“They are defending an indefensible position,” was how my good friend Conrad de Quiros aptly described the pathetic situation of the modern Pharisees who have been undermining the genuine Christian work of Gawad Kalinga (GK).
Despite enlisting the witting or unwitting support of National Council of the Laity Director, Bishop Gabby Reyes, and that of Vatican head of the Pontifical Council of the Laity, Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko, Couples for Christ (CfC) former head Frank Padilla isn’t getting any sympathy from Filipinos who continue to express their wholehearted support for GK.
This is very evident in the many responses I have received in my mailbox and most especially — the May 12 Inbox of the Philippine STAR where overwhelming unanimous support for GK was registered. STAR Editor-in-Chief Isaac G. Belmonte agreed with me that the May 12 Inbox was the very first instance when the texters agreed on a single position — to support GK.
Ever since the STAR Inbox (an innovative feedback mechanism that earned for the STAR an award) was launched — it has never happened that the participating texters ever agreed on one position. The text messages last May 12 came from all over the country and these are folks who paid the SMS cost to be able to register their sentiments.
There were many more text messages that could not be published due to space limitations. Other than to screen those that use foul language and are irrelevant to the topic, it is STAR policy to promote discussion and a clash of ideas.
However, last May 12, the unthinkable happened. When asked the question of the day — “What words do you have for Gawad Kalinga?” — all texters praised GK. Some even condemned those whom they described as the “crabs” who are trying to undermine GK.
Following are some of those Inbox text responses.
The one good thing
I’ve always nurtured a burning desire to give back to my country in my own little way. Seeing Gawad Kalinga with all its accomplishments gives me a sense of fulfillment, knowing that its deeds come from those with a similar vision though I can only share in spirit. The tribe is increasing, so all I can say is keep up the good work. Gawad Kalinga is definitely the only good thing happening right now in this country. — Imee Aglibot, Rizal
An inspiration to us
Gawad Kalinga is an example of what NGO should be â€‘ one that really provides service to the community. It built thousands of homes for the homeless, put up livelihood programs, established health care and provided education to the poor. Gawad Kalinga’s success also inspired Filipinos all over the world to contribute billions for its projects. — Robert Young Jr., San Juan
I see your noble deeds every time. I am thankful that there are still Good Samaritans like you in spite of the many gluttons around. — Rose Leobrera, Manila
It’s a blessing whose time has come, to give hope to the poor. Despite all the corruption and immorality in government, Gawad Kalinga inspires us all. â€‘ Leonard Villa, Laoag City
The need of the poor is urgent. Gawad Kalinga will make us one nation, a united nation. It will rebuild this country. Kudos and God bless. — Johann Lucas, Quezon City
Spare it from crab mentality
Gawad Kalinga is a project that gives hope to the poor. I’d like to add that if it was given full support by the government and the private sector to go full swing all over the country, it will help solve many of the social problems existing in depressed areas that affect us all. I pray that this worthy project be spared from the destructive Filipino trait of crab mentality. â€‘ I. Calata, Paranaque City
Gawad Kalinga’s efforts for the homeless poor are laudable and noble. Sadly, there are some who are envious and are shamelessly trying to discredit it. — Rey Ibalan, Antipolo City
While the world is all praises for the unprecedented effort of Gawad Kalinga, some Filipinos are not happy about its phenomenal success, showing the highest form of crab mentality. It’s unfortunate that some of those responsible for Gawad Kalinga’s growth and success are now frantic in their effort to discredit and destroy Gawad Kalinga for personal and selfish motives. But, like all good things, Gawad Kalinga will never die. — Rodolfo Capili, Caloocan City
Keep up the good work
For Gawad Kalinga, may your tribe increase! Don’t let your faith, good work and prayers slow down because God won’t. — Pat Miranda, Marikina City
Gawad Kalinga is the epitome of goodness to mankind, especially to the poorest of the poor. Keep up the good work and God bless. — Lito Sandico, Quezon City
Should teach politicians a thing or two
May Gawad Kalinga and Tony Meloto’s selfless dedication and fruitful service to our needy serve as a wake up call up to our self-serving leaders to change for the sake of the nation, otherwise, we’ll remain an international pariah competing for the despicable tag as Asia ’s most corrupt. — William Gonzaga, Marikina City
If only the government will stand on the principles by which Gawad Kalinga was founded, then there’s still hope for our country. We can still be viable. — Jim Veneracion, Naga City
No words could aptly describe its poverty alleviation project. Where the government struggles, Gawad Kalinga succeeds. — Leandro Tolentino, Batangas City
To our fellowmen in Gawad Kalinga, your effort to build shelter for our financially incapacitated kababayans is beyond words. As a mission for the goodness of humanity, it’s a true act of a Good Samaritan, unlike the acts of some crooked businessmen and politicians who advertise their “humanitarian” acts as a deodorant. We salute you for that. — Elpidio Que, Vigan
Reliving the bayanihan spirit
With Gawad Kalinga, people from all walks of life are greatly inspired to discover a living and loving God in the heavenly eyes of the needy. — Renato Taylan, Ilocos Norte
Gawad Kalinga’s doing great. Those with the superstar complex who have always wanted their names to appear on billboards should wait for their time. — Manuel Abejero, Pangasinan
I have only but high praises for Gawad Kalinga. It is one human-centered project conceptualized with amiable hearts and enlightened minds. A number of my men are thankful recipients of the project. They now have a house and a lot, having built their house in the bayanihan spirit, with Gawad Kalinga concept as the guiding spirit. Mabuhay! — Rey Onate, Palayan City
Christianity in action
It is Christianity in action. By building homes for the poor, GK gives the poor new hope in life. — Edwin Castillo, Tanauan City
Gawad Kalinga symbolizes real Christianity (read Catholicism) in action! My compadre bought a Gawad Kalinga raffle ticket for P500 and won a 66 Mustang GT, which he is selling for P1.5 million so he can donate it back to Gawad Kalinga and build thirty-plus homes for the poor! He is a full-time Couples for Christ lecturer (and singer) and gives talks with his pretty wife. Mabuhay ka , pare ko, mabuhay ang Gawad Kalinga! — Gerii Calupitan, Mandaluyong City
It is genuine faith in action. — Eddie Cago, Digos City
Gawad Kalinga is the embodiment of the Christian spirit of brotherhood and love of fellowmen, a beacon of hope to keep the dignity of man. — C. Fundales, Bulacan
It’s love in action, thus making Jesus’ word come alive in that we are brothers all. — Myrna Militante, Quezon city
Gawad Kalinga is simply God calling apostles to serve humanity unselfishly! I salute them and bow to their mission, vision and humane work, which are living legacies of Christ’s ways. — Geoffrey Gumban, Davao City
Gawad Kalinga is truly God’s work. I felt it when we joyfully and lovingly gave what little we had, plus blood and sweat, to help build Gawad Kalinga homes in Surigao City. — L.C. Fiel, Quezon City
It’s God’s masterpiece implemented by his disciples for his less fortunate children. — Lydia Reyes, Bataan
Gawad Kalinga is a noble project with a great mission. — N.V. Lansangan, Tarlac
God will bless this people because they just do in part what Christ did on earth. — Pastor Manalastas, Cagayan
These are the people — the Church. Only a Pharisee would have the arrogance to dare question their esteem and appreciation for a truly Christian work that fulfills Christ’s commandment to love the least of our brethren.