Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ), one of the largest religious denominations in the Philippines, will be celebrating its 103rd foundation anniversary this July 27, Thursday. The day is a special working holiday nationwide as stipulated in Republic Act 9645.
RA 9465 was enacted in 2009 or towards the end of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term. The law praises INC for its “exemplary feat of leading its members towards spiritual enlightenment and good citizenry.” There are no official figures as to the total number of INC members, but media organizations frequently place it at around two million.
Unfortunately, INC members who report for work on this day will not receive any additional compensation. This is because according to the Department of Labor and Employment put it, “work performed on a working holiday is considered work on ordinary working days.”
That might change in the coming years. In the current 17th Congress, several legislators have filed bills that seek to have July 27 of every year as a special non-working holiday. This include Senators Loren Legarda and Manny Pacquiao (Senate Bill #404) as well as Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto of Batangas and Rep. Winnie Castelo of Quezon City (House Bill #s 2607 and 4720, respectively).