By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed a resolution, calling for the declaration of every first Thursday of February as the “Synchronized National Interfaith Prayers for Peace and Reconciliation.”
Sotto, in Senate Resolution No. 1002, said he aims to encourage and persuade all Filipinos, regardless of their religion, to pray as a single nation and actively participate in reciting the “Prayer for Peace in the Philippines.”
He wanted the declaration to start this year, at noon of every first Thursday of February.
The interfaith nationwide prayer, initiated by the PasaLord Prayer Movement in 2017, seeks to unite Filipinos of various creeds and denomination to pray for peace in the Philippines. It has English, Filipino, Cebuano and Hiligaynon versions.
Sotto described as “laudable” the activity of the movement.
The Senate chief, in his measure, said that while the Constitution provides the separation of Church and State, he believed that “encouraging the people to pray as a single nation regardless of religion, cultural race and social stature in life will not violate any law.”
“It is noteworthy to cite that in the Philippine Senate or in other government bodies, whether in the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, they start the day’s work with a prayer to the Almighty God as it is believed that the Divine Providence will guide government officials to come up with policies and programs through God’s mercy and intercession that is beneficial to the people and the entire nation,” he added.
Sotto filed the resolution after the deadly bombing at the Jolo Cathedral in Sulu, which was followed by a grenade attack in a mosque in Zamboanga City. Various religious groups have likewise called on Filipinos to pray for peace and unity in the country.