‘There’s no peace because there’s no peace builder’

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/31 Dec.) – Peace can only reign if there are people who will engage in peace building, Malaybalay Bishop Jose A. Cabantan said in his New Year message emailed to MindaNews.

“There is no peace because there is no peace builder,” Cabantan said in his message addressed to both church people and the general public.

But the bishop stressed that “peace making can be made a matter of policy only if it is first a matter of the heart”.

Cabantan also called on local leaders, public servants and citizens, to “live out what we truly profess as carers of the earth.”

He urged his church leaders to be models of transparent and accountable governance.

“Kindly comply with our financial reports and obligations to the parish and to the diocese,” he added.

Cabantan defined peace building as a process of strategic planning and building sustaining long-term relationships “for the common good of all.”

“Let Peace then begin with ourselves and help promote inclusivity amidst diversity, move towards interdependence and dialogue,” he added.

He cited that the deeper resource to be a peacebuilder is intimacy with God as peace is a fruit of Godliness.

“Peace is a fruit of justice, harmony, quality relationships where we feel safe, secure, and free from danger, threats or fear.”

He cited further that the people in the hinterlands “are suffering until now with fear from within”.

Earlier this month, the bishop Jose Cabantan issued a statement that condemned “strongly” the killing of three persons and the wounding of a five-year old boy in Talakag town on December 1 calling it “senseless” and “clear violations of the dignity of the person and the persons in community.”

On Dec. 1, around 30 armed men stormed Sitio San Abel, Barangay Miarayon in Talakag town and shot the victims. The NPA admitted responsibility for the incident.

Cabantan said the coldblooded killing of defenseless and unarmed people sowed fear to provoke disunity and chaos among people living in peace.

“They meant to inflict not only fatal wounds but also psychological trauma to annihilate the slightest resistance against them,” he said.

The bishop called on the clergy and parishioners to focus on the three “I’s” of peace: integrity of creation and integrity of the Stewards of God’s Creation; Intimacy with God; and involvement in peace building.

He said peace with God, with neighbors, with oneself and the rest of creation calls for building right relationships to attain the total well-being of the person.

He stressed that climate change strongly reminds people to preserve the integrity of creation especially in Bukidnon against all forms of threats to the environment.

“It also calls us as stewards of God’s creation to be honest, upright and straightforward since inner peace flows from that sacred space.” (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)