EDMUND RICE MINISTRIES FOUNDATION, PHILIPPINES INC.
The Edmund Rice Ministries Foundation, Philippines Inc. was founded for a number of purposes including the following:
- To unify the Edmund Rice activities being conducted across Visayan islands
- To open the Edmund Rice enterprise of reaching out to the poor to the ownership of Filipino people
- To provide a channel or means by which Filipino people who are better off can share their wealth in supporting the empowerment of poor communities, enabling alleviation from poverty…
At the early stage there was an emphasis of empowering staff to develop the knowledge and skills to deliver services. Delivering services can be a one-way-process. The aim is to empower people in poor communities to take up the responsibility of freeing themselves from poverty and advancing the quality of their own lives. This collaborative approach is more complex than a one-way-process. It is interactive and involves a number of ministries such as Education, Community Health and Livelihood that come together in achieving the mission.
Before the Foundation was established the Brothers in Maasin had already stepped aside from the Coordinator positions heading the field teams in favour of Filipino staff taking up the positions of coordinating the teams. On the return of Br. Paul Coster to Australia because of health reasons, Mr. Israel Mayorca was near-unanimously nominated by staff and appointed by the management as Project Manager. The Project Manager of ERM Maasin now in 2019, is Mr.Kristoper Rex B. Oraiz. Ms. Ana Cris Creencia who was appointed Corporate Secretary for the Board of Trustees left employment as a staff member of the Project to be coordinator of the Country ERM Secretariat which has become the Mission Development Office for the Foundation. In 2017 Karen Marie Beoncio was appointed to become a Communications and Research Officer and in 2018 Dominic Santini Carangue was appointed as Program Officer for Quality and Reporting.
In March 2015, an outreach centre was opened in Bato, Leyte to extend the impact of ministries to a wider area. Following Typhoon Haiyan, emergency-response activity related to primary ear and eye health care was extended to the Archdiocese of Palo. An ERM outreach center in the Municipality of Palo for a developmental program was later blessed and officially opened by Archbishop John Du in Palo in March, 2017.
Towards the end of 2016, the Foundation was assessed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and was granted Registration and Licensing. DSWD Accreditation was granted to ERM Dec. 1, 2017 and is valid up until Nov. 30, 2020.
At the beginning of 2018, CBM-Australia through the CBM country office in Manila entered into a partnership with ERMFPh to undertake a Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR) program in three Barangays of Palo Municipality and three Barangays of Maasin City. A Coordinator, Mae Ann Alfaras, two Community Organizers, RamelBandibas and Reina Piscos and one Disaster Risk Reduction Office, Reil Vincent Alfarerowere appointed.
In 2016 a baseline study of the Badjao Community in Dolho, Bato, Leyte was carried out by Maasin City College Social Work Department, a partner of ERMFPh. The baseline study became the basis for a one-year program entitled Sama-Badjao Community Livelihood and WASH Project which was funded by Misean Cara through the mediation of Edmund Rice Development-Dublin. This has been followed up with approval by Misean Cara for an extended three-year program.
In 2011, Strategic Planning Led by Dr. Leah Samson of Cebu and attended by Brothers Peter Harney and Peter Clinch identified the need to let go of the direct service to the Diocese through education to develop a more direct involvement with the very poor. In mid 2011 Br. Jim Quinn joined the community. It was May 2013 before Br. Rod Ellyard was able to let go of leadership of the Diocesan Educational effort.
In varying ways the Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers has provided support to ministry staff, especially through retreats and formation. Br. Damien Price made a special impact in this work and others have followed since. In 2016 he began to work in partnership with Sr. Milagros SabonalSsPS, then based in Cebu. Sr. Mila connected at a very deep level with the staff. She became so impressed with the quality of involvement with the very poor in Kabankalan that she invited Mr. Benjamin Abadiano, a personal friend and President of Assisi Development Foundation Inc. (ADFI) based in Manila to visit. ADFI has been active for over forty years and currently supports projects in most Provinces of the Country.
Mr.Abadiano visited in late 2016. On his suggestion a three day Listening Workshop was held in late March 2017 at Balicaocao just outside the fringes of Kabankalan City, involving five members from each of 10 current or future communities. The peoples’ expressed needs were for support in Education, Health, Livelihood and Environment. Through Mr.Abadiano, a three year Grant Agreement was established with ADFI for 2017-2019.
An important part of ADFI involvement is to establish a partnership with the Local Government Unit, in this case with the City of Kabankalan. A subsequent meeting with Mayor Isidro P. Zayco resulted in a commitment by the City to fund ERM Kabankalan at the level of P800,000.00 for 2018. Renewal of this funding on an annual basis was dependent on proper acquittal of these funds. This has been done and funding for 2019 has been achieved.
One of the communities attending the 2017 Listening Workshop was an IP Community from Tigbao, Himamaylan. They had a specific request for a school, as their children needed to travel long distances to attend classes. ADFI has since provided a second three year Grant Agreement through ERM Kabankalan for the years 2018-2020.
In April 2017, Strategic Planning, again led by Dr. Leah Samson, brought about the current Sustainable Community Development Program which has three aspects: Education; Livelihood and Environment; Health and Social Care. In 2019 Project Manager Mr. John Michael Bajos and 16 staff conduct this ministry with the support of Brothers John Moodie and Rod Ellyard.
A project which is to be the first of a new ERM Branch of ERMFPI in Cebu City, was planned in a workshop in July 2019 in Cebu. Myrna Remata-Evora facilitated the workshop held in the University of San Carlos Cebu City. The result was the three-year C.E.B.U. Families Strategic Plan (CFSP). The plan utilized the findings of the Listening Survey and the survey of the two Barangays, Tinago and Carreta conducted by Dorothy Fortuna RSW. Involved in the workshop were youth representatives, community representative from the focal barangays, ERMFPI staff, Edmund Rice Brothers and partners to decide on and validate appropriate strategic responses to key issues affecting the two focal communities. The communities (one living in the Chinese Cemetery and the other in makeshift shelters in street sidewalks) face persistent inequality in accessing health, education and livelihood opportunities.