A boy collects leftover herring from a fishing vessel in Manila Bay. Sorsogon Diocese has donated two tons of fish to Manila’s homeless during the Covid-19 lockdown. (Photo: Ted Aljibe/AFP)
Sorsogon Diocese in the Philippines delivered two tons of fish to a national shrine in Manila on May 10 to feed the homeless and health workers in the country’s capital, where 83 percent of coronavirus cases have been recorded.
The fish will be distributed to several communities in Manila with the highest number of Covid-19 cases.
The aid is part of a food assistance program called “Isda sa Bawat Hapag” (Fish for every table) launched by the church’s social arm Caritas to aid feeding programs in Manila parishes.
The project is a joint effort of Sorsogon Diocese and local fishermen.
“One of Caritas’ partners is a group of fishermen from Bulan whose houses were destroyed by a typhoon. We helped them with food packs, shelter and bought them a boat. The fish that we’ve been given is a donation from this group,” said Father George Fajardo, head of Caritas in Sorsogon Diocese.
Fajardo said Caritas provided capital and food for fishermen who in return gave their catch to the diocese. Local fish merchants also donated their fish.
Sorsogon is a coastal province south of Manila known for its beaches and fishing industry. It is one of the biggest suppliers of sea food in Luzon, the country’s biggest and most populous island.
“Fish will be distributed to virus frontliners and to poor families [in Manila] ... May this humble sharing of blessing bring joy and hope to those families in need in this time of adversity,” Caritas Sorsogon said in a social media post.
As of May 10, the Philippines had recorded 10,794 Covid-19 cases with 719 deaths, according to government figures
Meanwhile, church groups have joined calls to save ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ largest broadcasting network.
The network, which was often criticized by Philippine President Rodrigo Dutrte, was shut down by the government on May 5 after its franchise expired. Critics called the move an attack on press freedom.
The Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, together with the Episcopal Commission on the Laity, published statements defending press freedom and due process of law.
“Defy fear. Courage ... we call on the elected leaders of this country to uphold and guarantee the people’s constitutional rights,” said the association of religious superiors.
“We are calling on all LAIKO [lay] members to rally in prayer calling on God, who is benevolent and full of compassion, to intervene.”