Peace Forum kicks off Mindanao Week of Peace 2012

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/25 November)– A multi-sectoral peace forum on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), dubbed as the “roadmap to peace” in Mindanao, was held here Saturday to kick off this year’s Mindanao Week of Peace, which is set on November 29 to December 5.


Leading the discussion for the Mindanao Peace Forum was lawyer Johaira Wahab, a legal adviser to the peace panel of the Government of the Philippines. She represented government peace panel chair Marvic Leonen, who was recently appointed as Supreme Court Associate Justice.


With the full endorsement of the Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC), this year’s celebration carries the theme ‘Love of God and Love of Neighbor, A Challenge for Mindanao.”


In a statement, the BUC appealed to Mindanaoans to “promote formative and character-building projects whereby an interactive knowledge and understanding of faith, culture and dialogue is experienced in a way that brings about genuine harmony and peace in individuals and communities.”


“The 2012 Mindanao Week of Peace celebrations should highlight correctly and clearly this basic mandate of loving God and neighbor and environment in all sincerity,” said the BUC statement.


The BUC convenors include Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, Prof. Salipada, representing the Ulama League of the Philippines, and United Church of Christ of the Philippines Bishop Emeritus Hilario Gomez.


The Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace, led by Prof. Ali Yacub, Atty. Paulino Ersando, Nurhamdo Cegales and Fr Angel Calvo, said, “We are certain that our peace-building advocacy, whose 14 years of annual Week of Peace has been its flagship project, has nudged both our national government and the Bangsamoro rebellion towards the enactment of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro that they signed and sealed on October 15 in Manila.  Let us make the Week of Peace 2012 our grassroots celebration and dedication to this landmark agreement.”


The observance of the Mindanao Week of Peace is an initiative of the Peace Advocates Zamboanga since 1998 by virtue of two presidential proclamations signed by former Presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo.


In Zamboanga City, the declaration was by virtue of Executive Order CL 483-2012 signed by Mayor Celso Lobregat on November 7 this year.


Among this year’s activities are the Youth Peace Camp by Claret schools in the Philippines on November 26 to 29, a Historical and Solidarity Journey in Recodo, Zamboanga City on November 26, and a Mindanao Peace Weavers’ General Assembly in Davao City on December 2 to 5.


About 200 representatives from various sectors—ethnic groups and government and non-government organizations—attended Saturday’s Mindanao Peace Forum.  (Frencie Carreon/MindaNews)