03/27/2019, 14.56
PHILIPPINES
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Fr Gariguez: commitment to emergencies, environment, and development for Caritas Internationalis

A member of NASSA/Caritas Philippines joins the organisation’s representative Council. Fr Gariguez, executive secretary, will “honour this expression of trust.” After Typhoon Haiyan, the clergyman coordinated one of the greatest humanitarian responses in the history of the Church.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – The National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines is ready to offer Caritas Internationalis (CI) its experience in humanitarian emergencies, environmental protection and developmental initiatives, said Fr Edwin A. Gariguez (pictured), executive secretary of the Catholic charity, speaking to AsiaNews.

Three days ago, Fr Gariguez was elected to the Representative Council (RepCo) of the international Catholic charity, following Caritas Asia’s regional conference in Bangkok (Thailand) on 21-22 March.

Speaking from the Thai capital, where he is still involved in meetings and seminars, Fr Gariguez said he was "surprised by the election".

"I was just happy to be serving as chair of the Working Group for Asia IDCS (Institutional Development and Capacity Strengthening), and as Asia representative to Caritas Internationalis Humanitarian Committee,” he said.

"I did not expect it because the president is from the Philippines, as is the coordinator for Caritas Asia. But it is a call to serve the confederation, and I need to honour this expression of trust. So, I am just thankful for the confidence that my colleagues have in me and for the organisation that I represent.”

"NASSA Caritas Philippines has been exemplary in implementing one of the biggest humanitarian response in the Church history – for the communities affected by typhoon Haiyan" in 2013. The disaster affected 3,424,593 families, killing 6,193 people and injuring another 28,689.

Launched the day after the most devastating weather event ever recorded in the Philippines, the #REACHPhilippines programme involved 166 communities in nine provinces and over 1.4 million Filipinos. Thanks to NASSA/Caritas Philippines, the Catholic Church built more than 30,000 homes for typhoon victims.

“[W]e were able to lead the Caritas confederation and coordinate the emergency response and rehabilitation programme with full accountability and transparency," the clergyman explained.

“This is the legacy that NASSA Caritas Philippines is bringing to the Caritas Internationalis confederation. Also, NASSA Caritas Philippines is very strong in its advocacy for the environment, and our strong ecological campaign is very much in line with the encyclical Laudato Si’ of Pope Francis.”

At the same time, “NASSA Caritas Philippines is very much engaged in institution development and capacity building programmes for our network and social action centres. This capacity building thrust is also needed for the whole confederation.”

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