The Pope as Savior

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) lost no time in making capital of Pope Francis’ virtual endorsement of government’s current efforts to establish a new Bangsamoro political order in Mindanao.

In his brief message during his courtesy call on Pres. Aquino in Malacanang last January 16, the Pope said: “In a particular way, I express my trust that the progress made in bringing peace to the south of the country will result in just solutions in accord with the nation’s founding principles and respectful of the inalienable rights of all, including the indigenous peoples and religious minorities”. Additionally, before he took off from Rome for his pastoral visit to the Philippines via Sri Lanka, he also noted “with pleasure that last March an agreement was signed to end long years of tension in the Philippines,” referring obviously to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) deal. The accord serves as the framework and terms of reference for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) bill – certified as urgent by the Chief Executive – which is now being deliberated on by Congress.

Peace Secretary Teresita Deles called those remarks as the Pope’s “blessing” to the peace deal. She emphasized that “we receive the papal message as a clarion call to all persons of good will to work even harder, collectively harnessing the power of hope and perseverance, to overcome all obstacles and push national consensus towards a just and peaceful settlement of the armed conflict that has divided our people for too long.” In so saying, she observed that the BBL would continue to encounter challenges. Even principal protagonist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in its recent statements has all resigned itself to the likelihood of some such challenge on constitutional questions before the Supreme Court.

Hence, the Pope’s not so insignificant praise and support for the peace process may yet dampen considerably the intensity of those feared challenges. His “blessing” may all be the needed tipping point, the little miracle, to turn the BBL into a concrete, working reality by 2016.

If Francis’ positive words will indeed bring about such a result, it will be a vindication of his exhortations, often made loudly, for interreligious dialogue and action as a way to social peace and justice as well. (Towards the end the talks in Kuala Lumpur became more of collaboration rather than negotiation.) Local interreligious advocates can make the same claim, for these have worked long and hard often in the face of opposition to make inter-communal, spiritually-guided encounters as a way to peace-building.

Hopefully, the CAB-BBL will not be the only beneficiary of the Pope’s growing influence in world and human affairs and mass popularity. The record-breaking turnout of Filipinos to attend the various activities in his 5-day visit, the dramatic assemblies and earth-shaking dialogues and the words of wisdom he sowed and to each of which people clang, are reflections of the requited love between host and guest. It is love inflamed by the Christian faith, motivated by the equal hopes for salvation in both afterlife and this. In his own prophetic words the Pope came because he sees the great sufferings of his Filipino flock, and to us he came to save us from our wars, poverties, injustices and all of those other deadly sins and evils.

Please follow and like us:

Continue Reading No Comments

MYDev Program Graduated 1st Batch of ALS Completers

On January 14, Wednesday, the Mindanao Youth for Development program graduated 280 Accreditation & Equivalency and 35 Basic Literacy Students from 9 Barangays in Zamboanga City. Among these barangays are; San Roque, Tugbungan, Calarian, Tetuan, Gusu, Tumaga, Guiwan, Talon-Talon and Canelar.

USAID Deputy Mission Director, Reed Aeschliman and company, EDC Chief of Party Kevin Corbin, ZABIDA President Fr. Angel C. Calvo, cmf, Barangay LGUs, DEPED Schools Division Superintendent Pedro Melchor Natividad, City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar , ALS Trainors/Reviewers, parents were there to witness the Mass Graduation for the Alternative Learning System Completers.

The unforgettable event was held at the Centro Latino, Paseo del Mar , this city.

Please follow and like us:

Continue Reading No Comments

ZABIDA Plans How to Tackle Another Busy Year This 2015

The year 2015 is coming up as a super-busy one for the Zamnboanga-Basilan Integrated Development alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA) and its four NGO partner-members. This outlook surfaced during the consortium’s management and staff year-planning conference-workshop held this week (January 6-8) at its resource and development center office here in Zamboanga City.

Its main agenda was the need to fine-tune current programs and projects, most of which were started earlier, for a more efficient and effective continued implementation during the year. Thus, the managers and staff tackled timetables, budgets, staffing, results and impacts, target communities and other stakeholders, and like areas.

Most projects are to be implemented jointly by the consortium partners, such as peace and governance targeting selected barangays, housing, out of school youth alternative and literacy training, interreligious relations and peace-building, delivery of basic social services, sustainable farming and environmental preservation, livelihood financing and economic enterprise, and some special projects initiated by a partner.

As many as 50 villages, up to 500 out school youths, over a hundred loan borrowers, sundry farmers and families in Zamboanga and Basilan will benefit from these efforts this year. A new housing site will likely be started this year by the Katilingban para sa Kalambuan, Inc., which has already built 600 low-cost houses for the urban poor in the city in the past few years.

Marshaling these efforts is Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF, who is ZABIDA president and also heads 3 of the 4 NGOs. In addition to KKI, the others are Nagdilaab Foundation in Basilan, Reach Out to Others Foundation (for rural farmers and initiatives) and Peace Advocates Zamboanga.

From the reports, especially noteworthy is the success of NFI to organize small groups of women in several towns in Basilan to pool financial resources for livelihood activities, alternative learning for youths and their linking up with other agencies and organizations to hold continuing feeding projects for school children – all of which will continue this year.

The conference also discussed challenges such as in resource mobilization, new institutional requirements, human resource limitation, and so forth. New upcoming projects yet to be formalized with national and international agencies were also considered.

Special concern is the plight of families displaced by the September 2013 war, which an affiliated interreligious group has as its priority for humanitarian-recovery assistance and social healing.

Please follow and like us:

Continue Reading No Comments


Macrohon, Compound,
Suterville, San Jose Gusu,
Zamboanga City, 7000

Talk To Us

Telefax: 990-2410

Follow us