MANILA, August 31, 2011?AN official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said that only 70 percent or 299 of the 427 official delegates to the 26th World Youth Day in Madrid have made it home as yet.
Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Youth and leader of the Philippine delegation to the WYD said around 30 percent of the Philippine delegation under his care are still in different Schengen states around Europe.
“Per batches ang pag-uwi kaya hindi natin malaman kung mayroon na bang naiwan sa Spain dahil sa ibang hangarin o intension,” Garganta said.
After the WYD celebration in Madrid, other delegates have taken the opportunity to visit other European countries as allowed by their Schengen visa.
As of this time, Garganta cannot yet make any conclusion on the number of Pinoys who have made the decision to stay in any of the Schengen states as an illegal alien.
“Sa ngayon di pa masabi kasi hindi pa naman ito ang binigay na time ng Spanish Embassy. Nasa kalagitnaan ng September pa ang binigay na panahon. Doon natin malalaman kung mangilan ang hindi bumalik sa hanay ng ECY-Philippines,” Garganta said.
Garganta stressed that the Church did not fail in reminding that the delegates must come home after their post WYD trip in Europe.
“Nagampanan ng ating simbahan yung pagpaalala sa ating delegasyon na ang gawaing simbahan na ito ay gamitin natin bilang isang malinaw na paglahok lamang,” he said.
Many of the Filipino delegates who attended the WYD 2002 in Canada and WYD 2005 in Germany did not return to the Philippines.
But Garganta said it did not happen in Sydney in 2008 WYD as the delegates then returned back in the country 100 percent.
“Noong 2008, hindi tinawagan ng atensyon ang komisyon ng Embahada ng Australia kaya masasabi kong 100 percent ang nakauwi. Kalimitan kasi pinapatawag ng embahada ang atensyon ng komisyon kung may mga naiwan pang Pilipino matapos ang isang World Youth Day,” Garganta said.
Only 427 delegates representing Episcopal Commission on Youth are directly under the responsibility of the CBCP. The other 1,500 delegates comprising various groups, although endorsed by ECY, it has no control over it.
The Spanish Embassy already assuming that there will be a number of Filipinos that will remain in any Schengen states had, according to Garganta, asked the Commission, “How many percent do you think will stay?”
He answered that ideally, the commission does not want anyone to stay in Spain after WYD.
Garganta also added that the clearer picture as of this moment is that many delegates still has the right intention of joining the World Youth Day.
The 26th World Youth Day 2011 was celebrated last August 16-21 in Madrid. The next WYD celebration will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2013. (Jandel Posion)