Philippines: A Beacon of Unity – Vice President Duterte

Vice President Sara Duterte. Photo from VICE President Sara Duterte FB page
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Vice President Sara Duterte highlighted the Philippines as a shining example of unity amidst differences. In her message for the country’s observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week from February 1 to 7, she compared the diverse population to colors on an artist’s palette, blending together to create a sanctuary of peace.

Duterte expressed her prayers for a world where love reigns supreme and prejudice becomes a distant memory. She emphasized the importance of Christians, Muslims, and other spiritual siblings walking together and recognizing their interconnectedness, working towards unity and serenity.

Furthermore, Duterte called on Filipinos to embark on a universal path where trust, respect, and love intertwine. She believed that with open hearts, a kinder and more compassionate world, overflowing with acceptance, can be crafted for future generations to embrace.

The observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week originated in Jordan and was later adopted by the United Nations General Assembly through a resolution on October 20, 2010. The core principle of this week is the fundamental religious command to love God and one’s neighbor.

In the Philippines, the concept of interfaith harmony holds great significance due to the country’s diverse religious landscape. With a population that includes Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and various indigenous faiths, the Philippines showcases a rich tapestry of beliefs and traditions.

While religious diversity can sometimes lead to conflicts, the Philippines has managed to foster an environment of unity and understanding. The country’s history is marked by instances where different religious groups have come together to overcome challenges and work towards common goals.

One notable example is the historic signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2014, which aimed to bring lasting peace and development to the predominantly Muslim areas in Mindanao. This agreement demonstrated the power of dialogue and collaboration between different faiths in resolving long-standing conflicts.

Additionally, the Philippines has laws in place to protect and promote religious freedom. The 1987 Philippine Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state, ensuring that no particular religion is favored or discriminated against. This commitment to religious freedom allows individuals to practice their faith without fear of persecution.

Moreover, the Filipino culture itself is deeply rooted in the values of respect and hospitality. Filipinos are known for their warm and welcoming nature, regardless of religious background. This cultural trait contributes to the overall atmosphere of harmony and acceptance within the country.

As the Philippines continues to navigate the challenges of a diverse society, initiatives like World Interfaith Harmony Week serve as reminders of the importance of unity and understanding. By celebrating the common values shared by different religions, Filipinos are encouraged to build bridges of dialogue and cooperation.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a society where individuals can live side by side, respecting each other’s beliefs and working together towards the common good. This vision aligns with the core principle of World Interfaith Harmony Week – the command to love God and one’s neighbor.

Through the efforts of leaders like Vice President Sara Duterte and the collective commitment of the Filipino people, the Philippines stands as a beacon of unity amidst diversity. It serves as a testament to the power of interfaith cooperation in building a peaceful and harmonious society.

Source: The Manila Times

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