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Adrian Dominican Sisters Learn of Justice Issues in Philippines

August 16, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – One of the focuses of ministry for many Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates is advocating for social justice in a wide range of issues. Adrian Dominican Sisters from the United States had a special opportunity on August 2 to learn about the justice issues facing their Sisters in the Philippines, members of the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter.

Sister Antonette Lumbang, OP – Justice Promoter for the Remedies Chapter – gave a presentation on three key justice issues that her nation faces, as well as the responses to those issues by the Sisters of the Remedies Chapter. Sisters Maria Socorro Garcia, OP, and Lourdes Pamintuan, OP also took part in the presentation.

After a brief description of the history and geography of her South Asian nation – made up of 7,700 islands – Sister Antonette explained through words, videos, and slides three key issues facing her nation today. 

War against Drugs. After taking office in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte launched a war against drugs, in which suspected drug dealers and users are killed by the police without due process. Sister Antonette noted that thousands of people have been killed in drug raids – “mostly poor or simple users,” while the major players in drug trafficking have remained at large. While drugs have been a problem in the Philippines and enforcement of drug laws is an important step, “the issue here is that you don’t just kill people without due process.”

A related issue is the declaration of martial law in May 2017 in Marawi, a city in the southern region of Mindanao as a result of armed conflict between the military, security forces, and ISIS terrorists. Sister Antonette noted some of the results: people killed and wounded in the siege; a greater likelihood of arrest; and the displacement of thousands of civilians.

The re-imposition of the death penalty. About a decade after it was abolished, the death penalty in the Philippines is coming closer to being reinstated. The bill to reinstate it has passed in the House and we’re “waiting for the results in the Senate,” Sister Antonette said.  

In response to this violence, Sister Antonette said, the Remedies Sisters have been protesting through their own Walk for Life in their northern region of Pampanga, supporting the Catholic Church’s stance against any policies that oppose the sanctity of life. 

“We’re making a conscious effort in our schools to raise the consciousness of the students” on the issue of the death penalty, Sister Antonette said. The Sisters are also involved in demonstrations against the death penalty. Sister Antonette was among a group of Sisters from her Chapter who lobbied against the death penalty at the House of Representatives in January.

Climate Change. “This is the area where our Chapter has been most involved,” Sister Antonette said, noting that the Philippines has already been impacted by climate change. Families are already impoverished in the Philippines, she said, but climate change has added to their burden. “Climate change will severely affect our future growth and put our region at risk.” Her country has already experienced severe typhoons in recent years. Because of the increased temperatures, typhoons and floods will become even more common in the Philippines, Sister Antonette explained.

The Sisters in the Remedies Chapter have been involved in mitigating climate change in a number of ways. Some Sisters have signed the Laudate Si Pledge to respond to Pope Francis’ encyclical on environment by “praying for and with creation, living more simply, and advocating to protect our common home.” 

The Sisters have also responded in practical ways: through community farming, work towards zero-waste management, and setting up windmills in two of the Sisters’ communities to generate wind power.

Sister Antonette brought her update on justices issues in the Philippines to Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates in the Detroit and Chicago areas later in the week. 

 

Feature photo at top: Sister Antonette Lumbang, OP, addresses Adrian Dominican Sisters at the Motherhouse about the major justice issues facing the people of the Philippines.


Adrian Dominican Sisters Raise Funds to Expand Catholic School in Philippines

January 10, 2017, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines – The Adrian Dominican Sisters are starting the new year with an eye to the future - specifically, to the future of more than 200 students and their future classmates at Dominican School of Angeles City. 

The school, located in the impoverished Barangay (village) of Mining, Angeles City, opened six years ago with three kindergarten students. Today, the need and desire for a Catholic school in the area is evident as the enrollment now stands at 238 students in grades kindergarten through 10. 

With its rapidly growing enrollment and the need to add 11th and 12th grades, an additional three-story building is being constructed to house six more classrooms and spaces large enough for school Masses and physical education. 

The estimated cost of the project is $1.2 million.

Situated near the Clark Freeport Zone – the area surrounding the former U.S. Clark Airforce Base – the school was opened by the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies, based in San Fernando, Pampanga, shortly before they merged with the Adrian Dominican Sisters in November 2011. The area has been dubbed as the “entertainment capital” of the Philippines, and its children are at risk of becoming involved in the sex trade or worse, human trafficking.

“The school aims not only to provide the children with an excellent, affordable, faith-filled education, but also to instill in them the social justice values of the Catholic Church,” explained Sister Zenaida Nacpil, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter. With their education at Dominican School of Angeles City, the students can become “bearers of a faith tradition that, as Pope Francis reminds us, upholds the dignity of every person, recognizes our integral connectedness to the whole Earth community, and seeks the common good for all God’s people.”

Sister Arsenia Marie Puno, OP, guidance counselor at the school, spoke with wonder at the ability of the children’s parents to pay the minimal tuition that the school charges. The children come from low-income families, with parents who hold down humble jobs: carpenters, welders, marketplace vendors, and public transportation drivers. In addition, there is a lack of resources such as clean water.

“They are happy families in the midst of a difficult situation,” Sister Arsenia said. “It is amazing how, with their deep faith in God, they are able to send their children to school with so many challenges in life.”

These challenges make the Dominican School of Angeles City even more vital for the future of the children and their community. Along with academic training, high school students receive vocational training in areas such as eco-farming, care-giving to the elderly and to children, and computer technology. 

The farmland in front of the school provides jobs for local farmers and produce for school families.

Part of the school’s land has also been dedicated as an ecologically sustainable farm. Local farmers are hired to work the land, and school parents can buy the produce at a reduced price. In addition, a windmill provides energy to pump water from a well to irrigate the farm and to power a filtration system so water can be bottled and sold to community members.

“We have great hopes for the Dominican School of Angeles City and the impact it can have in helping the people of Mining to build a resilient and sustainable community for generations to come,” Sister Zenaida said. 

In spite of their strong faith in God, their dedication, and their resiliency, the families of the Dominican School of Angeles City still need help from their neighbors in the United States. “We are with high hope that you are able to lend us your helping hands,” said Sister Arsenia. “Please help us build a school where more students will be able to attain their dream of a Catholic education in the K-12 program. Please help us with your financial gifts from God for this sacred endeavor.” 

To make a donation, click here or contact the Adrian Dominican Sisters Office of Development at 517-266-3480 or apalmer@adriandominicans.org.

 


 

 

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