Monday, January 26, 2015

Bishop Cortez, Successor of Archbishop Tirona in Prelature of Infanta

BALER, Aurora-Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez, D.D. was installed last Friday, January 23, 2015 as 4th Bishop of the Prelature of Infanta in Saint Mark's Cathedral, Infanta, Quezon Province in a two hour solemn liturgical rites.

The diocese of Infanta was left vacant since 2012 after Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona was installed as Archbishop of Nueva Caceres wherein Cortez succeeded the post.

The prelature territories are the northern portions of the provinces of Quezon and the whole of Aurora.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle graced the ceremony and has called to the need for prayerfulness and a profound respect for the conditions and sensibilities of human persons in pastoral life as the Prelature will continue to respond to numerous pastoral challenges, especially those related to authentic human development, the situation of indigenous peoples, and stewardship of creation.

“Sana yung mga buwaya ay maging butiki as in the picture of Saint Mary,” Tagle quoted during the rite referring to politicians.

Back to Cortez, he is now 65 years old and a former priest of the Diocese of San Pablo in Laguna where he was ordained in June 1974.

Cortez is also known in criticizing politicians who take advantage of the Filipino electorate, saying that politicians usually please voters during the election season. He said that politicians show care and concern, but after the period, everything goes back to normal and that they are doing things in exchange of something that could benefit them, not because of the love they have for others. In the heat of the 2013 midterm elections, he took a swipe at politicians who made a show of serving the people, but for their vested interests.

Cortez, Chairman of the Catholic Media Network has been known to serve his ministry with a passion, especially the pastoral challenges.

Saint John Paul II appointed Cortez as Auxiliary Bishop of Manila on May 2004 and served for 10 years, and now as 4th Bishop of Infanta, he will administer an ecclesiastical jurisdiction with almost half-a-million population, 87 percent of which are Catholics from 20 parishes.

It could be remembered that Pope Francis has appointed Cortez as the new Bishop of Infanta in Quezon province. The appointment was announced at 12 noon in Rome (7pm, Manila time) last October 27, 2014. (Jason de Asis)

Legarda Bats for Immediate Passage of Bill Favoring the Poor

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today urged her colleagues in the Senate to immediately approve the proposed Magna Carta of the Poor, which seeks to uplift the lives of impoverished Filipinos not only through access to basic services but also by prioritizing investments and anti-poverty programs that will enable the poor to take part in the country’s growth and development.

Legarda noted that despite the country’s continued economic progress, majority of Filipinos continue to struggle on a daily basis according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The PSA reported that in the first six months of 2013, the poverty incidence was estimated at 24.9 percent of the population while subsistence, which refers to the numbers of Filipinos living in extreme poverty, was at 10.7 percent.

“The data clearly shows that more Filipinos remain vulnerable to poverty. This calls for the need to institutionalize long-term poverty alleviation strategies that are essential to improving the living standards of every Filipino,” Legarda stressed.

She added, “We need to eliminate disparities in basic services by adopting an area-based, sectoral and focused intervention to poverty alleviation where every poor Filipino family must be empowered to meet their minimum basic needs—access to adequate food, shelter, education, decent work, health care and safe water—through the partnership of the government and the basic sectors of society.”

Under Senate Bill No. 2515 or the Magna Carta of the Poor, which Legarda authored, all government agencies are mandated to provide full access of their services to the poor by formulating their own National Poverty Reduction Plan, which consists of all sectoral and local poverty reduction plans of each barangay, municipality, city and province.

Funding will come from various programs of the government such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) and Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) Project of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and socialized housing programs of the National Housing Authority, among others.

Moreover, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) shall design and establish a single system of classification to be used for targeting beneficiaries of the government’s poverty alleviation programs and projects to ensure that such programs reach the intended beneficiaries.


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