Intensified programs to combat poverty and assist struggling communities in the country will be top priorities of outreach programs of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in 2016, according to INC General Auditor Glicerio Santos Jr.
Santos on Monday said INC Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo has directed INC officials to expand the religious group’s anti-poverty projects, particularly the Lingap sa Mamamayan Program under the Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation.
Under the leadership of the INC executive minister, he added, “much emphasis has been placed on the church’s outreach and socio-civic activities, which seek to benefit not just INC members, but also less fortunate communities around the country who need help.”
Santos said two Lingap sa Mamamayan activities have been scheduled to kick off 2016, with the first to be held at the Culiat Muslim compound in Quezon City on January 2, and the second at the Taguig Muslim community in Taguig City (Metro Manila) on January 9.
The January 2 project is an annual activity held to commemorate the birthday of former INC Executive Minister Eraño Manalo, a tradition now being continued by Eduardo.
The activity involves free medical and dental services and the distribution of basic goods.
Immediately following these two activities is launching of a new eco-farming site in Cotabato, which is expected to provide livelihood for 8,400 members of lumad (indigenous people) communities.
“These projects are being undertaken consistent with our belief that God has given us the responsibility to reach out and take care of our fellow man, especially those in need,” Santos said.
“As long as we have countrymen who grapple with poverty, the INC will continue to do what it can to provide means to help uplift their welfare. Our goal is not just to help the needy, it is to help them help themselves,” he added.
The new eco-farming site has an area of 16,000 hectares.
Plantations that will produce bananas, corn, rice and coffee with be put up to provide jobs for members of the indigenous people communities.
The INC will also provide a mini water reservoir, farm equipment, farm input, land tilling tools and vehicles for the use of the farms.
In addition, 3,000 houses will be built for the use of the lumad families.