News Release

Unifying Differences: The Mindanao Peace Forum Champions Collective Action for Peace

The Buhangin Stake Center of The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints in Davao City buzzed with energy on May 23, 2023, as religious leaders, key stakeholders, and revered speakers converged for the Mindanao Peace Forum.

Hon. Isidro L. Purisima, Secretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity, captured the essence of the gathering, stating, "Gatherings such as this peace forum are a testament that despite our differences, we can all unite and work as one in addressing pressing societal concerns that Mindanao is facing."

The forum aimed to illuminate the significant role religious leaders play in weaving the intricate fabric of peace-building in Mindanao. Setting the tone for the day was Elder George Kenneth Lee, Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who shared his inspiring words.

"Think of peace building as a long-term transformative process that gets at the how, when, and why of conflict," Lee urged the attendees. "It reconciles relationships between people and reimagines structures between groups in a way that creates sustainable harmony in brotherhood." He emphasized the transformative power of unity, "I believe that if we continue to build our strength and empower others, we will continue to build a better place for our children and the future of this country."

Organized by the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (ACRP) and supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Sultan Kudarat Islamic Academy, the forum was not only a platform for discussion but a rallying cry for action towards fostering dialogue, collaboration, and unity in the region.

Atty Datu Michael O. Mastura, President of Sultan Kudarat Islamic Academy and former Congressman, lent his voice to the historical narrative of peace-building in Mindanao. He observed, "Peace-building in Mindanao has developed over many years," emphasizing the significance of understanding not only Islam's doctrine but also its culture in this endeavor.

Speakers like Rev. Nobuhiro Nemoto, Deputy Secretary General of Religions for Peace International; Dr. Sunggon Kim, Honorary President of Religions for Peace Asia; and Fr. Carlos Reyes, Minister for Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs of the Archdiocese of Manila, underlined the pivotal role of interfaith cooperation.

Nemoto stressed, "We human beings should co-exist peacefully while acknowledging and respecting each other’s differences.”

Aligning with this sentiment, Dr. Kim noted, "It is our first duty as religious people to build peace in the human mind, and this is also the duty of ACRP."

Fr. Reyes added his voice to this collective call, asserting, "God’s work is our work as religionists."

His Eminence Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, Archbishop Emeritus of Cotabato, painted a vivid picture of his aspirations for peace-building, including participatory democracy, rights for minorities, women empowerment, disarmament, removing mutual prejudices, and fostering interfaith dialogues among others.


Rev. Yoshinori Shinohara, ACRP Secretary General, wrapped up the event with words of gratitude and a call to action, "We express our deepest gratitude to all participants for their active engagement and dedication to the cause of peace."

The Mindanao Peace Forum thus underscored the pivotal role of religious leaders in the peace-building process in Mindanao. The event served as a reminder of the power of dialogue, collaboration, and collective action in sculpting a future of lasting peace.

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