(Lipa City, May 10, 2016) – The Batangueños have chosen their leaders for the next three years. Regardless whether there were vote-buying, high tech cheating, tricks or anomalies, the fact remains: leaders have been chosen and will soon be declared. The advocacy should however continue: save the environment! Strive to render healthy atmosphere for our citizenry including those who voted for those promoting the destruction of our province and threaten the total good of the general public. Persist in rescuing the poor from misery and exploitation even if their poverty forced them to make the wrong choices. All efforts to help our people should go on with even greater fervor because the salvation of our people, most especially the exploited and neglected, the protection of the environment, the beauty of our province, is a Divine mandate, the pope wants us to protect our common home and go to the peripheries to serve the poor. We will not give up. We will double our efforts. Thank you, young people, for your dedication. Let us not fall into apathy. With God we will succeed in giving our people reason to hope for a brighter future.
(Lipa City) – The 2013 elections was coming close when the Archdiocese of Lipa made a surprising decision to breakaway from the CBCP-backed Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and formed its own Lipa Archdiocesan Council for Electoral Reforms (LACER). And LACER performed the usual duties that the Tita de Villa-led PPCRV usually did during elections. IN fact, the local COMELEC praised LACER’s opus during that electoral exercise.
This year, LACER will again go out and help COMELEC monitor the elections all over the province. IN fact, trainings were held in various times to train volunteers in their election duties. It has tied up with NAMFREL, and Fr. Ildefonso Dimaano, LACER’s head was named NAMFREL Provincial Chairman. He has also met up with the new Batangas Election Supervisor, Atty. Allan Enriquez, for the issuance of IDs of the LACER volunteers. This year will see 6 districts to be covered compared to 4 last 2013 elections.
As in the past, the Archdiocesan Radio stations are expected to tie up with LACER, which administratively is under the Lipa Archdiocesan Commission on Social Action (LASAC).
(Batangas City) – The Archdiocese of Lipa, led by the feisty Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, will host the first ever international action to stop global climate change with a mass action slated for May 4, starting at 6:00 am. The participants, expected to number more than ten thousand, with foreign climate activists in attendance, will come from two starting points: underneath the bridge at Bolbok, Batangas City and at the parish church at Lourdes Subdivision, Sta. Rita, Batangas City. The groups are expected to start with their Lakadasal (Prayer March) towards the Batangas Sports Complex.
There the Archbishop will lead a concelebrated Mass at 7:00 am, after which a program which would feature environmentalists and celebrity guests from giant TV network ABS-CBN will be held. The program, according to the organizers will last till around 10:30 in the morning.
The event, locally dubbed “Piglas Batangas, Piglas Pilipinas” is part of the international movement “Break Free from Fossil Fuels”. The Philippines was chosen as the first venue as Philippine government has announced its plan to put up another 27 coal-fired power plants to add to the already 19 coal-fired power plant already in operation. It would be recalled that world leaders converged in Paris early this year and agreed to lessen the carbon emission. President Aquino is a signatory to this pledge.
In his statement, Archbishop Arguelles reiterated Pope Francis’ call in his encyclical letter “Laudato Si” to act on climate change and protect the Earth, “urging solidarity with the poor and the most vulnerable, for it is they who suffer most severely the effects of global warming. Batangas was the first to put up a coal-fired power plant during the time of strongman Ferdinand Marcos. The plant situated in Calaca, Batangas experienced environmental damage and health hazard to its citizens even up to this time. JG Summit, which already operates a naphta cracker plant at Barangay Pinamucan, Batangas City, has applied for a permit to build a coal-fired power plant. This has caused political division in the city as its application is awaiting judgment at the City Council. The church has led the opposition to this plan.
Organizers said that this is just the beginning of such protests. Similar mass actions are scheduled in other parts of the country till May 14.
Except for the first week which marked Saturday with a pilgrimage to the Parish of Our Lady of Mercy, the following six Fridays will see the faithful of the Archdiocese in what Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles tagged as “Pilgrims of Mercy”.
Next week, Vicariate Two will host the next pilgrimage which features activities like whole day confessions, holy hour, conferences on true devotion to the Divine Mercy, and of course, the Holy Eucharist. The Parish of St. Isidore of Cuenca will be the venue of this affair on Jan. 19.
(Batangas City) – “We did not know the dangers that a coal-fired power plant can cause to our health and environment,” a couple, both senior citizens, commented after hearing Ms. Gina Lopez of ABS-CBN Foundation talk about CFPP, and urged the more than a thousand who attended the prayer-march, dubbed “Lakadasal” to fight for their right to save the earth “for the love of God, family, and for Batangas”. The couple only heard of the event Sunday before the event when they attended Mass at Trinity Parish. Being good Catholics, they decided to rise up early and joined the prayer-march this Monday morning. This was their first time to attend such a rally where both of them proudly wore red shirts and waved flaglets with “No to Coal” printed.
The organizers sighed a breath of relief upon learning that city authorities finally relented and gave the permit for the march to proceed. However, in his text message which went the round among the clergy, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles stood pat in his decision to proceed “with or without a permit, even alone, rain or shine”. And they got police escorts more than the previous rally held last February.
People from the different parishes in the Archdiocese of Lipa, especially from Vicariate 3 where 7 out of its 10 parishes belong and would be directly affected by the CFPP in Barangay Pinamucan, started to amass at the Capitol Site by 5:00 am, and by 5:30 am, the sound system blared out the song which has become popular at the Archdiocesan Radio Station DWAL-FM 95.9 signalling the start of the prayer-march. There were participants coming outside Batangas, led by Greenpeace Philippines, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Kilusan Para sa Kalikasan, who joined the thousands of students, lay leaders from the different parishes and religious organizations, local cause-oriented groups, religious men and women, led by the local clergy of the Archdiocese. Even the pastors of the different non-Catholic denominations, belonging to the Batangas City Ecumenical Council (BCEC) marched alongside the Archbishop and Fr. Dakila Ramos, head of the Archdiocesan Ministry for Environement (AMEn), convenor of the Lakadasal.
Upon reeaching the Basilica ground, a concelebrated Mass was presided over by the Archbishop assisted on the stage by Fr. Dakila Ramos, Msgr. Rafael “Boy” Oriondo, pastor of Trinity Parihs and the most senior priest at Vicariate 3; Fr. Dondon Beredo, Vicar Forane and pastor of St. mary Euphrasia Parish; and Fr. Aurelio Dimaapi, pastor of the mother parish of the Immaculate Conception. In his homily, Archbishop Ramon quoted heavily from Pope Francis’ latest encyclical “Laudato Si” which he said all the more made him resolute in fighting for Mother Earth. He insisted that it is everyone’s duty to defend the integrity and balance of ecology, to be more responsible stewards of God’s creation.
Ms. Gina Lopez energized the people with her power point presentation which explained to the people how a coal-fired power plant works, its ill-effects on health and environment. She pointed out the importance of fighting this JG Summit proposed power plant as this would affect the Verde Passage, which scientists call the Center of the Center of Diversified Marine Life in this planet. Each time she would ask the people if they would allow this, the people gamely responded “NO!”. All the more the people got agitated when she showed and let them listen to video recording of people affected by the coal-fired powere plants in Calaca, batangas and Masinloc, Zambales. Ms. Lpez was on stage from 7:30 till 9:00 am. After the Archbishop’s final message and blessing on the people, he together with the Archbishop, some priests and other participants trooped to the City Hall upon the invitation of Vice-Mayor Junjun Berberabe, who has made known publicly his no-stand on the issue.
(Batangas City) – Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles is determined to go ahead with the scheduled prayer march, dubbed as LAKADASAL, on July 13, with or without permit. This after the Office of the City Mayor denied permission to hold the prayer rally along the main thoroughfare of the city leading to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the final destination of the prayer march. The City Hall’s response to the letter-request was signed by the City Legal Officer, Atty. Deguito. It was recieved by Fr. Dakila Ramos, head of the Archdiocesan Ministry for Environment (AMEn), who was the signatory of the letter-request addressed to Mayor Eduardo B. Dimacuha of Batangas City.
The reason forwarded by the Legal Officer for the denial was that the City’s traffic ordinance prohibits the use of P. Burgos Street during weekdays for processions, except during public holidays. However, Fr. Ramos said the same prayer-march was permitted last February of this year.
As planned and announced, the participants would congregate at the Capitol Site, travel down the Hilltop Road to P. Burgos Street and end up at the patio of the Basilica where a Mass would ensue. The date of the prayer March falls on a Monday. In his communication sent to all, the Archbishop repeatedly invites all to gather at 5:00 am, and would start walking 5:30 am. The prayers, songs and reflections would be broadcast over the Church’s radio station, DWAL-FM 95.9 and would accompany the marchers. The entire Lakadasal would be covered live by the station. Ms. Gina Lopez would be the main speaker after the Mass, to be followed by a public forum. Fr. Ramos said that thiis would be over by 9:30 am.
The letter denying the request offers the use of the main thoroughfare from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Archbishop countered by saying he would march even without the Mayor’s permit at the original time set. He said that there are participants coming from outside Batangas, CBCP’s NASSA included. They would join him in asking for the cancellation of the plan to put up a coal-fired power plant in Barangay Pinamucan, Batangas City.
(Lipa City) – After his solemn consecration as bishop, the Most Rev. Antonio Marcelino M. Maralit, Jr. will be installed as Bishop of Boac by the Most Rev. Ramon C. Arguelles, metropolitan archbishop of the Archdiocese of Lipa, on March 17 at the Cathedral of Boac. He will be the fourth bishop of this island province/diocese, succeeding Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista, who was transferred to the Diocese of Imus in Cavite Province. Other bishops preceding him are Bishop Rafael Lim, a native of the province and now deceased, and Bishop Jose Oliveros, now bishop of the Diocese of Malolos in Bulacan Province.
Among the suffragans of the Archdiocese of Lipa, it is only the Diocese of Gumaca which is still awaiting the appointment of its ordinary. Gumaca has been “sede vacante” for almost two years. It last Bishop, the Most Rev. Emilio Z. Marquez was transferred to the mother diocese, Lucena. Msgr. Jose Lagdameo is the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Gumaca in the meantime.