7th-Day Adventist Church initiates ‘Salamat Mayor’ PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 February 2012 13:35

The Public Affairs Department of the Seventh-Day Adventists (Southern Asia-Pacific Region) Wednesday afternoon feted City Government officials in a ceremony dubbed “Salamat Mayor” as a way of showing gratitude to the earnest efforts of the  local officials under the stewardship of Mayor Celso Lobregat.

Held at the City Hall Conference room, the special event was graced by top officials from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church headed by Dr. Jonathan Catolico, Public Affairs Department Director, Southern Asia Pacific Region and Pastor Nelson Paulo, Public Affairs Department Director, Mindanao Area. Mayor Lobregat led the city government delegation that included Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, Councilors Rudy Lim, Noning Biel, Jimmy Cabato, VP Elago and Rogelio Valesco Jr., City Department heads and other officials.

In his message, Dr. Catolica cited the brand of leadership in Zamboanga saying: “It is our prayer and hope that this kind of leadership seen in Zamboanga will be perpetuated and that it would be a good model for those who would be following them. We congratulate the leadership of Zamboanga City and it is our prayer and hope that the Lord will bless you, take care of you, provide you with the best of health, and wisdom that you will be able to give governance to the city with integrity and with joy—because you love your people, this rarity only happens when the leadership is committed and dedicated to the needs of the community”. 

He stressed the Adventist Church is apolitical and has never endorsed any political party but have always and will always support whoever wins in the elections. The Church, he said encourages its members to exercise their rights of suffrage and after the elections, the Church members get involved in activities intended to improve the lives of the people governed by the organization.

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church, he affirmed continuously prays for government leaders and that it espouses good and respectable leaders who respond to the greatest need of the world—the want of men, men who will not be bought or sold and men who are honest and righteous.

“We recognize good leadership and this is the reason why were are here. We would like to express this by way of a program, as an organization”, Dr. Catolico said, citing a St. Paul scripture exhorting that “supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority that we may lead a quiet and feasible life in all Godliness and society”.

He said along with the privilege of governance is a responsibility which is the ability to respond to the need of the constituents. “And we look at that as something as tangible, as far as leadership activities are concerned, it is very rare to find people in leadership who come and go and stay for some time. I see the Lobregats are there.”

He added: “When I was still very young, I already saw the Lobregat’s exemplary leadership in Zamboanga. That is the reason why we in the International Religious Liberty Association and the Public Affairs department of the Seventh-Day Adventists look with good intentions of saying thank you for the leadership in the different places where this kind of leadership is seen, more particularly in Zamboanga City”.

For his part, Pastor Paulo said the Salamat Mayor program was intended “to give due honor and recognition to government leaders, who risk their lives and give their precious time to serve the community”.

He said the program is long overdue and that he is thankful to Mayor Lobregat and the other City officials for giving their time “celebrate and give thanks to God who has created us and gives us time to enjoy life at its best”.

Without his responsibility as mayor, Pastor Paulo said, Mayor Lobregat could enjoy life to the maximum “but God has given him the mandate to serve the public”. “We have seen how Zamboanga has developed through the years, the city has been in relative peace and has progressed in the past years and that is because of the leadership and governance of Mayor Lobregat”.

He described Lobregat’s service as reporting for work 8 hours a day, 4 hours overtime and 12 hours on call for a total of 24 hours or “on call 24/7”.  He likewise acknowledged the efforts of Vice Mayor Iturralde, the city councillors, department heads and city employees, whose support and assistance is very vital to keep the government machinery running.

Pastor Paulo added that the one hour and a half Salamat Mayor program was not enough to describe what the local officials have done for Zamboanga but just the same, he said, the Seventh Day Adventists initiated the program to inspire the local officials to give better governance and to let the officials know that “we are behind you and we are praying for you”.

The program was followed by a dinner hosted by the Seventh Day Adventists and shared by all present.

The Wikipedia describes the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming (Advent) of Jesus Christ. The denomination grew out of the Millerite movement in the United States during the middle part of the 19th century and was formally established in 1863. Among its founders was Ellen G. White, whose extensive writings are still held in high regard by the church today.

The same source reveals that the world church is governed by a General Conference, with smaller regions administered by divisions, union conferences and local conferences. It currently has a worldwide baptized membership of about 16.3 million people. As of May 2007, it was the twelfth-largest religious body in the world, and the sixth-largest highly international religious body. It has a missionary presence in over 200 countries and territories and is ethnically and culturally diverse. The church operates numerous schools, hospitals and publishing houses worldwide, as well as a humanitarian aid organization known as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). — Sheila Covarrubias