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Occiano stresses injustice, poverty in World Communications Day homily

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

IN his sermon marking the 58th World Communications Day, Bishop-elect Most Rev. Fr. Luisito “Louie” A. Occiano, slated to become the third prelate of Virac, Catanduanes, delivered a poignant homily underscoring the prevailing socio-economic challenges in the Philippines.

With a career spanning two decades as the director of the Caceres Commission on Communications, Occiano, 53, emphasized the entrenched issues of poverty, malnutrition, hunger, limited education access, and societal injustices during his tenure as prelate-elect of Virac.

“Within our nation, economic poverty has persisted across successive political administrations. Poverty encompasses more than just financial scarcity; it manifests in hunger, malnutrition, educational disparities, social bias, and systemic injustice,” said Occiano during his address commemorating the 58th World Communications Day.

Furthermore, Occiano drew attention to a deeper form of impoverishment plaguing societies worldwide, labelling it as moral poverty, primarily attributable to the indifference and egotism exhibited by political, religious, and business leaders. He lamented the historical inertia and silence in the face of injustice, attributing the triumph of evil to societal apathy and neglect.

Pope Francis’ emphasis on the transformative power of media for evangelization was also highlighted during the occasion. Occiano stressed the importance of integrating Gospel values into technological advancements, cautioning against the misuse of tools like Artificial Intelligence (AI) cautioned by the Holy Father.

"While celebrating technological achievements, we must not forsake timeless Gospel principles. The rise of Artificial Intelligence poses new challenges, risking the proliferation of disinformation and exacerbating social isolation,” noted Occiano.

Moreover, Occiano warned against the illusion of communication, emphasizing the importance of active listening and genuine human connection amidst technological advancements. He highlighted the tragic consequence of severed human relationships amidst technological progress.

The episcopal ordination of Bishop-elect Occiano is scheduled for June 21, 2024, coinciding with his 53rd birthday, at the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. His formal installation and canonical possession will follow on June 26, 2024, at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral-Parish in Virac, Catanduanes.

Meanwhile, in a separate homily at St. Jude Parish in Legazpi City, Bishop Joel “Bong” Z. Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi echoed concerns regarding the ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence. He cautioned against the misuse of AI for disinformation and emphasized the importance of instilling compassion and forgiveness in technological advancements.

The commemoration of World Communications Day was further marked by a mass held at St. Jude Parish, inviting journalists and broadcasters to participate as agents of truth in society. Bishop Baylon offered blessings for communicators following the 58th World Day of Social Communications, reaffirming their pivotal role in disseminating authentic information.

AGENTS OF TRUTH Bishop Joel “Bong” Z. Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi blesses the journalists on Sunday during the 58th World Communication Day as agents of truth. Rhaydz B. Barcia photo


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