July 2, 2010

Francisco Claver, First Igorot Bishop Dies

1) He was 81.

2) He succumbed to pulmonary embolism, or blocked arteries, at 2:45 a.m. at the intensive care unit of Cardinal Santos Memorial Medical Center. He had undergone a heart bypass a month earlier, relatives said.

3) One of the first bishops to speak out against the martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos, ardently supporting the clamor of the Kalinga tribal people against the World Bank-funded Chico hydroelectric power project in the Cordillera region in the mid-1970s.

4) As head of the Institute on Church and Social Issues (ICSI), Claver drafted the bishops’ statement denouncing the 1986 snap elections and calling on the people to find “creative” and “nonviolent” means to dismantle the dictatorship he had criticized from the beginning.

Bishop Francisco Claver
5) Known as Bishop Cisco, Claver was born in Bontoc, Mountain Province, on Jan. 20, 1929. He became a Jesuit priest in 1961 at the age of 32. He received his bachelor’s and licentiate degrees in Sacred Theology from Woodstock College in Maryland and obtained his doctorate degree in Anthropology from the University of Colorado.

6) He was appointed bishop of Malaybalay in Bukidnon during the Marcos regime and served as chair of the Episcopal Commission for Indigenous Peoples and the Commission for Justice and Peace.

7) He also wrote in The Communicator, a Jesuit publication shut down by the martial law regime for printing articles critical of the government.

8)His last post was Vicar Apostolic of Bontoc-Lagawe, his hometown. While in retirement, Claver wrote for CBCP Monitor, CBCP’s official newspaper.

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