As Syrian government forces continue to drive out rebels from besieged cities like Aleppo, more and more innocent civilians are being forced into exile and live in refugee camps amidst the onset of the winter season.
With the launching of the Philippine office of the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Filipinos can now choose to help refugees in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon through the Catholic Church.
ACN is a pontifical charity organization that helps persecuted Christians worldwide. It is supervised by an administrator personally appointed by the Pope. Last Nov. 16, ACN launched its Philippine office in Intramuros, Manila.
Reports received by ACN from Catholic priests in Aleppo warn of so-called humanitarian organizations taking advantage of the tragic situation in Syria. “Sadly, many associations, and indeed even humanitarian organizations, are jumping at the opportunity to make money, like those that turn up in great numbers when there is a television camera filming, but then disappear again as soon as the filming stops,” writes an Aleppo-based Jesuit priest who wished to remain anonymous due to security threats.
Five years of war have displaced 6.6 million Syrians. 75% of the remaining population in Syria are living in extreme poverty. ACN estimates that there are only 500,000 Christians left from a total population of 1.5 million before the Civil War broke out.
This year alone, ACN has already helped 190,328 individuals living in refugee camps in Syria. ACN helps through provision of food packs, winter clothes, financial support for shelter, counseling, education and catechesis. This Christmas, all donations coming from the 24 national offices of ACN will go directly to conflict-affected individuals in the Middle East. This includes all funds that will be raised by ACN Philippines.
For Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who serves as President of ACN Philippines, the launching of the charity organization’s office in Manila is a sign of the trust of the international community in the compassion and generosity of Filipino Catholics. “For years, we have been receiving. Now, we have entered into a new chapter of being partners in working for the good of our persecuted brothers and sisters,” Villegas said.
ACN Philippines can receive cash and check donations through Metrobank Account Number 6327632026699.
For pick-up of donations and other queries, please contact Ms. Eunice Josue at (632) 244 7334 or 09174420766.