DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/01 April) — Sent off by his parishioners and fellow runners, biking priest Fr. Amado Picardal this morning started his “journey for life and peace” that would see him walk from Davao City to Aparri, Cagayan.
Picardal, a veteran campaigner for peace and life, will walk an average of 40 kilometers a day and planned to celebrate 50 masses along the more than 2,000-kilometer trek.
He said the trek to the northernmost part of Luzon Island, Aparri, will take 57 days, most of it to be spent walking on a pair of sandals and, if road surface conditions permit, on bare feet.
His first stop after this morning’s sendoff at the Redemptorist Church in Bajada, Davao City will be the town of Carmen in Davao del Norte.
Picardal said he will post his daily activities on his blog site, http://amadopicardal.blogspot.com.
“I will fast along the way. I will rely on the trust and power of God,” he said.
The priest said he will eat a little during dinner time and will subsist only on water and bananas during daytime.
Since 2000, Picardal has walked and biked great distances to promote his advocacies.
In 2010, Picardal covered 800 kilometers from France to Spain in 2010 campaigning for peace in Mindanao and the success of the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
The 56-year-old priest will be again walking for peace in Mindanao.
“The peace processes between the government and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and NPA (New People’s Army) need our support. We must appeal to all sides to end the violence,” Picardal said in his homily during the mass at the Redemptorist Church this morning.
“I would also like to make an appeal for a ceasefire between the government and the New People’s Army,” he said.
Picardal added the journey to Aparri is a way to show his opposition to the planned construction of a coal-fired power plant in Davao City and an appeal to President Aquino to stop mining.
He said it is ironic that a coal-fired power plant is proposed in Davao City, which is strictly implementing an ordinance that bans smoking in public places.
Picardal also appealed to the Commission on Human Rights to continue the investigation on the extra-judicial killings in Davao and other cities and hold erring government officials accountable.
The priest is vehemently opposing too the proposed Reproductive Health Bill saying it “views children as a curse.” (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)