3-day caravan from Mindanao to Manila calls for peace

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/2 Nov) – Around 50 vehicles coming from several civil society organizations headed by the Reform ARMM Now (RAN) are expected to join a caravan for peace from this city to Quezon City to push the idea of calling for peace instead of the all-out war being pushed by some quarters.

The caravan that would travel 1,900 kilometers from Nov. 3 to 5 will culminate in a peace concert on Nov. 7. The activity will launch the “RAN for Peace” or “Lakbayan para sa Kapayapaan” which would kick off at Kiosko Kagawasan at Divisoria Park here starting 1 p.m. on Nov. 3.

“We believe that in war, there are no victors but victims,” said RAN chairperson Salic Ibrahim.

He said the activity is a collective effort among stakeholders in Mindanao to show opposition to and sentiments about the call for an all-out war. “We firmly believe that through our concerned efforts we can contribute to the attainment of meaningful peace in ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) and in Mindanao as a whole,” Ibrahim said.

Tom Villarin of Akbayan-Mindanao said his group’s main purpose in joining the caravan is to spread the message of peace all  throughout the Philippines.

“The proponents of the peace caravan believe that the message of peace and the impact of war should be understood by the people, especially those who are not living in war-affected areas,” says Villarin.

RAN coordinator Khal Mambuay-Campong added that several other vehicles will join the group to as far as Surigao City to send off the group that would be crossing to Leyte by ferry.

Other groups joining the caravan are the Bangsamoro Solidarity Movement (BANGSA), Anak Mindanao, Bishop-Ulama Council, Young Moro Professionals Network and the Service for Peace Mindanao.

Participants will be coming from Tawi-tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga peninsula, Lanao, Maguindanao, Davao and Bukidnon. The convoy will have short stops to hold programs and dialogues in the cities of Butuan in Mindanao, Tacloban in Leyte, Calamba in Laguna and Legaspi in Albay.

On Nov. 6, the Muslim participants will pray all together on Eidl Adha at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. Then on November 7, the group will  have a dialogue with the different sectors and a peace concert to culminate the activities. (Erwin Mascarinas / MindaNews)