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Caritas Philippines, the development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), intertwines the essence of World Day of Prayer for Vocations and Good Shepherd Sunday with a resolute call for justice and solidarity, particularly for the plight of political prisoners on Negros Island.

Under the theme for World Day of Prayer for Vocations, ‘Called to Sow Seeds of Hope and Build Peace,’ Caritas Philippines renews its commitment to empowering the marginalized and oppressed. As the Church prepares for the 2025 Jubilee Year themed “Pilgrims of Hope,” Caritas Philippines embraces the message of encouragement and resilience, resonating with the unwavering commitment of the Good Shepherd to liberate the oppressed.

In this spirit, Caritas Philippines calls upon His Holiness Pope Francis to offer his Jubilee blessing, invoking divine grace upon those unjustly detained and oppressed. Additionally, Caritas Philippines urges the government to heed the call of mercy and justice by setting prisoners free, aligning with the ethos of the Jubilee to grant gestures of clemency and ensure improved prison conditions.

On Good Shepherd Sunday, Caritas Philippines, led by its vice president Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, stands firm in solidarity with the political prisoners of Negros Island. Bishop Alminaza underscores the urgency of the situation, demanding immediate attention to the rising tensions, alleged injustices, and alarming human rights violations.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to this grave concern,” Bishop Alminaza states emphatically. “Caritas Philippines stands firmly with the families and friends of these political prisoners as they seek truth and accountability.”

In alignment with Pope Francis, Caritas Philippines emphasizes human rights’ universal and divinely ordained nature. “In the face of adversity, it is imperative that we stand united to condemn injustice and promote the common good,” Bishop Alminaza declared. “We urge a thorough investigation into the human rights violations in Negros Island. The Philippine government must prioritize the protection of human rights and ensure accountability for perpetrators.”

Caritas Philippines concludes by urging authorities and civil society to heed the voices of the oppressed and work towards a peaceful and just resolution of conflicts. “Together, let us sow the seeds of justice and peace that will bear fruit for a flourishing society where all individuals and communities can thrive,” Bishop Alminaza concluded.