CEBU City, Sept. 16, 2011—Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said the convention that brought together church people and workers across the country was a concrete experience of becoming as a Church with common noble aspiration of living out the teachings of Christianity by pursuing social justice.
Alminaza said that “after a long time, the Church has made a step to overcome its ‘fear of the unknown’ or the fear of supporting the workers because of the prevailing notion that workers are communists.”
The bishop also remarked that the national gathering was a “breakthrough” in many ways.
“Through the conference, the Church people listened to the plight of our laboring brothers and sisters. It became a venue for all to deeply understand exploitation and injustice. Now, I am confident that the Church is ready to take action in this ‘dangerous ministry’ and pursue what is just and humane for the workers,” Alminaza added.
Alminaza was the convenor of the four-day National Conference of Church People and Workers that ended yesterday in Cebu City.
At the conclusion of the four-day convention, participants signed a covenant statement wherein they voiced out their concerns and urged both government and businesses to create just labor policies.
The statement addressed four major issues that workers themselves brought into discussions during the workshops—contractualization, unjust wages, right to organize and forced migration.
Alminaza said that “the signing of the covenant which recognizes the need of the church people and workers to address the four major issues is a concrete manifestation of the Church’s renewed commitment to workers’ struggle.”
The covenant statement also mandated to transform the CWS to a permanent organization.
“The overwhelming support of hundreds of Church people to forming a real organization signals a start of a long-term pledge of the Church to support the workers’ cause,” Alminaza said.
Almost 400 delegates of the Conference approved the Covenant Statement which also mandates the convenors to develop programs and services of CWS as an organization.
Alminaza said the conference has given him the opportunity to reflect profoundly on his role as a shepherd to his flock.
“This conference provided me with precious moment to know, listen, and understand my flock more. I did not give or do much but my mere presence already meant a lot to those who attended the conference,” he said.
“I wish that other bishops and other churches pray together and live out the call and the mission,” Alminaza added. (CBCPNews)