New Bishop of Iligan from Diocese of Ipil

Pope Francis has tapped Fr. Jose Rapadas to lead the Diocese of Iligan in southern Philippines.

The bishop-elect is just 46, the youngest Filipino bishop serving in and outside the country today. The appointment was announced in Rome at 12 noon (6:00 p.m. Manila time) on Thursday.

Rapadas will replace Bishop Elenito Galido who died on Dec. 5, 2017. Since then, Bishop Severo Caermare of Dipolog has been overseeing the diocese as apostolic administrator. Upon his appointment, the bishop-elect has been serving as the Vicar General of the Diocese of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay.

Rapadas was born in Tondo, Manila in 1972. He is a product of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Cagayan de Oro City, and was ordained a priest in 1999. He also holds a licentiate in dogmatic theology from the Loyola School of Theology in Ateneo de Manila University. For 20 years in the priesthood, he has served in a number of pastoral roles including parish vicar and coordinator of diocesan social pastoral ministry.

The bishop-elect also served as seminary professor, director of the Office of Catechesis for the Family and Life, rector of the Saint Joseph College Seminary and professor of religious studies at the University of Zamboanga. Rapadas will be the fifth bishop of Iligan, with around a million Catholic population in 26 parishes.



Ucciso uno dei rapitori di p.Giancarlo Bossi

boss.JPGUn membro di un gruppo di rapitori coinvolto nel rapimento di padre Giancarlo Bossi,PIME, 12 anni fa è stato ucciso in una sparatoria a Zamboanga City il 12 giugno.

E’ stato identificato come come Masdal Jakaria. La polizia stava scontando un mandato di perquisizione mercoledì nel villaggio di Mampang, quando Jakaria ha aperto il fuoco contro le forze dell’ordine. Recuperato da Jakaria una pistola calibro 45 oltre a componenti di fabbricazione di bombe costituiti da spolette a cinque pezzi e miccie detonante.

Jakaria è un membro del Muloc e Waning Abdusalam KFRG (Kidnapping For Ransom Group) con base a Zamboanga Sibugay. Fu coinvolto nel rapimento di p. Giancarlo Bossi il 10 giugno 2007 nel villaggio di Silal, Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay. Il KFRG liberò Bossi il 19 luglio dello stesso anno nella città di Karomatan, Lanao del Norte, vicino al confine con la provincia di Lanao del Sur. Padre Bossi è morto di cancro ai polmoni il 23 settembre 2012 all’età di 62 anni a Milano, in Italia.

Molti dei rapimenti compiuti nell’area di Zamboanga Sibugay sono stati effettivamente effettuati da quello che viene definito Waning Abdusalam Group, un gruppo sotto il controllo di un noto comandante MILF. Abdusalam consegnerebbe le sue vittime all’ Abu Sayaff Group stationed in Basilan. Mentre nella penisola di Zamboanga, a Zamboanga del Norte, i rapimenti sono stati eseguiti sotto il comando di Julmin Muloc, noto anche come “Kumander Red Eye”.

Maria Beatrice Rosario Arroyo


venerableA Filipino nun, who happened to be the great, great grandaunt of former first gentleman Mike Arroyo, is now a step closer to sainthood. This after Pope Francis has recognized the “heroic virtues” of Maria Beatrice Rosario Arroyo, declaring her as “Servant of God.”

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated the declaration on Wednesday. Arroyo was the founder of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Holy Rosary in the Philippines. According to the Dominican Sisters, Mother Arroyo was born on February 17, 1884 to a wealthy couple, Don Ignacio Arroyo and Doña Maria Pidal in Molo, Iloilo City. But despite her wealthy upbringing, the nun chose a life of poverty and devoted her life to the service of the poor.

At the age of 27, she entered the convent and donated her inheritance to the congregation. She was described to have “virtues of purity and innocence, deep simplicity and profound humility, and ardent love for the poor and needy.” With the help of two other Dominican nuns, Mother Arroyo created the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary. She died on June 14, 1957.

After being recognised as Servant of God, Arroyo now earns the title “venerable.”A person’s declaration as Servant of God signals the beginning of the long and meticulous process of his/her possible canonisation. Canonisation is the official act of the Catholic Church declaring that the person who has died was indeed a saint.

After the declaration of being a Servant of God, a miracle approved by the pope is required to pave the way for beatification. After the beatification rite, a person is now declared “Blessed.” But in case of martyrdom, meaning that the person died defending the faith, the miracle required for beatification can be waived.

A second miracle is required for eventual canonisation. Once the pope declared that the person was indeed a saint, he/she is included in the “canon” or list of saints recognised by the Church. So far, the Philippines have two recognised saints: Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila and Pedro Calungsod of Cebu.


Aside Maria Beatrice Arroyo other three new blessed and five newly venerable are among the decrees authorised by Pope Francis after the audience with Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Among them Felice Tantardini (Introbio, Como, Italy, June 28 1898 – Taunggyi, (Burma) Myanmar, March 23 1991). He entered PIME at the age of 23 and was assigned to Burma, Myanmar, as a lay brother. He remained there for 69 years finding his death on 1991. Initially sent to Toungoo, he moved from mission to mission, wherever his skill as a blacksmith  and his ability to withstand fatigue was needed. In this way he builded churches, schools, parishes, hospitals, orphanages, always with a smile on his lips, always with a boundless love for Jesus and Mary.

The recognition of the erotic virtues of Brother Tantardini is a very significant fact for PIME: for the first time this act refers to the life of a lay missionary in PIME. And it comes the day after a special year that the institute wanted to dedicate to the figure of the lay missionaries “ad vitam”, who still today choose to adhere to the missionary charism of PIME.

“We have chosen Brother Felice as a reference figure, who has been in Myanmar from 1922 to his death in 1991, because he is a model of holiness and radical dedication to the cause of the Gospel,” said Father Ferruccio Brambillasca, Superior General of the PIME. The beatification process is also supported by the Burmese Christians who are still remembering him very well.

With the decree on the heroic virtues of Brother Felice Tantardini, a new page is added to the history of friendship that unites PIME with the Church of Myanmar. In the former Burma, where PIME arrived in 1868, the blessed Paolo Manna, Clemente Vismara and Mario Vergara, lived their ministry. And in this same country also Father Alfredo Cremonesi, who will be beatified next 19th of October in the diocese of Crema (Italy), lived his martyrdom.

Sad story indeed: slain drug suspect pleaded for life


Angel had not slept since early Wednesday, still shaken by what he witnessed when policemen barged into his house in Navotas City. “I actually saw what they were doing,” said Angel, who asked not to be identified by his real name for fear of his life.

A police officer turned off the only light in the living room where Angel slept and told him not to peer through the window or he would be caught in a crossfire. A few minutes later, Angel heard a young man crying for his mother: “Mama! Mama! Help me!” “Sir! Sir! I’m still studying. I’m a first year high school student!” the man pleaded for his life to the policemen.

He would be identified later as JayR Jumola, 21, a construction worker, one of the three drug suspects who were killed in a police buy-bust operation on Champaca Alley, Barangay North Bay Boulevard South, at 2:50 a.m. Police said the suspects were the first to fire their guns at the lawmen after sensing an entrapment.

Recovered from the scene were five packs of “shabu” (crystal meth) and three guns. Police Col. Rolando Balasabas, Navotas police chief, said the three fatalities were “notorious” drug distributors in the area and “henchmen” of a supplier known only as “Vandam.” The supplier reportedly eluded the lawmen.

Angel had a different story: From the window, he saw Jumola and two others—later identified as Arnel “Arabo” Bagamasbad, 33, and a certain “Gurang”—surrender to the policemen who were wearing civilian clothes. The policemen shot Bagamasbad many times. One of them struck Jumola in the eyes with a gun.

The witness also heard the officers requesting support from the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, and one telling Jumola to run before he was shot at the back of his head.

Those who entered his house kept telling Angel not to peek outside, but he said: “I wore my barangay ID, but they laughed at me. I told them I am not a barangay police, only a (member of) Task Force Disiplina, but I am obedient (to the law)! You, the police, are criminals! Those children surrendered but you killed them!”

Bagamasbad’s younger brother, Owen, said he was held face-down to the ground during the entire police operation. None of those killed owned a gun, he added. He told the Inquirer that Arnel was released from prison in January 2018 after his arrest in July 2017 on drug charges.

Jumola’s mother, Cristina, said the loss of a second son in the war on drugs was “more painful” than before. She admitted that he had been using drugs, but not selling. Her eldest son, Anthony Ocdin, was found dead in Barangay Tanza, Navotas, in March 2017, three days after barangay officials took him away for being drunk and loud in their neighborhood near Agora Market.

Ocdin was brought to the barangay hall, about 50 meters from his house, and was later turned over by the local officials to the city police. At the police station, the family was told that they let Ocdin go.

On March 3, Ocdin was found on the baywalk, his head wrapped in tape and bearing a bullet wound. His fingernails were pulled out and his tattoo was scraped off his face.

Celebrating BEC Sunday for first time

The Catholic Church will celebrate the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) Sunday for the first time, giving more importance to its vision for “a new way of being Church”.

Archdioceses and dioceses across the country are expected to come up with activities on June 16, which also falls on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

In preparation for the celebration, some dioceses have already held seminar workshops to prepare the parish leaders including the youth.

The bishops during its plenary assembly in July 2018 approved that the Trinity Sunday every year will be celebrated as BEC Sunday throughout the Philippines.

Msgr. Manuel Gabriel, Executive Secretary of the CBCP Committee on BEC, earlier encouraged dioceses to organize activities such as symposium on the Holy Trinity and the BEC.

He said parishes may also hold reorientation and renewal of commitments among BEC leaders, ministers and members.

The CBCP official also called on priests to highlight BEC in their homilies “as our communion in BECs is patterned after the communion of the Most Holy Trinity”.

Dutch hostage killed in Sulu

A Dutch hostage held by militant Islamist group Abu Sayyaf has been killed as he tried to flee during a battle with troops. Ewold Horn, 59, was killed during an army operation against the Islamic State-linked group on the island of Jolo.

The photographer and birdwatcher died during a 90-minute exchange of fire. Six Abu Sayyaf militants were also killed.

Mr Horn was one of two European photographers captured by the militants in the southern Philippines in February 2012. He was seized along with Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra on Tawi Tawi island. Mr Vinciguerra managed to escape during an army attack in 2014.

In 2008,  re-oriented by the Islamic Indonesian group Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf started a new strategy abducting an ABS-CBN news team, signalling the degeneration of the group into kidnapping for ransom. That was followed 6 months later by the kidnapping of members of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Their kidnappings have continued since then

The group Abu Sayyaf was behind the January bombing of a Catholic cathedral on Jolo island during Sunday mass, which killed 20 people and was the worst attack to hit the country in years,


fistDopo le elezioni dei nuovi senatori, sono state sollevate preoccupazioni sull’indipendenza del Senato. Nove dei 12 senatori sono stati sponsorizzati dall’attuale presidente tra cui l’ex capo della polizia Bato dela Rosa, uno dei responsabili della violenta campagna antidroga voluta da Duterte. Solo due senatrici, durante la proclamazione, Grace Poe e Nancy Binay , si sono rifiutate di estendere il pugno in avanti come di solito fa Duterte, un gesto abbastanza comune nei film di azione o nelle anime giapponesi quando ci si scaglia contro il nemico. In realtà la regola del pugno di ferro, sembra una finta politica. Anche se appare un uomo forte, questo presidente, non è mai riuscito ad affrontare seriamente le radici del narcotraffico, della criminalità e della povertà.

Comunque, di nemici ne sono rimasti ben pochi. Ora in Senato e alla Camera, completamente in pugno a Duterte, si discutono leggi repressive come la pena di morte, il cambiamento della Carta Costituzionale, emendamenti dell’Health Security Act, l’abbassamento dell’età minima nella responsabilità penale, la privatizzazione dei servizi pubblici, federalismo e altri ancora. Sembra che il piano di questa amministrazione sia quello di allontanare l’opinione pubblica da questioni delicate come i rapporti con la Cina, la fallimentare guerra alla droga, il conflitto contro i movimenti rivoluzionari comunisti e islamici, la corruzione ecc. Tuttavia, questi saranno problemi che prima o poi i vecchi e nuovi eletti dell’amministrazione, volenti o nolenti, dovranno affrontare.

Circa le ambizioni politiche dei senatori, già si guarda alle elezioni presidenziali del 2022.  Per ora non si sa se i nuovi senatori permetteranno a Sara Duterte, figlia del Presidente, di essere il prossimo presidente delle Filippine, come già si accennava nel precedente Senato. Una cosa è certa, il campo politico di Duterte vuole assicurarsi che il prossimo in carica non lo ritenga responsabile dei problemi del paese. Tuttavia, come sempre succede in questi casi, le lotte intestine all’interno dell’apparato dominante prima o poi saranno destinate ad emergere e solo allora capiremo di che materiale è fatto il pugno di questo presidente.

Nel frattempo, un fedelissimo senatore di Duterte, Manny Pacquiao, a 40 anni, cercherà a giorni di prendere meno pugni possibili ma più soldi sul ring di Las Vegas. La boxe, già, uno sport violento che nelle prossime Olimpiadi, così si dice, dovrebbe essere abolito.

XV Assemblea

Papa Francesco menziona le Filippine. Parlando ai delegati della nostra Assemblea Generale PIME in Vaticano, ha ripreso le parole di Paolo VI pronunciate a Manila nel 1970 “… non posso tacerlo … solo da Cristo prende senso la nostra missione ..” poi, come sappiamo, Paolo VI visitò Tondo, dove il futuro che allora aspettava i baraccati, circa un milione, era grigio e inerte. Chi non rimase inerte furono i nostri primi missionari che in quel luogo, in nome di Cristo, cominciarono a far qualcosa. In loro c’era volontà di cercare degli sfoghi pratici per applicare il vangelo. Fare, insomma, in nome di Cristo, qualcosa di giusto anche senza sapere se sarebbe stata la cosa giusta. E nel 1970 fecero quello che parve loro onesto fare, ed era stare lì, attecchire in un posto difficile, e condividere il destino e i sogni di quella generazione di baraccati sempre in movimento, giorno e notte. Stare lì e spronare, stimolare, sobillare, organizzare i pescatori della baia di Manila, gli scaricatori del porto, i lavoratori delle fabbriche come gli stessi baraccati di Tondo. Cioè, spingerli a muoversi, in nome di Cristo o per lo meno di Santo Nino, e loro si muovevano volentieri.

In Italia, nel 1970, noi ancora giovani e meno giovani, iniziavamo a essere interessati alle problematiche del Terzo Mondo e a capire che anche in posti remoti, come potevano essere le isole Filippine, remotissime, lontane, mai sentite nominare prima, c’era la lotta, lo scontro tra gruppi sociali che cercavano di annullarsi. Anche là anni di piombo e opposti estremisti. Del resto, il Concilio ci aveva spronato a guardare più lontano e noi studiavamo gli orizzonti sconfinati, i bei mari e le verdi praterie del mondo dove, tuttavia, c’era ancora oppressione e poveri da emancipare e liberare.

Oggi le cose sono cambiate, non c’è più quella voglia di fare subito la cosa giusta in un posto remoto e straniero, rischiando. Negli anni le cose si sono moltiplicate in modo impressionante, come già disse Paolo VI a Manila nel 1970: “Situazioni nuove, tra le quali segnatamente lo sviluppo delle città, l’incremento in proporzione dei giovani, l’influsso dei mezzi di comunicazione sociale, richiedono da parte vostra l’attenzione per i nuovi gruppi sociali, la ristrutturazione di certi metodi pastorali, l’adattamento del vostro insegnamento”.  Oggi, ci sono troppe cose, giuste e ingiuste, attorno a noi da prendere in considerazione. I luoghi, i mari e le praterie si sono centuplicati sui massamedia e sulle mappe dei trasporti.  In quali impegnarsi è legato al proprio raziocinio, a un esame attento delle cose, a una preparazione continua e una formazione permanente.  Troppe le cose e molto tempo è impiegato a prendere in considerazione solo quelle che ci si parano di fronte e quelle da superare. Certo, non c’è disinteresse per i posti remoti, tuttavia prevale maggiormente l’interesse per i vicini, in Italia, altrove e anche su Facebook.

“Il guai se non predicassi il Vangelo” può essere tradotto nel più pratico “Ama il prossimo tuo come te stesso” , Paolo VI disse a Manila “la persona di Gesù Cristo”, cioè quello appresso, quello il più possibile accanto a te, quello che cade sotto le tue immediate percezioni, quello che si pone di fronte a te. Un tempo era il luogo il centro della missione oggi la persona. Tutto sommato un miglioramento. Certo, questa attenzione alla persona non fa notizia, non fa numero, ma non per questo non fa missione. Semmai, per i giovani evangelizzatori d’oggi l’importante sarà quello di evitare di essere mandati all’estero per virtù non dipendenti dal proprio valore o in luoghi lontani dal prossimo. Se no si spreca.

Waste and waste

The Duterte administration recalled the Philippine ambassador and consuls from Canada, because the failure to comply with the May 15 deadline to take back tons of Canadian trash that were shipped to Manila years ago. On the other hand, however, the Philippine has to deal also with its own waste problem.

In 2000 it was issued the Republic Act 9003, also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, but after many years we are still long away from its implementation. RA 9003 mandates recycling, segregating and the closure of dump sites but, as far as we can see, a lot of garbage continues to float in Manila Bay and more than 900 open dump sites are still in function across the country.

More. The Philippines generates 2.7 million tonnes of plastic waste annually and 20 per cent – or half a million tonnes – of that leaks into the oceans. The culprits? Corruption, lack of political will to seriously implement the RA 9003 and an addiction to single-use plastic sachets after the abandon of tingi culture when shoppers took their own reusable containers when going to the market places.

Today tons of plastic trash and garbage are clogging drainage canals and end in the surrounding, river, lakes and seas. A 2015 report on plastic pollution by the Ocean Conservancy charity and the McKinsey Centre for Business and Environment ranked the Philippines as the third-largest source of discarded plastic that ends up in the ocean, behind two other Asian nations: China and Indonesia.

During the recent election few concerned people called on politicians to moderate their use of tarpaulins for the upcoming midterm polls. Nevertheless, thousands and thousands were used during the political campaign, everywhere in the country. Tarpaulins are mostly made of polyvinyl chloride plastic and may contain toxic chemicals such as cadmium, lead and phosphates that could leach and contaminate the soil and water. Great amount of cadmium in the body can cause kidney failures.

Now the political tarpaulins have to be removed and disposed. Some of these will still be recycled, reused or worst thrown away after worn out and no longer needed. Sooner or later, they will get buried in rice fields or find their ways somewhere to the Ocean if not properly collected and disposed.

Some Good News, however, from the national Mercury Drugstore: they are using only oxo-biodegradable sachets. A small step to a more clean environment.

PIME new General Council

From the left: Lourdh, Manenti, Brambillasca, Motta and Cattaneo

Fr. Ferruccio Brambillasca, was re-elected PIME Superior General for a second term today, the feast day of St. Matthias Apostle.

Voting for the new superior took place Tuesday morning at the International Center for Mission Animation, where the XV General Assembly of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions is taking place.

Fr. Brambillasca, born in Monza, Italy, on 11 June 1964, was elected for the first time as superior general in 2013. From 1998 to 2013 he has been missionary in Japan, where he served as regional superior as well. A graduate in dogmatic theology in Naples, he has 30 years of priesthood. He spent also some years as an animator in Italy, Ducenta and India in the Pune seminar.

Fr. Fabio Motta, 42, born in Treviglio (Milan) and ordained in 2004 has been elected vicar general. He spent few years as missionary animator in Italy before going to mission in Guinea Bissau in 2009.

Fr. Xavier Lourdh, 46, born in Kazipet (Andhra Pradesh, India), ordained in 2003, has been working for many years in India. In 2013 he was assigned to Japan, in the mission of Takahata (Tokyo).

Brother Massimo Cattaneo, 58, born in Saronno (Milan) in 2004 was sent on mission to Bangladesh where he handled also the NTS (Novara Technical School) in Dinajpur, Rājshāhi.

Fr. Raffaele Manenti, 62 and 37 years of priesthood, after his ordination  has worked few years in Italy (1982-1986), then in India (1998-2005), and finally in Thailand (1987-1998; 2005-2016). For the last three years he has been the spiritual director of the PIME theological seminary in Monza, Italy.

Political dynasties even in party-lists

Political dynasties have secured their place in the Philippines House of Representatives in the last three administrations, occupying close to 55 percent of congressional seats.

Regarding the party-lists, data from online news website Rappler and election watchdog Kontra-Daya show that 31 percent (18 out of 58) of party-list seats were occupied by members of political dynasties in 2015. A study by the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center concluded that political dynasties occupied 25 percent of party-list seats (14 out of 56) in the 16th Congress. Meanwhile, out of 65 party-list seats in the 17th Congress, 22 were occupied by political dynasties, accounting for 33 percent.

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that national and regional parties “do not need to organize along sectoral lines and do not need to represent any marginalized and underrepresented sector.” This made it easier for members of political dynasties to run as party-list representatives. In the guise of political plurality, the Supreme Court allowed national and regional parties or organisations to invade what is and should have been, constitutionally and statutorily, a protected space. In the 1987 Constitution and RA 7941 the party-list system was not intended as a mere political plurality, but plurality with a heart for the poor and disadvantaged so that their voices could be heard in the House of Representatives.

Considering also the Party List of ACT-CIS, backed by Erwin Tulfo, anchorman of the PTV, People’s Televison Network, owned by the Filipino Government, who can gather millions of votes and more sits in the House of Representatives, all the sits for party-lists and the Senate will be practically owned by people close to the President Duterte. The Senate was the lone institution that has so far eluded his consolidation. Now with Senate and House in his hands the power of Duterte will be like that of Marcos 50 years ago.