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AHDC organises training of trainers for migrant ministry

BUNDU TUHAN – Sixty-six members of parish human development committees across the three arch/dioceses in Sabah participated in the training of trainers for migrant ministry on 2-3 Mar 2018.

The training, held at the retreat centre here, was organised by the KK Archdiocesan Human Development Commission (AHDC).

The programme began with the Bible Enthronement by Father Benedict Runsab and a recap on AMOS-3 and its action plan by Dominic Lim, coordinator of AHDC-KK.

In his homily on Mar 3,  Father Ambrose Atang, AHDC spiritual adviser, reminded the participants of the pastoral spiral SEE-JUDGE-ACT in all their dealings. Based on the Gospel reading on the parable of the prodigal son, he helped them to view migrants with the merciful eyes of the Father.

The main session began with the first presentation by magistrate Elsie Primus on the rights of migrant workers based on the East Malaysian Labour Ordinance. These include applicability of Employment Act 1955, Sabah Labour Ordinance [Cap.67 and 2004], Sarawak Labour Ordinance 1952 pertaining to among others; remuneration (salary and wages), leave, termination, women’s rights, children labour, complaint filing procedures, insurance coverage and other rights.

 In addition, Primus also briefly explained the importance of understanding and adhering to the Minimum Salary Directives 2016 (Perintah Gaji Minimum 2016), the Employee Provident Act 1951 and Social Security Act (Perkeso), Employment Injury Scheme, Employment Insurance System, Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 and Industrial Relationship Act 1967.

The Q&A after her talk touched on many issues cited by the participants, especially on the rights and duties of both the employee/labourer and employer, as most are unaware of the legal protection laws covering migrant labour employment and its existence.

The second session focused on the topic of alternative approach to application of Birth Identification Documentation presented by Jellferlyne Joseph from Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd (PKGS).

Her talk was based on the Human Rights Declaration 1948 (Article 13: Rights for a Citizenship) and Convention of the Rights of Children (Article 7 and 8: Rights of children to have a Name and Citizenship) as enshrined by the United Nations and the steps taken by PKGS to assist migrant children (currently only available for Indonesian Migrants) in obtaining birth certificate through the assistance of the consulate office.

This will ensure that the children do not add towards the statistics of ‘stateless children’ and on the humanitarian perspective enable them to acquire proper education and necessary skills for their future endeavours in life.

Franciscan Sister Anita Lintanga touched on pastoral approaches towards migrants including visiting, organising and networking with them. She quoted from Erga migrantes caritas Christi (Love of Christ towards Migrants).  Citing Pope Francis’ message, the pastoral approach can be summed up in four words: welcoming, protecting, integrating and promoting the cause of migrants.

To drive across her point, a brief sketch role-play was presented by the Migrant Committee of AHDC. It highlighted the common real-case scenario of challenges encountered in migrant ministry.

Two participants, Imelda from Papar and Zilpah from Kota Kinabalu, shared their stories.  Both have high hopes that the local Church will continue to meet the pastoral needs of the migrants.

Before the training ended, Lim presented some of the follow-up actions which were identified, discussed and agreed upon in AMOS-3 and the 5th Triparte Pastoral Gathering at Ende, Flores last October.

Among them were data collection on Indonesian migrants, migrant serving migrant as catechists, MoU with Flores dioceses, and the care for the 3rd generation migrants. To carry out these, a team headed by Bishop Julius Gitom was set up on 22 February 2018 to spearhead and monitor the follow-up actions. The team comprises Human Development Commission members from the three arch/dioceses.

Fr Atang, in his concluding remarks, said that systematic approach to pastoral care for migrants in the local Church has seen incremental changes over the years. He personally found fulfilment in his priestly ministry when he began to be involved in migrant work. He encouraged the participants to work closely with their pastors.

In a way,  the migrant ministry is beginning to see its fruits in Sabah, beginning with AMOS-1 (Bundu Tuhan/Feb 2011), AMOS-2 (Keningau/Feb 2013) and AMOS-3 (Sandakan/Sept 2017). The

The Triparte Pastoral Gatherings between the Sending Diocese of Flores, Transit Diocese of Tanjong Selor and the three arch/dioceses in Sabah as Receiving Church have enhanced greater cooperation and collaboration in the pastoral care for migrants.  – William Charles Mindus (SOCCOM Papar)

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