Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 16) — More than 100,000 people went to the Quirino Grandstand in Manila City on Sunday to join the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) annual charity event, police said.
According to the Manila Police, the crowd during INC’s “Lingap Laban sa Kahirapan” peaked at 120,000 around 3 p.m. Many of the participants stayed despite the downpour.
Free dental and medical services ranging from blood chemistry tests, complete blood count, blood sugar assessment, urinalysis to ultrasound, X-ray, ECG and 2d-echo, were offered during the event.
INC said almost 1,000 doctors, dentists, and paramedics volunteered for the gathering, which was organized in celebration of its 104th anniversary.
The religious group also held a Bible study in the afternoon and distributed relief packs to the attendees.
“Among the many that you will learn from the Holy Scriptures is that one, the greatest commandment is that we love the Lord God. The second greatest commandment is that we love our fellow men as we love ourselves and one expression of loving your fellow men is to provide assistance when you see others are in need of it and one of the continuing needs that we have seen has to do with the effects of poverty,” INC spokesperson Edwil Zabala said.
Zabala denied that the massive event was a show of political force for the upcoming elections.
The group is known for practicing block voting every polls.
“It’s a civic event, a religious event. No other reasons exist for the holding of this event,” he said, adding that INC will continue to hold more charity events in the coming days at different places.
CNN Philippines correspondent Triciah Terada contributed to this report.