The Philippines is governed not only by the elected public officials but also by the powerful religious organizations.
The Catholic Church played a major role in the Philippines’ tradition, culture, and governance, but other religious organizations recently are getting a big share of influence in the government, especially the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
Since these organizationsdos not pay taxes, it hard to provide accurate data on how rich these powerful religious organizations are, but based on their infrastructure, influence, and reach, we can estimate their wealth with the aid of available data online.
There are hundreds of religious organizations in the country, but some are too small that we can ignore, especially the hundreds of Baptist and Protestant organizations.
The following is the lists of top ten wealthiest and influential religious organizations in the Philippines.
1. Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic’s wealth is hard to estimate as it is not centralized. Each Archdiocese has its own investments in major Philippine corporations. The Manila Archdiocese, for instance, has hundreds of billion peso investments in Ayala Group, Philiex Mining, San Miguel, and other corporations.
It is safe to say that the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines has an estimated net worth of around P1.2 trillion.
2. Iglesia Ni Cristo
Founded in 1914, the Iglesia Ni Cristo started from scratch and ended as the most powerful and influential religious organization in the country. It owed its success to the Church discipline rather than God’s guidance.
The controversial Church has been involved in a number of government-related scandals, but because of its media influence, few had been reported.
Its intervention in government is no secret to many, especially during the election period where it practice block voting, denying members’ basic rights to vote at will.
INC has the most maintained structures inside and outside the Philippines. It owns hundreds of real estate where its churches are built. Its central temple in Diliman Quezon City alone is estimated to be worth around P3 billion. It owns the Philippine Arena, hospitals, and universities worth billions of pesos. Having said so, the Iglesia Ni Cristo is worth around P900 billion.
Islam is the right term for Muslim’s religion, while Muslim is a term used to describe the people who are practicing Islam.
Islam is the second largest religious organization in the Philippines next to the Roman Catholic in terms of the number of followers, but its influence is inferior to that of INC.
Although Muslim people are involved in many sectors like government and politics, and many businesses, the group’s financial management is not as strict as other religious groups.
Islam in the Philippines has an estimated net worth of around P450 billion.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint, or Mormon, is not as influential as many on this list, but it is one of the wealthiest religious organizations around the world.
Mormons in the Philippines has a handful ofthe population, but its real estate worth billions of pesos. Mormons in the Philippines is worth around P3 billion
5. Seventh-day Adventist
The Seventh day Adventist is another big religious organization in the Philippines, but its public influence is non-existing. The Church is involved mainly on education and medical missions, and has an estimated net worth of around P3 billion.
6. Jehova’s Witnesses
Similar to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Jehova’s Witnesses is another religious organization that can be found in most towns and cities inside the Philippines in small groups.
Jehova’s Witnesses in the Philippines has an estimated net worth of around P600 million
7. El Shaddai
El Shaddai is founded by one of the richest religious leaders, Mariano “mike” Velarde. Since El Shaddai has no significant infrastructures, most of its earnings are funneled to Velarde’s personal bank accounts. El Shaddai and Mike Velarde has an estimated net worth of P200 million
8. Jesus is Lord
Eduardo “Eddie” Villanueva Eddie Villanueva might have failed to become a Philippine president, but his influence remains strong and his wealth remains big. Villanueva and his church, Jesus is Lord, has an estimated net worth of more than 200 million pesos.
9. Ang Dating Daan
Many argued that Eliseo Soriano is poor, but his radio programs won’t agree with this statement. Velarde is paying millions of pesos to air his message over radio and television.
Soriano and Ang Dating Daan have an estimated net worth of at least P100 million
10. Kingdom of Jesus Christ
Apollo Quiboloy Quiboloy is a televangelist and the founder of Kingdom of Jesus Christ. He is the richest religious leader in Southern Philippines with an estimated net worth of 100 million. He is a close friend and supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, and was instrumental during Duterte’s Presidential campaign.
After knowing how rich these religious organizations are, do you think the government should tax them? Maybe if the government have a strong arm to pressure these cults. /Baby Castro/
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