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Peace and Security

Tour Launches Mindanao Peace Initiative

Mindanao, Philippines - Building on the foundation of the successful Global Peace Festivals in Manila and the southern Philippine island of Mindanao last year, the Universal Peace Federation launched the Mindanao Peace Initiative in at a gathering in the Philippine House of Representatives, a rally at the Araneta Coliseum, and in cities across Mindanao in late February and early March.

Following a packed rally with young leaders at the Araneta Coliseum, the opening plenary of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Global Peace Tour 2009 was convened in the Philippine House of Representatives with Congressmen Datu Pax Mangudadatu and Jose De Venecia, together with the Deputy Speaker of the House and other Congressional representatives. An international delegation of UPF leaders then traveled to Mindanao to announce the ongoing Mindanao Peace Initiative.

Governor Mohammad Khalid Dimaporo of Lanao Del Norte in Mindanao welcomed Global Peace Festival (GPF) Chairman Dr. Hyun Jin Moon to a crowd of thousands of youths in Tubod, the capital of the province. Dr. Moon was accompanied by Congressman Jose de Venecia, Jr., and the country's R&B prince Jay-R, who has joined joined in support of the GPF peacebuilding initiatives across the Philippines. Governor Dimaporo noted that the mass GPF events and cross-cultural initiatives in Mindanao last September represented a transformative turning point in efforts to show that the people of Mindanao ascribe to a lasting culture of peace.

Lanao Del Norte officials and tribal leaders awarded Dr. Moon the honor of “adopted son” in the region, in light of the successful Global Peace Festival in Mindanao that immediately followed the wake of terror attacks after the breakdown of the peace process in August 2008.

“The Global Peace Tour and the Global Peace Festivals are promoting a tri-fold platform of interfaith cooperation, strengthening the family, and a culture of service for the sake of renewing our communities and nations,” Dr. Moon declared. “We are looking for nothing less than a moral and spiritual awakening rooted in the universal vision of One Family under God. The family is the cornerstone of peace."

He urged the Philippine leaders to “build on these efforts and create a grassroots movement that will spread into a global culture of serving others.”

 



The initiative is chaired by Dr. Estrella Abid Babano, Director for the Department of Education in Region 10, and co-chaired by Father Benjamin Beltran, Director of the Sandiwaan Foundation in Lanao Del Norte. The multi-sectoral Mindanao Peace coalition also includes representatives of Muslim, Christian, and indigenous communities, the Armed Forces, business, academia, and youth leaders.

“Finally, I have found a strong ally with the coming of UPF and GPF to Mindanao,” Dr. Babano told participants in the peace initiative at a gathering in the Pryce Hotel in Cagayan De Oro City on March 5. “We are now in a renaissance period; this is a dawning and an awakening of a new era.”

A Mindanao leader donated two hectares of land during a tree-planting ceremony welcoming the peace delegation to help expand the Department of Education peace villages and GPF initiatives in additional Mindanao communities.

Note: For reports of Global Peace Festival activities in the Philippines in 2008, click here.

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