Giving hope to children

Bishop Pete Torio Jr. and RECCORD staff

Bishop Pete Torio Jr. (center) of the Baguio Episcopal Area, Philippines Central Conference, meets with staff members of the Regional Ecumenical Council in the Cordillera. (Photo BEA-UMC Communications)

Heartbreak. Life-changer. Tragedy.

A whole lot of words can be associated with Extrajudicial Killings (EJK), but those will never describe the pain it caused, especially to the children of the victims.

Behind the tears and stutters, you could see and hear their hopes for a better future.

Stories of their losses were heard in a fellowship held in June with children of EJK victims in the Cordillera region and Bishop Pete Torio of the Baguio Episcopal Area, Philippines Central Conference, and his staff,. But behind the tears and stutters, you could see and hear their hopes for a better future, in which the Regional Ecumenical Council in the Cordillera (RECCORD) helps in achieving.

RECCORD is an ecumenical organization that seeks to promote respect for human rights. As stated by Bishop Torio, most of EJK victims are involved in social ministries of member churches and non-government organizations. Especially, it’s about human rights and indigenous communities.

Supports victims’ relatives

RECCORD gives out support for victims’ relatives, particularly children. According to Pastor Bill Mariano, scholarships and psychosocial intervention are part of the organization’s program. RECCORD also asks churches for the achievement of justice.

Anna (not her real name) recently graduated from a four-year course through the help of RECCORD of which The United Methodist Church is part. Her father was killed when she was 10. Since then, RECCORD assisted her in her educational needs.

These children, whose ages range from 11 to 20, have suffered unimaginable loss.

“I’m very grateful because you gave us a chance to grow and surpass what happened to us,” Anna said. She was the first of seven children who stood up and bravely told her story. Now, she is ready for the world and in search for a job.

These children, whose ages range from 11 to 20, have suffered unimaginable loss. But as they stood to be heard, you could see the courage to live the life their parents have dreamed of for them.

Encouraged young people

“Cherish their [parents’] memories and be very proud of them,” Bishop Torio told the RECCORD scholars. “We’ll continue to keep those stories in our hearts.”

Bishop Torio, along with his RECCORD co-workers Mrs. Maureen Loste, Mariano and Pastor Maricar Delfaro, encouraged the children and young people to strengthen their commitment to uphold the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“Go back to lead and serve your churches through faithful discipleship, consistent stewardship, faithful evangelism and ministries to the poor and indigenous communities,” Torio advised the victims.

Through the Baguio Episcopal Area United Methodist Church for Communications, Relief, Rehabilitation, the bishop reaffirmed his support to the program. He vowed to raise more funds to empower RECCORD for this ministry. He was chairperson of RECCORD when the older kids lost their parents.

Together, with everyone’s prayer and help, these children will achieve all they wanted to have: Love. Justice. Betterment.

Editor's note: This article is reprinted from Issue #4 (June 10-16, 2015) of the Baguio Episcopal Area, Philippines Central Conference of The United Methodist Church newsletter.

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