Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines reminded all Filipino families of the Palm Sunday celebration, which is also the Alay Kapwa Sunday.
“We would like to urge everyone to support our Alay Kapwa program as we all observe the Holy Week. Last year, through your kindness, generosity, and compassion, we were able to help a hundred thousand marginalized families with community programs.”
Alay Kapwa is the Catholic Church’s solidarity program mainly used to fund the humanitarian, development, and advocacy programs of Caritas Philippines and the 85 Diocesan Social Action Centers.
According to Fr. Antonio Labiao, national Caritas’ executive secretary, “we cannot afford to stop our programs responding to the major problems in the communities just because there is international donor fatigue. That is why, since 2020, we have devised strategies to strengthen our local resource mobilization. And since then, we have come to realize that Filipinos share our promise of leaving no one behind, especially during difficult times.”
In 2020 during the height of COVID-19, the Alay Kapwa solidarity through the Caritas Kindness Stations in more than 50 dioceses helped sustain the daily food needs of more than 150 poor communities. In 2021 during Typhoon Odette’s response of the Catholic Church, over 114 million pesos worth of Alay Kapwa donations to all 11 affected dioceses were received. This year, the continuing humanitarian response seeks to construct brand new houses and provide more stable sources of livelihood to 11,000 families, worth 400 million pesos.
“From a considerably very low number of local donors, we have seen a significant increase of over 4,000 Filipino families supporting our 7 Alay Kapwa Legacy Stewardship Programs in the dioceses,” Fr. Labiao said during an interview.
The seven programs are on: 1) youth development, 2) family feeding, 3) livelihoods and food security, 4) humanitarian response, 5) institutional capacity building, 6) good governance and justice and peace, and 7) ecology.
“As Caritas Philippines celebrates its 56th founding year, we would like to make sure that we are leaving a legacy of truly being the heart of the Church of the Poor, through long-term, high-impact programs implemented with our local social action centers, for our communities,” stressed Bishop Bagaforo.
“That is why we appeal to all Filipino families for support. Together, we can reduce, eliminate, and eradicate poverty through pagmamalasakit, pagbabahagi, at pag-a-alay-kapwa,” added the prelate of Kidapawan.
Every Palm Sunday, all second collections in masses all over the country are gathered for the Alay Kapwa programs of the dioceses and Caritas Philippines.