SOLIDARITY WITH THE POOR THROUGH THE CREATION AND FORMATION OF BEC
Carved from the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, the Diocese of Dipolog was established on July 31, 1967. It started with 31 parishes, 953 chapels and approximately 3,400 BECs.
Majority of the population are fishermen and farmers. Although agriculture remains the major source of livelihood, its productivity level is relatively low making poverty the major problem in the province.
The Diocesan Social Action Center became a co-participant in the Empowering Marginalized Sectors through BEC based Integral Evangelization Program.
The preliminary activities for the project implementation were undertaken by DSAC Dipolog in five pilot communities with 50 target BECs in each pilot area. The five pilot areas are:
- Sto. Tomas, Mutia
- Madalag, Jose Dalman
- Mangop, Leon Postigo and
- Maliot, Siocon.
Projects undertaken were Sustainable Agriculture, Microfinancing, Alternative Healthcare and Political Education. In each of this project, capability building and empowerment training were achieved thru seminars and trainings. Sustainable agriculture was introduced through a Diversified Integrated Farming System (DIFS) seminars, Ecological Soil Management (ESM) training , Alternative Pest Management (APM) training and Organic Vegetable Gardening, Plotting and Intercropping. Anti-GMO and anti-mining campaigns have contributed in enhancing the consciousness of BEC members on the issues.
Launched in 2004, the Botika sa Parokya in Mutia was funded to provide low-cost medicines including BEC-produced herbal peraparations.
Loans were granted to selected and qualified BEC members for SA and other microenterprises. BECSs are responsible for regular monitoring and collection of repayments for microfinance beneficiaries.
Approximately 70 percent of BEC members in the five pilot areas have enhanced food sufficiency, increased agricultural productivity and crops diversity. Members’ improved purchasing capacity is evident in their improved purchasing capacity is evident in their improved access to healthcare.
Reference: National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace Annual Report 2007, p47