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Manila, Philippines: first day of the EoC Youth Forum

The two-day International Youth Forum on the Economy of Communion (EoC) kicked off today, May 23, 2016 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex Auditorium

by Jose Aranas

160523 24 Manila Youth Forum 07 ridAre around 200 the participants to the Youth Forum, from different countries such as: Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Peru, Republic of Central Africa, Spain, Switzerland, plus Economics and Commerce students in the University.

Dean of the College of Economics, Assistant Professor Mary Hildence M. Baluyot gave the opening remarks, quoting the letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians that says nothing is greater than love, especially in our consumerist world where more and more people are driven to the margins, excluding them.

EoC works for an alternative paradigm in economics wherein everyone is included. She puts her faith on the youth who will be the future leaders of this initiative.

Next, Mr. Ronald Dannug, Chief Executive Officer of Modern Dwellings, Inc. presented a 160523 24 Manila Youth Forum 05 ridPhilippine Economic situationer, discussing growth trends in 2015, the Philippine economy in 2016 and beyond, and everything in between. Based on his research, the growth trends of the Philippines in the last years have a positive outlook. The Philippine economy which is consumption driven and sustained by remittances of Overseas Filipino workers and the BPO services, had also beaten unemployment. This positive outlook will remain as such even in the light of the new administration of the presumptive President Duterte.
The Philippine’s GDP is even next to China and Vietnam in terms of its growth. Although, underemployment remains to be a problem and the unpredictability of Duterte compared to President Aquino cast shadows of concern over the future. Also, there is still the wide gap between the rich and the poor, the latter consisting 26 percent of people below poverty level.

160523 24 Manila Youth Forum 06 ridAfter the presentation of the present Philippine economic situationer, a video on 25th anniversary of EoC followed. EOC dreams for a world where no one is in need. A return to human values, using the economy as a means, not a goal - a business lifestyle rooted in a deep sense of communion among us and relationships that can connect the whole world. Then Professor Luigino Bruni of Sophia University, Loppiano, Italy gave a historical background of EoC starting from great charismatic figures of Europe like St. Benedict and St. Francis with whom Chiara Lubich took inspiration in starting EoC.  Then Ms. Tita Datu Puangco, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ancilla Enterprises and her son Mike Puangco shared their experience in their involvement in EoC through Ancilla... A beautiful questions and answers ensued afterwards between the participants and the speakers in the morning session.

In the afternoon, Prof. Anouk Grevin, Ph.D.. of the University of Nantes in France gave 160523 24 Manila Youth Forum 01 ridthe guiding principles and distinctive practices of EoC. She reiterated a culture of trust, of seeing others as a gift, and a culture of sharing, the way of dialogue and the call to be producers of communion as some of the distinctive characteristics of EoC. Then came lively experiences recounted by Che Lastica and Liz Satira of Primavera Businesses, Au Miranda and her cake business, and Kalayaan engineering, from small to big businesses that put to life the spirit of giving and valuing human relationships.

An open forum followed afterwards. One beautiful and memorable question was asked to Dr. Grevin about the success rate of EoC and she answered wisely - “it is a way of living success and failure. In EoC we find a family, a community which can strengthen communion.

The day ended with the celebration of the Holy Mass by Fr. Felimon de la Cruz, Jr. Op, UST’s Vice rector for religious affairs. He said that it is fitting to end the EoC with a mass as the best manifestation of communion through the breaking of bread, and of offering a part of ourselves to others just like the Eucharist.

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