(Statement of the Interreligious Solidarity for Peace on the
19th Celebration of the Week of Peace in Zamboanga City)
ALMOST two decades have passed since the first celebration of the Week of Peace in 1997. Over the years, we have continuously called for a unity in the midst of our differences, justice for those whose rights were disregarded and taken away, recognition and honor for the pains of those who have been damaged by a variety of current and historical forms of violence, and forgiveness for our own offenses against each other that continue to divide us as a community, as a nation, and as a people. It is as basic as our survival as human beings. It is as sublime as our noble destiny as children of a Divine Creator who keeps assuring us of the gifts of mercy and peace.
Once more, as we mark the 19th year of the Week of Peace celebration we make the urgent call for healing and reconciliation…. now more than ever! The events of the past twelve months point to the crying need for us to consider this call in view of what has been happening in our city, in our country, and in the world today. The grinding poverty, the homelessness, hunger, the kidnapping and criminality, the stubborn corruption in many establishments, and the star issue that has seemingly become the centerpiece of all law enforcement efforts – the war on drugs. In the political developments here and abroad, we have witnessed the careless use of words – either seriously or jokingly, the harm these words do on the vulnerable sectors, the models that are forced upon the senses of our children.
These have wounded us! All these and many more have driven deeper the wedges that have long divided our people. These have made us turn against ourselves and against each other. Leaders and the led, governments and the citizenry, the rich and the needy, the indigenous people, the internally displaced people, the informal settlers, our rural poor in farming and fishing. Let our wounds teach us something about ourselves. There is domestic violence in our families. There is drug abuse among our young and adults. There is a wild hunt for money that is led by the wrong priorities.
As a result, we journey into the future with a curious sense of justice that benefits only those whose voices are loudest – those who are in power, those who are near, and those who are at center. Hence, we call for all-inclusive healing and reconciliation for those who are powerless, who are far, and who are at the margins. We call them… the POOR, THE VULNERABLE AND THE VOICELESS. . We cannot truly claim to care, to love our neighbor, to work for justice, if we do not dare to bridge the gap that keeps us apart from them, that hinders our service to them that stops us from co-creating a better world with them. This is the challenge of our time. To heal, reconcile, to make peace, to be transformed in ourselves, and together to become a critical mass that can transform our society. By all means, LET US HEAL!
FR. ANGEL C. CALVO, CMF PROF. ALI T. YACUB, AL-HJ
Lead Convener, ISP Muslim Convener, ISP
President, PAZ President, GCCPBA
ATTY. PAULINO R. ERSANDO HJI. AMILPASA T. BANDAYING
Evangelical Convener, ISP Indigenous Peoples Convener, ISP
President, ZMF Presiding Officer, ZCIPCL