(Message of Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, newly-retired Archbishop of Cotabato, on the occasion of the annual Mindanao Week of Peace which this year, is from November 29 to December 5. Quevedo is Apostolic Administrator Sede Vacante of the Archdiocese of Cotabato until Bishop Angelito Lampon of the Vicariate of Jolo is installed as Archbishop of Cotabato on 31 January 2019).
Beloved People in the Archdiocese of Cotabato:
Greetings of Peace to one and all!
The Mindanao Week of Peace has become a tradition in the whole of Mindanao ever since the Bishops Ulama Forum, now Conference, established it. A Presidential decree recognized and endorsed it.
The theme of this year’s MWP is most necessary and relevant – “Peace through Dialogue: Our Common Destiny.”
Dialogue is not mere intellectual discussion. It is first of all listening humbly and respectfully to “the other,” listening not only with one’s ears, but most importantly listening with one’s heart. This kind of listening transforms hostility and suspicion into understanding and trust. This was the internal process that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine government developed through long years of patient dialogue for peace.
We are now in the threshold of definitive peace as we look forward to the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law. The referendum in January 2019 could mean lasting peace in Southern Mindanao or it could mean the failure of years of arduous negotiation and the collapse of Bangsamoro dreams for self-determination and integral development. Your choice of yes or no is crucial.
May the peace that only the Almighty, Most Beneficent, and Most Merciful God can give descend gently upon us and reign over us.