By Ben Rosario
The House of Representatives has strongly endorsed the enactment of a bill declaring July 27 of each year a special national non-working holiday to commemorate the founding anniversary of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC).
With 238 affirmative votes and no negative votes, the Lower House approved on third and final reading House Bill (HB) No. 5912 that seeks to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 9645 by making the INC anniversary a non-working holiday.
RA 9645 declared July 27 a special national working holiday in commemoration of the INC foundation day.
HB 5912 consolidated eight separate legislative proposals filed by Deputy Speaker Deogracias Victor Savellano (PDP-Laban, Ilocos Sur) ; Reps. Dale “Along” Malapitan (NP, Caloocan City), Cheryl Montalla (PDP-Laban, Zambales), Edgar Chatto (NUP, Bohol), and Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona (PDP-Laban, Romblon), among other authors.
As co-author of the bill, Malapitan said the INC, since its foundation in 1914, has made significant contributions toward “nurturing the faith of the people and fostering nation-building through social and public service initiatives and programs.”
“This representation hopes through this bill, the Church of Christ be granted the proper recognition that they deserve for all their contributions to our nation,” Malapitan said.
Founded on July 27, 1914 in Sta. Ana, Manila by its first Executive Minister Felix Y. Manalo, the INC has grown into the second-largest religious organization in the country.
In pushing for the passage of the measure, Savellano said the INC has become a major religion in the Philippines.
“It has made meaningful contributions in developing the faith of the people, shaping model citizens, [and] cultivating nation building through social service projects and programs that greatly benefit the members of its congregation as well as the rest of the society,” the House official said.
Malapitan and Savellano said INC Day should not only be a national holiday but a non-working day that would allow Filipinos, most especially INC members, to commemorate the founding anniversary of a major religion in the country.