Grace Radin arrived early at P. Guevara Elementary School in Manila’s Binondo area Saturday morning. She knew many would come and wanted to be among the first in line.
Seven months pregnant and like any excited mom, Radin just wanted to know the child’s gender in advance. But coming from the slums of Parola, Tondo, she could not afford an ultrasound examination which could cost between P800 and P1,000.
And so waiting in line was worth it for Radin, one of the 15,000 Tondo residents who flocked to the “Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko” (My countrymen, my brethren) project of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) and the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation Inc.
The project offered free medical, dental and relief services. In Radin’s case, it brought joy to the mother after the ultrasound exam revealed that she will soon give birth to a boy.
Minister Glicerio B. Santos Jr., general auditor of the INC, said Kabayan Ko was launched in response to the needs of those living in extreme poverty, whether or not they are INC members.
“Our Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo sees the growing number of our countrymen living in extreme poverty. The Iglesia ni Cristo and the FYM Foundation have long been responding to the needs of those victimized by disasters, both natural and manmade. This time, we have expanded these efforts as we want our poor countrymen to feel that they are not alone, that there is someone aware of their needs. They are our brothers, too,” Santos said.
The INC traces its humble beginnings to Punta, Sta. Ana, in Manila, in July 1914. Now a year shy of its centenary, it believes that its history, present-day accomplishments and future direction are all in fulfillment of Biblical prophecies.
“This is the work of God. This victory is a victory of the Holy Scripture,” Santos told Saturday’s gathering.
Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko was launched a day after the 50th death anniversary of INC founder Felix Ysagun Manalo, whom Iglesia members revere as God’s Last Messenger.
The event was broadcast nationwide through the facilities of NET-25 and INC-TV.
The project will soon go to other parts of Metro Manila and other regions across the country.