By Chito Chavez
Religious group Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) has emphasized that poverty which continues to be a pressing global issue requires worldwide action.
This is the message that the INC hopes to emphasize in its second Worldwide Walk to Fight Poverty, a charity walk that will be held simultaneously on May 6 in 358 sites in 44 different countries across 18 time zones.
The joint effort of INC members across the globe is one of many international campaigns of the INC’s socio-civic programs under the leadership of INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo aimed to strengthen the bond between the congregations of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) and the communities they serve.
The first Worldwide Walk organized by the INC was held in 2014 and was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest charity walk across multiple venues held in 24 hours, with 519,221 participants in 129 sites located in 16 countries.
At the INC Central Headquarters in Quezon City, INC general auditor Glicerio B. Santos Jr. said the group expects this record to be broken given that this year’s activity will have over double the sites, in twice as many countries, compared to the 2014 event.
“More importantly––since voluntary contributions by INC members will go to the beneficiaries of the activity––a greater number of participants means that we will be able to raise more funds for the different livelihood, food and medical assistance programs the church has organized in impoverished communities around the world,” Santos said.
Santos explained that like the first edition of the walk, proceeds of the second Worldwide Walk will be used to support INC-led programs like the five self-sustaining resettlement communities in the Philippines, along with 22 eco-farming sites such as the one recently established in Ladybrand, South Africa.
In 2014, proceeds from the charity walk benefited victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, the strongest tropical storm recorded in history, as well as the INC’s first resettlement and eco-farming community in Leyte.
In Metro Manila, the Worldwide Walk on May 6 will be staged in Roxas Boulevard and will start at 4 a.m.
Assembly point will be in front of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Among those slated to participate is Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada, who earlier expressed confidence that this year’s walk would surpass the 2014 Guinness World Record.
While poverty lines around the world differ because of different variables, data from the World Bank estimates that half of the world’s population lives on only $2.50.