Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos, vice chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines- Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI), appealed for compassion towards refugees as nations commemorate World Refugee Day on June 20 and World Refugee Week on June 20 to 26.
“With the coming celebration of International Refugee Week, we are reminded to be more compassionate, more charitable, and most welcoming with our refugees. They are persons who deserve our respect and help. They are personifications of Jesus who is telling us I am a stranger and you welcomed me,” Santos said over Radio Veritas.
The observance, the bishop said, serves to remind everyone of the need to be a Good Samaritan especially to those who need to leave the comforts of their home due to poverty, war and violence.
“Let us give them the love and respect that they deserve as individuals created in the likeness of God,” the Church leader said.
Bishop Santos expressed the readiness of the CBCP-ECMI in providing assistance to the refugees in the event that they seek refuge in the Philippines by providing them with education, work and whatever assistance that they might need.
“To help them is to assist them to build their lives and establish homes with us. The CBCP-ECMI will accept and accommodate them as we work for their integration to the community and help them find livelihood opportunities for sustenance and schooling for their children,” the prelate said.
The United Nations began the observance of World Refugee Day in 2001 in remembrance of the 1951 Refugee Convention which highlights the human rights of refugees.
A United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) report said there are more than 100 million individuals or one percent of the world population have become refugees since May 2022.