Thousands of former Indo-Chinese refugees to have reunion in Bataan in October

May 4, 2012 10:02 pm 

MORONG, Bataan, May 4 – Thousands of former Indo-Chinese refugees will be gathered and invited for a reunion and homecoming at the Bataan Technology Park Inc. (BTPI) that used to be the Philippine Refugee Processing Center (PRPC) in Morong town, the bishop of Bataan and the BTPI head said on Wednesday.

“On the last week of October, the first homecoming of boat people that based on social networking are in America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia will be held here at the former refugee center,” Bishop Ruperto Santos said.

“We will gather and invite them for a reunion simultaneous to the holding of a forest and sea festival in cooperation with the Bases Conversion Development Authority under Chairman Felicito 'Tong' Payumo,” the bishop said.

Santos was at BTPI during the first anniversary of the Blessed Pope John Paul II Shrine. The memorial shrine was built in commemoration of the coming and holding of a Mass by the late pontiff in the refugee center in 1951.

In the shrine, the late Pope can be seen with a family of refugees inside a boat.

The bishop blessed the newly-constructed grotto of the Immaculate Conception at the back of the shrine. He also announced that the Pope John Paul II Parish Church will soon rise at the shrine.

“There will be a Rector and Sacraments will be administered in the new church,” Santos said.

Retired Navy Commodore Amado Sanglay, BTPI president and CEO, said that aside from former refugees from Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, former staff members of the United Nations Commission on Refugees will be coming.

He said that the former PRPC was home to about 400,000 Indo-Chinese refugees who braved the stormy seas to escape their countries.

On the forest and sea festival, Sanglay said “Chairman Tong Payumo is a forest trekker and lover while I am a sea lover.”

On the construction of a new church, the retired Philippine Navy officer said funds will come from donations.

Payumo said the festival will showcase the rich bio-diversity of Bataan as shown in the recent two-day flora hunt conducted in Mt. Natib. (PNA)

scs/EBE/utb

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