Wednesday, 05 June 2013 00:00
REALIZING individual and collective peace at the community level as the fruit of general human security can only result from socio-economically oriented good governance. This is the philosophy of the Barangay Peace Consultations which Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) is currently implementing at some 20 communities in Zamboanga City.
It is an effort that engages barangay officials and other community leaders to reconsider in depth their fellow residents’ socio-economic conditions and on that basis invigorate their community development plans and cooperation. A major aspect of this approach is to engage the women’s involvement in community projects.
As a peace-building strategy, promoting good governance runs parallel to PAZ’s long-lived inter-religious bonding program in the sense that crucial grassroots participation is tapped and mobilized. For many years now, PAZ has worked with Muslim and Christian religious leaders in a joint effort to promote peace in grassroots communities. The same visionary and missionary philosophy fuels PAZ’s present engagement with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in bringing the civilian-based Internal Peace and Security Plan to various local governments in Western Mindanao.
In these barangay consultations, participants are brought around to review community problems and issues wholistically, based on the internationally acknowledged paradigm Six Paths to Peace. This requires community development agents to integrate such areas as environment, basic services, peace and order, culture and poverty alleviation in a three-dimensional map for communities to navigate their way towards that certain paradise of peace.
This is probably a journey of the proverbial thousand miles – for PAZ and the participating local communities. No matter. In the struggle of community-building, what’s indispensable is the first and every step thereafter, one after the other, day after day, towards the sunlight of deliverance. So shall it be for PAZ’s and the community folks’ Barangay Peace Consultations, even when that may require falling from one’s horse along the way to the Damascus of good governance. (Peace Advocates Zamboanga)
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