Apalit, Pampanga – (12/25/2015) The quarterly International Thanksgiving to God (ITG) celebration of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan worldwide, which kicked off today, has been one of the most talked about topics on Twitter. The hashtag – #MCGIThankfulToGOD – trended for more than 5 hours on December 25th (PHT).
It will be recalled, the official Twitter account of the Church of God International, @mcgidotorg, held a Twitter Live Conversation of the celebration as early as 5 am. The hashtag has been spotted at No. 4 in Philippines Trends after 17 minutes of the start time.
MCGI celebrates its International Thanksgiving to God every quarter at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, province of Pampanga, Philippines. While one of the biggest closed convention centers in the Philippines, the venue is not enough to accommodate millions of congregants.
Today, coordinating centers nationwide and around the world are being opened to accommodate members and visitors alike to participate in the event, which is being beamed via satellite and live video streaming.
Bro. Eli Soriano, the Overall Servant to the MCGI, opened the event with his remarks. Assistant to the Overall Servant, Bro. Daniel Razon earlier opened the first part of the topic.
The MCGI International Thanksgiving to God is a three-day event, which is comprised not only of the offering of the sacrifices of thanksgiving through the singing of thanksgiving songs,. Other activities packed into three days include: consultation with Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel, charitable works, children Bible school, and the teaching of biblical topics by Bro. Daniel and Bro. Eli.
The longest-running Philippine radio-television religious program, Ang Dating Daan is popular not only for changing the lives of many people for the better. It also has strings of records for bringing joys to indigents through the numerous massive public service efforts it routinely mounts.
And on October 12 this year, the program will celebrate its 35th year of broadcast through a special program, featuring the largest gospel choir of the Members Church of God International (MCGI).
This year, its theme’s tagline is “Truth. Charity. Praise.”
Organizers of the special anniversary presentation said the choristers will fill the lower and upper-level boxes of the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. There are expected 15,000 choristers to particiapte.
The 2,000-seat center area of the Big Dome, meanwhile, will be alloted for the special guests of that evening – the persons with disabilities or PWDs. Bro. Eli Soriano, the program host and Overall Servant of MCGI, wants the PWDs to occupy the center area and accommodate them with earnest care.
In MCGI, the PWDs are called very important persons (VIPs) and given higher regard. These VIPs receive the frontrow seats at the ADD Convention Centers whenever there are gatherings and congregational services.
Bro. Eli has taught the congregants of the Church of God and always reiterate that PWDs should be acknowledged, respected and treated not as nuisssance of society.
Along with the expected 13,000-strong ADD Chorale to perform at the Smart-Araneta, choristers from North America, Australia, Central and South America, United Kingdom, Asia-Oceania, and from different provinces in the country are expected to join from their respective areas.
To ensure the seamless presentation of the chorale numbers as well as other content of the special program on Monday, satellite and live video streaming will be used to aid the special anniversary program.
To recall, previous anniversary celebrations of Ang Dating Daan were dedicated to the senior citizens and the indigents. Large medical-dental-legal missions also once became the centerpiece of its anniversary celebrations.
Other notable anniversary activities of Ang Dating Daan include mobilising the largest numbers of tree-planting participants, largest participants in a breastfeeding drive, coastal cleanups, feeding programs, mass blood drives, and more.
For this year, the largest gospel choir is the Ang Dating Daan group’s official bid to break world records in the “Largest Gospel Choir” category.
UPDATE: The full performance of the Ang Dating Daan Chorale can be watched on Youtube. See video below:
The families of the gallant 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will receive more than P6-million in cash, the amount raised through the “Songs for Heroes” benefit concert initiated by UNTV and Members Church of God International (MCGI).
The P1-million of the total amount was donated by Bro. Eli Soriano, host of Ang Dating Daan religious program. The AFP Finance Center will distribute this amount to the families left behind by the soldiers killed in the all-out offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
The PNP Special Assistance Fund, recipient of P6-million, will then distribute this amount to the deceased families of the 44 members of the SAF.
Apart from these support, Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel Razon, CEO and Chairman of Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International, offered to give scholarship grants to deserving dependents left behind by the brave SAF members and soldiers.
Meanwhile, Bro. Eli gave each of the families cash envelopes containing P10,000 in cash during the concert. “Songs for Heroes” benefit concert was held on March 19, 2015 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Progressive Broadcasting Corporation’s Atom Henares has pledged an additional Php 500,000 for the bereaved families as well.
Bro. Eli said the children of the SAF members can avail of the sholarship package offered at the La Verdad Christian College in Caloocan City. It will be noted that La Verdad’s free education program provides qualifying college students free lodging, meals, uniform and books.
UNTV produced the charity concert following Bro. Eli’s tweets calling netizens to support the incumbent administration, instead of calling for President Benigno Aquino III or P-Noy’s resignation.
“Instead of blaming the President, why not help?,” recalled Bro. Eli as the content of the tweets he posted using his @BroEliSoriano Twitter account. He added,“there is no Commander-in-Chief na gusto niyang mapatay ang kanyang mga sundalo (there is no Commander-in-Chief who wants his soldiers to perish).”
“Kaya, as a way of helping the President, maintain peace and order, naisip ko na mag-launch ng isang concert, for these heroes, they are heroes, (As a way of helping the President, maintain peace and order, I thought of launching a concert dedicated for these heroes, [because] they are heroes.).”
Observers note that the Aquino administation faced its harshest criticisms from different groups for allegedly mishandling the Mamasapano operation.
The official hashtag: #Songs4HeroesConcert debuted at No. 2 in Philippines trends on Thursday morning in the Philippines.
Among those who graced the concert include the heads of PNP and AFP, namely, P/CSupt. Nestor Quinsay and Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang.
Present to perform during the concert were: Noel Cabangon, Faith Cuneta, Bo Cerrudo, Jonalyn Viray, Jay Durias, Neocolour with Ito Rapadas, 5th Gen, Gerald Santos, The Voysing, the Bueno Sisters, and Bembe and Trifosa Erese. The AFP and PNP Chorales also performed during the concert.
A repeat of the concert, which will be dedicated to the 77 injured SAF staff in Mamasapano incident last January 25, this year, is already being planned.
(Erratum: The amount to be received was incorrectly placed at P7-million. This has been corrected.)
As its foray as one of the top trending topics in Twitter enters fifth day, #NoynoyPaRin looked like it already broke new record as one of the longest-staying hashtag of Philippines Trends with socio-political theme and positive impact.
Within five days as one of the top trending topics in the Philippines, so many things have made Bro. Eli Soriano’s call to support and help President Benigno Aquino III finish his six-year term turned into even more meaningful and beneficial cause. Bro. Eli tweeted to his followers his opposition to statements by Catholic bishops for the Chief Executive to vacate his post.
On the fourth day (February 19) when some quarters contested the popularity of the topic as manipulated, Bro. Eli announced on Twitter that the Ang Dating Daan group will organize a charity event to raise funds for the bereaved families of the gallant 44 Special Action Force (SAF) in Maguindanao.
The move was the international televangelist’s answer to bashers and critics who accused #Noynoyparin supporters as only paid and that spin doctors were hired. Even worse, some of these critics made harsh commentary that supporters lack sincerity because tweets were spun, a misjudment of the strong throng of Ang Dating Daan members who are based in almost all corners of the globe today.
Before the charity concert was even held, Bro. Eli has tweeted an initial P1million pledge will come from the Members Church of God International (MCGI) for the fund-raising acitivty for the families of bereaved gallant 44 SAF troopers.
Longest Trending Topic Record for #NoynoyPaRin
After initiating the popular #NoynoyPaRin on Twitter early morning of February 16 (Monday), the tweets of the televangelist picked up steam that it did not wait for less than 30 minutes to climb the Philippines Trends list. The hashtag #NoynoyPaRin peaked at No. 1 in the local trending topics list.
The trending topic was lauded by the Philippine Chief Executive’s Office for keeping vibrant the spirit of democracy and supporting President Benigno Aquino III.
In the Philippines, Filipino recording artist and actress Sarah Geronimo was regarded as the record-holder when it comes to the longest running trending topic. The hashtag Sarah G Day trended in the Philippines, United Arab Emirates and Worldwide Trends for four days.
Sarah G. Day, however, is an entertainment-theme topic along with the #SarahGDay hashtag, floated by netizens from February 20, 2012 to February 23, 2012.
IlonggoTechBlog.com reported the reason the term trended was due to Geronimo’s guesting on three ABS-CBN shows — ASAP, The Buzz and Gandang Gabi Vice — to promote the new show of the actress Sarah G Live.
On February 20 this year, meanwhile, #NoynoyPaRin coninues to sizzle in local trending topics list, boosted when Bro. Eli tweeted additional details about his upcoming charity concert for the gallant 44 deceased troopers. Bro. Eli earlier tweeted that P1 million initial amount of contribution will come from MCGI.
Bro. Eli also tweeted his more than 64,900 followers to stay focused on the theme of the campaign: to express sympathies to families of the heroes of Mamasapano incident and to support causes for the country’s future.
Posted videos on Youtube recently (August 2014) showed Filipino Muslim leaders testifying to defend Bro. Eli Soriano from detractors and enemies who are posting photoshopped images of the televangelist host of Ang Dating Daan to insinuate that he attacks Muslims.
Muslim leaders, including former spokesperson of the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF), expressed disbelief that Bro. Eli maligned Muslims. They believe that Bro. Eli is a friend of Muslims, even donating parcels of land to Muslim communities in Apalit, Pampanga province.
Muslim Leaders Defend Bro. Eli
1) MILF Vice-Chairman for Political Affairs Ghazali Jaafar
In the video above, MILF’s Jaafar defends Bro. Eli against his detractors, pitting the MCGI Leader to a fight against Muslims.
Jaafar then said that Muslims believe in the value of peace and non-violence. He then said as Muslims, they are lovers of peace, with wide perspective and they stand for what is just and right. Jaafar also stressed that they respect the beliefs of other religious groups.
The Moro leader said that Muslims won’t let themselves to be used by other parties to hurt their fellowmen. As Muslims, he said, they don’t see any reason to render violence against other religious groups, including that of Bro. Eli Soriano’s. Jaafar believes that the Ang Dating Daan group has done nothing evil against Muslims. Instead, he said, Muslims are one with Bro. Eli for his good advocacies in maintaining goodwill, peace and justice.
2) Datu Amerol-Gulam Ambiong
Datu Ambiong said that he sees the Ang Dating Daan group of Bro. Eli Soriano will not slander or malign other religious groups because it is not the kind of attack that they wage.
As someone who is aware of the good relationship between the Muslim group and Ang Dating Daan, Ambiong dismissed issues that there is a gap between Muslims and ADD. There is none he said. Then he called on people and those in the know to know that Muslims and the Ang Dating Daan are friends.
3) Former MILF Spokesperson Atty. Eid Kabalu
The former MILF Spokesperson Eid Kabalu opened his testimony with a plea.
The lawyer who hails from Datu Piang, Maguindanao asked those who are behind the smear campaign that put Bro. Eli in a negative light to stop. Atty. Kabalu said that there is no reason for a war between Muslims and Ang Dating Daan.
According to Kabalu, peaceful due process should be promoted and not violence. Kabalu assures that Muslims would not be affected by such intrigues, as such will not bear positive outcome for both Muslim or a Christian and the whole Filipino race.
In this second clip, Kabalu gets the facts straight that if violence of any kind would erupt related to this issue, the Muslims would not be the source, especially the MILF. He added that it is against the teachings of their religion to participate in such fight.
He said he will pray for the forgiveness of those who are insinuating that it is the Muslims who are liable. He said it is a grave sin and not a teaching in their religion and the group of the MILF to commit violence against fellowmen.
Kabalu then corrected issues that there is a fight between the Muslims, MILF and the group of Bro. Eli. Kabalu said there is no truth in these issues, adding that until these days the MILF remains unshaken in its stance not to fight any group, including the group of Bro. Eli.
Moreover, there is no truth that there is a rift between the two groups he said or with any group. To prove his point, Kabalu said that they are even in talks with the government to find a peaceful solution to the peace problems of Mindanao.
Their stand , said Kabalu, is that MILF is not fighting anybody and its positive relationship with the group of Bro. Eli Soriano is solid.
Amidst this issue, Kabalu believes that Bro. Eli will remain a strong person because he is a man of principle and will do his best to advocate common good. As a person, he added, Bro. Eli is the kind of person who will not be easily affected by smear tactics by his detractors.
Kabalu assures Bro. Eli that Muslims will not be swayed by the negative issues being initiated by those opposed to him. He said that Muslims are strong and solid and do not believe such malicious intrigues.
In parting, Kabalu extends his support to anyone advocating in the side of truth. He said he will give his full support to anyone fighting for the sake of truth.
Using Muslims to Fight Their Own Wars
Of course attempts by Bro. Eli’s enemies to destroy his reputation is no secret. In multiple instances he got the chance of speaking about the issue, Bro. Eli would correct allegations that he is attacking Muslims. He would then say that while the Muslims use the Qur’an, he uses the Bible. Herence, there is nothing they can disagree about.
In the Philippine religious scene, one of Bro. Eli’s staunchest rivals is the Iglesia ni Cristo sect. And this group reportedly has for years tried couple times in using Muslims in the Philippines to fight Ang Dating Daan group and its leader for their sake.
Not once the INC did encourage that the Abu Sayyaf pursue Bro. Eli. Its ministers on their TV network even suggested to the Moro bandits the whereabouts of the MCGI Presiding Minister.
The INC is also responsible for the many court cases lodged against Bro. Eli, including libel charges that the preacher would eventually win. They use their influence in municipal and regional trial courts to make Bro. Eli pay for criticizing their beliefs such as officiating a Santa Sena (Holy Supper) in the morning and collecting of multiple donations from their poor members.
One video posted on Youtube showed how the INC malign Bro. Eli Soriano by adulterating broadcast materials such as videos.
Detractors Hurt by Truth and Bro. Eli’s Works
What is Bro. Eli’s crime according to his detractors? He relentlessly exposes the unbiblical beliefs and pronouncements of Church leaders, including the INC and its leaders. At least that is how it appears as enemies go ballistically alert to destroying the preacher’s reputation using whatever means possible, including Facebook and Youtube.
Unfortunately they could not do what Bro. Eli can do best: open himself up for questioning during his live question-and-answer format through Bible Expositions.
His candid style and manner of preaching has gained him followers locally and abroad. In the Philippines, his Ang Dating Daan show is an established force with transformative powers. He and his program are collecting leadership award here and there and annual Most Informative Religious Show awards from different award-giving groups.
Offshore, his Worldwide Bible Expositions have South American natives flocking to attend eagerly waiting for the Filipino preacher to answer their questions. Bro. Eli also has opened television programs in Spanish and Portuguese languages. More recently, is Spanish broadcast are being aired live on Youtube.
History of Persecution
And even before going mainstream on radio in 1980 and television three years after, many of his enemies have already tried to get Bro. Eli Soriano maimed or killed. Some of his enemies would influence media networks – where the Ang Dating Daan program was airing – pressuring management to remove the blocktimer program.
Preachers teaching of truth would inevitably draw people to pay attention, study carefully his teachings and join his group and become faithful believers. In the eyes of his detractors, however, it seems the Filipino preacher is a serious threat to their works.
Since Bro. Eli has started preaching in the Philippines, many people left their former religions after learning of the deception and confusion sowed by their pastors.
To settle their differences, the work must focus on the beliefs and teachings using the Bible. If the challenger believes his side of truth, participating in debates and argumentations is a healthy way of doing so and not resorting to violence or character assasination. But going down to the pit level by resorting to squid tactics and maligning someone must never be entertained by anyone.
Truth is Power
Truth in our times is a currency. Not everyone and not every preacher is given this truth. The truth, like a key, is a powerful weapon preachers can use to unlock mysteries and open more doors to more truths. And to win religious debates one must really be the bearer of such truth to dispel lies and expose the fakes. Others, who can only dream of getting even a fraction of this truth, can simply resort to the subpar level of battle: character assasination.
The Dangal ng Bayan Awards has paid tribute to Ang Dating Daan by awarding it as the country’s “Best Longest Running Religious Program”.
The award-giving body organized by the National Consumers Affairs Foundation (NCAF) also bestowed to Bro. Eliseo Soriano the “Best Bible-Based TV/Radio Evangelist” award.
The station where Ang Dating Daan and Bro. Eli’s programs are being aired, UNTV was also awarded the “No. 1 TV Station Committed to Truth an Genuine Public Service” during the awards night held at the AFP Theater in Quezon City on February 27, 2014.
Other big winners from UNTV include Kaagapay for Best Public Service-Oriented TV Program and Rodel Flordeliz as Outstanding TV and Event Host.
The network’s CEO Daniel Razon is the brain behind this one-of-a-kind journalism brand and possibly the first such practice in global news reporting. Do More Awards has recognized this brainchild by Razon through UNTV.
As in Repaso 2012, Repaso 2013 will be kicked off by UNTV’s special presentation to review the headline-grabbing news of 2013, the good and bad news, and stories of heroism and advocacies, while waiting for the clock to strike 12.
Repaso 2013 will also feature human-interest stories about the outlook of the indigents, homeless and poor people as the new year enters. Last year, Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano of Ang Dating Daan even took advantage of the event to sponsor and dole out grocery packs to the homeless people that UNTV visited.