Unification News for May 1998

Philippine Unification Church Hosts Victory Celebration

by Lloyd & Donna Howell-Manila, Philippines

April 25th, the Philippine Unification Church celebrated Victory for Religious Freedom-the recent clearing of its name when the Philippine Government declared that there was no basis for the charges leveled at the church as a result of its Blessing activities. The dropping of the case, which had been pending for over two years, brought a sigh of relief in the Unification community and resulted in hosting a gala event called "Thanksgiving Celebration for Religious Freedom" at the Manila Polo Club.

The program, attended by 300 people, included testimony, remarks and messages from Unification officials and friends, both national and international and video footage of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his life's work. Gracing the affair was Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, President of the Unification Church International & the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification who spoke as the Guest of Honor after being introduced by Dr. Felipe Cachola, Pres. of the FFWPU in the Philippines. Rev. Kwak soberly reminded all attending that behind the celebration was the sacrificial suffering and worldwide victory of the Rev. Moon's ministry without which the Philippine victory would not have been possible.

Also among the Unification notaries attending were the Rev. Byung Wooh Kim, Continental Director of the Unification Movement in Asia who was able to enter the Philippines after having been blocked for two years by the pending charges.

Also present was Neil Albert Salonen, Secretary General of the World Culture and Sports Festival International who gave congratulatory remarks. Also, the church's legal counsel and former Senator Rene Saguisag noted how he had been amazed that anyone could, in the first place, try to make a case out of "something that was nothing"; referring to the government's misinterpretation of the church's practicing of its religious rites being misconstrued as "illegal recruitment" (of overseas workers) and violating the mail order bride law (by conducting international matchings).

Gen. Honesto Bumanglag, President of the Ideal Community Foundation, gave a moving testimony of how he had confronted the powers that be as the government and its various arms cracked down on the movement. He talked of the easy slander and discrediting of his name and reputation and of his front-line fight to blunt the government's bludgeoning of the church.

Interlaced among the speeches was professional entertainment provided by two Filipino singers.

Highlighting the program was the unannounced awarding of numerous bouquets of flowers to Mrs. Julia Kim, Co-Continental Director of the Unification Movement of Asia, for her two-year fight to find and rally allies of all kinds in a gallant effort to turn the tide.

Most notable among those efforts was her achievement in getting the Philippine media establishment to re-evaluate and honestly investigate the nature of the case. This effort resulted in the media pressuring the government to confront the foolishness and baselessness of the charges.

Mrs. Kim's husband, Rev. B. W. Kim, praised the government and the Philippine people for their great respect for religious freedom and announced that a new day of blessing was coming toward the Philippines.

All in all it was a festive occasion marked by impromptu singing by the church's regional leaders and spontaneous photo sessions - so loved by the Filipino people. Also attending the event were various national leaders and national messiahs from the neighboring nations of Taiwan, Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand.

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