Caritas Philippines launches 1 million donor movement for social change

June 23, 2023 - 1:30 PM
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Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, president of Caritas Philippines, speaks at the launching of the expanded Alay Kapwa program in Manila on June 22, 2023. (CBCP News)

The Philippine Catholic Church is expanding its Lenten fund drive to year-round, hoping to raise at least ₱500 million a year to fund its humanitarian and social projects.

Caritas Philippines, the Church’s social action arm, will soon launch its expanded “Alay Kapwa” campaign for its “legacy programs” and in order to respond to local realities that require immediate support.

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, president of the national Caritas, said they hope to bring their programs “to as many families and communities as we can”.

“Alay Kapwa is where everyone can share their time and little treasures for people who are in need,” Bagaforo said in a press briefing on Thursday.

The movement aims to enlist at least one million donors by 2025, who will commit to give at least ₱500 annually for its programs on disaster response; health; education; livelihood and food security; ecology; and training to empower and capacitate social action teams.

Fr. Tito Caluag, head of Caritas Philippines’ expanded Alay Kapwa program, and Fr. Antonio Labiao, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines. (CBCP News)

“We need to fund these programs and, hopefully, everybody can participate and create miracles in the country,” said Fr. Antonio Labiao, Caritas’ executive secretary.

Alay Kapwa was launched in 1975 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to raise social consciousness about the plight of the poor and build networks of compassion.

Almost five decades later, the program continues to be a pilot program of the Church to support social action initiatives for communities in need.

Fr. Tito Caluag, head of Caritas’ expanded Alay Kapwa program, said ₱500 million a year “will assure sustainability” of the agency’s projects and initiatives.

To ensure that funds are fully accounted for, the priest said that Caritas has constituted a special oversight committee composed of volunteer bankers.

“Fundraising is the means to fulfil the mission and the mission is to make the Philippine church a church with and for the poor,” Caluag said.