Clergy, laity to discuss IP struggles in Davao meet

Clergy, laity to discuss IP struggles in Davao meet

Refugees find shelter at the city’s grandstand. MSPCXVI

DAVAO City—Church leaders from different parts of Mindanao are gathering to look into the plight of indigenous peoples (IP) as well as the issues confronting the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) in Mindanao.

More than 200 bishops, priests, religious, and lay leaders working in BECs in Mindanao and Sulu are participating in the Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference (MSCPC) XVI from Oct. 16 to 20 at the Waterfront Insular Hotel.

MSPC is a forum of ideas that facilitates the communion of local churches in Mindanao. As stated in its vision statement, MSPC aims to promote indigenous cultures and to foster a dialogue of life among Christians, Muslims, and Lumads in Mindanao and beyond.

Possible solutions

MSPC XVI will focus on the relationship between BECs and faith communities, the growth of BECs and their best and failed practices, inter-religious dialogue, plight of the indigenous peoples, among others.

Fr. Leonardo Dublan, Jr., Davao’s social action director said the conference aims to explore ideas and possible solutions for problems arising in the ecclesial communities and in society as a whole.

Leading the pool of speakers are Orlando Cardinal Quevedo of the Archdiocese of Cotabato who will give a Mindanao situationer and Bishop of Digos Guillermo V. Afable who will deliver the keynote address on the conference’s theme: “Parish as Communion of Communities”.

“I look forward to it because that depicts very well the Mindanao situation,” said Bishop of Marawi Edwin Dela Peña about the conference in a message sent to CBCPNews.

Meanwhile, Archbishop of Davao Romulo G. Valles officiated the Holy Mass at San Pedro Cathedral on Oct. 16. A welcome dinner and program at the Grand Menseng Hotel showcasing the tribal culture of Davao, reminiscent of the Kadayawan sa Dabaw celebration every August, followed.


The first MSPC was held in Davao City in 1971 with the theme: “Building Christian Communities: Worshipping, Teaching, Serving,” and the following conferences were held every three years.

A statement signed by the bishop as current chairman is issued at the end of the conference.

Though it is a forum of ideas, the MSPC cannot dictate how bishops will implement policies in their dioceses since every bishop in his own diocese is independent and is not answerable to any bishop but to the pope.

The local church of Mindanao used to be under the Archdiocese of Cebu until the erection of the prelature of Zamboanga until it gave birth to some 21 dioceses in Mindanao, including Zambonga that comprises the five ecclesiastical sub-regions of Mindanao.

Valles expressed joy that the Archdiocese of Davao is once again hosting the MSPC after it was held in the Archdiocese of Zamboanga in 2014 with the theme: “Celebrating the Giftedness of the Laity in the Church” in time for the celebration of the Year of the Laity. CBCPNews