THE Iglesia Ni Cristo has distributed relief goods consisting of rice, canned goods and coffee to close to 100,000 people affected by the two month-long Marawi siege in various Mindanao evacuation centers as part of its Lingap outreach program.
INC general auditor Glicerio Santos Jr. said the INC mobilized a thousand of its members in the relief effort, doing crucial tasks such as packing, storing, loading and distribution of items in five venues in Iligan City and 11 sites in Balo-i in Lanao del Norte province.
Members of the PNP and the armed forces ensured that the relief effort was orderly and peaceful.
Local leaders and residents praised the INC’s relief drive and pointed out that such was the first large-scale distribution of relief goods done by a religious group in the area.
“It was a quick and simple matter of deciding within the Church, through the guidance and leadership of Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo, that we had to do something concrete to help fellow Filipinos who are affected and displaced by the Marawi fighting. Religion and political beliefs were not an issue here. What’s important is assisting people in dire need.” Santos said in a press statement.
The INC has for the last several years expanded its Lingap sa Mamamayan livelihood and assistance programs for both church members and non-members alike.
“It’s usually livelihood programs we engage in, but in situations like in Marawi or when disasters and natural calamities occur in certain parts of the country, we shift our efforts at providing immediate material assistance in the form of essentials such as food and medicine. That way, we are able to offer help quicker to those whose needs are urgent.”
Santos noted that they would continue their assistance efforts to cover other evacuation centers housing Marawi evacuees. There are around 35 designated evacuation centers scattered in Lanao and Misamis Oriental.