THE rolling out of several livelihood projects for poor families has made 2015 a good year for the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) despite the challenges it faced in recent months.
“The INC has continued its mission to make itself socially and spiritually relevant to our membership and to the Filipino people as well as to the communities outside the Philippines where our congregations are found. We have faced a number of challenges, but guided by our faith in God and our confidence in our legal institutions, we have hurdled these issues,” Edwil Zabala, spokesman of the religious group, said.
He was referring to the filing of illegal detention and harassment charges against some INC officials in August.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed the complaints for lack of evidence.
“We are humbled by the vindication offered by our legal system. That being said, the INC would rather focus, as it has always in the past, on our activities and assistance efforts,” Zabala said.
The religious group inaugurated a self-sustaining, 100-hectare eco-farming site in Paracale, Camarines Norte in November to assist members of the province’s indigenous Kabihug community.
It was the INC’s 10th eco-farming area, coming after the launch of a 3,000 hectare EVM Self-Sustainable Eco-farming Community in Alangalang, Leyte earlier this year.
The project was implemented to assist residents affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
The INC’s livelihood sites are scattered in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The first one, in Palayan, Nueva Ecija, was established for laborers in Hacienda Luisita.
Zabala pointed out that the church is always ready to extend assistance to victims of typhoons and other calamities.
“Our disaster relief efforts have even reached the United States, as we extended assistance to those victimized by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. This has been made possible through the church’s Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, and we are proud of these mobilization and relief efforts,” he said.
In October, “Felix Manalo,” a movie depicting the life of church founder Felix Manalo, entered the Guinness World Records for “Largest Attendance For A Film Screening” and “Largest Attendance For A Film Premiere.”
These were not the first world records set by the INC, Zabala said.
In February 2014, its Worldwide Walk for Yolanda victims set two Guinness World Records for the largest charity walk in a single venue, as well as for the largest charity walk in 24 hours, he said.