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With Love, Peace Is Possible

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AS we bring to a close this year’s Week of Peace celebration, the Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace and Peace Advocates Zamboanga extend our sincerest and deepest thanks to the over 30,000 students, government and private sector personnel, soldiers and law enforcement officers, urban poor and barangay officials and residents, persons with disability, and all the others who joined the opening day parade to make it the biggest ever in the city.   We especially praise and thank the youths for enthusiastically taking part in all of the Week’s events and to thereby make the overall celebration a big success. 

It has been a celebration of the gains we have been achieving  in building  interfaith and intercultural bonds and friendships as together we journey towards a common destiny and dream of peace.   We take note of the fact that the IRSMP has been growing in terms of membership, activities and advocacies for the past so many years.   Among these have been expanding our outreach and fraternity with the indigenous communities. Hence, during the Week of Peace, we journeyed  to Arena Blanco barangay to renew and deepen our solidarity and be as one with our Samabadjao brothers and sisters there - and  wherever else they may be.  For the same reasons, we journeyed to Taluksangay barangay,  where we relished the hospitality of the Sama and other ethnic residents under the leadership of  Councilor Abdurahman Nuno and his great clan.

Recent incidents of violence – the  bombing of a pension house last Sunday, the unresolved armed clashes and loss of lives in Al-Barka town and Zamboanga Sibugay province, among other serious lawlessness  – serve to highlight the importance and urgency of our peace-making efforts and advocacies such as the Week of Peace.   In this regard, the IRSMP particularly through its existing collaborations with the Mindanao Peaceweavers coalition will continue to pursue a pro-active role in the GPH-MILF peace process.

In light of these challenges, the IRSMP makes these appeals:  First, let us all  continue to work hard to strengthen our bonds of brotherhood between and among all Muslim and Christian people in our region and throughout Mindanao; second, let us strengthen our alliances and cooperation in confronting and solving our communal problems, issues and insecurities; and, third, let us together overcome discriminatory relationships and conditions that have bred and fomented structural violence such as poverty, domestic feuds, cultural alienation and other forms of injustice that create unpeace.

In pursuit of these visions, we can draw moral inspiration and guidance from the heroic examples of this year’s Peace Weaver Awardees.  They are the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, Ayala National High School principal Dr. Socorro Canaya, the Claret School of Tumahubong, Basilan, and posthumously Mayor Cesar Climaco and missionary priest Father Fausto Tentorio.  

These Peace Weaver Awardees are flesh and blood heroes or martyrs of peace, and they show that peace is all about people loving and respecting other people and thereby proving our  love for God.  “Common Word Between Us:  Love of God, Love of Neighbor”, has been the Week of Peace theme, for which we thank the Bishops-Ulama Conference.  Let us then make our love for God and for others our guiding principle and living virtue in the days ahead.   Let us join hearts, hands and feet as we journey onwards toward our dreams of encompassing peace.  With love, peace is possible. 

By PAZ




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