'No politics involved in INC event'
MANILA – The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) said the church's medical, relief and evangelical missions in Manila today are not politically motivated.
In an interview with radio dzMM, INC's Minister of The Gospel Edwil Zabala said today's activity, dubbed "Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko," is just one of the many missions being conducted by INC in parts of the country.
He said the initiative is meant to reach less fortunate people, regardless of their religious affiliation.
"Walang bahid-pulitika ang 'Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko,' sapagkat matagal na naming ginagawa ito. Marami nang pinuntahan ang 'Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko,' Naintindihan namin na may ilang nag-iisip ng ganoon. Pagtulong sa kapwa at paghahayag ng salita ng diyos lamang [ang pakay dito]." Zabala told dzMM.
Pila ng tao sa Recto Maynila na nag-aabang ng relief goods at tulong medikal mula sa INC. pic.twitter.com/t525V4hCVU
— Johnson Manabat (@johnsonmanabat) October 14, 2013
Zabala said INC, which is being courted by candidates during elections because of its bloc voting practice, also denied today's activity is a "show of force" to remind the government of its influence in Philippine politics.
Over 2 million people, including non-INC members, are expected to converge in different parts of Manila today to avail of free medical and dental services.
Relief goods were distributed to impoverished citizens while INC members were also deployed to conduct evangelical missions.
"Marami na kaming pinuntahan na dako. Talaga lamang kasi na ang ilang kababayan natin, na taga rito na nakabalita sa ginaganap sa ibang probinsya, humiling na dito ay madalaw sila at mabigyan din ng serbisyo. Walang show of force na pinag-uusapan dito," Zabala said.
The INC activity prompted the suspension of classes up to high school in the various parts of Metro Manila.
Zabala clarified that INC did not make a request to suspend classes in view of the today's massive event.
Asked why the event was not done on a weekend, Zabala said: "Wala na pong ibang pagkakataon." He said similar missions had been conducted in several areas in the country.
Nonetheless, Zabala apologized to motorists who were affected by the massive traffic triggered by the medical and evangelical missions.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) already identified alternate routes for motorists who will be affected by the INC event.
Isa sa maraming wide screen ng INC para sa isasagawang Evangelical mission. pic.twitter.com/ppo7TFJF1n
— Johnson Manabat (@johnsonmanabat) October 13, 2013