" The congregation's mandate
to evangelize the poor is directed to the liberation and salvation of the
whole human person. The members have the duty of preaching the Gospel explicitly
and of showing solidarity with the poor by promoting their fundamental
rights to justice and freedom. The means employed must be effective and
at the same time consistent with the Gospel"
Redemptorist constitution no. 5
The Redemptorists in southern Philippines
have been actively involved in the social apostolate: in the work for development,
justice and peace, and the integrity of creation.
In the late sixties and early seventies,
the Redemptorists became more aware of the need to respond to the problems
of poverty and injustice in the country. They helped set up cooperatives
in Tacloban and Dumaguete.
During the martial law period, the Redemptorists
were at the forefront of the struggle against the Marcos dictatorial regime.
Some Redemptorists were involved in the pioneering work of community
organizing -- especially the urban poor and rural communities. Others were
involved with cause-oriented groups. Consequently, some Redemptorists like
Fr. Yusingco, were detained. Because of his involvement with cause-oriented
groups, Fr. Rudy Romano was abducted by military intelligence and he has
been missing ever since. In their homilies, the Redemptorists preached
against the injustices and violation of human rights.
Because of this we were referred to us
"RedempTerrorists." The monastery in Davao was strafed twice by paramilitary
During this period, the Redemptorist parishes
continued to address the problem of poverty by setting socio-economic and
livelihood projects, community-based health programs, etc.
During the post-EDSA period, the justice
and peace desk continued to be active in monitoring human rights violation.
It helped set up a network of pre-schools among the children of the poor
affected by the armed conflict .It also got involved with the Badjaos.
The Redemptorist mission team in Mindanao helped organize the people of
San Fernando, Bukidnon in their struggle against the logging operations
in the municipality. This paved the way for the total log ban in the province
of Bukidnon. The mission team also helped organize the rural communities
in Zamboang in their struggle against the dam project and mining operations.
At the height of President Estrada's total
war against the Muslim in Mindanao, the Redemptorists in Davao were involved
in various peace initiatives, organizing the peace caravan, peace camp,
vigils and fasting for peace and engaging in Christian-Muslim dialogue.
The Redemptorists in various parts of the country also participated in
the protest actions that led to the ouster of Estrada.
Recently, the justice and peace desk was
transformed into the Social Concern Center that would monitor the social
concern programs undertaken by different apostolic units, respond to the
needs of the units, and initiate province-wide activities related to social
concern, and work out a system where the province could take a more active
prophetic stand on urgent issues affecting the people.
In recent times the Redemptorists and their
lay cooperators have been engaged in responding to a variety of social
issues that include the following:
providing medicine to the poor and availability
of doctors and medical personnel for deworming, blood pressure reading,
fecalysis, blood letting, blood typing, and setting up community-based
health programs (promote herbal medicine)
responding to the needs of evacuees during
providing assistance to groups organized in
past mission teams engaged in ecological and sustainable agricultural projects
assistance to scavengers
pig dispersal program
setting up a Women Apostolate to assist women
in crisis, and help set up Income Generating Projects (in some cases, in
collaboration with local NGOs)
assisting the urban poor in the parish in
terms of land acquisition or resolving land conflicts