MANILA Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales launched the nationwide charity foundation called “Pondong Batangan” to aid the country’s poor during the 10th Pope Leo XIII Lecture Symposium at the Medicine Auditorium last Feb. 2.

The name of the project was inspired by Rosales’ favorite Batangueño proverb: “Anumang magaling, kahit maliit, basta’t malimit ay patungong langit.”

Pondong Batangan is already operating ian Rosales’ former archdiocese in Lipa City, Batangas. The campaign collects 25 centavos, “the prize of a crumb,” from generous contributors. Cumulatively, the small coins will amount to a big amount that could be used to help the poor, the prelate said.

“The worst indicators of our unhealthy economy and lack of development are the colonies of slums along trash dumps, the squatters nearly anywhere, dwellings along riverbanks, over canals, along rails, and even under steps and bridges,” Rosales said.

Rosales quoted from several studies that 64% of Filipinos are poor and conditions are worsening in the provinces. He blamed the burgeoning population of poor people in urban centers to the lack of opportunities in rural areas.

Rosales said that the single factor that divides the country is “politics as practiced by the Filipino.”

Moral corruption has tainted into values that the past generations once treasured, and the poor are always its victims, Rosales said. He proposed education, noble livelihood, healthy habits, religious formation, and good family upbringing to address the evils of society.

“True progress according to the Gospel is integral human development, body and soul, to free the person from all that enslaves him,” the Manila prelate said. “Everyone is called to the fullness of life, because the Lord Jesus Christ came that all may have life and enjoy it to the full.” Nicolo F. Bernardo

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