MANILA, Philippines—Two allies of President Aquino want the government to go all out in providing the best perks for Iglesia Ni Cristo in its centennial celebration in 2014 by requiring airlines to give members discounts on tickets, putting up special express lanes for members in airports, and forming a government commission to be bankrolled by state funds.
“Considering the global scale of the occasion, it is projected that a celebration unprecedented in scope will mark the unfolding event. Taking into account that the Philippines is the nucleus of the Church and is the center of the centennial celebration, the influx of foreigners unparalleled in number in Philippine history is anticipated,” said Quezon City Representatives Winston Castelo and Jorge “Bolet” Banal said in one of three resolutions for INC’s centennial on July 27, 2014. INC’s central temple is in Quezon City.
In House Resolution 2157, Castelo and Banal urged Malacañang to form the INC Centennial commission which would oversee and coordinate with the leadership of the religious group preparation and activities for the said event and “providing funds therefor.”
The two also filed resolution 2182 urging both domestic and international airlines to extend special airfare discounts to all INC members flying into the country for its centennial. Castelo and Banal did not say how Congress would be able to compel private companies to give discounts based on religious affiliation.
The third is resolution 2183 asking the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Customs to establish a “centennial lane” for INC members at the international airport for “practical and courteous purposes” for the “throng of INC members flying in.”
The INC centennial bills were apparently filed to woo the INC leaders amid strained relations with the Aquino administration.