MANILA, March 2, 2016— A nationwide Bible distribution campaign has again missed its deadline due to a lack of money.
After seven years of implementation, the “May They Be One” Bible campaign has not seen much progress.
Fr. Antonio Navarette, Jr., director of the Manila archdiocese’s Biblical Apostolate, has pointed out the limited funds to finance the production and distribution of the Bibles as the primary reason why the project has slowed down.
“There’s no money. We have had fund raising activities in the past but it’s really not enough,” Navarette said.
Launched in 2008, MTBO’s main objective was to distribute five million copies of Bibles to 5 million poor Filipino families in 5 years.
It is a project of the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) in collaboration with the Catholic bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA).
The project hopes to raise funds for the printing and distribution of the Bible at the subsidized price of P50 each. Full production cost of a Bible is P150. The balance of P100 is what PBS and partners are raising funds for.
The campaign was supposed to end in 2013 but the PBS was only able to provide 8,600 Bibles translated in English and eight other local languages.
The PBS extended the campaign for two more years to complete the project but it again missed the target with only 1.3 million Bibles distributed as of February this year.
“So the campaign is still ongoing. Our appeal is for continued support so that our poor families will have their own Bible. It’s a good act of mercy to give Bible to those who don’t have one,” Navarette said.
“But looking at the pace it is going, to complete the campaign even with two years more is unrealistic,” said Navarette, who previously served as advisory member of MTBO.
According to him, another reason is that many people perceive PBS as a purely Protestant organization.
“Of course not. There are Catholic bishops who are members of the board and ECBA has always been in collaboration with the PBS,” he said.
In 2008, a PBS survey showed that the Catholic country has a 60 percent population that does not read the Bible or even own one.
Through the years, the MTBO has become a symbol of cooperation between the ECBA, PBS, and other Christian Churches in the Bible apostolate.
To further spread the Scripture especially to the youth, the PBS has also tapped the use of smartphones with the new “audio Bible.”
The PBS has also come out with an “e-Bible” which can be installed in laptops or personal computers. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)