GUARDIANS OF ENVIRONMENT — Bishop Victor Bendico of the Diocese of Baguio urges students from the various parishes of Benguet who gathered at Sitio Pacdal in Tuba, Benguet to care for God’s creation as an act of service to the one true God during the three-day 2nd Vicariate youth camp sponsored by the Diocese of Baguio and hosted by Philex Mining’s Padcal mine.
— Contributed Photo

TUBA, Benguet – Baguio Bishop Victor Bendico enjoined the youth to care for God’s creation, including mining environment, and reflect on their faith and promote the Christian spirit in their respective communities.

“We must all take care of our faith for this will lead us to eternity,” Bendico said in a homily during a mass held May 29 at the gymnasium of the Saint Louis High School-Philex.

Bendico also told about 250 students and other youth representatives to emulate Jesus Christ in His priestly, prophetic, and kingly actions.

“You are part of the big Christian family by virtue of your baptism, you can be prophetic by living and sharing the life of Jesus, and you can be kingly by serving others.”

He added, “Our faith also challenges us and directs us to love one God, and to care for God’s creation. You are surrounded here with beautiful mountains. You have trees, water, and clean air. Help your gimong, which is part of our hope of hope.”

The students, who came from nine of the Benguet parishes, gathered in Sitio Padcal, where Philex Mining has its gold-and-copper operations, for the 2nd Vicariate Youth Camp, a three-day event sponsored by the Diocese of Baguio and hosted by Philex Mining’s Padcal mine.

With the theme “Forming BECs that are agents of communion, participation, and mission,” the youth camp ended May 31 with a send-off mass and a boodle fight lunch for its participants.

The 1st Vicariate Youth Camp was held in May 2012 at the Immaculate Conception Parish, in Bokod, according to Angeila Greff Aratas, youth coordinator for the Sto. Niño of Prague Parish.

“We are going to grant scholarships to more students for the incoming school year, as part of our social development work for stakeholders,” Aurora Dolipas, manager of Padcal’s Community Relations Department said in her presentation during the youth camp.

“If our host and neighboring communities want us to focus more on education, then we will grant it to them.”

Philex Mining had spent P101 million between 2003 and 2016 for scholarships and other programs on quality education involving elementary, high school, college, and graduate students from its outlying communities – both host and neighboring villages.

For 2017, Philex Mining has allotted P15.7 million for its education program.