Mindanao peace anthem launched April 3 at formal launch of Konsult Mindanaw!

The consultations will be done by Konsult Mindanaw!,  a team comprising researchers from Mindanao universities, headed by social anthropologist Fr. Albert Alejo.

Multi-awarded playwright and poet Al Santos, who wrote the lyrics for the rock opera “Sa Bundok ng Apo” in 1977, wrote the lyrics of the peace anthem, “Isang Paanyaya” (An Invitation).   Ethno-rock musician Popong Landero provided the music and led a group of homegrown singers from the Samahan ng mga Musikeros sa Davao, Inc., in recording the peace anthem.

The song urges the public to take an active role in making peace happen in Mindanao: May usapan ng tigil putukan, na naman/May binubuong kasunduan/May pangako ng katahimikan, na naman/May pag-asa ang kapayapaan, kaylanman/Ikaw ba at ako ay makikinig   lang/O tayo ba’y magpaparamdam /Ikaw ba at ako ay uusyoso lang/O tayo ba’y makikialam. (There are talks of ceasefire, again/There is an agreement being crafted/That promises peace,again/There is hope for peace, always/Do we just listen/Or make our presence felt/Do we just watch?/Or should we be involved?).

The song also reminds listeners to know and understand the roots of the conflict: “Ungkatin mo, alamin mo/Ang simula ng putukan/Ang ugat ng labanan/Sa digmaang Mindanao” (Probe/Find out/how it all began/the roots of the confict/of the Mindanao war) and to find a way to end it: ”Ungkatin mo, alamin mo/Ang landas ng pagbabago/Landas na magwawakas/Sa digmaang Mindanao” (Probe/Find out out/The pathway to change/Pathway to end/the Mindanao war).

Santos, who taught at the Ateneo de Davao University in the late 1970s, says the themes of history and hope reverberate through the song.

“Artists have a responsibility to reveal the state of conflict in Mindanao. But it is also our duty to tell stories of hope and resilience,” he said, adding that such stories are the “untold narratives of communities upholding peace.”

“They need to be told and be heard because they hold the keys to solving the dilemmas of building lasting peace in war-weary Mindanao,&rd
quo; he said.

“I am honored to have contributed to this song, which is the least artists can do to support the quest for lasting peace in Mindanao,” says Landero, also known as “kaliweteng gitarista” (left-handed guitarist).

Landero, who did the musical score for the independent film,  ‘Hunghong sa Yuta’ last year, also released his latest CD, “Rasta Mindanaw,” in November last year.

Landero has produced at least six albums since 1987. He was among the musicians who composed song for the critically-acclaimed Salima, a multi-media concert theater production on the internally displaced persons (IDPS) or “bakwits.” Salima was toured across Mindanao in 2003 and 2004.

The BUC, through Konsult Mindanaw! is sponsoring some 300 focus group discussions (FGDs)  in eight regional groupings – Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao, Caraga, Central Mindanao, Socsargen, Northeast Mindanao, Lanao del Norte and Outside Mindanao.

The project will have its formal launch on April 3 in Davao City, where the song will also be launched.

The song ends with a note of hope: Bantayan mo ang pagsikat/Masigabong bagong araw/Sagot sa ating dasal/Na mapayapang Mindanao (Watch out for the dawning/Of a bright new day/An answer to our prayer/For a peaceful Mindanao). [MindaNews]