Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as Mormons) met with Vice President Jejomar Binay to renew and discuss their commitment to support the Philippines in its areas of mutual concern, particularly, family values and humanitarian initiatives.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Michael John U. Teh, Philippines Area President, paid a courtesy call to the Vice President at the heels of the Church’s successful celebration of its 50 years in the Philippines, and most recently, its observance of the National Day of Service held April 28 in which Church members provided 150,000 hours of volunteer service throughout the country.
In the Philippines, the Church was established in 1961, and counts to date more than half a million members. In their conversation, Binay expressed interest knowing about the origin of the term “Mormons” and spoke of appreciation of the Philippines Manila Temple. He also expressed familiarity with missionaries walking in the streets in pairs wearing name tags under the heat of the sun. In line with Binay’s housing initiatives for the marginalized sectors, Elder Teh informed him of the construction of temporary shelters in Cagayan de Oro in partnership with Catholic Relief Services. Elder Nelson further reinforced the Church’s desire to help the Filipinos and expressed to Binay the Church’s willingness to partner with his office for any worthwhile projects that will benefit the people.
Elder Nelson, who prior to his becoming an Apostle, was an internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher, said: “We were pleased to meet with the Vice President of the Philippines. He is an ardent advocate of strong families and of helpful service to others. As Church leaders, we also support and uphold the Filipino family as a basic unit of this society. We often participate with people of other faith groups in addressing humanitarian and other needs throughout the world. We do this because we try to pattern our lives after the teachings of Jesus Christ. We strive to follow his example."
Michael Teh, who heads the Church in the Philippines, said: “We recognize the initiatives of Vice President Jejomar Binay in helping the Filipino people. The Church lends its support to policies, or measures that promote, protect or improve the quality of life of individuals. We also advocate traditional families that are lead by a loving man and woman.”
In the Philippines, the Church has been deeply involved in various disaster relief operations, wheelchair distribution, providing potable water to communities, construction of housing for typhoon victims and neonatal health projects over the last ten years. In 2011, the humanitarian projects focused on disaster relief, temporary shelter for typhoon victims, food production, provision of clean water and other initiatives partnering with global and local organizations such as the Catholic Relief Services and the Rotary Club.
Describing the character of the Latter-day Saints, Newsweek magazine wrote: “No matter where the Mormons live, they find themselves part of a network of mutual concern; in Mormon theology everyone is a minister of a kind, everyone is empowered in some way to do good to others, and to have good done unto them: it is a 21st century covenant of caring.”