Pastor Apollo Quiboloy’s prophecy
(The Philippine Star) - June 12, 2016 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY – Last Friday, I was in Davao for the day where I had lunch with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, spending the greater part of the day in an interesting conversation about his friendship with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, and his work as the founding pastor of the church ministry known as Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name. By the way, Pastor Quiboloy is one of the personalities we will be featuring in our PeopleAsia magazine’s special issue on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, scheduled for release at the end of this month.

Everyone knows the pastor and the mayor are very close, their friendship spanning over a decade. President-elect Duterte told me himself that he had seen how the ministry of Pastor Quiboloy started out holding services in a small “chapel” with only a handful of church members. From a small congregation, the church has grown into the behemoth that it is today with a following of over six million according to the pastor – four million from the Philippines and two million overseas.

Pastor Quiboloy repeated to me his prophecy based on a vision that he said he saw 18 years ago – that one day, Rodrigo Duterte would become the president of the Philippines. According to the pastor, he saw a dreamlike vision showing him and the mayor about to play golf at the Malacañang golf course. He interpreted this vision as totally unusual since he and Rody Duterte only used to regularly play golf in Davao. (By the way, President-elect Duterte’s handicap is said to be 14.)

Even when it looked like Mayor Duterte would not join the presidential race, having said “no” repeatedly despite the mounting clamor for him to go for it – the pastor never lost faith, believing in that vision he had two decades ago, totally convinced that the mayor of Davao would someday lead the nation.

For that reason, Apollo Quiboloy gave every support he could to the mayor’s campaign – both in the spiritual and physical realm – holding worship and prayer rallies for the mayor along with the church members who also fasted and prayed on their own, convinced in their hearts that Mayor Duterte would be the “David” who would slay the Goliaths of drug trafficking, criminals, rapists, corrupt politicians and everything that has served to perpetuate the poverty and miserable conditions of many Filipinos. The pastor also made the vast material resources of the church available to the mayor – providing transportation and mobility (helicopter and airplanes) and pledging to contribute millions to the campaign kitty of the mayor.

Those who know Apollo Quiboloy very well attest to his steadfastness and commitment to a cause regardless of obstacles, pointing to the way the church ministry has expanded from its humble beginnings with 15 members who went with the pastor when he left another denomination to establish his own ministry. An articulate man, the Davao-born preacher went to a Bible college and became immersed in church work as a young man, after which he began preaching in the slum areas of Davao City, holding bible study sessions and reaching out to spread the ministry of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KJC), the Name Above Every Name.

I’m told that KJC has now expanded its reach to about 200 countries covering 2,000 cities, with the pastor’s teachings spread through a Davao-based TV network (Sonshine Media Network International), a radio station (Sonshine Radio), several newspapers and a magazine, and a website where he is able to touch base with his overseas followers. The pastor has also transformed the foothills of Mt. Apo – the place where he was born – into a virtual “garden of Eden” where he began his Glory Mountain project that reforested the 50-hectare area with pine trees. Church volunteers who helped the pastor with this project proudly point to their handiwork which they call a mountain haven with the cool breeze and pure air provided by the wide expanse of pine trees.

That is not to say however that the pastor’s work and his message have not been met with opposition or criticism, but he considers all these challenges as par for the course, concentrating instead on projects aimed at answering the needs of followers. For instance, the Jose Maria College – an educational institution that offers scholarships from pre-school to college via the “Gift of Education” program that has benefited thousands of scholars over the years.

One of KJC’s biggest projects is the King Dome – a multi-purpose coliseum set in a 26-hectare area near the Davao International Airport that is envisioned to be the biggest in Davao with a capacity of 70,000. While it will primarily cater to KJC events, it has the potential to contribute to Davao’s tourism as it is also part of a bigger mixed-use development plan that includes a 150-room condominium building, a 120-room hotel and museum as well as a commercial center, set for completion by 2025.

But perhaps one of the reasons why the pastor’s work has flourished over the years is not only his compassion for the needy but his ability to balance spirituality with pragmatism. He has hardly seen the President-elect since the May 9 elections, but he knows that their friendship remains solid. “I will continue to pray for President Duterte,” he says, adding that he agrees with Mayor Duterte that the country’s interest should come first above personal friendship – in the same manner that his work as a pastor and leader of the church comes first. “That’s the way it should be, (and) I will support him all the way.”

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