Hadja Maria Lourdes Salma Veloso Mastura
President, RfP Philippines
Maria Lourdes Salma Veloso Mastura is the President of the Interreligious Council of the Philippines, Religions for Peace. This organization is designed to respect and assist the faith communities in the Philippines to cooperate on deeply held and widely shared concerns to promote multireligious cooperation for peace.
She is also a trustee of the Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC) which hold office at the Manila Observatory in the Ateneo Loyola campus.
Under the presedencies of President Aquino and President Ramos, she was a commissioner in the National Commission on the Role of Filipino women. This commission is directly under the Office of the President of the Philippines. This commission also spearhead government efforts to bring women on equal footing with men in the work place and other areas of common living.
As the Dean of the College of the Sultan Kudarat Islamic Academy, she helps in the administration of this institution which was founded by her husband, Datu Mastura, and named after his ancestor Sultan Dipatuan Mastura Kudarat.
Lastly, she is a founding member of the Museum Volunteers of the Philippines. This group is composed of thirty-nine nationalities and offers volunteer work in the different museums of the country.
With regards to peace activities of our national chapter, let me mention some brief activities. One of the important works we have done was convincing the people of Cotabato City to register their births. If you do not have a birth certificate, you are not officially listed as a bona fide citizen of the country. Together with the town officials, we were able to register over two thousand live births in one day.
In our effort to keep the peace in Mindanao, we have hosted several conferences and workshops with people of different faiths. We had a youth encounter with students from my school (therefore Muslims) and students from southern Christian college. It was a three-day dialogue and workshop. We helped to broker the peace efforts of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and had several meetings with the respective leaders of the two groups.