Lingap sa Mamamayan, the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s trailblazing local and international outreach, and aid program, added to its ever-growing list of target locations after conducting successful activities in Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Macau, with another one just recently concluded in Hong Kong.
Outreach and assistance initiatives were carried out in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 28, 2018, two locations in Taipei and Kaohsiung last Nov. 18 and 25, 2018, respectively, one in Bangkok last Jan. 13, 2019, one in Macau last Jan. 20, and one in Hong Kong on Jan. 27.
“For the most recent Lingap activities abroad, we made a conscious effort to reach out to our OFWs. Our kababayans are scattered all over our neighboring countries in Southeast and Northeast Asia but seldom do they get together as one big Filipino community. That’s what we did and accomplished with our Aid to OFW events. We opened up opportunities for us to meet and help each other,” INC General Auditor Glicerio B. Santos Jr. said.
Santos added that the Lingap efforts in Asia were fueled by INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo’s continuing desire to offer tangible, effective and needed assistance to Filipinos abroad who toil hard for their families back home.
The INC General Auditor for his part noted that in realizing Manalo’s goals for foreign-based Filipinos, they specifically chose spacious venues that could accommodate as many OFWs as possible.
The Taiwan legs were held at Taipei’s Hua Nan Bank International Convention Center and Kaohsiung International Trade and Exhibition Center. Sheraton hotels housed the Lingap efforts in Macau and Thailand. The Kuala Lumpur event was at the Malaysian capital’s Majestic Hotel.
Close to a thousand attendees on each venue graced the Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Macau activities. The Hong Kong Lingap attracted an estimated 3,000 people.
Free “goodwill bags” separately containing food and hygiene items were distributed at all locations.
“Our kababayans were also grateful for the emotional and spiritual nourishment that the Lingap gatherings brought. The sense of community and the opportunity to interact with other Pinoys was as important to them as the actual aid and assistance they received. When you’re abroad, you’re homesick. You relish every chance to physically gather in one place with fellow Filipinos,” Santos said.
In 2018, the INC, through its Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, went full blast with Lingap events in other countries.
Two groundbreakings “Aid To Humanity, Fight Poverty” activities were held in Long Island, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut in the United States last September, targeting low-income localities.
In the same month, Toronto in Canada benefited from simultaneous Aid to Humanity programs that focused on the elderly, women, children and immigrants in various centers and shelters in the North American city.
Residents and attendees at the various Canadian locations received approximately 4,000 “goodwill bags.” The FYM Foundation likewise donated funds to each of the centers and shelters visited.
For 2019, INC plans to re-establish Lingap in various parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Australasia while sustaining efforts which have already gained momentum traction in North America.
“We’re trying to constantly evolve and improve our Lingap initiatives to be local and global at the same time. We choose locations and target beneficiaries not on the basis of religious affiliation or political leanings, but on specific needs of communities,” the General Auditor said.
“This year should see bigger and better programs in the Philippines and elsewhere.
It’s the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s own small way of giving back, part of our mission to positively affect the lives of people, address their needs, uplift their dignity and create a sense of strength through oneness.”