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Week of Peace 2013 celebration bared

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The 19th annual Week of Peace will be celebrated in the city on November 28 – December 4 with the timely theme of “Lord, Heal Our Land”.
A solidarity prayer rally, instead of the usual massive parade, will kick off the celebration on November 28 at the Paseo del Mar.  Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF revealed that the Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP), of which he is lead convenor, will spearhead the rally as well as most of the other activities of the Week. Expected to join the rally are students and youths, civil society workers, interfaith groups, government workers, policemen, and other sectoral representatives.

The Week of Peace will be observed amid the continuing atmosphere of crisis and conflict from the extremely violent armed attack by rebels of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) last September.  ISP and its secretariat support groups Peace Advocates Zamboanga and Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA) has since been working overtime to help evacuees and other victims in humanitarian relief and healing efforts, hand in hand with other government and non-government agencies like the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) and the parish of St. Anthony Claret.

A pre-Week activity will be the launching on November 9 of RE-UNIDOS, a multi-CSO group recently organized to integrate and strengthen rehabilitation, reconstruction and psycho-social healing projects among a select group of some 30 civil society and government organizations in the city. On November 16, there shall be a youth forum dubbed “I LOVE PEACE” to be sponsored by PAZ, Department of Education, Youth Solidarity for Peace and ISP.

Other Week of Peace activities shall be: Nov. 28 – 8th anniversary celebration of National SamaBadjao Movement, Paseo del Mar; Nov. 29 – Children and Youth Assembly (“A Day of Reflection and Solidarity”), Claret Gymnasium; Peace Forum (“Peace in Mindanao”), Marcian Hotel; Nov. 30 – Historical Journey in Mariki Barangay; Dec. 1 – In Solidarity (“Journey of Prayers and Healing”), at three evacuation centers; Dec. 2-3 – Peace Celebrations in Schools and Barangays; Dec. 4 – culmination activities to be yet finalized.

The Week of Peace is also celebrated throughout most of Mindanao spearheaded by the Bishops-Ulama Forum and also sometimes by CSOs in Metro Manila.

This year’s celebration is more than ever important and indispensable to help residents and communities to heal the deep wounds and pains caused by the MNLF attack and its resulting devastations, Fr. Calvo said.  No one was spared from the social and personal trauma, he noted, which will be felt for a longer time.

In a RE-UNIDOS meeting last Thursday, October 31, observations were made that psycho-social healing to restore inter-religious, inter-cultural and intra-group trust and harmony is imperative and should go hand in hand in rehabilitation, reconstruction and livelihood recovery efforts. Evacuees and victims should also be consulted at every stage of the planning and implementation of the same efforts to facilitate their cooperation and support especially for changes in their settlement housings and economic activities.

(Peace Advocates Zamboanga)




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