Bishop Victor Ocampo was known for his simplicity and smiling face
Bishop Victor Ocampo. (Photo: Gumaca Diocese)
Filipino clergy and laypeople paid tributes to Bishop Victor Ocampo of Gumaca diocese who died of a heart attack on March 16.
The 71-year-old bishop who served the diocese in Quezon province, south of the capital Manila, since 2015, died in a hospital in Gumaca where he was rushed, said diocesan chancellor Father Tony Ryan del Moro, reported CBCP news run by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Born in Angeles City in 1952, he was ordained priest of the Diocese of Balanga in 1977.
As a priest, he served in eight parishes as well as the director of various diocesan offices such as the catechetical office, the liturgical commission, the Biblical apostolate, the family and life commission, and was also the chancellor of the diocese.
He was also the diocesan administrator of Balanga diocese in the absence of the bishop, from November 2009 until July 2010.
Pope Francis appointed him a bishop on June 15, 2015, and he was ordained as the third bishop of the diocese on Aug. 29 of that year.
He was known as an environmental campaigner before he became a bishop.
In 2012, Ocampo opposed the proposal of a US$240 million dam in Quezon province. The dam was part of a plan to supply about 600 million liters of water per day to Metro Manila.
The government shelved the dam following criticism that it threatened the environment, biodiversity, and local indigenous communities.
“The Church is not against development as long as it does not sacrifice the ‘common good’ in the name of progress… the [Kaliwa] dam… in the guise of providing water to Metro Manila, is to our mind against inclusive development,” said the statement signed by Ocampo and other bishops at that time.
Catholics in the diocese said he joined rallies to protest against the dam and offered legal support to communities who fought against the project.
Besides, he was known as a man of simplicity with a smiling face.
“His simplicity of life as a priest, a life that is offered for other people and not for himself, not to be famous, but a simple lifestyle as an individual, manifested in his service to the community,” Gumaca diocese vicar general Father Josue Enero of told reporters.
Archbishop-emeritus Paciano Aniceto of San Fernando recalled Ocampo as a “light and bubbly” student.
“He was a very jolly student, with a good fraternal relationship with fellow seminarians,” said Aniceto, his former teacher at the Mother of Good Counsel Seminary.
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