Custodio, a staunch defender of the anti-discrimination bill in the House of Representatives, said does not have to be a leader first to become peace advocate.
“An individual who respects other people is a peace advocate himself,” Custodio explained. “You can be a peace advocate in every aspect of your life,” she added.
“As citizens living in our communities, we must help the authorities maintain the peace and order situation,” she said during the launching of GenSan Peace, Information, and Knowledge Center last week at the compound of the City Social Welfare and Development Office along Roxas Ave. besides the post office in this city.
She stressed that partaking in any activities that contribute to a peaceful condition of society is everybody’s “social responsibility.”
Custodio said that every person deserves respect from his fellows “and that is the essence of human rights,” she stressed.
“We are lucky we have a place where respect, understanding and big heart is in every person, thus we live in harmony,” the lady legislator explained. “But still there are those who disrupt our peaceful coexistence,” she lamented.
Custodio referred to the bombing incidents that rocked the city in the previous years and a grenade blast that occurred at the back of the city hall on the last night of Kalilangan Festival last February 27 that killed one and wounded six others.
“We may belong to different religions but our responsibility to exercise respect to one another remains,” she pointed out. “Religions do not make us different, we are all human,” she added.
Custodio said “The United Nations has raised our level of decency in our communities.” We are fighting for women’s rights and rights of the minority; we are fighting for human rights.”
She thanked the UNDP-ACT for Peace Programme for the support in the renovation of the peace center.
“In achieving peace in the region, all forms of discrimination and violence must be eradicated while understanding must prevail,” she stressed.
Councilor Lourdes Casabuena, who graced the launching ceremony of the peace center, said respect to others is peace itself and “it must be radiated to other people.”
Jocelyn Lambac, program manager of Kalinaw Sarangani Unit, urged every citizen to become a peace advocate. “Conflict always exists in communities but if there are many peace advocates within, it can be addressed immediately,” she explained.
Lambac pointed out that the presence of advocates as peace builders, and mediators or negotiators to conflicts, is very important in keeping the communities peaceful. (Gandhi C. Kinjiyo / MindaNews)