Fr. Antonio Labiao Jr. of the Diocese of Novaliches is the new executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) Caritas Philippines.
Under his new role, Fr. Labiao—who is currently the Pastoral Director of the Diocese of Novaliches and Rector of the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd—will be tasked to assist NASSA’s new chairman in December 2019, Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan.
Fr. Labiao will succeed Fr. Edwin Gariguez of the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan who resigned from NASSA on July 31. In his ten years of service, Fr. Gariguez had led the Church’s emergency and recovery programs for disasters and calamities that ravaged the Philippines. (Read: Caritas and Pope Francis Launch Global Week of Action for Migrants and Refugees)
“In my passionate commitment to defend the environment and to serve the poor, I have found a purpose greater than myself.”Fr. Edwin A. GariguezExecutive Secretary, NASSA/Caritas Philippines2010-2020Posted by NASSA/Caritas Philippines on Monday, July 20, 2020
“I personally would like to express my sincere gratitude to you for all the support, solidarity and collaboration that you extended to NASSA Caritas Philippines through the years during my term,” Fr. Gariguez said.
Ten Years of Service
Under Fr. Gariguez’s term, the Catholic Church’s social action arm has taken a step forward by integrating the resiliency framework in its institutional strategies and interventions.
From 2009 to 2019, Caritas Philippines has received more than P1.7 billion from the Caritas confederation worldwide. Fr. Gariguez was also instrumental in the establishment of NASSA’s Center for Resiliency, Empowerment, and Integral Development (CREED) or the “social action academy” in Tagaytay City. (Read: 3 Ways Caritas PH Is Giving Support to Filipinos in Need)
NASSA’s justice agenda also included the whole issue of ecology because of Fr. Gariguez’ initiatives. The organization’s “Green Initiatives” campaign, which started under his watch, focuses on the Right of Nature, food security, and divestment from coal and fossil fuels.
“We hope that the meaningful partnership we have established will be sustained and further strengthened even with the needed transition,” Fr. Gariguez said.