Sunday, September 19, 2010

Priest Named ‘MDG Warrior’ for Charity Work

A priest from the Society of the Divine Word
(SVD) was named the nation’s “Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
Warrior’’ winner, besting six other nominees who all have unselfishly
involved themselves in charity work, creating a positive impact on the
lives of the less fortunate in various poor and remote communities of
the country.

The announcement was made in simple rites at the Eastwood City in
Libis, Quezon City last Thursday night.

During the ceremony coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the MDG,
Fr. Ben Beltran was cited for his almost three decades of charitable
involvement, which drastically improved the lives of the “poorest
among the poor’’ in the Smokey Mountain area in Tondo, Manila, even
before the rise of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals.

Aside from uplifting the spiritual lives of the poor, Beltran was also
instrumental in boosting the economic and physical development of the
Smokey Mountain community, known nationwide for its dumpsites through
the Tondo Millennium Challenge projects.

The Tondo Millennium Challenge project, of which Beltran is the
overall coordinator, includes the program of “Mga Anak ni Inang
Daigdig’’ (Children of Mother Earth), an environmental performing arts
group whose members grew up in the Smokey Mountain area.

The group, through its dances and rituals of indigenous people in the
country, said it hopes to impart the call of protecting God’s
creations and inspire everyone to respect mankind and treat others
like brothers and sisters.

Guided with the principle of integrity, solidarity, and creativity,
Beltran also drew up the Veritas Social Empowerment, which calls for
the urban and rural poor to participate in the system of exchange and
production in obtaining financial access to uplift their status.

Beltran also established the Sandiwaan Center for Learning, which
grants education to all community members to help the learners assume
greater responsibility for creating a sustainable future for their

He was also cited for establishing MDG Task Forces like the
“LikasKayang Katarungan”, “LikasKayang Kaunlaran,” and “LikasKayang
Kapaligiran” groups that conducted planning of interventions and
information campaigns on the United Nation’s MDG.

During the ceremony, the team of San Sebastian College (SSC) won the
student documentary and photography contests that showcased the
inspiring work of the seven local “MDG Warriors’’ finalists.

Broadcast journalist Cheche Lazaro, founding president of Probe
Productions, Inc., said it is time for the public to recognize the new
breed of heroes who have worked selflessly in improving the lives of
other people.

Aside from Beltran the other finalists include Dr. Rex Bernardo,
spouses Dr. Melario and Purita Sanchez, Dr. Jean Tay, Amina
Evangelista-Swanepoel, the Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc., and the A
Single Drop for Safe Water (ASDSW) organization.

The seven finalists represent the first seven MDG goals of ending
extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal education, promoting
gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health,
combating AIDS/HIV, malaria and other diseases and ensuring
environmental sustainability.


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