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On January 20, SGI members in Southern Mindanao held a culture festival and leaders meeting to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the opening of the SGI-Philippines Davao Culture Center and to initiate momentum towards 2014, which will mark 50 years since the start of the SGI Buddhist movement in the Philippines.
The festival featured performances by all ages, including a men's group poetry reading, a women's group choral performance, and a youth dance. A slideshow presenting the history of the SGI and milestones in the development of SGI-Philippines was also screened.
In her congratulatory address, Hon. Pilar C. Braga, Davao City councilor, expressed her wish for the members of SGI-Philippines to continue upholding the humanistic spirit of Nichiren Daishonin's philosophy as they take the lead as contributive citizens in society.
Dr. Perfecto A. Alibin, president of the University of Southeastern Philippines, stressed that the SGI's emphasis on fostering young people is a vital initiative for building a peaceful society.
Other distinguished guests included Jesus Antonio G. Derije, president of South Mindanao University; Dr. Guillermo P. Torres Jr., president of the University of Mindanao; and Sir Elias B. Lopez, supreme commander of the Order of the Knights of Rizal.
Soka Gakkai Vice-President Masatoshi Konno, visiting from Japan, SGI-Philippines Vice-General Director Eduardo Tan and National Women's Division Leader Dalisay C. Serrano shared words of encouragement.
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a message for the occasion, in which he applauded the members' daily grassroots efforts to pray for and encourage others, and expressed his desire for the continued prosperity and advancement of the region.
[Adapted from an article in the January 24, 2013, issue of Seikyo Shimbun; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]
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