MANILA - President Arroyo on Friday declared September 7 and 21 as non-working holidays throughout the country.
In a press statement, Malacañang declared September 7 as a national day of mourning for the late Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) leader Bro. Eraño 'Ka Erdie' Manalo. All flags will be flown at half mast on Monday.
The President had earlier declared September 21 as a non-working holiday to commemorate Eid Al Fitr or the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
INC spokesman Bienvenido Santiago on Friday announced that "the interment of the late Brother Eraño G. Manalo, Executive Minister of the Church of Christ, will be held on September 7, 2009, Monday, 12:00 noon at the Tabernacle located near the Central Temple."
Santiago said the interment will be held "while awaiting the construction of the mausoleum to which his remains will be transferred."
He said the mausoleum will be built near the monument of the Ka Erdie's father, Felix Manalo, "also within the grounds of the Iglesia ni Cristo Central Complex."
The Philippine Air Lines (PAL) on Friday announced it was offering special discounted tickets for INC members abroad who will be paying their respects to Manalo. PAL Chairman Lucio Tan also paid his last respects to Manalo.
"Upon instructions of our Chairman Dr. Lucio Tan, PAL is offering special discounted ticket prices to INC members who may wish to come home. This is PAL's modest way of showing respect and camaraderie with millions of INC members worldwide who are mourning Ka Erdy's passing," PAL President Jaime J. Bautista said.
Thousands continue to pay respects
Thousands of INC members and friends of Manalo continued to troop to the INC Central Temple after his untimely death from cardiopulmonary arrest last Tuesday.
Megastar Sharon Cuneta and husband Senator Francis Pangilinan paid their respects Thursday night. Cuneta cried after seeing the family of Ka Erdie. The Cuneta family is close to the Manalo family.
Senators Panfilo Lacson, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Cong. Jose de Venecia, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza, and Jesus Is Lord (JIL) leader Eddie Villanueva also paid their respects.
Presidential Management Staff Chief Hermogenes Esperon said that as a former soldier, he witnessed the discipline and spirituality of the members of the INC.
Most of those paying who paid last respects wore black ribbons and came from the provinces.
Many governors from various provinces also came. They said Manalo's leadership was an inspiration which should be followed by church leaders and even local government leaders.
Pasay City local officials, led by City Mayor Peewee Trinidad, also visited the Central Temple. Trinidad recalled that Ka Erdie was still a young man when he met him, and the INC church in Pasay was still small. Today, the INC church is a big concrete temple, an indication that he has achieved a lot for his flock.
Both sides of Commonwealth Ave. got filled with parked buses of the delegations which came from the provinces.