Monday, September 10, 2007

Out In The Open

This release in Manila Standard's Cocktales hit the nail on the head and acknowledges what the FFL is up to.

"Propagandists for the Couples for Christ have dropped any pretensions about civility and brotherly love, amid the active recruitment by the breakaway faction of CfC co-founder Frank Padilla in the fund-rich European and US chapters of the Catholic revivalist group."

Read the rest of the article here.

I guess, as ill-fitting as this "skirt of anonymity" might be, I will have to remain anonymous for the meantime. Lets keep the focus on the facts why don't we? :-)


Anonymous said...

sa amin, nagka-ayusan na ang dalawang sides na bawal tumawag sa members sa kabila para ma-recruit, pero tuloy pa rin ang FFL. Hala sige. Ano magagawa natin, hindi naman pwede idemanda.

jiggs said...

eh sino ba ang wala pang membership... di be EFEFEL... EFEFELet ba natin ang KATOTOHANAN sa kanila? Hoy GISING na!!!

their instructions in the text message were - bring your OLD ID... kse nga NEW community sila... and then what do they do - they put a sticker OVER the CFC logo. TAMA BA YUN! gawa na lang kayo ng ID niyo no.

tapos pati songbook gagamitin niyo kasi wala namang Intellectual Property Rights or Patent! eh bakit kayo biglang naging legalistic!!!

nakakatawa noh!

CFC Emmaus said...

It is very unfortunate.

While they lost in their coup attempt in Manila, FFL is now heading abroad to deal with other National Councils. Like the CFC Council in Manila, these National Councils must hold fast to CFC and be swayed.

Thankfully, here is this blog that will keep them abreast with all that is happening in Manila.

May they also reject their wolves in sheeps skin and survive them unscathed.

Remember, The Good Shepherd will not run away and will offer even their lives defending the sheep.

Anonymous said...

Upcoming KFC event, Sep 16 at Fairview Mall..entitled "RIDE ALL YOU CAN".Nag announce and sold tickets pa ang Cluster Coord namin during the 1st Friday assmbly, Sep 7, tapos malaman-laman namin e FFL event DAW pala yun!!Kala ko tuloy may joint KFC activity ang CFC at FFL. Tickets are at P200.00. P20.00 daw goes to KFC..which KFC kaya?CFC or FFL? Pero ano ba talaga? JOint ba ito o hindi. Wala namang problema kung joint kasi mageenjoy naman ang mga bata dapat lang iexplain ng maayos. Para d magmukhang may deception.CD, would you know about this?

Anonymous said...

Can you see their master plan:
(based on what is happening in US)

when it all started, emails were coming around the US, attacking CFC leaders who are GK representative.

They use words such as "unaccounted money" in GK.

When the split came they started labeling one side CFC-GK and CFC-FFL.

To those who are not informed but only heard that GK is corrupt were ask which side will you join... A person is more likely side with the other group because of such tactics.

Those who are spinning the truth to meet their recruitment have been promised positions.

They are using terms "We havent split. CFC has many umbrella group, CFC-FFL is just like SFC but we are more pro-family (wink, wink)"

Do something about it. Don't let them us CFC, cuz if they are still part of CFC, they should be subject to IC direction (cuz they were elected by the EA). Who does FP report to? If the answer is to himself, then he has divided himself from the CFC and its people.

This is my personal observation.
Is this happening to your area (especially in US)?

Anonymous said...

Please, all the maligning comes from this website, not from the US. This blog is really a clever way of swaying public opinion: a canned media production which closely parallels the political and economic corruption in the Philippines. Its not the FFL who is coming to the US but the IC - Tale, Tayag and Meloto and roaming around in the US asking for support. Their people here are doing telemarketing calls, hosting parties akin to tupperware gatherings. Again, God justifies,please stop this site.....

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's sad what's happening here in the U.S.. The original U.S. Council was defiant of the newly elected International Council (we now know after Bishop Reyes' Aug 28 notes that they were not really disobeyed when they can only make a "recommendation" to postpone the election, and the EA considered the bishop recommendation in addition to other factors that they also have to consider as responsible voters). When they rejected the new I.C., in effect, they have declared their side (so much for the concept of "obedience to anointed CFC leaders"). I was expecting more neutrality from the leaders but it didn't happen. Some national councils from other countries such as Switzerland, Australia, etc have earlier on declared neutrality and shielded their countries from Manila politics. Some people here say that the actions of the original US Council is expected because they are personally close to Frank but a little delicadeza would have been nice. You might say the loyalty is to the personality of Frank instead of to CFC (which means this actually might be a purification of the CFC leadership, those who remain are loyal to the CFC ideals and procedures). There was also a barrage of pro-FFL emails to the members, most of them coming directly from the leaders. In spite of this, I was awed by the resilience of the CFC leaders to maintain silence and just turning the other cheek. In the end, it's the new I.C. that showed humility by not responding to accusations. Actually, very holy ang goals ng FFL (focus on spirituality and evangelization, correcting some GK flaws, etc). However, the actions by some of their leaders are very disturbing and sometimes foul. Of course, we can't generalize them (I'm sure there are also a lot of very good leaders in FFL).

Ernie said...

I just want to start a thread on the history of Couples for Christ.

As far as I can remember Couples for Christ was the brainchild of Fr. Herb Snyder of LnP. Fr Herb you may want to share your vision to this developing story. Anyone who has contact with Fr Herb pls forward this thread.

Frank Padilla and the rest of the 16 couples were the first graduate of Ligaya ng Panginoon's Christian Life Program. The entry program for Couples for Christ.

To make the record straight Frank Padilla was not the founder of CFC.

When Frank was assigned by Ligaya as one of the leders of CFC, a conflict in the direction where CFC will go surfaced. LnP was for quality while FAP and his group was for quantity (massive, global etc). FAP's group of leaders then, bolted out in LnP and registerd the name Copules for Christ in SEC. By technicallity LnP lost the name due to unpaid dues for the name CFC and was granted to the Frank's group. This group includes Tony Meloto, Lachie Agana, Lito Urgino (assigned to US but was replaced), Roquel Ponte etc. If you know the rest of the incorporators pls come forward to fill-up the etc.

From the very beginning Copuples for Christ we popularly know today was born out of rebellion. God may just be cleansing the ranks of it's leaders to do HIS works in this millenium.

If you know part of the history and you are not privy to this story kindly correct my memory and provide other names I missed. Kinly add to this thread and the thuth will set us free. No more SPINNING.

I don't discount the success CFC have accomplished under Frank. But there is a saying "What we Sow is what we Reap", and this is what we all got as harvest (Broken HEART). For CFC is about FAITH, our individual faith journey to Our Father, where we are called to be faithful and not succesful.

Ernie S
CFC/CLP 3rd Batch '82

Anonymous said...

Frank Padilla was in Virgnia last Saturday. He acted all humble to win over everybody in attendance. He also said if you're for family ministries, then you're FFL. If you're for social minsitries, you're for "CFC-GK." Shrewd. He knows CFC has 7 pillars yet he is making it look like the real CFC is only for GK while FFL is focused on family and pro-life. Shrewd but sneaky. I myself am offended because I am part of a family ministry yet you will never find me in FFL. I can't believe a lot of people think he's telling the truth. This is what happens when you follow a person and not God, our one true leader.

Allan said...

I admit, I have been following this site for a month now... However I am just curious that almost the majority of the post is coming from the CFC (IC)... I can tell that a lot of us loves this ministry a lot.

However in fairness with the FFL... I'm wondering how come FFL members are no post from their members...

If there are FFL members out there... I want to hear more from you...!!!
This site seems to be fair and Just...

IT can be a way to promote your ministry openly unlike what been happening, FFL recruiting behind the backs and mis informing current CFC members...

And just for clarification for the FFL...

GK is only one of the 7 pillars of CFC...

FFL I WANT TO HEAR YOUR SIDE..... YOU LOVE YOUR FRANK PADILLA, your prophet.. according to some of the flyers going around... then FIGHT FOR IT!!!

Anonymous said...

kawawa talaga ang US. they have to side with FFL kasi bro. frank padilla has been their trustworthy leader for all these years. who will not follow a man who has led them well these past years.

so who are u serving? God or man?

eto pa, majority of the CFC sa States are not able to physically visit a GK site to fully know the truth about what happens in GK. They are only hearing things from disgruntled members.

kawawa tlaga

sana lang po, people will move to FFL with the truth and not based on other people's twisted lies.

Anonymous said...

Same thing is happening in Toronto...

Anonymous said...

We are still waiting for our leaders decision. Bakit ang tagal naman nilang magdiscern. Neutral daw sila, status quo. Please help us pray for their decision.
FP is coming to town.... paano na.

Jesus said...

Peace, CD and my brothers and sisters,

Like many of you I, too, have been seeking the truth surrounding the crisis that beset our beloved community.

I set out asking former brothers and sisters in QC to shed some light (facts only not innuendos nor hearsay) so I can make an informed decision for myself and enlighten the Unit I head in the U.S. You see, our chapter made it a point not to take sides until we have all the facts. But, as fate would have it, recent events have overtaken everything as I have not received any definitive reply. I, however, was led to this site from which I was able to glean some helpful information and a better appreciation of the events and put all of the information I received previously in context. For this I am thankful to you. I think I know now what could have triggered all of this only because the subsequent events including the poaching of membership point in that direction.

As I said, it seems that recent events led to an eventual breakup and so we should now accept that as a reality as those who chose to do so of their own free will (except, perhaps for some ((many?)) who, from the posts I read were unwittingly "shepherded" into FFL). While the wish for a united CFC is one I share I think we should now start focusing on the work we are tasked in doing and just pray that the Lord will, in His own perfect time, bring each of us together as His plan unfolds.

I would like to call on our brothers and sisters in FFL to truly live out their stated mission to evangelize. I took this to mean that you will go out into the world and bring God's children into Hid fold consistent with the Great Commission. Therefore, I do not understand the need to recruit into your fold members who are already into the Renewal, specifically CFC, especially when done surreptitiously and through subterfuge. I do not think the Lord delights in this kind of "evangelizing". I'm guessing this may be your way of producing your group's funds, i.e., their tithes.

CD, now that the bishops have spoken and declared that CFC's recognition by the Vatican and the CBCP remains I would like to submit this humble suggestion to the IC. That, in addressing the issues raised re GK as articulated by FP, they give a full account of the specifics such as nature and number of incidents if only to place them in context over the big picture. Then, to render a report of the corrective actions taken such as policy changes, etc. so that the membership is appraised and see that, indeed, CFC is sincere in its intent. Next, I read from earlier posts that there may be semblances of misuse of CFC funds, and that documentation compiled so far, it was asserted, could warrant charges to be brought forward. I believe that this should be pursued to a just conclusion and reso;ution if only to clear the names of persons involved as inferred in previous posts. More imporantly, I believe, they owe it to the members to know what truly happened. I cannot tell you how this has affected members' view in giving freely now to the community because of the doubt it has planted in their hearts.

Lastly, I would like you to know that I appreciate ehat you are doing and that I voted for you to keep this going for indeed it seems that the task that looms ahead remains great. While I like the idea that the members have a site where they can vent their feelings and articulate their thoughts I join the others who call for civility and fairness as they engage in this discourse. For after all, this is simply the Christian way.

God bless you for what you do and I pray He rewards you by taking care of you and your loved ones who may be missing out in quality time because of of your service.

Peace always,


Anonymous said...

I have been following this blog for a few weeks now. Many people are scared of what they could find out here and so opt not to read any further.

Like most people, I initially thought that Bro Frank was sincere. Upon reading about his exchanges with people I actually know, I felt something didn't feel right about his email propaganda, especially to us abroad.

I have asked members of my family who are in CFC worldwide and they are just carrying on as normal. Praise God for that!

Let us remember that our leaders are human after all and when it comes to our spirituality, it is up to us to continue to grow. We only fail when we blindly follow people in places of power.

Wisdom is not bestowed on just a few "anointed" people. We all have it within us. Let us continue to truly take responsibility for our own choices, especially when it comes to our values and our beliefs.

As a wise person once said to me, "What gets us into trouble is NOT what we don't know. It's what we know that just ain't so!"

Finally, I want to share a very interesting letter to Bro Frank. Apologies if this has already been posted here. This will open as a word document. Right click on the click if you wish to download it.

Another letter to Bro Frank

Anonymous said...

tlagang mgling cla, my grand conspiracy iisa ang strategy. kc khit pla saan iisa ang pmmraan nila. to confuse and devide...alam nu n b kung cno ang unang gumawa n2? the old dragon himself and we are all victims. they radiated all the negetive emotions and spirit s mga nkknig s knla kya plaging galit pag knausap mo lalo n ung direktang nkkausap nila(FFL)

Anonymous said...

Quote: Frank Padilla was in Virgnia last Saturday. He acted all humble to win over everybody in attendance. He also said if you're for family ministries, then you're FFL. If you're for social minsitries, you're for "CFC-GK." Shrewd. He knows CFC has 7 pillars yet he is making it look like the real CFC is only for GK while FFL is focused on family and pro-life.

If Frank Padilla is truly saying that he should be held accountable for dishonesty. There is no justification for such a lie.

Francis said...

To all the people in the US na nagugulohan, Why do you have to wait for your leaders to decide? Were you not baptized in the spirit during your CLP. Di ba one of the gifts of the spirit is the gift to Discern. Brothers and Sisters, what you should do is look for the truth and decide are you going to serve Jesus or a Man who can not humble himself and let go the mantle of leadership.

Anonymous said...

US has an MOA written about the split of CFC USA. It was signed by Jun Villamayor, Ricky Coronel, Edwin Andrews and Joe Duran in Dallas (the weekend of the SFC USA Conference). Nagkakagulo na nga ang CFC USA, because CFC's are following their leaders and not what God is telling them. And I don't know if on purpose, but FFL USA is calling themselves "CFCUSA," one word lang. It's true that Joe Tale, Tony Meloto, etc are in the US. But so is Frank Padilla, and he is making rounds. Claiming they were not the ones who left CFC, and that CFC-FFL is the real and original CFC. Join CFC-GK if you're for social ministries, but FFL is for the family. Imagine me rolling my eyes right now.

The vast majority of SFC USA and the US FTWs however are standing firm in remaining neutral.

Anonymous said...

History of Couples for Christ Thread.

Vic Gutierez started the Couples for Christ movement in Ligaya ng Panginoon.

Anonymous said...

Agree ako kay Jackot/"Jesus". Wala nang tirahan, walang nakawan nang miyembro, patuloy na ang trabaho. Sana ay may FFL din sa mag-iimbestiga nang GK para wala na silang masabi. Kung talagang maganda ang intention nila para sa CFC at FFL na magsama uli, tutulong sila 'di ba? Sabihin sa council natin kung anong mga sites ang may problema at puntahan nang council isa-isa at ayusin ang problema. Sana'y ang council ay itama na rin ang nasirang mga pangalan at reputasyon na miyembro nang FFL at mag-sorry kayo dahil nasiraan rin ninyo sila, kahit tama ang puso nyo sa pag-imbistiga, nakasira pa rin kayo nang pangalan at honor nang mga kapatid na nasa FFL. Hindi ba tama lang mag-sorry tayo.

Para tayong mga lungs natin na hindi nagbreath nang magkasama, kanya kanyang trabaho, mas mahirap.
Kung magtutulungan tayo at hindi naninira sa isa-isa, mapayapa ang ating paghiwalay at mag-uumpisa na ang ating healing kung baga at mabubuo at mabubuo na naman ang CFC.

Ano CFC at FFL puede ba nating subukan magtulungan para makahinga naman ang mga miyembro at malinis na hangin ang mabreath nila?

Anonymous said...

On this quote from anonymous: "US has an MOA written about the split of CFC USA. It was signed by Jun Villamayor, Ricky Coronel, Edwin Andrews and Joe Duran in Dallas...."

Can you post a copy of this MOA and is this list of signatories right?

CFC Ostrich said...

Let me share with you a tremulous article written by one who seems like FAP's publisher ( the author, i understand is an " Image builder" ?? The article is written obviously to build up the image of FAP and to push the momentum in the recruitment process undertaken by the FFFL particularly in North America.What do you think blog commenters ?

Press Release

By Nonoy Mendoza

A Chat With Frank Padilla
Founder of Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 8 - I just had dinner with Frank Padilla of Manila, one of the most interesting and renowned Filipino positive image builder of our generation. We had a chat at the residence of Jim and Tess Taylor of South Arlington, Virginia.

He and his wife, Gerry, are traveling to different areas in the United States, Canada and Europe where the once intact Couples For Christ with more than million members are confronted with the spectre of separation between those who prefer evangelization and family and those who wish to continue Gawad Kalinga's over-arching stress on CFC.

Having met Frank on several occasions during the time when I was active in CFC, his mild mannerism has always disarmed me in our conversations. He has not changed a bit except for some evidence of riper age on his forehead. He mentioned his Restoration Movement, which this writer heartily endorses. I mentioned to Frank that I will be filing a report of our conversation in our Global Pinoy Online News wide a global distributions giving a brief explanation as interpretated by the writer.

"The CFC should go back to evangelization" began Frank. He said CFCs are better as evangelizers rather than fundraisers for social developments, " referring obviously to Gawad Kalinga (GK).

Last Easter Sunday, Frank Padilla enumerated 13 reasons why CFC should rationalize its role in GK and claimed that because of GK, CFC had started to veer away from its original charism which is evangelization and family life. With that platform, he organized a "restoration movement" inside Couples for Christ, a gesture that was clearly misunderstood by the present CFC International Council. Not only ignoring his recommendations, the powers-that- be of CFC/GK fired Frank as International Director, by email.

Left with no more alternative and upon the recommendation of Philippine bishops and the Episcopal Commission on the Laity, Frank organized founded Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life.

Frank clarified "We in CFC-FFL remain as 'Couples for Christ.' We have not left CFC, which is the spiritual body and international movement distinct from the Philippine corporation. What we have left is the legal entity of 'Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation Inc.' We in CFC-FFL have as much right, if not more, to remain as CFC than those who have veered away from our original charism."

GK has replaced holiness with "heroism" and winning the world for Christ with "nation-building' . Thus winning souls have been subdued in favor of constructing houses. CFCs who go to GK events have also been warned to remove their IDs for fear by GK leaders that they might scare prospective partners by the fact that CFC is a faith-based organization.

Frank Padilla, one of the original 16 couples who began Couples for Christ in 1981 and who has served as its executive director for the past 26 hours, said "there is nothing wrong about helping the poor, in fact it completes the gospel and we are honored to have been a great part of it, but our mission is that of an evangelistic community and our priority is preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. We love GK but we will not change our Catholic character just because of it."

One local CFC leader who attended the dinner reception explained that because of the stress GK has been giving CFC, the membership of the latter has dramatically dropped from over a million to about 800,000 as of end 2006. A lot of the disenchantment by members has been caused by the great demand for funds and time by the humanitarian organization on CFC at the expense of evangelization. Regular activities of CFC and its bias for family life have been disrupted by GK fundraisers and construction events.

But what broke the camel's back, the leader said were two things: first, GK no longer discriminates where it gets funds. In an official clarification, Bishop Gabriel Reyes, chairman of CBCP's Commission on the Laity, confirmed this in Tony Meloto's own words that appeared in the Philippines Daily Inquirer. Meloto said: "GK is non-partisan. We do not take any side in building a nation in the same manner that we do not pass judgment on any corporation that we engage. We do not even ask them what their (corporations) products are as long as they want to help.”

This drew an immediate rebuke from the bishops, who virtually placed CFC Global's church recognitions under probation. Bishop Reyes added: "Since the CFC Council committed to stop the practice of Gawad Kalinga from accepting funds from companies that produce contraceptives, the CBCP Commission for the Laity will not make any report about this to the Pontifical Council for the Laity.”

GK has also allowed the proselytic Mormons to build water systems in all villages. Joe Tale, the new CFC executive director, also promised the bishops to look into it.

The second factor was that GK made Tony Meloto its sole "public face" of instead of thousands of CFC volunteers who pitched in their mites and their brawns to build and maintained the villages. Tony was even given the false credit of being the founder of Gawad Kalinga instead of the ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) Foundation that began the work with the poorest of the poor in Bagong Silang. At one time, Meloto's face was all over all Shell stations all over the country that people started asking if he were running for the Philippine presidency.

GK garnered all kinds of accolade for succeeding what other groups had tried and failed to do in the past. It was even being compared to the concept of the Grameen Bank, for which its advocate won a Nobel Peace Price. GK and Tony Meloto themselves won separate Ramon Magsaysay awards last year.

But as we speak, Meloto is bound to fall flat in his face because in less than three years, he has promised to deliver 7,000 villages and 700,000 homes and today only 22,000 homes in 1,400 communities have been built.

This split within Couples for Christ is an even glaring assurance that Meloto will never get near his bloated target.

On the other hand, Frank Padilla is a simple and humble man and I support him because he is obviously in the right direction of steering the CFC die-hard members to go back to the basics of evangelization. .. with just a piece of GK and not consumed by it.

Frank has also delivered on his word. Many years ago, he said, by the time CFC gets to be 25 years old, it will be established in 150 countries worldwide. Last year, CFC celebrated its silver anniversary and he went to the center of the stage and announced "as of tonight, CFC is already in 153 countries!" to the thundering applause of those present.

This I say to Frank: "Onward Christian Soldier!"

CFC Ostrich said...

Dear C.D.

Just want to share the EASTER Group's recoil to Boo Chanco's column, " Is Gawad Kalinga too Good to Last? "

Is Gawad Kalinga too good to last?
Friday, August 31, 2007

Two weeks ago, I received an e-mail that gave me information about the internal problems of Gawad Kalinga and Couples for Christ stalwarts. The e-mail detailed the split in the leadership and left open the question of how the Catholic Church hierarchy regards Gawad Kalinga in view of the split.

I went against my instincts as a journalist and decided not to write about it when I received that email. This is the kind of bad news I wish would just go away. Also, I felt bad enough to be the first to write a column about the simmering problems of GK and CFC leaders last February. That column, the e-mail writer pointed out, caused Tony Meloto to resign his positions in the Church ministries. But even then, I only wrote about it at that time, out of a journalistic obligation to present a reader reaction to a column that lauded the Gawad Kalinga and Meloto.

I guess the story of the leadership crisis is too good to ignore for long. Vic Agustin wrote two columns in the Standard over the past week on the subject and Ces Drilon had a report aired on it last Tuesday evening on ANC. Newsbreak had a story on it too in its website. What I find sad is the impression it leaves that we Pinoys can’t stand a successful venture. Soon enough, crab mentality sets in and the venture becomes too good to last.(The crab mentality only exists in the minds of those who want to pull down. In reality, crabs do not pull down but build and climb on each other’s backs to help the one at the top to get out of the basket or net or can and make good their escape. This is a disservice not only to the poor lowly crabs who cannot defend themselves but also the Filipino race).

As I piece together the details of the sad and sordid mess, it appears that the crisis apparently started with some disagreements between Frank Padilla (the CFC founder) and Tony Meloto, dramatized by their resignation from the CFC Council early February of this year. Padilla is now leading a splinter group which he calls CFC FFL (Foundation for Family and Life).

As is typical with many Filipino groups, the problem eventually involves an election. Apparently, Padilla wanted to get back to the CFC council through its regular elections scheduled last June. When it was apparent that he couldn’t get back his position, he tried to have the election postponed. But the elections pushed through and a new council was elected with supporters of Meloto winning the contest. (This oversimplification of Chanco completely misses the point. Before the elections, both sides agreed to a dialogue to iron out differences, because in the meantime, the CBCP had recommended strongly that the elections be postponed at a time of confusion and disunity in the community. Both sides had an agreement, to wit: 1. To retain the council of 4 which were left behind to serve and 2. elect only 3 to the Council. This way, there was an accommodation to the CBCP which wanted elections postponed and also to the Council which wanted to push thru with the elections. Despite the agreement, the Council made it appear that the agreement was a “mere proposal” and presented it to the Elders’ Assembly with an obvious bias for pushing thru with the election of the 7 man council. The win-win agreement adhered to by the Council and also acceptable to the CBCP was not honored. To make it appear “Padilla wanted to get back to the CFC council" is simply preposterous because he was never a candidate in the first place, having been consistent to past pronouncements that he no longer wants to be in governance).

A number of bishops, supposedly at Padilla’s prodding, threatened to cut off CFC from their diocese, recognizing only the new FFFL. Meloto’s group was accused of turning non catholic. Among others, Meloto was criticized for taking in monetary support from corporations that advocated artificial family planning methods and for working with non Catholics, like the Mormons and the Muslims.(Padilla never had to prod the Bishops because the news about the resignations burned in media for the next few days and even weeks after, columnists had all sorts of speculations on the resignations, Chanco among them. The CBCP never decided to cut off any CFC group from any diocese. In fact, as we speak, both groups may apply for recognition in each and every diocese. The teachings of the Church and the Vatican are clear that there should not be any forms of cooperation with companies that espouse anti-life programs and pro-choice activities and Meloto does not deny that GK does not ask whether donors manufacture contraceptives or not. Please refer to the clarification of Bishop Reyes, page 13 of the Phil. Star issue of Sept. 9, 2007. There was absolutely nothing said about the Muslims. On the Mormons, GK proudly proclaims its partnership with them . Download the GK website, assuming this has not been erased).

There were also allegations of misuse of funds from both sides. Meloto was asked to account for donations received with the suggestion that not enough houses have been built. On the other hand, Padilla was asked to account for the P50 million in assistance provided by the Department of Health (DOH) to promote natural family planning methods. There are also questions on the handling of tithes given to CFC by its members.(Both sides agreed there have been no allegations of this sort. Let this issue be put to rest by Mr. Chanco too).

In his interview by Ces Drilon, Meloto said he had asked SGV to audit all funds donated to Gawad Kalinga. Meloto also said he was embarrassed to even have to answer that question in a public interview since trust is the essential element behind Gawad Kalinga’s success.(It is easy to have books audited by any reputable company because GK controls the data that will be audited. What has been pointed out is focusing on the conducts of both internal and operations audit and whether these have been done or not, particularly whether or not the disbursements actually reconcile with the number of houses promised each partner or donor.)

If the Catholic Bishops eventually side with Padilla, what happens to Gawad Kalinga? While GK now has an internal capacity to raise funds and is organized to operate on its own, the split could affect the supply of dedicated volunteers from the CFC. CFC members constitute the backbone of GK volunteers and many of them are there because of the Church backing. So that even if the newly elected CFC officers support Meloto, it is not certain they will be able to keep their members once the Bishops withdraw support. (At the end of the day, not even a million pronouncements of the Bishops nor declarations of support from elders and leaders will matter for as long as the individual member is given the opportunity to discern and decide if he wishes to support GK or not.)

But Gawad Kalinga is too good an idea to give up just because it became too successful. It is one of the rare instances when the Catholic Church is identified with a popular project that addresses poverty and the right of every human being to a life with dignity. GK gives the Catholic Church in the Philippines an unusual relevance in addressing a temporal need of its flock.(The content and nobility of the GK cause has never been questioned, not even by the Bishops. The issues are on the propriety of approaches GK uses in the name of securing donors and their donations, without much regard to the spiritual anchors of a faith community. Otherwise, if values are not firmly grounded on Christian values and unfurling our Christian banner proudly in GK Communites {why did Habitat for Humanity proudly proclaim that it is a Christian organization}, GK will be just one of the NGOs doing social work).

I can’t help smirking when I read one of the accusations of Padilla that Meloto has strayed from the spiritual ministry of CFC and had become too temporal. GK under Meloto had been accused by Padilla of not strictly advocating the Church’s Pro-Life doctrine and is compromising with donors who advocate artificial contraception. (All Mr. Chanco has to do is read the findings of the Bishops of Aug. 28 that GK has indeed veered away from the life and mission of CFC).

Meloto denied the accusation in his interview with Ces Drilon. But even if he is guilty as charged, I can’t see what the problem is. For evangelization to be significant in the lives of our poor, it has to be more than spiritual. Would the Church rather have the poor reproduce like rats and live with vermin in the streets, without any human dignity so long as its so-called Pro-life doctrine is upheld? (Again, Mr. Chanco misses the point. The problem of poverty is traceable to an evident lack of sharing and unconditional love for each other, greediness and not reproduction). Shouldn’t there be a Church supported program here on earth to house in dignity all those people reproducing themselves to Armageddon? How can anything be pro-life if it ignores the quality of our people’s lives? (All Mr. Chanco has to do is to interview Church-sponsored programs supporting natural family planning. But it seems obvious he has not or simply does not want to do so).

Meloto’s GK addresses that problem with this very novel housing experiment that proved more than viable. I know too that one of the things GK insists on before they even break ground is the matter of spiritual and values formation among the beneficiaries. There is a “caretaker team” for each proposed village that introduces value-formation seminars at the early part of any project. After the houses are built, the team would continue to assist the beneficiaries in education (usually a school built on-site, like those Meralco Sibol schools), employment (livelihood projects), and health, among others. (Mr. Chanco could perhaps immerse himself more in GK communities to see and verify if the described wholistic approach he describes is working. He fails to mention a comprehensive health program simply because it is not there. He talks about livelihood as if these opportunities abound and if said program is working at all. He also conveniently misses the point that social ministries of Couples for Christ, organized and with the expertise to help GK, have not been welcome in GK sites at the orders of GK leadership. Mr. Chanco should verify his statements).

This makes Gawad Kalinga unique. Much depends on the dedication of the volunteers in the caretaker teams. GK does not build and leave. Follow through after the homes are turned over is very important and that is perhaps the primary reason for its success. Raising the money and building the houses are the easy parts of the GK experience. (All Mr. Chanco has to do is to verify the condition he describes so vividly. What sites has he visited over time?)

Gawad Kalinga has now built some 1,200 communities all over the country, or about 22,000 homes for impoverished families nationwide, including Muslim-dominated provinces in Mindanao. I remember Datu Toto Paglas telling me that when GK built houses in his province, many in his Muslim rebel constituency were so touched by the gesture of Christians building homes for poor Muslim families they became predisposed to think of the potentials of living in peace. (There was a time that the number of houses built reached 100,000 as proclaimed by GK and Tony Meloto himself. Now we are glad we are down to more realistic numbers after 4 years in existence. Yes, Datu Toto Paglas and his Muslim constituency all the time knew it was CFC behind GK which in some events is not exactly proclaimed but hidden like the taking out of CFC stickers in the doorposts of CFC members who are GK beneficiaries, and the prohibition of the wearing of CFC t-shirts in GK assemblies).

The current program of GK aims to benefit 700,000 families by building 7,000 communities by the end of 2010. It is too good to be allowed to wither in the face of a decision by the Catholic Bishops to withdraw support. If the Catholic Church would no longer have it, civil society should adopt it and give it even more fire. A withdrawal of Church support may even be the best thing that could happen to GK because of the opportunity that will create for every segment of society to now call it its own. (Mr. Chanco should not prejudge the CBCP because it has said nothing about what the columnist has conjured about).

The Church’s loss, if it withdraws, is the nation’s gain. The League of Corporate Foundations, Philippine Business for Social Progress as well as non-business NGOs should adopt GK as its mass housing project. GK should become a non sectarian effort, the Filipino version of Habitat for Humanity. More important, we have to prove to ourselves that we are able to sustain a good idea and protect it from dying or falling victim to the usual crab mentality for which many leaders in Pinoy communities here and abroad are known for.(Mr. Chanco probably does not know that Habitat for Humanity has proclaimed itself as a Christian organization. Why the coyness in GK to do the same thing?)

We have to separate the personalities from the project. Tony Meloto may have won awards for leading GK but GK is not Tony Meloto. GK is the Filipino who is ready to share of himself to house a fellow Filipino and give him the opportunity to live in dignity that every human being deserves. If the Catholic bishops and the Padilla group cannot see this, we will have to show them. (Mr. Padilla is proud about the accomplishments of Mr. Meloto and agrees he is not GK. But to be true to the CFC values, GK ought to be an enabler rather than as the end all and be all of total human liberation---which at the end goes beyond nation building but restoring a nation to God).

Here’s hoping that Gawad Kalinga will survive this leadership crisis, one way or another. It is too good an idea to lose, specially because there is still so much work to be done. (We agree and Mr. Chanco can help out in this effort by presenting both sides of the picture as a journalist should).

Couples for Christ Foundation for Family & Life

Anonymous said...

It absolutely galls me to read some of the things FFL is writing. Fortunately for me, I am in Manila, so I know the untrue for what it is, but I feel for our brothers and sisters overseas who have mere propaganda to go by.

Here's an interesting quote:
"But as we speak, Meloto is bound to fall flat in his face because in less than three years, he has promised to deliver 7,000 villages and 700,000 homes and today only 22,000 homes in 1,400 communities have been built."

Just the other day I happened to see a video of the launch of 777. Who was launching this target?

Why, Frank Padilla himself.

In God's holy name Jesus said...

Why is this blog filled with such hatred? Is everyone missing the message? Noone has all the facts except God. And by posting so called "key facts" you cannot convince others of your choice i.e. GK, Neutral, FFL. This only confuses the readers. Why not pray on the below words.

Jesus sums up here the central decision we all have to make by issuing this clear, two-word invitation that He gave to many people: "Follow Me." Jesus said, "I'm the issue. Make your decision about ME." He repeated that invitation so many times when He was here on earth. And it's His invitation to you and me today. As for those Christians who aren't a very good advertisement - well, they're like that junior high band trying to play that Beethoven symphony. Unfortunately, some of us don't play Jesus' music very well. But that has nothing to do with Jesus. He is still the Genius who forgives our failures and loves us with "never-leave-you" love, and takes us to heaven when we die.

Jesus didn't say, "Follow My followers," or "Follow My leaders," or "Follow My religion." He said, "Follow ME." The only reason not to be a Christian is if you've got something against Jesus. And there wasn't a trace of hypocrisy in Him.

All that will matter when you keep your appointment with God is what you did with Jesus, His one and only Son who died on the cross to pay ... not for His sins, but for yours. Honestly, there is no place to hide when it comes to Jesus. Either you commit yourself to this Man who died for you or you turn your back on Him and walk away.

It is all about Jesus. And maybe you're ready to surrender all the baggage that's kept you from His love. It's Jesus and you, because it's Jesus you're trusting. On Judgment Day, it will be you and Jesus. Today it's you and Jesus. In the words of an old hymn, "What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be. For someday your heart will be asking, 'What will He do with me?'

by Ron Hutchcraft

I thank my NJ friends who have the discernment to send this excerpt.

Anonymous said...

I'm a member of CFC, but haven't been following the political aspects of the split because it seems to be far removed from our small faith worship group.

I can't really take any sides since I'm in the US and haven't been following what has been going on in the media in the Philippines.

But, I do worry about GK when I read that they are taking money from the Clinton Foundation and other groups that have "reproductive rights" a/k/a unlimited abortion planks in their lists of goals.

I am not Filipino, so being a recruit into CFC from the outside might give me another perspective. Also, I am a convert to Catholicism from the United Methodist Church as well.

One of the reasons for my decision to go back to the mother church was the infiltration by anti-life forces into the Methodist Church to the extent that abortion is acceptable.

From the University of Virginia's Religious Movements' page:

"The United Methodist Church, along with several other major Protestant denominations, is a long-standing member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. As its name implies, the RCRC is an interfaith organization devoted to promoting a woman's right to choose to have an abortion, among other related women's health issues."

Any group that takes money from pro-abortion or "reproductive rights" organizations must fear being co-opted by the large sums of money that these groups can generate.

If the Philippines isn't careful, GK could end up being a launching board for all sorts of unsavory things that currently aren't allowed, but will soon become "rights."

Allowing the reproductive rights foundations and drug companies into the mix can result in what we are seeing in the US these days in this news from CNN: 11 year-old girls are being given birth control pills in school without parental involvement or even notification.

I don't care who runs CFC because who is in charge doesn't really affect the Bible study and fellowship that goes on with our small group. Plus, being the independent sort I am, I can just find another small faith sharing group in my area that isn't connected with the CFC, such as Christ Renews His Parish or the Cursillo reunion groups.

But, I do pray that GK and the CFC as a whole isn't taken over by the forces that promise all sorts of new freedoms and rights that end up corrupting the family and society.