Thousands of INC members go home after rally canceled

By: Jhunnex Napallacan, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag September 01,2015 - 12:42 AM

n0901incphotoThousands of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) in the Visayas headed to Cebu City on board buses for a rally scheduled yesterday only to be told that it was canceled.

While some headed back home, others chose to spend the day at the rally site in Plaza Independencia or went sightseeing first before going home.

“They brought food because they thought they would stay long. They were allowed to stay within Plaza Independencia,” said Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) operations chief Joy Tumulak.

INC contingents from the provinces of Cebu and Bohol; Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental; and San Carlos City and Bacolod City in Negros Occidental were told to converge at the INC Church in General Maxilom Avenue in Cebu City at 9 a.m.

They were supposed to march toward Plaza Indepedencia at noon.

READ: Iglesia ni Cristo show of solidarity

Cebu City Fire Marshall Chief Rogelio Bongabong, an INC member, estimated the crowd at the church’s compound at 5,000.

But there were other contingents who headed straight to Plaza Indepedencia since Sunday evening, Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) traffic enforcer Renato Generoso said.

The INC members slept at the bench and under the trees at the historic Plaza.

Generoso estimated the crowd at the plaza to reach more than 1,000.

Tumulak said INC Cebu spokesman Romel Pañares informed him that the scheduled rally was canceled shortly before 9 a.m. after talks between the INC leadership and the government.

Tumulak said 50 traffic enforcers assigned at Fuente Osmeña and Plaza Indepedencia were pulled out and sent to the INC church due to the buildup of traffic at Maxilom Avenue caused by the late arrival of more contingents.

“At 10:39 a.m. traffic started to ease, but other than that the traffic is really moving,” he said.

INC members from Dumaguete City who arrived at the church on board their vehicles were told to park in a lot reserved for them.

Tumulak said when the INC members were told that the rally was canceled, they did not show any disgust.

The INC members instead claimed that they were happy with the reported agreement between their church and the government.

Not forced
There were INC members at the INC church who raised their right hands, some waved the INC flags and shouted “Mabuhay ang (Long live the) INC,” before they dispersed.

Bongabong, who claimed that he went to the INC church just to assist Cebu City traffic and police officers in ensuring order in the rally, said he was happy about the resolution.

At the Plaza Independencia, Charito Dumay, 55 and Adelaida Onde, 57, of Clarin Bohol said they were told last week to attend the rally here in Cebu City. They clarified that they were not forced to join.

He said they spent for their boat fare and were told that they would be refunded by their church.

Contingents from Candijay Bohol who ate at the Plaza Independencia said they brought their own provisions and paid their own fare.

The other contingents from San Carlos and Bacolod City said they were provided with food and their fares were shouldered by their church.

An INC member from San Carlos City and his companions said they would go sightseeing first before heading for home last night.

Jeremie Tomada, a 42-year-old businessman and deacon of of the INC church in Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City, said he and a friend Ridgi Cabalan said they were ready to stay for a week if need be. “We are here to support our church”, Tomada said.

After the announcement, INC district minister Edmundo Padilla met with local ministers of Cebu South inside the INC Church at General Maxilom Avenue.

Grace Albores, an INC local finance officer in Talisay City, said they were hurt by public criticism on their rally.

“The rally is intended to express and voice out our side over the issue,” Albores told Cebu Daily News.

“Being a (finance officer or treasurer), corruption never happened in INC. The infrastructures like our Church buildings show that there is no corruption,” she said.

Albores said her husband, an INC member and overseas worker, attended an INC rally in Qatar./With Cebu Technological University Intern Marc Eric A. Cosep

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TAGS: church, faith, Iglesia ni Cristo, Inc., politics, religion

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