MANILA, Philippines – The International Care Ministries (ICM) Hong Kong held their 10th Annual Hong Kong Banquet last Friday and raised HK$11.5 million (P66.4 million) that will go to ICM programs for the estimated seven million ‘ultrapoor’ Filipinos who live on less than P22 a day.
Executives and entrepreneurs gathered at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai where each donated US$25,000 to US$100,000.
Luxurious vacation trips and artworks by renowned Filipino artists were auctioned off.
The funds raised from the charity event will go to ICM programs in seven key locations and two pilot locations throughout the Philippines.
“We are changing lives in the Philippines tonight!” said Kristine Fladeboe Duininck, the 2010 top female auctioneer in the United States.
According to an ICM research data about Philippine poverty, an estimated 25 million Filipinos are living in ‘extreme poverty’ and seven million people are living in ‘ultrapoverty.’ These people strive daily on less than US$1.25 (around P56) and US $0.50 (around P22) respectively.
“The average ultrapoor person earns only an average 26 cents (around P12) per day. Fifty-four percent of these people live in cramped homes. Now I know in Hong Kong, we live in cramped homes,” ICM’s board of directors chair David Sutherland said in the gathering.
“(But) the average persons in these cramped homes have less than 10 square feet per person. That means if you’re living in a flat that’s 2,000 square feet, you have enough room to accommodate 200 Filipinos in your 2,000 square foot flat,” he added.
ICM discovered that the ‘ultrapoor’ are deprived of basic human necessities.
Among the average ICM participants, 27 percent go to bed hungry, 54 percent don’t purify water, 28 percent live on cramped homes with dirt floors, 67 percent receive no medical help, 27 percent defecate outside, and 41 percent have no electricity.
ICM continues to serve the ‘ultrapoor’ Filipinos by delivering programs that utilizes interactive group activities engaging participants to create positive long-term change. It works hand-in-hand with pastors and volunteers from local churches and health and livelihood trainers in the slum areas across the Philippines.
With report from Cyra Moraleda