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More than 1 million INC members mark centennial

More than a million members of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) from here and abroad braved a mix of sun and rains to mark the centennial of the founding in the Philippines of the church by Bro. Felix Y. Manalo.

The day-long activity, in Bocaue town north of Manila, was highlighted by INC officials recapping the church history which showed, according to them, how God helped Manalo build the church as a fulfillment of God’s promises.

28_inc1 28_inc GRAND I.N.C. CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION – A flying eagle fireworks display lights up the night sky at the Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan, on Saturday night during the centennial anniversary celebration of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC). Right, thousands of choir members from various INC locales perform during the event. (Jacqueline Hernandez)

Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado called the celebration a success with no crime reported within the vicinity of Ciudad de Victoria, where the awe-inspiring INC-owned Philippine Arena, ostensibly built for this celebration, is.

The Arena has been described as the world’s largest domed multi-purpose structure, which sits on an erstwhile 50-hectare rice farm near the meandering North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).

He commended the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and members of the traffic and security force for achieving the major task of aiding and ensuring the safety of the million-strong faithful.

Alvarado and MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, directed by President Aquino to head Task Force Sentenaryo, personally supervised the deployment of traffic and security forces last Saturday.

Aside from ambulances and emergency rescue personnel from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the governor said the Philippine National Red Cross also sent 13 ambulances and set up more than 20 first aid stations for medical emergencies.

The celebration also included a fireworks display before midnight Saturday that illuminated Ciudad de Victoria, giving it an even more spectacular ambiance.

Alvarado also announced that Monday, July 28, will be a holiday for Bulacan to make way for clean-up and other post-INC centennial operations.

The flow of traffic along the North Expressway, which cuts through the wide Central Luzon Plains, started getting heavy at around 9 a.m. Sunday when delegates began leaving the Philippine Arena.

According to INC officials, it was in 1914 when then 28-year-old Felix Manalo first taught about INC teachings at a humble workers’ quarters of the Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co. in Punta, Sta. Ana in Manila.

One hundred years later, his grandson, Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo officiated a special worship service at the Arena, with at least one million of its members, many flying in from abroad days before the centennial, in attendance.

During the service, which served as the highlight of the INC’s centennial celebration, the INC Executive Minister highlighted the accomplishment of the past Church administrations.

He cited an article written by Sen. Blas Ople which appeared in an edition of Balita, which stated that during the time of the elder Manalo, the INC grew “mula sa isang tao hanggang sa isang milyon (from one person until it reached one million).”

When his son, Bro. Erano G. Manalo took over the helm of the INC in 1953, Bro. Eduardo said the Church was able to establish locales in other parts of the world.

Quoting another published article, he said “wala pang limang dekada, nakapagtatag ng mga pormal na gawain sa US (in less than five decades, was able to establish formal worship services in the US).”

Bro. Eduardo was appointed Executive Minister of Church in 2009, after the death of Bro. Erano.

In his homily, Bro. Eduardo said from 2009 to present, 603 houses of worship have been dedicated, 552 of which are in the Philippines and 51 overseas; 349 houses of worship are being renovated, 15 of which are located abroad; 2,740 new ministers were ordained.

There are also now almost 9,000 being trained to become future ministers, under the New Era University’s Bachelor of Evangelical Ministry (BEM); 17 new ecclesiastical districts and 220 locales have been established; about 191 extensions which will later be converted into formal locales.

The Executive Minister said this is proof that the INC is “tutoong hinirang (the chosen one)”.

He also thanked God for “sa loob ng 100 taon, binigay niya sa atin ang pagpapala (for all the blessings He has given us these past 100 years).”

After the service, the INC announced that it has earned two new Guinness World Records anew: the World’s Largest Choir as around 10,000 choir members were utilized during the worship service, and Largest Mixed-Use Indoor Theater for the newly-constructed arena.

The INC had earlier earned recognition for six world records: Most Blood Glucose Tests, Most Number of Blood Pressure Reading, and Most Number of Dental Health Check-up when it conducted the International Aid to Humanity in Parola, Tondo in July 2012;

World’s Largest Charity Walk in a Single Venue and World’s Largest Charity Walk in Multiple Venues during the Feb. 2014 Worldwide Walk for Yolanda Victims; and Most Number of Hunger Relief Packs Distributed within Eight Hours when it conducted a “Lingap sa Mamamayan” in Laur, Nueva Ecija in Feb. 2014.

Prior to the service, the sleepy and weary INC members were treated to a fireworks display at about 11:30 p.m. on July 26 (Saturday).

The colorful and ear-deafening pyrotechnics featured and eagle form, symbolizing the work of God’s Last Messenger (“Sugo”), a title accorded to Bro. Felix.

The viewers applauded when the bird formed the figure 100.

INC members worldwide started arriving at the venue as early as Friday (July 25) evening.

Noel Espiritu, 43, a nurse working at a hospital in Heathrow, England for 15 years, flew home to witness the event.

He sought permission from his bosses and adjusted his annual leave credits and “arranged my schedule so I can attend the event.”

Atty. Emily Manuel, 38, an account manager of Innodata Inc. based in New Jersey, just arrived in the Philippines last July 3.

Her work entails travelling to different countries. But she said “I made it a point to be in the Philippines on this occasion. I blocked all of my schedules.”

p� s hS x�� oversial DAP and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in his SONA and tackle instead what his administration intends to do in the next two years of his term.

 

They also said they wish the President would refrain from engaging in another verbal tussle with the Supreme Court which declared the Aquino administration’s DAP activities as unconstitutional.

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III pointed out the President have had at least three speeches on the DAP already prior to his scheduled SONA today, July 28.

“Sana nga huwag na (dahil) nasabi na naman niya lahat ng gusto niyang sabihin. Sabihin na lang niya specific plans, general plans niya sa (I do hope he won’t because he has already said all he has to say. I hope he would just tell his specific plans, general plans in the) last two years of his administration,” Pimentel said in an interview over Radio DZBB.

Senate President Franklin Drilon agreed with Pimentel and said it is high time the administration “moves on.”

“The President has already said the DAP has been terminated. The Supreme Court recognized that the program has already achieved the purpose for which it was established. The government has filed a motion for reconsideration with the SC, where the legal issues are now pending. The President will abide by the final resolution of the SC on these issues. We should now move forward,” Drilon said in a text message.

Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said he wants to hear President Aquino’s “legacy” projects—things, he said, “which need to be done which maybe his administration won’t (be able to) finish because they are of a long-term nature but which would be of great benefit to the nation and must be done.”

Both Angara and Pimentel vouched that the President will provide the public “concrete” solutions to the country’s power crisis.

Meanwhile, Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, a member of the Senate minority, said he wish to hear how the Aquino administration has so far addressed the rising criminality and illegal drugs problem in the country.

“It’s up to the President on what he wants to say. I just hope he will give emphasis to the problem of dangerous drugs and the peace and order in the country,” Sotto said.

POLICE PREPARATIONS

Meanwhile, the police have intensified preparations to secure Metro Manila especially from protesters whose number is expected to increase at the vicinity of Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City where the Chief Executive will deliver his speech.

Policemen in nearby provinces were also tapped to compose the more than 10,000 policemen who will secure Metro Manila. Many of them will be deployed on the protesters’ usual points of convergence, according to Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, chief information officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“We are ready. Security measures are now in place and in fact, full alert status has already been hoisted in Metro Manila in preparation for this,” said Sindac.

Compared to Aquino’s past four SONAs, police are anticipating an increase in the number of protesters due to the controversy sparked by the Supreme Court ruling declaring some portions of DAP as unconstitutional.(With reports from Hannah L. Torregoza and Ben R. Rosario and Aaron Recuenco)

  • Beth Agcang

    dahil sa kadumihan ng pulitika pati ibang religious sectors na ang tanging ginagawa lamang ai para sa kapurihan nag Diyos Ama ay pinag-iisipan pa ng masama.. tao talagang makikitid ang isip…

  • bugoy

    pag may pulitiko alam nayan,

    • bryan

      ano ibig mo sabihin bugoy?

  • bryan

    sana may aerial photo na ipalabas..sigurado maraming tao ang makikita sa labas ng arena coz 55k lang ang kasya sa loob eh..

    • ken

      oo nga baka yung million asa labas

  • giI castillo

    Sinu-sino bang opisyales at mga pulitiko ang nag-attend pati na noong inauguration? Nandoon si Erap pero wala yata si Fred Lim. Nandoon si Imelda Marcos pero wala si Ramos. Wala din yata ang mga Arroyo tulad ni Mikey at Dado. Nandoon si House Speaker Belmonte pero wala yata si Senate President Drilon. Gusto kong malaman kung sino ang mga inimbita at di dumalo at mga hindi inimbitahan.