Annual Report: Philippines 2015-2016

Engaging in the Promotion of Peace

  1. The Interreligious Council of the Philippines advocates the Enactment of an Enhanced Meaningful Bangsamoro Basic Law, City of Manila, Philippines

            The Interreligious Council of the Philippines convened in a conference on Interreligious Dialogue with the theme “Multi-Religious Leaders’ Action and Solidarity for Peace in Mindanao” at the Ramon Magsayay Award Foundation Hall, City of Manila, Philippines on September 21, 2015. The conference was attended by 120 multi-religious leaders, heads of interfaith-based organizations and educational institutions and legislators. Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, Chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Council and the Chief Negotiating Panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Atty. Christian Monsod, Constitutionalist, Congressman Rufus Rodriguez and Dr. Lilian Sison, Secretary General of Religions for Peace Philippines were the keynote speakers.    

          The establishment of the Inter-religious Council of the Philippines is the through the continuing effort of Religions for Peace Philippines to consolidate faith communities for common action such as engaging multi-religious leaders to support the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, care for the environment and other programs and activities.

            The highlights of the conference were the workshop where the participants drafted the consensus points of advocating the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) based on “deeply held and widely shared values and principles,” and the dialogue between religious leaders and legislators towards common understanding and mutual cooperation.

  1. The International Conference on The Approach of Islam and Christianity Towards Religious Extremism and Violence

(April 29-30, 2015). Scholars from Iran and the Philippines, together with multi-religious leaders, academicians and youth leaders have come together to discuss and reflect on the realities of religious extremism and draft action plans to address its impact. The activity was jointly organized by Religions for Peace Philippines in cooperation with CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue, Cultural Section of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, University of the Philippines Institute of Islamic Studies and The University of Santo Tomas Institute of Religion.

            The International Conference on Religious Extremism and Violence aims to highlight the positive role of religions in social building and development through interfaith cooperation and social harmony.

  1. (Feb 5, 2016)   A Symposium on Mary in the Bible, Mariam in Quran as a Woman of Love, Mercy and Compassion is part of the series of activities for the celebration of the 2016 World Interfaith Harmony Week. The theme of this year’s Harmony Week Celebration is Love, Mercy and Compassion as Wellsprings of Peace and Hope.          

            Mary the Mother of Jesus is a woman both revered in Islam and in Christianity.   Being the mother of the prophet and a chosen woman, her compassion is an example for all especially for all women. In this symposium, the interfaith community will reflect on the role of Mary as a mother for all Christians and Muslims including other faiths through her virtues of love, mercy and compassion.

            A joint symposium by Pacific Dialogue Foundation, Religions for Peace Philippines, and University of Santo Tomas.

  1. (March 30, 2016) Lecture on Protecting Children’s Rights Through Inter-religious Mechanism. Around 20 youth from Minamikyushu Division of Risho Kosei-kai headed by Rev. Kouichi Manda, Director, Dharma Center of Takanabe met with Religions for Peace Philippines leaders for the presentation of the RfP-UNICEF Child Protection Project in Mindanao.

            Dr. Lilian Sison welcomed the youth delegates and highlighted the success stories of the project. She specially mentioned the free birth registration program that benefited around 4000 Muslim, Christian and Indigenous children.

  1. 2016 Uniharmony Week Celebration

The World Interfaith Harmony Week Celebration is a series of activities for the celebration of the 2016 World Interfaith Harmony Week. The theme of this year’s Harmony Week Celebration is Love, Mercy and Compassion as Wellsprings of Peace and Hope.

            For the Brief Video Documentary of the 2016 Uniharmony Week Celebration, visit thelink:

            Religions for Peace Philippines          

            The first week of February (1-7) was proclaimed by UN General Assembly as the annual observance of the World Interfaith Harmony Week starting 2011 in a resolution A/RES/65/5 adopted on 20 October 2010.   In the resolution, the General Assembly, points out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and establishes World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.

            Since 2012, the UniHarmony Partners Manila was formed to implement programs and activities during the Interfaith Harmony Week. The main goal of the celebration is to spread the message of interfaith harmony, dialogue and cooperation among religions and as an essential element towards nation building.

            In April 2013, Republic Act 10525 was enacted declaring the First Week of February of every year as “World Interfaith Harmony Week” in the entire country. Section 1 states that “All government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and -controlled corporations as well as local government units, are hereby mandated to carry out the observance of activities designed to advance the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in accordance with religious traditions and practices.”

Participation to International Interfaith Meetings and Conferences

            (July 24-26, 2015), Dr. Lilian Sison, Religions for Peace Philippines Secretary General was one of the resource speakers during the three-day meeting entitled “Reflection on Best Practices and Scaling-up Multi-Religious Action” Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH). Dr Sison spoke on “Complementarity across Local, National, Regional and International Levels.” The Workshop-Conference brought together approximately 40 international participants, including representatives from national interreligious councils (IRCs) and Regional Secretaries General to discuss RfP’s methods and mechanisms, best practices and lessons learned.  Pablito Baybado, Jr., the deputy Secretary General of RfPPhl also participated in the workshop training.

            (January 13-14, 2016) Dr. Lilian Sison was part of the international delegation and speaker to the International Consultation Meeting on Multi-religious Humanitarian Action: Addressing Violent Religious Extremism, Refugees and Migrant Crisis and Disaster Relief in Jakarta, Indonesia organized by RfP International.

            (December 7-10, 2015)   Mr. Renz Arago, Religions for Peace Philippines Youth Coordinator participated the three-days youth camp with the theme “Multireligios Youth Action to Overcome Violent and Non-Violent Religious Extremism” in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Religions for Peace (RfP) Asia & Pacific Interfaith Youth Network (APIYN) representing 50 multi-religious youth from 15 countries across the region participated in the youth camp with the aim to educate, train and mobilize religious youth leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to understand the issues and concerns of religious extremism and capacitate them to properly respond based The youth camp was hosted by the Cambodia Interreligious Council and supported by the Religions for Peace International Global Interfaith Youth Network, Religions for Peace Asia and the ACRP Seoul Peace Education Center.