IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay (MindaNews/24 November) — Hundreds of residents here took to the streets early Thursday morning to “walk for peace” on the first day of the Mindanao Week of Peace.
At the town plaza, students from different schools, representatives of various religious groups — Christians and Muslims, workers in the government and the private sector held placards calling for peace.
The Mindanao Week of Peace is observed annually starting every last Thursday of November. This year’s theme is “Common Word between Us and You: Love of God, Love of Neighbor.”
The “Walk for Peace” activity was spearheaded by Mayor Eldwin Alibutdan in cooperation with various groups. The town’s population is a mix of settlers, Moro and Lumad (indigenous peoples).
Ressel Lopecillo, Ipil’s Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federated Vice-President, who was among those who participated in the “walk for peace” said real peace should start with the youth.
“I fully support these kinds of activities because through them I can serve as a role model to my fellow youth. This way, I can show to them that we, the youth, should be in the frontline in the journey to achieve lasting peace in our lands. We are the nation’s future and we should act now and not later,” he said.
In his speech, Mayor Alibutdan cited the importance of constantly observing and supporting the week-long annual celebration, explaining that lasting peace is not achieved in a day.
He also said that the Ipileños are instruments of peace and not of war.
“Lasting and sustainable peace is not achieved in a day so it very important that we continue to shout for peace and support the Mindanao Week of Peace celebration. I am thankful that the people in Ipil are peace-loving citizens and we are fortunate that we choose to become instruments of peace and not of war,” he said.
A series of activities has been lined-up for the celebration here like a youth peace camp and a “Bangkete sa Kalinaw” or Peace Banquet. (Paulnazer Lontua/MindaNews)