At least two dead, 25 missing as migrant boat capsizes off Libya

Robie de Guzman   •   June 3, 2019   •   3821

Courtesy : Reuters

At least two migrants died and around 25 others were missing after their inflatable boat capsized off the western Libyan coast, the coastguard said on Sunday (June 2).

A total of 73 migrants were picked up by a coastguard patrol about 14 miles off Qarabulli town, some 49 km (30.5 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, including 40 men, 25 women and eight children from Sudan, Kenya, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

The bodies of a woman and a child were recovered.

“A fisherman called in the incident of a rubber dinghy with migrants having capsized, they had rescued them, and were on their way to the port,” said Eissa, spokesperson for Garabulli Coastguard.

Earlier, the coastguard spokesman said there were eight missing people but that number was later upgraded to 25.

Libya’s western coast has become a main departure point for migrants as smugglers exploit the county’s chaos since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. (REUTERS)

MCGI brings hope in a time of pandemic; gives away free food, goods to the poor

Marje Pelayo   •   April 12, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — In celebration of the life and legacy of Brother Eli Soriano, the Members Church of God International (MCGI) set up a week-long public service to Filipinos and foreign beneficiaries in its various chapters in the Philippines and abroad.

The project entitled, “The Legacy Continues” is a tribute to Brother Eli’s unrelenting service to the poor and those in need during his lifetime.

The week-long celebration ran from April 4 to 10 and served thousands of beneficiaries here and abroad.

First among its public services is the MCGI Free Store where recipients can get their basic needs for free.

“Minsan kapag tinitignan mo parang imposible na mayroong ganun na manlilibre. Lahat nga tayo natamaan ng pandemya pero despite of that, itong MCGI ay gumawa pa rin ng paraan para at least kahit papaano makatulong sa mga nangangailangan,” said beneficiary Jerry Lingaling.

Among the beneficiaries are persons with disability (PWDs), persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) and people of all ages, from all walks of life across the globe.

“I am actually surprised that there is such an organization.. It’s such a better world if everyone is willing to cooperate together,” said Aaron Quay, a Malaysian location/event planner in Kuala Lumpur who helped MCGI Malaysia chapter in organizing the event.

The project set the social media abuzz with images, videos and testimonies of recipients sharing their heartwarming experiences inside the MCGI Free Store.

One of them is Ederlinda Clariza who said it was her first time to experience shopping. Her image was captured by netizen Heidee Baderamos.

Pasensya na hindi ako Marunong mag grocery
First time ko kasi ito

Simula maliit anak ko yung gatas nya sa tindahan…

Posted by Heidee R Balderamos on Friday, April 9, 2021

Netizen Josie Carl Le Blanc posted on his social media page that he left his house with only a P20-bill in his wallet but was grateful to go home with a bag full of free items from the MCGI Free Store.

Bente lang laman ng wallet ko, pero binigyan ako ni Lord ng libreng grocery 🥰

Thankyou
Dating Daan
#FREESTORE
Thankyou 😘😘
Mark Kabigting Cenizal
Lea Lizli-an Libaste Amper

Posted by Josiecarl Leblanc on Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Meanwhile, frontline medical workers of the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City also took part in the initiative.

Instead of keeping the food packs from MCGI for themselves, they chose to give them to their patients.

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa MCGI Feeding Program kasi napakasarap ang tumulong lalo sa mga maliliit, sa mga less fortunate na katulad ng mga in-patient natin,” said Esther dela Cruz, the Center’s assistant chief dietician.

An Unexpected Reunion

Sa mga taong nag ppm po sakin, pasensya na at di ko po kayo maisa-isa. salamat sa Dios kasama na ni Kuya Frederick ang…

Posted by Kath C. Calibayan on Saturday, April 10, 2021

Netizen Kath Calibayan posted the heartwarming story of a homeless beneficiary who was able to reunite with his loved ones after his photo at the feeding program led to a way back home.

Kath received a text message from the man’s relatives after she posted his picture receiving a food pack from MCGI.

Kath’s posts showed the man’s new look after he was reunited with his family.

 

In Service to Humanity

From April 4 to 10, the MCGI was able to render the following services in the Philippines and abroad (as of April 11, 2021):

MCGI FREE STORE
(Recipients may shop for free items they need from the store.)

Beneficiaries – 77,558
Locations – 2,030

MCGI FEEDING PROGRAM
(Recipients receive free food packs prepared by MCGI Volunteers)

Number of Food Packs released – 634,063
Locations – 7,484

WISH GRANTING AND TABLET REQUESTS
(MCGI grants free tablets for online classes and small livelihood packages by request)

Beneficiaries – 1,200

MCGI FREE POTABLE WATER PROJECT
(MCGI installs free water pump in remote communities in the Philippines and abroad)

Beneficiaries

Philippines
Brgy. San Andres, Tanay, Rizal
Brgy. Daraitan Tanay, Rizal
Brgy. Tubuan, Pila, Laguna
Brgy. Aplaya, Pila, Laguna
Brgy. Gabong Pook, Pila, Laguna
Bato, Camarines Sur

Abroad

Cordon Ecologico, Sta. Cruz, Bolivia
Pueblo Viejo, Colombia
Profam sector 1 Yura, Arequipa-Perú
Profam sector 2 Yura, Arequipa-Perú
Profam sector 3 Yura, Arequipa-Perú
Talanga, Honduras

The week-long activity is just the start for Members, Church of God International (MCGI) as it is brewing more genuine charity works through its servant Brother Daniel Razon.

“Salamat po sa Dios, sa isang buong taon ng Kanyang pag iingat sa atin at sa pag gabay din sa atin dito sa ating Serbisyong Bayanihan. Pero hindi po dito nagtatapos ang ating paggawa dahil sa awa’t tulong po ng Panginoon, atin pong ipagpapatuloy ang pag abot sa ating mga kapwa tao may pandemya man o wala,” said Kuya Daniel.

“Gaya po ng aral na itinawid sa atin ni Bro. Eli Soriano na gumawa ng mabuti sa lahat with God’s help and mercy Bro. Eli’s legacy of hope, faith and most especially love will continue through the good works of the Members of the Church of God International,” he concluded.

MCGI’s week-long public service activity was aired over UNTV and on the Internet through its official social media accounts.

 

MCGI kicks off global feeding program with over 120,000 free food packs

Marje Pelayo   •   March 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Members Church of God International (MCGI) — known for the long-running religious program “Ang Dating Daan”— in cooperation with some local government units, served free food packs on Thursday (March 25) to families and individuals who are in need.

Always with the intention to fulfill the commandment of God in the Bible, MCGI in different chapters around the world simultaneously launched a global feeding program following the success of the global opening of the MCGI Free Store on March 14.

Overall, MCGI was able to prepare an initial 122,537 free food packs in 1,203 venues around the world and served around 121,366 recipients on its March 25th launch alone.

Taking note of the spiritual health and physical wellbeing of its members and the recipients, all personnel handling and delivering food strictly followed government-imposed health protocols.

Local officials who graced the occasion commended the conduct of the initiative.

“Isa ito sa masasabi ko talaga na organized, well planned at siyempre with God’s grace talagang ang ganda. 150 beneficiaries ang nakinabang sa mga kabaranggay ko dito at maraming maraming salamat sa bumubuo ng Members Church of God International,” said Jonathan Alcala, a councilor in Barangay Katipunan in Quezon City.

In the Philippines, members delivered the free food packs to residents in remote barangays, street dwellers, medical front liners and uniformed personnel, as well as COVID-19 positive patients under lockdown in different facilities.

“In behalf po ng aming warden at lahat po ng kasamahan ko na BJMP, and staff ng Dapitan City Jail at ang buong 73 (Persons Deprives of Liberty) as of now, malaki po ang pasasalamat namin sa ginagawang feeding program ng Ang Dating Daan,” SJO4 Augusto Wilmar Mabilog, assistant jail warden of the Dapitan City Jail said.

Likewise, CRC information officer SJO1 Rey Lawrence Comprendio also lauded the group’s timely assistance.

“Maganda po itong ginawa ng Church of God, at malaking tulong po ito sa aming institusyon lalong lalo na ngayong pandemya especially wala po tayong dalaw na face-to-face at ma-o-augment din talaga ito sa daily consumption ng ating mga PDLs,” he said.

Romelyn Canteren, a member of the Subanen tribe in Zamboanga Del Sur, expressed gratitude for the unexpected treat.

“Minsan wala po kaming makain kasi walang trabaho yung parents.  Yung mama ko po sa bularan (fish-drying firms) lang po. Ako po minsan walang trabaho kaya masaya po kami na may tumulong sa amin.”

Abroad, brethren reached out to the homeless, poor families and distressed overseas Filipino workers.

“I am thanking God today that MCGI has given us this food so that we have food to eat for the day,” said Joseph Leed, a local beneficiary in Liberia.

Roy Tuazon, a displaced overseas Filipino worker in Saipan, was grateful for the assistance. “Nagpapasalamat po ako dahil nagkaroon po ng ganitong pa-feeding program sa MCGI dahil marami pong taong gaya ko na kinakapos din ng konti sa mga pagkain na ganito. Sana po meron pa po susunod. Salamat po,”  he said.

Director Vicente Gregorio Tomas of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the National Capital Region (NCR) recognized MCGI’s initiative to augment the government’s effort to serve Filipinos especially during uncertain times such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“Instructions ito ng ating mahal na Pangulo na katuwang ang ibang mga partner agencies na talagang mag reach-out. Kaya nga kami ay nagpapasalamat dahil in spite of the risk, nandyan po kayo tumutulong sa amin,” Tomas said.

Even officials abroad expressed gratitude to MCGI for continuously extending help to people in need across the globe.

“Ito ay isang malaking bagay na maitutulong sa mga kababayan nating Filipino lalong lalo na yung nawalan ng trabaho at na-stranded,” said Esther Chavez, representative of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Singapore.

“Ito po ay napapanahon sa pagtulong lalo na at panahon ng pandemic. Maramig salamat sa pamuuan ng MCGI para sa tulong na ginagawa nila para sa ating mamamayn,” she added.

For its part, MCGI is grateful to God for this opportunity to do good.

“Ang atin pong buhay ay hindi naman natin dapat na sa sarili lang natin iuukol kundi dapat din nating alalahanin ang kautusan ng Panginoon na meron tayong kapwa taong dapat lingapin, dapat tulungan kung nangangailangan,” said Bro. Danny Navales, representative of the MCGI.

The MCGI Global Feeding Program launch was aired live by its official media partner UNTV.

DFA to fly home remains of 4 Filipino workers found in Libya

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is set to start arrangements to fly home the remains of four Filipinos found in Libya, six years after they were reported abducted by ISIS militants.

Philippine Embassy in Tripoli Chargé d’Affaires and Head of Mission Elmer Cato said the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs (OMWA) has conveyed the latest development to the victims’ families in the Philippines and will make arrangements for forensics experts to assist in identifying the remains and bringing them home. 

“After six long years, the families of our four kababayans will finally find closure,” Cato said in a statement.

The DFA earlier said the Filipino workers, identified as Donato Santiago, Gregorio Titan, Roldan Blaza, and Wilson Eligue, were forcibly taken with two co-workers from Austria and the Czech Republic by ISIS extremists who attacked the Ghani Oil Field in southern Libya on March 6, 2015.

Cato said nothing much had been heard from the kidnapped foreign oil workers until a video showing their execution was found in a laptop seized from slain ISIS fighters in Derna two years later.

The six had since been presumed dead although their bodies were never recovered. 

Sometime in 2018, Cato said the Embassy was informed that the remains of the four missing Filipinos could be among those that have been recovered by the Libyan Red Crescent Society in various parts of Derna and later buried there. 

“However, due to the unstable security situation, the Embassy was not able to send a team to Derna to search for the four Filipinos,” Cato said.

“It was only in October that Embassy officials were able to travel to Benghazi and request the assistance of authorities in finding the four,” he added.

Cato said that on March 1, the Libyan military led Embassy officials in locating the bodies of the four Filipinos that were buried in Dahr Ahmar Islamic Cemetery, 10 kilometers from Derna.

The DFA official has expressed gratitude for the assistance extended by Libyan authorities.

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