This article is a tribute to the kindheartedness of my non-Muslim friends who never wasted a single minute to help my fellow Muslims in need of help sometime in June of 2011, when a natural calamity hit the province of Maguindanao and City of Cotabato . My heart shall always remember them as long as I live.
Ingersoll said: We rise by lifting others. I submit.
The Book: Real Life
Real life is an excellent book authored by my dear friend, Dolly Palisada. The photo shows that Dolly featured my personal message, to convey the importance of doing charity amidst the challenges that confronted the team of the Tabang Maguindanao Bayanihan– an online group which I created on Facebook to help the poor flood victims.
My message spoke of the need for the initiative of the private sector to assist those in need and do it without delay. Hence, we must not depend on the government to help when the need arises if we can act decisively for the helpless.
The book also shares the wonderful stories of great individuals who went out of their way to touch lives.
I was expecting the response of some peope to doubt my motive and color it politically because I come from a family of politicians and those threatened by the popularity of my cause will not see me as an ally.
However, it did not deter my determination to prove that even without the resources of the government, we can deliver help, no matter how small.
Perhaps, it was the impetus needed for everyone to start doing their share, more so because they are obligated to do it for they have sufficient funds from the government’s coffer.
Objective minds need to prevail over small mindedness. Great minds as we all know seek to solve problems and not dwell in it.
After creating Tabang Maguindanao Bayanihan (TMB) on Facebook on June 4, 2011, My Kuya Ben Leano, a brother beyond blood and one of my truest friends, assisted me by linking up with the Reform the Arm Movement (RAM) of Danny Tan. RAM decided to use their office to receive donations from Metro Manila. Truly touching.
Dolly, and another equally committed friend, Ruby Dapitan, helped me collect relief items such as old clothes and other things needed by the flood refugees. Ruby is based in Qatar but despite the geographical distance, nothing stopped her to help the victims who were ninety percent Muslims. What truly impressed me about Ruby, Dolly and my other Non-Muslim friends, was their unconditional support to the victims.
Those two friends of mine truly represented the beautiful spirit of humanity.
The group was joined by Joel Ganibe, Mike Portes, Marlene Damolo-Howe and other great friends and we bonded as one for the plight of the Muslim and non-Muslim flood refugees. Our group effort and solid commitment found its way to the refugee centers of Cotabato City and Maguindanao where we distributed the relief goods for the people urgently needing help.
I will forever be grateful to my Tabang Maguindanao Bayanihan family for crossing the borders of faith and helping me unconditionally. I am of the belief that there is no border nor a boxed definition of what kindness should be. Allah (swt) has made everything possible because He wanted to remind everyone, regardless of faith, that humanity is an inclusive reality.
I have been doing my private works in 2012 until the present, but not as a group representing Tabang Maguindanao Bayanihan. The group stopped its activity before the end of 2011. I decided to work privately knowing that the other members are also preoccupied with their individual tasks. But I know they will always be there again for another collective action.
Allah (swt) has been helping me with the personal funds I need. Not much but at least, I can feed not more than thirty poor children when I have to. Sourced from the donation of my own family members. It is now a family activity in the name of dear Allah (swt). Alhamdullilah.
No matter how small my effort is, it is the joy of knowing that I can touch lives, and seeing the smile of the recipients of my charity works– mothers and kids from the poor sector.
Charity is a part of Islam and every Muslim is obligated to do their share.
The Holy Quran [9:60] says:
Charities(Sadaqaat) shall go to the poor, the needy, the workers who collect them, the new converts, to free the slaves, to those burdened by sudden expenses, in the cause of Allah, and to the traveling alien. Such is GOD’s commandment. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.