COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

No. 810         Diocese of Marbel, Philippines                              18 March 2015



Religious and diocesan priests had their recollection together on 9 March 2015 at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Seminary Compound, City of Koronadal, South Cotabato.

OLPH Seminarians led the chanting of the morning praise during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament as well as the singing before the benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and the celebration of the Eucharist.

Dr. Crisanto “Choi” Torrijos shared his insights and experiences regarding the Marriage Encounter Weekend Seminar (MEWS).

Topic: “MEWS In-the Year of the Poor”.

  • MEWS is a post-Cana program. It is part of the Family and Life Ministry.
  • Marriage couples are poor; they need spiritual formation to face difficulties and overcome threats to marriage.
  • Pope Francis called these threats – same sex union, sexuality, redefinition of marriage – “ideological colonization of the family.”
  • Need to encounter Jesus. MEWS provides this opportunity.  Through Jesus; relationships: “I and God”, “You and I”, “We and God” are improved.
  • MEWS graduates are effective evangelizers – they proclaim the Good News through witnessing.
  • As of date: 100 MEWS had been conducted in 18 of 27 parishes; 998 couples or 1,996 individuals participated. (Reported by Fr. R.P.P)

MEWS and SADE (Sons and daughters Encounter) are programs to be conducted according to our 2015 – Year of the Poor – Diocesan Strategic Plan.

Fifty-five (55) priests: OP (1), CFM (1), CP (6) and diocesan (47) were enriched by the joint recollection, hosted by St. Anthony/Cathedral Parish.



Congratulations to Fr. Rafael Cabrido and fr. Rene Dasilao who celebrated their 25th anniversary of priestly ordination on 27 February 2015 at Brgy. New Iloilo, Tantangan, South Cotabato.

Concelebrated Mass of thanksgiving was held at the Notre Dame of New Iloilo.  Lunch followed.



Members of the Committee to review and propose amendments to the Decrees of the First Diocesan Pastoral Assembly (DPA I) were chosen during the meeting of priests on 9 March 2015 at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Seminary big chapel.

DPA I was held on 22-27 April 1996 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Seminary Complex.  Its decrees were promulgated by Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez on 24 November 1996 and took effect on 1 January 1997.

The members are:

  • Romeo Buenaobra, Vicar General, Chair;
  • Wilfredo Estraza, C.P., Parish Priest, OLPGVP;
  • Joseph Benitez, Episcopal Vicar for the Clergy;
  • Ernesto Bendita, Chancellor;
  • Reynaldo Mission, Judicial Vicar.



B’laans in Bongmal Territory, Tampakan – Kiblawan are strongly against mining operations in their ancestral land.

On 23 January 2014 they submitted to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples’ (NCIP) National Office a resolution opposing the SMI Glencore/Xstrata’s proposed copper and gold mining project in Tampakan.

NCIP duly received the Resolution.  NO action was taken; not even the courtesy of a reply!

In that Resolution they clearly expressed their refusal to undergo the process of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC); yet the FPIC proceeded.

FPIC is defined in the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) as “the consensus of all members of the ICCs/IPs to be determined in accordance with their respective customary laws and practices, free from external manipulation, interference and coercion, and obtained after fully disclosing the intent and scope of the activity, in a language and process understandable to the community.”

On 16 February 2015, the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel, wrote the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Region XI (NCIP XI) endorsing another resolution from the Alyong Community requesting for the conduct of a Community Consultative Assembly (CCA) in Bongmal Territory.  But this request was not granted.  Reason?  Sitio Alyong was unsafe, according to NCIP!

Participants in the CCC in Sitio Datal Bido did not represent the entire Bongmal community.  Residents in Bongmal Community have the right to participate in decision-making as stated in Chapter IV, Section 16 of the IPRA Laws.

Finally on 06-08 March 2015, a consensus building took place in General Santos City.  This was held without formal invitation to Bongmal Community!

Our call:

  • The Waste Rock Storage Facilities and Fresh Water Dam (500 has. each) of the proposed SMI – Glencore/Xstrata’s copper and gold project will occupy most of the Bongmal Territory.
  • Reason dictates and the IPRA Law mandates that the residents of Bongmal Territory should be consulted.
  • Hence the Community Consultative Assembly and other related process should be conducted in Bongmal Territory.
  • But such consensus building activities were not held in Bongmal Territory but in GeneralSantos City where majority of the Bongmal People did not participate for lack of prior communication.
  • Hence, whatever decision was made in General Santos City did not reflect the will of people in Bongmal.
  • THEREFORE, WE CALL ON THE NCIP to conduct the CCA and future processes in Bongmal Territory and trust in God and the people’s good will.

Back to: 2015 COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop


About bishopdinualdo

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez is the Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel
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