The Pacific Asia Capuchin Conference (PACC) – Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) conducted the Second PACC – JPIC assembly at the Capuchin Retreat Center in Lipa City, Batangas, the Philippines on 1 – 6 May 2018 with the theme: “Set Out into the Deep”. Thirty-four (34) delegates from the different countries of the Pacific Asian region attended the gathering. The Capuchin circumscriptions represented in this assembly were: Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Korea, Malaysia, Medan – Indonesia, Pontianak – Indonesia, Nias Isles – Indonesia, and the Philippines. The assembly was also attended by Br. Victorius Dwiardy, the General Councilor for PACC, Br. Benedict Ayodi the director of the Capuchin JPIC office, Br. Eugenio Juanito Lopez, the provincial of Philippines and the president of PACC, and Br. Henryk Cisowski, JPIC international commission member. Four delegates from the OFS of Malaysia also participated.
While the assembly gave an opportunity to JPIC animators of Pacific Asia an opportunity to regather after three years, it also helped them to review, consolidate and plan for proactive future action for the conference and the region. The assembly started with a recollection based on the Gospel passages taken from Mark 6:30-32 where Jesus invites his apostles to go out into a quiet place to rest. The JPIC Animators likewise received inputs on the following topics: Challenges of Advocacy for the environment – given by Sr. Minerva Caampued, FAS; Inter-religious Dialogue: The Damietta Peace Initiative – by Sr. Lilian Curaming, FMM; Empowerment of Indigenous People through Education -by Sr. Aristea Bautista,FMM; JPIC animation and values – by Br. Benedict Ayodi; Working among the Urban Poor – by Br. Henryk Cisowski,OFMCap; Updates on the Working Mechanisms in the United Nations – given by the Franciscans International team consisting of Mr. Budi Tjahjono, Mr. Cedric Chatelanat and Fr. Ajaya Kumar Singh
Four new office bearers of the PACC JPIC were elected, namely: Br. Edgardo Dumaual, of the Philippine Province (PACC JPIC President), Br. Supralika Kemit of Medan, province (PACC JPIC Vice – President), Br. William Chang, of Pontianak, province (PACC JPIC Secretary) and Br. Hezekieli Manao, of Nias Isles, (Treasurer).
The gathering reflected the zeal of the PACC JPIC Animators to continue collaborating with each other and to come up with common goals and aspirations amid the challenges faced in the Pacific Asian region.
Prior to the conference, the JPIC delegation visited social projects in Sta Ana Cagayan. It was good to meet the Capuchin postulants among the Agta tribal community. Since last year the postulants have been raising funds to construct a traditional health centre for the Agta tribal community of Domasag in Sta Ana. We were glad to visit their project and to support it. The JPIC delegation also visited the elementary school and water project at the Turod community. Both projects need more financial support to continue serving the local community.
One interesting project that the JPIC delegation was very excited to visit was the urban organic farming in Manila. The JPIC office of the Philippines province supports about 45 women groups around Manila to plant and sell their organic products. This project is done in collaboration with the SM Mall of Asia, one of the biggest chain of malls in the Philippines. The idea is to identify needy women farmers in the metropolitan area and support them to plant natural organic products including vegetables and flowers, in the little available space. The friars then help them to sell their products in supermarkets and other organic stores around the city. This is not only a livelihood support project for the urban poor but also an environmental project that JPIC promotes.
Prepared by: Br. Joel de Jesus,OFMCap, Philippines