Celebrating A God Who is Real
Such was the theme and the spirit that prevailed in the 42nd Annual Membership Meeting of the Philippine Bible Society held last April 21, 2007 at the newly constructed Ministry House along UN Avenue in Manila. The whole-day activity was opened by a worship service that had for its guest speaker, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Honorable Reynato Puno.
Also present during worship time were Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Ruben Reyes and Judicial and Bar Council member Justice Raoul Victorino.
A Bible distribution program for members of the Judiciary was also launched. The program, initiated by the Chief Justice himself, aims to provide copies of the Bible to about 2,000 justices and judges serving in the various courts all over the country.
Another component of this program is the envisioned formation of Bible Study groups that will enrich the magistrates’ understanding and application of Biblical principles and statutes in their rulings and decisions.
Following the worship service, the business meeting was called to order by PBS Chairman and President Bishop Efraim Tendero. A quorum was declared by Corporate Secretary Atty. Robinson Landicho, with 215 members in attendance.
Bishop Tendero presented the milestones achieved by the Bible Society in 2006: the inauguration of the Lawang Bato Printing Plant; the opening of the Cebu Regional Auxiliary Bible Office (RABO); the launching of the Electronic Filipino Bible (E-Bible); and, the inauguration of the United Nations Avenue Ministry Facilities.
PBS General Secretary Nora Lucero’s report, on the other hand, underscored God’s faithfulness, and the realness of his presence and gracious providence. “All told, we have achieved no less than 90 percent of what we laid out to do for 2006…all realized through the guidance and provision of our very real God. It was indeed a time of thanks and celebration.” She likewise revealed that the BS is doing a lot of self re-engineering to ensure that it remains relevant to its purpose and to the changing times.
Associate General Secretary Vilma Salvio also presented the ministry’s Financial Status, showing, a very stable and “in the black” Bible Society.
After which, the assembly unanimously elected Ambassador Henrietta de Villa (Catholic Lay), Rev. Marie Sol Sioco-Villalon (NCCP Clergy), Atty. Robinson Landicho (NCCP Lay), Rev. Val Chaves and Bishop Cesar Punzalan, III (PCEC Clergy), and Dr. Jonathan Exiomo (PCEC Lay) as members of the Board of Directors.
It also re-appointed external auditors Uy, Singson, Abella, & Co. (USA & CO.) as the Bible Society’s auditors for 2007.
In the board meeting held soon afterwards, Bishop Punzalan was elected to replace Bishop Tendero as Chairman, while Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, D.D. and Atty. Robinson Landicho were re-elected as Vice Chairman and Corporate Secretary, respectively. Meanwhile, Board Members Rene Cristobal and James Tioco were also elected as members of the PBS Board Executive Committee.
Still keeping true to its goal of being relevant to society, PBS sponsored a voters’ education forum in the afternoon.
Bishop Tendero opened the forum by exhorting on the sacredness of the ballot and its value in a democracy. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) as well as Vote Right/Vote Net of the Campus Crusade for Christ presented their advocacies, while COMELEC Regional Director Atty. Ferdinand Rafanan discussed the criteria that voters should use in selecting candidates.
PBS Translation Manager Rev. Edgar Ebojo rounded up the forum with the presentation of the Biblical tract, Sino ang Dapat Iboto sa Halalan 2007? (Whom Should We Elect in the 2007 Elections?). This PBS-produced Scripture material outlines 10 Biblical traits of a righteous leader.
Another praise item for PBS was the first anniversary celebration of its printing plant in Lawang Bato on April 25, 2007. Mrs. Lucero said the plant was built through prayers and the able supervision of Executive Consultants Dr. Ricardo Jumawan and Dr. Medarlo Rivera. After only six months into operation, the plant had already exceeded its printing targets due to the dedication and hard work of the printing plant team. The Bible Society is now able to print affordable but quality Bibles and New Testaments for distribution in the Philippines.