caritas philippines logo 2024

Caritas Philippines, the humanitarian, development, and advocacy arm of the Catholic Church, has appointed Fr. Carmelo “Tito” Caluag of the Diocese of Novaliches as its new executive director.

The priest succeeds Fr Antonio Labiao Jr, who served the post from July 2020 until his resignation in March 2024.

An educator at heart, he brings his extensive experience in education, leadership, and social development to the organization.

“I am honored to be entrusted with this leadership role at Caritas Philippines,” Fr. Caluag said. “I look forward to working alongside our dedicated staff and the entire social action network to strengthen our programs and advocate for the most vulnerable in our society,” he said.

Fr. Caluag has been working with Caritas Philippines since 2020 and has been instrumental in forging the organization’s partnership with ABS-CBN for the Kapamilya Daily Masses. He currently heads the Alay Kapwa Expanded Fund Campaign and is involved in the AK Community Schooling and the Caritas Philippines Academy.

Caritas Philippines is the international name of the National Secretariat for Social Action – Justice and Peace (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). As Caritas’ executive director, he will also serve as NASSA’s executive secretary.

The national Caritas has been committed to empowering the poor and marginalized through its 7 Alay Kapwa Legacy Stewardship Programs: youth development; family feeding; livelihoods and food security; humanitarian response; institutional capacity building; good governance and justice and peace; and ecology.

Fr. Caluag said these areas “are crucial for building a more just and equitable society.”

“By investing in education, we empower children and communities. By protecting our ecology, we ensure a sustainable future for all. And by advocating for good governance, we create a society that works for everyone,” he added.

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, president of Caritas Philippines, said that Fr. Caluag’s “impressive background and proven leadership skills, along with his extensive experience with Caritas Philippines initiatives, make him a perfect fit.”

“We are confident that he will guide our organization through this next chapter and help us further our mission of serving those in need,” Bagaforo said.

Fr. Caluag’s ministry reflects a lifelong dedication to service. He began teaching at Ateneo de Manila High School in 1980 and later held various leadership positions at Ateneo de Manila University. In 2005, he founded the Alay sa Bansa Center for Education Research and Development, which later evolved into the Magna Anima Education System, Inc. Fr. Caluag will assume its presidency on July 1, 2024.

Fr. Caluag’s appointment comes at a crucial time for Caritas Philippines. It marks the last term of Bishop Bagaforo as president, during which the organization focuses on increasing its local resources through the Alay Kapwa Expanded Fund campaign.