After a controversy was exposed in the open, the provincial government, the Catholic Church and the military finally patched up their differences as all sectors move forward for the effective delivery of social services especially to people in the countryside.
The three sides met recently to patch things up and finally iron out potential flashpoints after one of the clergy raised concern on alleged harassment on one of the workers of the Church engaged in social work in the hinterlands.
In a joint statement sent to the media and was read by Acting Provincial Administrator John Mitchell Boiser in front of the members of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) on Thursday, the three sides reiterate their respective commitment “to serve the higher interests of the Boholano community.”
The statement is made to allay concerns at the heels of a controversy involving a Church worker being allegedly harassed by military personnel.
A special meeting between the provincial government headed by Gov. Edgar Chatto and Bishop Alberto Uy, of the Diocese of Tagbilaran and members of the security forces in Bohol.
Concerns were raised during the last PPOC on October 30 after it was alleged some members of the military and the purok power movement have been sowing false statements on the projects initiated by the Catholic Church’s Social Action Center.
“In full understanding of our organization’s respective roles in development, cognizant that we pursue the same goals for the upliftment of the welfare of our beloved Boholano communities,” said the statement.
The result of the meeting was better coordination as all sides move forward and continue the implementation of socio-economic development work in our municipalities and barangays.
“We further resolve to enhance our personnel’s capability to be always mindful of our collective responsibility to monitor our ranks, to ensure that our commitment to peace, security, and total human development is observed at all times,” the statement added.
THE BACK STORY
Fr. Warli Salise of the Tagbilaran Diocese’s Social Action Center (SAC) raised the concern about alleged harassment done on one of the center’s workers.
Salise alleged the military and members of the Countryside Development Program-Purok Power Movement (CDP-PMM) have been “maligning” the project of the SAC.
The cleric was pointing out the project of the SAC concerning organic farming.
He said the program has been much maligned to the point the farmers have lost interest in doing organic farming.
Some farmers in the barangays were no longer responsive, after there were allegations made saying the priests are rebels, said Salise. The priest continued, the funding for the project has been sourced from rebel groups.
Salise said the project being implemented by the SAC is a project of the Diocese and no one else.
The priest said the efforts to discredit the project may have something to do with a member who was suspected to be aligned with a rebel group.
The member, said Salise, has no conviction from any court for violation of the law.
Salise said the SAC never encouraged people to rebel against the government, but instead only gave instructions to farmers about organic farming.
He lamented the division being allegedly sowed in the effort to uplift the socio-economic conditions of the people in the countryside.
People are taking arms, said Salise, primarily, due to poverty and efforts to help the poor should not be maligned.