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SOCIAL CONCERN MINISTRY
" 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 groups.
 

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:

  • jail apostolate
  • 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 military encounters
  • providing assistance to groups organized in past mission teams engaged in ecological and sustainable agricultural projects
  • assistance to scavengers
  • micro-lending assistance
  • 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
  • scholarship program