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Church allocates P2M for ‘Lawin’ survivors

Aerial shot of damaged crops in Ilagan, Isabela (Photo: NASSA/Caritas Philippines/ SkyEye/UNOCHA-CoP)

MANILA, Oct. 23, 2016 – The Catholic Church through its social action arm, the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, has started utilizing “Alay Kapwa” emergency funds amounting to Php 2 million to support the on-going relief operations for families affected by Super Typhoon Lawin (Haima) in Northern Luzon.

According to NASSA/Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez, the funds have been initially allocated to address immediate needs such as food packs for affected families in the most affected dioceses. Among these dioceses are those located in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, and Benguet.
“We are expecting bigger needs in the next few days as we still wait for the data of the on-going rapid needs assessment of the Caritas network and other church groups in the affected dioceses,” said Gariguez.

Rapid needs assessment

The priest said Cagayan expressed the immediate need for food items and sleeping kits, while Isabela requested shelter repair kits. Benguet, on the other hand, wanted livelihood interventions.

Based on the latest situation report of NASSA/Caritas Philippines, Caritas-national finalized deployment and response plans yesterday, Oct.22, with Caritas Española and Caritas Luxembourg, and will start rapid assessment Monday, Oct.24, with CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands).

Gariguez added that Caritas Manila is ready to distribute relief goods in Tabuk, Kalingam and Apayao.

Through strong coordination with other humanitarian organizations, NASSA/Caritas also partnered with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) and SkyEye to provide aerial footages of the affected areas to help response actions.

Assessment teams from the Catholic Relief Services (Caritas USA) were also deployed earlier to Isabela.

‘Alay Kapwa’

“NASSA/Caritas Philippines is directing the overall coordination with the social action network of the dioceses, and the international Caritas confederation,” said Gariguez.
The Church’s local emergency funds called “Alay Kapwa” is the Lenten evangelization and fundraising program of the Church to raise consciousness and funds for calamities and major social concerns.

Through these local funds and support from Caritas Internationalis, NASSA/Caritas was able to implement various relief and rehabilitation programs for typhoon victims in the Philippines.

NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the development, advocacy, and humanitarian arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. (NASSA / Caritas Philippines / CBCPNews)

Bishop’s reminder: ‘Pray for others too’

TACLOBAN City, Oct. 22, 2016 – Despite the natural tendency to pray for one’s own concerns and problems first, a bishop reminds the faithful to also remember others’ intentions when praying.

“(W)e are asked to pray for others not just for ourselves or our own family,” said Naval Bishop Filomeno Bactol, D.D. during a Mass in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, Oct. 13.

Sharing the Blessed Virgin’s message in Fatima, Portugal in 1917, Bactol reminded the faithful to offer small sacrifices for sinners and to repeat often the short prayer: “Oh, my Jesus this is for love, for my conversion and for sinners in the world.”

The bishop, who was once a parish priest of Sto. Niño Church in Tacloban, also discussed Mary’s message about being the Lady of the Rosary.

Hell exists

“Mary also said, ‘I am the Lady of the Rosary, I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and to ask for pardon for their sins,’” he said, quoting the Virgin Mary’s words to the child seers Lúcia Santos, Jacinta, and Francisco Marto

Coming with this message is a warning, said the bishop. “We must not offend the Lord anymore because he has already been grievously offended,” the prelate quoted the Blessed Virgin as saying.

Bactol likewise touched on the existence of hell, nothing how Mary showed the children a vision of the eternal flames.

Call to conversion

“Many did not believe anymore in the existence of hell, so Mary showed to them how hell looks like where souls and devils, all … transparent with fire coming out from their eyes, mouth, and ears, and all were cursing, shrieking, and shouting in pain due to endless heat and pain in hell,” described the prelate.

“The Blessed Mother said, and this is true. This was the message that she gave in July 30, 1937, ‘Nowadays people do not believe in hell anymore.’ That’s why we are not afraid to commit sin anymore,” he added.

“The significance of these messages is for our conversion whoever we are. Whether bishops, pope, priest, and lay people, we need to convert ourselves because we are all sinners,” stressed Bactol.

The devotion to Our Lady of Fatima is among the oldest practised by Palo locals.

On Oct. 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared for the last time in Fatima, Portugal in what is believed to be the most widely witnessed miracle when the sun was said to dance in the sky. Between 30,000 to 70,000 people claimed to have seen the extraordinary solar activity that day. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)