Manila archbishop to game shows: Give donations directly to the poor
- Edu Punay () - February 7, 2006 - 12:00am
Maybe giving to the poor works best without the game shows and competition.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales appealed yesterday to major TV networks to directly distribute to poor Filipinos the prizes they gather for game shows.

"May this serve as a lesson for us. Maybe next time we will learn to just give donations directly to the poor and needy people. That is the best way to help," Rosales said in an interview aired over Church-run Radio Veritas.

Rosales gave this message two days after a stampede of people — mostly poor Filipinos — who wanted to join ABS-CBN’s noontime show "Wowowee" at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City left 74 people dead and over 600 others injured.

The prelate also believes that the tragedy "could be a call from God for us to help one another."

"There are always ways of helping others. We’re just saddened that this happened so we are praying that this would not happen again," he said.

Rosales is the most active member of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in helping the poor. He set up the "Pondo ng Pinoy," a fund-raising project that has been benefiting poor Filipinos all over the country through feeding programs.

After Saturday’s incident, the CBCP immediately called on Filipinos to extend any help they could to the families of victims and join hands in praying for them.

Pope Benedict XVI likewise sent his condolences to the victims’ families and gave assurance that he would be praying for them. "In a special way, His Holiness asks Almighty God to grant solace to the injured and to those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones," read the Pontiff’s message sent to the CBCP via telegram.

Archbishop Antonio Franco, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, said the entire Catholic hierarchy was grieving over the incident.

"On the part of the Church, what we can do is to express our sentiments, solidarity with the families of victims and pray for them to just be close and face what is possible," Franco said.

The Nuncio said: "I want to assure my prayer for the victim and for their families. It was a tragedy that should not have happened but it leaves us with a feeling of sadness and frustration because of reports on the cause of the stampede."

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz added that the incident was "so heartbreaking because it showed that people would sacrifice even their own lives for a chance to get a little relief."

"It’s very saddening. It shows a clear picture of the failure of the government to provide for the people," he stressed.

AFTER SATURDAY ALMIGHTY GOD ARCHBISHOP ANTONIO FRANCO CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES HIS HOLINESS LINGAYEN-DAGUPAN ARCHBISHOP OSCAR CRUZ MANILA ARCHBISHOP GAUDENCIO ROSALES PAPAL NUNCIO PASIG CITY
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