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Iglesia Ni Cristo conducts mission

Davao City – In what could be a record-breaker for this city, more than two million people converged at the open grounds of the Crocodile Park for the Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko (My Countrymen, My Brethren) evangelical and service mission of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC).

Police gave a rough estimate of 2.5 million as of 11 a.m. last Saturday, as more people from the whole of Davao Region and Compostela Valley trooped to the 50-hectare open grounds of the popular tourist destination in the city.

The evangelical mission, which was done simultaneous with a medical and dental service effort, officially opened at around 7 a.m., but the arrivals started even the night before.

Chief Insp. Alfredo Baloran, Davao City police office operations division chief, said the “2.5 million rough estimate was based on ground observations and aerial surveys.”

Except for the private grounds of the Crocodile Park, the whole area was almost covered by the multitude of people. Helicopters hovered above every now and then to check on the crowd.

“We arrived at the 2.5 million estimate after repeated aerial surveys. We also consolidated the reports of our policemen stationed at various strategic points,” Baloran explained.

The INC event was not only a record for Davao, but also for the Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko event done almost weekly in preparation for the INC Centennial celebration for July, 2014.

It topped even the 2.1 million attendance record of the evangelical-service and relief mission in Bulacan last September 14, organizers said.

Traffic in this city, and even the roads leading to the Davao International Airport, was affected.

Davao del Norte Vice Governor Victorio Suaybaguio said this was the “first time that he had witnessed such kind of crowd.”

A minister, Rodel E. Cabrera, read the message of INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo, thanking the people who were invited by INC members in Davao Region and in Compostela Valley who came as early as the night before.

He said that the INC members are inviting their friends and family members to attend such evangelical missions in accordance to God’s commandment to love others as one loves himself.

“We know that whatever material help we could give to our countrymen can only be of help for a short time,” he said.  “But what was more important was for people to hear God’s message of salvation,” he added.

While there was an ongoing medical and dental mission in one huge tent, the rest of the giant tents were filled with people who were invited to hear and watch a pre-taped televised Bible exposition officiated by INC General Auditor Glicerio B. Santos Jr.

After the Bible exposition, relief packs containing four kilos of rice, four noodle packs and four cans of sardines each, were distributed to the guests.

The medical-dental mission was temporarily stopped when the Bible exposition started.  Before that, vitamins and medicines were given as medical consultations went underway.  But the team of doctors and nurses in Davao was not huge enough to accommodate the huge number of those who flocked to the medical tent.