Thousands of people thronged to various areas in Manila such as Quiapo, Quezon Boulevard and Liwasang Bonifacio to avail themselves of health care provided by the Iglesia ni Cristo’s medical mission. Video by INQUIRER.net’s Matikas Santos
In what can be a measure of how vast and potent a force the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) has become, the government has suspended elementary and high school classes on Monday in all the 17 local government units in Metro Manila in anticipation of heavy traffic conditions arising from an INC outreach project. In Manila, Malabon and Marikina, classes are also suspended in colleges.
Around 5,000 buses from the provinces are expected to enter the capital starting early Monday, carrying people to the medical mission to be held in Manila by the Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation, the INC’s charity arm, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
The Department of Education issued an advisory Sunday evening declaring no classes in the cities of Manila, Quezon, Caloocan, Pasig, Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, Malabon, Taguig, Parañaque, San Juan, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navota, Las Piñas, Marikina and the municipality of Pateros. As early as Friday, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada issued an order suspending classes also in the college level.
“Advisory update as of 8:52 p.m.: Classes (preschool to high school, private and public) in the National Capital Region are suspended Monday, Oct. 14, due to the potential heavy traffic that may result from Manila-wide medical-dental mission tomorrow,” DepEd announced.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said he came to the decision to suspend classes upon the advice of MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino on the expected traffic scenario.
Tolentino said about a million INC members will gather in Manila for their evangelical mission on Monday, including those coming from neighboring provinces like Laguna, Batangas, Cavite and Rizal.
He said he also asked Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to extend the hours of the MRT and LRT operations on Monday.
‘Floating holiday’ pushed
“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.
MMDA Traffic Engineering Center chief Neomie Recio advised motorists to defer travels to Manila on Monday, citing the expected “domino effect” of the INC mission on several roads and intersections which would be closed to traffic.
“If you don’t have an important business there, please don’t go, or postpone it to a later date because of the heavy traffic. It might just ruin your schedule,” he stressed.
According to Recio, the INC mission will be held simultaneously in six locations: Plaza del Carmen beside San Sebastian Church; Plaza Avelino on Nagtahan; Magallanes Drive in front of the Post Office; the flea market beside Quiapo Church; the area at the back of Far Eastern University; and beside Isetann at the corner of CM Recto Avenue and Quezon Boulevard.
The Isetann site will also have a stage set-up for “entertainment activities,” he added.
Runup to INC centennial
The outreach missions are being conducted in preparation for the Iglesia’s centennial on July 27, 2014. The first leg was held in April at P. Guevarra Elementary School in Binondo, also in Manila.
Other missions have since been conducted in Caloocan and Pasay; and in the provinces of Rizal, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Agusan del Sur and in the Bicol region.
Among the roads to be closed in Manila on Monday are Loyola Street corner Recto Avenue, Gil Puyat Avenue-Quezon Boulevard, Hidalgo and Calder Streets, Concepcion Aguila and Del Carmen streets, Concepcion Aguila and Nepomuceno streets, Nepomuceno and Legarda streets, Legarda and San Rafael streets, the northbound lane of the service road of Quezon Boulevard going to Recto Avenue (in front of Isetann Mall), the eastbound lane of Recto Avenue from Rizal Avenue to Nicanor Reyes Street, the stretch of Palanca to P. Casal to Quiapo underpass, the portion of Magallanes Drive extension from the Post Office area to and from McArthur Bridge.
The MMDA said motorists may take following alternative routes:
From Manila to Quezon City, they may take Taft Avenue, turn right or left at UN Avenue, left to Otis, left to Nagtahan and onward to their destination.
From Quezon City to Manila, take España, right to Lacson, Tayuman then left turn to Jose Abad Santos, Regina Regente, Juan Luna, Plaza Cervantes, Jones Bridge, P. Burgos to destination. Another option would be España, left turn to Lacson, Nagtahan, right to Otis, right to UN Avenue, and on to destination.
From Caloocan, take Rizal Avenue, right to Tayuman, left to Jose Abad Santos, Regina Regente, Juan Luna, Plaza Cervantes and then Jones Bridge to destination.
From Luneta to Caloocan, take Jones Bridge, Quintin Paredes, Regina Regente, Jose Abad Santos and Rizal Avenue to destination.
From Divisoria to Cubao via Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard, take CM Recto, left turn to Jose Abad Santos, right turn to Tayuman, Lacson, right to Earnshaw, left at Legarda, then Legarda-Nagtahan flyover to destination.
From Cubao to Divisoria, take Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard, Nagtahan flyover, Legarda, right at Earnshaw, left at Lacson, Tayuman, left to Jose Abad Santos, left to destination.
From Divisoria to Cubao, take CM Recto, left at Jose Abad Santos, right at Tayuman, Lacson, right to Earnshaw, left at Legarda-Nagtahan flyover to destination.—With a report from Inquirer Research
Originally posted: 10:37 pm | Sunday, October 13th, 2013