If the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) weren’t a religion, today’s event (benignly described in an Inquirer report as an “outreach project”) would surely constitute what may be a unique peace time civilian invasion of a major capital city. The anticipated scale of the INC’s “medical mission” was such that it prompted Manila mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada to suspend all college-level classes last Friday and the Department of Education (DepEd) to issue an even later eleventh-hour advisory on a decision to suspend classes in major affected cities in the Metro yesterday (Sunday). According to the Inquirer report, the DepEd announcement came on the advise of Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino…
“I am proposing a floating holiday which is normally done abroad, particularly in the United States. In this case, employers allow their workers to take a leave of absence with pay whenever they wish to attend religious activities,” Tolentino said Sunday on MMDA’s weekly radio show.
The MMDA chief also explained that apart from the INC project, there are important occasions for people of other faiths that employers should also consider this week.
“Tomorrow is the start of the pilgrimage to Mecca of our Muslim brothers. It is also the eve of their Eid’l Adha, which is an important day for them. Today, members of the Roman Catholic Church observe the feast day of Our Lady of La Naval and Our Lady of Fatima,” he said.
As of this writing reports have started trickling in of buses and jeepneys full of people (presumably INC members) coming into the city and parking along major thoroughfares snarling traffic flow in the process. Some reports have estimated that up to 1.6 million people may be engulfing Metro Manila over the course of the day. It is likely that much of Metro Manila will be effectively paralysed for the rest of the day.
|SUPPORT INDEPENDENT SOCIAL COMMENTARY!|
Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us daily.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Some people have noted the bizarreness of this latest religious extravaganza. The question of whether this event which significantly impacts access to public areas within Metro Manila had been issued the proper permits is floating around. And if so, it begs the obvious question: Why was the MMDA evidently unprepared for this? Others have described this spectacle as a “show of force” masquerading as a “charity” operation. One thing is certain, the interesting timing of this vast and paralysing mobilisation of warm bodies in the Philippines’ premier city — its centre of commerce and industry — is not lost in many observers.
The INC has always been a force to reckon when it comes to mobilising blocs of compliant voters and activists to support political positions and agendas decreed by its leadership. Just about every one of the most controversial presidents who’ve ever ruled this sad nation had at one time or another found favour with an INC top honcho…
Rather than elaborate further, I will instead illustrate my point with a brief history of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) religious sect:
1986: The INC supports President Ferdinand Marcos over then leader of the “Opposition” Corazon Aquino (Noynoy Aquino’s mother).
1998: The INC supports Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s successful bid for the presidency.
2004: The INC endorses Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in her campaign for President of the Philippines.
2010: The INC endorses Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas as future President and Vice President of the Philippines.
Perhaps what the real agenda of this “charity” event really is will be revealed at some point. For now, as always, we shall defer to the very relevant advise of our favourite kapamilya media outlet:
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata…
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.