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A Reminder and a Prayer for the Candidates

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On May 13, 2013 the Philippines will have its election for national and local officials. While the Silsilah Dialogue Movement has made it a consistent policy to stay out of political – that is, partisan - pursuits, it organized a much appreciated activity as part of the celebration in Zamboanga City of World Interfaith Harmony Week 2013.

On January 31, 2013, the first day of the celebration the partners of this initiative invited all the candidates standing for election to office, both national and local, to an afternoon of presentations on leadership from Islamic, Christian and Christian and Buddhist perspectives.

The majority of the candidates were those vying for positions in the local govern- ment unit of Zamboanga City.

The speakers focused their presentations on concepts of leadership as re- ferred to by relevant quotations from the respective holy books or traditions of Islam, Christianity and Buddhism. It was quite revealing how the ideas from the three religions shared in common many nuances of leadership.

The afternoon activity culminated in the signing of a covenant for conduct in the election campaign by all the candidates and their supporters who joined them in the afternoon activity.

Now, nearly 10 weeks after the signing ceremony and deep into the campaign for the May 13 elections the candidates are reminded of the covenant they signed. Electoral victory is the aspiration of all the candidates but only a specific number can attain their aspiration as expressed by the people’s will through their ballots. Harmony is a good in itself but this is also a good that can generate other good. The ideal of harmony can guide how the candidates conduct themselves to ensure a peaceful election
Prayer for the Candidates

Almighty God, you have called each of us to a specific role in life. Fathers and Mothers to be the leaders in the family; priests and imams and monks to be leaders in our religious practice; teachers to be leaders in schools; and political leaders in the exercise of our duties and our expectations as citizens of our country.

Almighty God, you have planted in us the seed of freedom in the exercise of our political rights. It is our belief, Almighty God, that your will is expressed when the will of the people is allowed free and unhampered expressions.

We pray, Lord God that in the campaign for the upcoming election the candidates will speak the truth, that they will not attempt to exploit the circumstances of voters so as to gain advantage for themselves, that they will seek to conduct a peaceful campaign that will allow the full exercise of freedom of choice by the voters.

And when the winners shall have been identified, Lord God, we pray that they will reaffirm their victories as your call to them to serve you and your people - serve devotedly, serve diligently and serve generously. We pray that you shower them with grace that they may serve you and your people well for the many responsibilities that will be theirs.

Hewing to your love and example, nothing is impossible.




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