The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has decided to make the National Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking (NDPAHT) a yearly event.
The Episcopal Commission made the petition for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) for the CBCP to declare every first Sunday of February as a day of prayer for victims of modern-day slavery.
Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos, vice chairman of the CBCP-ECMI, expressed his gladness and gratitude for the bishops’ decision.
“We thank the Philippine bishops for their concern. They have shown us their compassionate attitude and concern for Filipinos,” said Bishop Santos.
The CBCP announced its decision during its recent plenary assembly at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila.
This year, the NDPAHT will be observed on Sunday, Feb. 5. Activities will be held at the EDSA Shrine in Quezon City. They will be highlighted with a holy mass to be presided over by Pasig Bishop and CBCP vice president Mylo Hubert Vergara. There will be candle lighting for the victims and survivors of human trafficking.
“Making the National Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking a yearly event will unite communities against human trafficking as well as exert more efforts to combat the problem. The move will further help protect the Filipinos against human trafficking, especially our people on the move,” Bishop Santos said.
The CBCP Cluster against Human Trafficking (CCAHT) was formed in 2016 to strengthen the Church’s response against human trafficking. It comprises various CBCP commissions and offices with the CBCP-ECMI as the lead convener.
The group is tasked to reach out to the dioceses with a high prevalence of human trafficking to support the creation of a diocesan committee that will respond to the problem.