The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ), a global, independent, Christian religious organization declared poverty as “public enemy number one.” The Church is now calling for a multi-sectoral and cross-religious effort to fight poverty.
Under the leadership of its Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo, the Church expanded its anti-poverty and socio-civic projects for poor Filipinos through the Lingap sa Mamamayan Program (Aid to Humanity) under the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation.
Iglesia Ni Cristo said we must fight poverty relentlessly
Glicerio B. Santos, Jr., a minister of the gospel and general auditor of Iglesia Ni Cristo, said, “ Poverty is a problem that confronts us all, one that all faiths universally condemn. While we have different beliefs, we agree wholeheartedly that we should wage all-out war against growing social inequity.
Santos added that we should all consider poverty as an enemy regardless of our political or religious affiliations. According to him, we should fight poverty unrelentingly and the best way to defeat it is to work together. He said, “We can better combat poverty if we work and pull our resources together.”
Furthermore, Santos said, “Our Lingap Pamamahayag is a year-round program that’s been actively providing material and spiritual help to Iglesia and non-Iglesia members all over the country. We envision an expansion of this initiative through the participation of our brethren from other socio-civic and religious groups so we can have a bigger impact on poverty reduction,” Santos said.
Based on the survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS) in the fourth quarter of 2015, 11.2 million Filipino families consider themselves as poor. The research firm also found that 11.7% of an estimated 2.6 million families are experiencing involuntary hungers at least once over the past three months. Around two million families experience moderate hunger while 621,000 families experienced severe hunger.
Iglesia Ni Cristo is humbly helping people in need
According to Santos, the Iglesia Ni Cristo is humbly doing its small share in helping those who are less fortunate in life.
“A bigger program that involves our brothers and sisters from other socio-civic and religious groups would generate added interest and have a bigger impact on our target communities. That’s the direction we want to pursue with Lingap,” said Santos.
Several communities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao already benefitted from the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s Aid to Humanity program.
The Church kicked off its Aid to Humanity programs this 2016 in early January. It distributed thousands of food packs and provided dental and medical services to indigent residents at the Muslim compound in Culiat, Quezon City, Barangay Maharlika in Taguig City, Baseco and Parola compounds in Tondo, Manila; and Santo Tomas, Pangasian.
The Iglesia Ni Cristo also launched its new 16,000 hectares eco-farming site in Cotabato, which is expected to provide livelihood for 8,400 members of the indigenous people (lumad) communities in the province. The Church will also build 3,000 houses for the lumad, a mini water reservoir, tools, equipment, and vehicles that will be used for farming.
Eco-farming is a livelihood project for poor Church members and non-members in two years ago. Among the first beneficiaries of the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s eco-farming project were the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. The Church provided a resettlement area with eco-farming facility, garments, and dried fish factories, and built 1,000 housing units for its members affected by the calamity. The livelihood projects in the resettlement area, which is located in Sitio New Era, Barangay Langit in Alang-alang, are also open for non-members.