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PENAMPANG – Archbishop John Wong paid a visit to the office of Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS) on 11 Oct 2016.
PACOS is a non-government organisation (NGO) which assists and empowers indigenous communities through livelihood and educational projects.
The prelate was accompanied by Fr Alex Sipanul (Pastor of Inobong parish), Fr Ambrose Atang (Spiritual Adviser of Archdiocesan Human Development Commission[AHDC]) and Dominic Lim (Coordinator of AHDC).
Also present was Jenifer Majalap, a member of AHDC, and a handful of PACOS’ staff.
Anne Lasimbang, Executive Director of PACOS Trust and Dr Felix Tongkul, President of PACOS Trust, gave an overview of what the NGO has been doing over the past 30 years.
Abp Wong was quite impressed by the efforts of PACOS in building the capacity of the rural people, not only in terms of social-economic upliftment, but more so to understand their rights and responsibilities. Their efforts, driven by faith and the Social Teachings of the Church, have borne fruits. The NGO has received international recognitions for its community works.
The prelate was specifically interested in the educational project where 25 community-based learning centres (CLC) have been set up all over the state. Through such centres, rural children learn their mother tongue, and are exposed to some basic living and reading skills. He was then invited to bless a centre at Kg Togudon. The villagers gave him a rousing welcome.
To commemorate the visit, Abp Wong planted a tree near the side of Holy Cross Chapel, assisted by Fr Alex.
Reflecting over the brief visit, the prelate felt that the experience of PACOS in mobilising the indigenous community for self-help projects would be a plus factor if the rural parishes could work with such NGO.