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Philippines Gathering Calls for Moral Renaissance as Path to Peace

Quezon City, Philippines – Senator Robinhood Padilla was the chief guest at an Ambassador for Peace awards banquet held by UPF-Philippines amid calls for peace in the Middle East and worldwide. The gala evening was held at the Seda Vertis North Hotel in Quezon City on November 7, 2023, and was graced by the presence of 96 dignitaries with staff. Eighteen new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed.


In his keynote address, Senator Padilla called for a moral renaissance in the Philippines. He noted that the republic was likely “the most religious nation in Southeast Asia.”


At the same time, the movie-star-turned-politician lamented that young people seem to have lost a sense of value for religion as well as for the history of their country. “It is not about being Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu,” Senator Padilla advised. “It is about believing in God. We have to go back to God.”


In his video message Dr. Charles Yang, international chair of UPF, read from UPF’s “Response and Call to Action on Israel and Gaza.” He read, “Based on the spiritual teachings of the Holy Land that include repentance, forgiveness, mutual respect and even the recognition that in the eyes of the Creator we are all members of one family of humanity, a permanent reconciliation and peace can surely emerge for Palestine and Israel.”


The event was hosted by Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, UPF chair for the Asia Pacific region. He is a two-time government minister who currently serves as a member of Nepal’s House of Representatives. The theme for the program was “Re-VISION: Towards Peace and Nation-building.”


Hon. Dhakal focused on the vital cooperation needed between government, civil society, and the faith-based community. Governments should be “benevolent to the people and committed to building a cultured, prosperous and egalitarian society,” he said. Civil society supports this by helping to resolve conflicts, monitor elections, and oversee the functions of the state at all levels. Finally, he said, faith-based communities must take responsibility to educate society with spiritual enlightenment and promote a universal fraternity of humankind.


Other speakers included Fr. Raul B. Barcela of the Old Roman Catholic Church; Dr. Leo Angelo Halog, president of UPF-Philippines; Mr. Ronnie Sodusta, president of the  International Association of Youth and Students for Peace, Asia Pacific; Hon. Leopoldo Bataoil, mayor of the Municipality of Lingayen; and Atty. Rodelio T. Dascil, director general of the Senate Tax Study and Research Office, Senate of the Philippines.


By Robert S. Kittel, Co-Chair, UPF-Asia Pacific November 7, 2023


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