MANILA, Nov. 26, 2015 – Cardinal Luís Antonio G. Tagle plans to hold anew a “Year of Mercy” concert on the anniversary of his installation as Manila archbishop, Dec. 12 at Meralco Theater, this time for a medical fund for the sick and elderly in his archdiocese (RCAM).
“For the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Archdiocese of Manila hopes to come to the aid of the sick and the elderly. We know for a fact that the poor have very little income and the little that they have is spent largely on food. Nothing is saved for medical emergencies,” the prelate explains in a letter.
While the government does provide medical aid, Tagle bemoans this is hardly enough to accommodate everyone, sharing how the more desperate of them would come knocking at the doors of churches asking for help.
Special medical fund
“With a special fund for them, which we can hopefully start in this Year of Mercy, the Archdiocese can joyfully give them assistance and care,” he says.
A 2013 survey records that as much as 55 percent of Filipinos struggle with their medical needs. This is true especially with families whose incomes are spent largely on food.
Philhealth, the government’s health insurance corporation, aims at universal coverage, but to date, most of the poor have yet to enrol in this program.
The more “fortunate” of the indigent patients may find themselves in charity wards, but the worse case—those in the countryside—reportedly have to live and die without ever seeing a doctor.
Witness of Mercy
Tagle notes that from Dec. 8, 2015, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, until Nov. 20, 2016, Solemnity of Christ the King, the whole Church is set to celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
He stresses that Pope Francis has set this special year to reawaken among the faithful a sense of mercy and compassion for the needy in the world and by becoming a “witness of mercy,” believing that “a little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.”
“The Archdiocese of Manila is deeply moved by the call of our Supreme Pontiff. Certainly, we are already engaged in many works of mercy. Our flagship charity program, Caritas Manila, gives scholarship for the poor and provides immediate relief and livelihood assistance to survivors of various disasters,” he notes.
Challenge: Doing more
The prelate points out that RCAM also has Pondo ng Pinoy (PnP) that raises funds for various social outreach programs like feeding hundreds of malnourished children every day.
“But we can do more. The Pope challenges us to do more,” he exclaims.
In line with this, Tagle invites Filipino Catholics to take on the Holy Father’s call to be “merciful like the Father.”
“In concrete, let us extend our helping hand to the sick and the elderly. Please join us in the Patron of the Arts, our yearly benefit show, slated on Saturday, 12 Dec. 2015, at the Meralco Theater, Ortigas Avenue, Pasig. Together let us welcome the Jubilee Year of Mercy and start a special medical fund for the poor. May you join us on that blessed evening and in this blessed undertaking? God bless you all,” he says.
For inquiries, interested parties are requested to call Dit Sablan at 426-5971 local 121, 0908-886-8447, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)