24th Mindanao Week of Peace kicks off Nov 25

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 25 Nov) – The 24th Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP) opened Thursday with a Peace Trek as advocates and volunteers presented their offerings of peace expressions and affirmations from Climaco Freedom Park in Abong-Abong en route to Sitio Muruk in Pasonanca here.

ZABIDA President Dr. Grace Rebollos, ZABIDA Executive Director Espie Hupida and others who joined Walk for Peace in Sitio Muruk, Pasonanca, Zamboanga City. Photo by DEORENZIE FRANCES CARREON

The participants were welcomed by the Peace Advocates Zamboanga, the Inter-Solidarity for Peace, and the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA).

“The Week of Peace has since transcended its Zamboanga roots and snowballed to the Mindanao and even national levels,” said Dr. Grace Rebollos, ZABIDA president, as she recounted the beginnings of the Mindanao Week of Peace since 1999 when the Call to Peace was issued by the Mindanao Bishops-Ulama Forum and provided the impetus for its expansion and sustainability.

“The Week has been so significant that its observation has been pronounced and perpetuated by a series of three proclamations by two Philippine heads of state,” she said.

It was in 1999 when President Joseph Ejercito Estrada issued Presidential Proclamation No. 207 declaring the period from November 25 to December 1, 2000 and every year thereafter as the “Mindanao Week of Peace.”

In November 2000 he amended PP 207 and issued Presidential Proclamation 408, which reset the date of the MWOP to the last Thursday of November up to the first Wednesday of December.

In 2001, that proclamation was superseded by PP 207 issued by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, reiterating the declaration of the Mindanao Week of Peace as the last Thursday of November up to the first Wednesday of December.

“Throughout this week-long event, we shall advocate not just for the healing of the wounds caused by the armed conflict but also for the healing of the nation from the global health crisis,” Secretary Carlito Galvez – the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity – said in his solidarity message.

“This year’s theme, ‘Peace, compassion and justice, resilience and healing for all,’ truly embodies our journey towards the path of a just and lasting peace and sustainable recovery. Now more than ever is the time for us to unite and overcome the challenges as one people, one nation. Together, we will continue to do our part and contribute in building back a better, and more peaceful, and a more resilient Philippines,” he added.

The Mindanao Week of Peace ends on Wednesday, December 1. (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)