Balangayan Conference Builds Solidarity Among Faith-based Groups: “I am My Brother’s Keeper.”

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PCOO Undersecretary for Special Concerns Jose Mari M. Oquiñena opened the second section of the conference with the topic “I am My Brother’s Keeper.” He pointed out that every individual’s action affects another, and that disunity was the root of our country’s ills—poverty and corruption is allowed to thrive because efforts to curb it are disconnected.

Oquiñena presented a video showing Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation volunteers building houses with residents of a Sulu village.

The screening evidently impressed the participants, and some were even teary eyed after the presentation.

PIA Press Release
Sunday, October 02, 2011

 

http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=1&t=1&id=57196

Balangayan Conference Builds Solidarity Among Faith-based Groups

MANILA, Oct. 2 –Buddhist monks clasping their hands together to bow to Catholic priests. Muslim elders praying for their Tausug brothers.

The Balangayan Conference held at the University of Santo Tomas last Saturday has not only debunked the preconceived notion that attaining commonality among different faith-based groups is highly unlikely. It has shown that Filipinos of different faiths can—and will—work together for their shared calling of realizing change in the country.

“When I smell the scents of the flowers, I can tell they are not mine, they are ours. Just like the trees that touch the sun, we’ll live in peace as long as we are one,” the participants sang together, intoning the poem written by Buddhist Master Hsing Yun.

Balangayan is part of a series of activities for Pilipinas Natin!, a volunteer movement for nation building that the President launched in June. More than 800 people attended the conference.

‘The faithful are nationalistic’

The gathering led by Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma was a response to President Benigno Aquino’s call for change. Coloma said that, while Filipinos may not practice the same beliefs, they do share common values like “loving your country and caring for each other.”

”So by practicing your faith you also become nationalistic,” he said.

After his speech, representatives from the University of the Philippines Institute of Islamic Studies, the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA), and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) then informed the audience of activities through which they manifest their love for their nation.

Macrina Morados from the UP Institute of Islamic Studies said that most Muslims respect other religions, and that the stereotype that they are violent should be set straight. “Islam means peace,” she said.

Venerable Miao Jing, head abbess of the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple, meanwhile told the audience about their community’s feeding and scholarship programs. Joanna Dela Cruz of the NCCP imparted the council’s efforts to support and protect victims of human rights violations.

‘I Am My Brother’s Keeper’

PCOO Undersecretary for Special Concerns Jose Mari M. Oquiñena opened the second section of the conference with the topic “I am My Brother’s Keeper.” He pointed out that every individual’s action affects another, and that disunity was the root of our country’s ills—poverty and corruption is allowed to thrive because efforts to curb it are disconnected.

Oquiñena presented a video showing Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation volunteers building houses with residents of a Sulu village.

The screening evidently impressed the participants, and some were even teary eyed after the presentation.

He said: “We all have our ways of interpreting things, but there is always a truth that we should all understand. The truth is there are many brothers outside this auditorium who need our help. The truth is there are people in here who can help them. We are our brother’s keeper. Let us work together to help our brothers.”

Other representatives from different communities shared their thoughts on “being your brother’s keeper.” Carl Fontanilla of the Light of Jesus Family then related stories of feeding programs and prayer meetings in Tondo.

Jason Sibug of Tuklas Katutubo enlightened the audience on the beliefs of indigenous peoples. He shared a proverb from their tribe, which tells people not to devour all the fruits of a tree because the next traveler would most probably also need sustenance from the fruits.

Leon G. Flores III, chair and CEO of the National Youth Commission, spoke to the participants, who were mostly students, about having their issues heard through peaceable means.

The conference ended with the participants greeting and affirming their respect for each other. Some even prayed for each other while Master Hsing Yun’s poem was being sang by Jude Gitamondoc of the BLIA.

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http://about.me/rictandag http://LVHelpGro.net @rictandag @LVHelpGro Returned U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, Tandag, Surigao del Sur, Republic of the Philippines 1979-1980; Financial Management training Program [FMP], G.E., Appliance Park, Louisville, Kentucky 1981-1982 Champion [two days] Jeopardy 1986 Attorney, Los Angeles, CA 1989-1995 Disabiility Rights Attorney, www.NDALC.org, Las Vegas 1998-1999 Immigration Asylum Attorney, throughout the State of Kansas 1999-2001 Supply Logistics Specialist, UPS Las Vegas, 2006- present http://www.ups-scs.com [business] http://InternationalAidAdvocate.com http://rictandag.tumblr.com/ http://www.facebook.com/rick.passo http://www.linkedin.com/in/rickpasso http://www.twitter.com/rictandag http://paper.li/rictandag http://rictandag.i.ph/blogs/rictandag/ http://ricktandagvegas.blogspot.com/ https://rictandag.wordpress.com/ advocate for: http://www.gk1world.com [Gawad Kalinga, tagalog for "to give care"] http://www.jacintoandlirio.com http://www.civitan.net/diverse http://www.Rags2Riches.ph
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