UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE Southeast Asia & the Pacific Regional E-Newsletter

Updates from TULAY CC - Bohol, Phils

Reported by Ms. Marjorie Angalot

I. Outreach at Tagbilaran Dumpsite

On December 2007, the TULAY CC members together with Mr. Boni Quirog of Bohol Goodwill Volunteers CC, visited a dumpsite located at the outskirts of Tagbilaran City. It was not just giving of used clothing and old toys to the grassroots residents but most importantly interacting with the children and youth as well. We also had the chance to make an ocular inspection of the environment and witnessed the solid waste management situation of the city. We were suddenly moved to plan on what we can to do in response to the global climate crisis. Although the condition of the people there were rather disheartening, it was somehow a relief to see the smiles of gratitude on their faces in response to our humble gesture.

II. Self-Transformation & Youth Leadership Seminar

In the hope of awakening our higher potentials, the “Trust, Understanding and Learning Among Youth” (TULAY) CC and the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of Bohol jointly sponsored a 2-day “Self-Transformation and Youth Leadership” seminar last May 24-25, 2008 in Tagbilaran City. The speaker of the said affair was no less than Mr. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., president of the Manila-based Theosophical Society in the Philippines.

III. Planning meeting

Last 11 June 2008, the TULAY CC members once again had a meeting at Jojie’s restaurant, Tagbilaran City. Being one of those who attended the URI-SEAP 4th Regional Meeting and witnessed the launching of Interfaith Sector of Cebu City, Ms. Marjorie Angalot recounted how she felt privileged and honored to represent the youth CC and shared about the accomplishments of the said meeting/workshop, and about her experiences of meeting new friends, of tasting different kinds of food from different faith traditions and cultures, and of engaging in the challenge to serve for the purpose and vision of URI.

The members thought of creating a logo for TULAY CC. Each member is encouraged to submit his/her own design and the official logo will eventually be chosen next month. They also reached the idea of holding fund-raising activities hence, sponsoring educational movies or supporting a band music competition in July, in time of the Bohol Sandugo festival. Other mutual learning and bridge-building activities considered are tree planting and another visit to the dumpsite.

URI Statement on the Crisis in the Middle East

(Approved by the Standing Committee on behalf of the Global Council of
the United Religions Initiative)

As trustees of the Global Council of the United Religions Initiative, we write to urge an immediate and complete ceasefire of violence that is currently happening in the Middle East, and a commitment by all parties, including the international community and the world's religions, to find the will to complete, implement and invest in a comprehensive peace agreement that will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

We write as leaders of the URI, a global interfaith organization active in 70 countries, through the work of 400 member Cooperation Circles. URI's purpose is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. We have many members in the Middle East, including Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians and Egyptians. The URI has consultative status at the UN through ECOSOC.

As leaders of an interfaith organization dedicated to resolving conflict without resorting to violence, we recognize and laud the heroic work of Palestinians, Israelis and peace advocates all over the world who are dedicated to rising above the violence and working for peace, justice and healing.

We believe that a new day is possible when a comprehensive, just peace will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

We call on all involved - Israelis and Palestinians, people of other nations, international bodies, religions, and grassroots groups working heroically for peace - to take the following steps to speed the dawning of that day:

* To stop the violence immediately.

* To supply immediate humanitarian aid to address urgent suffering and long-term aid to rebuild.

* To commit to negotiate, invest in and implement a comprehensive peace agreement that will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

* To invest in every means possible to weave a fabric of genuine, mutually honoring community among Palestinians and Israelis at the grassroots level.

* To invest less in armaments and more in social and economic infrastructure.

We commit to do all we are able, beginning with support for URI member Cooperation Circles in Israel and Palestine, and engaging our members around the world to help these steps be fulfilled.

And we commit to pray and meditate that violence will cease, peace prevail and a life of hope be restored to the long-suffering people of this region.

URI Global Youth CC Statement on the current situation in Gaza.

We, the members of the Global Youth Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative, wish to express our concern at the current situation in Gaza. Conflict creates hardship and fear for people on both sides and takes its toll on civilians, both young and old, and the livelihood of communities and economies.

As a youth network we sympathise with our fellows, the young people who are caught up in the crisis, in both Gaza and in the Israeli communities that live in fear of rocket attacks. Young people are the future of any community and we feel that they should not have to live amidst a cycle of violence and hardship. In order for young people to make meaningful and healthy contributions to society, it is imperative that they grow and develop within a space of security and integrity.

We are also concerned about those who are vulnerable in these times, such as the elderly and the sick. They need access to medical resources and clean, safe environments. In times of crisis these people suffer the most because basic facilities are less accessible.

They also need to live without the fear created by constant attacks. This situation is robbing people on both sides of basic human rights that are theirs by international law.

We implore both sides to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation and reduce hostilities so that aid and supplies can reach the people of Gaza to alleviate their suffering and so the Israeli people can live without fear. It is our hope that both sides can cooperate in order to achieve a lasting peace and quality of life for all people. Our goal, as members of a global interfaith community, is to achieve this all over the world.