Light from God's Word precedes installation of electricity in relocation sites
On July 30, light came to these communities, but it was a light of different form. This was the light from God’s Word – the Ilaw sa Tahanan Bible – distributed by the Philippine Bible Society in partnership with the National Housing Authority (NHA) office in-charge of the relocation site, and local churches from both the Catholic and Protestant groups. PBS, with the help of these partners distributed 2,400 copies of the family Bible.
The makeshift worship hall where the simple but meaningful program prior to the distribution activity was held. The agency in charge of the relocation site revealed plans to build a permanent worship hall on this same site.
“Napapanahon na bigyan ang bawat pamilya ng Ilaw… Ilaw sa Tahanan (It is time to provide each family with light… Light to the Home),” said Architect Ma. Teresita Oblipias of NHA. She added that the Bible distribution was timely because NHA was recently instructed by the government to implement its post-relocation plan, that is to support relocated families with socio-economic programs. The family Bibles and the subsequent follow-up program to be implemented by the participating churches is a good avenue for spiritual nurture for the relocatees. Architect Oblipias also informed residents that plans to build a worship hall for the relocation site will be implemented soon. “Sana po pagpalain, paunlarin, payabungin (ng Panginoon) at mamunga ang ating gawain (I pray God will prosper and make our efforts fruitful).”
Also present during the distribution program are the presidents of the Home Owners’ Association (HOA) from both relocation sites. One of the HOA presidents, Mr. Lando Benavidez, encouraged his neighbors to make reading the Bible a part of their lives as the truth learned from its pages would set them free. “Ang isang gusali, kung walang haligi, babagsak. Sa bahay naman, kapag walang Ilaw, magdidilim (A building without foundation will fall; and a house without light will be in total darkness).”
First time owners
To some families, these encouraging words had awaken their curiosity about the family Bible, especially those who have yet owned or read a copy. It was apparent that they, having lived in slum areas most of their lives, long for a better home and community.
One of the first-time owner of the Bible was none other Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian’s representative, Marlon Alejandrino. “This is my first Bible ever,” he admitted. “Thank you so much for giving me a copy, despite the fact that I’m still single,” he said with a smile. “I want to assure you that I will read this Bible and let Mayor Gatchalian see this.”
More families to reach
HARV and Kasa Rival are home to over 2,400 families who came from communities situated along the railways in Caloocan, Malabon and Valenzuela Cities. They were relocated in Brgy. Bignay following the implementation of the North Rail Project, one of the flagship project of the Philippine government aimed at reviving and modernizing the rail transport from north to south of Manila. More than 40,000 families living along the railways were relocated in various relocation sites, including HARV and Kasa Rival. The Bible Society aims to provide a Bible for each of these families.