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Faith-based groups’ role in humanitarian response recognized

Faith-based groups’ role in humanitarian response recognized

NASSA/Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez during his presentation of the faith-based organizations’ disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action. NASSA/CARITAS PHILIPPINES

XMANILA – The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) acknowledged the unique contribution of faith-based organizations (FBOs) in the Philippines in humanitarian response.

“Faith actors are vital in reducing humanitarian need and suffering,” said Mark Bidder, UN-OCHA’s head of office.

During super typhoon Yolanda, various faith-based organizations from the Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical churches provided relief and rehabilitation responses to the nine provinces most devastated, which continue even up to now.

‘Violation of human rights’

He also noted that faith-based organizations are not only present and providing alternatives for Filipinos during crises. “When we talk about human rights… it is not a happy situation in the Philippines. To call for your inclusion in decision and policy-making at all levels would be a big step towards making our government and other actors more responsive to these needs and concerns.”

According to a recent press release by National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, all three major Christian groups have been “at the forefront of the campaigns against the on-going war on drugs by the Duterte administration,” calling it “a violation of human rights,” especially of children who became victims of drug buy-bust operations.

Concretely, UN-OCHA committed to advocate for the inclusion of the Philippine Faith-based organizations Forum (FBO PH) in the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) of UN-OCHA. Presently, the HCT is represented by line government agencies and international NGOs.

The PFF is the coordination platform of Christian groups, which include the Catholic Church through NASSA/Caritas Philippines, the Protestant churches through the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and the Evangelical churches through the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches.

Convergence of churches

Launched in November in Tagaytay City, the FBO PH brought together around 40 FBOs from across the country.
NCCP is the ecumenical fellowship of Protestant and non-Roman Catholic denominations in the Philippines, working on humanitarian, development and advocacy as part of its programs.

Philippine Relief and Development Services (PHILRADS) is the relief and development arm of PCEC, working hand-in-hand with local churches doing its holistic ministries.

NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the humanitarian, development, and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. CBCPNews