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G. de Venecia: Address to ILC

Address to International Leadership Conference 2019, Seoul, Korea, August 15-18, 2019


Excellencies, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen:

On this International Leadership Conference, as we continue to contribute our modest share in building a peaceful and prosperous world, we honor the life and legacy of the great Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who devoted his life to advancing the cause of peace in our troubled world.

We also congratulate Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for deepening and enlarging the late Reverend Moon’s unwavering commitment and tireless efforts in promoting peace, reconciliation, unity, interfaith dialogue, the strengthening of marriage and family, and many other heartwarming initiatives in Asia and in the global community.

We commend Dr. Moon for establishing in 2015 the successful Sunhak Peace Prize, which has gained recognition in the international community and which upholds the pursuit of peace and reconciliation and enshrines her and Reverend Moon’s life-time work and initiatives in peace-making and conflict resolution.

Dear friends, Rev. Moon and Dr. Moon will always have a special place in my heart, as their affection and guidance helped me survive the most painful ordeal of my life—the death of my then-15-year-old dearest daughter KC in a fire that gutted our home on December 2004. Losing a child is the loneliest, most excruciating experience a parent—especially a mother—can have, more so when you celebrate your child’s birthday on Christmas Day.

In 2005, on the occasion of KC’s first birthday after her passing, my husband, former Speaker Jose de Venecia, and I were invited by the Moons to a convention here in Seoul.  Recognizing perhaps my intense grief, Reverend Moon offered his thoughts on life, humanity and the spiritual world. Dr. Moon was so kind as to even introduce me to the Unification Church’s spiritual healer Dae Mo Nim.

After listening to Reverend Moon’s counsel and Dr. Moon’s compassionate advice, I had a deeper understanding of God’s love and the assurance that someday I and my daughter KC will meet again.

God’s healing started with me and my family. And because the only people who can come close to understanding my pain are those who share the experience, I was encouraged to bond with other mothers who, like me, have been wounded by the untimely death of their child. 

Together, we organized a national movement that aims at helping our fellow bereaved mothers. In 2006, our efforts resulted to the establishment of INA (Mother) Healing Center in Quezon City, Metro Manila, that provides free psychosocial support to mothers who have lost a child.  

As I was healing, I also became even more active in the three national welfare institutions that I had built with the help of the congressional spouses. These are the following:

1) The Haven for Women and its 15 regional centers throughout the Philippines, which rehabilitate abused women and victims of rape;

2) The Haven for Children, with four regional centers that shelter street children, who are drug dependent and are starting lives of crime before they reach their teens;

3) The Haven for the Elderly, which serves as a home for senior citizens who have been abandoned by their family.

With my family’s encouragement and support, I also decided to contribute my humble share to nation-building by crafting laws that would further advance and institutionalize the causes of the vulnerable sectors of the Philippine society, especially women, children and the elderly. Thus, from 2010 to 2016, I was elected and served as a congresswoman and as president of all the women legislators in the Philippine House of Representatives.

Dear friends, In the light of the many difficult, intractable political, territorial, religious, separatist, ideological, and ethnic conflicts in our Asian region and in various parts of the world, we, the members of parliament, political leaders, civil society, religious leaders, and the academy, must contribute our share in promoting peace and reconciliation, peaceful settlement of disputes, and sustainable human development. As well, we need to fight poverty, disease, climate change and environmental degradation.

While we are deeply aware of the historical and cultural roots of many of those conflicts—and the enmity and bitter divisions that have grown between rivals—we cannot turn away from the pursuit of peace because the alternative, which is conflict and war, would be immeasurably costly and make all of us losers.

We must take to heart the simple truth that peace indeed is a community of sharing and that we all belong to “one great human family under God.”

Thank you, and good evening!



To go to the International Leadership Conference Schedule 2019, click here.