Iglesia ni Cristo’s (Post-Valentine) March for Yolanda Victims

Our kababayans belonging to Iglesia ni Cristo are thoughtful enough to mobilize a march for Yolanda victims last Saturday, February 15, 2014. Mobilizations of this kind do increase awareness and to their credit have been noticed and qualified to be listed on the Guinness Book of World Records, for a “charity walk in 24 hours multiple venue;” on the side, however, for the Guinness business to remain true to its nature, it has to invent new categories to accommodate ‘novel’ entries.

Much thanks for we have been quite successful at gaining noticed these past few months. But I think we have too much attention already, we have received enough financial aid in fact, if used properly and with eye for sustainability, could definitely help rebuild communities adversely affected by Yolanda.

What I currently find odd is the manner of help which the INC would wish to effect. Isn’t Tacloban a couple of minutes away from Manila for example? What does this imply? Firstly, it implies that we are a thoughtful people. Secondly, our thoughtfulness is often expressed in starkly out-of-place fashion. In a fun-run-country, where fun is equivalent to responsibility, a march for Yolanda victims ought not to surprise us. But it ought to surprise us. Not to be surprised is to be blind to an alarming symptom of a yet to be described fatal disease: a social disease, a cultural disease.

If a march was held for example in Russia (organized by Russians), or Egypt (organized by Egyptians), or Pakistan (organized by Pakistanis) for the sake of Yolanda victims in the Philippines it would have been a very delightful act of charity. That kind of march would have dramatically sent a message of solidarity with their fellow human beings whom they could not help directly. Marches of this kind are for persons who by virtue of distance are precluded from acting out their intense desire to help – as an aside, I have personally encountered this kind of people and they are silent volunteers not given to trumpeting their works.

Contrast this with Filipinos in the Philippines, with, mind you, an organizational structure that could summon a hundred-thousand plus people to the streets of Manila. For an organization to feel mightily proud of it should think twice. Why? Because there is a big difference between what personal initiatives could accomplish and what a big organization could accomplish. An organization which is already happy over an accomplishment that any individual, famous or otherwise, could do, should be by now questioning itself. My point here is that organizations could deliver more efficient ways of addressing problems or needs, especially religious organizations.

Picture this. If you were a foreigner looking at the Philippines and what its people are doing for their Yolanda victims, would you not rant “We have sent you money and goods and we will continue doing so but at least do something for your people. What are you asking for by marching? Do you want us to send volunteers to help your own people? ” Why are we still making pa-cute to international communities? This, here, is our cultural problem.

INC simply displayed a chink of what ails us as a nation. I think what we lack is a hard sense of responsibility to others.


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