FOR Father Benjamin Escosura Alforque, the Parochial Vicar at St. Catherine of Alexandria in Riverside, California, activism is an important part of his life.
Aside from serving God, Alforque is a spokesperson for People’s Rights International Solidarity Movement (PRISM) and president of The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON-US). He’s also a priest of the religious congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC), an international missionary order.
Father Alforque is also a former political detainee under Martial Law in the 1980s and became founder of founding member of the association of former political detainees in the Philippines (SELDA) and founding member too of the human rights group, KARAPATAN.
These past several years, Father Alforque has been in the forefront of every major issue affecting the Filipino and Filipino American community. He’s spoken out about the importance of the DREAM Act, the Spratly Island conflict and justice for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
Born in General Luna, Surigao del Norte, Philippines, Alforque was raised by parents who were both farmers in origin, but who worked their way through college to become leading educators in Gen. Luna, Surigao del Norte, the Philippines and in Minglanilla, Cebu, the Philippines, according to his bio in the Filipino Ministry-Diocese of San Bernardino website.
Father Alforque graduated salutatorian in the secondary education from the Sacred Heart Seminary, Lawaan, Talisay, Cebu. He obtained his AB-Pre-Divinity with minor in Philosophy from the Ateneo de Manila University, and an MA in Theology from the Loyola School of Theology, in Quezon City, the Philippines, his bio states.
He further specialized in the studies of Sacred Scriptures, obtaining a Licentiate in Sacred Scriptures, cum laude, from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.
Prior to arriving to the US, he served as parish priest in the mission of the MSC in San Luis, Agusan del Sur, in the Philippines, and organized a secondary school for the native Filipinos, with an alternative curriculum that uses mathematics and the sciences to further the cause of the native Filipinos that promote their cultural identity, ancestral domains claim and prosperity.
For years, Father Alforque has promoted justice and peace and integrity of creation. His bio states, he has co-chaired the Justice and Peace Commission of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (JPC-AMRSP) and the Promotion of Church People’s Rights and Response (PCPR). He has also given several lectures around the world for justice and peace promotion.