Evangelical bishop is new head of Philippine movement against human trafficking

Evangelical bishop is new head of   Philippine movement against human trafficking

Bishop Noel Pantoja of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches. PHOTO FROM PMAHT

By CBCP News

July 30, 2020

Manila, Philippines

An evangelical bishop was elected as the new head of the Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT).

The election of Bishop Noel Pantoja of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches came during the group’s annual assembly, albeit held online, on July 23.

Pantoja succeeded Bishop Rex Reyes of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, who served the post since 2018.

As the new chair, the bishop will lead the national coordination of PIMAHT to execute plans for the next two years.

“The new leadership is discussing plans on how to help address the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers and problems of online sexual exploitation of children during the pandemic crisis,” Pantoja said.

“It was reported that because of the ongoing crisis and loss of jobs, many of those victims and crimes are perpetrated in the homes by the parents and relatives,” he added.

New representatives were also appointed to the PIMAHT Executive Committee— Bishop Narciso Abellana of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and Bishop Reuel Marigza of NCCP.

Bishop Abellana currently chairs the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI).

In 2013, the CBCP partnered with NCCP and PCEC and agreed to form PIMAHT to strengthen the Church’s response against human trafficking.

The group’s first head was Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who was then chairman of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action.

In 2017, the CBCP Cluster Against Human Trafficking (CCAHT) was also formed for a more collaborative actions among different ministries down to the dioceses.

The CCAHT is composed of the ECMI, NASSA, Commission on Youth, and the Commission on Women.