IBON Foundation mourns the passing of Fr. Pedro Arguillas, of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC), in the early hours of June 27, 2016. Fr. Pete, as he was more familiarly known, has been a member of IBON’s Board of Trustees since 1998. He was a quiet presence and gentle guide of the institution’s work and will be missed greatly.
Fr. Pete was born in Dapa, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte. He did his theological studies and was ordained in Australia – becoming the first priest from Siargao Island. Upon returning to the Philippines, he taught Latin and History at the Sacred Heart Seminary, Lawaan, Talisay, Cebu. He took further studies in Canada for a masters in Spirituality and Counseling. On his return he was appointed Rector of the Sacred Heart Scholasticate, New Manila, Quezon City. As Rector he organized the first MSC Formators’ Meeting for Asia-Pacific-Oceania.
Fr. Pete has a long history of activism. He was parish priest to several parishes in Surigao del Norte. His work with the poor and the lay pastoral workers introduced him to the people’s movement.
He was founding co-chairperson of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) set up during the Marcos dictatorship in 1982. The ecumenical group defied the suppression of Church people’s rights to proclaim the gospel and struggled to work for the terms of justice that make for peace. He also was among the original members of the Philippine Priests Forum that spearheaded the Filipinization movement and reforms in the Philippine clergy and church in the post-Vatican II era.
Fr. Pete was dedicated to a Philippines free from poverty, oppression, exploitation, and foreign domination. His commitment will be remembered even as he will be missed especially in these urgent times of our seeking peace based on justice. ###