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Peaceweaver Awards: The Crown Jewel of the Mindanao Week of Peace Celebration, Past and Present

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“Peace is not merely the absence of war but the presence of justice. It does not just happen. It is to be brought about by human commitment and effort.”

-Salam Foundation (1997)

“Peace is a gift from the Almighty, a grace that is granted in God’s own time. But peace is also a task, a responsibility, the fruit of people’s collective and sustained efforts.”

-Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ, 1997)

2018 Mindanao Week of Peace Celebration

Starting on November 29 this year, the Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP) and the Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) will lead, once again, the celebration of the Zamboanga Week of Peace which was renamed as the Mindanao Week of Peace as it was accepted by the Bishop Ulama Conference (BUC) of the Philippines a few years ago, which started in this city in 1997 by PAZ and Salam Foundation.

Since 1997 to date, the celebration was held for the past 21 years, with 2013 as the only year when the Week of Peace was interrupted by the 'MNLF Siege', in the city and its people.

But the longing for peace continues to this day, hence the celebration continues with critics asking: Where is peace? Why is peace not achieved despite the celebration?

The critics forgot that the fulfillment or the achievement a ”just peace” is not only in the hands of the organizers, but is in the hands of everyone, including the critics, with God’s grace pouring down upon all peace-loving people—if we believe that peace is possible and work for it!

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The Peaceweaver Awards: The Crown Jewel of the Week of Peace

“As we begin and continue to bridge our communities and heal our lives, it is time to thank one another, to remember and believe that peace is possible,” so said Peace Works in 1998.

Thus, the Peaceweaver Awards was born in 1998 during the Week of Peace celebration, with eight awardees as the pioneer Peaceweaver awardees.

The awardees were three bishops, one datu, one traditional Muslim leader and one grand mufti of the Islamic faith of the city.

The Peaceweaver Awards continue with unrelenting tenacity, presided by Fr. Angel C. Calvo, Lead Convener of the ISP, assisted by the conveners of the Muslim community, Evangelical/Protestant community and the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) community. There were three years of the awards in 2002, 2003 and 2005 when there were no qualified candidates for the Awards, hence, three years was on hold.

In 2013, the ISP was forced again to forego the Peaceweaver Awards due to the September 9, 2013 'MNLF Siege' on the city, but 2014 the Awards with exuberant gladness resumed to this day.

Within the one-week celebration, I look up to the day, “when pride and honor comes with solemn dignity.” The best of the celebration, is the bestowal of the Peaceweaver Awards to the distinguished recipients.

For the last 20 years, I had been assisting Fr. Angel C. Calvo, CMF, ISP Lead Convener, and Dr. Grace J. Rebollos, Vice President of PAZ, in the bestowal of the prestigious Peaceweaver Awards, together with the other conveners of ISP.

Bottomline pays tribute to the Muslim Peaceweaver awardees from 1998 to 2017, we only give out a number per year, thus: 1998—three, 1999—no awardees, 2000—two, 2001—two, 2002—no awardees, 2003—no awardees, 2004—one, 2005—no awardees, 2006—one, 2007—no awardees, 2008—two, 2009—one, 2010—one, 2011—no awardees, 2012—two, 2013—no awardees, 2014—one, 2015—one, 2016—two and 2017—three, with the grand total of 22 Muslim awardees.

As of our count from 1998 to 2017, there are now a total of 69 awardees with 22 Muslim awardees and the remaining 47 were Christian awardees.

Indeed, a good harvest for those who are with us in the pursuit of the good and the beautiful –peace in our beloved Land – Mindanao and the city of Zamboanga, the 'Orgullo de Mindanao'. ###




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