Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Finance Status

Fr. Robert of the Cusmano High School passed by to deliver the tickets for the raffle this coming Saturday. He is the principal of their school in the neighboring town of Mabitac, Laguna.
We talked about professionalism not only on educational system but also in ecclesiastical enclave. Time is very limited but it is significantly a race against time.
Fr. Wanny Cacao, the healing priest of Laguna and also our Diocesan financial officer came to visit me. As new to the delicate position he is trying to receive feedbacks as many as possible, I share my two feedbacks.
I told him that, though I failed to attend the regular priest assembly I am well informed of the present issues that is being raised by the priests of the diocese.
First, during the last Presbyteral assembly meeting the question of Fr. Rene although answered but has not satisfied the curiosity of the assembly. You, yourself, as a CPA graduate was perplexed on the way the finances were handled not because there is some kind of anomaly but simply because it is practically different from other institution and from the system that the parish usage. It is quite different. The priest reacted only because it was mentioned that on the year-end report the diocese was deficit of several pesos. The assembly could not accept that the diocese was deficit because, the report stated the expenses of the celebration of the Eucharistic Congress held in Lumban was included while there is really a fund allocated to it for 7 years ago. The finance department answered that it is so because the diocese is using one budget system. Even so, the statement of account should also not register the deficit because there is an allocated money to it. There is no question of the integrity in handling the money but on how it is presented that it might not be interpreted otherwise because of its ambiguity.
Second, the unending issue of the insurance policy of which the diocese has entered into a contract in behalf of the priests. This is the problem which Fr. Wanny Cacao is not involved because he has not received the post recently. However it continues to haven’t the Presbyterian because it is suppose to help or rather to solve the problem of health stability of the clerics so that they could perform their duties without entertaining to their thoughts the problem of finances when sickness strike. Before the said insurance came, we already have a system in place. Imperfect it may be but it was working. We took or rather the Diocese though its leaders believe them that through the said insurance it will sufficiently answer the needs of the priest in relation to health.
However these are problems which put the confidence out of balance. There are sickness not covered by the said insurance and there are sickness once treated through the use of the said insurance could no longer avail for the second time of treatment. The clergy put their trust on the leaders that there things were properly been clarified before but it seems that they have not done their job well. The hierarchy, though I am not a judge to that matter in some way or another have to accept negligence on their issue because we are made to enter into the said program although there is an opposition to this project.
Fr. Wanny could not even state for a fact how much really the Diocese is paying for the said insurance. The Diocese enters into that contract and pays for the 3rd part of the amount. But they are the one paying the whole amount while collecting the two thirds from the priests and the parish.
He said that he will look on these matters discussed for further clarification. I mentioned, on passing, that I have made already a program that will help every parish to assists them in their financial statement. A computerized program to enhance proper collection and to unburden the work of the parish secretaries of the diocese, forgive his ignorance of the importance of the program. It was, however, bad timing that it iwas brown out.
Parish pastoral meeting was also held that evening. After the reporting of the respective ministries and organization, the main agenda are the celebration of the Lenten season that will start on March one as well as the Alay Kapwa. The Visita Iglesia is proposed to be held on the Catholic Churches of Batangas during the Holy Monday. There activities were explained by the respective organizations that were assigned as the main agents.
Of course, the issue of the Santa Maria Academy’s Alumni project were question concerning its location. It was explained to all parties concerned that the said location is owned by the Church and not of the school. Its ownership is clearly established so that all might be guided accordingly specifically the Santa Maria Academy and its alumni, that they should plan with proper preparation and should consult all the persons or institution, concern. Mr. Manuel Balela apologizes for such miscalculation, Apology accepted but it is clear that there is no written agreement for the 2,330 sq. m they are occupying for the moment that belongs to the Church. There are only verbal arrangements between former priest and MCSH Sisters and even with the bishop. Written or verbal arrangement usually includes that a provision for the usage whether rented or borrowed prioritizes the need of the church for time it is needed. The Church could get back the land if she needs it. There are also some sectors who wanted that we have to take it back as soon as possible but I told them that for, the moment, there is no need. If we finished the construction of the patio and the multipurpose hall the plan for the restoration of the Church could take place. It was then that we could take it back with proper reason that we really need it. SO, there is much to be done yet. Let us not take back simply because it is ours, let us be generous to let them use it momentarily for the Catholic education. We are here today simply to level the ground that its proper owner is the Church, we have no intention of selling it and if time comes that we need it.

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