An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has been elected member of a global organization working in areas of refugee and migration issues.
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga will now be working with Dr. Anne Therese Gallager, the newly elected president of the International Catholic Migration Commission and its 14-member governing committee.
His election is a recognition to what the local Church has done and been doing for the migrants, particularly the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“They acknowledge contributions of our migrants and our chaplains to the universal Church and to the world,” said Santos, who heads the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI).
“With this position in ICMC, God wants us to do something more to our OFWs,” he said. “We at ECMI is doing everything since before and ever to let them feel that God is with them, our Church journeys with them.”
The bishop is currently in Rome, Italy after attending the quadrennial ICMC Council Plenary Meeting held on March 6-8.
The event was represented by mandated delegates from the bishops’ conferences all over the world. This year, more than 100 delegates from 58 countries gathered in Rome.
Paramount to the meeting was the election of the new ICMC head and regional representatives: two each from Africa, Asia, Europe, South and North America, and one each from the Middle East, North Africa, Oceania and the Carribean.
Santos together Fr. Jaison Vadassery Joseph, a delegate of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, have been elected to represent the Asian region.
The ICMC was founded in 1951 in the wake of the massive displacement caused by the World War II to coordinate the work of Catholic charities in addressing the issues and concerns of migrants, refugees, and displaced persons. (Roi Lagarde)