The social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines exults the heroism of all Filipino workers this Labor Day, as the Catholic Church celebrates the national consecration to St. Joseph, the Worker.

According to Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines, “we celebrate with the whole world the bravery, courage and selflessness especially of the Filipino frontline workers who devoted even their lives in the service of those in need.” In a statement, Bishop Bagaforo stressed that “we owe it to our workers and frontliners even the minimum thread of comfort and safety that we have at a time of pandemic. You so much deserve our salutation and gratitude.”

In addition to, Fr. Antonio Labiao, Jr., Caritas Philippines executive secretary also said that “we not only come with a huge debt of gratitude for your dedication to service, but with a promise to always be the voice of the labor sector, and everyone who needed defense against oppression and injustice.”

On April 30, 2021, during one of its online programs called Alay Kapwa sa Caritas Philippines, the national social action announced the airing of a two-hour, once a month virtual legal counseling via its Facebook page www.Facebook.com/WeAreCaritas. According to Atty. Jehn Louie Velandrez, Caritas Philippines legal officer, “there are plenty of workers needing legal assistance and counseling support, and we are hoping that the online program will be accessible to everyone. This is one of our ways of actually giving back to our Filipino workers.”

The COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Department of Labor and Employment, resulted to an estimate of 7.3 million unemployed Filipinos. This is the reason why, according to Bishop Bagaforo, “Caritas Philippines is pushing for dialogues between DOLE, and other government agencies, to tap state resources and technical support not only for job generation, but to create community social enterprises which are more sustainable and empowering.”

Over the last decade, Caritas Philippines, in collaboration with the Social Action Network, was able to establish and support more than 200 community social enterprises in the Philippines using the self-help group approach to community organizing and savings mobilization, which now generate a combined income and savings of over 40 million pesos. Caritas Philippines is the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, and the country’s representative to the global confederation of Catholic charities, Caritas Internationalis.

Rowel Garcia

By Rowel Garcia

Rowel Garcia Disaster Coordinator