Updates from the Philippines
By Mila Glodava
Just in case you’re wondering why there have been very limited updates on the website, it’s because I’m currently in the Philippines on a mission trip on behalf of St. Thomas More Parish. My very hectic schedule here gives me very little time to access the Internet, which often is only when I’m in Manila between engagements. I will be in the Philippines through August 1 and then continuing my mission on to Guam and then back to the United States Aug. 4.
Immediately after my arrival at midnight July 7 , Richard Vargas from Socio Pastoral Institute picked me up from my niece’s (Marissa Monte) home to go straight to Infanta for my first scheduled seminar on stewardship there. Real, Infanta and Nakar from the RIN vicariate were very well represented with approximately 350 people in attendance. The Pulo vicariate was also invited but only 0ne parishioner from Patnanungan came. The result was an overwhelming desire from Infanta especially to start stewardship in the parish, while parishioners from Nakar, Real and Patnanungan are raring to improve upon what they already have started.
Between sessions in Infanta I managed to meet with the leaders of the Task Force on Sierra Madre and the municipal and school officials on the Gabaldon.
On the Task Force, Attorney Barcena informed me not only of their difficulty in raising funds for their cause, but more importantly in finding a viable means to give alternative livelihood for those being displaced by their efforts. These are families who make a living from the illegal logging and other destructive forces. When I announced this plight of the Task Force, I found out that the RIN parishes are committed to helping in some ways. Father Mario Establecida and his parish leaders showed that 10 percent of their budget is allocated for the care of the environment. They also showed us that that 10 percent was taken away from their initial 20 percent budget for care for the priest. I thought that that move was a strong statement that they believe in the effort to be stewards of the earth. Father Osee Molde of Real expressed the same support. I know Infanta is very much supportive of this effort too.
On the Gabaldon Project, we are finally taking off. My meeting with Mayor Grace America, the municipal engineer, the school district supervisor and the PTA president (Marion Combalicer) was very productive (I cantremember the names of the others at the meeting, but will inform you next time). We all agreed to launch a 15 million pesos Gabaldon Project Fund Campaign with Metro Infanta Foundation taking responsibility for 9 million pesos and the local government taking responsibility for 6 million pesos as their counterpart. Please note that the Metro Infanta Foundation Board of Directors approved launching a fund campaign in 2007.
The Gabaldon Project Committee will include the Mayor America and others mentioned above. Since Pol and Sally Derilo who are members of the board, are often in the Philippines, I have requested that they be invited to represent Metro Infanta Foundation. I have also asked Tesing Mortiz and Edgardo Arizala to join this committee, as well as Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona. In addition, Mayee Abiar Marzan of Socio Pastoral Institute will continue to monitor and offer administrative services for Metro Infanta Foundation.
Official launching of the Gabaldon will be held on July 24 at 8 am right on the current Gabaldon site at 8 a.m. We are hoping all those who have gone through the walls of the Gabaldon and still in the Philippines will join us at this event.
More importantly, we hope that all Infantahins all over the world will join forces with us and help us see this project become a reality. Let’s show the world that we can all be united in this effort for the benefit of this generation and beyond.