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Christian youth unite for relief effort to Tarlac Ayta community

Ecumenical youth group Kalipunan ng Kristiyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas (KKKP) raised funds to conduct relief efforts in an Ayta community in Capas town, Tarlac.

Using social media, the national group of 11 Christian youth organizations and several localized ecumenical groups, raised on April 14-26 over P150,000 to mount relief missions to the Tarlac indigenous people’s community and a cluster of urban-poor families in Bagong Silangan, Quezon City, both have been adversely affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) declared by President Duterte on March 16 across Luzon.

Particularly, KKKP will provide food packs to 300 families and medicine to the IP community in Capas. It will also provide relief assistance to 220 urban-poor families.

“The KKKP COVID-19 project emerged as our response to the current state of our nation,” explained the organization’s chairperson, Jon Dave Angeles. “For us young Christian ecumenists, the plea for help is loud and clear. Many communities have been locked down without enough resources and assistance. They urgently need food, medicine and other essentials to live.”

“The project complements those of government and nongovernment agencies. Although there is a government effort to provide relief and livelihood aid, help for underserved and vulnerable areas like communities of katutubo and the poor may come a little too late if we do not act,” he said.

To come up with the funds, KKKP enlisted the support of members Convention Baptist Youth Fellowship, Kabataang Unida Ekyumenikal, Pambansang Kapisanan ng Kabataan ng IEMELIF, Philippine Lutheran Youth League, Samahann ng Kabataang Episcopal sa Pilipinas, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, UCCP Christian Youth Fellowship, United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines, United Methodist Young Adult Fellowship in the Philippines and Youth of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

For the project in Tarlac, KKKP partnered with the Iglesia Filipina Independiente’s Ramento Project for Rights Defenders and the Ayta Ministry of the Diocese of Tarlac, a project that provides services to Aetas in the Central Luzon province aimed at raising their political consciousness and participation.

KKKP chose the communities in Capas and Quezon City after investigating their vulnerabilities, said Angeles. “We chose Bagong Silangan because they had received government relief only once despite the extreme poverty there. The Aetas, meanwhile, live in a far-flung location.

The beneficiary community is part of the wider IP group living in the hinterlands of Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga and Bataan, among others. They are historically underserved. The ancestral lands of the Capas Aetas, in particular, are threatened by the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ project New Clark City.”

“Both communities have preexisting conditions of poverty and neglect which make the lockdown more harrowing for them,” he added.

KKKP hopes to undertake the relief operations within the last week of April despite the challenges of the ECQ. During the fund-raising effort, explained Angeles, KKKP faced difficulties in choosing methods to donate because of banking limitations and had some hesitations in asking possible donors because of the economic slowdown. In mounting the relief effort, the group expects difficulties with manpower, as well as buying and transporting goods.

“But, we know that, as God has provided us with enough funds despite the troubles, we will also get the much-needed help to the Tarlac and Quezon City communities,” he noted.

For those still interested to donate, the fund-raising campaign will continue as KKKP braces for a continuing need for relief operations if the government opts to extend the ECQ. You may donate to:

GCash: 0917-301-6241 | John Paul Bayang
PayMaya: 0906-211-7800 | Jon Dave Angeles
coins.ph: 0906-211-7800 | Jon Dave Angeles
BPI: 1629-2945-85 | Ann Heinie Rania
UnionBank: 109420190403 | Ann Heinie Rania
BDO: 005390316623 l John Paul F. Bayang

(*Angeles is KKKP chairperson. John Paul Bayang is Finance Officer. Ann Heinie Rania heads the Finance and Resource Management Committee.)

Before the COVID-19 project, KKKP had also organized relief efforts to the children of Sitio San Roque, an urban-poor community facing development aggression, and Lumad of the Bakwit School in UP Diliman and UCCP Haran in Davao City, among others.

“With our COVID-19 project, KKKP finds itself taking part in the mission of Christ today. Our effort may not even represent a percentage of the people who need help amid the lockdown, but we hope to inspire Christian youth to involve themselves in initiatives that help our more needy siblings out,” said Angeles.

“In the meantime, we thank every single Christian youth organization, church, individual and institution that sent support. Our encouragement to donate to the KKKP COVID-19 response or to any of the many relief effort currently running continues. Our mission is not over.”

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