Continuing Our Mission in the New Normal JJCICSI ANNUAL REPORT 2020
OUR VISION A Filipino society that upholds the dignity and nature of the human person with a special concern for improving the quality of life of the poor.
OUR MISSION Guided by Catholic social teaching (CST), we catalyze critical reflection, dialogue, and action through advocacyoriented research and capability-building to bring about ethically informed choices and effective responses to poverty.
OUR WORK The John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI) is an organization and community of professional researchers and advocates committed to faith that does justice. Working in solidarity with the Church and various sectors, JJCICSI strives to respond to the issues and concerns of the poor. JJCICSI works primarily to produce advocacy-oriented research in selected issues. This work aims to capacitate our partners in advocacy and to provide them with arguments for public policy proposals that are based both on evidence and on ethical principles. Our ethical framework is drawn from CST, the principles of which can be translated into an ethical grounding that non-Catholics can understand and agree with.
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
he year 2020 was an unusual and difficult year for the country (and for the entire world as well) following the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in March. Our health professionals and workers who took care of the first patients of Covid-19 were suddenly faced with an unknown adversary, resulting in a good number of them catching the disease and even succumbing to it. The total lockdown in the first months of the outbreak and prolonged community quarantines imposed by the government forced many of our local establishments and offices to close and cease operations, and eventually took their toll on the employment and livelihood of both the formal and informal labor sectors. The closure of business operations abroad also caused many of our overseas Filipino workers to return home, adding burden to the rising unemployment in the country. The produce of farmers, fishers and other rural producers could not be transported and marketed to the urban areas due to entry restrictions in the different cities and municipalities all the way to Metro Manila. All of these have resulted in reduced or no income for many of our kababayans, particularly the poor families. By God’s grace and the kindness of our benefactors, our Institute, the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI) has been able to continue its work. Having successfully implemented its three-year project with MISEREOR from 2017 to 2020, JJCICSI received approval of another three-year cycle for the period of July 2020 to June 2023. Under the newly approved project with MISEREOR, the Institute continues to undertake advocacy-oriented research and capability programs and projects, and to promote Catholic social teaching, but has expanded its thrust to encourage its existing and potential partners toward civic engagement and action. The basis of this renewed project with MISEREOR is the Institute’s strategic plan for the years 2020 to 2023. In spite of the hostile circumstances of last year, we are happy to report that JJCICSI was involved in some eight research projects in various phases, released two issues of the Intersect Quick Facts, and two national situationers through our Lights & Shadows, produced commentaries for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Veritas Editoryal, and
We, at JJCICSI, remain steadfast in our work as we look forward to a kinder year, especially for our destitute and marginalized brothers and sisters.
drafted position papers for and with partners. Along with partners such as the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan and the Christian Life Community of the Philippines, we ventured into new ways of promoting the social teaching of the Church such as organizing three webinars (two related to the pandemic, and the third on Pope Francis’s new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti), offering an Advent recollection, and producing an Advent reflection guide in English and Filipino. All these have been accomplished notwithstanding the limitations and difficulties brought about by the pandemic such as the impossibility of doing onsite data gathering activities, and issues with connectivity especially for our poor and remotely-located partner-communities. All of these endeavors have been realized with the support and active participation of our partner non-government organizations and people’s organizations, and funding institutions led by MISEREOR, to whom we are most grateful. The pandemic is not yet over. The citizenry has slowly adapted to the “new normal” while awaiting the full resolution of this health issue. We, at JJCICSI, remain steadfast in our work as we look forward to a kinder year, especially for our destitute and marginalized brothers and sisters.
Yours truly in the Lord,
FR. VICTOR C. DE JESUS, S.J.
OUR PROGRAMS The CHURCH AND SOCIETY PROGRAM aims to deepen the understanding, both among Catholics and in secular society, of the role of the Catholic Church in social transformation based on Catholic social principles. Recognizing the crucial role that the Catholic Church has played in influencing Philippine social, political, and economic issues, the program seeks to foster reflection on the interface between Philippine Church and society. The program derives inspiration from Catholic social teaching and the 1991 Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, which declared the intent of the Catholic Church in the Philippines to become a “Church of the Poor.” The specific objectives of the program are to: promote CST among Church personnel, Catholic lay groups, people’s organizations, and NGOs, with a view to informing their strategies and action for social justice; research on and for the institutional and hierarchical Church, Church organizations, and Church movements in the Philippines, so as to sharpen their engagement in social and political issues, as well as a critical understanding and appreciation of this engagement both within the Church and in secular society; and assist various bodies and groups of the Catholic Church in the Philippines in advocacies consistent with Catholic social principles.
The FAMILY LIFE PROGRAM aims to promote and protect the rights of children, as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and under Philippine laws, and to promote the use of natural family planning methods. Through the conduct of research, advocacy, and capacity building activities, it works with child rights groups/ networks, children and the youth, relevant government agencies that support children and families, and other civil society organizations to: influence policy makers to craft laws and guidelines to promote the rights of children to survival, development, participation, and protection; and provide technical assistance to various groups in relation to children’s rights and natural family planning.
The URBAN POVERTY AND GOVERNANCE PROGRAM addresses urban poverty and its principal manifestation– the lackof access to humane and secure housing. Through research and advocacy, the program aims to empower urban poor groups to work for better urban governance The program’s main objectives are to: improve housing and resettlement policy and practice by engaging government agencies and institutions providing development assistance; collaborate with urban local governments for the development of poverty focused plans and interventions, particularly in housing; assist peoples’ organizations and engage them in participatory researches such as city-wide urban poverty mapping and profiling; promote in-city housing by producing studies on innovative tenure systems that make such housing affordable and sustainable; and create a stronger advocacy base for urban development and housing reforms by networking with urban poorallied groups.
The RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM recognizes that the majority of the Filipino poor live in rural areas. It also sees that the lack of access to land and other productive resources hinders the rural poor from participating in economic activities to improve their incomes. In the face of formidable structures that perpetuate poverty in the countryside, the Rural Development Program sets its sight on alternatives, substitutes, or options that would address the issue of access, along with control and management of resources. Primary areas and topics of concern for research and advocacy include: access to land –agrarian reform, alternative and secure tenure arrangements, and land use policy access to capital and credit –microfinance services and schemes, and other sustainable financing approaches towards savings andcapital build-up access to technology –diversification through intercropping and processing of value-added products, and promotion of sustainable technologies access to market –alternative trading and marketing
REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2020 Advancing advocacies through research The Rural Development Desk finished in September its first draft report for a research titled “An Assessment of the Policy on Commercial Fishing in Municipal Waters in Select Local Government Units in the Philippines.” Undertaken in collaboration with Rare Philippines, the study assessed the policy and ordinances, their implementation, the perceived effects of these to the lives of municipal fisherfolk, and the state of the coastal and marine resources in Subic in Zambales, Pandan in Antique, Coron in Palawan, and in Zamboanga City. The study found that the ordinances of the case-local government units (LGUs) generally conform with national laws, major among which is Republic Act No. 10654 of 2015 which amended R.A. 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998. The local ordinances contain provisions giving preferential use rights to municipal fishers, and allowing commercial fishing only within the 10.1 to 15-kilometer municipal waters. Apart from compliance, the motivations of the LGUs in crafting their respective policies were the conservation of marine resources, social and economic gains for the city/municipality, and stakeholder agenda or influence. Enforcement of policies, however, has been weak, and is perceived to have resulted in unfavorable effects on the socio-economic lives of the municipal fishers. The research team presented the findings at an online forum organized by the Pangisdaan Natin Gawing Tama (PaNaGat) network in September. The following month, the team discussed the study at The Jesuit Hour, a program aired over Radyo Katipunan 87.9 FM, a campus radio station owned and operated by the Jesuit Communications Foundation. The study gained attention from Rappler reporter Mavic Conde, who attended the forum and wrote about the capacity of vessel tracking devices to curb illegal fishing. The Urban Poverty and Governance (UPG) Desk was involved in three research projects in 2020. In May, the country diagnostic report for the Philippines for the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) “Advancing Inclusive and Resilient Urban Development Targeted at the Urban Poor in the Philippines” technical assistance project was completed. The UPG Desk was among the contributors composed of experts led by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to the said study, which examined the drivers of risk for the urban poor in the Philippines and identified opportunities and pathways for reducing these and thereby build resilience. Financed by the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund, the
technical assistance project of the ADB envisions to build the capacity of government agencies in three countries— the Philippines, Indonesia, and Bangladesh—in designing and implementing investments that strengthen resilience of the urban poor. In another collaborative project with the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), as part of its advocacy against the proposed land reclamation projects in Manila Bay, the UPG Desk facilitated and documented focus group discussions held between December 2019 and February 2020 with residents of coastal communities to help UPA understand what these communities know and feel about land reclamation projects. With financial support from Christian Aid Philippines, the project sought to support the development of strategies for a people-led advocacy to collectively influence local and national policies governing land reclamation projects. The research found that information about reclamation projects that reach the urban poor are incomplete, uneven, and inaccurate. The people wanted to see clear terms of the compensation and relocation. The research also revealed that people were divided on the issue due to indifference, lack of a sense of urgency, feelings of disempowerment, tendency to be pragmatic, among other reasons. The imposition of a community quarantine due to Covid-19 in March, however, made it difficult to finish the research component of the project. Nonetheless, the initial findings from the community discussions served as inputs for planning UPA’s strategies for its ongoing campaign against development aggression projects that continue to displace informal settlers and threaten the environment.
PHOTO BY COM
As the Institute took part in efforts bringing relief assistance to communities hardest hit by Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco) in November, the UPG Desk started in December a post-disaster needs and vulnerability assessment in two socialized housing sites in the municipality of Rodriguez in Rizal province, namely Kasiglahan Village 1 and Southville 8B, where thousands of families were displaced after flashfloods covered their homes with water and mud. The research was supported by the Coastal Cities at Risk in the Philippines (CCARPH) project of the Ateneo de Manila University and conducted in partnership with the Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), which mobilized a team of community organizers who helped select residents process a traumatic experience and discuss with them possible options for recovery and demands from government. The research will serve as basis for a policy paper to be submitted to housing agencies and policymakers in early 2021. Preliminary activities for a study titled “Catholics’ attitudes and responses to drugs and the government’s anti-drug campaign” were completed by the Church and Society Desk in 2020. Funded by the Fund for Global Human
PHOTO BY COM
Rights (FGHR), the research will start in early 2021. It will seek to understand the factors influencing Catholics’ acceptance of or opposition to the killings that have accompanied the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, and the principles undergirding the Church’s responses to the issue of drugs and the anti-drug campaign. It is hoped that the research will point the way towards more effective approaches to addressing the issue of drugs on the part of Catholics, which are in line with both Catholic social teaching and developing public policy approaches such as harm reduction.
Catalyzing discussion and evidencebased discernment Through the Intersect Quick Facts, a four-page publication that presents a snapshot of important social issues with relevant data and bite-sized information, JJCICSI contributed to helping readers weigh the issues surrounding the controversial Kaliwa Dam project and the now-suspended Balik Probinsya (Return to the Province) program of the Duterte administration. Released in April, the IQF on Kaliwa Dam summarized the profound yet downplayed environmental, social, and cultural costs of the project. With the help of our partner NGOs, printed copies of the issue were distributed to urban poor communities as part of the effort to inform city dwellers about the direct impact of the dam on indigenous communities and the environment, the implications for water consumers in Metro Manila, and alternatives that they can help advocate. The October issue of the IQF tackled the Balik Probinsya Program, proposed by the government at the time as a measure to promote growth in the provinces and to decongest Metro Manila which was seeing a rising number of Covid-19 cases. It presented useful data, derived mainly from the 2018 National Migration Survey (NMS), to help readers understand why encouraging people to return to their places of origin—even with free transportation and promises of livelihood assistance—is not a straightforward not an effective solution for addressing the complex problems of underdevelopment in rural areas and overcrowding in urban areas. Using the principles of Catholic social principles, we also offered an assessment of the national situation as reflected in the decisions and actions of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, through the Lights & Shadows. With three issues released in 2020—January to April, May to August, and September to December—the Lights & Shadows enumerated areas for hope and matters of concern in eight key themes: the economy, urban poverty and housing, rural development, labor and employment, governance, human rights and justice, children and youth,
and the environment. Starting in the second issue for the year, we added a guide for prayerful reflection at the end of each assessment in hopes that readers will be moved to respond to the challenges that confront the country.
Offering analysis of social issues Working class communities, especially those already made vulnerable by poverty and without access to adequate housing and safety nets, were among the worst hit by the Covid-19 public health emergency. It was important to keep their issues and concerns on the agenda of civil society groups as well as show possible pathways to building the resilience of poor communities through acts of solidarity. JJCICSI, through the head of the UPG Desk, Dr Anna Marie Karaos, gave presentations on this topic to various groups and audiences. These included the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO), the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), the Mediators Network (MedNet), Brahma Kumaris, and the National Resilience Council (NRC). Our analysis of pressing issues also appeared as commentary articles in the opinion section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. In 2020, our technical staff contributed a total of eight articles that tackled different issues such as the killings in connection with the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, the murder of activists, the need for equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, and the controversial dumping of white sand in Manila Bay. Continuing our partnership with Veritas 846 AM, the most listened to faith-based AM radio station in Mega Manila and owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, we wrote editorials that discussed current issues using the lens of Catholic social principles. We generated a total of 142 articles for Veritas Editoryal, a five-minute segment of the radio station’s president, Fr. Anton CT Pascual, and aired thrice a day from Monday to Wednesday. The recordings are also available on the YouTube channel of the radio station. Some of these articles were translated into English and appeared on Fr Pascual’s opinion column in the broadsheet Business Mirror. An article inspired by the Philippine Conference for New Evangelization (PCNE) held in January saw print at Dominus Est, an online publication of the Archdiocese of Manila. Following the Philippine Church’s declaration of 2020 as the Year of Ecumenism, Inter-religious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples, the article emphasized the importance of dialogue and inclusiveness as the path to true peace in society.
Initiating reflections for meaningful action As civil society groups struggled to navigate and respond to the crisis brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, JJCICSI organized in June an online forum—our first attempt at shifting to a new platform for exchanging ideas—on the political and economic analysis of the pandemic in the Philippines, with our long-time partners and collaborators as main participants. Organized with support from the Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA), the forum shared insights and analyses on how governance would be like under the so-called “new normal” given the social, financial, and political pressures the government must contend with and the 2022 national elections on the horizon. The evidence-based analysis given by Dr Ronald U Mendoza, Dean of the Ateneo School of Government, provided an excellent backdrop to a discussion on how NGOs can focus and adjust their advocacy goals and strategies so that these could lead to empowering outcomes for the poor and marginalized sectors. With the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB), we organized in September a webinar titled “See Judge Act: An Analysis of Social Issues and Discernment on Action, Guided by Catholic Social Teaching”. This event, hosted on Zoom, encouraged prayerful discernment among almost 90 participants, mostly from religious and Church-linked organizations, on possible actions and responses to pressing social issues. The event was also livestreamed on Facebook. Dr Karaos gave an overview of the national situation that provided the context for how Catholics can respond to the call for social justice. Br. Edryan Colmenares of SLB, Fr. Danny Pilario, CM of St. Vincent School of Theology, and Johanne Arceo of the Ateneo Theology Faculty each provided a commentary on the topic from the perspectives of the Church and the youth. The foundational pastoral method of see-judge-act proved helpful not only in understanding the “signs of the times” but also in fostering hope to be able to contribute as individuals and groups to transforming a rather disempowering situation. In November, JJCICSI and SLB teamed up again to spread the message of Pope Francis’s third encyclical Fratelli Tutti, subtitled “on fraternity and social friendship”, which was released the previous month. The webinar titled “Himayin Natin (Let’s Discuss): Fratelli Tutti” gathered on Zoom 100 participants from a wide range of backgrounds and was livestreamed on Facebook. Jesuit priest and anthropologist Fr Albert Alejo gave a summary of the new encyclical and its key messages. No less than the Vice President of the Philippines Maria Leonor Robredo and economist Dr Cielito Habito shared their thoughts on
how putting love for others ahead of personal interests, as urged by Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti, can and must be cultivated in the Philippines’ sociopolitical and economic contexts. The Vice President urged solidarity among people in responding to social problems, and Dr Habito spoke of the importance of an economy focused not on individual profit but on the common good. Through “A Faith that Does Justice,” a four-day online formation program conducted from November to December, JJCICSI and SLB, in collaboration with the Christian Life Community of the Philippines (CLCP), accompanied 30 young professionals representing various Church-linked groups in learning about Catholic social teaching and its applications to their personal and social lives. The program consisted of four modules that guided participants in engaging in self-reflection and discernment to help inform their actions for defending human dignity, serving the poor, and protecting God’s creation. At the end of the program, participants made both individual and institutional commitments on how they would apply their learnings from the program in future ministry. Encouraged by positive feedback from the participants, JJCICSI and SLB will continue this program in the coming year. In December, as Catholics were invited to enter and begin a new life in Christ in the season of Advent, we partnered with the CLCP for two online recollections based on the teachings of Pope Francis in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti. Designed for youth and young professionals, the first Advent recollection led the participants to a deeper appreciation of how Christ entered the chaos of our world, so that we could become closer friends with Christ and brothers and sisters with one another. The second recollection also centered on the themes of friendship, solidarity, and the common good but this time, in the light of experiences of adults invited to work for greater social friendship in society and the world. JJCICSI and CLCP also produced Advent reflection guides inspired by Fratelli Tutti in both English and Filipino, as well as video guides that were made available on our Facebook pages.
Standing in solidarity Since March 2020, JJCICSI, through the UPG Desk, has been actively involved in the campaign led by UPA and COM to educate organized urban poor communities about the Kaliwa Dam project that environmentalists and indigenous peoples have been opposing. The campaign kicked off in June with an online learning session that JJCICSI helped organize and documented. Titled “Kaliwa Damay-Damay: Isang Pagsusuri sa Isyu ng Kaliwa Dam”, the webinar featured speakers to explain how the project would impact the natural environment and the indigenous communities. It also discussed how urban-based groups, representing the population whose growing demand for
water has been cited to justify the project, can take part in the advocacy to keep at bay the environmental impact of the project and the threats to the culture, identity, and lives of indigenous peoples. To further gain support for the campaign, the group, with the help of JJCICSI, reached out to influential figures in the Catholic Church, namely Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the Archdiocese of Manila and Bishop Bernardino Cortez of the Prelature of Infanta in Quezon province, where the dam will be constructed. The separate meetings with them helped UPA and COM come up with strategies for delaying, if not totally stopping, the project, despite government’s insistence on pushing through with the dam construction. With jobs and incomes disrupted by the Covid-19 lockdown, hunger gripped many of the communities where our partner NGOs have been working for years. We tapped our network within the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus, specifically the Tanging Yaman Foundation (TYF), SLB, and the Ateneo de Manila University which initiated the “Fight Covid-19 Outreach Project”, to send food and grocery packs to families in communities assisted by COM, the Foundation for the Development of the Urban Poor (FDUP), San Isidro Labrador Parish in Quezon City, and UPA. Between April and May, the outreach project delivered relief packs to almost 12,000 families in 33 communities in Metro Manila (Quezon City, Manila, Pasig City, Caloocan City, Taguig City), Rizal (Antipolo City, Rodriguez, and Taytay), and Laguna (Biñan City, Calamba, City, and Sta. Rosa City). The spirit of generosity and sense of community indeed endure even in times of crisis and difficulties such as the Covid-19 pandemic. As if the pandemic has not brought enough suffering to the urban poor, Typhoon Ulysses damaged, if not destroyed, the houses of families in government resettlement projects in the municipality of Rodriguez in Rizal province. According to a report prepared by COM, the typhoon affected more than 8,000 families in Kasiglahan Village 1 and Southville 8B. Aside from looking into what led to the disaster, JJCICSI assisted the NCR Urban Cluster of the Partnership Mission for People’s Initiative (PMPI, formerly the Philippine-MISEREOR Partnership, Inc.) in holding the government accountable for its poor and delayed response to the effects of Typhoon Ulysses by writing two position papers for the network. The first position paper sought to put the responsibility for protecting the environment squarely on the shoulders of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The second statement stressed the duty of state institutions like the National Housing Authority (NHA) and local governments, in upholding human dignity by providing safe and decent homes to the poor. The PMPI NCR Urban Cluster comprises of eight NGOs (including JJCICSI) and four people’s organizations pushing for reforms in housing policies.
THANKS TO OUR FUNDERS AND PARTNERS In such an uncertain year, we are grateful for the generosity of our major funder, MISEREOR, and for the support of our partners that made our work possible.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES Victor C. de Jesus, SJ CHAIRPERSON
Bp. Broderick S. Pabillo, DD Emmanuel L. Alfonso, SJ Rica Remedios Bolipata-Santos, PhD Jay Tan Luis S. David, SJ Patrick Dominador Z. Falguera, SJ Eric Marcelo O. Genilo, SJ Gemma Rita R. Marin TRUSTEES
MANAGEMENT & STAFF Gemma Rita R. Marin
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HEAD, RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Anna Marie A. Karaos
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR FINANCE HEAD, URBAN POVERTY AND GOVERNANCE PROGRAM
Patrick Dominador Z. Falguera, SJ Chester A. Yacub, SJ Audrey S. Wong, fcJ RESEARCH FELLOWS
Anna Marie V. Alhambra Gerald M. Nicolas PROJECT OFFICERS
Marilou T. Abejar PROJECT ASSISTANT, FAMILY LIFE PROGRAM
Marvee Anne M. Ramos Jazmene P. Basit RESEARCH ASSISTANTS
Veronica G. Bondoc FINANCE OFFICER
Marien M. Torres ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
Sonny C. Cestina MAINTENANCE AND MESSENGER
2/F Benigno Mayo Hall (ISO Office Building) Social Development Complex Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Heights Quezon City Philippines
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