By CHARLES MOI
PAPUA New Guinea is rich in natural resources but its best resource is people, Catholic Archbishop of Rabaul Francesco Panfilo says.
Panfilo and former East New Britain regional MP Damien Kereku were the only two people who received the highest award of Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu in this year’s Independence honours’ list.
Panfilo was present at the investiture ceremony at Government House in Port Moresby last Thursday. Kereku did not attend.
“PNG is a developing country but there are so many opportunities,” Panfilo told The National.
“We are also to take care of the country itself. There is the human resource, which is the best resource of PNG, particularly the children and the youth.”
“But then, there is the resource that we have the natural resources and the earth that has to be taken care of too.”
“To the future generation, first of all to the children, be obedient to your parents. To the youth, be young and remain young because unfortunately at times we find some young people that seem to be old and tired. Instead, be young and be always young.”
Panfilo said he was humbled to have received the highest award which confers him the title of “Chief”.
He said the award came as a surprise to him when he was informed about it by secretary-general of the Bishops Conference.
“I have been in Papua New Guinea for almost 20 years now,” he said.
“I have been in Don Bosco DBTI (Don Bosco Technical Institute) at the beginning of DBTI. Then I became Bishop of Alotau for nine years and now six years that I am in Rabaul, I have tried to do the best I can and will continue to do that.”
Panfilo was recognised for his services to the community and the Catholic Church as a Salesian missionary priest.
He was also recognised for his long service in the care, vocational and technical training of young people, and his distinguished leadership role as Archbishop of Rabaul.
Panfilo, 73, and from Vilminore de Scalve in Italy, was ordained a Catholic priest on April 27, 1974.
He was appointed Bishop of Alotau-Sideia in PNG on June 25, 2001.
On March 18, 2010, he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Rabaul and one year later became the Archbishop of Rabaul.
He has served as a priest for 42 years, 15 of those as a bishop.
By CHARLES MOI