Diocese of Romblon
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In a land area of 1,056.70 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the civil Province of Romblon.

Romblon is a province composed of 20 islands and islets surrounded by deep waters in the Western Visayas region known as Region IV. Its three main islands - Tablas, Sibuyan and Romblon - lie between the western tip of Panay Island and the end of the Bondoc Peninsula in Luzon. The Sibuyan Sea surrounds and separates them from the mainland of Luzon and the rest of the Visayas.

The whole province is generally mountainous. Narrow strips of coastal lowland, low hills and plains characterize some of the islands.

Romblon belongs to the Southern Tagalog (Islands) Region IV-B or MiMaRoPa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) Region.

Romblon is a lone district which politically subdivided into 17 municipalities and 219 barangays.

Population

In the diocesan territory, the population is 285,027 at the end of 2009 of which 75.48 percent are Catholics.

The Ethnic groups in the diocesan territory are the "Asi" People or "Bantoanons" and the "Aetas" of Carabao Island and "Mangyans" of Sibuyan Island.

Language

There are three distinct languages spoken as a native language by Romblon's inhabitants; they are Romblomanon or Tiyad Ini including many variant Sibuyanon dialects, Bantoanon or Asi, and Inunhan or Onhan. Hiligaynon, Tagalog (Filipino), and English are also used.

History

Diocese of Romblon (Diocesis Romblonensis)
Suffragan of Capiz
Created: Dec. 19, 1974
Erected: April 17, 1975
Comprises the civil Province of Romblon
Titular: St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church
Secondary Patron: Sto. Niño de Romblon.

The local church of the Diocese of Romblon has shown tremendous growth since its erection in April of 1975.

The earliest historical data on Romblon comes from the historian Loarca, who visited Romblon in 1582. He wrote that Dutch warships and Muslim pirates often descended on the islands, killed all male inhabitants, and brought away all women and children for slaves.

In 1853 the colonial government of Spain organized Romblon into a politico-military command post, and made it a sub-province of Capiz. The islands remained part of Capiz until it became a regular province after 1946.

The formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities comes first among the support initiatives undertaken as a response to the threats against the faith. The Commission on the Laity, in coordination with the Diocesan Social Action Center assists in organizing faith communities that will work for poverty alleviation of poor parishioners.

The Pastoral Council of the Laity serves as an advisory body to the clergy in pastoral matters. The Organization of Lay Ministers plays its vital role in the parishes too. Because the members find ongoing formation a necessity, they attend weekly evangelization programs without fail.

On the economic side, the faithful of the diocese have come to realize that the time has come to give material and financial support for effective evangelization. The transition from arancel to the pledge system has brought encouraging results. After a period of massive campaign on information about the new system, monthly pledges of financial support have now started to come into the parishes. The faithful of the diocese are finally accepting the pledge system. 

Part of the offering of the faithful - 20 per cent of total - is to be allocated for the minister's share. This is supposed to provide the clergy with decent sustenance. To assist the pastors assigned in far-flung parishes, it has been decided that revenues for ministers' shares be pooled and apportioned equitably to all ministers of the diocese. This means richer parishes may be able to assist the poorer ones, and pastors working in all sectors of the diocese will enjoy equal ministers' shares.
The economic situation of the church in Romblon has improved considerably since the pledge system was introduced. From hereon the diocese hopes to move forward to the biblical tithing system.

The Social Action Center (SAC) assists primarily in the creation of parish-based cooperatives that cater to the socio-economic needs of poverty areas within a parish. At present there are 17 parish-based cooperatives in the diocese.

The website of Diocese is available at: http://romblondiocese.blogspot.com

Political

A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. A City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.

Transportation

  • Airport
    Tugdan Airport is an airport located in the province of Romblon in the Philippines. The airport is located in Barangay Tugdan in the municipality of Alcantara, where the airport derives its name from. Tugdan airport on Tablas Island is 45 minutes from Manila. Odiongan, San Agustin. The airport is classified as a class 2 principal airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, a body of the Department of Transportation and Communications.
  • Seaport
    Romblon have national ports that serve to connect the islands to other ports in the country.

    There are 15 existing ports in the province - 12 are municipal and 3 are national which are located in Odiogan, San Agustin and Romblon. The ports of Santa Fe and Looc serve as take-off points to Boracay while the ports in Odiongan, San Agustin and Romblon service passengers and cargoes going to and from Mindoro, Batangas and Manila. Ports in Sibuyan Island also serve passengers and cargoes to and from Manila, Batangas, Lucena as well as Masbate and Panay Island.
  • Roads and Bridges
    The province has a 1,443-kilometer road network currently being improved to facilitate the flow of goods and services within the province. Road pavement varies from concrete to asphalt or gravel. About 55 bridges span various creeks and rivers, which are built of concrete, bailey or timber material.
  • Power Supply
    The power supply is generated by the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) in the province, serviced by two electric cooperatives: Romblon Electric Cooperative which provides power in the capital town of Romblon and Sibuyan Island and Tablas Island Electric Cooperative distribute power to the mains islands. The aggregate capacity of both cooperatives is 2.5 megawatts.
  • Banks
    Four commercial and development banks operate five branches within Romblon to service the financial needs of the province.

    There are eight operational telecommunication

Economy

As of November 2008, the annual per capita income was (in Philippines Pesos) 18,918 or USD609 as of September 2010.

Telecommunication

There are three companies providing local and long distance telephone service in the territory such as Philippines Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), Liberty Telecom and Odiongan Telephone Corporations (OTELCO). Telegraph services are available at the town proper. Mobile phone providers in the area are Globe Telecom, Smart and Sun Cell using EDGE technology, while internet service is provided by Odiongan Telephone Corporations (OTELCO).

There is one cable network provider: Romblon Cable Corporation which is located at the President Roxas, Romblon.

There are two AM and one FM radio stations owned by the Manila Broadcasting Corporation in the province.

Industries

Romblon is known worldwide for its marble industry due to the marble deposits. Also, the province holds large deposits of kaolin clay, nickel, magnetism, quartz, silica, and zinc, copper, silver, limestone and sulfide ores.

Fishing is a year-round activity. The province is also largely agricultural with coconut, palay, corn and banana as major crops.

Romblon is famous for its traditional weaving and basketry. Handicrafts are a major home industry in which the women are engaged. The province is noted, especially, for its fine and delicate crochet laces and bedspreads.

Culture

Romblomanon celebrate their nine-day town fiesta every January, in honor of the Santo Niño, Patron Saint of Romblon town. With Loarca's expedition came the image of the Santo Niño, a replica of the one in Cebu. Legend has it that when the expedition was ready to depart, strong typhoons prevented it from getting out of Romblon Bay. The Spaniards attempted seven times to leave and each time they had to turn back. It was believed that the Santo Niño wanted to stay in Romblon. When the Spaniards decided to leave it on shore, it stuck to its present place and the expedition sailed safely out to sea. This even resulted in the conversion of many natives to the Catholic faith. During the "Biniray Festival" in January, people decorate themselves with flowers and vines, paint their faces, and dance in the streets. A fluvial procession honoring the image of the Holy Child circles the bay seven times to reenact the Spaniards' futile attempt to leave the bay.

Kanidugan Festival
Kanidugan means nidog or niyog (coconut) which the town of Odiongan celebrate every year. The townsfolk also celebrate their fiesta in favor of Saint Vincent Ferrer. The highlight of the Kanidugan Festival is the competition of various "tribes" or performing teams during the street parade.

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