributed “luxury vehicles for personal use” of some bishops for political reasons.
The prelates, however, clarified that what they got were not luxury cars but utility vehicles for Church-operated missions. [CBCPNews]

Angara bats to create a world-class infra to boost Phl tourism industry

MANILA, July 21, 2011-To create world-class infrastructure that would boost tourism industry throughout the country, Senator Edgardo J. Angara bats the government and the private sector to work hand-in-hand in his goal for better development of the country in his keynote address at the 4th General Membership Meeting of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association.

Angara revealed that the Philippines ranked 94th out of 139 countries in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2011 on a global scale, and 18th of 26 in the Asia-Pacific regional index despite offering some of the best value-for-money tourist prices. 

“One of the reasons for this is the dismal state of infrastructure in the country and we belong to the bottom quartile of the index in most aspects of infrastructure,” Angara lamented, figuring in air transport, 112th; roads, 114th; and 131st in both port infrastructure and ground transport network.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara
“We may have the most breathtaking sights and gorgeous seascapes, but without the necessary infrastructure, tourists will not be able to get to them with ease, if at all,” Angara added.

World Bank study revealed that asserting that the poor quality of infrastructure curbs tourism by impeding mobility, allowing only limited choices of transport and raising vehicle operating cost per kilometer. Studies of the World Bank also show a positive correlation between the quality of airports and the number of foreign tourist arrivals.

Angara is taking steps to ensure that such quality infrastructure is built in the Philippines, beginning in his hometown province in Aurora. The Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (APECO) is an emerging haven that exhibits the marriage of nature and modernization, adding that to encourage access to the area, while preserving the biodiversity, roads and  airport have been built.

APECO office, Casiguran, Aurora.
Earlier, four (4) Taiwanese companies signed up to locate in Aurora as they believe that APECO generates greater interest among international investors.

Angara is optimistic that this vision can become a reality in the near future, the first in the regions and to the nation at large.

It is being primed as the country’s premier Gateway to the Pacific due to its strategic location where its accessibility to Manila and to other logistic and investment hubs in Luzon via land, water and air that makes it ideal for business climate. (Jason de Asis)


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