Disaster preparedness and developing community resiliency in times of calamities are the main focus of this year's general assembly of the Philippine bishops' social action secretariat.
The meeting, which opened on Sept. 19 in the town of Palo in Leyte province, coincided with the 50th anniversary of the social action secretariat’s founding.
The four-day gathering will discuss Caritas-Philippines' "roadmap on sustainability and resiliency," said Jing Rey Henderson, program development manager of Caritas-Philippines, the social action arm of the country's Catholic bishops.
She said the assembly will also be an opportunity for a "concrete partnership" between the government and the Catholic Church in responding to disasters.
Henderson said the focus of the church's social action programs will be community-managed disaster risk reduction that will include, livelihood, self-recovery, shelter, and ecosystem, among others.
"Most dioceses still have to work on disaster preparedness," she said.
"We need to make sure that the projects we are implementing are really responding to the needs of the people," she told ucanews.com.
"There are dioceses that still need accompaniment in terms of funding, resources, and capacity-building," said Henderson.
The social action secretariat is also expected to address the issue of drug-related killings in the country.
The general assembly is a biennial gathering of all Catholic social action workers in the Philippines.
Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Nueva Caceres (second from right) and Father Edwin Gariguez, head of Caritas-Philippines, lead the opening of the general assembly of Catholic social action workers in the country. (Photo by Elmer Recuerdo)