Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association
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The Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA) is founded by Ruben Ecleo, Sr. in 1965 on the Philippine island of Dinagat, off the coast of Mindanao. It is a non-sectarian, non-profit, humanitarian and a brotherhood organization. Upon the senior Ecleo's death in 1987 he was succeeded by his son Ruben Ecleo, Jr. Considered by followers to be a reincarnation of Jesus Christ, Ecleo has an estimated one million members in the central and southern Philippines. The PBMA has been referred to as a cult by the BBC and the Manila Times. The Manila Times estimates the group has raised at least P35 million in entrance fees from its members since its founding.
It was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Makati, Philippines on October 19, 1965 under the Registration No. 28042. Its main office is located at San Jose, Province of Dinagat Islands.
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The Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association, Inc. was born in the impoverished Sitio Puyange (now San Jose) of Matingbe in the Municipality of Dinagat during the 1960s.
Young Ruben started preparing himself for a missionary work as early as the age of seven. One day in 1941, he disappeared while gaining access to the innermost places of Dinagat Island. Ruben was actually beginning to learn the Akashic records and training himself for a great mission. His actual mission started when he was eight years old. In 1944, while on mission in Leyte, he enrolled in Grade II in Panaoan Island, Southern Leyte. In 1946, he enrolled in Grade I in Barrio Wilson, Dinagat and accelerated to Grade III.
Back to Leyte in mystery, Obing at the age of 11 went to the mountains where he received dictations from the Spiritual realm after which he began his full mission at the age of 12. He healed the sick who flocked to him and helped them solve their problems; he guided them in the spiritual and taught them how to live the happy life.
During the period between 1958 up to 1963, Ruben immersed himself completely in a frenzy of missionary work. While taking time travelling to different places in order to fulfil the Spiritual Division's new instructions, he at the same time conducting teaching and healing sessions in his own place, in Cabilan, where he had erected a wooden clinic to accommodate a burgeoning flock of sick people who consulted him.
Ruben became well-known. It was at this time that people began to call him Doctor Ruben, a fact that gives an inkling of the extent and success of his missionary work. He travelled most of his times by foot in Mindanao and Visayas areas to take in new members. Along the way he healed the sick that eventually became his adherers. By most accounts, he founded the PBMA in the 1960s, in the town of Aloran, Misamis Occidental, where he started with 12 apostles. They were the first men who received his instructions; his first group of followers to assist him in his missionary works. They were the men who were fated to become the first healers, teachers and gatherers of people, people that became the PBMA. They were called the First 13.
First Thirteen PBMA Missioners:
1. Atty. Arsenio D. Nazareno from Nabang, Calbayog City
2. Cipriano Otero from Ubay, Bohol
3. Francisco Enerio from Gingoog City
4. Rolando Buray from Gitagum, Misamis Oriental
5. George Edera from Basilisa, Surigao del Norte
6. Cupertino Edera from Basilisa, Surigao del Norte
7. Leonardo Diegas from Gingoog City
8. Pedro Masongsong from Batangas
9. Martin Laturnas from Bohol
10. Ignacio Sumbrado from Bohol
11. Teodoro Regacion from Baybay, Leyte
12. Pedro Toquib from Bukidnon Province
13. Benjamin Ratonil from Cebu
Few months later, the second group of missioners were conferred and called the "First 24" Missioners.
PBMA's entity emerged as an unexpected shoot of a promising bud when Ruben Ecleo and his first group of handful followers, who dedicated their entire lives serving him, decided to organize themselves and obtain a legal entity in the name of brotherhood and service to humanity. In 1965, they drafted the PBMA Constitution and By-Laws and other legal requirements, and raised the required amount for its registration. These men were then called the Incorporators of PBMA and the first to compose its set of Board of Directors. They were: Ruben E. Ecleo of Dinagat, Surigao del Norte; Atty. Arzenio D. Nazareno of Calbayog City; Francisco Enerio of Initao, Misamis Oriental; Floro Caboverde of Salug, Zamboanga City; Carlos Lomanta of Ozamis City; Maximo Ravelo of Mate, Davao Oriental; Pedro Montives of Cawayan, Leyte; Dionisio Cui of Babak, Davao del Norte; Victoriano Rafols of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte; Eusebio Bandivas of Taug, Zamboanga del Norte; Casiano Gorrea of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte; and, Maximo Caboverde of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte.
Records show that the PBMA was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Makati, Rizal, on October 19, 1965 under Registration No. 28042. Chapters in different provinces in the country were later organized to accommodate and serve the growing memberships.
On March 22, 1972, Ruben Ecleo, Sr. together with some thirty members organized the Greater Manila Area (GMA) Chapter, the first chapter in Luzon at the residence of Mr. & Mrs. Restituto Dayoan at 49-U 15th Avenue, Murphy, Quezon City. Appointed were President Restituto Dayoan, Vice President Victoriano Hijara, Secretary Edgardo Estandian, Treasurer Antonio Ancajas, and Auditor Agaton Cavero, advisers Atty. Arsenio Nazareno and George Edera. Due to increased membership, meeting was transferred to the residence of Col. Benny Villanueva at Natib St., Quezon City. A year later, a lot was purchased in Armel Subdivision, San Mateo, Rizal. In 1983, GMA Chapter was declared as the National Capital Region (NCR) Chapter by Ruben Ecleo, Sr.
In 1975, a group of PBMA missionaries reached the Province of Nueva Vizcaya with Rosita Gonzaga-Palus leading the group. Ruben Nayusan and wife Louisa Ulbano-Nayusan were among the first converts. They organized the Aritao Nueva Vizcaya Chapter and designated Lorenzo Baquiran as the President. A lot owned by Cornelio Mercado of Brgy. Darapidap, Aritao was purchased where a temporary chapter office was built.
In 1978, the Pangasinan Chapter was organized at Brgy. Bayaoas, in the Municipality of Aguilar. Arsenio Egken and Juanito Jamot were among the organizers. After almost a decade later, another chapter was organized in Pangasinan, in Brgy. Bawer, Malasiqui by Ladio Lillo, to accommodate the members in the eastern municipalities of the province.
By 1988, the PBMA was reporting a total membership of 6,687 to the SEC. In interviews at that time, Ecleo Sr. aimed a membership of more than 20,000. PBMA database had recorded a phenomenal growth of memberships to 3.5 million in the country in 2002. Memberships also have reached other countries, such as Jordan, Canada, Australia, Palau, Hong Kong, Guam, Singapore, Malaysia, London, Italy, Monaco, Germany, Hawaii, New York and Scotland, among others. Chapters were then organized in some of these countries.
Nature of the organization
The PBMA is a civic, non-stock and a non-sectarian organization. Its formation is squarely based on constitutional and legal grounds, specially, the constitutional protective mantle which guarantees the rights of citizens to form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law. (Sec. 6, Art. IV, 1935 Constitution; Sec. 7, Art IV, 1975 Constitution; Sec. I, Art. I, Freedom Constitution; Sec. 8, Art. III, 1986 Constitution). The legality of its existence is anchored on the provisions of Republic Act 1459, otherwise known as the Corporate Code of the Philippines, as amended, pursuant to which it is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as an entity clothed with legal personality on October 19, 1965, under SEC Registration No. 28042.
As provided for in the Articles of Incorporation of the Association, the aims and purposes for which it was established are: to be of service to humanity; to be of help in the attainment of national unity, harmony and progress regardless of whoever is holding a reins of government, and ultimately; to serve as a vehicle in the promotion of international humanitarianism, world brotherhood and friendly relations with all nations, irrespective of creed or religion. (Art. II, Articles of Incorporation; Preamble, By-Laws).
According to doctrine, Ecleo Sr. was fluent in reading and writing Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit, and Aramaic, in order to interpret the ancient mysteries. He also made predictions of the future based on Akashic records. PBMA followers also viewed Ecleo Sr., one who could accomplish anything by reciting Ecleo's healing abilities which were stated to have directly come from "our Divine Father by virtue of the sacred or divine prayers. 
Leaders also stated that Ecleo Sr. has since his childhood been simultaneously present in many disparate locations, possibly as many different people. An example was his doing missionary work in Agusan del Sur, while also traveling in the province of Samar. All of his different persona possessed the ability to heal applied these powers..."
Philosophies and principles
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The PBMA is a group of people of humble origins who dedicated their lives for the service of humanity without expecting any monetary or reciprocal benefits in return; to do charitable works by serving others faithfully, helping them benevolently, and by giving any kind of help voluntarily, as the First Epistle to the Corinthians wrote, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" (1 Cor. 13:13). Charity is a virtue like free commodity that doesn't need any amount of wealth but of a humble heart dedicated for service to others; it is the mother of all virtues. The Lord Christ said, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me" (Matthew 19:21).
PBMA believes that the salvation of a man comes from his own confession of sin; that the true meaning of love of God is service to humanity which is in consonance to the Lord's saying, "…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Mat. 25:40). IN PBMA, there is an old saying, "sacrifice is the key to success". Hence every member is required, in voluntary basis, to travel and go on mission, to heal the sick, comfort those who are helpless and in needs, and propagate the teachings of the Association.
Ruben Ecleo, Sr. the Supreme Founder of the Association always warn his members to "detach" themselves from money and adhere to the proverb, "The tinkling of silver money destroys the life of man". He always remind them to observe humility and live a life centered to God and of service to humanity; treat pride as an evil force which gives nothing but emptiness, discomfort and hatred. His favorite quote, "Matam-is kanunay ang magpa-ubos" (It is always sweet to be humble) serves as a food for thought for members where they draw strength and inspirations whenever ridiculed by the non-members; the same reminder the Lord Christ had told to his Apostles, to love their enemies and never take any chance to fight back but rather encouraged them to pray for those which despitefully use and persecute them (Mat. 5:44).
An almost similar teaching was also taught by the Great Buddha, as integrated in his Four Noble Truths. According to this great sage, man's sufferings is caused by his selfishness which can be ended by following the Eightfold Path; which are, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
It is a guiding principle for every member to be a law-abiding citizen; a role model worthy to emulate; and spiritually, morally, socially and ethically upright in all their dealings. Members are frequently reminded to follow the laws of God, particularly the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and the Christian Golden Rule (Luke 6:31); the laws of the government or society where they belong, and observe the highest morale by denouncing all forms of vices and by propagating virtues.
Clashes with law enforcement
Group members described by idea organizations as heavily believe that this kind of group is given by God to those poor people. A kind of association who promote benevolently, brotherhood and sisterhood all over the world.
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