Philippines joins the Caritas Internationalis Council

The Representative Council is the governing body of Caritas Internationalis, which now includes new members from the Philippines, South Korea, Mongolia and Nepal, who will work with its new president Benedict Alo D'Rozario.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, the main humanitarian agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) since 1966, has joined the Representative Council (RepCo) of Caritas Internationalis.

For the next four years, the Filipino agency will represent Asia in the RepCo along with Caritas Korea.

The decision was taken at the regional conference of Caritas Asia, which includes 24 countries, held in Bangkok (Thailand) on 21-22 March. On that occasion, Benedict Alo D’Rozario from Bangladesh was elected as the organisation’s president, the first time a lay person will fill the role.

The national branches of Caritas from the Philippines, South Korea, Mongolia and Nepal are new members of the Regional Commission and will support D’Rozario in his work of coordination.

Card Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, archbishop of Manila, chairs the RepCo, which is the governing body of Caritas Internationalis and picks one of the seven members of its Board of Directors.

The president of Caritas Internationalis and his two deputies – elected every four years by the General Assembly together with the general secretary and treasurer – are members ex officio, while the Holy See appoints three other members.

Together with Fr Paul Choo from South Korea, RepCo includes Fr Edwin A. Gariguez (pictured), executive secretary of NASSA/Caritas Philippines. At home, the 56-year-old priest is known for his commitment to environmental protection.

The clergyman hails from Quezon (Luzon Island). In 2012 he received the Goldman Environmental Prize for speaking out on behalf of indigenous communities against large-scale mining projects.