Advocates renew commitment for peace

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/22 November) — Members of the Interreligous Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP) on Saturday signed a covenant renewing their commitment to be instruments of peace building in the region.

The covenant signing, participated by 120 individuals from various civil society organizations and institutions, took place during the “soft opening” of the 2011 Mindanao Week of Peace in this city.

“We commit ourselves to a dynamic and responsible involvement in protecting integrity of creation and people’s participation in finding proactive solutions to the various problems geared towards peace and development,” part of the covenant reads.

Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) president Fr. Angel Calvo described peace building as a continuous educational activity in promoting the culture of peace in the community.

Calvo, the Catholic lead convenor of the IRSMP, said building peace in the community should be shared by everyone saying “only when the whole community assumes that responsibility will peace reign in a particular place.”

Meanwhile, he said that in this city a grand parade, children solidarity exchange, and an art exhibition on November 24 will kick off this year’s celebration of Week of Peace, which is also observed throughout Mindanao.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Common Word between Us and You: Love of God and Love of Neighbor,” which was authored by the Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC), the traditional sponsor of the Week of Peace.

The observance of the Week of Peace started through the initiative of a small group of Catholic and Muslim religious leaders in 2000 in this city.

It has become an annual event after the BUC, which has been spearheading inter-religious advocacies in Mindanao since its founding in 2000 in a convention in Zamboanga City, adopted the city’s Week of Peace celebration as an event to be observed throughout Mindanao.

The other activities include peace forums, Wall of Peace mural painting, coastal cleanup, community visitation, and Peace Weavers Awards Night.

The recipients of this year’s Peace Weaver Awards are: the late Mayor Cesar Climaco and late Fr. Fausto Tentorio (posthumous); Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Commissioner Jose Manuel Mamauag; Ayala National High School principal Socorro Canaya; Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer; and, Claret School of Tumahubong in Sumisip, Basilan province.

The Week of Peace will culminate on December 1 with a closing torch parade capped by a musical festival at Paseo del Mar, the newest local tourist attraction. (MindaNews)