CBCP, Immigration bureau renew ties
ECMR Chair Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and Deputy Immigration Commissioner Tobias Javier sign a Memorandum of Agreement for collaboration in the presence of CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles and Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, CBCP Vice President. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
By Melo Acuña
July 5, 2018
After 21 years, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and the Bureau of Immigration have renewed cooperation in assisting foreign missionaries in the country.
A memorandum of agreement was signed by Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Mutual Relations (ECMR) and Deputy Immigration Commissioner Tobias Javier in a ceremony held in Manila July 2.
Both parties recognize that foreign Catholic missionaries have contributed “immensely to the moral and human development of the citizenry, particularly the poor, the youth, the handicapped and the less privileged of society.”
They also acknowledged missionaries’ dedication by devoting their lives and resources in the performance of their vocation for the moral and spiritual uplift of Filipinos in various communities.
The agreement came about after missionaries expressed concern on various issues affecting the issuance of missionary visas and extension “which create some difficulties in the pursuit of their mission.”
The ECMR handles the CBCP Visa Desk which has been set up to assist and endorse Catholic foreign missionaries, religious and lay for their visa application and official dealings with the BI.
Among those present in the MOA signing were CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles and Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, CBCP Vice President.
The first agreement was signed by then BI Commissioner Edgar Mendonza and Bishop Carlito Cenzon on November 10, 1997.
Established in 1968, the ECMR is also tasked to coordinate and unite the purposes and programs of the bishops and the religious superiors in the Philippines.