Senate of the Philippines – 15th Congress

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Press Release
January 28, 2013

Meanwhile, the Senate also approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 3276, an Act declaring the first week of February every year as “World Interfaith Harmony Week”, seeks to promote mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue among leaders and representatives of religious and secular organizations.

The United Nations General Assembly (UN GA) proclaimed in October 20, 2010 the first week of February of every year as the “World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs,” through resolution A/RES/65/5.

“The rationale of the UN resolution is a need to find genuine understanding among people of different faiths and belief systems. This finds resonance in the Philippines, a country that will certainly benefit from dialogues among leaders and representatives of religious institutions. The harmony we are pushing for is democratic, and built on effective communication and mutual respect,” Sen. Loren Legarda said.

Senate Bill No. 3276 seeks to promote cooperation and genuine understanding among all Filipinos, in order to establish a country of empathy and a culture of peace.

“It is in the best interests of the Filipino people to promote civil and non-violent inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogues. These dialogues will empower our democratic ideals and engender an environment conducive to the prosperity of all,” Legarda said.

“Since time immemorial, lives and civilizations have been the pawns of wars and conflicts fought in the name of religion. Right here in the Philippines, we have our own share of armed conflict and violence between Christians and Muslims. Our challenge and our goal is to build a sense of community that goes beyond the traditional boundaries of clan, tribe, class, region, and religion. I believe that mutual understanding and cooperation will help us achieve a united nation,” Angara said in his sponsorship speech.