(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
IN THE OBSERVANCE OF THE UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY DATED AUGUST 12 SOME 100 YOUTH LEADERS FROM THE PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES CAME UP WITH A STATEMENT ON AUGUST 13 DURING THE YOUTH PEACE FORUM IN THE CITY URGING THE PRESIDENT, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND THEIR FELLOW YOUTHS TO ADDRESS THE PRESSING ISSUES ON GOOD GOVERNANE, CLIMATE CHANGE AND ILLEGAL DRUGS.
To our beloved President Rodrigo R. Duterte, we are fully supporting your stiff campaign against illegal drugs and corruption. This is the best thing to do, if we all wanted to see our country to move forward. However, the issues on Extra Judicial Killings (EJK) of the suspected drug-related personalities which took place almost everyday in our own very eye to stop and respect the humanitarian rights that everybody has. We urge you to use fully the due process in apprehending these personalities.
We are banking on your integrity, the trust of Filipino people and your firmness to bring the desired and positive changes in our country as your flagship of governance during the campaign period anchored on “Change is Coming”.
For the Local Chief Executive of the city, we are looking forward for more tangible projects that will lead to the booming of our city’s economy and probably higher influx of local and foreign tourists. It will be greatly appreciated if we, the citizens of this beloved city especially the youths, the future of our city to see and benefit it.
Furthermore, we also calling you dear Mayor to beef up the security measures that the city is adopting so that our city, will be a peaceful and secured city.
To fellow youth: Climate change is affecting all over our country and in the world and it is getting worst, relevant to this, we are appealing to our fellow youth would like to ask for your full cooperation and help solve this problem. Let us work hand in hand to mitigate the effects of climate change.
To the President: On the current issues on the illegal logging and its cause and effect on the environment such as flooding and landslides, we would like to suggest you to intensify the campaign against deteriorating environment and implement fully the available laws that prohibits, protects and preserves the environment. We wanted that the next generation will still have the opportunity to appreciate the gift of Mother Earth.
Establishing a partnership with the media for the intensified campaign and advocacy on environment is the best and viable option to fight against climate change.
Aside from finding mitigating measures to scrap the adverse effect of climate change, we also appealing you to address the equal important issues that affecting us especially the young ones, to wit:
To our Local Chief Executive: To address the issue on proper waste disposal and sanitation, we are asking your office to check all the government offices not to exclude the private offices if they are implementing religiously the proper waste sanitations. In addition, expedite or revisit city ordinances in connection with the issues being presented.
In addition, please include also the following:
- Improving and strengthening the implementation of the laws in relation to environment and climate change;
- Conducting activities/city wide lectures to spread awareness about climate change and make them involve in the mitigations.
To President Duterte: We the youth leaders would like to inform you our dear President to strengthen the fight against illegal drugs. In doing so, we also appeal to you to spare the life of innocent civilians from this war against drug, especially those who are form the youth sector. We hope dear President that you should obey the law and follow the due process of our land.
In addition, we also include in our wish-lists for our President, the following:
- To provide just and doable solutions to the cancerous problem in our society now a days, the illegal:
- That after the six months target period to eradicate the illegal drugs, their will only be good citizens in our society;
- That after six months, we the youth can freely walk in the streets and no one could ever harm us;
- Lastly, we hope that you will continue the campaign on illegal drugs so that development in our country will prosper.
We are bringing down the challenge to all the authorities to become fair in the fight against the illegal drugs. To the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and to all who are advocating for human rights to listen to our little message.
To the local government: We are calling all barangay officials all over Zamboanga City to coordinate with the local and national government agencies for the continues campaign against illegal drugs. We, the youth sector are challenging you to become more active and supportive, coordinate with the schools and promote inter-barangays campaign to finally put an end to the illegal drugs.
To fellow youth: We are appealing to our fellow youth to challenge yourself to help combat the ill effect of illegal drugs. Learn how to say no to the all the wrong doings and become a role model for the youth and to the next generation.