THE Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), through its social arm the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, inaugurated on November 8 its housing and livelihood project for Kabihug families in Barangay Bakal, Paracale, Camarines Norte.
INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo led the inauguration, which coincided with the first worship service of the INC local congregation of Bakal and the dedication of its new house of worship which crowns the whole community.
The newly opened INC community project stands on a 100-hectare land on the slopes of Paracale. It contains 300 houses to serve as permanent shelters for Kabihug families. It also consists of livelihood facilities such as a 20-hectare calamansi orchard, an eco-farm and a 300-square-meter fish-drying plant. Beside the house of worship were a garment factory which has an initial 10 sewing machines and a learning center that will initially offer kindergarten and Grade 1 elementary courses to Kabihug children.
The Kabihug are an indigenous group belonging to the Negrito race from the highlands of the Bicol province. In recent years many Kabihugs have joined the INC, most of whom experienced discrimination and oppression not only for their ethnicity, but also for their decision to join the INC.
“When this came to the knowledge of the Executive Minister Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo,” said Bro. Glicerio Santos, INC general auditor, “he immediately decreed to extend help to them.”
“The executive minister gave the Kabihug brethren various means of livelihood. More important he decided to organize them into a new local congregation and to build a 370-seat chapel where they can worship together.”
In his homily during the chapel dedication, Bro. Manalo emphasized that, while addressing poverty and other such problems is necessary, what is far more important is for people to secure their right to render true worship to God in order to receive His blessings.