Friday, July 22, 2011

CBCP calls for nominations for outstanding youth ministers, orgs

MANILA, July 23, 2011—The Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is inviting dioceses and parishes to nominate youth ministers and organizations that have made a significant contribution to the growth of the youth apostolate in their respective locales.
ECY chairman and Albay, Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon made the invitation as he announced the start of nomination for the Blessed John Paul II National Youth Ministry Awards. The awards, which will be conferred to 25 outstanding youth ministers and organizations during the National Youth Day 2011 celebration on November 14 to 19, was established in line with the ongoing celebration of the CBCP Year of the Youth on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of ECY this year.
Baylon said the Blessed John Paul II National Youth Ministry Awards is meant to recognize the selflessness, commitment, and dedication of youth ministers and organizations in championing the cause of the youth and the youth ministry in their respective dioceses and parishes.
“Help us identify these youth ministers and organizations by nominating those you think are worthy of recognition for the contribution they made for the youth ministry in the Philippines to grow, bloom and bear fruit,” Baylon said.
According to Fr. Jose Favie Faldas, SDB, head of the ECY Recognition Committee, this year’s recognition of the sacrifices and dedication of youth ministers is “long overdue” considering that it took 25 years before the ECY established such an award-giving initiative.
“The awarding is long overdue for me. For so many years now, those who are in the youth ministry have been unappreciated, misunderstood and uncared for. It is about time that they are put in the pedestal,” Faldas told YouthPinoy.
Faldas said the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate (NSYA) has started writing diocesan youth ministry heads, calling on them to submit their nominations for the outstanding youth ministers, who may be ordained, religious, or lay, or groups of persons, institutions or organizations.
From the nominations, the Recognition Committee, members of which were appointed by Baylon, will come up with a shortlist of 50 nominees, from which a 5-man jury will judge the top 25 nominees who will be awarded with trophy for having earned the merits to warrant a Blessed John Paul II National Youth Ministry Award.


According to the NSYA, anyone may nominate. An individual or a group only has to submit their filled out nomination forms. Submissions can be made through post mail addressed to Episcopal Commission on Youth, 3/F CBCP Bldg., 470 Gen. Luna St., 1002 Intramuros, Manila, or e-mailed to
The deadline for submission of nominations will be on September 8, when the Recognition Committee will sift through the nominations and send certificates to all those nominated. The initial nomination fee of P1,000 was waived.
“The award will be a special trophy befitting this first nationwide recognition of youth ministers,” the NSYA added.


According to Faldas, the John Paul II National Youth Ministry Awards was not only created to recognize outstanding youth ministers in the Philippines.
He said the awards also aim to inspire the young and other youth supporters in uplifting the values and morale in the youth ministry.
“More importantly, we want to generate Gospel models for youth ministers and for the youth in general from these awardees,” adding that awardees will be looked up for their commitment to the Catholic faith and outstanding leadership in the field of youth ministry. (YouthPinoy)

Trillanes bill on retirement benefits signed into law by P’Noy

MANILA, July 22, 2011-Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV bill which provides expeditious and timely release of the benefits, pension and gratuities of government workers retiring from the service was signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III where he lauded the latter for his swift action on the bill.

The new law, Republic Act No. 10154, provides for the release of retirement benefits of state workers within 30 days from the actual date of their retirement.

“The immediately signing of my bill into law by P’Noy would mean that he effectively recognized the sacrifices of our public officers and employees who have rendered decades of faithful, loyal and dedicated service to the public, often toiling and laboring with salaries and benefits barely enough to meet their personal and family needs,” Trillanes said, the principal author of the bill.

“The least we can do is to ensure that they will receive their retirement pay, pensions, gratuities and other retirement benefits immediately or at least within a fixed and reasonable time after their retirement. Retiring government employees should not be made to wait, much less grovel and beg, for what is actually due to them under the law,” he said.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV
Trillanes law seeks to penalize officials who would cause undue delay on the release of these benefits. These erring officials, after hearings and due proceedings, shall be subject to administrative disciplinary action and shall be penalized with suspension from service without pay from six months to one year, at the discretion of the disciplining authority, except in cases of force majeure and other insuperable cases.

“I and other senators received numerous and persistent complaints from civil servants that they were made to wait for unreasonable period of time, sometimes years, before they were able to get their retirement benefits,” Trillanes said.

After being released from detention late last year, the said bill is among the first few bills sponsored by Trillanes at the Senate plenary.  After seven and half years of incarceration for his role in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Pen incident, Trillanes was formally granted amnesty by President Aquino last January 2011. (Jason de Asis)

Recto urges P’Noy for joint exploration on the disputed Spratly islands

MANILA, July 22, 2011-Senator Ralph G. Recto, a senior member of the Senate committees on foreign relations and of national defense and security yesterday bated the Aquino government to take the lead in pursuing a joint economic exploration of the disputed Spratly Islands among claimant countries as a way of moving forward on the long pestering issue.

“We just can’t say we’re open to the idea and sit idly. There is a pressing need to take the initiative to make this happen where a joint exploration is the only sensible thing to do in harnessing the economic potentials of Spratlys without having to fire one single shot or sinking a gun boat,” Recto said.

Recto added that the joint exploration initiative could be pushed even while issues on ownership are still being resolved under the auspices of ASEAN or United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Senator Ralph Recto.
“For this issue to resolve there is no need to wait for another 30 years. If claimants would only agree now, whatever natural resources underneath Spratlys could be shared equitably for the economic benefits of all nations,” Recto said.

“Who knows, after 30 years when the oil or natural gas is fully depleted, not a claimant would show interest anymore,” he said, adding that the joint exploration would not mean surrendering one nation's claim or sovereignty but embracing a common workable solution to a long-standing problem.

Recto explained that our country did its own joint exploration with the natural gas find in Malampaya off Palawan not with another sovereign nation but with a private multinational consortium led by Shell and Chevron. The Spratly islands is said to be sitting on large deposits of natural gas and oil.

“For starters, the country could spearhead the forging of another joint marine seismic undertaking (JMSU) among claimant countries, after the first one with China and Vietnam that was signed way back in 2005 and lapsed in 2008,” he furthered.

The JMSU, which was signed last March 2005 by the Philippines and China, called for the two countries’ joint exploration of petroleum resource potential in the South China Sea.

When Vietnam, a claimant of portions of the Spratlys, protested, it was included in the agreement. The JMSU was not renewed after it lapsed in July 2008.

“We probe together for oil then we harvest the proceeds equitably,” the chairman on the Senate committee on ways and means said, adding that the country is in a unique location to mediate a joint exploitation among claimant nations because of its proximity to the disputed islands.

“The Chinese nor the Vietnamese could not singlehandedly lay down their own natural gas or oil pipelines all the way from Spratlys to their home soil. The more economical way is to use our existing Malampaya gas pipeline that stretches from Palawan waters to South Luzon where each claimant would converge to pick up and load their share,” he said.

“In return for the use of the gas pipeline, the country could just charge handling fee,” Recto said, saying that the joint exploration proposal could be part of the talking agenda that the President will bring to the table when he visits China in August or September this year.

“If we could sell this idea to the Chinese, it would not be difficult to convince the others,” he said.

Recto pointed out that there is a pressing need to leave the sovereignty issue to the Department of Foreign Affairs, saying that the focus would be on how to make use of the economic potentials of Spratlys now while zealous foreign ministers debate over the next decade their sovereign claims.

A meeting of senior foreign officials from ASEAN countries and China to finalize the implementing guidelines on the 2002 Code of Conduct of Parties (DOC)  in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea  has produced mixed reviews with other participants griping over a watered down version of the draft guidelines.

He said that the ASEAN secretariat noted with appreciation the proposal of the Philippines to declare South China Sea into a Zone of Peace, Freedom, Friendship and Cooperation in the same meeting.

To start the ball rolling, Recto said that the country's top foreign officials should have been more specific in calling for a "joint economic cooperation" in Spratlys.

Contesting the country’s claim over Spratlys are Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei. (Jason de Asis)

Church launches 'anti-RH with a smile' campaign

MANILA, July 22, 2011—The Catholic hierarchy has found a new weapon to fight away the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill – smile.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has launched Friday various campaign materials to bring the Church’s message on the value of human life to the faithful.
One that notably caught the media’s attention was a sticker depicting a yellow smiley with texts “I am pro-life. I am anti-RH bill.”
Msgr. Juanito Figura, CBCP secretary general, agrees that smile can influence others and it also reflects how the Church conducts its mission.
“Maybe we can summarize the position of the Church as it continues to do its campaign against the RH, it is peaceful, friendly campaign and we are saying that we are pro-life and we are anti-RH with a smile,” Figura said in a press briefing at the CBCP office in Intramuros, Manila.
The stickers, he said, will be placed in various parish Churches across the country and will be distributed to the public to intensify their campaign against the birth control measure.
“You will see stickers displayed on vehicles. We would place stickers that are more friendly because we are actually not adversarial, not against anybody in particular, not against any group in particular but against the RH bill specifically so we are doing this mission with a smile,” added Figura.
Aside from the stickers, the CBCP also have anti-RH bill tarpaulins. One of which even has an image of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.
“He is not only our national hero but this year we celebrate his 150th birth anniversary. He has always been known for his works and he always said that the youth is the future of the nation,” he said.
“If we teach our youth today the wrong values about life, if we teach the youth today on the wrong values about society and the family what will they become when they become adults and leaders of the nation in the future?” the CBCP official said.
Figura also revealed that the Church has produced a video advertisement which will be shown inside parish Churches.
“We are coming out with TV ads even with our meager income. Maybe you would see the ad not on television, but on the Church projectors before Masses because we are spreading these TV ads exponentially by using our very own network and our resources,” Figura said. [CBCPNews]


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