MANILA, May 5, 2009—Pro-poor housing advocate Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation Inc. (GK) will soon have a leadership board and corporate identity independent from the Couples for Christ International Council (CFC-IC).
This transpired as CFC executive director Joe Tale announced the major decision of the CFC-IC “to let go of the governance and corporate structure of GK” so the latter can focus on its expanding work within and outside the country as a non-religious organization.
Tale justified the decision in saying that as GK grew and upscaled in the recent years, the “CFC Mission” and the “GK Way” evolved distinctly, highlighting fundamental and deepening diversity in approach and implementation.
“While CFC is pursuing the fullness of the mission, GK is focused on nation building and poverty alleviation, which necessitate that it mainstreams and partners with all sectors of society. It is even poised to enter non-Christian countries (such as India, Indonesia and the Middle East) as a non-religious organization,” Tale said.
“[As such], there has been honest divergence of opinions [from] these fundamental differences. We have tried to resolve these differences in various ways especially in the last two years, including the attempt to strengthen oneness of leadership through the changes in the organizational structure. However, despite our common best efforts and intentions, unity continues to be elusive under the present structure,” he added.
Tale, however, clarified that the decision of CFC to let go of GK as one of its ministry is not tantamount to the group’s neglect of its pro-poor ministry.
“CFC members who are currently involved in GK are enjoined to continue their presence and work in the GK communities. CFC and GK, while with distinct governance and corporate structure, will continue to collaborate in the GK villages. This is because of CFC’s solidarity with and commitment to the poor,” he said, adding that CFC will focus on their work in the Prison Ministry, Feed My Sheep and the Migrant Workers Program.
Since CFC will cease to have institutional authority over GK, Tale will cease to be the GK Board Chairman and Melo Villaroman, Jr. will step down as GK President as the CFC-IC members will transition out of the 12-man GK Board.
“The vacancies will be filled by new board members, some of whom may possibly be CFC members. Of the five remaining GK board members, four are CFC members; Ateneo de Manila University President Fr. Ben Nebres, S.J. is the fifth member,” Tale said.
For his part, GK executive director Antonio “Tony" Meloto only said that the consequences of the decision and “the spirit of the proposal was for greater empowerment of both CFC and GK, to remove confusion and to restore relationships.”
“We believe that the work with the poor should not suffer because of our differences. We believe that allowing GK to operate independently of the authority of the IC is the right step to take for CFC, GK and the poor,” he added. (Kris Bayos)