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By Mr. Niel Evangelista
Asia – Oceania Regional Councilor for the GEX (Young DB Past Pupils)

Video conference (EAO-FIN-FIS), 6 August 2020 -- On the evening of Sunday, 2 August, another 'team visit' online meeting was held involving the leadership of the Don Bosco Past Pupils Federation of the Philippines and the EAO regional councillor, Fr Joseph Phuoc, World delegate Br. Dominic Nam and Asia-Oceania GEX councillor, Mr Niel Evangelista and his Assistant Mr Andre Launio. This is the second in the series of EAO virtual Sunday visits to each of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco Federations. The Filipino Federation celebrates 40 years of foundation (1970-2020) and was represented by the President Mr Joseph Marquez (Jovy) and Secretary of the Federation Mr Jonas Rivera.

It was indeed a wonderful exchange of experience and together we were able to explore the rich Salesian heritage of the Filipino Federation with many opportunities and challenges:

  • The ongoing slow process of online Federation Bylaws (Statutes) re-drafting is a wonderful formation tool and triggers many important elements in the animation and dynamics of Don Bosco Past Pupils – like the identity: Who is Don Bosco Past Pupil? Only those who graduate a school? What about those who received Don Bosco education in the Youth Centers or Oratories? Are there different ‘levels’ of Don Bosco Past pupils?
  • The GEX re-launching is going through University students (former Don Bosco primary or secondary school Alumni and their friends), through work on formation program and invitation for more SDB delegates who would dedicate their time to the younger Past Pupils (=GEX)
  • Appreciation for the close accompaniment for the present FIN and FIS provincial delegates, as essential relationship to revive the whole Association, not yet established in all 40+ SDB presences in the whole country with majority of Catholics
  • GEX means giving the trust to the young people, synergy with the Salesian Youth Movement is quite important
  • Don Bosco Alumni are eager to contribute to the Salesian vocation ministry, since they see that the numbers of consecrated Salesians are not growing in the Philippines
  • Both province delegates appreciated the best practices of the Past Pupils creative relief and solidarity work during the pandemic, from Mandaluyong supporting the school staff, fundraising or producing the PPE up to the Cebu DOGS (Dinner-pack-operation-group) providing food in the night streets
  • The Alumni leadership underlined the importance of regular local center (Chapter. Unit) meetings (some centers even weekly) for the maturity and formation of the Past Pupils, as well the National Federation annual conventions, that foster the sense of belonging amongst the members from many different backgrounds of schools, TVET, boarding houses or youth centers
  • Among the future concerns: (1) foster the sense of the Alumni to the Salesian Family, (2) growing importance of cooperation with the FMA Past Pupils Federation (all secondary schools are coed!), invest more in the Past Pupil units around the TVET (vocation training centers) and finally the most important was mentioned the formation of SDB delegates (role and basic preparation)
  • While in the FIN the distance is not a big issue, in the Southern province there is a need of more consistent animation of the ‘out-of-Cebu’ local centers.

At the end of the meeting the Federation president expressed his dream to meet all other EAO Federation colleagues one day (online!) and the Asia-Oceania GEX Councillor shared his desire to also meet his ‘Adult Alumni’ Asia-Oceania Councillor, Mr. Rajesh Gupta (from India-Kolkata).

We hope that other EAO National Federations will also benefit from these ‘team visits’. Last but not the least, the Filipino Past Pupils and SDB Delegates were invited to contribute to the ‘Questionnaire 2020’ promoted by the World Confederation during the Alumni 150th Jubilee:

  • Questionnaire 2020 from the World Confederation of DB Past Pupils
  • Video of the World President Mr. Michal Hort motivating the questionnaire
  • Filipino Alumni Federation related digital platform (FB):

  • National Federation
  • Related news articles:

  • AustraLasia 5286 (I) Who are the Don Bosco Past Pupils – FIN province 2020
  • AustraLasia 5433: First video meeting – Past Pupils Federation of Timor Leste

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