St. Hannibal Empowerment Centre

St. Hannibal Empowerment Center (SHEC) is a religious organization of the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus. It is a community of Spirit-led persons which aims to follow Jesus Christ in his union with his Father and in his proclamation of the kingdom of God. It is an inserted community among the squatters. The goal of SHEC is to empower the poor people of Metro Manila, Philippines, through housing, livelihood, education, health, waste management, youth and values formation.

Location: Pasay City, Metro Manila

Mission: Its mission is to empower the poorest of the poor and catalyze an integral Christian transformation of urban poor communities in collaboration with the local Church by a holistic process that addresses concerns on housing, livelihood, education, health, environment and sanitation, justice and peace, youth formation and values formation. The goals of SHEC consist of assisting in alleviating poverty among urban poor communities in Pasay and other cities in Metro Manila; and building the foundation of community transformation through intensive values formation. Its objectives are, specifically, to facilitate the organization and formation of people’s organization that are self-sufficient and empowered, facilitate the values and spiritual formation and capability building of urban poor leaders, to assist the urban poor / informal settlers of Pasay and other cities in Metro Manila in realizing their dreams of achieving security of tenure through in-city relocation, to facilitate the implementation of economic programs and basic social services in urban poor communities, and to facilitate access to formal education in favor of the poor and deserving students.

Monday, October 24, 2005

St. Hannibal

This is St. Hannibal Mary Di Francia. He is the Founder of the Rogationists and the Daughters of Divine Zeal. He is the one who inspired St. Hannibal Empowerment Center. This is especially true in assisting the poorest of the poor and in praying for more holy vocations for the Church and for the whole world.

Livelihood: Banking on the Poor

In the slum community I work for, a family of five is earning less than US$ 150 a month. Six out of ten people of working age is out of work. Singly headed families, a great number of them, are doubly hard-up because of the added demand for care-giving to infants and toddlers.

Meanwhile, the Philippine economy is at an all-time low and dropping. Employment opportunities are shrinking. Investment resources are flowing out of the country. The national government is in a seemingly perpetual mess.

I can perhaps remain faithfullly optimtistic that the national economic scenario will turn a new leaf, but in the meantime, immediate concrete action needs to be taken to uplift the living standard of the poor. And the times call for the people themselves to take control of their own economic life. This is a daunting task given the long history of dole-outs and hand-outs that undermined the self-help initiatives of the poor, perpetuated dependency and sychophant attitudes. Where to start? I believe that banking on the poor has to start first with changing the general perception of the poor...that they are not completely the sniffling helpless creatures who are lacking in all but the tattered clothes on their backs or the rotting wooden push carts they slink in at night.

The livelihood program that I am setting up at SHEC, being undertaken together with collaborators, seeks to build from the current strengths and resources of the people, to be later combined with external resources to generate and multiply results. Enterprise development shall focus on the potentials of the people as they themselves recognize from a process of self-reflection. Whatever assistance that they will seek from outside will be something that they themselves ascertained to be truly beneficial by careful deliberation as individuals and a community.

Banking on the poor is to invest on the capacities and potentials of the poor. This proposition, I believe, will make alive any livelihood program for and with the poor. In practice, it will lead to the development of a local safety net for poor communities in times of economic adversities at the national and global setting.


One of the centerpiece programs of the Saint Hannibal Empowerment Center is the provision of secure and decent housing to slum communities in one of the biggest urban poor magnet areas of Metro Manila. I am currently organizing a group of technical persons and officials from different government agencies in my country to direct attention to this program. The program has been running for nearly two years, and admittedly, the pace of getting this off the ground is a test to perseverance--mine and the community I work with... too many homeless people and too little material resources to work with. Nonetheless, it makes for a great satisfaction to hurdle things a step at a time that will, in due time, lead us to the destination that we aspire for. At present, the assistance I am getting from concerned groups and individuals continue to rise. With their help, I continue to encourage the people to unflaggingly work and keep their hopes for the realization of their dream for housing and a dignified way of living. The spirit carries on inspite of the difficulties we face. God is indeed good.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Diary of Father Dexter Prudenciano

St. Hannibal Empowerment Center (SHEC) has come into being after a series of immersion on the part of the religious brothers of the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus.

After almost seven years of living with the people, last December 12, 2003, I finally decided to live with the sqatters in Pasay City, Metro Manila.

At the start of the official sojourn with the poor people, I made an intensive survey about the concerns of the people. The analysis states that the poor people have the following problems on housing, livelihood, health, education and value formation. Out of these needs, SHEC came out with the different programs that address their pressing problems. Thereafter, there has been a series of community organizations and mobilizations. The people are taught to be good leaders. With this, intensive value formation is being undertaken. While leadership trainings are going on, the issue on their housing problem is also addressed. We are planning to relocate the squatters to an adjacent lot which is vacant.

The rationale of this work is the preferential option for the poor. This is inspired by Jesus Christ who announced the Kingdom of God with specific reference to the poor.