Written by Donna Cueto-Ybanez
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
IT was a record-breaker for Bulacan, when 2 million of its estimated 3 million population flocked to the “Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko” (My Countrymen, My Brethren) evangelical and medical outreach mission of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), which was held in an open area in the town of San Jose del Monte on Saturday.
“This is already two-thirds of the population of Bulacan,” said Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Alvarado during the program as he announced the police estimate of the number of people that joined the mission.
“It’s a historic event for us. It broke all existing records for the province,” he said in Pilipino.
He made the announcement at around 10 a.m., just before the message of INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo was read before the huge crowd, thanking all of those who joined the event.
San Jose del Monte Mayor Rey San Pedro said he rode a helicopter for the first time just to see for himself the number of people who went to the outreach mission of the INC.
People were coming in from all over Bulacan, he said. Many walked for miles just to get to the New Town open grounds, where the INC mission was held, since traffic was barely moving from as far as Santa Maria and Marilao towns, he said.
The sky was overcast and there was a slight drizzle every now and then, but most of the people stayed in the 26-hectare area that had been filled with giant tents, as more people streamed in.
About a thousand policemen were deployed in the area and in the roads leading to the open grounds. The medical and dental mission started at around 6:30 a.m. and lasted until noon. As of 10 a.m., Governor Alvarado announced that around 20,000 people were given medical and dental help by the INC outreach mission.
Free medicines were given, as well as vitamins for the young and the elderly. There were also several hospital beds where minor operations were done. At the other end of the medical tent, makeshift dental cubicles served people who consulted dentists for their tooth extractions.
Bulacan Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando said the medical-dental outreach mission was a great help to his province. He thanked the organizers of the event.
In the message of INC Executive Minister Manalo, which was read by INC Minister Rodel Cabrera, he said the Iglesia Ni Cristo was doing the mission to fulfill God’s commandment for one to love one’s fellowmen as one loves himself.
That is why the INC has intensified evangelical missions all over the world, he said, for more people to be reached by the message of salvation.
The pre-taped evangelical program that was played during the event was officiated by INC General Auditor Glicerio B. Santos Jr. He explained how extreme weather phenomena and other natural calamities, as well as various famines and wars, were all explained in the Bible as signs of Christ’s Second Coming. He also explained how important it was for man to fully understand God’s message of salvation.
After the program, plastic bags filled with 6 kilos of rice each were distributed.
The “Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko” evangelical-medical mission in Bulacan was the 15th such event conducted by the Iglesia Ni Cristo and its partner, the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation.
The 2 million people who attended the Bulacan event was the biggest attendance recorded since the Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko was launched in April this year. In all, the number of people reached though the Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko, has already exceeded 10 million people.
The last such event, held on August 30, in Batangas reached 1.4 million people of the province’s estimated 2.4 million population. On August 15 the Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko outreach mission in Albay was attended by 1.65 million Bicolanos. In Laguna the attendance in the evangelical-medical mission held on August 10 was estimated at 1.5 million. The other such events held in Cavite on August 3 and Tarlac on June 28 had an attendance of 1.1 million and a million people, respectively. Before this, the previous activities in various areas since it was launched in Tondo, Manila, on April 13 already had a combined attendance of 1.8 million.
The almost-weekly evangelical-medical outreach missions are being done in preparation for the INC Centennial on July 27, 2014, which will also be held in Bulacan, particularly in the Philippine Arena, which is being constructed in Bocaue, organizers said.
In Photo: An aerial view of the “Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko” evangelical, medical and dental mission of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan.