Tag Archives: networking

Open letter to our colleagues and partners in welfare and development endeavors

Today starts the celebration of the 14th NGO PO Week in Iloilo. Spearheaded by the Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs (ICON), the annual celebration is done in partnership with the provincial and city government to give due recognition to the role of Non-government organizations (NGOs) and People’s Organizations (POs), and other civil society organizations in nation building. It has been institutionalized by Provincial Ordinance No. 2000-042 and City Regulation Ordinance 2001-190.

ICON  2013

This year’s theme is “Reclaim our Noble Heritage: Sustain the Power of Networking.” It was supposedly intended to respond to the multi-billion pork barrel scam that has besmirched the noble aim and name of NGOs. In fact, the planned highlight of the celebration is the big gathering of NGOs and POs in the city and province of Iloilo to tackle the current national crisis brought about by the pork barrel scam. As well, as the subsequent backlash even to genuine organizations that have been consistently serving the marginalized sectors of the society. At the planning stage, we felt the need to strengthen our ranks through linkages and networking to safeguard the organizations from fly-by-night ones. We consider the crisis an opportunity to bring into the public consciousness the noble heritage and role of NGOs in nation building.

In fact, in a statement published after the finalization of the plan last November 2, ICON has deplored the use of fake NGOs in a conspiracy to steal taxpayer’s money which besmirched the noble aim and name of non-government organizations . The Coalition has observed two angles in the current controversy- the systemic graft and corruption practices and the role of the NGOs.

We considered the act a double injury. The large -scale misuse of the people’s money is outrageous. Siphoning money out of government coffers thru fake NGOs adds insult to injury. For it besmirch the good image established by the genuine NGOs for decades. Worse, it provides justification to some government officials and local chief executives who do not feel comfortable with the watchful eyes of NGOs and their seeming intervention as provided for by the local government code in the Philippines. For indeed, one way of averting the systemic robbery in our government is to involve genuine NGOs in monitoring projects.

MASIPAG Visayas handles the relief operation of the Philippine-Misereor Partnership, Inc.-Panay Cluster to famers in San Dionisio, iloilo

However, as we started our information-dissemination campaign Typhoon Yolanda had overtaken us, as it battered the Central Philippines. We almost forgot our plans as respective NGO members started their initial response in the form of relief operation. It was just last week, when the board of directors reviewed the theme and the activities for the week-long celebration. We have decided to continue with the theme, as this current crisis provides the same opportunity to reclaim our noble heritage. Such nobility is manifested, among others, in the quick response of NGOs to the recent needs, havoc, and ravages brought about by Typhoon Yolanda to supplement the government’s intervention.

We have simplified the celebration, though, due to pressing needs of the time which have also made our officers and member organizations busy in respective relief operation and rehabilitation plans. The following are the activities we decided to retain out of the previous plan:

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December 2, 2:00 pm Opening of Photo Exhibit, Robinsons Place,                                                              Iloilo City
December 3 – 8:30 am, Forum on Volunteerism, 4th floor                                                                              Henry Luce III Libraries, Central Philippine University
December 6- 8:30 am NGO-PO Fellowship and Capability Building                                                           Seminar, 4th floor Henry Luce III Libraries, CPU
December 7- Advocacy- Dialogue with NSTP students in various                                                             universities and colleges

The supposed highlight of the celebration on December 6 will be spent, instead, to discuss how we can maximize our participation  in the  on-going relief operation and  how we can sustain linkages and networking in helping in the rehabilitation or rebuilding process. In this way, our theme will still be relevant in responding to the crises in our country in various fronts or aspects. Despite the  crises, let us continue to celebrate this milestone of networking in Iloilo.

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PADAYON: Our Life Journey

PADAYON was the word that capped the successful conduct of the 68th National Assembly of the Convention Baptist Ministers Association (CBMA) on January 25, 2009. Inspired by the overwhelming responses of pastors on the CBMA leadership and governance, as well as the advocacies on changes in the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) politics, systems and governance, I was looking for a punch line/ clincher to sustain the momentum in delivering the concluding remarks.

Then came the message from my *Ihado when the worship leader innovatively asked the participants to write on the provided piece of paper, message to a particular person of choice. All of the notes I received have common message of encouragement to “keep up the good work.” My ihado gave me a note with one word which captured all other messages. Subsequently, I used it to officially close the National Convention of CBMA: PADAYON

The second time I received the word was during my 55th birthday celebration when this same ihado sent me text greetings. It was just the time I was looking for a title or a framework of our life journey and the title of my dream book.

PADAYON encompasses life’s story

Padayon is an Ilonggo term which means continue. In deeper sense, it connotes moving/going on (or never give up) despite adversaries or adversities. In this blog, PADAYON serves as framework or acrostic of my life’s experiences and the lessons learned from life. Each area or sub topic will be discussed in details in the succeeding blogs.

Antipodes of life’s journey

After undergoing the process of ordination which culminated, as a personal gift, on my Golden birthday on May 27, 2004,I committed myself to do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven, no matter what. Indeed, it was a golden year. On the 7th month that followed, I was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Social Workers of the Philippines. For me, it was a vindication of the awful experiences in coping up with life’s struggle when I first committed myself fulltime to the cause of Filipino people which dramatically changed the course of my life. It was my last semester in the seminary in 1984 when I decided to stop schooling and dedicated myself to the service of the struggling Filipino people for freedom from the shackles of the dictatorial rule. To what extent will remain a precious and lasting memory for me and my former comrades on the beauty of service and God’s abiding presence in protecting His people.

Doing God’s will is dangerous to your health

Engrossed with my study of the Lord’s Prayer vis-à-vis its relevance to our lives as far as development issues are concerned, I found myself in stressful condition and got sick. Realizing that the prayer is not essentially Lord’s Prayer but a model prayer (for the real Lord’s Prayer is found in John 17), I started to put it into practice in my relationship with God and fellow human beings. Just as I prayed “…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” I made myself available for their realization. I tried to seek & do things in proper way; be on the side of the truth and stand for it without fear or favor; advocate and work for that which brings or gives life, not destruction. That is where my trouble started.

Adversities: Stepping Stones towards wholeness

It was when I was confronted with adversities beyond my control that I have learned painful (yet wholesome) lessons in life which ushered me to a new holistic well being. There appears to be a pattern in my health condition every 17 years. In 1975, I was seriously ill causing me to be completely bedridden for 3 months before gradual recovery which lasted for a year. It recurred in 1992 when at the peak of delivering lecture in an evening class, I experienced short breath and almost collapsed. But the worst came in the last quarter of 2009 when the attack took place in a remote area while doing volunteer work.

Yardstick for all of life is still the Bible

Yardstick has been used metaphorically to refer to anything which serves as a test or standard of measurement, comparison or judgment. It serves as a reference point against which other things can be evaluated. For more than one year of struggle and suffering due to my health condition, the only companion that never leave me is the bible. And in my daily reading and reflections (sometimes almost the whole day), I learned lessons I have never seen before. In succeeding blogs, I will give the details on how the bible is the yardstick for all of our life.

Opportunities come in the fullness of time

No matter how I console myself, as family, friends and colleagues do, that God is just preparing me for something big through the illness (and subsequent rest), I seem not to enjoy the thought. Not until recently I realized that opportunities, indeed come in the fullness of time.

Networking: Essence of the Church as Body of Christ

Having experienced the interplay of our body’s subsystems in causing sickness and wellness, I become interested in studying the mechanics of our body. I have learned how every cell contributes to the body’s functions and dynamism and its capacity to heal itself naturally, as designed by God. Relating this to my study on networking of NGOs (my masteral thesis), I see the beauty and relevance of the biblical comparison of the church as body of Christ. Ironically, it is the business world, information technology, development advocates that maximize the benefit of networking which should have been the forte of Christians in their ministry.

*Ihado is an Ilonggo term referring to wedding  godson

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Article first published  as The Journey Framework on PADAYON. The author is in the process of transferring posts from other blogs to  converge on this official website.

Networking: A development strategy

My fondness for the concept of networking began while conducting a study on the subject as development strategy of non-government organizations (NGOs) for my Master of Social Work thesis in the University of the Philippines- Diliman. Since then I have internalized the learnings and live with it in my whatever development endeavors I engage in.

Networking has been used by development workers and organizers as a strategy to strengthen their ranks especially during the times they were faced with the problem of either co-optation or reprisal from the government and other traditional power holders that want to maintain the status quo. Moreover, they have to deal with the proliferation of pseudo NGOs that undermine the sector’s credibility. Set up to take advantage of funding sources for dubious or narrow purposes, they are fly- by- night organizations.

Faced with such problems and threats to their credibility, NGOs have seen the need to establish linkages and networks among themselves and with other sectors of society. Melgrito (1994) has defined networking as coordination among people, groups or organizations of various interests and orientation, working together as in a chain so as to function in a specific manner. It takes place when organizations link up together and make concerted efforts for mutual advantage and greater effectiveness towards the achievement of a common goal.

As a strategy, networking has been used by many sectors in pursuing development endeavors. Networks link local efforts for more effective lobbying and advocacy and provide venues for the exchange of experiences and resources between similar NGOs. A proper coordination of NGO activities, in networking, helps prevent unnecessary duplication or overlapping of development effort. NGOs are also protected from any form of threat because of their collective nature, while they police their own ranks through common code of conduct.

In the Philippines, NGOs have reached the highest level of unity in networking during the launching of the Caucus of Development NGOs (CODE NGOs) in 1990. This solidarity, however, did not happen overnight. It was a culmination of decades of common struggle similar to what other NGOs in other countries experienced in the course of historical development characterized by diverse intensity and highlights.

It is interesting to note the participation of our pastors and churches in networking in the Philippines. Historical record shows the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and the Ecumenical Center for Development (ECD) were among the pioneers in the formation of CODE NGOs. Alegre (1996), in his book Trends and Traditions; Challenges and Choice, acknowledged the significant role of pastors and churches during the Coping with Repression, Carving a Niche (1972-1978) stage in the history.

This is the time when the late President Marcos used a hard line stance to establish a New Society. Subsequently, the NGO community was included in a systematic crack down on opposition groups. All legal attempts at organizing for popular empowerment were paralyzed. NGOs responded to the situation in various ways. While some went underground to wage armed struggle, others were either coopted or forced to lie low. After an initial wave of repression, those that did not join the underground movement continued with their commitment through institutional work, which eventually came to be known as NGO work.

Three significant developments in the networking took place during this period. In 1974, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) came together and adopted a statement defining the priorities and strategies of the development work of the church and its related organization. This development resulted to the formation of a body similar to NASSA- the Commission on Development and Social Concerns. Four years after, as an offshoot of the split of PECCO, a fellowship of pastors and lay workers to assist churches in development efforts was organized into a network known as the Ecumenical Center for Development (ECD).

The united effort of Philippine NGOs evolved from relief and reconstruction work to welfare activities geared toward anti- communist inspired social reform. Affected by the social context, which witnessed worldwide questioning of development approach, Philippine NGOs found themselves doing grassroots organizing for transformation. Such approach, however, faced a momentary halt when confronted by a repressive regime that used an iron-fist policy in dealing with oppositions.

Overcoming the threat, NGOs became instrumental in the qualitative growth of the organized mass movement, which culminated in the EDSA phenomenon. Thereafter, NGOs have maintained their legitimacy and prominence in Philippine society. The gains of networking in the national scene inspired the NGOs to translate it to the regional and provincial level.

We need more politics to sustain our network

Now that we have reached the 13th year of celebration, we are certain to sustain the activity in the coming years. For number 13 has been considered both unlucky and lucky number. Countries around the world associated the number 13 with either luck or disaster. Let the debates go on. Regardless of the result, the fact remains that we have survived the 13th year which, for me, assures us of a bright future.

Slide1For the past 12 years we have experienced both worlds – the peak and the lowest condition of the Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs (ICON) advocacy work particularly in spearheading the NGO PO Week celebration. To quote the wedding vow, we were together in “times of plenty and times of want, sickness and health, joy and sorrow, failure and triumph.” There was a time we had two full time staff, at other times, none.

ICON is a story of struggles – from the lobbying stage for the institutionalization of the non-government organization s and people’s organizations (NGO PO) Week to the subsequent pioneering days in organizing the network. We also struggled to sustain both the coalition and politics in the government.

A review of the history will help us understand the state of our coalition, learn lessons from the past to guide us in another decade of development. Circumstances, indeed, had determined the nature of the organization. Looking back, I realized that what sustains us for years is POLITICS. It has been defined in various ways to capture the complexities of relations of people in the society involving authority or power. Some even thought of politics as sort of “intrigue or maneuvering within a political unit or group in order to gain control or power.”

ICON 1

While we might have experienced these elements in our 12 years of struggle, I want to qualify what I mean by politics that sustains our network. It is an acrostic/acronym which capsulizes the sustaining elements in our organization, as follows: Participation, Optimism, Lobbying, Integrity, Tact, Interdependence, Coordination, and Spirituality.

Participation

Historically, the NGO PO Week, which gave birth to ICON was a by product of participation. When seemingly moderate organizations decided to take an active role in the mainstream of politics in the development council, which was dominated by veteran leaders, and subsequently captured the slot for the civil society organizations representative.

Thereafter, we have sustained our activities throughout the years, as well as our relationship, because of your participation. As development workers and empowerment advocates, we share common understanding of participatory approach and apply such in our network.

Optimism

Our existence as network has been characterized by ups and downs. The task to convince veteran organizers of various persuasions to form the coalition and sustain it had been taxing and wearisome. We also struggled to sustain both the coalition and politics in the government. We even had the foretaste of tug-of-war of politicians at Capitol during elections.But we succeeded against all odds because of our optimism. Such optimism will continue to guide us for another decade of struggle.

Lobbying

An effective tool but less applied by NGOs because of its association with traditional politics, lobbying sustains our relationship with government partners. The provision of the local government code for our participation in the development councils and local special bodies become a sort of leverage in our lobbying. Having represented the NGOs in the Executive Committee of the provincial development council for many years, I have learned how to maximize such privilege in lobbying.

Integrity

ICONWith pride I can say that, as a whole, ICON has maintained its integrity. Of course, there were tensions and even skirmishes among officers in the past but as a network our integrity remains intact as far as relationship with the government and the public is concerned. We were never accused of using others for our own needs or advantage. Neither did we allow our network to be used by others, much more the politicians. We always work in partnership with others for mutual advantage.

Tact

Our delicate condition as loose organization and task in coalition building has developed in us the skill to handle or deal with difficult or delicate situations. We have experienced crises but handled it with tact. I can still recall an instance when some of the member organizations protested against an electric company related to power supply and used our office for mobilization which created friction from other members who were supportive of the company. More important than citing other cases is the fact we were able to handle all these with tact and further developed our skills in handling more issues.

Interdependence

I always relate our relationship in the network to the beauty of the rainbow which is an excellent representation of systems theory. While there are only three primary colors (red, yellow, blue) there is a multiplication of colors when these link, interact, and overlap. Try to separate one from the other, and the beauty of rainbow is gone. Yes, it is our interdependence that gives color to our relationship, no mater how fragile it may be.

Coordination

The nature of our network is ambivalent. Since we are not implementor of projects we do not have much fund. On the other hand, we are not a threat to other organizations as we just facilitate and coordinate the welfare and development activities of NGOs and POs, as well as the government agencies in order to maximize resources.

Spirituality

By spirituality, I do not necessarily mean religiosity. Although we have religious sectors in our network since its founding. In fact, their presence have been instrumental in sustaining our integrity. However, spirituality is meant here as relationship among people, the non human environment and God. Thus, spirituality is eclectic and inclusive than religion. It encourages diversity and encompasses other relationship and beliefs. It is spirituality that serves as the well spring of our voluntary endeavors.

Yes, it’s  politics (participation, optimism,lobbying, integrity, tact, interdependence, coordination, and spirituality) that sustained our network for a dozen of years. We need more of these  politics  to sustain us in the next decades of networking towards development.
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Message delivered during the ICON Assembly of Leaders on December 6, 2012 at  the Conference Room, University Research Center, Central Philippine University to culminate the 13th NGO PO Week celebration in Iloilo.

Reliving the spirit of EDSA

This article should have been posted few days after the 26th EDSA Anniversary, had it not been affected by my hectic schedule. Although quite late, as intended, still it has timeless relevance.

Last month’s celebration of EDSA Revolution seemed to lack the cohesive element which typically characterized the people power legacy. Rather it was highlighted with exchanges of innuendos from unofficial representatives of major players in anti dictatorship struggle, reflecting a divided nation. We find on one side the President, a son of two symbols of EDSA, in his relentless drive to get rid of perceived blocks in his matuwid na daan platform specifying one in the judiciary. Rallying his call were some militant groups leaders indicating “a new type of people power” against impeached Chief Justice.

On the other hand, outspoken archbishop emeritus Oscar Cruz warned that President Aquino could himself be the subject of a “people power” revolt. Stressing the role of the Church in previous People Power movements, Cruz, in a phone interview reported in the Inquirer.net, warned the president of his downfall “if he continued to offend churches and religious faiths.”

Meanwhile, another militant group made snide remarks on President Aquino’s Edsa anniversary speech as nothing but a rehash of his previous “daang matuwid” (straight path) rhetoric. Pointing out lapses on the government in addressing the pre EDSA Revolution issues, the group was not optimistic with the present leadership. Still they joined the commemoration of EDSA Anniversary as it represents the unfulfilled Filipino people’s dreams and aspirations.

Indeed, for years, the question persists whether the spirit of EDSA is still alive after the unprecedented phenomenon more than two and a half decades ago. More so, with the present skirmishes and political bickering in various branches of our government.

I believe the spirit of EDSA is alive. But it is overshadowed by bigotry and exclusivism that try to domesticate the encompassing spirit of truth, struggle for change and advocacy for development. The over arching and encompassing spirit of EDSA mystery cannot and will never be domesticated. No person nor group can domesticate the EDSA Revolution. Even the so called EDSA heroes cannot claim exclusive right to the historical and mystical event in the Philippines. For the spirit of EDSA is inclusive. It is above all and encircles all.

I love to relate the beauty of EDSA Revolution with the systems theory which was used as framework in my thesis on Networking as a Development Strategy. The key concepts of the systems theory are wholeness, relationship, and homeostasis. Wholeness implies that the product of interaction by the elements within the system is greater than the additive sums of the separate parts. The concept of relationship asserts the importance of the pattern and structure of elements in the system, equally important as the elements themselves. Homeostasis suggests that most living systems seek a balance to maintain and preserve the system.

The systems theory focuses on communication patterns and the transactions and relationships among parts. As pointed out by Hartman (1970), the relationship among parts and the whole are of prime interest when considering the structure of a social system. This relationship is relatively stable. Sometimes, the relationship between systems is referred to as network.

The beauty of systems theory is represented by the rainbow. While there are only three primary colors (red, yellow, blue) there is a multiplication of colors when these link, interact, and overlap. Try to separate one from the other, and the beauty of rainbow is gone.

So with EDSA. It is a culmination of respective struggles participated in by the basic masses who since time immemorial always take the lead as they are ones affected. Then comes various sectors of diverse orientation, status, political and ideological leanings, colors and shapes. Youth, professionals, church people, businessmen and women, government officials, military and others. All have contributed their share in shaping the Philippine history. Try to isolate one, and the beauty of the event is gone.

Movement for change and development in any field of endeavor is often hampered by bigotry and exclusivism. Essential issues are sidetracked or left behind to give way to the struggle for supremacy misled by an illusion that one has the sole reservoir of truth and best approach in any given situation. It is only when one realizes the need to link with each other that the beauty of unity in diversity is seen like that of the rainbow.

Dream Book

The title reminds me of tutorial sessions with my father when I decided to join him in his trade after graduation from High School. Unable to pursue college immediately in the university of my dream (Central Philippine University), I did not entertain any other alternative. Hence, I decided to be trained by my father on the mechanics of numbers games, Daily Double, popularly known as jueteng in the our country.

He was considered mayor koredor during that period, supervising all the game collectors under him in our town. It was sort of lucrative job except when, periodically, the government stepped up its drive against illegal gambling. Ironically, my father was not a gambler. It was his means of livelihood that raised us 5 children who are all professionals, now, sans our youngest brother who went ahead in the beyond.

I could still recall how he meticulously taught me the mechanics of the trade every night. From equating the bettor’s win with the amount of bet and the number combination to the interpretation of dreams. He gave me a dream book which I read and memorize like a bible or dictionary in order to interpret the dreams of a bettor into a winning number combination.

My father, indeed, was a good mentor because I easily mastered the craft and together with my elder brother became his disciples for some years. In fact, I learned to love the job and would have considered it a profession, had it not been for two major accidents that forced me to enter a bible school. Details of these will be included in my Dream Book.

Such recollection took place early this morning when I reviewed previous posts on my first blog which celebrated its first anniversary yesterday. Dubbed PADAYON: Our Life Journey, it serves as journal of my experiences to inspire readers to continue the commitment in service, no matter what.

PADAYON is an Ilonggo term which means continue. In deeper sense, it connotes moving/going on (or never give up) despite adversaries or adversities. PADAYON encompasses my life’s story. The word served as Journey Framework as posted exactly a year ago today on my pioneer blog. While reading it, my motivation to write the book has been revived.

PADAYON was the slogan that capped my successful 6 year- stint as president of our national association of Baptist pastors, the Convention Baptist Ministers Association (CBMA). It was conceived a year before the culmination of my term. Inspired by the overwhelming responses of pastors on the CBMA leadership and governance, as well as the advocacies on changes in the CPBC politics, systems and governance, I was looking for a punch line/ clincher to sustain the momentum in delivering the concluding remarks for that particular assembly.

Then came the message from my *Ihado when the worship leader innovatively asked the participants to write on the provided piece of paper, message to a particular person of choice. All of the notes I received have common message of encouragement to “keep up the good work.” My ihado gave me a note with one word which captured all other messages. Subsequently, I used it to officially close our national assembly. Thereafter, it has become our by word or slogan.

PADAYON serves as framework or acrostic of my life’s experiences and the lessons learned from life. This will be the content of my dream book. Each letter represents the title of the seven chapters of the book. Incidentally, 7 is my lucky number, a manifestation of how I have internalized my past experiences in the world of gambling.

In life’s journey, I realized even those unlikely experiences in past life were similarly useful. Like risk taking, from gambling, and the skills in arranging/organizing cards, mahjong tiles to win despite their weak/losing state. Likewise, calculating combination and predicting occurrence in the numbers games like jueteng. These were further honed and given social component in my involvement with the people’s struggle and in practice of social work profession.

The seven chapters of my dream book will include the following:

Personal circumstances: Life’s experiences and transformation.
Antipodes of life’s journey: Pains and Gains in the ministry and service
Doing God’s will is dangerous:Perils of standing for the way, truth & life
Adversities: Stepping stone towards wholeness (blessings in disguise)
Yardstick of living: The relevance of bible in life’s journey
Opportunities come in the fullness of time: How to grab them
Networking: Essence of the Church as Body of Christ

*Wedding godson

(to be continued)

KATIPAN Hall: A multi- faceted testament

Indeed, Katipan has become a symbol of solidarity among pastors. It bespeaks of the realization of collective faith and action. The KATIPAN Hall also stands as monument of the gains in networking. Pastors have exhausted their linkages and network in order to complete the project. But it was not merely another successful infrastructure project. It has become a spiritual warfare in reclaiming the legacy of the Camp Higher Ground as icon of serenity, spirituality and renewal. Its presence has attracted other organizations to resume retreats, seminar, conferences and other religious activities. But there is more to the Katipan legacy. It has brought our association to the door step of the CPBC leadership and politics.

Never did it occur in our wildest dream that our association would engage in an infrastructure project. More so, under my term as president. My social work orientation and past organizing experience taught me to be people-centered in approach to development, not on infrastructure. However, circumstances led us to this new challenge.

Katipan Hall in 2006

It started from an invitation of the Pastors’ Kids (PK) Association to hold our National Assembly at Camp Higher Ground in 2006 for free. At that time, they were starting to develop the Camp Higher Ground after the mandate to manage this neglected treasure of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. Few months later, the Convention leadership rescinded their action, forcing the PK to cancel its goodwill.

Having set our preparation on the venue, our Association decided to take matters in our hands. With the projected cost within our reach, we undertook the project. Only to found out later, there was an overly underestimation of the cost. Upon expert advice, we opted to improve the design with permanent materials due to susceptibility of the area to termites. Exhausting our own resources, we engaged in various fund campaign and use our network, both personal and organizational. Concerts, dinner for a cause, solicitation, loans were but a few of the strategies we undertook.

Like the boy in the parable of the feeding of multitude, our initiative, though viewed with reservation, soon gained support. Touched by our commitment to share meager means, other organizations followed suit. Soon the spark got the fire burning. The Pastor Kids’ commitment to develop the Camp Higher Ground was rekindled. Our NGO network was also tapped, as well as linkages with the government officials in the city and province of Iloilo. The Gilopez Kabayao Foundation showed support by making our association the beneficiary of their concerts. But the bulk of the donation came from pastors.Pastors abroad sent their contribution. Rev. Danilo Borlado mobilized the church in Hongkong to shoulder the painting cost. The rest is history. After fours year, the collective faith and action was realized. The Katipan Hall was finished- a monument of gains in networking.

Beyond the construction issue, the Katipan Hall was transformed into a spiritual warfare in reclaiming the legacy of the Camp Higher Ground. The place, which serves as venue for camping, conventions, retreats, conferences, has been a living witness to transformation of lives brought about by past experiences in the Camp. It is considered an icon of serenity, spirituality and renewal. However, the place had been abused and neglected for the past decades. Seldom was it used for the aforementioned purposes. Through the project, pastors were able to reclaim the spiritual heritage of the Camp. Thereafter, its beauty and usefulness has been gradually restored.

Moreover, Katipan has brought our association into the mainstream of politics in our denomination. While some pastors have been involved in the CPBC politics, seldom does our association, as a whole, directly participate. But things have changed because of the Katipan project. There was a shift in my personal stand to dissuade pastors to leave the CPBC politics to lay leaders and focus in our association. Every time we were confronted with difficulties in sustaining the project, I recalled the culprit. The leadership flaw, as manifested in the rescindment of the Board in their approval of Pastors Kids management of the Camp on flimsy ground. We could not have experienced the suffering had the Pastors Kids continue.

I then decided to enter the CPBC politics during the May 2006 election running as independent. The pastors did not fail me, some crossing group lines/affiliations. I won in that election which was a show of force and money of organized groups within the CPBC. It was marred with block voting and boat buying, if not vote buying. Thereafter, I advocated for the pastors cause resulting to some significant changes beneficial for pastors.

Katipan in Katipan

Katipan Hall in 2011