You don’t need religion to love your neighborBy Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), a local religious sect, has won for the Philippines three Guinness world records: largest dental health check for one day, the biggest number of blood pressure readings taken in eight hours and the most numerous blood glucose level tests, also within eight hours.
Guinness recorded the three events during the church’s medical-dental mission in Tondo, one of Manila’s poorest sections.
That the INC would break all records in medical-dental missions is hardly surprising since it is a church that serves the welfare of its members, the majority of whom are poor.
The “love your neighbor” enjoinder is very much practiced within this religious sect.
At the New Era Hospital in Quezon City, where many of its doctors are US-trained, poor members of the INC are given medical treatment for a minimal fee, if not for free.
That’s why it’s not surprising that the entire INC membership votes as one block during elections.
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Compare the INC’s New Era Hospital to the Catholic-run San Juan de Dios Hospital on Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City.
If you meet an accident and you are rushed to San Juan de Dios Hospital, the people at the admission counter will demand a down payment before you are treated or admitted.
If you don’t have money in your pocket, you’re told to seek admission in other hospitals.
Many years ago, I rushed a hit-and-run accident victim, whom I chanced upon, to that hospital.
The hospital, which is managed by Roman Catholic nuns, was near the accident scene so it was just logical that I bring the victim there.
The woman at the hospital’s admission counter asked me if I had money for a down payment.
I was a police reporter then and financially struggling, and I said I had none.
To make the story short, I took the victim to the Philippine General Hospital where he was promptly treated.
Looking back, I think that was the start of my alienation and eventual departure from the Catholic faith.
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Don’t get me wrong: I am not a member of the INC or any other religious group.
You don’t have to be a member of any religion to help people who are in need.
I don’t know if it’s my karma, but I’ve rushed countless strangers who were accident victims, whom I chanced upon on the road, to hospitals.
One late night a couple of years ago, I came across a teenage boy who was driving a jeep that jumped over an island on the road.
He landed on the opposite lane on Ortigas Avenue in San Juan City.
The guy died after I took him to the now defunct ABM Sison Hospital.
Fortunately, I was able to get his parents’ home phone number, and so was able to relay the bad news to them.
You don’t need to be a member of any religion to love your fellowman.
Loving one’s fellowman is inherent in every human being.
More from this Column:
- An incompetent airport manager
- How easily voters forget
- Dead man biggest winner
- My fearless forecasts
- Jojo Binay’s juvenile tantrum