HOR Complex, Quezon City (DWDD) – The House committee on revision of laws has approved four bills seeking to declare July 27 of every year as a special national non-working holiday in commemoration of the founding anniversary of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) in the country.
The declaration is in recognition of the significant contribution of the INC and its members to nation-building, national identity, culture, values and development, according to the authors of the bills.
In a recent hearing, the committee chaired by Rep. Marlyn Primicias Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan) approved House Bills 196, 2607, 4720 and 5122 and the motion to prepare the substitute bill to the four proposals.
The bills seek to amend Section 3 of Republic Act 9645, otherwise known as the “Commemoration of the Founding Anniversary of the Iglesia ni Cristo Act,” so that July 27 of every year shall hereby be declared as a special national non-working holiday in commemoration of the founding anniversary of the INC in the country.
At present, based on RA 9645, July 27 of every year is a special national working holiday in commemoration of the INC founding anniversary.
Rep. Winnie Castelo (2nd District, Quezon city) said his House Bill 4720 aims to honor and recognize the INC which is a big religious organization that started in the country.
“That for the record, the said religious congregation has expanded worldwide even in Russia, Israel and other parts of the world,” Castelo said.
Castelo said it is also worthy to note that the INC has done numerousmedical missions for the benefit not only of his constituents in Quezon City but people in all localities.
“It is high time we honor and recognize the INC for its exemplary feat of leading its members towards spiritual enlightenment and good citizenry, and its humanitarian gesture of caring for Filipinos in distress,” said Castelo.
Castelo also noted the world’s biggest indoor arena, the Philippine Arena, which can accommodate 70,000 people, was built by the INC.
Deputy Speaker and Marikina City Second District Rep. Romero “Miro” Quimbo, author of HB 196 with Reps. John Marvin “Yul Servo” Nieto (3rd District, Manila) and Carmelo “Jon” Lazatin II (1st District,Pampanga) as co-authors, said he would like to look at the INC foundation day as a historical event.
“A historical event not only because the INC is the third largest congregation in the Philippines, but is in fact a genuinely unique and indigenous congregation that emanated and started in the country” said Quimbo.
Quimbo further said the INC’s influence, contributions, and the symbol that it represents show how industrious Filipinos are. “These show how a small group can actually become such a large group, bearing impact on the lives of every Filipino. It is significant for Congress to recognize the INC even from a historical standpoint,” said Quimbo.
Quimbo said Congress has continuously recognized the INC’s contributions, and in fact allowed or recognized a one-day holiday during the centennial anniversary of the foundation of the INC.
“But in recognition of that, I think we need to be able to sustain and continue so that we can advise and show to the greater populace of what national symbols should be in this country. And I think certainly that July 27 is a symbolic day not only for the INC but for the entire country,” said Quimbo.
Primicias-Agabas, author of House Bill 5122, said with millions of members not only in the country and throughout the world, the INC showed its care for its members by keeping their well-being and providing humanitarian services.
“We are witness to their vast and immeasurable contribution to the nation through their faith reflecting our national identity, culture and values,” said Primicias-Agabas.
House Bill 2607 is authored by Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto (6th District, Lipa City) with Reps. Gus S. Tambunting (2nd District,Paranaque City), Divina Grace C. Yu (1st District, Zamboanga del Sur), and Carmelo “Jon” B. Lazatin (1st District,, Pampanga) as co-authors.
The declaration of July 27 as a special non-working holiday nationwide will enable the millions of INC members, together with the Filipino people, to celebrate in a more appropriate manner the milestone in the Church’s history, according to Santos-Recto. CONGRESS / MCAG