“Implement BECs as you did in Tagudin”. This is the official mandate coming from the Archbishop. This is the formal order that the BEC in Sinait shall adhere to. However, beyond this mandate, is the passion to implement the Kingdom Mission which is anchored on the Liberation of the Poor from the bondage of dehumanizing situation. Such was the fundamental framework of BEC in Sinait and in the Vicariate of St. Mark.
From the Gimongs of San Vicente and Tagudin, “Purok-Gimong” was evolved in Sinait. “Purok” is the natural cluster of families having a definite territorial boundary, while “Gimong” is the spirit or way of life and mission of the Families in the Purok. Purok-Gimong captures the spirit and essence of liberating BEC that shall be implemented in Sinait and in the Vicariate of St. Mark. This shall be the basic groundworkfor the implementation of BEC. Societal situation must define and clarify the principles and process of doing BEC. Over and above this, The Radical Gospel must provide for the orientation and focus of BEC as Mission.
A. Societal Situation as Context of the Mission.
1. Culture of Passivity Galvanized by Popular Devotion.
a. In Sinait, devotion to “Apo Lakay” was the core of Faith for the past centuries. Everything about their Faith is expressed via their devotion to the “Apo Lakay” image perceived to be miraculous. Massive attendance of devotees during first Fridays and on the Feast day of Santo Kristo (May 3), is an evidence of the centuries-old devotion.
· Devotion to “Apo Lakay” seemingly has eclipsed the Liberating Faith. This explains the pervasive social situation gripping the people of Sinait. Popular devotion has evolved a kind of Faith that is not adequately responsive to the dehumanizing social situation. This enslaving Faith was merely tolerated by past Parish Administrations who were blinded by the influx of huge amount of money from devotional practices.
b. Culture of Passivity.
· Devotion opiated most of the Families in Sinait. Their dependency to miracles as the sole remedy to solve their life issues has evolved into a culture of passivity. Most of the Families simply do not dare and care about the social situation affecting and negating their life’s process of maturity.
· By their passivity, oppressive political system has established its exploitative ground. Corruption in local governance was not checked, remained unabated to the detriment of most of the Families. Political positions exploiting the poor simply became “acceptable”.
2. Politics of Corruption Perpetuated by Vote Buying and Partisanship.
a. Political Dynasty.
· Like in the whole province of Ilocos Sur, political dynasty dominates the political arena of Sinait and the towns of St. Mark Vicariate. Political dynasty is characterized by “tekka politics” (refers to the gecko of the reptile family), that refuses to relinquish power even after the term limit has expired. Political dynasty is also featured by “pataas-pababa”, wherin the husband or wife simply switches positions as each term is consumed. Or in some cases, political power is bequeathed to sons or daughters without the pain of rigorous campaign. It is simply handed over to family members on a silver, so to speak.
b. Large Scale Vote Buying.
· Whether in the provincial, municipal or barangay level, vote buying has been a normal occurrence during election time. Money politics is the name of the game. Huge amount of cash influences and dictates the result of the election contest. Politics of money tampers the authentic will of the electorate.
c. Partisan by Elected Officials.
· Vote buying is rampant due to partisanship of elected officials who are ordered to coerce families to succumb to the lure of money. Bribed elected officials publicly campaign for the political lord in exchange of cash and favor. Nobody lifts a finger to challenge these malpractices, because doing so would mean a violent retaliation by the political kingpin.
d. Sub-standard Infrastructures.
Due to vote buying and partisan politics, corruption manifested in sub-standard government projects has persisted to the detriment of the poor families. Basic social services likewise became inaccessible, and worse, it merely was used as tool of political grandstanding and easy source of money to fuel political interests.
· Bamboo Bridge in Barikir.
A bridge in Barikir (Sinait) was announced to have been financed and concreted. But all that was there is an un-serviceable “bamboo bridge”, rotten by the rains of time.
· Aborted Bridge in Nagcullooban.
In Nacgullooban, a few-meter-bridge was erected, rumored to have cost 2 million pesos. Said bridge was aborted and was never used. It simply became a “rusted monument of corruption”.
· Substandard Roads.
About 60 % of the municipal roads in Sinait are either sub-standard or un-paved. Some were reported to have been allocated with funds and were already declared “finished”. But such was only true to the papers it is not true to what the naked eyes could see.
3. Poverty as Dehumanizing.
The poblacion area of Sinait can paint a life of affluence. However, this picture hides the real life situation in the villages. Poverty is a sad reality in both the farming and coastal areas of the town. This poverty is quite obvious.
a. Poor Women Forced to “sell” their Dignity.
· I have personally interviewed some poor women in one of the remote barrios of Sinait. They disclosed to me that because of extreme poverty, they are forced to “sell” their dignity for a kilo of rice just to feed their children. When their husbands are out in the mountains, the women took for anyone who could give them something to buy rice. And in exchange, they give sexual favor.
b. Poor Parents cannot Afford Basic Education.
· I have likewise talked to some parents who told me that they cannot afford to send their children to pursue elementary grades after they finished the primary grades, anyway they will not be able to continue higher level of schooling.
· School children are the helpless victims of poverty in this Town. The children go to school with empty stomach and filthily dressed. In more pitiful situation, they are forced to bring along to the classroom their younger siblings and “baby sit” them while classes are going on. I asked one child why he is with his baby sister while in school. “My parents went to the fields to plant rice so that we can buy rice for lunch”. The boy answered me in timid voice.
· While poor parents could barely send their children to school due to dire poverty, illegal collection of fees remained un-abated in public schools. This is despite the standing policy of DepEd for public schools to refrain from collecting of fees has become a “racket” for public school authorities, depriving the poor of their right to free basic education.
c. Nana Fitas of Sallacapo.
· Nana Fitas is a poor woman in Sallacapo (Sinait). She is poor by all standard and descriptions. Her poverty reduced her to be treated as “non-person”. She was a victim of “hacking” by a violent man. She almost died due to severe hack-wounds. She was hospitalized and by a little luck, she survived but rendered incapacitated.
· Her poor family has to settle the hospital bills which amounted to more than a hundred thousand pesos. They had to sell some more their precious properties, including the carabao, just to pay their hospital obligation. The man who attacked Nana Fitas wants to settle the case filed against him, by paying a “mere 50,000, an amount which does not even equal the hospital bills of Nana Fitas. The case remains in the court, grinding in a very slow pace. The poor canno easily get a fair treatment from the Law.
· Because of poverty, Nana Fitas was lured to borrow money from a treasurer a “userer”, charging her with interest rates. After 1 year, the loan of Nana Fitas ballooned to more than 50,000, more than double the amount of the principal loan. Worse, the land title of the lot on which the house of Nana Fitas stands, is used as collateral of the loan. Now the “userer” is threatening Nana Fitas, that if she (Nana Fitas) is unable to pay the loan with the imposed interest, the userer will get the lot of Nana Fitas. The userer is using the barangay officials to pressure the poor, Nana Fitas.
4. Poverty Aggravated by Corruption and Chemical Farming.
a. Corruption in Governance.
· Corruption in local government has aggravated poverty. From 1995-2005, corruption was a consistent political practice in Sinait. While the poor remained poor, political power in the town has accumulated many properties, like refill stations, expensive houses, luxury cars and extravagant lifestyles . (plural form emphasized)
· Chemical farming has contributed to the deterioration of economic life in Sinait. Farmers are indebted to greedy businessmen because of commercial farm inputs.
· Loans are compounded with high interest rates. Prices of farm outputs are dictated and controlled by businessmen to the detriment of the poor farmers. Worst, the farmlands are ruined due to tons of deadly chemicals immersed into the soil.
B. Vision of Fullness of Life.
The dehumanizing social situation of Sinait is not “God-given”, it is “man-made”. Dehumanizing poverty is rooted on lust for political power, aggravated by corruption and inefficient government system. Exploitative political system is reinforced by culture of passivity galvanized by devotional Faith. Most families accept the dehumanizing situation with “defeatist” mentality. Desire for transformation has abandoned the people’s consciousness. Indeed Dignity is under attack. Fundamental freedom is tampered. Fullness of life is dettered. THIS SOCIAL SIN.
In this dehumanizing social situation, where is Liberating Faith? What kind of Life must be envisioned and actualized? These dehumanizing situations prompted BEC to be different. It is a BEC based on Liberating Faith responsive to the social situation but not deviated from the Gospel values.
1. From Destitution to Human Dignity.
· Human dignity is fundamental. It is accorded to every Human person as created by God in His very own likeness/image. No one has the power to ruin this Dignity.
· From Destitution, Life of Dignity is desired. A life where everyone is accorded with equal respect, not based on educational achievement, possession and position, but based on the very Dignity of the Human Person. Therefore, the right to a life of dignity must be pursued at all cost.
2. From Slavery to Fundamental Liberty.
· Basic to human dignity is Freedom. Political dynasty employing dole out and other forms of machinations to control families, is a deterrent to Liberty. Participation to the processes of life is hampered by dole out, intimidation and threats. Most families are hostage to the dictates of the political lord.
· From slavery, fundamental liberty is aspired. A life of liberty is a life wherein every human person regardless of status of life, is free to express opinions and grievances as regards the situation affecting life.
3. From Poverty to Fullness of Life.
· Life of dignity is a life accorded with the basic necessities like enough food for the family, decent clothing, secured abode, accessibility to basic education and health services and equal protection of rights in the execution of Law and Justice. But these requirements of fullness of life have become un-equally distributed. It has become a privilege of the few and in-accessible to the majority poor.
· From poverty, fullness of life is envisioned. A life where each family partakes in all the resources of life like goods, commodities, land, the environment as communal source of life, profit sharing in business, education and decision making processes like in elections and government representations.
C. Mission of Reversal.
1. Reversing the “Tatsulok” as the Social Sin.
a. Culture of Liberating Consciousness.
· Families in the BEC must undergo the tedious process of transformation of consciousness. Their damaged culture must be repaired and indigenous liberating culture should be restored. From culture of dependency to dole out to a life of equal relationships based on Human Dignity. From culture of extravagant lifestyle and celebrations to a life of simplicity emphasizing meaning and values.
b. Families in the BEC should likewise equip their consciousness with analysis about the ill effects of the prevailing political situation which has become a system oppressing the defenseless poor. Families must denounce the exploitative political structures and disintegrate from the power line up, organization and activities that politically control them.
c. Economics of Sharing.
· Families in the BEC must put into their consciousness that economic goods must be shared for the common good. Families must understand that economic prosperity is also a basic human right that should be accorded to all through implantation of social services, not merely depending on dole out that ties them to “utang na loob”.
2. Establishing “Purok-Gimong” as the Kingdom of God.
· To concretize and strategize the Mission of Reversal, the Purok must be established as locus of the Mission. The Purok shall be composed of natural cluster of families in a definite territorial boundary. The Purok composed of Families will become the agent of Mission.
· Gimong will be the spirit of life and mission. It will the way of the families relating together on the basis of equality, celebrating together in simplicity but with values and meaning, gathering together to mobilize collectivity to respond to their identified needs and concerns. The Gimong will gather together to worship God.
· The primary animators of the Purok will be the Langen-Agassawa. Formed and trained Langen-Agassawa shall animate and facilitate all the activities of the Purok. This is to counter the enslaving culture where an “outsider” will do all things for the BEC. As much as possible, activities must be done for the BEC, by the BEC and in the BEC.
d. Liberating Consciousness
· Key to all these, is the liberating consciousness of the Families. Purok and Langen-Agassawa are there, but without liberating consciousness, the Families in the BEC would simply remain as the old way of being church.
D. Basic Process of Initiating BEC as Kingdom Mission.
1. Visiting the Families to Establish Initial Contact and See the Situation.
· BEC was started in Sinait by visiting the Families in their Homes. Visiting the Families was aimed at 3 basic objectives: establish initial contact as basis of relationship, seeing firsthand the life situation of the families and identifying the Purok as the locus of BEC.
· All the 44 barangays of Sinait were visited. Parish Animation Team was divided in to 3 groups as there was an average of 3 Purok per Barangay. Home visitation was concluded at the barangay center where Families were invited to gather together for initial workshop focusing on their life situation, vision of Nagin-awa a Biag and Mission-Panagbalbaliw.
2. Basic Formation and Training of Langen-Agassawa (Couple Facilitator).
· Home visitation paved the way to identifying Langen-Agassawa as potential animators of the BEC. Langen-Agassawa were invited to come to the Parish level to undergo basic formation and basic training on how to facilitate Participative Learning. After the basic formation and training, Langen-Agassawa were given modules which they can use to facilitate the initial activities of the BEC.
3. Purok-Gimong as Way of Life and Mission.
· Formed and trained Langen-Agassawa took over to facilitate the initial activities of the BEC like pre-sacramental seminars which were usually done in the Parish Level before.
· Purok-Gimong started to re-new its life and mission through the regular activities like Tongtongan-Gimong, Rambak-Gimong and Lakbay-Kabataan which where scheduled to be done in the Purok on separate Sundays of each month. These activities in the Purok were later intensified by other activities like Tongtongan-Pamilia and Sanay-Misyon. All these were intended to amplify the activities of the Purok and were used as strategies to instill and deepen liberating consciousness among the Families.
E. Leadership, System and Programs that Support the Purok-Gimong.
1. Eucharist and Sacraments.
· Liturgical and Sacramental celebrations in the Parish level were conducted adherent to the Mission principles, orientation and focus. Participation, simplicity and equality were the core principles in all the Liturgical and Sacramental celebrations.
· Liturgy and Sacraments were designed objectively to promote the Mission stance. Introductory, songs, homilies, prayers of the faithful and other elements of the Liturgy were all intended to amplify the Mission consciousness.
· Liturgical celebrations have been integrated into the life of the people making it relevant and transformative. Sometimes, though, critic s branded it as “un-liturgical”. Enemies of the Mission were repelled by the Mission stance and they went to attend Mass in other parishes. The Mission stance was so powerful that it unsettled the political power.
· Like in Liturgical and Sacramental celebrations, meetings were also conducted purposely to sustain and deepen liberating consciousness through continuous formation and training.
· Aside from sustaining and deepening of consciousness, pastoral agenda were likewise discussed in participative manner. Schedules of meetings in the Parish in each of the Sundays of the month are as follows: (1st Sunday) Ranud-Akem Mangurnos-Sagut or Finance Ministry, (2nd Sunday)Ranud-Akem-Agtutubo or Youth Ministry, (3rd Sunday) Ranud-Akem-Mannalon or Social Services Ministry, (4th Sunday) Ranud-Akem-KonPas or BEC Leaders Assembly.
· Meetings are characterized mainly by sharing of experiences related to the Mission implementation, Awareness Session, discerning on the current situation and planning for collective mobikization.
· Ranud-Akem Parish Animation Team is a regular meeting during Fridays participated in by Parich Animation Team composed of Parish Animators (PA), Parish Staff (PS) and MaPPa or the Mangiwanwan-Programa-Pastoral.
· The Parish Animation Team is the “think tank” of the pastoral program. It is tasked to evaluate past activities of the Mission, analuze and discern the situation from the perspective of the Mission, plan for responsive activities to promote the Mission.
· In all the meetings in the Parish level, the Parish Priest is there to animate, to listen, to direct and to decide on matters of urgent importance. Through the presence of the Parish Priest is very important, his absence does not also prevent the holding of meetings. With or without the Parish Priest, the meeting goes on with the PAT taking charge to facilitate.
· In the years that I have joined the meetings, I have witnessed the significant transformation of the PAT in their strategies of facilitating meetings. While it is true that most of them do not have high educational attainment, I can attest to their leadership and facilitating capabilities and their authentic liberating consciousness as basis of their evaluating, planning and implementing the Mission activities.
3. Finances System and Modules as Tools for Transformation of Consciousness.
a. Transparency on Finances.
· Financial system aided the promotion of the Mission stance. It followed a standing policy never to solicit funds from politicians. The Parish does not receive donations from “politicos”. One time, Imelda Marcos came to Sinait Parish and attempted to “give envelope” believe to be containing cash, the Parish resisted it.
· The political lord of the Province likewise tried to give the Parish a box of apples as “Christmas gift”, the Parish refused it. Anyone can give donations using the “collection box”. But politicians are used to giving cash in order to be known and recognized. This practice is not tolerated by the Parish.
· Voluntary donations shall have to go through a critical scrutiny. And if the donations has been discovered to have come from political dynasty, that donation is either resisted or returned. The Parish implements this policy because it wants to remain free and credible in its Mission stance.
· Cash flows and expenditures even to the minutest cent, is properly accounted for and it is reported regularly to the BECs via the Ranud-Akem-Mangurnos-Sagut of Finance Ministry meeting.
· The Mangurnos-Sagut is the financial system of the Parish which is at the service of the Mission. The Sagut-Pamilia as liberating financial system is the opportunity of every Family to share and participate in the Mission.
· In the span of 6 years, Sinait Parish has completedmany major projects costing millions of pesos and has acquired several equipments to help promote the Mission, without soliciting from politicians and without doing any “raffle ticket” as a way of generating funds. The liberating financial system of Sinait Parish has made the Kingdom Mission truly independent and credible.
b. Modules for Liberating Consciousness.
· Modules are very important tools in the formation of consciousness. Sinait Parish invested so much on this. As of January 2012, the copier machine has reproduced less than a million copies. That means, modules alone have cost the Parish an approximately 2 million pesos.
· Cabinets in the Pastoral office of Sinait are filled with volumes of modules of all levels and of all contents. All are being used for learning sessions and other related activities for the Mission in the BEC, in the Parish and in the Vicariate.
· Modules are not borrowed or copied from outside sources. They are designed from analysis of the situation. Modules guide the BECs in their learning process. Modules facilitate the shift of paradigm among Families. I cannot agree to a Parish which claims to have a BEC without using modules as tools of learning and transformation of consciousness.
4. Partners of the Mission.
BEC cannot be implemented by the Parish Priest alone even if he is highly skilled. BEC cannot be tackled by alone BEC worker. BEC is implemented with a collective effort. Therefore, Mission Partners are necessary. Mission partners who were formed, trained attainable with a relevant impact. Partners of the Mission work in the framework of system, responsibility and accountability.
a. Parish Animators
· The Parish Animators of Sinait underwent deep formation and tedious skills training. They are not merely handpicked or selected by the Parish Priest. They emerged from a process.
· As Parish Animators, their main task is to animate their own BEC and assist other BECs in their Ragup-Barangay or cluster. They are likewise tasked to facilitate catechesis in schools. They also assist and facilitate activities in the Parish level.
· For years that I have journeyed with the Parish Animators in Sinait, I have discovered many good things about them. They are simple people. They are victims of harsh realities in life. But when they were involved in the Mission, they gradually transformed into becoming agents of the Mission.
b. Parish Staff
· In Sinait, the Parish is composed of 2 groups: pastoral office personnel taking charge of the financial accounting and safe keeping, parish services, encoding and preparation of materials. The other group is the maintenance group which is tasked to maintain equipment, orderliness and security.
· Unlike in most Parishes, the Parish Staff of Sinait do not only limit themselves in the office or in other manual labor they are assigned to. But more significantly, they have come to understand that they are incorporated in the Kingdom Mission. Kingdom Mission has become their motivation to perform their roles.
· The MaPPa is composed of Langen-Agassawa representing the different BECs and Ragup-Barangays. They participate in the evaluation, palnning and implementation of activities in their respective BEC, in their Ragup-Barangay and in the Parish level.
· What I am joyful about the MaPPa in Sinait is that, they emerged from the long process of formation and training. They are poor and simple and yet their consciousness and passion for the Mission is truly laudable. For me, they are really symbol of a transformed leadership for the Liberating Mission. I am awed by their dedication to their tasks.
· The PA-PS and MaPPa are the agents of the Mission in Sinait. They are the main implementers of the Missions. Their participation in the Mission has restored their Dignity. I can say that with the PA-PS and MaPPa in Sinait, the BEC as Mission shall go on and succeed.
5. Animating Leadership.
As I have observed and proven, animating leadership is very elemental in the implementation, sustenance and deepening of BEC. The kind and style of leadership will largely define the quality of BEC.
· Journeying with the Mission in Sinait, I have come to realize that Leadership must not only be output oriented but “relational”. Meaning to say, a leader must relate with the Partners in the Mission on the basis of equality and respect. Individual uniqueness, capacity and limitations must be respected.
· I have learned that relating is communicating. Communicating is listening to experiences, affirming what needed to be affirmed and correcting what must be corrected. Relating is facilitating the development of self-confidence.
· Relating, I further discovered, is not controlling or imposing loyalty by means of “gifts”. Relating is empowering for the Mission.
· Leadership to be effective is not only bound to relate. It also must empower the last, the least and the lowly. I experienced in Sinait that empowerment is not equipping people with the authority to govern or the power to oppress, but empowering is facilitating the Families in the BEC to analyze the situation that ruins dignity.
· Empowerment is not merely analyzing the situation, but denouncing and protesting whatever is oppressive. Empowerment is likewise the capacity to assert and pursue human rights.
· Over and above all these, empowerment, I have come to discover, is promoting the Mission in its most passionate level even beyond the shadows of a mentor or an authority.
· Leadership must have a Vision as roadmap for the Families in the BEC to follow. Leadership without a Liberating Vision is like a ship captain navigating a ship without a “compass”.
· Leadership without Liberating Vision is susceptible to errors. Worse, it may lead to initiating activities that would drag the people into enslaving situations.
· In Sinait, leadership has envisioned dignity, fullness of life and freedom as the core and focus of the BEC as Kingdom Mission. This Vision is the Good News to the Poor.
d. Passion for the Mission
· Passion for the Liberating Mission is the soul and spirit of Leadership. It is the motivating factor that draws out vigor and dedication to pursue the Vision.
· Unwavering passion of a leader facilitates active participation. Passion conquers negativities and defeatist mentalities which could ruin the Mission.
6. Formation and Training.
a. Cultural Formation
· Immersed in the situation of Sinait, I have seen that the prevailing consciousness of most of the Families needed to be transformed. This was the reason why the implementation of BEC has invested so much on Awareness Sessions objectively to impact a gradual transformation of consciousness. From being passive to becoming more analytical and critical.
· Activities in the BEC like Tongtongan-Pamilia, Tongtongan-Gimong, Lakbay-Kabataan, Tongtongan-Mannalon were all aimed at the objective of transforming the consciousness of Families.
· Indeed after some period of time, consciousness has been changed as manifested in the way the Families in the BEC relate with one another, in the way celebrations are conducted and most significantly the Families have begun to be critical about social issues affecting their life.
b. Facilitating Participative Learning
· Participative Learning as the liberating way of learning was likewise initiated and institutionalized in the BEC. Participative Learning has encouraged Langen-Agassawa to independently facilitate the learning activities of the BEC.
· Langen-Agassawa underwent the basic skills training on Participative Learning and this has aved the way for the empowerment of Langen-Agassawa to become facilitators of the BEC learning process. Traditionally, learning activities were dominated by the learned while the unschooled remained as passive receivers. In Sinait, such was no longer the case when BEC was implemented.
c. Survey, Module Crafting and Program Design
· For the purpose of empowerment and to transfer the skills essential to deepening and sustaining the BEC, training on survey, module crafting and program design were initiated to the Parish Animation Team of Sinait and St. Mark Vicariate.
· Parish Animation Teams learned the basic skills on how to formulate survey questions, how to float the questionnaires, how to gather and interpret the data. From the interpreted data, PATs were likewise taught how to make “Pakdaar” as proclamation of the Mission.
· From the Pakdaar used as alternative Homily, a Learning Session is made then a corresponding program is designed as response to the needs of the BECs. All these skills were acquired by the PAT. Now they slowly putting it into practice.
d. Bio Organic Farming
· Analysis has proved that chemical and commercial farming has impoverished the farmers. Therefore a liberating method of farming has to be initiated. As response, bio-organic fertilizers and other farm inputs which are chemical free and do not ruin the environment specifically the farmlands. Impact to this, good number of farmers are now practicing bio-organic farming method.
e. Herbal Medicine and Health Risks Reduction
· Government health services became grossly politicized. Pharmaceutically produced and commercial medicines have become so expensive and unaffordable to the poor, herbal treatment as endorsed by DOH has to become a part of BEC training, a way of life of Mission.
· Such training was aimed at providing for the families alternative options to safeguard health and reduce risks of herbal treatment. Now many families in the BEC are making and using herbal medicines and have attested to its preventive effects.
f. Digital Multi-Media Training for Youth
· Coping with technological modernity, youths in the Vicariate of St. Mark also underwent series of training on digital multi-media where they trained to make a comical script depicting social ills, filming it as short video clip and uploading it on youtube or facebook for massive audience aimed at delivering a “message” to evangelize.
· Video clips were likewise shown during Friday and Sunday Masses in Sinait where it created relevant impact.
g. Parenting for the Mission
· Basic and scientific skills of liberating parenting were also taught to the Parish Animation Team of St. Mark Vicariate. This is in response to the alarming situation stimulated by consumerism and materialistic disvalues projected by digital multi-media.
· The Family as the domestic Church must regain and restore its integrity, security and liberating values which are gradually being snatched away by the hostile social situation.
F. Support to the BEC
1. BEC Exchange in the Vicariate Level
· Regular monthly BEC exchange in the Vicariate level has helped deepen and sustain the BEC. Sharing of Mission experiences, formation and training with all the Priests manifesting their presence and support have drawn out inspiration and galvanized passion for the Mission.
· Inter-diocesan “Daliasat-Misyon” initiated by Western Solana Parish (Tugegarao), Gamu Parish (Ilagan), Tagudin and St. Mark Vicariate (Nueva Segovia), has likewise supported and affirmed the BEC orientation and focus.
2. Exposure as Affirmation
· Tagudin and St. Mark Vicariate have also become venues of learning exposure by enthusiasts from nearby Dioceses and from International levels. Exposurists were astounded by the level of liberating consciousness of the Families in the BEC. ICST seminarians from all over Northern Luzon were also part of the Mission evolution of Tagudin and St. Mark Vicariate.
G. Significant Gains of the Mission.
1. Transformation of Consciousness and Shifting of Paradigm
· If I will enumerate all the significant gains of BEC as Mission implemented in the Vicariate of St. Mark (2006-2012), I believe there are indeed numerous gains and the space would not be sufficient enough for the lists. For this reason, I am compelled to just name some of these significant gains and on top of the list is, Transformation of Consciousness and Shifting of Paradigm.
· This transformation of consciousness is not easy considering the fact that the enslaving culture is so “ingrained” into the life of most of the Families. In the Vicariate of St. Mark, I can say that the transformative power of the Gospel did the job because in a short span of time, consciousness has obviously been transformed. There are various manifestations of transformed consciousness but I will illustrate one concrete example.
· I have seen this transformed consciousness in the way Gabriel resisted and protested the persistent illegal collection of project fee in his school. Gabriel is in grade IV, yet he has mustered the courage to resist illegal collection of fees in the public schools.
· Why a grade IV pupil like Gabriel was able to resist the unjust and obligatory collection fees because he hears the “pakdaar” during Masses and he is taught by his parents. Transformed parents bequeath their liberating consciousness to their children. For me this one significant gain of the BEC Mission in Sinait.
2. Resisting Husband-Wife Politics
· Sinait stood tall among other towns in Ilocos Sur when it resisted the attempt of the husband and wife tandem to control political power. Despite the fact that husband-wife tandem is the trend of politics in Ilocos Sur and despite the overflow of cash to buy votes, the Families in the BEC rejected the husband-wife brand of politics. This is truly a significant gain of the Mission.
3. Liberating Leadership
· Another significant gain resulted from the BEC implementation in Sinait is Liberating Leadership. Liberating Leadership is a product of transformed consciousness. Where there is a change in the consciousness, a change in the style of leadership follows.
· As I have witnesses in Sinait, liberating leadership is a shift from the kind of leadership dominated by the elite, the learned and those in political power who expanded their domain in the Church. Liberating Leadership emerged from a long transformative process of BEC.
· Now in Sinait, Langen-Agassawa is practicing the liberating standard of leadership having the appropriate Mission orientation and focus.
4. Owning the Mission
· The Families in the BEC have embraced and owned the Liberating Mission. This has been a big leap forward for the Faith in Sinait being an extremely devotional Parish for centuries.
· The BEC as Liberating Mission has given meaning and direction to the life of the Families. The victims of oppressive situation espoused by political dynasty are now rising up to denounce and protest exploitative structures. The poor Families are now desirous of a life of dignity, freedom and fullness of life.
5. Pursue Peoples Agenda
· Another significant gain of BEC as Mission is that the Famiies are now comfortable in their efforts to pursue social agenda like investigation of high profile crimes, large scale of corruption, black sand mining, election frauds and illegal collection of fees in public schools.
· The PAT of the Parishes in the Vicariate willingly signified their commitment to pursue these issues. They drafted a manifesto, affixed their signatures and submitted the Letter to National Leadership which was later endorsed to the Presidential Management Staff who ordered Cabinet Secretaries for immediate and appropriate action.
H. Threats to the Mission.
Despite all these great achievements gained from BEC, threats remain inevitable. Detractors of the Mission continue to pose danger and ready to launch the attack to the Mission.
1. External Threats.
a. Political connection
· Being connected to political power line up, having indebted to favor and dole out and being slaved to organizations and activities which are controlled by political lordship are possible weak points where the enemies of the Mission will exploit. This will endanger the Mission.
b. Culture of Idolatry and Patronage
· Culture of Idolatry to political patrons galvanizes subservience. Subservience of Families impedes transformation of consciousness and this will embolden the enemies of the Mission to heighten its objective to erode the Mission.
2. Internal Threats
a. Subservient Religious Leadership
· Political lordship indentifies religious critique as potential deterrent to its power perpetuity. With this, the political lordship will soften the religious leadership by the use of gifts and bribes.
· Once the religious leadership has been entangled with the political traps, it will become a willing hostage which is will submit to whatever is dictated upon it by the political lord.
· A Parish Priest implementing a radical Mission will have to prepare for the eventuality that He will transferred or remove from the Parish assignment not on the wisdom of pastoral reason but on dictates of the political patrons.
b. Elitist Religious Organizations
· Traditional religious organizations which have become exclusive and elitist can be a threat to the Mission because of their enslaving character, activities and connections to the political power.
· Elitist organizations can be used as tools to advance vested political interests especially that most of the members of these organizations have established unholy alliance with the political power.
I. Mission Prospects and Focus.
Having discerned on all these, the Families who have been immersed into the Mission are challenged to rise up to the situation. Families who have owned and embraced the Mission as the way of Jesus and the way of the Kingdom of God must take up the challenges in order to assure the sustainability, deepening and continuity of the Mission.
1. Families as SILAW
· Families transformed by the BEC shall make itself as “light” in the midst of darkness installed by political dynasty. Families must become SILAW or Sarikedked ti Ilocos Sur Agturong Wayawaya.
· To become SILAW, Families shall at all times and in all terms be analytical and critical about social issues, must disconnect itself from power line up, organizations and activities controlled by the political lord, must resist dole out and must reject electoral frauds.
· Families as SILAW must mold their children adherent to liberating consciousness of the Kingdom Mission.
2. Families in the KALAPAW.
· Families shall brace themselves that the Mission will not be continued by the next Parish Priest or the Mission shall be misbranded by religious leadership and declare it as a “nullity”.
· However, the Families are challenged to continue the Mission in their own sphere of influence. Families must continue the Mission in their own KALAPAW and Purok. There, the Families are the “authorities” which no one, religious or political, can prevent them to pursue the Mission.
3. Families in GIN-AWA
· To concretize Gin-awa as feature of the Kingdom of God, Families are challenged to intensify and saturate the implementation of Tignay-Misyon Gin-awa focusing on food security of every family in the Purok, potable communal water system, preventive herbal medicine, bio-organic farming, safeguarding the environment, youth formation and collective mobilization to pursue peoples agenda.
· Tignay-Misyon Gin-awa implemented by the Famiies in the Purok is attaining economic independence, restores cultural integrity and political liberty. This is alternative to the confinement of religious institution where the possibility of censorship is unavoidable. Tignay-Misyon Gin-awa is empowerment and liberation of the Poor.
4. AGTUTUBO in the MISSION.
· For the Mission to be incorporated as a way of life and culture, the Mission consciousness must be bequeathed to the Youths in the Purok, not the SK which has been adulterated by political lordship.
· Youth must be given due formation and training. They must be given important roles in the Purok (BEC) and in the Parish. This will harness their potentials as future and dynamism of the Mission.
· Youths must be equipped with the basic skills on how to use the power of digital multi-media for the advantage of the Prophetic Mission.
J. Fidelity to the Radical Gospel.
1. Conflict as Essential to the Mission.
· When Jesus denounced political tutelage and announced the Good News of Liberation, he invited conflict with the political and religious authorities. Conflict must be accepted as essential of the Kingdom Mission. The Political lordship shall be unsettled by the proclamation of the Mission stance. Therefore conflicts shall rise. But these conflicts must be treated as part and impact of the Mission.
2. Suffering as Price of the Mission.
· Consequent to conflict may be suffering. But suffering and persecution in the name of the Gospel shall be accepted as price of the Mission. Jesus suffered and died because of the Kingdom Mission. Families who follow Jesus in the Kingdom Mission must also pay the price of persecution even death in the name of the Kingdom.
3. God of History Prevails.
· The God of History reveals Himself in the current events of life. The God of History is the Supreme Judge who will say which one is correct and incorrect as regards the BEC that is implemented in Sinait and St. Mark Vicariate.
· Jesus was persecuted, harassed, humiliated, indicted, insulted in a mock trial and was sentenced to die by crucifixion.
· But Jesus resurrected. He rose from the dead. By His resurrection, Jesus conquered the power of evil personified by political lordship. The Kingdom of God prevailed. This must be the assurance for the Families in the Purok to remain Faithful to the Kingdom Mission.
The evolution of BEC in the 3 Mission Journeys of San Vicente, Tagudin and St. Mark Vicariate, was indeed a manifestation of the transformative power of the Radical Gospel. The Mission was anchored on the dehumanizing social situations and focused on liberation of the Poor. The Mission was adherent to the radical Gospel of Jesus.
The Mission distributed political lordship launched its attack to dismount the Mission. Political lordship influenced religious leadership to censor and water down the Mission. Religious leadership declared the BEC Mission as lacking in spirituality”. Religious leadership unseated a Parish Priest, reshuffled assistant Priests to detrail the implantation and expansion of the radical Mission consciousness.
Political lordship and religious leadership might have thought that they succeeded in censoring the Mission. However, their perspective actions simply led to a clearer Mission strategy and focus, now the Mission has been transferred to the Families of the Purok. The Mission now is free from any pressure and censorship. The Mission now is gearing towards the Kingdom of God.
MY END NOTE:
a. My Apology:
In writing this, my only intention was to put my experience into a literature so that the future will see the events in a liberating perspective. I was a part of these Mission Journeys. I have my own account and independent understanding of what transpired in the course of these Journeys. My views and understanding may be disagreeable to others. Let it be. I didn’t have the slightest intention to malign anyone and any institution.