Saturday, November 26, 2011


Somewhere in the Eastern part of the City of Tagbilaran, in a place where the urban trash has for time immemorial been dumped, sorted out and combed through to recover some items for resale, along the boundary that civilly cuts off Tagbilaran from the town of Baclayon, in a secluded sitio of Barangay Dampas pops up a new building visible to passersby due to its pleasing yet unassuming dirty-white coloration. It has two classrooms with a floor elegantly tiled ready to receive twenty-five to thirty young students. Soon, it will with pride and poise bear the name Beato Pedro Calungsod Foundation Training Center for the Youth.

The structure, small it may appear, is the incipient realization of a dream that is ambitious in its vision and goals, extent, and intensity. For, the founding officers and members of the Foundation that give it existence have been impelled not by any hint of monetary consideration, but by their obligation to society and by their Christian responsibility to love and care. In their meeting some two years ago or thereabouts, they saw and were shocked to face ugly reality. The number of school dropouts among the youth has risen into a mind-boggling proportion. As responsible citizens they have seen that society seems not to care for them and their future. For sure, the government that is tasked to give general education to its citizenry and, therefore, has the primary obligation to look after this social problem, has not been remiss in this matter. For so long has it been dwelling on this snag and has tried several means to untangle itself from it. But the enormity of the problem is simply staggering. The government for one does not have the sufficient resources to manage this increasing dysfunctional state of the young and their poor families.
The founding officers saw this problem, and decided to throw in its share to its eventual resolution. They are for sure not dreamy eyed individuals. They are hard-core realists, persons who could call a spade a spade. If the government is financially incapable of meeting the enormity of the problem, they too are aware that they do not have the monetary resources needed for the task at hand. But they believe in their resourcefulness, their native creativity to look for solutions to problems that come their way. Huddling together and discussing, they came up with the concept of partnership, tying up, that is, with other generous and well-intentioned citizens and organizations, and forging them into multi-sectoral stakeholders. Pooling together their competencies as well as their variegated capabilities they can serve as a network of relationships, building up that bridge to fill up the gap confronting the youth and their poor families on the one end and, the responsible individual citizens, the different communities and organizations, and the government of the Province of Bohol on the other.

After all, every responsible citizen or social organization in the Province has the primary obligation to contribute to national and local development that has long been overdue. It is high time that every Filipino no longer waits for the government to do the things for him. He must do his share.

It is along this line of thought that the Beato Pedro Calungsod Foundation was born. To propel it to action and to persevere in its pursuit for the star, it envisioned itself as: “A Foundation of Christ’s faithful in the Diocese of Tagbilaran, inspired by the Word of God, nourished by the Eucharist, strengthened by constant prayer, ever conscious of its social and spiritual life in the integral human development.”
It is not mere convenience that the Beato Pedro Calungsod was taken as the title of the Foundation. The founding officers saw the heroism of this young gentleman, a martyr whose life of heroism could be a constant inspiration. Because of the Faith that he had embraced and boldly proclaimed, he was ordered to be killed by a primitive Chieftain in Guam, brutally executed by a tribal soldier. The youthful saint, who, as tradition has it, lived in Bohol, Cebu, and Iloilo, was known for these virtues, to wit: scientific and intellectual discipline; patience; hard work; bravery; and lived Faith.

This kind of life could indeed be the needed inspiration for the youth of Bohol, a life around which values-driven transformation programs and activities could be drawn up. The Foundation is hoping that this could be one of the entry points to touch base with the out-of-school youth and their families, and a medium for transforming societies into centers for integral human development.