Aquino declares 2014 as Iglesia centennial year
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III has declared 2014 as “Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial Year,” to mark the 100th founding anniversary of what he described as the “largest homegrown Christian church in the Philippines.”
Mr. Aquino issued Proclamation No. 815 on July 2. The House of Representatives also issued Resolution No. 91 in May urging the President to declare 2014 as Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial Year.
The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), a politically influential group, will mark its centennial year on July 27 with an expected mammoth gathering at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Thousands more members are expected to hold their own gatherings in different parts of the world.
Established by Felix Manalo in 1914, the INC today has ministries in some 102 countries.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said in a statement yesterday that the presidential proclamation was issued “to enhance public awareness on the contributions of the Iglesia ni Cristo to national development.”
The President’s proclamation recognized the INC’s “significant contributions … to bringing spiritual maturity, spreading the love of Christ and nurturing the religious life of the nation since 1914.”
Mr. Aquino also directed the Postmaster General to issue a special postage stamp to commemorate the event.
Next to the Catholic Church, it is the religious organization that wields serious influence over the Philippine political landscape.
Politicians seek the endorsement of the INC during elections and it is widely believed, although yet to be empirically proven, that the church votes as a bloc and has the numbers to make or break one’s candidacy.
The Office of the President, through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, also issued Memorandum Circular No. 66, creating Task Force Sentenaryo for the anniversary celebration on July 27, taking note of the “massive scale of the event” where thousands of INC members from the Philippines and abroad are expected to join.
Interagency task force
Task Force Sentenaryo will be headed by Atty. Francis Tolentino, chair of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, with the following as members: Secretary of Defense Voltaire Gazmin; Secretary of Interior and Local Government Manuel Roxas II; Secretary of Public Works Rogelio Singson; Secretary of Health Enrique Ona; Secretary Sonny Coloma of the Presidential Communication Operations Office; Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, Armed Forces chief of staff; Police Director General Alan Purisima, chief of the Philippine National Police; Atty. Winston Ginez, chair of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board; Atty. Juan Sta. Ana, general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority; retired Gen. Jose Angel Honrado, general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority; Edmundo Reyes, executive director of the Toll Regulatory Board; and a representative from the Iglesia ni Cristo.
The Task Force will be in charge of all the “actions and responses in connection with the INC event.”
The interagency task force is tasked to ensure smooth coordination between the public and private sector, maintain peace and order, ensure the safety of the participants and prepare a traffic management plan during the INC Centennial Celebration.