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World Peace Blessing

Interfaith Peace Blessing Festival Held in Mindanao, Philippines

Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, Philippines - The Universal Peace Federation partnered with the provincial government of Sultan Kudarat in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao to hold the Interfaith Peace Festival on March 31.

The festival was held in the provincial capitol gymnasium. According to Cathy Trinidad, the Chief of Staff for the Governor of Sultan Kudarat, an estimated 35,000 people assembled. Other news outlets put the number at 20,000 in attendance. Either way this was the largest gathering of people in that venue in the history in the province. In addition, there were an unprecedented 130 international guests from 28 nations in attendance.

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The blessing festival was a recommitment of marriage and family, which are institutions held sacred by Christians, Muslims, and indigenous peoples. Prayers from many religions were offered, including from: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Sikhism, and Lumads (indigenous people of Mindanao). Before the ceremony, young people took a pledge of purity, promising to save sex until they are married.

Sultan Pax S. Mangudadatu, Al Haj, Ph.D., the festival chairman, said “We are here to renew our wedding vows together and this will be a witness to the world!” The Festival changed the image of Mindanao. Instead of communal fighting based largely along religious lines, Mindanaoans came together transcending and maintaining their religiosity in celebration of marriage and family as "one family under God."

At the end of the peace festival dignitaries signed the Mindanao Peace Initiative. In addition, UPF launched 37 chapters in Mindanao.

Prior to the festival, a two-day International Leadership Conference was held in Davao co-sponsored by the Mayor of Davao. The theme for the conference was “The Role of Interfaith Harmony and Good Governance in Peace and Development.” For more information click here.

For background information on Sultan Kudarat, click here.
For a report in the Manila Bulletin, click here.

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