The Diocese of Boac joined the Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation, Inc. on the first week of September 2006. The reason for joining was actually in response to a Synodal Decree contained in the First Diocesan Synod held in May 2003 which states that “a Foundation be established which will be responsible for fund raising and to receiving donations intended to the poor.” (Synodal Decree # 144). Instead of starting a new foundation for the poor in the diocese, the Bishop and the Clergy of Boac unanimously agreed to join Pondo ng Pinoy to respond to the needs of the Local Church. The active participation now of the whole province of Marinduque in the Pondo ng Pinoy is also in response to another Synodal Decree which encourages the diocese to have “a clear and extensive pro-poor program and implement it in order to uplift the poor’s means of livelihood.” (Synodal Decree # 136)
During that last quarter of 2006 and the first months of 2007, the bishop, priests and lay workers explained to the faithful the Spirituality of the “Crumbs” and the Church’s mission of integral evangelization towards “fullness of life” as envisioned by our Lord Jesus Christ when He said, “I came that you may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Empty softdrink cans and empty mineral water containers were made into “alkansisya” or “tibyo” for the daily offering of 25 centavo coins. A Pondo ng Pinoy Desk and Staff under the Diocesan Social Action Commission (DSAC) was also established. Rev. Fr. Allan L. Malapad, the DSAC Director became the first liaison officer with the Pondo ng Pinoy Central Office in Manila. Slowly, during the Advent and Christmas Seasons of 2006 and in all Sunday celebrations the “crumbs” were offered in Offertory Processions. The Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) Program of the diocese which is more popularly called in Marinduque as “Batayang Pamayanang Kristiyano” (BPK) were catechized about the Pondo ng Pinoy. All the more, the collection of the 25 centavo coins poured in.
Pondo ng Pinoy (PnP) in the Diocese of Boac became more organized and promoted even in barangays and schools when the Most Rev. Reynaldo G. Evangelista, D.D., Bishop of Boac, called a diocesan meeting on October 15, 2007 to identify more people in the 14 parishes who will be mobilized in promoting the foundation. Organizational structure was presented and approved by the body. Roles and functions of different committees like education and promotion, projects, and collection were identified. Towards the end of the year 2007, the “crumbs” collected was Three Hundred Fifteen Thousand, Eight Hundred Eighty-Six pesos and Fifty centavos (P315,886.50). After another year, the total collection reported reached Six Hundred Eighteen Thousand, Eight Hundred Seventy-Eight Pesos and Fifteen centavos (P618,878.15). Considering the economic situation of Marinduque, being a fourth class province and with 229,636 total population as of April 2008, the Pondo ng Pinoy collection is very encouraging.
The greater blessing from God aside from the awareness of the people of the importance of giving a small amount (25 centavos) for charity everyday are the projects that are being implemented now in the diocese through the support of the Pondo ng Pinoy. As of this writing, One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-Five (1,695) pre-schoolers are being fed everyday in the HAPAG-ASA Nutrition Feeding Program. Because of a very high incidence of malnutrition in the province even the children in the elementary level, Pondo ng Pinoy and Assisi Foundation, Inc. extended their support to Three Thousand One Hundred Sixty-Four (3,164) children in twenty-one (21) pilot schools in the province. The feeding started on the months of October, 2008 under the supervision of the Diocesan Social Action Commission particularly the Community-Based Health Program (CBHP) with Mrs. Lilia B. Narvas as the head program coordinator. The Marinduque Education Stakeholders’ Alliance (MESA) helps in implementing the feeding program in the schools. After three months of consistent feeding of malnourished children, a great percentage of the indigents are now reported to have gained significant weight and better health condition. Parents of the children beneficiaries are very thankful to Pondo ng Pinoy for the financial support extended to them. The diocese is even more thankful to Pondo ng Pinoy (PnP) for the support to the pastoral program that the Local Church is receiving.
Pondo ng Pinoy allocated an amount of Eight Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand, One Hundred Seventy-Nine Pesos (P825,179.00) for the Diocese of Boac for 2008 based on a percentage of both the poverty index of the diocese and the cumulative remittance of “crumbs” sent to the Central Office. The Diocese of Boac’s remittance to the Central Office is Three Hundred Thirty Thousand Pesos (P330,000.00). As a Community Foundation, Pondo ng Pinoy manages the funds accumulated from the daily contributions of the people. The funds and whatever revenues gained from investing the money is being used to support socio-economic development programs or projects for the poor participating dioceses.
The socio-economic program of the Diocese of Boac through the help of Pondo ng Pinoy is now fully operational. Forty (40) families from Batayang Pamayanang Kristiyano (BPK) were identified as beneficiaries of the Two Hundred Seventy Thousand Pesos (P270,000.0) fund which was initially released by the Central Office. The types of projects that the beneficiaries are now engaged in are: small trading, vegetable production, fishing and livestock farming, and marketing. Rev. Fr. Edison M. Lotilla, the Assistant Social Action Director and the Diocesan Chairman of the Pondo ng Pinoy monitors the implementation of the program. Repayment rate from the released funds as of October 2008 is almost 100%. Additional capital of Two Hundred Eighty Thousand Pesos (P280,000.00) is being requested by the diocese for other poor people who requested for help.
The Diocese of Boac is committed to continue the Education and Promotion of Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation, Inc. to all the faithful based on the modules provided by the PnP Central Office. The Cathedral Parish of the Immaculate Conception in Boac formed several teams of lay speakers bureau who went to the barangays to orient, educate, and encourage the people to join Pondo ng Pinoy. Schools in many parishes of the diocese are also actively involved now in the foundation and are submitting their own collections to the diocesan office of PnP.
Indeed, the vision of the diocese: “Marinduque, Church of the Poor with Justice, Love and Peace” is all the more being realized with the help of Pondo ng Pinoy. PnP perfectly matches the pastoral ministry of the diocese which is serving the poor and transforming the people’s lives.