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Philippine Army Chaplaincy, CFC Hold 1st National Convention
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
The CFC Order of St. Michael (OSM), in cooperation with the Philippine Army Office of the Army Chief Chaplain Service (OACCS) staged the first ever Character Enhancement Program (CEP) Convention last November 24, 2015 at the Philippine Air Force Museum, Pasay City. Retired Col. Arturo Alabanza, a member of CFC Metro Manila (South B), and head of the OSM, together with the OSM Core, spearheaded the event.

In his opening remarks, Alabanza described how the OSM came together with the OACCS and forged a long-term partnership to “develop righteous, God-fearing soldiers loved by the Filipino people” through the CEP. The CFC OSM has developed modules specifically catering to the soldiers, their spouses and children. OACCS on the other hand, has the authority to mandate Commanding Officers of the various Army camps nationwide to employ the CEP.

The convention allowed the stakeholders to report on the accomplishments, and enabled the Army Chaplains from the different Infantry Divisions to plan with their local Couples for Christ counterparts regarding strategies for CEP and its continuing spiritual enhancement modules. It was likewise an opportunity for CFC OSM to present the second module for the CEP, which the group plans to roll out beginning 2016.

ANCOP Chairman Joe Yamamoto, in his inspirational talk, reiterated Pope Francis’ call for new evangelization and emphasized that the partnership is a clear response of each person involved, whether it be the Chaplaincy or the lay stakeholders, to be agents of change in the spiritual realm within the Philippine Army.

Several of those serving in the program, whether lay or from the Chaplains’ ranks, likewise gave testimonies on how their involvement in the CEP made them realize that they have become not only agents of change, but recipients of grace as well.

In the afternoon, the Chaplains and their CFC counterparts came together for a round table discussion of the plans of the various infantry Divisions nationwide. Army Chief Chaplain Fr. Col. Andres Bonifacio Belleza CHS (GSC), in an unexpected move, expressed his recognition, through the grant of awards, of the initiatives of the Army Chaplains in implementing the CEP in their various Divisions. Fr. Maj. Juan Jerome C. Daluro was awarded Best Chaplain of the Year 2015 for his exemplary service as Division Chaplain of 9th Infantry (spear) Division. Fr. Msgr. Mario Baniqued, Philippine Army (PA), OACCS Chief Clerk was recognized as Best Chaplain Assistant of the Year.

Since the partnership between the OACCS and CFC OSM started in April 2014, the group has conducted Character Enhancement Retreats (CER) for 28 Philippine Army commands. Through CFC Singles for Christ volunteers, a Christian Life Program has likewise been conducted for the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2018, graduating 385 PMA-Singles for Christ members. Presently, five CERs are also being done at the V. Luna Medical Center in Quezon City.

Alabanza admits there is still much to be done. So far, the CEP has reached 2,000 men and women in uniform, roughly 0.287 percent of an estimated 800,000 population of soldiers, their spouses and their families. This is indeed fertile ground for values and spiritual transformation, which is just waiting to be conquered. (A. Alvarez)


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