BOCAUE, Bulacan (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III was all praises for the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on Monday as it celebrated its 100th anniversary with the historic unveiling of the 75-hectare, one-stop multi-purpose complex called Ciudad de Victoria (City of Victory).
“Angkop nga po ang pangalan ng lugar na ito – na may kahulugang ‘Lungsod ng Tagumpay’ — lalo pa’t sinasalamin nito ang mga nakamit na tagumpay ng Iglesia sa nagdaang siglo,” President Aquino told a jam-packed Philippine Arena in a speech following the inauguration ceremony.
The 55,000-seater Philippine Arena, recognized as the largest domed indoor arena in the world, is part of the Ciudad de Victoria.
President Aquino noted that a lot of organizations pay a great deal of respect to the INC as an institution, not only in the Philippines but throughout the world, since its establishment in 1914 by the honorable Felix Manalo.
“Talaga naman pong ikinalulugod ko ang pagkakataong maging bahagi ng pagtitipong ito. Personal nga po nating sinusuportahan ang isang istitusyong tulad ng Iglesia sa maalab na paghubog ng inyong mga miyembro bilang mga tapat na alagad ng ating Panginoon,” he said.
The INC is known as a close-knit religious organization, whose congregation leaders visit their members and actively encourage them to participate in various church activities and other community services.
Ciudad de Victoria, the President said, serves as a concrete example of the exceptional unity manifested by the people of INC throughout the years.
“Naipatayo ito mula sa buong-pusong paghahandog ng inyong mga kasapi, kaakibat ang hangaring makatulong sa mabubuting gawain at misyon ng Iglesia. Patunay din po ito sa tayog ng mithiing kayang maabot ng mga Pilipino, at sa kakayahan nating makipagsabayan sa buong mundo,” he said.
President Aquino said he was amazed at how the Philippine Arena managed to live up to its billing upon completion of its construction, as it is double the size of the famous Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA.
The Philippine Arena alone reportedly cost more than $200 million to build and is sturdy enough to withstand natural calamities, including super typhoons and earthquakes.
“Pero batid nating itinayo ang istrukturang ito, hindi para makipagpaligsahan. Ipinagawa ito para sa banal at dakilang layuning noon pa man ay pinangarap na ni Ka Eraño Manalo – ang magtaguyod ng espasyo upang maglingkod at ibahagi ang biyaya ng Panginoon sa lokal at pandaigdigang komunidad,” the President said, referring to the late executive minister of the INC.
Apart from the world’s largest arena, other major infrastructure expected to rise soon in the Ciudad de Victoria are the Philippine Sports Stadium, New Era University, Eraño G. Manalo Medical Center, as well as housing projects, shops, and leisure parks.
Officials of the INC said these structures were built not only for their members, but for other Filipinos of different religious affiliations and foreign tourists as well, who would like to experience the convenience these facilities provide.
“Taos-puso po tayong nagpapasalamat sa Iglesia ni Cristo sa pagmamalasakit ninyo sa ating kapwa; tunay pong ipinapamalas po ninyo ito, hindi lang sa salita, kundi sa gawa. Maraming salamat po sa pagiging kabalikat ng ating administrasyon sa pagsusulong ng mabuting pamamahala,” the President said. (MNS)