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Prelature of Infanta


S upporting The Basic Christian Communities

A Year After

Thanking the Almighty for His graces as we celebrate the triumph of life and hope

1. With living faith, hope and love of God, our Creator and Savior, we commit ourselves for the transformation of our peoples present condition to attain a new heaven and earth where all people are sharing the life of abundance, of equality & freedom, of justice & peace under the caring and nurturing relationships, and; 2. With sincere desire and aspiration, we have a common dream to achieve the fullness of life as individual and distinct persons under a community co-existing in the spirit of solidarity and unanimity in order to shape our own history and unique destiny of responsible people that are faithful to one God, loving to our family, loyal to our country and protective to our environment.

1. In union with the universal Catholic Churches in the Philippines, in the entire Asia and

Latin America, we reiterate to strengthen the decision we have made in the Second Pastoral conference in 1979 to continue building the real Church of the Poor. 2. In consideration of the most disadvantaged sectors role as the constant companions of our journey to holiness, we continue to adhere to our Churchs preferential option for the poor. In our collective point of view, we must profess to courageously defend and to vindicate to the fullest the poor rights without fear, alienation and persecution from the rich, powerful and influential. 3. In putting the Poor at the center of our awareness, activity and organization that resulted to Puebla, Mexico Declaration in 1979, we consider the poor as the privileged messengers of the Lord and the principal heirs of the Kingdom of God owing to their potential and capability to evangelize all the nations for the glory of the whole Church. Hence, we pursue on our preference to rely the poor. 4. In striving to place the Church in solidarity with the poor that exist in poverty of spirit, we opt to live according to the spirit of evangelical poverty which combines the detachment from material possessions with a profound trust in the Lord as the only source of salvation. 5. In making our salvation and liberation authentic and complete, we must follow in devotion the footsteps and life of Jesus Christ through constantly living according to evangelical poverty and humility in spirit.
[Translated from the original Filipino (Tagalog) language of Pahayag ng Prelatura ng Infanta]

Prelature of Infanta

CONTENTS 2 Prelature Nullius of Infanta 3 Notes from the Publisher 4 From the SAC Director


Supporting The Basic Christian Communities


The Social Action Center 6 A Servant Leader to Gods People

MOST REV. ROLANDO J. TRIA TIRONA, OCD, DD Publisher/Bishop-Prelate of Infanta REV. FR. ISRAEL GABRIEL Director-Social Action Center DEACON MARIO VAN LOON, act Executive Editor/SAC-RIN Coordinator DEMOSTHENES G. RAYNERA Managing Editor/Deputy Coordinator MARY ANN S. GAGAN Photo Editor& Lay-Out Artist/Housing Program Officer MIRIAM A. DESTAJO Advertising & Finance Officer ODESSA I. NASAYAO Secretary & Cashier ALADINO A. REGUYAL Agriculture & Livestock Program Officer ARNEL T. GARCIA Livelihood Program Officer FERNANDO R. GAMARA Editorial Consultant & Researcher This Special English Edition of SAC-RIN of the Prelature of Infanta is a compilation of post-disaster Accomplishment Report and selected articles appeared on the published SAC Newsletters-Filipino Edition regarding the Comprehensive Rehabilitation & Development Program espoused by the local Roman Catholic Church and partner agencies. Copyright 2006 ISSN 1656-8737. All rights reserved.

7 Booming Communities Belong To the Church of the Poor 9 Anecdotes of Real Stories that Love to Tell

Remembering Fr. Charlito Cha Cerio Colendres Life Journey

13 The Executive Summary 16 Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Development Program-CRDP

(Thematic Programs)

Poverty makes our family stick-together through thick and thin. I and my husband who work part-time to all sorts of menial jobs, have inculcated to my children that no matter what happened to us, it is very important that we still bind ourselves as one because God never neglects those who strive living fairly and decently and those who remain faithful and loyal to His teachings

57 The Basic Indigenous Community (BIC) 59 Updates on Other Programs and Initiatives 60 Epilogue: A Christian Appeal, A Call to Action

On the Cover
Taken from the ricefield in General Nakar town, the farmers start their traditional cultivation of agricultural land a year after the disaster of 2004.

Prelature Nullius of Infanta

HE PRELATURE OF INFANTA is a long stretch of land in between the Sierra Mountain Range and the Pacific Ocean at the East side of the island Luzon about 135 kilometer from the Philippine Capital Manila. The Northern part of the Prelature is equal to Aurora Province, while the Southern part is of the Quezon Province. Both areas are considered among the ten poorest areas of the Philippines. Within the Prelature there are no roads between Aurora and Quezon, therefore travel between the Northern and Southern part has always to be through Metro Manila. To travel from Infanta (Quezon) to Casiguran (Aurora) will easily take two days. The Prelature is located in the middle of the so-called typhoon belt. It is hit by an average of 20 typhoons each year. This of course adds to the misery of the people. Even when the Prelature is rich in natural resources the people are very poor. About 80% living on subsistence level. Often eating only once a day. Main livelihood sources are agriculture, especially rice and coconut, and fishery. For both the typhoons are often devastating: rice fields are washed out and crops destroyed and coconuts are blown from the tree or trees are uprooted entirely. The struggle for survival dominates life. The Catholic faith was brought to the area already during the early years of the Spanish occupation of the Philippines in the 16th century. Augustinians and Franciscans built churches and founded communities. However, due to the isolations of the area the lay people were left to themselves many times. The present structure of a Prelature was built by a group of Carmelite Fathers (OCD) who first came to the Philippines with the American forces at the end of World War II. They fell in love with the country and asked for a missionary assignment. The Bishop of Lipa gave them the worst part of his area of responsibility. The OCD fathers were pleasantly surprised to find a lay church that was very much alive. Based on the popular believe preserved over the ages the Prelature was built and canonically established in 1950. Bishop Shanley, OCD was its first Bishop. Then Bishop Labayen took over for the next 42 years. At present the Prelature is delighted to have Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD as its Prelate. The Prelature recognized 18 parishes divided into four sub-regions or vicariates. Dilasag, Bianoan, Casiguran and Dinalungan are the four parishes of the

Vicariate DiBiCaDi. Baler, Maria Aurora, Quirino, Dipaculao, SanLuis and the isolated parish of Dingalan are called Valley-Ding. Real, Infanta and General Nakar are known by the abbreviation RIN, While the island parishes: Polillo, Panukulan, Bordeos, Patnanungan and Jomalig are PULO, the Tagalog word for island. The Prelature has gained recognition on the past because of its strong emphasis on lay formation. Its program: Yapak ng Panginoon (Footsteps of the Lord) has been an example for many dioceses even abroad. In its Pastoral Conference 1995 the Prelature decided that the many well-formed lay leaders needed a more conducive structure to explore their formative and organizational skills. The Munting Sambayanan Kristiyano were created or Basic Ecclesial/ Human Communities that bring together in prayer and action 10 to 15 families at the bottom of Church and society. It are these MSKs that have proven most valuable in the implementation of the Relief and Rehabilitation after the killer floods of November 2004.

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My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ! Peace and Gods Blessing! In your hands is the English edition of the official publication of the Social Action (SAC) of the Prelature of Infanta. In this issue, you will find a comprehensive annual report of the SAC accomplishments and programs a year after the fateful calamity of November 29, 2004. We look back with sadness at that tragic event, at the same time we feel consoled by the many prayers and assistance of caring people. In the eyes of faith we see the solidarity of people and institutions to us as a celebration of the triumph of hope and life. We cannot allow despair to conquer us. Hope is our guide and strength. We, in the Prelature of Infanta, aspire to be a Church of the Poor a Church whose heart vibrates for and with the poor like Jesus. In the midst of affliction and pain, Jesus offered hope and liberation to his people. He taught them to trust in the will of the Father. His teaching and example give us courage. During our past Prelature Pastoral Conferences, we saw the necessity of building and strengthening our Munting Sambayanang Kristiyano (MSK) in all our parishes. During the time of crisis, the MSKs became the effective and practical vehicle in providing for the needs of the living victims. The flashfloods last year aggravated the hardship of the poor. Their pain for the loss of their loved ones and of their meager holdings cannot be measured. Amazingly however, their faith remain steadfast and their endurance firm. They took everything as a challenge to their faith. With a conviction drawn from past difficult experiences, they believed they will rise up again with the help of Gods grace and of each other. So they did! Through this special issue of the newsletter we would like to thank all our kind-hearted sponsors and benefactors all the individuals, families, institutions, organizations, both from the government and private sectors, who offered prayers and shared their goodness and generosity to help the victims of the calamity in our Prelature. Many of them are still with us accompanying our brothers and sisters in need of further assistance. As you read through the pages of this issue, may you feel the ever-abiding presence of the Lord of History who is always with us, in the hopes and fears, joys and pains of our people. May God bless you all!

+Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, D.D

Bishop - Prelature of Infanta

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Foreword from the SAC Director

DEAR BROTHERS and SISTERS in CHRIST, A PEACEFUL YEAR 2006! Last year was an unforgettable year for all of us in the Prelature of Infanta. It was marked very early by the strong typhoons devastation unparalleled in our history. However, that year also saw heroes coming from all sorts of life. Noteworthy is the sacrifice of life by Fr. Cha Colendres to save lives in huge numbers. And the hundreds of SOCIAL ACTION volunteers who serves an inspiration to keep our peoples hope afloat. 2006, tainted by extreme poverty, offers yet another challenge. The Social Action Center of the Prelature of Infanta-which is now in full doing in both regions of Quezon and Aurora thanks to all the STAFF of Social Action, under the helm of BISHOP ROLANDO J. TRIA TIRONA, OCD, - wishes to rekindle the same hope. We pray that the SOCIAL ACTION CENTER of the Prelature be a sign of hope for all peoples especially the poor in our midst in the spirit of the new-born GOD-CHILD we call JESUS. REV. FR. ISRAELITO GABRIEL Director-Social Action Center Prelature of Infanta


OCIAL ACTION CENTER (SAC) is a Church-based, non-stock, non-profit organization operating at the Prelature of Infanta, Provinces of Aurora and Quezon, the Philippines. Established in 1972 as an offshoot of the second Vatican Councils call for the Church greater involvement in social issues and concerns, SAC is the social action arm of the Prelature and an institution for social services. It coordinates, supervises and implements social action programs aimed at improving the conditions of the poor. It also addresses the social, cultural, economic and political needs of the people in the Prelature/Diocese. Its main thrust is to serve the poor catering principally on the rights of the deprived, the oppressed and the marginalized sectors (rural poor, fishing communities, farmers, menial laborers, indigenous people especially women and children) in the Prelature of Infanta. SAC has Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Development Program (CRDP) with 12 component projects (Emergency Relief Operation, Food-for-Work, Core Housing, Agricultural Recovery, Fishery, Livestock & Poultry, Microfinance, Educational Grant & Facilities, Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness, Value and Spiritual Formation, Psycho-Social Stress Debriefing and Advocacy for Social Change). Part of its long-term approach is skills

training, capability-building and spiritual enhancement of its human resources to effectively meet the administrative needs in discharging tasks and responsibilities of the program. The issues covered by the SAC organization are socio-economic amelioration, gender issues, environmental protection, disaster management, political education through social teaching, justice and peace, health and marginalized sectors organizing.

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The Prelature of Infanta

---is the countrys only Roman Catholic Prelature/Diocese with two provinces in two separate administrative regions [Aurora is in Region III (Central Luzon) while Quezon is in Region IV (Southern Tagalog Region), with 16 political municipalities]. has a total population of 445, 938 where 87% or 387,966 are Roman Catholics* with population growth rate of 2.7 %. ...has an aggregate land area of 7,189 square kilometers (or 2,776 sq. miles)** wherein 72% are geographically mountainous and 28% coastal flatlands stretching to 378 kilometers Sierra Madre mountain range in the eastern portion of the Philippine sea (Pacific shorelines) the second longest in the country and possessing an estimated 52,000 hectares** of virgin dipterocarp rainforest from 118,000 hectares in the late 80s, one of the fastest decimating forests in the Philippines. becomes the bedrock of the first Church of the Poor in Asia with 18 established parishes being served by 31 priests (26 Diocesan & 5 Religious with 12, 515 Catholics/priest), one permanent Deacon and 41 Religious ( 6 males and 35 females).* Various congregations who share the vision-mission of the Prelature include the Carmelites Order , Augustinian Missionary of the Philippines (AMP), Apostles of Contemporary Times (ACT), Alagad ni Maria (Servants of Mary), Sisters of Sion, Notre Dame de Vie, and Saint Paul Sisters. --- is categorized as cluster of rural communities with high degree of poverty incidence. According to 2005 Phil. Human Development Report of Human Development Index (HDI, a summary measure of human devt.), Aurora & North Quezon has combined 27.3% poverty incidence compared to the countrys 25.7%; human poverty index of 14.8% or inhabitants living mostly in sub-human conditions e.g. once a day meal, family members of 6 are functionally illiterate, average life expectancy of 45 yrs. and earning P50.00 / below US$ 1/ .83 a day. --- has per capita income of US$ 1,802 / 1,495 compared to countrys US$ 2,260 / 1,875 while per capita expenditure of US$ 2,042 / 1,695; below the countrys average of US$ 1,628 / 1,351 . has an unemployment rate of 12.3% compared to the countrys 11.2% in 2003 where the bulks of working force (90.7% or 404,465 pop.) are belonging to the agricultural sector. Basic facilities deprivation is among the highest in the top10 provinces without electricity 40.3% (of total households) and inaccessible public roads/bridges 48% (of total barangays).

SAC is efficiently successful to revitalize linkages to allied institutions local and abroad. Foreign networks include Christian Aid of London, Metro-Infanta Foundation, Netzwerk Miteinander, InfantaKraeis, World Vision, Oxfam, Missio Austria, Missio Mchen, Missio Aachen, AMA Netherlands, Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund, DKA and UNICEF. SAC is affiliated to the nations private associations and NGOs like Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)s National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace (NASSA-JP), ABS-CBN Foundation, Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), Tzu-chi Foundation, Social Action Centers of Legaspi-Zambales -Imus-La Union, Diocese of Cubao, Lopez Foundation, Mediators Network for Sustainable Peace (MedNet), Religious congregations such as St. Scholastica, St. Paul, OSB, Columbans, Jesuits, Camillians, Maryknoll, Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans, Carmelites among others. While in the government agencies; Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Development PCARRD), University of the Philippines-Los Baos (UPLB), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Local Government Units of Quezon, Infanta, Real, Gen. Nakar, Disaster Coordinating Councils, Department of Social Welfare & Development (DSWD) and Department of Health.

*Data supplied by David M. Cheney, 1996-2005; code: v2.3.4, 17 Nov. 2005 data 3: Dec.05 **Aurora Phils. Fast facts http:// (currency conversion is Php52: 1US$: 0.83)
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Remembering Fr. Charlito Cha Cerio Colendres Life Journey and all the victims of November 29, 2004 disaster.
(Fr. Charlito Cerio Colendres was born on September 18, 1956 in Patag, Cagayan de Oro City by the couple Bernardo Colendres (deceased) and Pelagia Cerio both of Midsayap, Cotabato. His priesthood vocation started at the Regional Major Seminary (REMASE) of Diocese of Davao (in Davao City) and finished the Licentiate of Theology at St. Alphonsus Liguori Seminary in Lucena City. On December 2, 1986, he was ordained priest at St. Patricks Parish in Dingalan, Aurora. His first assignment as a parish priest was at St. Raphael the Archangel Parish in Burdeos, Quezon in 1986-1987; and followed through by his 10 years stint at the Parish of St. Anthony de Padua in Casiguran, Aurora. He became the Vicar Forane of the Sub-Region DIBICADI (Dinalungan-Bianoan-Casiguran-Dilasag in Aurora province) in 1995. In 1999-2001, he attended the Master of Arts in Management at the University of the Philippines in Los Baos (UPLB) and had served as a guest priest to the San Roque Parish in Mandaluyong City. In 2001 until the time of his heroic death in November 2004 flashfloods, he was the Chancellor and Oeconomus of the Prelature of Infanta.) his last days, speaks of what he is says Fr. Pete Montallana, OFM of Fr. Cha, Charlito Colendres, a diocesan priest, when he saw body laid out in the convent. It had rained to no end on November 29, 2004, braving the lashing rains and darkness, Fr. Cha, together with Dionisio Cadungog, a working student, hurried to Barangay Banugao, at 7 oclock at night. Barangay Banugao is a village next to the bridge crossing General Nakar, usually a danger area, easily inundated by waters. Fr. Cha sensed impending dangers of typhoon Winnie and together with Dionisio, banged on the doors of the villagers and urged them to leave their homes. Two hundred people were evacuating to Infanta aboard a jeep and a 10-wheeler truck, together with Fr. Cha, but the roads to Infanta were deep in flood waters. Fr. Cha, worried about the convento staff and some of his relatives who were visiting him at Infanta, insisted on walking through the submerged ricefields and the rising waters to get to Infanta. Pushing against the strong currents, they heard a thundering sound. Fr. Cha, who brought a 30 meter rope, secured himself and Dionisio by tying the rope around their waists. He then tied the rope to an electrical post. Suddenly, rushing waters, some six feet tall, mixed with mud, logs and debris, like a whirlpool engulfed Fr. Cha and Dionisio. Save yourself, I can no longer save you Fr. Cha shouted at Dionisio. They then both let go of each others hands. These were Fr. Chas last words to Dionisio. When Dionisio regained consciousness, he was on top of a log covered with mud. He struggled to remain afloat, freed himself from the rope tied to his waist, and transferred to another log when he sensed it was giving way, until he reached higher grounds. Still exhausted from this ordeal, he walked to the convent to relate Fr. Chas death. Tragedies breed heroes. Yet, Fr. Charlito Colendres always aspired to be a humble servant leader, a steward of Gods people. In a text message to Fr. Nonong Pili, when the latter congratulated him for his excellent performance as a chancellor and oeconomus, Fr. Cha replied, Everything I do, I do as if

it were the last moment of my life

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ife prior to the disaster in the most progressive, modern with the cultural behaviors of many Filipinos adjacent coastal towns of Realcentral market for the five (5) island are denigrating the capacity of Infanta-General Nakar in Quezon towns of Polillo, Burdeos, Panukulan, exploited constituents to collectively and Dingalan, Aurora is relatively Patnanungan and Jomalig and nearby alleviate their economic status alongpeaceful and stable in spite of higher Real & Nakar; Real has the most side the proper utilization and caring incidence of systemic poverty and promising port area in this side of of local resources. It has led the poor social inequality among 150,000 inPacific Luzon; Gen. Nakar is sanctustakeholders to the burden of cycle of habitants. Their combined land area ary to the vast forests of Sierra Madre forest dependency and is now critical of 223,725 square hectares situated mountain where natural resources to the very survival of their immediin the rugged terrain of Sierra Madre prospectors are vying to take larger ate community and environment. The are endowed by rich natural share of the profitable pie of natures same sentiments breed the culture of resources and home to remaining wealth while Dingalan is fortunate destruction, corruption and apathy to hundred endangered species in the to be speculated by big businessmen the many members of modern sociPhilippines. Most ety: from the unedulivelihood activities cated and poor famiof the people living lies belief that huin the 83 barrios are mans can survive anchored on the from the fruits of diverse products labor derived from commonly found in the nearby environthe tropical forests ment and; from the and aqua-marine influential people or resources in the party-in-powers blaeastern portion of tant capitulation to Pacific Ocean. The exploit the uninfour contiguous formed masses to municipalities are destroy the latters gifted by sufficient habitation. harvest of food supBut the last ply relative to the vestige of life and actual needs of the hope for the young population had it and future generaPORTRAYAL OF THE CHURCH OF THE POOR. Scene from the panoramic mural painting not been the pretions living in the said inside St. Marks Cathedral in Infanta Town. vailing socioterritory is enduringly economic imbalpersonified by no less as a future site of international harances and unequal distribution of than the leaders of the Prelature of bor owing to its strategic location. wealth. This omen has resulted to Infanta. Extreme poverty arising from Nevertheless, the general precipitate the widening rift between the ills perpetrated by socially and impression to life of majority inhabithe 80% subsisting poor and the 20% economically advanced classes has tants in the four (4) predominantly surviving sector fuelling sporadic compelled the Catholic hierarchy in Roman Catholic towns is typical to class-conflicts in human development Aurora and Quezon provinces to Third World Christian country, sensipriorities that greatly affect the envision the building of Church of bly influenced by the countrys first vulnerability of areas depleting natuthe Poor. It targets the poorest of the Spanish colonizers that imposed ral resources and communitys poor or the sectors of subsisting domination over the natives psyche: resolve to preserve the dilapidating farmers, marginalized fishermen, socially-passive, habitually-fatalistic, environment. menial laborers, below-the-poverty morally-fearful and subservient to Each municipality has its line workers and neglected Indigeauthority and blindly entrusting his own distinct characteristic for develnous People (IP). They are the same whole fate to the Almighty. opment model: Infanta as the ecclepeople who are being helped and The above-mentioned sociosiastical seat of the Prelature is the being taken care of by the Church

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THE BOOMING COMMUNITIES (continued from page 7)

Real-Infanta-Nakar-Dingalan (RIND)
--- shares the same province of Quezon until 1979 (Aurora created by virtue of Batas Pambansa (National Assembly Act 07 on Aug. 13, 1979). The political segregation has resulted to overlapping boundary claims between Gen. Nakar, Quezon and Dingalan, Aurora. High degree of poverty and vulnerability to nature and man-made calamities (insurgency conflict) are main caused of the widening gap between the 6% rich and more than 90% poor constituents. --- is endowed by rich natural resources with nearly 74% (188,332 has.) of total 255,501 has. land area are among the fastest-decimating forests in the Sierra Madre mountain due to all forms of loggings since 1970. 121,311has. or 64.4% forest-covered were sanctioned by the government under various Timber Licensing Agreements (TLAs) and Private Land Timber Licenses (PLTL) & issued to the outside loggers in the area. A conservative estimate of 1,771,946 cubic meters of good lumber were taken from the hundred thousand trees within the span of 8 years or an annual harvest rate of about 221,493 cu m. until commercial logging banned in 1978. But guerilla-type trees-cutting continued due to lack of political will to enforce the Philippine. --- is still home to the world famous Philippine Eagle and hundreds of endangered species of flowers, faunas and wild animals that can be found only in tropical forests. But unabated destruction of their habitations threatens them to extinction if necessary measures to preserve environment do not put in place in the next few years. --- is predominantly dependent on the natural resources to support the family, community and local economy: 40% are seasonal crops (rice, coconut, vegetables and fruit bearing trees) and upland (slash and burning) farmers; 32% are engaged in fishing (deepsea, fishponds); 14% are ordinary or contractual laborers like drivers, construction workers; 8% are extracting forest products (logging, wood-based cottage industries such as rattan and stumps collecting for furniture, charcoal making), and 6% are actively in local trading and professionals.

since the time of its institutional erection. They are the sons and daughters of universal Church who deserve better attention, preferential nourishment and special consideration to ease the burden of their emotional anxieties and physical sufferings thereby resolving any barrier for their personal redemption and spiritual salvation. Collectively, they are the spiritual mirrors of the downtrodden and outcast Christ that vividly depicted the dreams of Prelatures founding Fathers to plant in every human heart the humble seeds of poverty and generosity being espoused by the Church of the Poor!

THE BLESSED MOTHER OF THE CHURCH OF THE POOR is a local Patroness that depicts the important role of the Virgin Mary to the faithful in the Prelature of Infanta.

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Filipinos are said to be a passionate storytellers when they are able to overcome the odds of the past and they have gone through to accept the bitter parts of yesterday. A popular notion says that the most unforgettable experience of human survivors to worst tragedy befell to them may not be deleted until the rest of their lives. Recurring physical pains and psychological traumas may possibly remain since this is the moment when ones life is at stake or at the edge of extreme danger. Basic human instinct indeed! It is a period of reflecting the essence of life or metaphorically, an opportunity to ponder things out of primal fear and state of insecurity. For the thousand victims of November 29, 2004 natural disaster in the Prelature of Infanta, this unprecedented and once-in-a-lifetime personal experience would be an opportunity to share the past, to relish the present and to save it for the future generations. It may be the survivors social legacy to enlighten, to offer some valuable lessons gained from it and to tell how catastrophe may turn into a better beginning. That is why the SAC is glad to share their anecdotes to everybody because they have triumphed the life and hope! Each victim has real story he or she loves to tell.

AWAKENING INCIDENT: When tragedy becomes opportunity.

In Real town, a long-time parish worker and Social Action Office volunteer narrates how she has been deeply moved by the unfolding events of November 29, 2004 tragedy. Aileh Matriano is a regular staff of Catholic Parish of St. Raphael with little experience to handle humanitarian crisis. During tumultuous night of chaos and beyond in her hometown, she has discovered that a tragedy could be an opportunity to develop the untapped portion of her personality. This is her story: While the deafening thunderlike and seemingly volcanic eruption pounded our town, I was at home, restless and fidgeting. Because experience told that a tropical typhoon how strong it was, could not produce such threatening sound. I never thought that the adjacent mountains were starting to crumble and most rivers, streams and creeks were overflowing and the raging mudflows had destroyed most houses of the people I know. My premonition that something did not go well had turned reality when I received a phone call from my co-staff in the parish office telling me that they are in imminent danger. Part of mountains boulders near the Church structures had fallen and they were trapped! Our resident priest, Fr. Osee Molde, was on official call that time and nobody could decide what we should do. Instinctively as I was familiar to the place, I directed my fellow workers in peril to destroy any structures that block their paths and I would take the responsibility to Fr. Osee. Minutes later, there was a commotion in our neighborhood asking the people to evacuate as fast as they could because the flashfloods were unstoppable. We did evacuate but some neighbors preferred to stay at the uppermost roof of their house. But the condition of my co-workers who asked for my help in phone was still lingering in my mind. I could not phone them back because public facilities were off and not functioning already since most electric post and communication relay stations had been destroyed. Hence, when the dawn reeked in and the heavy rains and strong winds were finally came to an end, I decided to see our Church and parish office and my fellow staff. As I walked along the town streets, the prevailing darkness was not enough to hide the environmental havoc of the disaster. The scene was just like the surreal movie I watched: destroyed houses, damaged infrastructures, dying animals, wounded humans and a whimpering voices looking for the missing loved ones. With great comfort, I had seen my co-workers soundly safe and busily attending the traumatized residents who used the parish property as an evacuation center. Without knowing what I would do next, I decided to follow what my fellow parish workers were doing. The next 24 hours and beyond had been a tireless moment and endless work for me; side by side with the hapless victims who came to the rescue of our Church. From then on, as human compassion and generosity continued to pour-in in our parish office, I became a regular sight in soothing the needs of the victims. I never knew then that a worst tragedy in my life would change me in to find a new and better opportunity to serve the most disadvantaged victims of calamity. -0Social Action Center - Prelature of Infanta 9


In the worst-affected low-lying Barangay Ilog (literally River Barrio) in Infanta, Quezon, a largely-extended family with three (3) households living in cramped 6 X 6 square meters indigent hut has an interesting disaster-tale to tell. With ten (10) younger siblings, aged 6 months to 9 years old, couple Edgardo and Esmeralda in their mid-40s and their equally two young married children are grateful to hurdle the hardships of rescuing the most vulnerable members of their family. Aling Esmeralda, who gladly shares her account during the fateful night of natures wrath, is convinced that what has happened to them is a reminder that God directly intervened to preserve the unity of her family in the midst of lifethreatening experience. She narrates: Poverty makes our family stick-together through thick and thin. I and my husband who work part-time to all sorts of menial jobs, have inculcated to my children that no matter what happened to us, it is very important that we still bind ourselves as one because God never neglects those who strive living fairly and decently and those who remain faithful and loyal to His teachings. This golden belief, maybe, holds us united despite suffering from sporadic hungers during period of economic uncertainty and catastrophe. Hence, it was no surprise that at the beginning of heavy rainfalls due to typhoons in our place, I had alerted our siblings to better stay inside our nipa-roofed and soft wooden-house located in a higher ground. To my chagrin, as I used to floods and weather disturbances, this last one was powerful and extremely-destructive. When the dusk came and I felt that escalating waters continue to rise, I and my husband frantically ordered our siblings to climb at once to the nearest langka or jackfruit tree. We had four (4) able-bodied members to bring-up to the tough-branches our fearful and nervous children and grandchildren. But minutes after we were up there, the strong-winds and unabated rains ferociously battered us that made the tree swayed obliquely. Thinking that the decade-old tree would not carry our weights, my husband yelled us to transfer to the sturdier mango tree, ten meters away from where we were. The floodwaters were already waist-deep so we had to evacuate fastly. Those children of ours who knew how to swim had jumped from the tree branches swam and climbed on the way up to the next mango tree. My teen-age son was the first to secure the uppermost part of the tree but was bitten by unknown tropical insect or reptile, he fell from the tree. He told us that the tree was inhabited by dangerous tiny animals that might harm humans so I pointed out to my husband the kamagong tree, a tough and hardwood specie, several meters away. Although, we (older family members) were so tired to move again the frantic kids this time by swimming, we did it. We were happy to choose the last tree because it proved to be a lucky one for us because both the jackfruit and mango trees we previously climbed had been uprooted moments after we left. While waiting for any sign of rescue, we were praying to God persistently so that the deluge had to stop. Every 30 minutes from dusk till dawn, I made a roll-call, calling one by one the names of family members to ensure that were still intact and unhurt. Though the night was so cold for our hapless siblings, I had soothed them by telling a lot of childrens tales to cheer make them up and to forget temporarily their present condition. One of my children had even told in jest that, at last, her long-time dream of having a Christmas tree for the family became real now. She compared the tree we had taken refuge as a Christmas tree and we, humans, were the lanterns! (As Christmas season has approached that last week of November, Filipinos traditionally celebrate it earliest among the rest of Christian nations and having one Christmas tree is status symbol to a family! editors note). Everybody seemed burst into laughter after hearing that innocent comment.

PROUD DYING TREES THAT SAVED HUMAN LIVES. Despite their withering condition, they stand tall among the surviving trees in the RIN devastated communities for helping Orozco family who was trapped by flashfloods.

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While waiting the floods to subside, our whole family witnessed the dilapidation of our hard works and dreams consisted mainly of simple belongings: our farm hut we built for years as fam-

THE OROZCO CLAN NOW. Poverty unites them; faith strengthens them; and prayers have saved them. These collective virtues are pillars that guide their re-birth in this world after 2004 catastrophe.

ily tenant; our missing domesticated animals and drowned pets; our house utensils, farm tools, equipment and an outdated transistor radio, our kids things like clothes & donated old toys. We could not believe that a few hours of natures fury, we were actually least paupers and we had to start all over again. The only consolation we got from the tragic floods was we were still united and not suffering from physical and mental stresses. I said this because being poor in origin, we were used to live in simple lifestyle and nothing we could ask for to the Almighty except regular meals a day and strength to carry out our daily Christian activities. Hence, I was quite surprised two days after the calamity when friends from Social Action Center of Catholic Church informed us that relief goods like foods, medicine and clothes would distribute to us and our family was in priority list. As a practicing Protestant Christian, my family was overwhelmed by the gesture which only firmed our belief that God had destined it to be that way so that we should remain faithful to Him. From then on, supports had come to us as our family was deeply appreciative to the humanitarian agencies like the Prelature of Infanta. -0-


A 94-year old great-great grandfather has stood up as a living witness to the real cause of Sierra Madre Mountains erosion and its river tributaries inundation after life-threatening experience brought by massive mudflows of 2004. Lolo Elpidio, still sharp, witty and physically-robust at his age, laments that World War II, various illnesses and other man-made woes have spared him from the brisk of extinction saved only by his near-death encounter with the last natural disaster to occur in RealInfanta-Gen. Nakar, Quezon. According to him, the sudden flashfloods and parade of floating logs, timbers and uprooted trees are unparalleled in the history of the area. The environmental destruction is so huge and the enormity of losses to life and property is hard to believe since the inception of contemporary RIN communities. He vividly recalls that only in 1929 did he observe an eight (8) feet-high floods of clear water, without brownish mud and uprooted trees of different species; there was no casualty to speak of and valuable properties lost, as water receded in a span of 6 hours. However, he points out the 75 years of clearing and burning and destroying of forest trees and stealing of endangered species have badly hurt the countrys longest mountain range. He proudly says all these facts because he knows the ins and outs of Sierra Madre as a Filipino freedom-fighter assigned in the area during Japanese occupation in the Philippines and his stint as wild beasts hunter during the 60s to 70s. No doubt, the old man feels pity for his younger siblings in the years to come. His being a nonagenarian does not excuse him to climb in the tin roof of his grandsons house where he has been evacuated at the peak hours of rampaging floods in a lowly-barangay in Infanta, Quezon. His meticulous eyes are widely-opened the whole night of natures onslaught last November 29, 2004, watching in vigil the thousand logs, timbers and uprooted trees banging violently to those who dared to cross their paths. He tells at the conclusion of his story that sadness may overcome the twilight years of his mortal existence if people will not dare in caring the preservation, in maintaining the beauty and in rejuvenating the pristine of Sierra Madre Mountains. -0-

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The November 2004 disaster in the Prelature
is the most catastrophic disaster to hit the Prelature bringing more than 20,000 metric tons of mountain soils in the low-lying places of Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar-Dingalan (RIND); approximately an average of 3 meters above-the sea level flashfloods; 4-5 million cubic meters of timber, logs and uprooted trees, and; domino-effect inundations of all water tributaries and principal rivers and leaving geophysical scars to the 150 kilometers-long Sierra Madre mountain range. Close to 74% or 188,332 hectares of the total 255,501 hectares in RIND area are badly-affected by the calamity. brings to 135,000 individuals or 22,500 families in RIND area are displaced people who take refuge in temporary evacuation sites that like cramped school buildings; 10,623 houses are destroyed and unfit for human habitation; 36,146 hectares of farmlands (out of 67,169 hectares of agricultural lands) and P 600 Million / US$ 10.4 Million / 8.6 euros worth of agricultural products are rendered useless, and; P 6.1 Billion / US$ 353.8 Million / 294.7 Million euros of private and public properties are wasted. is the gravest humanitarian crisis in the history of RIND towns, killing 1,462 persons: 1,101 are recovered bodies while 361 are still missing. Hundreds are injured and thousands are psycho-socially and emotionally traumatized especially the women, children and the elderly.

is caused by the interplay of geological, climatological, bio-physical and socio-economic factors by which geologists have attributed to the unusually high precipitation produced by the 3 consecutive typhoons that coincided with the wet season. Nevertheless, the loss of vegetation due to legal and illegal logging, is clearly one of the major contributory factors to the calamity, according University of the Philippines (UPLB) College of Forestry professors on their recently papers entitled Causes of Landslides and Flashfloods in the Affected Areas of Quezon and Aurora Provinces, Philippines.

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Deacon Mario van Loon, act

T IS WITH A FEELING of great thankfulness and also a bit of pride that we in the Social Action Center of Infanta look back at the passed year. Looking at the present situation one conclusion can be that we still have to conquer a mountain of developmental problems. But looking at it from where we were a year ago, a small miracle unfolds before your eyes. Let me share with you the process. When the disaster happened at the end of November 2004 the Social Action Center was little more than a dream. Fr. Cha Colendres, Demo Raynera and myself had sat together to make a concept. A very good friend of the Prelature, Fr. Franz Edlinger, had promised financial support. An old building was being rehabilitated to serve as office. Then the disaster came. The building was covered in mud! But the dream survived. In fact the disaster forced us to do in months what probably would have taken years in a normal situation.

First came the RELIEF OPERATION. A center was set up in Mount Carmel Shrine Parish in New Manila to receive and prepare the relief goods and sent people and goods, doctors and nurses and medicines to the area. Demo, who himself spent with his family the night on the roof of their house, started to organize the distribution system in Infanta. He set up a center in the seriously damaged house of the Bishop. Fr. Osee organized the Social Action in Real and Sr. Hersie in Nakar. Logistics were a nightmare those first days but eventually with the help of many, many volunteers and very generous people we were able to conquer that problem. May God bless them!

Very important for the human-spiritual recuperation were the traditional nine early morning masses before Christmas. Our Bishop and our priests processed the wounded people and gave hope to them. We believe that the spiritual revival through CHRISTMAS combined with activities of the FOOD-FORWORK program made the big leap forward, socially and psychologically. On our invitation almost all relieve organizations joined this effort and also that is very remarkable. In the meantime Christian Aid worked out a solid framework for our rehabilitation program. This did not only shape our program for the year but also structured the Social Action Center (SAC). Words are not enough to express our gratitude.

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The SHELTER PROGRAM became de touchstone for the SAC staff. We had learned from the weaknesses of previous months and used this knowledge in order to organize a program that brought shelter relief to the most needy in the farthest places. The key of success proved to be the Basic Christian Communities. We involved them from step one: the selection and organization of the beneficiaries. In the process the SAC established a close working-relationship with the Parish Social Action Offices (PSAO) and the Tribal Center for Development (TCD). This completed the structural backbone for the Social Action program as a whole. Our shelter program is now receiving its crown with the village of concrete houses constructed under the program of the NASSAJP. The organizational strength gained helped to make the next step: the INCOME GENERATION PROJECTS. Food-for-work had inspired people to take initiatives. Now the SAC/PSAO/TCD was present in all villages and initiated itself or stimulated initiatives from the people. The 14 Million pesos program of the Christian Aid and the many donations received by the Prelature made it possible to answer most requests: Fishing boats, nets and other equipment for the poor fisher folks; seeds, all kinds of utensils, water-buffaloes, for the farmers; irrigation canals, water systems, roads for the villages; materials for community centers, daycare centers, chapels etc.; piglets, chickens and other livestock for the poorest. A new venture that proved enormously successful was the MICROFINANCE. To our delight we were able already to eliminate for partially the dominant usury system.

During this whole period other programs not yet mentioned were interwoven into the process: PSYCHO-SOCIAL DEBRIEFING was very necessary to help people, especially children, to deal with their traumatic experiences. Also MEDICAL MISSIONS for the physical health of the poor were numerous. We own much gratitude to doctors and nurses who came all the way from Manila time and again.

A big concern through out the year was also the DISASTER MITIGATION AND PREPAREDNESS. In collaboration with the Local Governments and other organizations we tried to reach the level of the Basic Ecclesial Communities. Much still has to be done on this level. We thank the Lord that the past typhoon season we were speared from bigger disasters.

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VALUE FORMATION AND SPIRITUAL EDUCATION run as a red line through the whole operation described above. Change will only take root when it is accompanied with the proper formation. We are also thankful that new school buildings could be constructed in Infanta and Nakar.

Peace initiatives and communities harmonious capacity building remain the cornerstone and the long lasting institutional legacy of SACs ADVOCACY FOR SOCIAL CHANGE. The last step we took in our process is the challenge to REVIVE THE AGRICULTURAL LAND. Approximately 800 hectares of fertile rice fields has been covered with layers of mud / soil from the mountains. This has changed completely the agricultural reality of Infanta, Real and Nakar. Farmer families who have planted rice for generations have to accept the fact that they cannot plant rice anymore. They have to learn to plant other crops and that requires a change, a very difficult process. Again a miracle happened. Three government institutions PCARRD, UP-LB and CHED have thrown their weight behind our efforts. They have committed themselves to help us three years in order to re-establish agriculture as the main economic vehicle for our area. A significant start was made with our pilot project of 78 hectares in Boboin. We do not know yet where to get the money to complete this tremendous task, but our hope is strong.

We wanted to give you some insight in the process we went through. Looking back we are humbled by the solidarity, dedication, commitment of so many people from all over the world. We are very thankful that God allowed us to be the hands through which the poor could experience small miracles. We will express our gratitude to all of you by relentlessly continuing in bringing HOPE to our people.

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Giving material care to the most needy
This was the time when the Operation: Dugsong-Buhay (Bridging-a-Life) came to birth. This implementing task force was useful and instrumental that only legitimate beneficiaries at operation area level should receive the necessary assistance. The establishment of it was uniquely formed to manage the program of action for any kind of assistance approved by SAC.

ITH THE AIM to save more lives and to lessen the physical sufferings of the victims, the Prelature of Infanta lost no time right after the calamity by providing basic needs for the affected people in the RIN area. This distress mitigation measure was avoiding higher numbers of casualties among the heavily damaged communities where most of them had been isolated by destroyed infrastructures such as landslides, dilapidated bridges and overflowing rivers. The Church response to this humanitarian crisis as exemplified by the Prelature of Infanta was decisive and very determined in view of its pastoral duty to help the poor, the afflicted and the wounded. The days preceding the fateful event of last years disaster were occupied by coordination, dialogue and consultation among the local Catholic hierarchy, active parishioners and disaster coordinating agencies to maximize the participation of Church in the relief operation. This was the time when the Operation: Dugsong-Buhay (Bridging-a-Life) came to birth. This implementing task force was useful and instrumental

that only legitimate beneficiaries at operation area level should receive the necessary assistance. The establishment of it was uniquely formed to manage the program of action for any kind of assistance approved by SAC. It might be recalled that the Most Rev. Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, the Bishop-Prelate of Infanta designated the SAC as the only Church-sanctioned office to coordinate, to re-assess and to decide all operational programs relative to relief and rehabilitation of the Prelature. Handling the task of relief operation to SAC was a tremendous responsibility. Considering that prior to the catastrophe it had only two (2) part-time staff and the disaster sank its office in mud and floods debris that made it incapable to be used as a relief command post. It was imperative that a temporary operation center was opened up at the corner of partially-damaged Bishops residence while a similar coordinating office was set-up at the Shrine of Mt. Carmel Church in capital Manila where substantial donations of relief goods started to pour-in.

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As the Christmas season is traditionally celebrated very early in this Christian country, it was no surprise that relief goods, material supports and financial pledges were abounding that could be channeled to the Church parishes and SAC. The principal role of Social Action Center for the long term program of relief & rehabilitation of the disaster victims in the area was very clear from the start to be more participative in approach and adhered to active dialogue with other humanitarian aid agencies, NGOs and government instrumentalities that bore to more efficient, more effective and more economical implementation of the program. It adopted procedures and systematic documentation of all entrusted material goods and financial assistance for this matter. The Prelature has fully-acknowledged and constantly reported to the benevolent donors the status of their assistance. With the immediate response of International Humanitarian Aid Missions particularly the Prelatures Christian friends, the Prelature has been able to give material assistance to the poorest victims resulting to the successful administration of Relief Mission in the afflicted Christians and non-Christians in Real-InfantaGen. Nakar or RIN Quezon and Dingalan and other devastated towns of Aurora province.


(clockwise from left)

(1) helicopter drops relief goods in the muddy field of Infanta during the first month after the disaster; (2) victims queue to receive their goods in General Nakar; (3) an elderly-sick victim to be transported via air due to the destruction of road infrastructures; (4) humanitarian groups conduct medical mission usually inside school rooms.

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OPERATION: DUGSONG- BUHAY Bridges the Pillars of Life, Home and Hope of Calamity Victims
obody can really beat Green Operatives of Social Action Centers Operation: Dugsong-Buhay (Bridging-A-Life) when issues of relief, rehabilitation and development program for the surviving victims of calamities in Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar, Quezon , is being talked about! Since day one of relief mission initiated by the Prelature of Infanta, the Dugsong-Buhay grassroots brigades comprised of the volunteers tapped by the Social Action Center (SAC), the only local Churchsanctioned office to coordinate all humanitarian response and recovery plans of action for the affected communities, are always visible and tirelessly serving the needs of fellows. They are quite busy with a noble purpose to instill optimism and hope to the afflicted victims, rain or shine, as they are searching the best possible solution to soothe the pains of the displaced, desolate and dejected poor family victims. They have come to reach out and to sympathize with the wretched individuals, the homeless families and the distraught communities belong to the poorest of the poor. By modestly proclaiming they are here out of humanitarian compassion but surely not to be served, the SAC is gearing towards the objectives envision for the establishment of Church of the Poor. Idealism to share their skills and efforts in times of catastrophe runs in their veins at the height of humanitarian crisis. Molded by Christian tenets inspired-value formation, the devotion to be man and woman for the others is contagiously affecting the SAC volunteers like the present crop of young men & women of Parish Social Action Offices. They are enjoined by the long-time dependable partners of local Church in the area popularly known as

Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK) or Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC). Like the customary green lights in the chaotic urban roads, their green distinctive uniform printed with the Prelature of Infantas insignia, flies prominently wherever they are, signifying that hope in the turbulent maelstrom of environmentally-damaged habitation is at hand. Hence, they must be always on the go! They are likewise dubbed as Green Rescuers by the village inhabitants as they are extending help to whoever approach them in every corner of the dilapidated barrios. They are patiently willing to hear peoples grief, to share their sorrows, to feel the pain of losing dear ones and to express solace amidst the sea of suffering souls. But most importantly, they must be everywhere because the Mother Church has called them to save more lives and to help bridging the gap of humanitarian needs by delivering relief and rehabilitation aids from the benevolent donors to the most

afflicted families. Being victims themselves, the SAC Green Operatives are source of strength and determination to other survivors since they quickly recover from the trauma of natural disaster. There is no better comparison to the people behind Operation: DugsongBuhay. They act as if they are more humane humans preferring to overcome the anxiety of the past tragedy, to go on with their present destiny and to positively plan for their future without the burden of pain inflicted by destructive calamity. Faith to Almighty God of Nature and strong devotion to support the weakest victims through helping them to start rebuilding their lives and to begin reconstructing their immediate surrounding, are innate virtues of the SAC Green Brigade. Theres no feat to celebrate the value of human life than to extricate more lives and to gradually liberate the poorest of the poor victims from the meanness of psycho-social anxiety, from the lack of worldly belongings and from the weariness of spiritual longings. These SAC unwrit-

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ten golden rules for treating human miseries are now practicing wisdoms in order to weave the unity of purpose among Green Rescuers/Operatives/Brigade, enough to inspire and to reinvigorate Social Action Center, the Prelature and the Church of the Poor. As reality bites more likely for the SAC volunteers who, after surviving the crisis, are now patiently attending to the immediate needs of fellow-human sufferers. Indeed, there are times the Green tyros


The Social Action Center
of sub-region Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar (RIN) at the height of 2004 disaster had only two (2) part-time staff, without permanent working office and, so to speak, no permanent operational budget. But two weeks later (2nd week of December) when relief operation was entrusted to SAC and the urgency to meet the humanitarian needs of the victims were at its peak, the volunteers grew by leap and bound hitting the one hundred (100) mark of SAC-affiliates to Operation: DugsongBuhay (Bridging-a-Life); estimated that more than 250,000 food packages have distributed with 200,000 allotted to RIND municipalities where the damages were greatest and the rest (50,000+) were served to other Prelatures towns of San Luis, Baler, Ma. Aurora and Casiguran, all of Aurora province. Approximate equivalent amount could high as P 45 million / US $ 865, 384 / 718, 268. The food package was typically poor Filipino staples such as rice, canned meat, sardines, instant noodles, mineral water and assorted biscuits. Average amount per regular package is P 75.00, enough to survive a victim for a day. Total number of being served was roughly 75% or 90,000 individuals or 18,000 households in the whole Prelature; also disposed donated brand new and slightly used clothes, ready-to-wear suits, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, beddings, etc.. and kitchen utensils with equivalent combined value of P 5 million and more / US $ 96,615 + / 80, 190. --- has coordinated 21 free Medical and Dental missions during relief period and been able to serve 4,675 individuals including distribution of free medicines and other physical maintenance.

They are likewise dubbed as Green Rescuers by the village inhabitants as they are extending help to whoever approach them at every corner of the dilapidated barrios.
would be disappointed at the outcome of the operation and projects implementation, still they would have to see, to listen and to deal nicely with the various types of people. Part of the job is recognizing that there are desperate survivors who refuse to be rejected which resulting to inconveniences on their personality. But discourage not if they have found out that there are several victims who are lukewarm to them or even uncooperative to partake in the community rehabilitation because of their lackadaisical thinking about uselessness of life, fear of surviving and futile belief to the road to recovery process. Giving breath to mankind is purely divine but bridging a life extension to afflicted mankind is passionately human. This makes life more meaningful to Social Action Centers Operation: Dugsong-Buhay, precisely because of SAC Green Operatives: the proud men and women who love to serve, who have compassion to the sick and the needy and who have the patience to overcome the crisis juxtaposed to November 29, 2004 natural catastrophe.


SAC would continue seeking the humanitarian spirit of kindhearted people to institutionalize the basic health aid missions for the thousand families in the far-flung localities who are yet to avail the service of charitable groups for medical and dental missions. The SAC would hope to conduct this activity during the implementation of its Disaster Mitigation & Preparedness Training (DMPT) workshop-seminars in the high-risk localities of the Prelature.

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Realizing the community to rise from the rubble of disaster.
Community rebuilding was the most daunting task the Social Action Center had to confront weeks after the calamity: the grim-faced victims, destroyed infrastructures and public facilities and lack of necessary logistics to clean-up the mess left by the flashfloods.

UT GUIDED by the agreement of relief and rehabilitation agencies in the RIN area to wrap up the relief operation by the end of December 2004, the SAC looked for ways to administer alternative programs in order to help the people to organize and be pro-active again in rehabilitating their immediate environment. This had been compelled too by the fact that relief goods and donations might come to an end as the more catastrophic tsunami disaster hit our Asian neighbors and help might focus on them from then on. It was also the desire of the Prelatures hierarchy that people must be empowered to expedite the recovery process of victim-families by strengthening their resolve to co-opt with the community activities supported by SAC and other agencies. It led to the formulation of the Food-for-Work program, a workvolunteer initiative in tidying-up the environmental eyesores but most especially repairing the damaged communal facilities. Starting the first week of January 2005, the shift from relief food distribution to food-for-work was carried out by SAC. The idea was that people would
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labor on voluntary basis for their community and other rehabilitation project at a minimum of three (3) hours and maximum of six (6) hours. Since it was part of community service, instead of receiving the prevailing compensation rate in the area, the volunteer workers would receive one day worth of food for their family. This was also done based on the urgent request of the Municipal officials of three towns (Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar) to stimulate their constituents to work again and contribute in community rebuilding. The cleaning and/or sanitizing of respective towns had been benefited by the program especially public utilities such as school buildings, houses, recovered agricultural land, reconstruction of irrigation canals and repair of muddy streets. And even local Church facilities were covered by the Food-for-Work which included the sprucing-up and fixing of Holy Infant Jesus & St. Marks Cathedral, Bishops Residence & Prelatures Chancellery, Mount Carmel School of Infanta and the Social Action Center office. Other relief Organizations like ABS-CBN, Oxfam, and others joined the effort.

The nascent success of the program brought more than satisfaction rating for SAC principal partner agency, the NASSAJP. The latter had turned up to be the programs main benefactor and even permitted the SAC staff and volunteers to widen the scope of implementation by approving the Rice-for-Work operation. In lieu of the usual packaged food given to the volunteer workers, only rice equivalent for their hours of work could be provided. The Prelature and NASSAJP were creditably responsible for the implemented projects in the RIN area such as the Rice-forWork of Parish of St. Anne and St. Joachim in Gen. Nakar town who triumphantly redeveloped its flooded agricultural lands.

To date, the proposals are still pouring in at the SAC offices. It is a good sign that the affected community gradually recovers from the psycho-social trauma of last year calamity. This progress makes the Prelature in continuing to support the program that the SAC staff and volunteers as an effective vehicle to advance the formation of Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK) or Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) in the localities.

Typical FFW Project in agricultural RIN villages involved Bayanihan or Community Cooperation.

(clockwise from left)

(1) women farmers nourishing plant crops; (2) actual preparation of organic fertilizers adaptable to new type of post-disaster soil; (3) farmers embark on agri-crops harvestable in short period of time; (4) Planting of organic rice months after the calamity.

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A Model Rehabilitation Project
Making impossible things work is a miracle!
Indeed, this adage is rightfully applied to the community of Brgy. Maligaya, Gen. Nakar, Quezon, after victoriously hurdling the challenge to revive the vital irrigation farm canal that is serving as the main pipeline for the farmlands and source of potable water for a number of families in the neighborhood. The three (3) kilometer-long irrigation canal stretching from Sitio Ilaya to Sitio Tangaran was severely destroyed by November 29, 2004 natural calamities that affected severely the Real-Infanta-Nakar (RIN) Quezon and Dingalan, Aurora in the Prelature of Infanta. The farmlands and vegetable plots located therein are the singlebiggest source of food supply in the Baybay (coastal) villages of the municipality. The 30-hectares rice field and vegetation farm produced agricultural outputs enough to feed all year round the dependent families living nearby. The government agency and agricultural experts assessed the irrigation damage bleakly while noting that the revival of farm canal would need an amount of five million pesos (P 5, 000, 000. 00) which traditional funding agencies cannot find worthy to finance. But the strong determination and iron-willed disposition had prevailed upon the affected inhabitants to rebuild at all costs the water supply system as they sought the help of the Social Action Center (SAC) with the endorsement of the Parish Social Action Office (PSAO) and locallybased Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK)/Basic Ecclesial Community (BCC). After several days, the SAC and the Christian Aid of Londons Emergency Livelihood Assistance Program accepted the proposal of the Maligaya community under the Food-for-Work Program scheme. Under this program, the community volunteers must work for the restoration or improvement of communal facility without expecting cash benefit or compensation. In return, the volunteer-workers receive relief goods equivalent to the working hours they spent for the project. The community beneficiaries agreed without reservation such condition as they had to start working swiftly by doubling their efforts and dedicating extra time just to meet the coming planting season in June. Within the short span of two (2) months the Food-for-Work volunteers sacrifice and efforts had finally paid off. Inaugurated by the community stakeholders, SAC Dugsong-Buhay staff, MSK/BEC volunteers and Christian Aid of London representative, the farm irrigation canal is now the source of pride and joy of Maligaya residents. SAC and Christian Aid even called it a model Rehabilitation Project undertaken by people who had beaten all odds at a time when the hope of recovery was waning and joy of support is nowhere to be found. This unique man-made victory material costs only fifty thousand pesos (Php 50,000) is distinctly similar to the spirit of Bayanihan, or spirit of communitys cooperation, a Filipino custom popularly practiced in the countryside for a worthy cause. Reviving the community cooperation by empowering the people in the community and unwavering faith to the Almighty is the most inspiring rehabilitation project of the Prelature of Infanta. Something to be proud of indeed!

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wing to the massive destruction caused by the November 29, 2004 flash flood in the parishes of Real, Infanta, and Gen. Nakar (RIN area) Quezon, the Prelature of Infanta headed by Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD has launched the Food-for-Work Program to clean up the environmental mess left behind. The Bishop initially tasked the Social Action Centers (SAC) Operation Dugsong-Buhay (Bridging-A-Life) to spearhead the ALIS BANLIK (removing muddebris) by recruiting jobless calamity-victims to work for the restoration of their surrounding community, in return for relief goods equivalent to

the work-hours spent in the program. With the normal working activity of the people in the RIN area at a standstill and the relief distribution over, the SAC had to rely on this type of pre-Rehabilitation Project to avoid another crisis of food shortage. The SAC staff believes the Food-for-Work Program SAC-RIN FFICE SUNK IN 3-METER DEEP MUD. Manual to be a solution as it encourexcavation of accumulated debris was done by the workages people to volunteer in ers after the destruction. cleaning their environment instead of relying mainly on their basic needs assistance 6,595 calamity victims within twowhile doing nothing to rebuild their month period. battered community. Given priority under this The Parish Social program were public utilities like Action Office buildings, day-care and health (PSAO) started to centers, barangay halls and even accept Food-forCatholic Churchs Cathedral, Bishops Work prop os als Residence and Social Action Center starting January 3 office. from various comThe Food-for-Work Program munities within the is still on going with the SAC now RIN area including focusing its priority on communal those coming from utilities with livelihood importance far-flung villages and like farmlands, irrigation canal, barangays. 26 related water supply system and other vital projects have been installations. approved benefiting

BRGY. CAWAYAN MULTI-PURPOSE IRRIGATION CANAL. Another successful Food-for-Work Project in Brgy. Cawayan, Real, Quezon. It becomes a model for cooperation among various stakeholders that include farmers families, lot owner, Parish Social Action Office (PSAO) of Real, SAC-RIN and Christian Aid of London. Operational since October 2005, the irrigation canal serves as principal source of water for 35 hectares of riceland for 59 farmer-beneficiaries and vital to household supply of clean water for local inhabitants.

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Providing shelter they-can-call-their home
The disastrous tragedy concluded to the displacement of thousand families in the affected territory of the Prelature of Infanta especially in the worst-hit towns of Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar, Quezon and Dingalan, Aurora. Immediately thereafter, the Prelature through its Social Action Center (SAC) mobilized its volunteers from Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK) or Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) to serve the local Catholic Church in setting-up emergency relief centers to rapidly appraise the extent of damage the calamity had wrought to the poorest of the poor.

Provisional shelter for victim-families with at least 6 members.

T ONE GLANCE, the destruction seemed taking heavy toll on the marginalized victims comprising the poor farmers, lowly-paid laborers, disadvantaged working women and mothers and weakened old and young people alike. These hapless individuals who used to live meagerly, if not subsistently, in their communities had been felt dejected upon realizing that the house they strived to build in years would disappear in a matter of hours due to mudflows and flashfloods. Losing their homes was synonymous to taking away all the remaining hope of their existence. To stem the tide of despondent feelings among the victim-families, the Prelature sought the assistance of humanitarian aid missions coming in the RIN area after the much publicized portrayal of killer typhoons that entirely wiped-out the low-lying lands of the places.
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Weeks later, the Prelatures cry-for-help bore fruit as humanitarian agencies had come in droves to support the Church-led relief and rehabilitation programs particularly in the field of providing shelter to the totally destroyed houses. First to arrive and to express the desire to assist the homeless victims was the Christian Aid of London, a development and humanitarian aid group based in United Kingdom who, together with SAC, had conducted on-site evaluation to expedite the provision of shelters among the victims crowding in uncomfortable evacuation centers. The second week of February 2005 materialized the first phase to distribute the initial set of housing materials intended for Provisional Shelters family beneficiaries. Included in the material package of assistance received by each family was: 12 corrugated GI sheet (10 feet), 12 pieces of marine plywood (1/4), 2 pcs.

ridge rolls, 2 kilos of roof nail, 4 kilos each of CWN # 4 & #3, 2 kilos of CWN # 2, CWN # 1, 1 piece each of carpentry tools such as hammer, handsaw, tri-square and metro. On the part of beneficiary, the SAC and Christian Aid encouraged them to do its share by immediately constructing the shelter in a bayanihan spirit. The term bayanihan referred to was a community team-effort to rebuild their respective damaged homes and surroundings without expecting compensation in return. This initial Provisional Housing Project had benefited five-hundred and nine (509) families in the Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar that also included Agta community living in the hinterlands and coastal territory courtesy of Christian Aid of London. Using the procedures for selecting housing beneficiaries of Christian Aid, the Social Action Center had chosen this paradigm to continue the project which became the core program of the Prelature of Infanta and subsequent partner agencies notably the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA-JP).

Tribal communities upland shelter.

is to bring about Total Human Development with the Preferential Option for Poor,
NASSAJP gave us a loan for the reconstruction of some four hundred fifty (450) homes in the devastated towns thereby lessening the burden of sociohumanitarian crisis in the area. Likewise on the part of Prelatures hierarchy, the accumulated donations from charitable groups and individuals at the onset of relief operation was timely to extend provisory shelters for some six hundred fifty (650) disaster victim-families. It increased the total to one thousand six hundred nine (1,609) families at the end of second quarter of 2005.

The Provisional Housing Project was considerably successful as the Diocese of Cubao and SAC had teamed-up recently to continue the distribution of some 200 units of provisory shelters to affected victims who did not yet receive such kind of humanitarian intervention. The primary consideration of the Prelature of Infanta was to provide durable habitation for the families still living in vulnerable places that remained prone to flashfloods and landslides. Through the effort of CBCPs NASSAJP whose mission is to bring about Total Human Development with the Preferential Option for Poor, the SAC was able to find a better and safer place to construct alternative relocation site for Permanent Housing.
Some temporary shelter were built in the same spot of destroyed houses due to lack of logistical needs to construct safe relocation housing. The solution is also a priority initiative of SAC.

The partnership of NASSAJP and SAC resulted to the acquisition of five (5) hectares of idle land in Barangay Agos-Agos, Infanta, Quezon, to build two hundred (200) units of duplex-type permanent home for four hundred (400) fragile family-victims of calamity. It was followed last September 2005 by the actual construction and development of the area. And as the project progressed, the relocation site was envisaged to be a God-centered, peaceful and productive community belonging to the Church of the Poor.

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Partners Pioneer Rehabilitation Agency in RIN
mong the key players for the reconstruction of damaged territories/ municipalities of Real, Infanta, Gen. Nakar, Quezon (collectively known as RIN area) that the verdict on who might be the run-away primus interpares (first among equals) in implementing rehab agencies went to the Social Action Center (SAC) of Infanta Prelature and Christian Aid of Londons long term partnership. Since first week of December 2004, after consecutive typhoons battered the eastern coast of Luzon islands that inundated most developing towns, the Christian Aid lost no time to look for suitable local bride (or partner) for its disaster intervention programs. And lucky for the rejuvenated Social Action Center to find common grounds in ameliorating the victims in swift and orderly ways when SAC said yes for the proven and tested proposals by its groom- the Christian Aid.

Unknown to many, the SAC-Christian Aid was the architect and prime mover for the first 509 Provisional Shelters received by worst victimfamilies in RIN area. It was a feat not to break the 6 weeks post calamity record of providing comfortable habitation as an urgent alternative to crowded evacuation centers and totally washed out homes. The duo called it Emergency Shelters Provisions or Humanitarian Relief Response to stem the tide of massive dislocations and burdening uncertainties of the poorest of the poor calamity victims. The swift distribution was adeptly prepared by the SAC and Christian Aid through efficient discharged of delineated duties: The former (SAC) was tasked to tap the assistance of volunteers mainly belonging

from MSK who knew the ins and out of their small localities and surroundings using the technical support provided by the latter (CA) in conducting rapid assessment, rechecking and revalidation of family beneficiaries. Material grants for the success of this provisory shelters project from Christian Aid while transparent selection of most needed recipients was delicate responsibility on the part of SAC.


The Criteria for Beneficiary Identification & Selection of Social Action Center and Christian Aid of London have become the generally-accepted guidelines of humanitarian aid missions working in the affected territories of the Prelature.

--- Poorest of the Poor households are those living in sub-human conditions or , at the bottom of Filipino poverty threshold index: average daily earning of P 50.00 / US $ 0.96 / 0.86 ; with average household members of 6; 9% functional literate; 94% have no access to health care and other social services. As disasters most vulnerable casualties, their sufferings are aggravated by lost of, or seriously injured family-member(s), totally-destroyed house, entirely-swept personal properties and psycho-socially impaired humans; The Indigenous Peoples known as Agtas is the only sector in the Prelature with nearly 98% of its existing members are poorest of the poor; --- Households suffering severe loss including livelihood assets: severity refers to any member(s) killed or declared missing and heavily-injured physically; Landless, marginal farmers and fishermen and per diem casual laborers: average household members are 6; average monthly income of P 4,500.00 / US $ 88 / 73. Their (sectors) combined workforce in the RIND area is more than 90%; But preferential treatment will be given to the following in the selection process (in order of human vulnerability response to man-made and natural catastrophe): Female-head households, women and widows, children-girls in particular, elderly, people with disabilities, indigenous and tribal people and people living with HIV/AIDS. 26 Social Action Center - Prelature of Infanta



rue to their common goal and unified commitment to support the victims of last year calamities in Real-Infanta-Nakar, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) through Episcopal Commission on National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace (NASSA-JP) and the Prelature of Infanta is finally starting the construction of hundred units of duplex-type permanent housing for the homeless families categorized as poorest of the poor in the area. The five (5) hectares relocation site is strategically located and can be found in the soundly safe

upland of Brgy. Agos-Agos, Infanta, Quezon, approximately six (6) kilometers southwest of municipal center proper and within the no-risk zone as declared by local Geo-Hazard experts. Said housing program is a core project and an integral component of the Social Action Center (SAC) in its Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Development Program (CRDP), the only Church-sanctioned office dealing in relief and rehabilitation efforts for the devastated communities in RIN area. The SAC and its partner agencies have considered it as the hallmark humanitarian pro-

ject for extending the basic shelters to the disaster victims with the widest coverage of beneficiaries and can yield the highest impact among the rehabilitation aid missions in the affected territory. The CBCP as the highest governing council of the countrys Roman Catholic faithful is the first to express their collective resolve for the helpless victims of November 29 catastrophe and they have swiftly dispatched the NASSA-JP as the humanitarian aid commission to expedite the recovery of damaged communities.

The pioneering Shelter Project of SAC and its partner agencies underscores the need to rebuild the 9,923 destroyed houses of some 22,000 displaced families at the soonest time possible to avoid severe humanitarian crisis in the RIND area. Though the risk is still high to reconstruct temporary shelters in the same place where the victimfamilies have been caught by the killer flashfloods, the SAC, Christian Aid of London, CBCP-NASSAJP, Diocese of Cubao and other housing benefactors have left no choice but to commit in extending habitable if not entirely decent homes for the hundred thousand individuals rendered homeless. SAC-led PROVISORY SHELTER AID STATISTICS (based on the amount/worth of Shelter Materials pegs at P 10,000.00 / US$ 192 / 159). TOTAL DAMAGED HOUSES: 9,923: Real-1,635; Infanta-5,066; Nakar-2,470; Dingalan-752 SAC & Partner Agencies: 1,155 units Others Housing Agencies Contribution: R- 478 units; I 1,102 units N-729 units;



The SAC encourages kind-hearted individuals, socio-civic groups, socially-responsible corporations and other humanitarian & rehabilitation missions to be our new partners in the Core Housing Project. We shall be glad to accept any kinds of support like shelter tools or materials that can be utilize for the rebuilding of simple, safe & decent habitation of our homeless fellow humans. By confirming your timely assistance to our Rehabilitation and Development Coordinating Office, together we can give the glimpse of hope for the unfortunate victim of calamities.

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Revitalizing the poorest sector for food security and sustainability
The disaster has changed not only the landscape of their source of life but also altered their hope for the future. For them, land was life! Take it and they would wither away, as their saying went.

AKING INTO account the most susceptible sector in the Church of the Poor, the Prelature of Infanta has always sided with the afflicted, the wounded and the wretched. The history of the local Catholic Church in the area shows consistency in speaking on behalf of the marginalized farmers, the principal providers for food security among the residents in the area. The devastated towns are mostly agriculturedependents and from generation-to- generations they have been tilling the lands to ensure food for their families. But the November 29, 2004 disaster has changed not only the landscape of their source of life but also altered their hope for the future. For them, land was life! Take it and they would wither away, as their saying went. This was the predicament the local Church had to address then. Thats why the Social Action Center (SAC) was often at the forefront of all rehabilitation agencies working in the area, to find the best answer and lasting solution to revive the agricultural sector in the RIN area.
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A. Organic Farming In line with the Sustainable Agriculture program of the Prelature of Infanta and mainly espoused by SACs major relief and rehabilitation partners such as NASSAJP of CBCP, Christian Aid of London, Columban Missionary of the Philippines (CMP), Missio Mnchen, Missio Achen, Missio Austria, AMA, Cordaid, Archdiocese of Utrecht, Netzwerk Miteinander, and Infantakreis, the adoption of organic farming had become integral to the long-term development plan of the Church. Through the staff and volunteers of Parish Social Action Office and Munting Sambayanang Kristiyano (MSK) or Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), this alternative system for local food production gained ground and had always been in fullthrottle in order to encourage farmers in the area to boost the use of this pro-environment and pro-farmer agriculture. The SAC enabled the farmer-beneficiaries to organize themselves and mutually helping each other to learn this new farm methods which they found lesscostly, more effective and more viable in the long term. Attending the crash-course study, seminar and workshops conducted by SAC staff and invited experts was a

prerequisite to the farmers prior to release of assistance to ensure their technical preparedness and inculcated discipline in value formation. Aside from material supports like initial seeds and farm tools, actual training related to organic farming such the A frame-making, creating of plantex, fermented plant juice preparation and lactic acid propagation was imparted as part of technical know-how and support system to make the program successful. B. Communal & Upland Farming In pursuing the mission of the Prelature to consolidate the members of Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK) or the Basic Ecclesial Communities in times of catastrophe so that they may become one with the aspirations of Mother Church, the Social Action Center (SAC) was promoting the establishment of communal farms in the idle but suitable lands for planting organic crops in the RIN territory. And for those in the far-flung MSK communities, SAC was encouraging the upland farmers including the Agta tribe in Sierra Madre Mountains to participate in food security endeavors. The provision of farm tools and seeds to the farmer-beneficiaries was distributed only after they had undergone the necessary seminar and value formation training to enhance their awareness and commitment to the program. C. Applied Scientific Farm Technology A unique innovation of the agricultural recovery project of the Social Action Center was tapping the expertise of scientists and the academe from the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), University of the Philippines-Los Baos (UPLB) and Commission on Higher Education (CHeD). The consortium decided to be very instrumental for the setting-up of a nationwide

model for agricultural research project on post-natural disaster scenario. With the Prelatures SAC full support, the natural resources and agri-scientists and their team of experts chose the low-lying area of Barangay Boboin in Infanta town to be their pilot site. The 78-hectare former rice field and vegetation lands were idle since flashfloods and mudflows inundated the once-food basket of RIN territory. Using the countrys available and latest cutting-edge technology on farm research production inputs, the consortium had already conducted background study and participative discussion with the stakeholders particularly the farmer-beneficiaries resulting to the successful presentation of the Community Planning for Rehabilitation of Barangay Boboin. The project would be the beginning of a long-term development implementation and SAC is determined to complete the recovery process of said agricultural community together with the benevolent assistance of the consortium, not only for Boboin but also the other affected barangays of Infanta, Real and Gen. Nakar. The Prelature is greatly indebted to the Archdiocese of Utrecht, the Netherlands for its great contribution! The support of the good people of the Netherlands enables us to sustain this costly program. Through other Dutch agencies like Cordaid and Vastenactie, we hope to be able to complete this task!

Upland Farming is the newest thrust of SAC this year to liberate the farmers and their families from dependency to destructive cutting of trees perpetrated primarily by the vested logging interests

Social Action Center - Prelature of Infanta 29



The Agriculture is the primary socio-economic activity yet hugely devastated sector in the RIND calamity towns. Considering that
48% of the entire population is dependent and fully-engaged in seasonal plantings, communal and upland farmings; 72% of locally-produced agri-products support the 150,000 inhabitants; 36,146 hectares of low-lying farmlands out of 67,169 hectares of total agricultural lands are inundated by flashfloods and mudslides; 15,000 hectares of rice lands are covered by at least two feet of mountain soils making them useless to harvest for at least 3-5 years. The SAC and partner rehabilitation agencies in the sector are exerting all efforts to recover the losses of November 2004 disaster by initiating the following projects: - Organic Farming, a new alternative method of land cultivation, is gaining ground after the disaster has opened the opportunity of the farmers who are tired of high-cost, environmentally unsafe and unhealthy effects of traditional farming. Pilot areas for propagation have yielded positive results. Proof: from initial 5 hectares less than a year ago, a total 30 hectares are spread out from selected plots to coastal and mountainous barangays. Organic Rice starts to boom and to popularize in the former traditional farm territories after the success of harvested staple in its first try. - Clearing-up of layered-mud in the food basket localities will be taking lot of efforts and considerable amount to regain the former productive status. In Brgy.Boboin Rehabilitation profile, the new knowledge and science & technology based solutions for the farming problems in the area are moving in. Ninety-five percent (95%) of its 78 hectares of rice and vegetable farms are deeply-buried in mud and sand. 350 households are stakeholders hoping that the swift miracles fall in the months to come.

First Organic Rice, Tasted And Distributed

he first and only harvested organic rice in the Real-Infanta- Gen. Nakar (RIN) area after the disaster has been tasted recently and is now ready for the distribution and propagation in Gen. Nakar town. Organic rice farming is environmental-friendly, less-costly and healthier for human consumption since its free from the toxic nutrients found in chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are dominant in the countrys farming system. It is introduced by the Prelature of Infanta as a component project of agricultural rehabilitation initiative of Social Action Center (SAC). The Parish Social Action Office (PSAO) of St. Anne & Joachim spearheaded the adoption of alternative rice planting after the technical training participated by the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) members under the tutelage of Organic Farming experts. It was followed by extending material supports to the farmers like the distribution of initial seeds of rice varieties. The seeds were planted first in the local Church demo farms and selected rice fields tilled by BEC farmers. The success of this pioneering organic rice production in the calamity area was enthusiastically assisted by MASIPAG staff, a farmer-led network of cause-oriented Peoples Organizations (POs), NonGovernment Organizations (NGOs) and agricultural scientists who espouses sustainable management of biodiversity of countrys natural resources through alternative farming.


- Adopt-A-Farm Program. For every plot, rice or vegetable, of at least 2,500 square meters, you can donate a rehabilitation fund amounting to Php 10,000.00. The SAC can help you to identify which priority areas (with corresponding beneficiaries profile) would you like to sponsor including the families living therein. A project development update shall provide to you regularly to keep you abreast on the status of your assistance.

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n innovative farm technology is being introduced now in the devastated towns of Real-InfantaGen. Nakar, (RIN) Quezon, by concerned Filipino scientists affiliated with governments Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to help subsisting farmers who have suffered huge losses caused by killer flashfloods of 2004. Led by DOSTs specialized agency known as Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Development (PCARRD), the hallmark research study for farm rehabilitation in postnatural disaster scenario claims to be the pioneer agricultural project in the country that has taken the interest of allied groups such as University of the Philippines Los Baos (UPLB), the nations leading academic institution that excels in mineral resources and agricultural utilization, and; Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), a reputable government bureau that oversees the regulation of all private colleges and universities which also supervises special scientific concerns like research studies for the advancement of Filipino professions. Upon the request of Social Action Center (SAC), a local Catholic Church-sanctioned office that implements the Prelature of Infantas intervention program dubbed as Comprehensive Rehabilitation & Development Program (CRDP), the PCARRD has convincingly enticed UPLB and CHEd to form a research consortium due to their strong desire to be the aid partners for the mentioned agricultural recovery project. The massive mudflows that buried most prime agricultural lands in the destroyed towns has gravely impaired the impoverished farmers rendering them helpless with no food security and livelihood opportunity to sustain their families basic needs.

Spurred by this predicament, the Infanta Prelate-Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, prioritized his reconstruction initiatives for the immediate recovery of the agricultural sector, focusing mainly on rebuilding the farmlands for re-utilization for local food production. Thus SACs sheer faith to the mercy of God finally granted its wishes when PCARRD has agreed to support the program without reservation. The unique cooperation between SAC and PCARRD /UPLB is full of positive expectation that their undertakings will succeed and become an institutional showcase in the annals of Philippines agricultural scientific development. To meet its longterm goal of servicing the entire affected agricultural lands of RIN municipalities, the SAC is

continuously praying for the pouring-in of additional materials and logistical supports that may sourceout from charitable institutions and private benefactors. Achieving the total rehabilitation process of marginalized farmers in the RIN area is the Prelatures SAC foremost mission to bind the poorest of the poor sectors into one so as strengthening the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) in unison with the vision of Church of the Poor.

Social Action Center - Prelature of Infanta 31

To date, the pilot area is established within the 78 hectares inundated farmlands of Barangay Boboin, Infanta, out of the towns 501 hectares damaged agricultural lands. Other calamityravaged towns are also covered by this trend-setting project in the coming months should the availability of logistical needs be met. Part of this ambitious project will be a model farm at the site of the MCHS in General Nakar. This will serve as the center for the whole rehabilitation and renewal of the agricultural sector in RIN. Sustainable agriculture is the sign of the times! With this in mind, the Prelature and SAC management are hopeful that miracles can happen as in the past when gracious assistance from hundreds of faceless benefactors come in droves out of human compassion and in solidarity of spirit with fellow men and women dilapidated by disasters.

AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH BREAKTHROUGH. The three (3) years scientific study of SACPCARRD-UPLB consortium is first in the Philippines as an agricultural country.

UNICEF Ties Up Farm Rehabilitation Project With SAC

elping the livelihood necessities of marginalized families dependent to agricultural sector in the ravaged villages of Real-InfantaGen. Nakar (RIN) Quezon, is the primordial interest of newly-formed tandem United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and Social Action Center (SAC). This UN body whose principal mission is protecting the rights, welfare and interest of the children worldwide, coordinates its agrirehabilitation efforts with the Roman Catholics Prelature of Infanta to fasttrack the recovery process of devastated communities.

Inspired by their unified goal to alleviate the plight of traumatized children at the height of unprecedented natural calamities in the area, UNICEF entrusted to SAC more than 6,000 farm tools and implements like pick mattocks with handle and pointed type Shovels (D-Type). These tools would be used initially by victim-families to revive their farms to expedite their food security and sustainability. The SAC priority beneficiaries include children of poorest farmers in the affected towns is actively promoting Organic Farming, Upland and Communal Plantings and Scientific Farm Technology. SAC is grateful to the UNICEFs gesture of trust hoping that the farm materials will widen the scope of agricultural assistance to accelerate the recovery of the most vulnerable segment of society.

The SAC is also proud to be a new conduit for the continuous preserve of the OXFAM organization in the area. The British-based Oxfam is one of the first organization that brings relief to the flood victims. After intensive nine months of hard work, the key RIN staff has requested the SAC to be their informal partner agency by calling them any time the need for calamity help occurs. Oxfam represents also the Dutch organization NOVIB.

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Organic Farming Takes Off in RIN

illed a kind-spirit in assisting the poor victims of calamity that hit Real, Infanta, and Gen. Nakar, Quezon (RIN area), the Columban Missionary of the Philippines and Christian Aid of London enthusiastically sponsored the promotion of organic farming in the affected communities. Organic farming is a non-traditional type of plant and vegetable cultivation not yet popular in the countryside where most Filipino farmers rely heavily on the use of chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides that are generally artificial composed of toxic compounds. In the long run these would be harmful to both plants and animals, according to research study. Through the Social Action Centers (SAC) Operation Dugsong-Buhay (Bridging-A-Life), the alternative method to produce homegrown staples is initially implemented in the pilot villages of Gen. Nakar, Quezon. Prior to the first-phase of actual adoption of alternative cultivation, a value seminar and hands-on workshop must be conducted to be actively participated by the members of Munting Sambayanang Kristiyano (MSK) or Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC). The seminar would culminate with the actual sow of organic seeds at the end of learning period. The SAC Staff has conducted the business of every seminar-workshop. Resource speakers often stress the importance of Organic Farming for the longterm benefit of local farmers. Citing the importance of this innovative agricultural method include: (1) maintaining a balanced ecology; (2) sufficient livelihood and food security; (3) transfer of covest technology for better land-use; (4) acknowledgement of a just and equal preference for effective farming; (5) inculcating the appreciation of holiness in farming; (6) a unique acculturation of Filipino values; (7) the enrichment of skills and capability of the local farmers; and (8) a manifestation of democratic farming without discrimination to farmers preference. The successful launching of the Organic Agritechnology is followed by seed dispersal and hog distribution to the identified MSK beneficiaries in Gen. Nakar town. Said Alternative Livelihood Program, supported by the Christian Aid, has envisaged that, in its one-year period of implementation, at least half of the farmers who opted to adopt the method will be able to share their success story and will expand the scope of propagation.


The Prelatures leadership is more than satisfied for the initiative done by its vision-mission partner, the Catholic Secular Institutes Apostles in Contemporary Times (ACT), by propagating the diversified farming system and organic vegetable plantings in Aurora province. During the ocular visit to ACT-sponsored demo farms managed mostly by Indigenous Peoples (IPs) belonging to Igorot tribe in Barangay Anggo, Ma. Aurora town, the Social Action Center (SAC) is overwhelmed by the rich and verdant vegetable gardens which are ready for harvesting. Said local farming project has become a showcase of better cooperation between ACT and farmer-beneficiaries. It is worthy to emulate and hopefully to be adopted by other program partners of the Prelature to accelerate the povertyreduction program of the local Catholic Church. Through organic and diversified farming techniques, the Prelature is confident to encourage the poor farmers who are traditionallyinfluenced by the expensive uses of toxic fertilizers and pesticides that are harmful to environment and human health. This ACT farming project that natural process of plant cultivation stimulant to the multiple efforts of Action Program of the Prelature of Aurora Province. values the is a great the Social Infanta in

Social Action Center - Prelature of Infanta 33

Restructuring the main source of living and alleviating the plight of the marginalized families in the coastal villages.
As the second most valuable occupation that contributes to the local economy of communities in the Prelature of Infanta, the fishery is a vibrant food-producing sector next only to agriculture. The damage done to the lowly-fisher folks by the past natural calamity is immeasurable in terms of economic losses needing the timely intervention of Social Action Center (SAC) to include this group in its Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Development Program.

HE FISHING INDUSTRYS survivors are among the poorest of the poor; their families are natural constituents-beneficiaries as envisaged by SAC and partner agencies. And the population of RIN towns is relying mainly on the newly-caught fishes from the nearby Lamon Bay and Pacific Ocean. SACs post-disaster initial assessment in the fishing sector is extra-ordinary negative since most family-based fishermen have lost their boats and rudimentary implements to sustain their livelihood activity. Needless to say, more than 70% of RIN residents are dependent to the freshly-produced varieties of fishes in the area. Hence, the Prelature-SAC knowing the needs of the victims has seen this extreme urgency of the sector sought the help of Church dependable partner-agencies such as Christian Aid of London, Shomette or the Ambassadors Wives Group, Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP), Camillian Sisters, RGS community and
34 Social Action Center - Prelature of Infanta

some individuals. In the spirit of unity and solidarity, they are swift to respond in reviving the worsening status of local fishermen in the RIN territory. The material supports include new motorboats, paddle-boats and the corresponding fishing equipment. Through the perseverance and dedication of Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar Parish Social Action Offices (PSAOs) and their Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK)/Basic Christian Communities and Tribal Center for Developments (TCD) Munting Pamayanang Katutubo (MPK)/Basic Indigenous Peoples Communities, the SAC is very successful to implement this project to initially selected batches of beneficiaries in the devastated communities. With fervent prayers and trust to the generosity of Gods children, the Prelature-SAC is anticipating that hundreds of yet-to-be-served calamity victim-fisher folks shall include in this sustainable project.



uch to the glee and surprise of the residents in calamitystricken towns of RIN Quezon, the Ambassadors Wives charity group made a simple, without any fanfare and unpublicized visit in the area to express sympathy and solidarity to all inhabitants and, at the same time, to provide livelihood supports for the most affected families in the fishery sector. Known as the first ladies of diplomatic missions in the country, they came to see in person to understand the socio-economic condition of local people and the extent of damage to the environment of worst flashfloods to occur 120 kilometers away from the capital Manila. It was the first humanitarian sojourn in the damaged coastal municipalities by the respected wives of the leading dignitaries assigned and residing in the Philippines. The diplomatic party was composed of Madame Aurora Lapuz-Sagaz of Spain; Mme. Agnes de Kok of European Commission; Mme. Jill Beckingham of United Kingdom; Mme. Silvia Schuff of Argentina; Mme. Jong Gamiandu of Papua New Guinea, and; Mme. Johanna Monteros of Chile. They were representing the officers of Shomettes, a group comprising the lady espouses of Ambassadors in this democratic nation.

With the untiring dedication of Deacon Mario Van Loon, act, SACRIN Coordinator, he patiently guided the visitors commencing on their departure from the safe and secured diplomatic residences in Makati City up to the once-flooded and defaced environments of RIN towns including the scarred faade of Sierra Madre mountain range. They were not deterred that day by inclement weather as they bravely traveled for four (4) hours just to interact and to meet the real victims of 2004 tragic disaster. The group was enthusiastically welcomed by the local people, first by the Carmelite nuns led by Sr. Catherine Zabat, Carmels Mother Superior, who was responsible for the coordinated effort between Social Action Center (SAC) and Ambassadors Wives group to expedite the rehabilitation process of suffering inhabitants from the farflung localities in RIN area. Getting to know the genuine lives of the real victims had deeply touched the dignitaries that further dented their unified resolve to use moral persuasion in

order that their respective government and people would continue providing humanitarian support for the distressed calamity victims. Initially, they turned-over modest amount that would be used for the livelihood project espoused by the Prelature and SAC for the poorest of the poor victims. In reciprocating this gesture and as part of Prelatures mission to actively invite all concerned charitable groups to participate in Churchled Rehabilitation Plans for the recovery of victims general wellbeing, Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, praised the lady dignitaries for sowing the seeds of Christian virtues of generosity, of compassion and of humility in spirit to inspire the disheartening souls and to uplift the worsening conditions of those sufferings in the ravaged territory. He added that the humanitarian gesture of Ambassadors Wives group deserved sublime support through constant prayers so that they would multiply hundred folds to convince the downtrodden victims that hope for humanity and faith to the Almighty would be paramount at all times especially during the trying period of disaster.

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eviving the moribund fishing sector in coastal villages, the poorest calamity-victims who catch fishes for a living are jubilant and grateful to the Prelature and its partner agency, Christian Aid of London, and other contributors for finally receiving the boats and fishing implements after the deluge destroyed their only source of living. The distribution of mostly brand-new fishing boats and implements was started a few months after the disaster in different fishing barangays of Real- Infanta-Gen. Nakar (RIN) Quezon. A total of 400 fishermen-families benefited from 134 fishing boats and their corresponding equipments for deep-sea fishing like nets, hooks, lines, treasure lanterns, lead, and Ey2. Prior to the release of socioeconomic assistance, the recipients were thoroughly evaluated and selected by SAC and Christian Aid with the help of Munting Sambayanang Kristiyano (MSK)/Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) members in the localities to ensure that only qualified-poor victims of the disaster would avail of the livelihood project. They also had to attend the basic orientation and recollection and stewardship seminar to instill the virtue of discipline and responsibility in accepting the material aids. SAC-Christian Aid key staff clearly stressed to the beneficiaries and their families that such generous and interest-free economic support

was not a dole-out and free-to-own system. A payment scheme unanimously approved by each cluster of fisherfolkrecipients must be respected and faithfully followed to sustain their source of income. They added that the method is not a paying back, but a building up of a safety net to secure the longterm recovery plan of the fishing sector thereby expanding the assistance to other prospective beneficiaries until achieving the cycle of cooperation and dedication among fishing sectors stakeholders in the area. Meanwhile, Infanta-based Peoples Organization (PO) BIHADA or Biyayang Handog ng Dalampasigan (Gift of Nature along the Coast), an organization of marginalized families who are dependents to marine resources found in their nearby shore, is taking initiative to further enhance the income of fellow members and their families by seeking the assistance of SAC. BIHADA members are basically engaging in seasonal catching of

Bangus fry, a newly-born small fishes for cultivation which can be found only at a specific site in seashore during months of February to October. This specific fish variety produced in millions is transferred to the man-made fishponds and can be harvested in several months. It is the national fish and pride of the Philippines. The SAC and Christian Aid of London take pity on the status of BIHADA members after finding out that the catastrophe lost the homes and fishing tools of impoverished group. They have granted the request of Bihada and have provided them with the necessary paraphernalia.

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Fishing occupation is next only to agricultural farming in the RIND area. More than 48,000 of its population or 10,000 households (with 5 average members) are living on this sector while 43% of local food consumption is relying mainly on this sector. However, the fisher folks are socio-economically deprived because they earn a measly sum of P 4,500 / US$ 86.5 / 72 , average monthly income, while their household average food consumption in a month is P 8,000 / US$ 154 / 128, a 44% deficit to meet the familys basic needs for food. The 2004 natural calamity deteriorated further their plight: 85% destroyed their houses and lost their fishing implements: approximate damage to the industry is P150 Million / US$ 29 Million / 24 Million with 1,130 motorized boats and 878 nonmotorized/paddled boats are worthless to use. The Prelature of Infanta and partner agencies able to serve only 400 families (or some 2,000 individuals belonging to the poorest of the poor in Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar only) by distributing 134 boats and their corresponding fishing tools. Other rehabilitation agencies have extended also some assistance but not as extensive like the Church initiative. Based on the projection of SAC, there are still 250 unserved family beneficiaries on fisheries who are still in dire needs of our support such as provision of 55 boats and their necessary fishing implements. A fisherys complete package consists of brand-new motorized boat, pressure lantern and fishing nets-lines-hooks for 5 family-recipients would amount to P 50,000.00 / US$ 961 / 798.


The SAC invites you to enlist in our Build-a-Boat Program, an innovative humanitarian cause to save the dying dependents of the Fishing sector. Your pledge, donation or material aids can expedite the recovery of the beneficiary-families and can stabilize the food security of their community. Group or individual sponsorship is highly-encouraged.

NEW SET OF FISHING EQUIPMENT. After the deluge of 2004 in coastal

villages of RIN area, most fisher folks have lost their treasured means for socioeconomic survival. Hence, the SAC and its partner agencies make sure that family-beneficiaries of Fishery Project will start their livelihood rehabilitation with newly-built paddle and motor boats and newly-purchased fishing gears like nets, hooks, lines, lanterns and lead.

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Taking steps to ameliorate the food for every-table of



family- beneficiaries.

Among the Social Action Centers project components in its Comprehensive Livelihood Rehabilitation Program is catering to a food-producing group of livestock and poultry growers. Their principal source of income has been heavily impaired by natures wrath resulting to severe economic dislocations to the hundreds of families belonging to the sector. They form the majority of informal family-based livelihood resources in the entire RIN area: natural constituents to the Church of the Poor.

CCORDING TO the rationale of Christian Aid: The disaster aftermath is that over 90% of the families in the barangays are having one meal a day, are no longer sending children to school because they cannot afford to pay for school uniform or provide food to children, are not able to pay for medical bills and no seeds of various through crops to plant in the next rainy season. As a disadvantaged socio-economic group among the victims of calamity, the SAC and Christian Aid immediately included in their priority list the poor livestock and poultry cultivators that lost their tended animals for local food consumption at the height of last years typhoons. The tandem through the Parish Social Action Offices of Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar towns and

the Tribal Center for Development prepared the rapid assessment of the beneficiaries by taking into consideration that only poorest of the poor greatly affected by flash floods; households suffering severe loss especially in livelihood assets and preferential treatment would be extended to the female-headed household, women and widows, children or orphans in particular, elderly, people with disabilities and indigenous or tribal people. The worst affected families in the community who have skills and are used to keep domesticated animals for food and, those using cows or water buffalos for agricultural undertakings and transport are given due considerations. It is sad to note that more than 90% of animals in low-lying and floods-stricken places have been killed by the deluge. This has led for people to find

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it difficult to transport their farm-produced goods from the field to their homes and community. For this purpose, the SAC and Christian Aid of London have distributed less than 3 months after the disaster various types of livestock and poultry to selected family-beneficiaries like the 45-days chicks, dual type chicken (saso), piglets for sow propagation and hogs & goats for communitys consumption and water buffalos or carabaos for farming. SAC and its partner agencies have a long-term commitment for the total rehabilitation and development of the affected victim-beneficiaries. Part of their sustainable plans would adopt a workable strategy where beneficiaries could not take the assistance as a straight dole-out. Hence, the SAC staff and volunteers were required to conduct capacity-building training and value-formation seminar to stress the discipline and devotion among the aid recipients to the entrusted livelihood project. Part of it, the SAC inculcated to the bene-

ficiaries the discipline to gradually invest by returning small portion of their earnings to save for their future expenses that might include maintenance and repair of livelihood materials, assistance to such family members and hopefully educational scholarships.


In the calamity area, animal domestication and propagation is quite popular owing to resources availability, climate suitability and market demand. Prior to 2004 disaster, the areas proximity to Metro Manila has helped the countrys leading meat suppliers to find the alternative sites for poultry production thereby creating boost to local economy. Available data shows that the local population has a steady surplus of meat requirements. This is due to the informal or backyard livestock and poultry raisings which also served as secondary source of income and food security among local raisers. It has drastically changed only after the deluge killed 80%of the RIND total domesticated animals amounting to P 140 million plus / US$ 27 million / 22.4 million. The Social Action of the Prelature and partner agencies are contributing modestly for the recovery of the affected sector concentrating mainly on the most disadvantaged victim-families who are willing to secure first the food for the family and the community. They prioritize the informal/backyard livestock and poultry raisers by providing initial hogs and chicks along with the required feed supplements. They also promote Organic livestock & poultry. Procurement of carabaos (water buffalos) is primarily for communal and upland farmings. Type of Assistance SWINES Hogs Gilts Native Pigs POULTRY Broiler Chicks Native Chicks CARABAOS # Distributed Area Recipient # of Beneficiaries

115 54 68 3,600 750 7

Real, Infanta - Gen. Nakar Infanta - Gen. Nakar Gen. Nakar - TCD Infanta - Real Gen. Nakar - TCD Gen. Nakar - TCD

68 Families 48 Families 38 Families 40 Families 43 Families 7 Grouprs of Family


SAC target families remain unserved in this project are mostly living subsistently. You can choose which type of assistance you prefer through donation of start-up logistical support for the family-beneficiary. Your livelihood aid will help to stabilize the basic needs of marginalized victims of disaster.

Social Action Center - Prelature of Infanta 39



Seeing is Believing! as the popular saying goes.
A first-hand experience could tell that organic method was not the exclusive domain of rice farming and vegetable plantings. This was proven by no-less than practicing farmers of the Parish Social Action Office (PSAO) of Gen. Nakar Quezon. In the beginning there was an iota of doubt among them to use non-conventional system in livestock especially in pigs or hogs cultivation. But the experience gained by several animal raisers in the town could prove that organic mode was more than profitable and commerciallyviable in the long run. PSAO Gen. Nakar is among the adherent practitioners to adopt alternative propagation of non - toxic food production in the Prelature of Infanta that takes pride to pioneer this kind of non-traditional agrifarming. Hence, after their success in harvesting first organic rice in the RIN area, the farmers belonging to the Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK)/Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) of Gen. Nakar is now busy to market their first commercial herbaboy or herbal-fed hogs (or pig-supported by discarded human foods and vegetables). Unlike the kembaboy or hogs supported by feed formula laced with chemical solutions like the locally known R1 for starter, R2 for fattener and R3 for finisher. The herbaboys diet is less-expensive or need not to buy because its food is readily available and its meat has lean-fats and delectably tasty like the native boar. And the most obnoxious part of tending kembaboy is the treatment of its malodorous waste, a downside effect to human health and nearby environment. So cheers to the people of PSAO Nakar for their trend-setting efforts in food security program!


e-affirming his strong faith in the mercy of God, a livestock beneficiary in Real town, invokes in his daily prayers that no harm may befall to a couple of hogs the Social Action Center (SAC) entrusted to him. As a victim of the worst natural catastrophe in living memory that so severely affected the socioeconomic condition of poorest of the poor Filipino families, this beneficiary is one of the thousands of victims who can barely meet a day food requirement of his household. Answering the Prelatures Program singles out the needs of marginalized recipients who are deprived of by livelihood assistance. Hundred of such families pray hard to survive and that their livelihood investment will prosper.

The Real Parish Social Action Office (PSAO)s livestock project is initially benefiting 27 poorest victimfamilies who have skills in livestock propagation mostly commercial hogs that can be sold after four months of tending. The SAC takes charge for the regular supply of feeds and other veterinary needs until the harvestable

period while the familybeneficiary is responsible for the daily care requires to it. PSAO selection process to determine the genuine beneficiaries is strict and rigid to instill transparency of the project. Formation seminar is conducted first among chosen beneficiaries to inculcate discipline and responsibility among themselves to sustain the livelihood project. Those who prove to be good caretakers are entitled to receive more hogs, in order to increase their family income! Hence, it is no surprise for these hardworking livestock beneficiaries to hear them pray to the Almighty, Thanks God for My Healthy Hogs!

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Resuscitating the family-based enterprises and reviving the

post-disaster local economy.

The Social Action Center (SAC) in finding means to address the rising hopelessness brought by unprecedented calamity in the developing towns of Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar (RIN) Quezon had thoroughly conducted a re-assessment of the economic condition of the poor victims. Its conclusive study found out that prior to the catastrophe there were families engaging in small business endeavors, usually managed by women head of family or working mothers.

HESE FAMILY-BASED ENTERPRISES comprised of variety stores, eatery, home-made food production, fish-meat-vegetable stalls and local handy crafts making are the informal movers and shakers of RIN local economy and one of the barometers of progress in their respective communities. But the flashfloods and mudslides had made big difference among the dejected family-victims not only because they lost their homes but also their only means of survival. Without resources to start for a living, others became restless and just left their once-active community. To stem the tide of growing poverty and to avoid further the unnecessary migration of any family, the Social Action Center recommended to its partner agencies particularly the Christian Aid of London to consider

giving structural-support to this sector. With initial capital seed from the Prelature and Christian Aid, the SAC was able to identify and to select the most needed family-beneficiaries in the worst affected barangays. Inculcating first the value-formation seminar among chosen client-beneficiaries and instilling the discipline of individual commitment to the participants, the SAC and CA were effectively providing assistance to the first batch of 183 families. This livelihood project was likewise turned up to be an occasion to cement the efficient formation of Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK)/ Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) in the service area. Microfinance as an emerging opportunity to help the small enterprises in the countryside was a big challenge to the SAC staff considering that no one among them was trained to handle the intricacy of this
Social Action Center - Prelature of Infanta 41


business. This led to the timely intervention of Punla sa Tao Foundation, an NGO consultancy and research training institute with proven expertise on microfinance management. The Punla sa Tao staff initially assessed the capacity of the SAC staff and its microfinance operation and ultimately offered to help the SAC to better manage its microfinance by recommending market study and technical training of the latters key people. It was also in consonance with the vision-mission of the Prelature to make the Comprehensive Livelihood Rehabilitation Program sustainable. The SAC for this purpose could merely achieve this long-term goal by culling the core people who would handle the microfinance project.


SAC Microfinance
emerges as the most productive project of the Prelature in terms of positive socioeconomic yield to the local economy, sustainable impact and beneficiaries high-rate response to stipulated obligations. total number of beneficiaries to date is 152 calamity victims where mostly (120) are working mothers and women who used to engage in family-based enterprise like variety store and small eatery. extended the initial infusion of P 5,000.00 / US$ 96 / 80 and was able to return it in a span of four months thereby qualifying them for capital renewal. 137 beneficiaries (91%) are already renewed the project helping to sustain their familys income and accelerating the local enterprises in the area.

First Microfinance Market Study in the RIN area was a huge success enabling SAC Microfinance Team to adopt strategy for effective management of the project.

Through the initiative of SAC and Punla, the microfinance team had undergone special crash-course and training-workshop. The month-long activity was a great success for the team members as they were able to accomplish the first and only microfinance market study in the RIN area. Likewise the Punla sa Tao training inputs would greatly help the SAC microfinance staff in re-charting its course of action to realize its endobjective of sustainability and eventual expansion to the entire Prelature territory. At present, more than 250 small enterprises have been revived, generating capital to help more familybased enterprises to develop. Indeed, SAC Microfinance boosts the socio-economic recovery of the RIN area.

FAMILY-BASED ENTERPRISE. Food stall group such as eatery and small variety stores are Microfinance Project recipients that help vastly in uplifting the local economy.

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rom experimental livelihood enhancement initiative of the Social Action Center (SAC), the microfinance is increasingly popular now and the most-sought after family-based recovery project of the Prelature of Infanta. But its decisive impact to the family-beneficiaries and its greater contribution to the reconstruction of local economy in Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar towns are the notable feats of SAC Microfinance of all the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Development Program (CRDP) component projects. The high incidence of entrusted capital returns and the satisfactory level of confidence that clients-beneficiaries are not remised to their obligation are positive indicators that microfinance will be sustainable in the future. Starting from the amount of P 250,000.00 courtesy of Christian Aid of London in July 2005, the SAC Microfinance is taking advantage to defeat the proliferation and wide-

spread malpractice of usury in the devastated territories. Exposing this kind of human exploitation has gained mileage for the SAC Microfinance since it became the alternative for the loan sharks that almost killed the livelihood of small entrepreneurs. In the RIN WORKING MOTHERS. Most Microfinance Project Beneficiaries are experiarea, the ramenced family-based entrepreneurs who, prior to disaster, already managed pant exorbitant small capital business like buy and sell of vegetables, fruits, meat and fish. fees imposed by usurers ranging scheme its service-oriented rationale from 20-30% of the principals in a is using microfinance as a sociomonthly basis has further sunk the economic vehicle to jumpstart the poor borrowers from the quagmire of building of Munting Sambayanang poverty. Kristyano (MSK) /Basic Ecclesial The seed capital has been Community (BEC) in the clientincreased lately by the Prelatures beneficiaries place. leadership upon seeing the The SAC provides the first viability of the SAC Microfirevolving capital of P 5,000.00 to nance to expedite the socioeach member of the group of five (5) economic healing of marginaland the mode of payment will be ized and subsisting poor famibased on the capacity of the clientlies that engage in small enterbeneficiaries consensual agreement prises. Priority is given to they forwarded to SAC. There would poorest of the poor femalebe no other charges to speak of in household heads with skills in SAC Microfinance common to commanaging low-capital business mercial money-lenders except the prior and after the calamity miniscule interest to sustain the proand willing to undertake the ject for the next operational cycles lenient obligations stipulated and for the projects gradual expanin the agreement form. sion. The SAC Microfinance is not By assisting clienta traditional type of moneybeneficiaries to contribute in local lending venture where profits economy, the Prelature is acknowlare indispensable operating edging its achievement to generate procedure, thus, necessitating employment, to add additional marpersonal documents, loan colket players and to achieve livelihood laterals, pre-loan system like security and to accelerate the rehacredit investigation and other bilitation process of vulnerable surety and guarantee forms. victims in the RIN localities. Rather, it is uncomplicated

Social Action Center - Prelature of Infanta 43


Re-establishing the trust for the future of the poor.
Commitment to Christian-qualify education - that embraces encompassing virtues of the fear of God, respect to humanity, love for the family, value the community and take care for the Mother Earth - is the sacred goal of the Prelatures endowment project for the youth.

HE DELUGE of November 2004 gave also birth to a new opportunity for the Prelature of Infanta to extend unique social service to the Church of the Poor. The enormity of losses suffered by marginalized families in Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar towns was such that it caused severe anxiety for the families, especially those who cherish that education of their children the only way to fulfill the long-term dreams and glory for the entire family. The success is measured by finishing a college education of any member who, in return, can help the family to rise from the quagmire of subsistence and from the cycle of socioeconomic destitution. This attitude is most common among the striving families in the developing communities of RIN area. For them, poverty must not be hindrance to attain collegiate level of education and they consider it a dream-come true when one or two of their family members could hurdle the challenge to reach the four-year tertiary degree. The Prelatures leadership, knowing this predicament would arise in the time of unexpected disaster, has conducted assessment among the poorest of the poor family-victims who are showing high

regards for educational achievement for their siblings. Handling the task to address this need was entrusted to the Parish Social Action Offices who has used its Munting Sambayanang Kristyano ( MSK)/ Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) volunteers to find these poor-butdeserving students and are willing to help his/her family and community after the fulfillment of his/her desired collegiate course. The initial batch of college education grantees under the care of the Bishops Office is numbering to fifteen (15) students mostly enrolled in two locallybased colleges namely, the Northern Quezon Community College (NQCC) and Rizal Marine and Techno Computer College. They are taking up preferred academic degrees like BS Education (Elementary or Secondary) and BS Commerce and other technical courses which can be useful in the future for the alleviation of socio-economic standing of the family-grantees. The educational assistance package comprises of fullmatriculation & tuition fees, free book supply and transportation and other regular allowances until the duration of schooling. Many deserving but poor students are waiting for such a unique opportunity.

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o secure the future of the impoverished and sociallydisadvantaged families, the Prelature of Infanta earmarks trust fund for the education of the youth who are disaster victims, poor-but-deserved to pursue college degree and willing to embrace the educational grant program of the Social Action Center (SAC). Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, approved at the beginning of School Year 2005-2006 to administer the educational grant to the children of underprivileged and indigent families who had no means to support the four (4)-year higher academic schooling. The initial batch produced fifteen (15) college grantees from Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar (RIN) Quezon who had been enrolled in local colleges particularly at the Northern Quezon Cooperative College (NQCC)

and Rizal Marine Techno-Computer College (RMTC) where they were taking-up preferred courses which they could easily find a job in the future like Bachelor of Science (BS) Education, BS Elementary Education & BS Commerce. The grantees would be expecting to regularly report to the SAC who could directly supervise their a c ad e mi c or co u r s e performance. The SAC also is the responsible office that takes charge to assign to the grantees Church-related activities as part of their contributions to the benefactors and community. Meanwhile, the Alay Foundation headed by philanthropic couple Rey and Myrna Ortega enthusiastically gives a pledge of commitment to Bishop Tria

Tirona to sponsor free college education to the worst affected families in Infanta & Real Quezon. A total of eight (8) students are now supported by the Foundation that mostly enrolled outside the Prelature area where Sr. Zenia Pinaga, AMP, of chancellery office has served as the center-person for this generous project.

The Prelatures leadership under Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona decides to prioritize the construction of badly-needed facilities of public institutions who are still reeling from the hardships of 2004 disaster.
PUBLIC SCHOOL TOILET. Construction of new comfort rooms (CRs) is on-going in the worst-affected public schools in the RIN area in time for the opening of school year 2006-2007. POTABLE SOURCE OF CLEAN WATER. Destroyed water supply systems in the RIN area brought discomforts and health problems among concerned residents especially the children. To stem the tide of impending outbreak of water-borne diseases in the vulnerable places, the SAC paves the way for the installation of reliable source of drinking water in public schools.

Social Action Center - Prelature of Infanta 45


Priority to Education
In order to complete the picture we find it important to include also the rehabilitation of the schools, even when the SAC is not responsible for this part of the rehab-program.
NEWLY CONSTRUCTED BUILDING OF MOUNT CARMEL HIGH SCHOOL General Nakar under the tutelage and administration of Apostles in Contemporary Times (ACT)

hristian Quality Education especially for the youth has been a priority for the Prelature of Infanta since its conception in 1950. At present we have established 10 High Schools and one College. This is an enormous responsibility considering that the Philippine government does not support private schools. All expenses are for the schools themselves, thus for the Prelature. There were two schools affected by the calamity. The Mount Carmel School of Infanta (MCSI) lost several classrooms because these were one-storey high and close to the creek. It proved impossible to safe the buildings. Under the inspiring leadership of the Notre Dame de Vie (NDV) sisters and with the help of the Prelature and other donors MCSI was able to build a new two-story building. In General Nakar the situation was worse. The school existing before the disaster was composed of four wooden/shaky classrooms and one small stone building. The offices of the faculty, principal and treasurer were located in the ACT Formation House. The calamity destroyed everything. The wooden classrooms were totally destroyed, while the content of the other rooms were covered by mud and therefore turned useless. Mount Carmel High School (MCHS) in Nakar had to start all over again. A miracle happened: A family in the Netherlands and a barangay in Makati sent considerable amounts for a new

school building. The Prelature stepped in also. New commitments have been made since then. The ACT community, responsible for the school, decided together with Bishop Tria Tirona that we should solve our space/office problems in Nakar ones and for all. So the construction of a three-story building with 5 (class) rooms on each level is on the way. The building will have the following purposes: 1. Classrooms, laboratory, library, and audio-visual center for regular high school students; 2. Training Center for vocational courses and capability-building for the youth, especially those who cannot pursue college education; 3. Learning Center for sustainable agriculture and organic farming for all interested farmers in General Nakar, Infanta, and Real; 4. Learning Center for alternative livelihood especially for women and out-of-school youth; 5. Learning Center for alternative and wholistic health care using herbal medicine, acupuncture, and other traditional oriental methods; 6. Temporary Shelter in times of emergencies and calamities; 7. Office of the Social Action Center for General Nakar.

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In the Philippines, college or tertiary education is a privilege, no longer a social right for the idealistic, hopeful and willing-to-learn youths. Gone are the days when the countrys leaders put emphasis in strengthening the citizens productivity in human skills and advancing the rights of working force because of deteriorating socio-economic condition of most Filipinos, as shown by precarious unemployment rate ( 11.2% in 2003) and underemployment rate (17.04% in 2003)*. It leads to unusual migration of the nations best and most talented professionals to foreign countries searching for a greener pasture for the family coupled with the governments tacit policy to capitalize on the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) significant contribution to national economy. According to World Bank Report last year, the 1.1 million OFWs have remitted US$ 13.6 Billion / 11 Billion lately, representing 36% of Philippines Gross domestic Product (GDP). From Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) basic data report in 2002 , 891,908 OFWs abroad helped to alleviate the countrys balance of payment deficits. Filipinos medical doctors move to United States to become nurses; Health nurses take the job as caregivers in Canada; Licensed Engineers fly to Middle East to work as construction workers; Primary and Secondary Teachers are in Hongkong as housemaids and nannies; artistic performers are in Japan to become entertainers (if not forced prostitutes). Government has called them heroes for helping the dying and sinking economy because of their hard earned currencies remittances --- a buffer fund for heavily dependent foreign-market economy. The end-goal of Philippine education now is to have young men and women with college degree in order to leave the country, to serve foreign masters and to remit their money to resuscitate the collapsing economy. It is no surprise among majority residents in the calamity towns of RIND that special regard to finish one baccalaureate course is a source of pride of the siblings and status symbol to cherish on in one grown-ups locality. But the Social Action Center takes in the exception of the above-mentioned case. Its college endowment project for the least privilege family is aiming to produce professionals who can serve the family, the community and the Church of the Poor. The Prelature of Infanta, after the 2004 deluge, was fortunate to receive lot of educational support assistance for the young men and women who are victims of the disaster. The SAC informed the countless benefactors and educational philanthropists on its educational grant system prior to implementation. Hence, SAC-RIN became the channel to find the deserving college grantees at the beginning of school year 2005-2006. The first batch of college grantees are fourteen (14) individuals evenly selected from 3 Parishes of Real-Infanta-Nakar and presently enrolled in local colleges. The educational package comprises of whole semesters free matriculation, book allowance and transportation/incidental expenses that worth P 15,000.00 / US$ 288.46 / 180.72. A year-long aid will cost P 30,000.00 / US$ 576.92 / 361. 44. For a regular 4-year degree course in the area, a college grantee will be needing some P120,000 / US$ 2,307 / 1,915 to finish his/her profession.


The SAC is glad to invite you to be part of our Prelatures Educational Endowment Project for the Future of the Children of the Poor (P.E.E.P. for the Future). We encourage you to sponsor poor-but-deserving students to pursue their academic endeavor under our care and guidance until the completion of their chosen degree which can be useful for their familys alleviation, communitys development and local Churchs social amelioration project.

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Institutionalizing man-made and natural calamities preparation.
The ultimate goal is to expand the knowledge to understand the implications, causes and effects, and practical solutions to the danger of nature-made disaster to avoid the loss of lives and damage to communities.

HE UNPRECEDENTED event of last years natural catastrophe has caught the affected victims flat-footed. Both government & nongovernment agencies and private organizations in the heavily-devastated territory were surprised and incapacitated to respond to the gargantuan humanitarian crisis to occur in Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar, Quezon. Indeed, the first 72 hours after the calamity were marred by chaos and panic among the affected victims. Lack of pre-cautionary measures and necessary preparation in times of natural and man-made disasters was prevalent causing the people to run for their safety. The immediate response was inadequate due to peoples incapacity to knowledge and skills in disaster mitigation and preparation which resulted to the high number of casualties and damages. Knowing this predicament may strike again in the future insofar as most towns in the coastal territory of Quezon and Aurora are declared vulnerable to natural calamity, the Social Action Center (SAC) has been tasked by the Prelatures leadership to explore the

possibility of institutionalizing the Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness Training (DMPT). This noble endeavor is deemed to be obligatory especially in the most high-risk locations identified by the geo-hazards experts. The SAC strategy is to adopt the identification of disaster risk reduction and setting of priorities and targets based on the DMP program primed by the Christian Aid of London. The components of the strategic level to be imparted are planning guidelines, staff training in issues and methods, assigning responsibility for relevant task, giving appropriate authority to those responsible and establishing monitoring and reporting procedures. Part also of organizational designed advocacy is to lobby government and to coordinate with community to ensure that DMPT is a national and local priority with strong institutional basis for implementation. This is the rationale behind the better cooperation between the Prelatures SAC and the localities Municipal Disaster Coordinating Councils (MDCCs) where the SAC regularly sits as a regular member.

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As the Prelature of Infanta becomes disaster readiness model chosen by ICRS and NASSAJP

pilot seminar- workshop for Disaster Management Training (DMPT) conducted in the towns of Real-Infanta-Gen. Quezon Nakar (RIN area) was successfully held and participated-in by 53 Social Action Center (SAC) staff and volunteers. The initial launching of the Prelature of Infantas SAC exercise to effectively respond to any kind of natural and man-made disasters were supported by the Christian Aid of London, an international humanitarian aid mission and developing agency with expertise in handling disaster related issues. The SAC was the premier recipient and principal organization to undergo the two-day relevant training in order to appreciate the values and practical uses of disaster management preparedness should unexpected events strike in vulnerable places like the calamity- prone coastal communities of the Prelature. The immediate goal identified by the proponent Christian Aid was to capacity build the SAC staff and volunteers and to enhance their

skills for efficient echo-seminar tasking to widen the scope of the program beneficiaries down to the grassroots level of the Munting Sambayanang Kristiyano (MSK)/ or the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) members. M e a n while, the recently concluded EmerChampioning the cause of Disaster Preparation and Prevention is the gency Preparedness core of SAC-Prelature Program. and Response Workshop attended by intervention primarily coordinated by nationwide members of PrelaSAC staff and volunteers was a local ture/Diocesan Social Action Centers model for humanitarian aid causes and jointly sponsored by Internawhen said organization had been able tional Catholic Relief Services (ICRS) to formulate and to implement the and NASSAJP unanimously picked the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Prelature of Infantas success story on Development Program with its 11 humanitarian intervention to the cricomponent projects spearheaded sis brought by November 29, 2004 mostly by MSK or BEC members. tragedy. During the course forum, it The local Catholic Church was found out that the Prelature of Infanta was one of the three PhilipSharing the pains pine Dioceses with prepared guideand gains of SAC lines and mechanisms to counteract experiences at the height disasters that may occur in their of Relief respective area. The freshness of Operations experience gained from the killer until the present flashfloods in RIN Quezon and Dinimplementation of Rehabilitation galan, Aurora has become the basis to and Development treat the Prelatures case as the standProgram has ing tall among the three for disaster borne fruit after ICRS-NASSAJP management and preparedness. selected the In anticipating the future Pelature of Infanta calamities in the entire towns of the as a DMP Prelature, the Social Action Center model. (SAC) is hopeful to find kind donors who are willing to support its DMPT project sessions in the high-risk places within the territory.

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he Parish of St. Anne & St. Joachim in Gen. Nakar, Quezon brilliantly hosted the first comprehensive seminar on geo-hazard study of the destroyed territory in RIN Quezon. With the ultimate goal of expanding the knowledge to understand the implications, causes and effects and practical solutions to the danger of nature-made disaster, the Parish sponsor through the Social Action Office has enabled to educate mostly uninformed residents especially living in the coastal and mountainous villages of RIN area. Experts and scientists from University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Science (UPNIGS) and Philippines Institute of Volcanic & Seismology (Philvolcs) were invited speakers that clearly had

clearly explained the vulnerable and highly-risk places in the territory. The Geo-Hazard Study was considered to be a well-researched document and scientific conclusions about the physical conditions and natural phenomenon of our earth with specific focus on the calamity ravaged portion of Sierra Madre mountain range. It succinctly answered the whys and hows of flashfloods, mountain soil erosion, mudflows, uprooting of trees, overflowing of rivers, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to occur in the Prelature of Infanta that greatly affected the human

lives and properties of hundred thousand victims. It also presented the prior and post-calamity stages of RIN area which gave enlightenment among the 176 participants who were fortunate to attend and tasked to share the information they gained from the seminar.


earning from the bitter experiences of the past disaster, the Social Action Center (SAC) now is readying its organization to adopt pre-cautionary measures to any eventuality should weather disturbances pose threats to life and properties in the RIN area.

Flood-mechanical gauge along Agos River serves Green Alert Program especially in monitoring the inundation during critical hours.

The months of September to March are typically critical season to the 17 coastal and islands municipalities of the Prelature of Infanta owing to its geographical location in the eastern hemisphere of Pacific Ocean. Unpredictable climate and inclement weather conditions precipitated by sudden gustiness of heavy rains and strong winds and even the formation of tropical storms and typhoons, are regular occurrences which scientists partly-blamed on environmental destructions and climate-change in the area. Part of SAC well the SAC Disaster Mitigation level of water

and Preparedness (DMP) program is working closely with the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council (MDCC) to ensure the safety and security of residents living in the vulnerable and high-risk places when unfavorable weather conditions visit said places. The SAC staff and volunteers have decided to establish the Communication and Coordination Desk to effectively attend to all plans of action related to this initiative. Hence, the 24-hours round the clock watch on weather and environmental status will serve as the standard operating procedure in case MDCC declares a code warning signal relative to possible hazards at a given time. Dubbed as SAC 24-hours Green Alert, this is a first-of-a-kind project supported by the local Catholic Church in the territory.

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Stimulating peoples participation towards a meaningful social change.
For decades, the Social Action Center of the Prelature of Infanta is known as the mouthpiece of the needy, the oppressed and the victims of injustice in this side of the country. The SAC, then and now, is a paragon of moderate voice to bring effective and meaningful alteration to the faade of modern society plagued by inequities.

S THE SOCIO-POLITICAL and economic landscapes of the Philippines conveniently changes the conditions of the people, the SAC is consistently showing its tilting to the rights of the poor and disadvantaged sectors of local community. Its advocacy mission is parochial in scope but its vision encompasses the entire Philippine Christian constituents who are continuously reeling from man-made woes. The present SAC is at the forefront of campaign to eradicate the vicious cycle of social injustices brought by apathy, corruption and ineptness among powersthat-be which has resulted to massive discontent and further fueling peoples misery and environmental destruction and ecological imbalance. In realizing the dream of the Church of the Poor to live in a just and humane society, the Social Action Center is keying in all activities that can arouse people to be participative and pro-active in every aspect of social programs espoused by the Prelature. Priority to SAC initiative is the crusade to protect the remaining forests in Sierra Madre Mountain and all natural

resources found in 300 kilometers coastal sanctuary that stretches from Quezon and Aurora provinces, its ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Issues such as rampant legal and illegal logging, destruction of endangered species habitat and persistent deprivation of ordinary peoples like farmers, fisher folks, marginalized workers and indigenous tribes are notable advocacies spearheaded by the local Churchs group advocates like Task Force Sierra Madre, Community Organization of the Philippines Enterprise Foundation, Inc. (COPE), Tribal Center for Development (TCD) and other allied peoples organizations under the direction and patronage of Social Action Center. The SAC under supervision of Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, implements to the full of its letter and spirit the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. The coming year 2006, the special courses will be offered in order that all SAC staff members and beneficiaries will be well-honed in the guidelines of the Church in the societal struggle.

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hen armed clashes erupted last June 2005 in the Agta tribal settlements, homes to Indigenous People of the Prelature of Infanta, and involving government military forces and local rebels comprising the communists New Peoples Army (NPA), the rehabilitation process was the unwilling casualty that gave an ugly face to the initiatives of Social Action Center (SAC) and other humanitarian agencies in the RIN municipalities. The unfortunate incident happened in the coastal and mountainous villages in Sierra Madre Mountain range within the town of Gen. Nakar, Quezon, reputed to be the sanctuary of Philippines Negro aborigines since time immemorial that overlooked the vast Pacific Ocean. The places of armed encounters were designated resettlement sites for the cultural minorities victimized by typhoon-induced flashfloods located in Barangays Sablang & Maligaya that housed the Provisional Shelter Project of the Social Action Center (SAC), Tribal

Center for Development (TCD) and their partner agencies. There was no official report of casualties from both sides but damages to the structures of the newly-built shelters could be seen such as the bullet-riddled roofs, felled-wooden posts and beyondrepair plywood walls; dilapidated & missing kitchen utensils and confiscated farm-tools like the donated bolo, machetes and others. The less than a hundred temporary homes of Agta IPs had become a battleground that fateful days owing to the military allegation that the place was said to be a transit area used mostly by unidentified armed groups. However, the sites were just cleared only few weeks after the encounter due to SAC and TCDs humanitarian intervention to alleviate the psycho-social plight of the most affected victims of natural catastrophe. According to Ramcy Astoveza, the highest Agta leader and deputy coordinator of TCD and who formed the fact-finding mission right

after the encounters, such act of violence in their ancestral domain was witnessed mostly by vulnerable members of community. He lamented that time and again the tribal communities were always at the losing end of the war perpetrated by Tagalog-speaking lowlanders or non-IPs that constituted desecration of their land and cultures as human pioneers of the area. He added that the tragic conflict was a major violation of the rules of engagement because the Agtas were, are and will always be peace-loving civilians deserving not to be exposed to dangerous warfare in the area. This kind of man-made catastrophe endangers the already traumatized Agta people, especially the innocent young, old and women members, who are still suffering from the hardships of calamity. It is further pushing our people to the brink of helplessness and probable extinction in the near future!, declared Astoveza.


he Bishop-Prelate of Infanta, Most Reverend Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, leads the formal welcoming and the blessing of newly-installed of Sangguniang Tagapagkasundo ng Real, Infanta and Gen. Nakar, Quezon (STAR REINA), a multi-sectoral Local Peace and Order Councils initiated by Mediators Network for Sustainable Peace (MedNet) and the Social Action Center (SAC). The successful inauguration was symbolically held inside the Cathedral of Holy Infant Jesus and St. Mark attended by local peace advocates in RIN Quezon. In his inspiring homily during the Holy Mass, Bishop Tria Tirona expressed felicitation on the milestone achievement of those people who dream for the longlasting resolution to community-

based conflicts. He commended also the active participation of group stakeholders for their commitment, ability and concerted efforts to work for peace in their respective locality. STAR REINA was formed to help in coordinating most conflicts that occur in the local levels such as disputes normally happening in the barangay and municipal units where disagreement among stakeholders was unavoidable and common. The fundamental task of RINs new peacemakers would be mandated to assist the concerned government officials to find doable resolution of conflicting claims and issues through timely mediation. It would aim also to expand and to harness the educational knowledge of conflict-resolution

management among local leaders, socio-civic groups and NGOs working in the RIN area. In expressing the collective vision of the Church to support any undertakings for the harmonious co-existence among peace-loving people, the SAC professed to actively participate in all conciliation and mediation processes espoused by STAR REINA council.

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Prayer Rally commemorating World Environment Day was spearheaded by the Social Action Center (SAC) and newly- formed Task Force Sierra Madre (TFSM) in Infanta, Quezon with the commemoration theme KATARUNGAN para sa mga BIKTIMA ng KALAMIDAD! (Justice for All the Victims of Calamity!) The annual event for environmental consciousness and ecological awareness was taken as a sign of time for all living humans in the RIN Quezon to get involved and be heard to avoid the tragedy of destructive flashfloods experienced by the people of Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar and Dingalan, Aurora. This unfortunate event had brought psychological traumas and socio-economic hardships to the affected inhabitants in the area and truly one that was hard to forget by the present generation. The 2004 typhoon-induced flashfloods and mudslides were caused by the eroding soils, overflowing of river tributaries, uprooting of trees and denudation of Sierra Madre mountain range. The World Environment Day had participants and activists

from various non-government organizations (NGOs), Church-based institutions and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) locally known as the Agtas. They were given special attention and citation by the Prelatures hierarchy due to their vulnerability as the remaining cultural minorities who preferred to live since time immemorial in the said mountain. The celebration started with a meaningful and solemn Prayer Rally to remember those who perished in the natures tragedy. It was followed by the protest-march that commenced in Brgy. Common and ended at the Infanta Central School where the marchers displayed placards and streamers with catchy slogans seeking justice for all the victims of the disaster. The Task Force Sierra Madre gave a strongly-worded message for the immediate dispensation of justice to the aggrieved families while highly-tensed and emotionallycharged survivors gave testimonies and appealed for delicadeza among DENR officials to acknowledge their failures and to answer for their apathy and negligence that resulted to the thousands deaths and a gargan-

tuan loss of properties in the RIN area. The culmination of peaceful Prayer Rally was the Mass concelebrated by Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD and the priests in the affected area. In his homily, he condemned unconditionally the rampant abuses committed against the once pristine and verdant mountains of the Prelature of Infanta. The Prelate-Bishop of Infanta exhorted his flocks to be pro-active in all Church endeavors to protect the environment especially the entire Sierra Madre mountain range and its remaining national natural resources for the present and coming generations. Vigilance in preserving our dying forests is an urgent mission to pacify the souls of our departed brothers and sisters brought by unprecedented calamity. By committing ourselves to care for our dying forests will gradually serve justice for all the victims of 2004 catastrophe, said Bishop Tirona, in response to what ordinary people can do to calm the source of those who died in the tragedy.


n light of the destruction wrought by November 2004 catastrophe, the Prelature of Infantas leadership directs the Social Action Center to support the Church-based groups and peoples organizations (POs) that are partners of Community Organization of the Philippines Enterprise Foundation (COPE). COPE is a vision-mission partner of the Prelature that tasks to coordinate all development activities for the upliftment of socio-economic well-being of depressed communities. As partner of various POs in the RIN

area, COPE is making a big boost to help SAC in attaining their common goal and commitment to integrate Prelature programs based on the Social Doctrine of the Church. According to Ms. Alma Avellano, a long-time Center Coordinator of COPE, the timely intervention of the Prelature leadership to the family-victims of their active POs is truly helpful to hundred dependents of mostly marginalized sectors in RIN communities. Among the first batch of beneficiaries include fisher folks, farmers, small enterpreneurs and

working mothers or head of the family of the following POs: Infanta cluster SIPAKAT, BIHADA, IVVA & BUKLOD-INA; Real cluster PUERSA, BURQNAI, SAMANGCA, BARAKUDA & PANDAN and; Gen. Nakar cluster SIMANA INC. & PAMANA. She adds that these COPEpartner POs have received new motorized fishing boats, paddled boats, fishing gears and implements, farmlivelihood support like livestock and modest capital to start family-based business.

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Unabated rape of forests in the once-pristine Sierra Madre mountain conspired by several corrupt officials and vested-interest businessmen is back again in the calamity ravaged Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar,Quezon. This is the finding of Task Force Sierra Madre (TFSM), a coalition of Peoples Organization and NonGovernment Organizations that is seeking justice for the environmental mayhem of Nov. 29, 2004 resulting to the killing of thousand of innocent lives and destroying billion pesos worth of properties. To date, no one yet is prosecuted or has been punished as the culprits are still enjoying their wealth and luxury of life still courtesy of their powerful protectors from the high and the mighty echelons of government. But the last straw that turned the ire of three (3) communities in the Prelature is the concerted efforts by syndicates to continue all forms of loggings under the cloth of government issued permits. The uphill battle has begun with TFSM consultation and constant dialogue to the affected people and groups highlighted by voluntary signing of petition paper addressed directly to the President of the Republic. The petition turns-out to be a raging fire that enflame the emotions and consciousness of thousand victims of Sierra Madres denudation culminating in the flashfloods of 2004. From 7 years-old elementary Grade 1 pupils who barely write their names and signatures to the petition, to a group of 70 and above senior citizens who testify that the past deluge is unprecedented in the area, are willingly signing their names on the document. The signature campaign draws initially more than 7,000 concerned residents in just a few weeks after its launching in last week of November. Among the urgent demands to the President Arroyo by TFSM are the cancellation now of much-abused Resources Use Permits (RUPs) issued to influential and moneyed personalities by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), a principal government body that regulates the operations of loggings in the country. The DENR ploy is to allow RU Permittees to commit cutting of trees indiscriminately without the burden of criminal act contrary to DENRs duty of protecting the countrys fragile environment TFSM also asks the Philippine Chief Executive to purge the environmental officials and elected politicians who coddle the activities of loggers and for their laxity and security lapses by allowing the transport of logs and other forest products regulated by laws. They also seek the timely intervention of GMA to help the sad fate of exploited workers in logging business which being used as front to destroy the remaining trees in the forest.

Join the petition and write the President!


SOCIAL ACTION CENTER Prelature of Infanta

Bahay Pag-asa Compound, Mabini St. Infanta, Quezon Philippines 4336
(Translated from original Tagalog/Filipino language. More than 20,000 signatures were affixed in the petition and sent to the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.)

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The planting of a deep faith in God and the believe that things happen according to the Divine Plan help the people to realize their innate capacity to overcome tragedies in the midst of uncertainties.

NHANCING THE SPIRITUAL consciousness and the instilling of Christian virtues in the everyday life of the people particularly the calamity victims is essential for the effective implementation of rehabilitation and development projects of the Social Action Center and its partner agencies. The inculcation of faith to the Almighty is not merely peripheral to all activities relative to the success of the program but most crucial for the total recovery process of the beneficiaries and their families. The planting of a deep faith in God and the believe that things happen according to the Divine Plan help the people to realize their innate capacity to overcome tragedies in the midst of uncertainties. This is central to the module of spiritual stewardship espoused by SAC. Hopelessness in the face of disaster, particularly in the hearts of the poor and downtrodden, was visible after the catastrophe as they were gasping to find solace and answers to the sufferings brought by the natural and man-made calamity.

The Roman Catholic Church as the leading voice to inspire dejected inhabitants to the path of healing their destroyed livelihood and devastated communities has entrusted to the SAC the task of incorporating into the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Development Program this noble endeavor. Likewise the value formation as an integral part to all component projects prior to the release of assistance is a productive tool to let the calamity victims become responsible for the attainment of projects goal. It also aims in enticing the beneficiaries to exercise utmost cooperation with fellow recipients and concerned partner agency for the smooth administration of the project. These twin activities have ennobled the sagging spirits of disaster victims to persevere more in realizing their swift recovery from the trauma of last year disaster. It may be recalled that among the Relief, Rehabilitation and Development agencies in the RIN area, the Social Action Center has the only explicit program for value and spiritual formation for the affected victims.

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Re-strengthening the psycho-social and spiritual needs of the victims after the tragedy.
Sensing the need to restore faith, confidence and courage of the worst affected inhabitants especially those who lost their loved ones and destroyed their valued properties, the Social Action Center took the initiative in exigency to expedite the wounded being of the victims.

HE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS ever-occurred in the history of the Prelature of Infanta that happened on November 29, 2004 was entwined by serious physical and emotional disturbance for the poor victims in Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar, Quezon and Dingalan, Aurora. The thousand families belonging to the Church of the Poor were entirely devastated economically, socially and spiritually. Sadly, the typhoon-induced flashfloods that battered the very soul of old and young-alike in the Dingalan and RIN area was potent enough to destroy the remaining hope, enthusiasm and strength of the traumatized victims. Sensing the need to restore faith, confidence and courage of the worst affected inhabitants especially those who lost their loved ones and destroyed their valued properties, the Social Action Center took the initiative in exigency to expedite the wounded being of the victims. The pouring of humanitarian support channeled through the Prelature had inspired the SAC to motivate Church volunteers in moving forward by

paving the way for the establishment of significantly service-oriented Stress Debriefing Procedures notably for psychologically-weakened victims. This process called Community CISD has been thoroughly effective to instill body-mind-spirit nurturance among victimparticipants that hardly coping post-disaster life. Through the local Church timely intervention and proper coordination with the experts from GZO Peace Institute and collaborating with the Mediators Network for Sustainable Peace (MedNet), the Social Action Center is graciously instrumental for the efficient expansion of psycho-social debriefing in the devastated territory. This kind of community healing has provided a venue to bring rays of hope and dreams beyond the pain of the disaster enabling the people to express and to reframe the meaning of natural catastrophe in their lives. This experience has made the victims themselves to create a collective spirit of healing, support and care towards one another thereby overcoming the fears and helplessness after the calamity.

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he successful partnership of the Social Action Center (SAC) and the Mediators Network for Sustainable Peace, Inc (Mednet) in the devastated towns of Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar (RIN), Quezon has brought positive development and relative prosperity in the area. Over the years, Mednet has evolved as a practitioner group specializing in community disputes --term that refers to those that typically involve multiple stakeholders in rural and urban communities where conflicts occur, with regard to the following issues: agrarian, environment and natural resource, organizational, housing and local governance conflicts. And among the major partners of Mednet is the Social Action Center of the Prelature of Infanta. In response to the need for a comprehensive solution to disputes, Mednet has also begun resolving intrapersonal conflicts on crisis management and critical incident stress debriefing interventions in the disaster communities of RIN. It recognizes that stakeholders involved in many community conflicts will not be able to even begin confronting conflicts constructively if their own internal

conflicts resulting from trauma and crises remain unresolved. To this end, in partnership with the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute and the Ateneo Psychology Department have pooled together volunteer psychologists, counselors, social workers and other professionals who provide psychological debriefings to trauma and crisis victims in areas where community conflicts are being managed. The MedNets special program with SAC has validated its competence and role in the area of community mediation through a survey it conducted to determine how previously trained mediators appreciated the principles and merits of Empowering Dispute Resolution/Management Processes (EDMRP) in their practice. Results showed that the practices of MedNettrained mediators were in the area of community mediation that involved multiparty disputes concerning issues of governance, public policies, and conflict among basic sectors. In the first World Bank Development Innovation

Marketplace competition dubbed Panibagong Paraan last January 2004, MedNets entry Building Capacities of Church-based and Community-based Mediators through Mentoring and Documentation of Cases in Infanta, Quezon, was one of the awardees. The project won based on the following criteria: innovativeness, replicability, sustainability, partnership building and costeffectiveness. The project through the help of Philippine Australian Community Assistance Program (PACAP), successfully resolved the intermunicipality transportation route conflict in the towns of Infanta and Gen. Nakar. A municipal alternative dispute resolution mechanism called Samahang Tagapagkasundo ng Real-Infanta-Nakar (STAR Reina) was also established. It gained the support of the local government units (LGUs) of the towns of Infanta and Gen. Nakar for its contribution in resolving local governance conflict.

(With an excerpt report from The Mediator)

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The Catholic Church members from Tagalog regions of Prelature of Infanta have built the so-called Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK) or Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC). The main role is fostering camaraderie and good relationship among neighbors and a life of faith to muster support in actively participating to all pastoral activities supervised by respective parish, according to St. Pauls epistle: See how they love each other.

eanwhile, the Agtas or Katutubo who exist since time immemorial in the mountainous and coastal areas of Quezon and Aurora Province have also formed their own Basic Indigenous Community, or MPK consists of 10-12 families. They live communally by planting vegetables, fishing and raising domesticated animals with strong belief, deep value and extreme love for nature and their immediate environs. In doing so, their simple activities are guided by the morals from Makidepet, the Almighty God whom they believe in as the guide to holiness worthy of respect and be served. Initiated by Fr. Pete Montallana, OFM, current director of Tribal Center for Development (TCD), the MPK is formed and mainly supported by concerned NGOs and funding

agencies that protect the rights and welfare of the cultural minorities. Because of this kind of humanitarian concern, the importance of cooperation and unity is inculcated and must be practiced by the katutubo in building their own community with vigorous emphasis to preserve their

unique tradition and cultures. As a Church -based institution, the TCD with its great love for the indigenous people has created programs on how to provide the Agtas with better education, thorough knowledge and skills for everyday survival and a normal standard of living. To fulfill these objectives, each MPK has established its Community Formator Organizer (CFO) who would immerse in the area, would coordinate with the chieftain and would collaborate to other groups who have projects in the area. Every week they conduct sharing on the development of their community or if there would be problems and issues to be resolved, they themselves have taken initiative to find solutions of the conflicts encountered by the community. There is the facilitator of learning for the katutubo. He/she has to teach them with proper reading and writing, facilitating knowledge from the experiences of students and teachers in order to achieve the liberating education for the Agtas. The facilitator should appreciate and acquire cultures of the tribe for better relationship and mutual trust among the Katutubo.. Cultural immersion includes minimizing the Tagalog culture; understanding their life and family,

and be to them at all costs. Most of facilitators and formators accept the one way of expressing their unity and their ways of life by chewing a concoction of betel nut, ikmo leaf and tobacco leaf, a native culture during leisure time and after meal. Understandably, this is their way of communicating to gain the trust of a friend. From 48 Agta communities, 67 MPKs are already accredited and supported by the TCD: 41 MPKs are located in North Quezon while 26 MPKs are to be found in Aurora Province.

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October is an important month for the cultural minorities in the Philippines. For a country with significant number of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) where the majority of these are still living in the hinterlands, the government has crafted laws to recognize their plight but cannot enforce to the full because of vested interests from those who want to exploit rich and natural resources abundantly available in ancestral domains. These devastating invasions do not only destroy the land but also the indigenous communities. For this reason, the leadership of Prelature of Infanta is always at the forefront to campaign for better treatment full of dignity to the Agtas in the territory. The yearly gathering of the Agta people during tribal week celebration is mainly sponsored by the Tribal Center for Development (TCD), a vision-mission partner of the Prelature. The latest Tribal Week was attended by hundred Agta families coming from far-flung tribal settlements and inaccessible to road villages of Sierra Madre mountain range, needing days of traversing by foot during rainy or wet season. The Bishop and allied church organizations that support Agta IPs show their commitment and respect in solidarity speech at the height of subtle, solemn and meaningful program held at Infanta town plaza.

TCD, a Prelature key office to deal with the Agta community in the territory is instrumental for the success of commemorating the event of Nov. 29 2004 in the life of RIN cultural minorities. Emotionally-charged dramatization of killer flashfloods that wrought-havoc to the Agta people and their environment has moved several participants to cry and subsequently expressed sympathy to their legitimate causes of: stop the destruction of their ancestral homes, culture and all means of survival that can be found in their immediate environment.


Who would have thought that a fresh-water and man-made fishpond in the middle of Sierra Madre mountain could be built by our brother Indigenous Peoples in a span of week? This first-of-a-kind rehabilitation effort extended by the Social Action Center (SAC) and trusted partner, Christian Aid of London, in coordination with IPs Apostolate of the Prelature of Infanta, Tribal Center for Development (TCD), to the Agta tribes Munting Pamayanang Katutubo/ Basic Indigenous Peoples Community (MPK/BIPC) was aimed to alleviate the socio-economic sufferings of the most disadvantaged sector in the Church of the Poor. The nine (9) pilot and manually-labored aqua-farms could be found in different tribal sites committed to MPK/BIPCs program in the coastal villages of Barangay Canaway, Gen. Nakar, Quezon. Each pond had an average area of 15 X 15 square meters, enough size to accommodate hundreds of tilapia fry for four (4) months of cultivation. Initially, there were 14,000 fish fries distributed in the sitios of Masanga, Ulalikan and Kabana-banaan and would be ready to harvest this month of July or August. Recently, this innovative rehabilitation project initiated by SAC and its partner agencies bestows the honor as the model livelihood development program of the Prelature of Infanta.

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Through the tireless efforts of Social Action Center (SAC) Coordinator Deacon Mario van Loon, act, another major rehabilitation project of the Prelature of Infanta is in the offing and will dominate previous reconstruction initiatives in the RIN area if God wills to happen. Soliciting the technical expertise of Netherlands-based Civiel Ingenieurs Group, Deacon Mario who is naturally-born Dutch citizen, but has spent most of his life in the service of the Church of the Poor in the Philippines, was able to find the experts who have determined the possibilities of constructing flood-control structure within the dangerous zone of Agos River in RIN Quezon. The Dutch engineers are respected internationally due to their contributions in infrastructural innovations in the field of river canal and dike buildings. Their experience has been harnessed by their countrys geo-physical disadvantage of vast lands existing below the sea level that are always at risk for floods. After receiving the initial data and disaster-related reports from Deacon Mario, the Dutch-based experts headed by Dr. Sander Vos and his team of seven (7) engineers offer for free their professional services out of humanitarian reason and Christian compassion for the victims and people in the Prelature. According to Dr. Vos latest communication, the team of experts was able to evaluate the pertinent documents and made an in-depth assessment for the proposed project. It will be followed soon by specific recommendations by the group so that feasible plans of action may be considered by concerned parties like the SAC-Prelature, prospective project benefactors and other rehabilitation agencies. Said local Church-proposed initiative will be a milestone project and may be called Mother of all rehabilitation and development programs in the calamity-stricken territory because of its future impact for the long-term progress and security of the people.


Preaching the Gospel of good news to all mankind was the ultimate commandment and the final golden rule our Lord Jesus entrusted to His disciples --- the first group of Christian believers tasked to spread the tenets of One-Loving God. This tradition went on to linger from the epochs of Church Founding Fathers to the era of martyred Catholic saints until the rise of million contemporary faithfuls. Throughout the period of civilizations upheaval, tranquility and diaspora, this mission remained unaltered to bring light and salvation to the people of God. Using the above as a metaphor, the Prelature of Infanta from its fledgling years until the cementing of institutional pillars has never faded the enthusiasm and, will never fail to fulfill its duties to the Church of the Poor comprising the needy, the afflicted, the downtrodden and the victims of injustice. Becoming the mouthpiece of the Mother Church is incumbent upon the Prelatures hierarchy to provide effective medium for inspiration to everyone. Hence, after the November 2004 disaster when humanitarian intervention was flooding the Prelatures Social Action Center (SAC), Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD and Deacon Mario Van Loon, act, agreed that there must be a tangible way to acknowledge the generosity of thousand faceless individuals and hundred charitable institutions who were instrumental for the gradual recovery of the victims and their ravaged communities. They decided to publish the SAC Newsletter to carry out the good news of rebuilding the shattered lives and the devastated environment of the affected RIN area. The newsletter maiden copies were widely circulated in March 2005 and easily gained acceptance among all stakeholders and benefactors of the Prelatures relief, rehabilitation and development projects. Written in vernacular language in Tagalog (Filipino), the quarterly edition of newsletters 2,000 copies would be expecting to pursue its evangelization as long as the SAC Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Development Program (CRDP) continues to serve the calamity victimfamilies in the Prelature.

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A Christian Appeal, A Call to Action

A Christian is recognized by his Hope that makes him/her look always with confidence to the future, her/his unwavering Love, especially for the poor, and his/her unfailing Faith that God takes possession of the life-process of those who surrender their life to Him. With this conviction the Prelature of Infanta faces the challenges of the new year. The Social Action Center based on its very positive evaluation of the year 2005 and has strong confidence that the year 2006 will be successful.

The challenges can be categorized into three blocks: 1). The Rehabilitation Work started in 2005 should be brought to a successful end.
The shelter program has to be finished as soon as possible; close to 20% or 800 hundred families are still awaiting our resolve. 8 million pesos would be needed. We must continue the search for funds. However, when the Permanent Housing project in Agos-Agos will be finished, it would reduce the outstanding shelters by 400. Let us pray that kind-hearted souls continue to pour in to support this humanitarian project. The agricultural sector is our biggest challenge. Around 700 hectares of mud-covered rice fields have still to be converted to useful, cultivatable and productive land. We are enormously encouraged by the commitment of PCARRD, UP-LB and Christian Aid to support us in sustaining our efforts. We have made project proposals for European funding agencies in order to get the necessary funds. In first assessment an amount of 4.5 million pesos would be necessary as a minimal cost to pursue the project. The fishery sector has been served in many barrios, however, some are still waiting for our intervention. About 50 bangkas (motorized and paddled boats) and corresponding fishing gears have to be financed. Thats another 5 million pesos. Who will help us?

Our livestock and poultry project has taken off well even at a small-scale level. We need much more to resuscitate and to expand more on this level. One big leap forward will be the establishment of a breeding facility for piglets in the Model Farm next to MCHS Nakar. We should never give up on our unique Herbaboy initiative. Poultry birds are a very important nutritious food supplement for our people. When the danger of the bird flu has passed we should go all out again in this program. The Model Farm in Nakar can help develop new initiatives like goats and other domesticated animals.

The Microfinance scheme was new to us but proved a tremendous success. We need to organize it in a separated entity for financial transparency and sustainability. We will need more funds to enlarge the scope of this income-generating activity that is very beneficial for the enterprising poor. Another 4 million pesos would be a great help in order that this dream comes true! Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness has to be helped high on the agenda. The past season has spared us from the big and destructive typhoons. The worst thing would be to let our guard down. More than ever we have to educate and organize in order to not being caught again by surprise. Indeed Be Prepared. Educational grants will be crucial for the future of many families. The fact that they do not apply to schools does not mean that they have no interest. It only means they have no resources to send their children to school.

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Our goal is to broaden our scholarship grants from 15 to 30 students. For this we would need 300,000 pesos more (above the 300,000 that we have set aside for those already enrolled in our program).
Now that the intensity of the crisis has mellowed down we should take out more time for value and spiritual formation, not only for the beneficiaries of our programs but also for ourselves. The Social Doctrine of the Church should have highest priority in 2006. This will also help our advocacy. More than one year after the disaster it would be very beneficial for many victims to undergo a follow up stress debriefing session. Daily life continues with its usual pace, however, it easily covers up the wounds of psycho-social trauma. Let us call in again our partners and encourage them to conduct their session with the victims.

2). The initiatives taken towards sustainable development have to be strengthened:

Potable Water Systems have to be established in many barrios and schools. We made a very small step in that direction but much is still needed. The Prelature is leading the way in some public schools and barrios and also constructs public toilets. We hope to find benevolent partners and the likes of ABS-CBN Foundation to continue this priority development.
We should never give up on our commitment to sustainable agriculture. We are certain that PCARRD and UPLB will never allow us to take the easier road of commercially fabricated fertilizers and pesticides. What is needed to sustain our resolve is in the first place the right spirituality! On the aqua-cultural level we should not give up on our initial enthusiasm for sea-weed culture. Once the coastal waters have been cleared up by the mud, a serious attempt should be made to establish this lucrative production along the coast of Nakar, Infanta and certain parts of Real. As stated already, the Microfinance is a very promising field especially for the poor entrepreneurs who contribute productively to family and local economy. We commit ourselves to build a system that will embrace not only the flood stricken areas but the whole of the Prelature.

3). Internal organization development:

We need to strengthen the knowledge, skills and spiritual strength of the Social Action workers in our Social Action Center and the Parish offices. Proper attention to Triple Communication and days of Reflection and Recollection preferably given by Bishop himself. The Social Teachings are a special target area for 2006
We have to broaden the reach of the SAC to the parishes of PULO vicariate. This will demand time and resolve. SO make time and be committed to this important development. Vital to the SAC of Infanta is the link with the Social Action Director Fr. Israel Gabriel in Maria Aurora, Aurora Province. This relation needs continuous nurturing and mutual help.

Above all we should never forget that the houses and programs we build should stand up on the tough pillars and firm ground -- on rock that Jesus Christ the carpenter son brought light to the world-- especially to the poor by his life-example. He did not only say but rather he did dare do it!

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Kumusta na po kayo? Sana sa kabila ng mga pagsubok na nangyayari sa ating kasalukuyang lipunan ay nasa mabuti kayong kalagayan. Sapagkat hangad pa rin namin ang inyong katiwasayan at kasiyahan sa buhay.
We pray this unsolicited letter of appeal will rekindle once again your belief on the capability of Prelature of Infantas inhabitants all over the world to discern human compassion, to appreciate communitys solidarity and to understand the magnanimous piety for the victims of last year natural calamity. Without sounding apologetic on our intention to transgress with your personal conviction, we conceive this personal communication to simply share with you the events that continue to unfold in our grown-up community. Reminiscing the cherished memories of our younger years and imagining the best of our formative and youthful existence here are still persistent to linger on in our senses, most notably, when we collectively hear the word Infanta. Infant--- young, full of innocence and splendor, source to hope and future! In retrospect, let us travel back to the road of nostalgia of not too distant past when Infanta takes the greatest peak in our horizons. This place as we know (it) is more home to our pride because this place has since been witnessed to the confirmation of our place in this world. Its past and present surroundings continue to web the first fragile steps to attain our dreams. We imagined then that this charming and evolving birthplace of ours could be fairly enough to fill the void of our longings and aspirations to reshape our whimsical universe to the point of challenging our fate to no return! This century-old cluster of communities has filled the initial tears of joy among our ancestors as this is turned over to us due to its belief that the smallness of Infanta could easily be conquered by our childish dreams. This place is the first nest to discover our futures destiny by accepting the inevitable advent of invading western culture vis a vis our aspirations to co-exist in ideal society. In here, we have risen to satisfy our curiosity to knowledge as we have gracefully accepted the vanity of defeat. Indeed, its been a year after our beloved town experienced the tragic disaster that brought emotional bitterness, psycho-social trauma and economic uncertainty to our known friends and family, nay, most especially to the affected poorest of the poor kababayans in the devastated area of Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar and Dingalan (RIND). The sudden transformation of once upon a simple and pristine community has shocked us all and even remained us in suspension of disbelief as we helplessly watched in modern media the dilapidated images of our people and places the event of November 29, 2005 and onwards. The silhouette of its destruction captured by our real-life imaginations has continued to hound our sensibilities. Though the pains still remain on our brothers and sisters who suffered most, life has to move on as they say to reconstruct the community we learn to respect, we instill to care and we live to love. And, yes, its true, the aesthetic touch of Infanta has just lost its attraction and innate charm because of ruins. Pessimists say that our exquisite hometown which is ecologically disarray is irreversibly incurable. But we believe otherwise! Thanks to the generosity of outside donors and faceless benefactors, the RIND towns are now gradually crawling from the debris of catastrophic calamities. The mortal wound is slowly healing but still needs some doses of relief to declare it as safe from the danger of non-existence. We have reason now to believe that our community will survive! Thus it can be told that the beauty of Prelature of Infanta rests upon the shoulders of those who have inculcated its past, of those who is nurturing its present and of those who shall be willing to save the future of its people. Infanta and the nearby towns of Real and Gen. Nakar and Dingalan are not beyond repair. We say this to you because weve been here since the onset of disastrous tragedy until this very moment of Infantas crucial healing and rehabilitation process. That is why and more than anything else: we remain in Infanta because we are fortified by the undying
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inspiration shown by afflicted residents. However ugly the landscape of this place and how hard it may be to cope the risks for their future, these children of the Church of the Poor are persistent that they CANNOT LEAVE THE PLACE. This courage to challenge the odds of desperation has lifted our souls that meaningful changes are ushering-in at the RIND area. Our contemporary outlooks in sacrificing personal interest, in preserving family values; in searching community yearnings to progress and; in finding spiritual road to holiness, are positive manifestations that we are one with the victims in their resolve to rebuild our ancestral town. The calamity that struck Infanta and its neighboring towns must absolutely not deter our desire to restore its century years of historic existence and humble beginning. Let the legacy of pioneers vivify and enliven as always in our minds, hearts and souls as we unite in resuscitating the social heritage customized in bayanihan spirit that have been passed from generation to generation. As sons and daughters of this precious territory, we are called upon to hear the plea of our fellows who still need our humanitarian care and wanting support for the sustainability of their simple life . They are the voiceless kababayans belonging to the living Churchs Munting Sambayanang Kristyano: marginalized sectors and wretched individuals who remain in fragile shelters and still lacking the opportunity to work despite their strong desire to strive in securing food for their families. Their pains are our pains, too, if we stay stolid and lukewarm to address their basic survival needs. We cannot achieve the success of Infantas rehabilitation should we continue to be passive to help their humanitarian interests. A call to participate for their urgent recovery is knocking before the door of your generosity. Because we must value life before death! We can only regain anew the pulchritude of damaged environment lest we extend our lending hands to the rescue of our unfortunate fellows. We do not merely dream that our birthplace be forever in our consciousness. We do believe truly that it lives immortally in our heart. Because the Prelature of Infanta it is our collective being. Because it cannot be isolated from our eternal soul. Because it is the mirror of ourselves!


I am _______________________________________________ . Born in ________________________________ and presently residing at ____________________________________________________________________ with contact number ______________________________________.

I do hereby pledge to sponsor/to donate ______________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________ for the Rehabilitation and Development

Program of the Prelature of Infanta and Social Action Center.

I acknowledge to send

it on ______________________________________________________ to immediately implement my preferred humanitarian and development projects for calamity victims.


(Check/Money Order be payable to Prelature of Infanta or Social Action Center)

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What They Say About SAC Intervention?

The past disaster had swept away our wooden house and lost my three (3) children because of rampaging flashfloods. Then SAC staff and nuns from the parish came to us and gave without delay our needs especially temporary shelter to stay on. For this charitable support, my family would be forever in debt with SAC Operation: Dugsong-Buhay for lessening our sufferings and hardships. FE MILANO Brgy. Anoling, Gen. Nakar, Quezon As a family of poor fishermen that destroyed everything during 2004 tragedy, the SAC and its partner agencies were heaven-sent to us. They immediately helped us to acquire our livelihood means particularly new fishing boat and implements such as nets, hooks, lines, etc. to sustain our only known occupation. Had it not been their timely intervention, we could not survive the ordeal and we might die hungry and deprived. LITO DE LORETO & FAMILY Brgy. Banglos, Gen. Nakar, Quezon

Our neighborhood was severely-hit by unprecedented disaster for the first time in history. Nearly all houses were damaged and the comfort room (CR) turned useless. After visited by SAC representatives, they swiftly assisted us as they distributed package materials for housing and CRs. They greatly saved our families from public health problems like the outbreak of diseases related to cleanliness and hygiene. May SAC tribes increase thousandfolds! MRS. NAIDA C. SOLLESTRE & NEIGHBORS Infanta, Quezon

We, the marginalized residents of worst-affected Barangay Ilog in Infanta, are deeply grateful to SAC for being the only humanitarian group who never ceased to assist us. From relief goods, temporary housing and CR materials, microfinance project, livestocks dispersal to agricultural seedlings, they never failed to provide us. Thank you for securing our familys food; thank you for sustaining our livelihood and, thank you for having God on your side! (CLUSTER ILOG FAMILIES OF ALFREDO BORREO, ELEANOR RIVERA, MARIA GAMARA, FLORO BORREO, HILARIO AVELLANEDA, FRANCISCO RESPLANDOR, MARTE ASTOVEZA, CONSUELO NOLASCO, CELY GIMENA, PRECY CRISOSTOMO, LITA REVELLAME, HONORATA PRUDENTE, DANTE ASTOVEZA, ARNEL IHAPON,FERNANDO SOLLANO & POLICARPIO CUERDO Barangay Ilog, Infanta, Quezon) The rehabilitation of Cawayan irrigation farm canal under the care and support of Fr. Osees Parish Social Action Office (PSAO) of Real, SAC-RIN and Christian Aid was a success story of typical-Filipino tradition of Bayanihan (cooperation & volunteerism) for the greater welfare of affected community. This model initiative for reconstruction of calamity-ravaged area was able to revive the 35-hectare farmlands of 59 farmer-families bringing to normal the supply of foods for the victims. LUCIO GURANGO Munting Sambayanang Kristyano (MSK) Brgy. Cawayan, Real, Quezon. Dear Deacon Mario, Thank you very much for the three (3) issues of SAC Newsletter sent to us. I shared them with Amanda and the rest of the Southeast Asia (SE) team of Christian Aid. Amanda wants to use the poems on her report. SAC and the RIN (Real-Infanta- Gen. Nakar) communities have a long way after the November 2004 disaster. It is more than a year now. The different programmes are impressive and, particularly, the microfinance and organic farming. They must be harvesting the first crop of the Masipag (variety) rice. It is amazing to see the resilience of the people, staff and everybody to nourish what is left and to move on. It is very inspiring for us here to see what you are doing. Im sure this is twinned with challenges. If Ill have a chance one day Id like to see you again, the staff and the work you been doing. Well done to everyone. My warm regards to the staff and the ACT sisters. TESS DICO-YOUNG Christian Aid - London

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The Social Action Center of the Prelature of Infanta has been able to carry out the tasks entrusted by the Mother Church in the aftermath of November 2004 disaster to rescue the wounded and afflicted; to serve the basic humanitarian needs of the poor constituents and; to evangelize the goodness and mercy of the Lord to the surviving victims. The SAC is an instrument to pursue the mission of the Prelature to give hope, love and care to the thousand victims. But without the compassion and generous support of charitable individuals and institutions, among them remained nameless and faceless, the SAC would not become a local household name for Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Program in Real-Infanta-Nakar (RIN) area. In retrospect, the SAC staff and volunteers takes pride to express our million thanks and to include in our sincere prayers the following:


ABS-CBN Foundations Alvarez Family (Pulilan, Bulacan) AMA AMRSP Archdiocese of Utrecht Associazone Immigrati Filipine (Italia) Assumption College (Makati City) Augustinian Recollect Sisters (Quiapo, Manila) AY Foundation (Makati City) Baberock Construction (Plaridel, Quezon) Balian School of Laguna BCBP (Makati City) Caliwara Family (Gumaca, Quezon) Camillian Sisters Canossian Sisters (Lipa City) Capuchin Brothers Caritas of Antipolo Carmelite Brothers OCD Carmelite Monastery (Angeles City, Pampanga) Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines - National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace (Intramuros, Manila) Catholic BishopsConference of the Philippines (CBCP) Catholic School of Nagcarlan, Laguna Cavite School Of Life (Bacoor, Cavite) Century Park Hotel Employees Assn. Christian Aid of London Christian Blind Mission & PRRM Claret School of Quezon City Colegio San Agustin (Binan, Laguna) Columban Missionary of the Philippines (CMP) Commission on Social and Community Involvement (JRU) Confradia de Sta. Ana (Pagsanjan, Laguna) CordAid Corps of Ambassadors Wives (SHOMMETTE) Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP-Manila) Darwin Magno (Patnanungan, Quezon) Daughter of Mary Immaculate Intl. (San Pablo City) Daughters of Charity Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP-Makati City) Diocese of Antipolo Diocese of Cubao Diocese of Gumaca Diocese of Imus Diocese of Lucena Diocese of San Pablo/Diocesan SAC (Calauan, Laguna) Don Bosco (Makati City)

Dr. Cesar de Mesa Pule (Alaminos, Laguna) Dr. and Mrs. Dan Libunao (Libra Corporation, Q.C.) Dra. Lagman (Riyadh KSA) Dugsong Buhay Medical Mission (Manila) Eastern Rizal Club & OFM Comm. (Tanay, Rizal) Ecumenical Task Force for Relief & Medical Engr. Noel A. Silvestre and Family Enverga University Fernando Poe Jr. Foundation FGPC S.O. (Batangas) Fil-Am Community of Carolinas (Charlotte, NC USA) Filipinas Quaritsu Inc. First Gas Inc. (Batangas) FLP Missionaries & Feed the Hungry Found. (Wash., USA) FLP Sisters (Llavac, Real, Quezon) FMA & Puis XII FMN Sisters (Manila) Fortune Tobacco Corporation- Mr. Bong Uy Fr. Dandie Endaya (Pagsanjan, Laguna) Fr. Jimmy Marquez (Cembo, Makati) Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Sisters Franciscan Movement Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation Gawad-Kalinga GMA Kapuso Foundation Handicapped International Holy Trinity Parish (Calamba, Laguna) IFRC (New Manila, QC) INAM/Handicap Intl. Infantakreis Infinity Secretarial Phils. (Michigan USA) Inter-Congregational Theological Center (New Manila, QC) Karmelo (Tongohin, Infanta, Quezon) Kenneth Sy and Family Kiwanis Detroit Mich. in coop w/ Uniforce Insurance & Knights of Columbus (Talisay, Batangas) Knights of Rizal Kubo Family (Los Baos, Laguna) Lemery Batangas Lipa Archdiocesan SAC (Lipa City) Local Government Unit of General Nakar, Quezon Local Government Unit of Infanta, QuezonMayor Filipina Grace R. America Local Government Unit Of Real, Quezon Logremara (Lopez, Quezon) Marist School ME 8 PATER MAREN (Morong, Rizal)

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The Social Action Center of the Roman Catholic Prelate of Infanta is deeply acknowledging the valuable efforts of Metro Infanta Foundation, a US based partner agency of SAC, who has made the local Churchs humanitarian initiatives a great success!

Sa inyo pong lahat na tumulong sa amin, maraming salamat po at dalangin naming patuloy kayong pagpalain ng Maykapal!

Mediators Network for Sustainable Peace Inc. (MedNet) METTRAWATT (Magallanes Vill., Makati City) Missio Achen Missio Austria Missio Mnchen Mr. Jaonido Gaco/Rey Puchero & Co. Mrs. Baron (Friend of Bishop Tirona) National Shrine of Sacred Heart (Lucena & Makati) Netzwerk Miteinander NMYC (Laguna) OCARM Office of the Ombudsman (Quezon City) Operation Compassion Operation Lingap-Buhay St. Jude Parish Ortigas & Company (Makati City) Our Lady of Guadalupe (Pagsanjan, Laguna) Oxfam GB Parish Church of Caloocan City Parish of Padre Pio-Fr. Rale Anthony Barreto(Sto. Tomas, Batangas) Parish of San Pedro de Alcantara Parish of St. Louis, Bishop (Lucban, Quezon) Pastoral Council (Trece Martires, Cavite) Peoples Congress for Authentic Democracy Philippine Association of Religious Treasurers Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Resources Research and Development (PCAMRRD)

Thank you so much to all kind-hearted people, and most especially to our brothers and sisters in the Netherlands: especially in the Archdiocese of Utrecht, who have come to our rescue that helped us in overcoming the wounds of past tragedy. Our prayers remain with you forever so that your tribe shall increase a thousand fold.

Social Action Center - Prelature of Infanta 67

Philippine General Hospital (Manila) Philippine National Red Cross PKI Labor Union (Lipa City) Polillo Civic Groups (Polillo, Quezon) Pres. Erap Foundation / Offices of Sens. Loi & Jinggoy Estrada (Manila) Provincial Government of QuezonGov. Willie Enverga PRN (Hamburg, Germany) Punla sa Tao Foundation Quezon Board Member Eladio Pasamba Quezon Memorial Hospital (Lucena City) Religious of the Virgin Mary (Quezon City) Rey and Myrna Ortega Rolando Aveno (Vanc. BC Canada) Rotary Club of East Rizal Rotary Club of Makati Rural Bank of Pakil Laguna Rural Bankers Assn. of the Phils. SACOP San Antonio Parish (Sta. Maria, Bulacan) San Isidro Parish (Antipolo Rizal) San Juan de Dios Hospital San Sebastian Church (Famy, Laguna) San Sebastian College - Recoletos (Manila) Santuario del Sto. Cristo Parish (San Juan MM) Servant of Charity (Quezon City) Siena College (Taytay, Rizal) Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP-Quezon City) Socio-Pastoral Institute (SPI) (Quezon City) St. Francis (Sta. Ana, Manila)

St. James Emergency Assistance Council (SAVA, Ayala Alabang) St. Jerome Parish (Morong, Rizal) St. John Parochial School (Tiaong, Quezon) St. Joseph College St. Jude Church (Pasig City) St. Martin Foundation-Dominican Sisters (Quezon City) St. Paul College (Quezon City) St. Therese Missionary Catechists (Tayabas, Quezon) St. Thomas Academy (Batangas) Sta. Isabel College & Co. (Manila) Sta. Rita de Casia Parish (Quezon City & Guiguinto, Bulacan) Sta. Rosa Catholic Community Sta. Rosa de Lima Parish (Laguna) Stevedore Service of Arch. Of Lipa (Batangas) Sto. Nio Catholic School (Taguig City) Sts. Peter & Paul Parish (Siniloan, Laguna) Tata Joes Family (Polillo, Quezon) Tayabas Community Hospital Terry & Marnie (Manila) Twin Heart Parish (West Triangle, QC) Tzu-Chi Foundation UNICEF (Manila Office) University of the Philippines Los Baos, Laguna UST Graduate School Psycho-Trauma Clinic (Manila) Valenzuela Parish Church Vicariate of San Ildefonso de Toledo (Tanay Rizal) Womens of Philippine Independent Church (WOPIC) (Morong, Rizal) Worldwide Marriage Encounter (Makati City) Young Mens Christian Association (YMCA)

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SOCIAL ACTION CENTER sub-region of Real-Infanta-Gen. Nakar (SAC-RIN)

DEACON MARIO VAN LOON, act Coordinator DEMOSTHENES G. RAYNERA Deputy Coordinator MIRIAM A. DESTAJO Finance & Communications Officer ALADINO A. REGUYAL Agriculture & Livestock Program Officer ARNEL T. GARCIA Livelihood Program Officer MARY ANN S. GAGAN Housing Program Officer ODESSA I. NASAYAO Secretary & Cashier FERNANDO R. GAMARA Researcher


Divine Infant Jesus of Prague & St. Mark the Evangelist Parish Infanta, Quezon REV. FR. FRANCISCO BOY MAKABENTA Parish Priest & PSAO Head REV. FR. ARNEL RIOFRIO, FLP - Assistant Parish Priest REX R. GAMARA Deputy PSAO Head RONALD P. OREJOLA Finance Officer GILBERT CRISOSTOMO Agriculture & Livestock Project Officer JOEL O. ABRAO Fishery Project Officer GLORIA O. NAKAR Secretary LOUIE EMPRESO Cashier Myra Rutaquio Eric Astoveza Volunteers James Corpuz Vicky Gucilatar Maria Eleanor Purpura Nedy Ortillano Rosiena Marie Merto Elsie Sanchez

St. Anne & St. Joachim Parish Gen. Nakar, Quezon REV. FR. MARIO O. ESTABLECIDA Parish Priest & PSAO Head SR. HERMOSILLA T. MITARAN, ACT Deputy PSAO Head MS. YOLANDA CRISOSTOMO Agriculture Project Officer RICKY ASTEJADA Agriculture Project Monitoring Staff CRISTINO DE LORETO Fishery Project Officer ANICIA BUENCAMINO Shelter Project Officer SR. LANIE BAYUNA, FLP Office Encoder
Volunteers Rev. Deacon Samuel Salazar Sr. Evangeline Tenorio, ACT Andy Boncayao Magie Cuerdo Josephine Cuerdo Leo Astrera Olivia Diolata

St. Raphael, the Archangel Real, Quezon REV. FR. EUSEBIO OSEE MOLDE Parish Priest & PSAO Head AILEH MATRIANO Finance & Communications Officer LUCIO GURANGO Agriculture Project Officer JOMAR SARABOSQUEZ Livestock Project Officer ARTEMIO ROSUNABE Fishery Project Officer NORMA FORTUNADO Shelter Project Officer
Yvette Peamora Volunteers/Barangay Coordinators Remedios Guyo Lanie Abarra Salve Calica

St. Patricks Parish Dingalan, Aurora REV. FR. ANTONIO EVENGELIO Parish Priest
Rene Manansala MSK Workers Socorro Amazona

Celebrating the triumph of life and hope!

The Social Action Center of the Prelature of Infanta


EMERGENCY RELIEF OPERATION Providing the disaster victims their basic material needs and humanitarian services such as relief goods, medical and dental missions in order to lessen their physical and psychological sufferings. FOOD-FOR-WORK Empowering the people to rebuild their devastated environment by encouraging them to participate in endeavors for sustainable development for the greater welfare of the entire community. CORE HOUSING PROJECT Reconstructing the damaged houses of worst-affected families through distribution of temporary shelters and permanent housing in a safe relocation site. AGRICULTURAL REHABILITATION Revitalizing the principal occupation of victim-families in the area to ensure food security and sustainability by promoting Organic Farming, Communal & Upland Plantings and adoption of Scientific Farm Techniques. FISHERY Restructuring the major source of income among poor families in fishing villages by entrusting livelihood support materials like newly-acquired fishing boats, equipment and gears. LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY Replenishing the socio-economic deprivation of family-dependents to locally-raised livestock products through extension of initial facilities for production to meet the food security of the family and community. MICROFINANCE Reviving the family-based enterprise mostly managed by experienced woman-member of household to resuscitate the immediate recovery of local economy through provision of start-up capital. DISASTER MITIGATION AND PREPAREDNESS TRAINING Redefining the collective obligation to calamity-prone and vulnerable localities through facilitation of in-depth seminar-training-workshops that focus on familys security and communitys safety. VALUE AND SPIRITUAL FORMATION - Redeeming the foundation of faith, life and hope of the family and community towards a responsible, participative and pro-active Christian society and the realization of Fathers dream to build the Church of the Poor. PSYCHO-SOCIAL STRESS DEBRIEFING Recovering from the physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustions brought by bitter experiences in post-catastrophic period has been a primordial interest of the SAC. EMPOWERING DISPUTE RESOLUTION OR MANAGEMENT PROCESSES (EDMRP) Promoting the use of EDMRP as viable approaches in addressing community disputes or conflicts related to governance, and involving sectoral organizations and institutions. ADVOCACY FOR SOCIAL CHANGE Reaffirming the enduring task to motivate people towards meaningful change of our contemporary society. For more information on SAC Programmes Sustainability, you may call on or address your query to:

The Program Coordinator

Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Coordinating Office Social Action Center sub-region of Real, Infanta and Gen. Nakar (SAC-RIN) Prelature of Infanta Bahay Pag-asa Compound, Mabini St., Infanta 4336 Quezon Telefax No.: (042) 535-4213 e-mail: