The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on Tuesday declared its strong unity with all other religious denominations in putting an end to poverty.
It said poverty is “a common enemy that should be fought in all corners of the Philippine archipelago.”
According to INC General Auditor Glicerio Santos Jr., this was why the church has decided to step up its regular and continuing outreach programs to needy communities all over the country.
Santos mentioned the launching last Saturday of one of its biggest Lingap Pamamahayag projects to date with the distribution of clothing, livelihood supplies and vehicles to residents of Dantal and Datal Biao in Tampakan town in South Cotobato.
“Our objective in the Lingap projects is two-fold, to provide spiritual enrichment and material assistance,” Santos said.
He added, “For the Church, the most effective way to address the prevalent poverty around us is to meet it head on. If greed is one of poverty’s root causes, generosity is one of its cures, and the INC is blessed with the resources and will to provide assistance where it’s needed,” he added.
Santos said the INC regularly receives requests for livelihood assistance even from non-Iglesia members in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
The church, according to him, heeds the call to serve without considering religious affiliations.
“Our duty to help extends to everyone,” Santos said.
In the Lingap project in South Cotabato, the INC distributed 8,000 five-kilo livelihood packs, 15,000 pieces of clothing, 10,000 toys for children and 20 sewing machines.
The anti-poor project coincided with the holding of a medical and dental mission for residents of the two chosen communities.
The INC activity also released an additional livelihood assistance in the form of one backhoe unit, one payloader, two Sarao jeepneys, five motorcycles, two tractors, 20 carabaos and 10 horses.
The latest initiative builds on the INC’s earlier success at setting up a 16,000 hectare eco-farming site in South Cotabato.
The location was meant to provide livelihood assistance to around 8,400 members of the lumad and B’laan indigenous communities.
Under the leadership of Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo, the homegrown Filipino church has intensified its anti-poverty and socio-civic initiatives, which are all conducted through the INC’s own Felix Y. Manalo Foundation.
“The [INC] will continue Lingap as long as we are able to do so resource-wise, and as long as there are impoverished communities that need a helping hand in their livelihood efforts,” Santos said.