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MANILA – After 21 years, the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Government Immigration Bureau (Bi) renewed an agreement to assist foreign missionaries in the country.
In a ceremony held in Manila on 2 July 2018, Bishop Antonio Javellana Ledesma, archbishop of Cagayan de Oro and head of the Commission for Mutual Relations (ECMR) of the CBC, signed the agreement with the Commissioner for Immigration Tobias Javier , Msgr Romulo Valles, Archbishop of Davao and president of the CBCP, and his deputy Msgr Pablo Virgilio David, bishop of Kalookan.
The government confirmed that the missionaries contributed “immensely to the moral and human development of the citizens; in particular the poor, the young, the disabled and the less privileged of society. ” The signature is a recognition of the dedication of those who have dedicated life and resources following their own vocation, for the moral and spiritual development of many Filipino communities.
The agreement comes after several missionaries expressed concerns about various issues related to issuing and extending their visas. They create “some difficulties in the pursuit of the mission.” The ECMR manages the Visa Desk of the CBC, set up to maintain official relations with the Bi and to assist and support foreign priests, religious men and women in their visa application.
The first agreement between the bishops and the Philippine authorities was signed by the commissioner of Bi Edgar Mendonza and by Msgr Carlito Cenzon on 10 November 1997. – Asia News