Written by Jovee Marie N. de la Cruz
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
HUNDREDS of thousands of people flocked to a huge vacant area in Pasay City for the “Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko” humanitarian outreach mission of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on Tuesday, a day after the 50th death anniversary of its founder Felix Ysagun Manalo (FYM).
The mission offered free medical, dental and relief services to about 300,000 INC members and non-members alike, computed at six members each for the estimated 50,000 families that jam-packed the 6.2-hectare vacant area on Macapagal Boulevard and Edsa Extension in the city, near the Mall of Asia.
The participants came from 45 different areas to join the seven-hour mission, said Emmanuel Era, assistant minister of INC Metro Manila South, in an interview. “We are expecting at least 250,000 to 300,000 INC members and non-members to join this anticipated event.”
Besides the free medical, dental services and relief services, the people also enjoyed entertainment provided by TV singers and dancers and showbiz personalities. The entertainers included singers Gerald Santos, Faith Cuneta and actresses Snooky Serna and Kristel Fulgar. The seven-hour event was viewed nationwide as it was broadcast through television networks NET 25 and INC TV.
“Many of our countrymen are helpless. . . they need help, and that’s why we are here to help them,” Era said, pointing out that the Iglesia ni Cristo has long been responding to the needs of poor Filipinos, particularly victims of disasters. “After here, this project will soon go to other parts of Metro Manila and provinces nationwide,” he added.
Despite some problems the mission encountered, such as traffic and overcrowding because of a small entrance door to the area, those who benefited from it had no complaints.
According to Pasay City resident and mother of three Elena Santos, 33, it was not very often that such an opportunity comes up for people like them who are from the slums and cannot afford costly medical and dental examinations.
“Of course, we poor people will grab any opportunity like this because we don’t have enough money to bring our children to a hospital,” Santos said in Filipino.
The Iglesia ni Cristo’s Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko missions have no regular schedules; the last was held three days ago. These missions started shortly after the INC founder’s death 50 years ago. The missions are usually held in poor areas by socio-civic groups of the INC, which include the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation Inc. Jovee Marie N. de la Cruz