International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) Officially Takes Off in the Philippines

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By Julius Malicdem, UPF Philippine

Through the auspices of UPF, the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) was formally inaugurated last March 7, 2017 at the very hall in the historic Manila Hotel in Manila, where similarly the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) was launched by our Founders’ Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. A total of 384 delegates have participated in the IAPP Inaugural Conference with 31 current members of the House of Representatives (Parliament) from the Philippines and 17 members of the parliament from various countries particularly in Asia like Korea, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Indonesia. There was a total of 58 foreign delegates in attendance. Other VIPs present in the conference included 3 current Undersecretaries of the government, 3 Assistant Secretaries, 1 Chief Legal Adviser of the President, 8 provincial government executives like Governors, Vice Governors and Board Members and 15 city level government officers like mayors and vice mayors. Several other guests came from different sectors like the academe, religious, business and NGOs. 15 countries all in all are represented in the event.

The Founding Officers and Members of IAPP Philippines took their oath in front of the delegates and administered by the 5-time Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Philippines. Deputy Speaker, Hon. Gwendolyn Garcia was the newly inducted Chairperson, Congressman Leopoldo Bataoil as the President and Congressman Christopher De Venecia as the Executive Vice President.

The inaugural ceremony was highlighted by the Founder’s Address delivered by Prof. Yeon Ah Moon, where she shared to the guests the message given by True Mother in Seoul, Korea during the IAPP Global Assembly. Prof. Moon encouraged all the delegates to fulfill their mission as tribal messiahs and help to save their nation’s citizens. The Regional Chair of UPF Asia, Dr. Chung Sik Yong gave the Welcome Message and followed by Dr. Thomas Walsh, President of UPF International delivered the Opening Message where he briefly introduced about UPF and its mission and programs. The newly inducted IAPP Philippines Chairperson, Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia gave the Inaugural Address after their induction into office. She then led the induction of the founding members who are all incumbent Congressmen in the Philippines plus one former Senator. Hon. Speaker of the House, Hon. Pantaleon Alvarez’ as guest of honor and speaker wherein his main address was delivered by another Deputy Speaker, Hon. Raneo Abu. IAPP Co-Chair for Asia, Member of the Parliament Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal of Nepal gave a Congratulatory remarks.

A declaration of the IAPP Inauguration in Manila was then ceremoniously signed by IAPP and UPF Officers and all the other main guest in the conference. The inauguration concluded with a ceremonial hitting of the gong symbolizing the official launch of IAPP and the concluding message and call to action given by the IAPP Co-Chair, Hon. Jose De Venecia.

Cultural performances delighted the delegates during the luncheon which was then followed by a conference in the afternoon where four topics where tackled by panel of speakers. The various session topics include, “The Insurgency Challenge: Finding Common Grounds for Peace”, “Federalism: Towards Mutual Prosperity and Sustainable Growth”, Fighting Transnational Crimes”, and “Principles and Best Practices in Achieving Peace and Prosperity in Asia. The afternoon sessions ended with a closing message from Dr. Chang Shik Yang, UPF International Secretary General, and the awarding of Ambassdors for Peace.

Before the event on the 6th of March, a very warm welcome dinner was held also in Manila Hotel wherein the international delegates were officially welcomed by the UPF and IAPP leaders. Then in the early morning of the 8th of March, leaders and members gathered for a victory celebration highlighted by the special message from Prof. Yeon Ah Moon where she expressed the deep love of our True Mother and her profound experiences of love with True Parents. True Parents love and spirit was truly felt in the celebration which was filled with beautiful messages, songs, laughers and tears. The victory celebration concluded with a resounding shouts of eog mansei showing the united determination to realize Vision 2020 and gratitude towards heavenly Parents and True Parents.