Aquino forms high-level task force for Iglesia ni Cristo centennial

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has created a high-level task force for this year's commemoration of the Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial Year, which will have among its members Cabinet officials and the military and police chiefs, Malacañang announced on Friday, July 4.

Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said that on July 3, the Office of the President issued Memorandum Circular No. 66 creating “Task Force Sentenaryo (Centennial)” for the celebration of the religious group on July 27.

MC No. 66 followed Proclamation No 815 “Declaring Year 2014 as Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial Year,” which President Benigno S. Aquino III issued  on July 2, Coloma said.

“Proclamation No. 815 was issued to enhance public awareness on the contributions of the Iglesia ni Cristo to national development. The same proclamation likewise directed the Postmaster General to cause the design, printing and issuance of a special postage stamp to commemorate the said event,” Coloma said.

The Palace official said the task force was created “considering the large number of Filipinos from here and abroad who will participate in the said event, to be held on 27 July 2014 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.”

“Task Force Sentenaryo will be in charge of all actions and responses in connection with the said event. It may call upon any department, bureau, agency or instrumentality of the government, local government units, NGOs, and the private sector for assistance,” Coloma said.

The task force will be headed by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino.

Among its members are Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior Secretary  Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Health Secretary  Enrique Ona, Coloma, Armed Forces Chief General Emmanuel Bautista, and Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima.

The others are Winston Ginez, chairman of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board; Juan Sta Ana, Philippine Ports Authority General Manager; Jose Angel Honrado, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager; Edmundo Reyes, Toll Regulatory Board Executive Director; and, a representative from the Iglesia ni Cristo. 

Coloma described the Iglesia ni Cristo as “the largest home-grown Christian church in the Philippines, with ministries in at least 102 countries.”

The millions of followers of the Iglesia ni Cristo, are known to vote as a bloc, based on the list of candidates chosen by their leader. Politicians have been known to woo the religious group for inclusion in the coveted list. (READ: INFOGRAPHIC: What you should know about the Iglesia ni Cristo– Rappler.com