PBS Inaugurates 1st Regional Office, Bookstore in Visayas
The Philippine Bible Society (PBS) opened its first Regional Auxiliary Bible Office (RABO) and Bookstore in Cebu City last October 11, in a simple but meaningful program attended by members of the PBS Board, managers, and key Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders. The facilities are located at #17 D. Jakosalem St., at Brgy. Sto. Nino, Cebu City.
“This is a historical event, meaningful and memorable,” proclaimed His Eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, who was the guest of honor at the inauguration. He also expressed his happiness at how the place has been transformed and has become a venue for making the Bible known in Cebu. The 75-year old Cardinal, who has served as Archbishop of Cebu for 25 years and as a Cardinal for 21 years, reaffirmed his love for the Biblical Apostolate as he supported the establishment of the PBS office. He was one of the reviewers of the Magandang Balita Biblia, 1980 and gave the Imprimatur to the Ang Bag-ong Maayong Balita Biblia 1999.
For nearly 107 years, the Bible Society has maintained its offices and two bookstores in Manila. Its choice of Cebu as a location for its regional office is strategic, since the Visayas region is a key growth area for PBS translation, marketing, and fundraising programs. As PBS Chairman and President Bishop Efraim Tendero said in his welcome address, the opening of the first RABO office will serve “to make the Bible more available, accessible and affordable to more people. This is in keeping with the Bible Society’s vision of “a Bible for every Filipino for a transformed Philippines.” He also expressed hope that the Philippines will become a better nation and that the stigma of a Christian and corrupt country will be erased and we will instead be known as a Christian and righteous nation.
PBS General Secretary Mrs. Nora G. Lucero, in her acknowledgement, thanked God for this new milestone in PBS’ history. She said, “Our vision to see a transformed Philippines in partnership with churches compels us to be in several places to make the Bible more accessible and responsive to the needs of the area.” She acknowledged Dr. Ricardo Jumawan as the chief architect and prime mover of the PBS’ regionalization program. She also thanked the PBS Board, “whose proven competence is beyond question and leads PBS with their wisdom.”
Board members Mrs. Florencia Tarriela, Atty. Robinson Landicho, Mr. Rene Cristobal, Bishop Cesar Punzalan III, Dr. Jonathan Exiomo, Atty. Edith Santos, Mr. Dante Lanorio, Ms. Amy Herrera, Rev. Marie Sol Sioco and Mrs. Lydia Aherrera, were present for the inauguration
Mrs. Lucero also recognized the help extended by Rev. Fr. Joseph Tan, Mrs. Elena Jarantilla, the Archdiocese Board of Cebu and Ms. Estrella Del Mar, Chairperson of the Cebu Lay Formation Center. Other Catholic leaders were also present in the inauguration.
Some of the evangelical leaders present were: Rev. Noel Centeno, President of the Metro Cebu Ministerial Fellowship; Rev. Jose Bernaldez of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines; Rev. Joseph Bayawa from Christ Commission Fellowship – Cebu; Pastor Danny and Mrs. Corie Varela of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches; Rev. Ildefonso Alfafara, General Secretary of the Baptist Conference of the Philippines; Rev. Alvin Rival and Pastor Gerardo Lisbe of the Greenhills Christian Fellowship – Cebu; Rev. Val Chaves, President of the Foursquare Gospel Churches in the Philippines; Pastor Shawn Maragni from the Cebu House of Prayer/YWAM; Pastor Brian Longridge of YWAM Cebu; Rev. Juan Coromina of YWAM; and, Pastor Wilvey Pepito from the God of Grace Christian Fellowship.
Representatives of Bible retailers like Catholic Trade, OMF Literature, and Philippine Christian Book Store were also among those who attended the inauguration. Mrs. Lucero hailed the event as a beautiful display of unity in God’s Word by the Christian community in Cebu.
Rev. Manuel Cabardo, Regional Manager for Visayas, manages the RABO. He is assisted by a bookkeeper, a cashier, and a warehouseman.
As part of its Regionalization Plan for 2006-2008, the Bible Society will establish four regional offices to expand the reach of the Bible Society ministry. The inauguration of the Cebu RABO and Bookstore, is an auspicious start. There are Regional Officers already based in Davao City, for Mindanano and Dagupan City, for Northern Luzon and a RABO for Bicol will be hired soon. The other RABO facilities will be opened as soon as plans are finalized and funds become available.