Press Release
September 11, 2012

Legarda Pushes for "World Interfaith Harmony Week"

Senator Loren Legarda has filed a bill that aims to establish the first week of February as "World Interfaith Harmony Week" in the Philippines, following a 2010 United Nations resolution declaring the same.

"I filed Senate Bill 3276, or the World Interfaith Harmony Week Act, because I believe it will help ease any conflict or tension caused by differing religious beliefs in the country," said Legarda.

"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," she explained.

The proposed measure will mandate all government agencies and instrumentalities to carry out the observance of activities designed to advance the message of harmony and goodwill in accordance with religious traditions and practices during the Interfaith Harmony Week.

"Gatherings and activities for World Interfaith Harmony Week have been held in various countries across the world with diverse backgrounds, including Pakistan, Indonesia, Italy, and Jordan. Even in our country, the National Ulama Conference of the Philippines (NUCP) staged a gathering in Zamboanga City in honor of inter-religious cooperation. Beginning in 2013, we can conduct nationwide immersion programs and educational discussions geared towards forging lasting friendships," she remarked.

"Senate Bill 3276, as it concurs with the resolution of the UN General Assembly, will go a long way in promoting cooperation and understanding among all Filipinos, and will hopefully aid in establishing a country of empathy and a culture of peace," Legarda concluded.

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