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Church 'lacks funds for disaster relief'

Appeal money not enough to help with latest earthquake aid, says bishop

Church 'lacks funds for disaster relief'
Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez with Filipino evacuees in Tokyo reporters, Manila

March 22, 2011

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The Philippine Catholic Church is unprepared to respond to natural calamities due to the meager amount of donations it gets during its annual Lenten appeal, said a bishop. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA), said the Lenten evangelization program yielded only 15 million pesos (US$348,000) last year, not enough to respond right away to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But he explained that only 32 percent of the money went to NASSA since the remaining 68 percent is being used by different dioceses as their standby fund, also for calamities. Bishop Pabillo said this is the reason why they had to issue a separate appeal for aid for Japan. Meanwhile, authorities said at least two Filipinos were confirmed killed in the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan last March 11. Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez described the fatalities as a mother and a daughter who died in the tsunami. “We can confirm the mother and daughter were found dead in the wake of the tsunami, in Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture,” Lopez said in an interview over dzBB radio. Lopez said it is possible more Filipino casualties may be confirmed in the coming days. “Japanese government figures are rising daily. I can only hope there will be no more Filipino casualties,” he said. He said at least 40 more Filipinos are still unaccounted for in the quake- and tsunami-hit areas. PM13719.1646
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