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.
“Welcome to the Guinness World Records Family,” Guinness Adjudicator Fortuna Burke Melhem said before a jam-packed Smart-Araneta Coliseum, Queazon City on October 12 (Monday night).
The announcement came during MCGI’s celebration of its flagship radio-television program, Ang Dating Daan’s (The Old Path) 35th anniversary, which it dedicated to the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
Guinness Adjudicator Fortuna Burke Melhem announced the success of MCGI’s attempt for the Largest Gospel Choir record the same day, resulting in overwhelmed crowd reaction. It indicated that 8,688 choir members participated, smashing the former title-holder of more than 4,000 participants.
This result, which was based on he Turnstile method, was validated by the external auditing firm Punongbayan & Araullo.
More than 2,000 PWDs and their aides were given monetary gifts and grocery bags. Twelve charitable institutions that shelter and support PWDs were invited as guest of honors, and were given special VIP treatment during the program. Bro. Eli Soriano and Kuya Daniel Razon awarded P100,000 for each of the invited foundations.
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.)
‘Clinic ni Kuya’ is one of the pioneering public healthcare projects for the indigents launched by Daniel Razon when he assumed the role as CEO of television channel UNTV back in 2004.
Housed under the Good Morning Kuya show at UNTV, Clinic ni Kuya offers free medical and dental consultation, minor surgeries or operations for all types of patients, from Monday to Friday. [See complete schedule here]
This nine-year old social welfare project that helps raise public health awareness convinced the Philippine Academy of Medical Specialists (PAMS) to confer the EPIC Award to the veteran broadcaster’s exemplary public service.
EPIC, now in its eight edition, honors medical and non-medical personalities who uphold PAMS’ advocacies and goals about rendering better public healthcare services.
The acronym EPIC stands for Eight Pioneering Individual or Community.
Willing Instrument to Help
Razon was unable to attend the awarding due to his very hectic schedule. But he took the opportunity to extend his gratitude to the organizers of PAMS during his morning show last November 18.
“My thanks to the organizers and to all who comprises the 8th EPIC Awards. Thank you for this recognition. For us, as we are always saying, we are only able to do good because we are just small instruments. We can’t do anything if God will not use us.
What we hope to do, and our prayers is to be of use in the different ways possible that we can be of service. And may we be pliant to be used as vehicles and to be instruments so that whatever it is that we can do while we have the strength, while we are living and while our knees can support us to stand, and before these became overused, at least we are able to use till the end.
That is why all the honor, glory are due for the Owner and for the One using us. Thanks be to God for all the given opportunities even as a small instrument of help for our fellowmen. Thank you.”
Doing More With Compassion
A counterpart project of Clinic ni Kuya is ‘Botika ni Kuya’, which provides free prescription drugs.
While there is the ‘Legal Center ni Kuya’, which provide free legal assistance, another social welfare project is the wish-granting ‘Munting Pangarap’ program that gives funds as initial livelihood capital to start a business.
Social media netizens showed their love for #ADDforBreastfeeding, blazing a trail to its new spot: “Philippine Trends” in Twitter as of this writing. [By 9 a.m., the hashtag landed in the in No. 1 spot.]
The official start time of the Nationwide Simultaneous Breastfeeding in 1,000 Sites is 9 a.m. But the trending topics in the Philippines category flashed the official hashtag #ADDforBreastfeeding as early as 7 a.m. in Philippine time.
Live reports from UNTV about the breastfeeding event – which this year is gunning to land a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the breasfeeding advocacy simultaneously held in 1,000 breastfeeding stations – is ongoing, hosted by Bro. Danny Navales and Sis Luz Cruz.
Here are some of the tweets from netizens and groups:
We have a Simultaneous Breastfeeding with Nurturers of the Earth on Oct. 24, 2013 over 1,000 sites in the PH. Join us! #ADDforBreastfeeding
Few hours before the Simultaneous Breastfeeding in Multiple Sites event on Thursday (October 24), the phenomenal host of Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) tweets to his more than 45,000 Twitter followers to support the campaign. Up to 1,000 breastfeeding stations across the Philippines will be opened at 9 a.m.
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano, the Presiding Minister to Members Church of God International (MCGI), tweeted at around 7 p.m. (PHT) his call for support from fellow Filipinos and members of the congregation.
In one of the tweets by @BroEliSoriano in Twitter, the preacher said” “Let us support the campaign for breastfeeding! be a responsible mother, breastfeed your baby; even orphans.”
let us support the campaign for breastfeeding! be a responsible mother, breastfeed your baby; even orphans
The event organizer is Nurturers of the Earth, where Dr. Elvira Henares-Esguerra is a major part of. The advocacy group, together with major supporters Ang Dating Daan and UNTV, bids to break records it previously held from Guinness Book of World Records. BMPI-UNTV Chairman and CEO Daniel Razon has also expressed support for the project and called on people to support.
Previously, Nurturers of the Earth with Children and Youth Action gathered more than 3,541 mother-child pairs to participate in their breastfeeding advocacy, eventually earning a Guinness Record for their Simultaneous Breastfeeding in a Single Site campaign.
In another record-breaking streak, the same group notched the Guinness World Record for Simultaneous Breastfeeding in Multiple Sites after pooling 15,128 mother-child pairs to participate in up to 295 sites.
This year, at least 1,000 breastfeeding stations will be opened and expects at least a minimum of 30 mother-child pairs.
Also this month, Ang Dating Daan is celebrating its 33rd Anniversary in the airwaves and television broadcasting in the Philippines.