Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales was honored this week for his commitment to helping the poor and given a “festschrift” during the 7th anniversary of Pondo ng Pinoy, a poverty-alleviation program he initiated which proved how as little as a 25-centavo coin could go a long way in giving succor to people in need.
The 103-page festschrift, German for a volume of writings by different authors presented as a tribute or memorial, especially to a respected person during his lifetime, is titled “Katesismo ng Pondo ng Pinoy.” “It features scholarly writings from experts in Church teachings and theology,” said Henrietta de Villa, a Pondo ng Pinoy director.
In his homily during the Mass celebrating the anniversary of Pondo ng Pinoy held at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City last Thursday, Rosales noted how some people initially doubted the concept of the program.
“Some reluctantly believed that wealth could be collected from as little as 25-centavo coins. Probably it was from the simplicity of the scheme that doubts arose,” he said.
“It was a suspicious idea. But it took only three years to prove to many doubting Thomases that, with the blessing of Providence, the movement of Pondo ng Pinoy was not only real and genuine, but also credible,” the 78-year-old prelate added.
From the coins donated by parishioners, hundreds of houses for underprivileged families were built and more than 120,000 malnourished children all over the country are being fed daily, he said.
Pondo ng Pinoy also provides start-up funds for small entrepreneurs such as farmers and fisherfolk and provides funds to build artesian and drinking water wells in barangays where no potable water is immediately available.
In June last year, the total collection of Pondo ng Pinoy exceeded P200 million. The amount funded 1,081 projects in health, education, micro-finance, micro-enterprise and housing.
Pondo ng Pinoy, which encourages the faithful to drop 25 centavos a day in donation boxes in churches and schools, is proof of the people’s love and compassion for each other, according to Rosales.
He noted how the program brought about not only the development of the people, especially the poor, but also the transformation of their lives.
Pondo ng Pinoy is guided by its maxim: “Anumang maliit, basta malimit ay patungong langit (A good act, no matter how small, if it’s done often, will eventually lead to heaven).”
“Little acts of kindness, if sustained by similar constant little acts, can grow into great expressions of daily charity and compassion,” Rosales said.