The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines reports from Manila…

Following the death of a tribal leader in Boracay last February 22, the Vincentian Family Coordinating Council (VFCC) in the Philippines has issued an official statement denouncing the brutal killing, yesterday.

Fr. Francisco Vargas, CM, VFCC Chairman in the country, in a letter to the Vincentian community condemned the murder of one of their lay members, Dexter Condes.

Condes, 26, a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and an alumnus of Colegio de San Jose in Jaro, Iloilo was gunned down with 8 bullet shots while he was on his way home from a meeting with the Daughters of Charity (DC) nuns of the Holy Rosary Parish Ati Mission in Boracay, Aklan.

“As a spokesman of the Ati community, he opposed the unbridled development in his community in the island where a large portion of which has been awarded to them by the national government. As a youth volunteer, he stood by his community in fighting the harassment and eviction from three other claimants to the property they have inherited from their ancestor,” said Vargas.

“While law enforcement authorities have initiated investigation, his assassins and the mastermind behind this dastardly act remain at large. Condes left behind not only his family but also, most importantly, the entire Ati community and their quest to regain possession of the land awarded to them,” Vargas also said.

He added that Condes’ fight to get the land they needed to settle down is one of the projects of the local Church of the diocese of Kalibo, for which the DC nuns had been working for the past 15 years.

“This project of the Daughters of Charity has been owned and supported by the different branches of the Vincentian Family, particularly in Western Visayas, and from the whole country. And what happened last Friday is not only a setback for the Atis but also a setback in the history of the country and of the Church of the Philippines,” he explained.

Vargas joined the whole Vincentian Family in the Philippines condemning in the strongest possible terms this act of cowardice and in praying that justice be served against the perpetrators of the crime.

He requested the publication in newsletters of the statement of their solidarity with the poor, notably the underprivileged indigenous people.

He assured the Atis’ community in Boracay whom Condes courageously and unselfishly served, as well as his family, that his death was not in vain as they shall relentlessly pursue the work he left behind in the name of charity and justice.

The whole Vincentian Family Philippines is in solidarity with them both in their fight for their already awarded land and in seeking justice for the death of Dexter Condes, Vargaz furthered.

No doubt the international site of the Vincent de Paul Society will have more shortly.


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