Friday, August 22, 2008

A Brief History

By Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa

Pondo ng Pinoy is the vision of one man who dares to dream dreams that would move forward the Church in the Philippines as the Church of the Poor – the Archbishop of Manila, Most Rev. Gaudencio B. Rosales.

Enraged by the prevalence of graft and corruption that has kept more than 50% of our population in abject poverty, and moved by compassion for the poor, Archbishop Rosales gathered the priests, religious and laity of the Archdiocese of Manila, along with the dioceses of Antipolo, Cubao, Imus, Kalookan, Malolos, Novaliches, ParaƱaque, Pasig and San Pablo; the Apostolic Vicariates of Puerto Princesa and Taytay; and the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines to launch on June 11-12, 2004 the movement now popularly known as Pondo ng Pinoy (PnP) at the Folk Arts Theatre, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. The event brought together some 10,000 delegates from the thirteen participating Particular Churches.

Pondo ng Pinoy took in its fourteenth member at the beginning of 2005 – the Diocese of Daet in Camarines Norte. It is the first Particular Church in the Bicol region to pledge its commitment to the PnP vision.

Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation, Inc. is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-profit organization that will evolve into a “potential mechanism to consolidate efforts at local poverty alleviation.” PnP is administered by a Board of Trustees composed of distinguished lay leaders, bishops, priests and religious, with the Roman Catholic Church as its initiator, promoter and steward.

Archbishop Rosales, the architect of the Pondo ng Pinoy vision is single-hearted about its objective. PnP is mainly to educate the Filipino people towards a new mindset, a new way of becoming and a new way of living. It aims to engage the various sectors of society, and in the process, consolidate positive responses and attitudes that will lead to the development of a new culture. PnP’s foundational raison d’etre – reason for being – is love of God and love of neighbor. It translates the love of God (Pag-ibig ng Panginoon) into acts of sharing and giving to the last, the lost and the least so that these acts – individual and collective – generate hope for the Filipino people (Pag-asa ng Pilipino).

The love of God and hope of the Filipino are given a value that is actually a “crumb” – 25 centavos. Twenty-five centavos saved daily by parents and their children, by teachers and their students, by parishioners, by every man and woman, by all Filipinos, and turned over to Pondo ng Pinoy will be the concrete response to Jesus’ call, “Love one another as I have loved you.” The accumulated savings will then be distributed by Pondo ng Pinoy to fund projects on education, health care, livelihood, etc. that will directly help the poor live with dignity that is their birth right as children of God. In this way, PnP is not only a value or a method, but a personal and collective paradigm for human development.

In his homily at the Mass that launched Pondo ng Pinoy, Archbishop Rosales emphasized that the development of every Filipino starts with the very poor, and in so doing, “love will be the motivation we have (and) compassion is the only influence we will use. You and I will be surprised at what the love of God will do in us and among us.”

God whose love endures forever has indeed surprised us and continues to surprise us. As we celebrate on June 11, 2005 the first anniversary of Pondo ng Pinoy – with minimal promotion except a focused and calibrated education campaign in the schools, the parishes, the families and some significant private sectors – is now ready to distribute the “crumbs” it has gathered within twelve months, twenty million pesos, through projects that will impact the lives of the poor. And the gathering continues, so, too, will the distributing.

All fourteen Pondo ng Pinoy dioceses, with one heart and one mind, are making alive the axiom “Anumang magaling, kahit maliit, basta’t malimit ay patungong langit.” And their solidarity and passion will continue to throw fire until the whole nation is transformed by the Pondo ng Pinoy vision.

Love – that is what Pondo ng Pinoy is all about. Love that makes one see the possibility of great results. If you have love, join Pondo ng Pinoy. All it takes are a big heart and a piece of “crumb” – 25 centavos.

Pondo ng Pinoy … Pag-ibig ng Panginoon … Pag-asa ng Pilipino!

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