May 25- The Pan-Asian Congress 2016 with its theme Economy of Communion, An Economy For All, just started in Mariapolis Peace, in Tagaytay City before the scenic Taal lake and volcano. It was also fitting that in this week the National Weather Bureau just announced that it will be the start of the rainy season ending a long dry spell that made many farmers suffer in the Philippines. The Philippines is also entering a new phase as it just elected its new government leaders.
Teresa and Francis Ganzon, of the EoC Asian commission welcomed the 300 participants coming from different parts of Asia. There was a large delegation from Korea. The co-directors of Mariapolis Peace, Giuseppe Arsi and Cecilia Caro gave the welcome remarks, wishing that this event which celebrates the 25th Anniversary of EoC, would be a milestone not only for Asia but for the whole world.
To better introduce EoC, a video presented in the United Nations was shown. The video emphasized the goal of helping the poor in all of EoC’s 750 businesses worldwide so that there will be no one who will be in need.
After the video, Luigino Bruni, from the EoC International Commission, gave a beautiful reflection about the theme of 25 years of EoC. He first presented a graph of the world’s GDP in the last 200 years. The graph shows that before the industrial revolution, the Asian GDP was greater than that of the West. For almost 200 years the West’s GDP was ahead of Asia. It was only in 2010 that Asia has taken again the lead over the West. He pointed out that future of the world very much depends on the economies which are developing in Asia. Then, he outlined and explained what EoC has become in the last 25 years. He explained why we are celebrating EoC’s 25th year in Asia and in the Philippines. It is because of thefriendship and communion with friends here. He recalled that the EoC international Commission, have started to reflect systemically on poverty, when he and a Dutch banker, Leo Andringa, an EoC advocate (who recently just passed away) visited the Philippines in 2005. They saw poverty in a special light and in a different way. With this they have thought of establishing an EoC International Observatory on Poverty for poverty is at the heart of EoC.
He recalled that once Chiara Lubich, EoC’s founder commented that the poor should be EoC’s focus for as long as we have not yet meet their needs, we have not succeeded yet in our goal that “all may be one“. Bruni emphasized the principle of subsidiarity and that the only concrete reality in the world is the real person and he/she should be the center of any intervention or help. He pointed out that the poor have also their competencies. They have some wealth in them. In this regard, we should esteem the dignity of the human person. He added, with poor people, there is such resilience even if they live in difficult homes and working conditions.
Bruni made a thought-provoking reflection on the intelligence of the trees compared to the intelligence of animals to show this resilience. After the moving talk of Bruni, which was warmly appreciated by almost everyone, Tina Bonifacio of the EoC commission, led the participants in getting to know each other by grouping them according to their sectors: academe, entrepreneurs, professionals, non-government or government organizations and young people.
To end the day in a light mode, a lively, artistic and cultural program was prepared by the citizens of the Mariapolis Peace, especially by its youths who presented colorful dances and lively songs, adding to the friendship and communion among everyone.
See EoC Asia website