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Week of Peace 2013 reels off on Thursday

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THE city will once again celebrate the annual Week of Peace for the 19th year with a “Solidarity Prayer” to be held at Paseo del Mar on Thursday, November 28 starting at 6:30 in the morning. The prayer rally deviates from the celebration’s usually massively-participated opening parade, which the sponsor Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP) decided to forego because of persisting adverse repercussions of the Sept. 9 MNLF attack, ISP lead convenor Fr. Angel Calvo,CMF said.

“This year’s 19th annual Week of Peace celebration on November 28 – December 5, 2013 comes with extraordinary relevance, urgency and meaningfulness. The people of our beloved City of Zamboanga are still gripped in the emotional and social trauma, anger and disbelief brought about  by the September 9, 2013 attack on our city by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels,” ISP said in a statement released earlier.

Fr. Calvo is inviting city residents to join the rally to show their support for the quick recovery of peace and security here.  Your public demonstration will motivate government agencies and other sectors to hasten all efforts to bring back normality in the city, he said. 

The challenges to peace and security has “become as colossal as it is now, though far from being insurmountable.  For the truly courageous of heart, this challenge but presents an opportunity to start a new beginning and journey for a new Zamboanga Hermosa,” the ISP has said.

The Zamboanga-Basilan integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA), an NGO which Fr. Calvo heads, earlier organized several local civil society groups into a task force called RE-UNIDOS to harmonize their efforts to assist victims of the conflict. ISP in its statement had urged government “to immediately rehabilitate the thousands of destituted, displaced and generally neglected families especially those whose houses were burned (and) for all sectors of local society involved in the rehabilitation and healing of affected residents and their communities to harmonize their efforts to achieve efficiency and speed.”

Aside from the “Solidarity Prayer”, the Week’s celebration will include a “8th Anniversary Celebration of National Sama Badjao Movement” (Nov. 28), “Youth Peace Assembly” (Nov. 29), “Historical Journey to Mariki” (Nov. 30), “In solidarity ‘ - Journey of Prayers and Healing” to Taluksangay and “Peace Forum: Peace in Mindanao” (Dec. 2), celebrations in schools and barangays (Dec. 3) and culminating with “Regatta de Paz” and “Cultural Peace Festival” (Dec. 4).

“We urge schools, communities and organizations to initiate and conduct their own Week of Peace activities to stimulate and sustain our multi-track journeys to peace and security. Let this year’s celebration shed much-needed light on the indispensability of peace, to grant us the strength to triumph over the crisis and for God to hear our plea:  “Lord, Heal Our Land!,” the ISP has also said.  “Lord, Heal Our Land” is the theme of the Week. 
The event will also be celebrated  throughout Mindanao.

(Peace Advocates Zamboanga)




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