Some 100 youth leaders coming from the public secondary schools and communities in the city and Basilan Province take part in the celebration of the International Youth Day on August 13 through Youth Peace Forum at Claret Gymnasium, Claret School of Zamboanga City. The said activity was initiated by the Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) through its youth arm Youth Solidarity for Peace (YSP). During the forum, relevant issues that directly affecting the youth sector in the city was tackled by the different resource persons such as: The role of youth in national building; illegal drugs, Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Law and the Effects of the Climate Change. The energetic participants were also given the privileged to ask questions to the invited speakers during the open forum.        The Youth Peace forum ended with peace planning and coming up with a statement address to the President, local government and to fellow youth. ———————————


Good Governance

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.

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.

Illegal Drugs

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:

  1. To provide just and doable solutions to the cancerous problem in our society now a days,  the illegal:
  2.  That after the six months target period to eradicate the illegal drugs, their will only be good citizens in our society;
  3. That after six months, we the youth can freely walk in the streets and no one could ever harm us;
  4. 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.  

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We end our meaningful celebration of the Week of Peace 2015 with the traditional torch parade to signify our advance from the big and small achievements of our community’s peace-building and peace-making towards the exciting challenges and opportunities we together face in the new year. Yes, a new day comes for peace – awesome in its greatness, tremendous in its inevitability.

As we turn to this new day, we take this moment to render our gratitude and salute to all the personalities and organizations whose support and participation made the Week’s celebration so beautiful, meaningful and inspiring. We especially thank the many, many youths and other volunteers for jobs well done in all the activities, but in particular the youth camps and assemblies and fora. Likewise, to the Samabadjaos for their anniversary festival; to the SamaBangingi families of Simariki Island for the Historical and Solidarity Journey with us and triumphant return to their ancestral village after a short violent exile; to the five noble Peace Weaver Awardees and their families for stepping forward; to the schools and barangays for their individual initiatives; to the urban poor families who broke the groundfor their new homes in Barangay Sinunuc; to the thousands from various sectors and organizations led by religious leaders who marched in the interfaith opening parade and program.

And so we journey on, marching together to the beating of the drums of peace.The elections in May will be our opportunity to renew and strengthen good governance under a political leadership of integrity, who will orchestrate our collective efforts to achieve social justice, human security and communal harmony and peace. As stakeholders we shall climb new heights, turn new corners in the Mindanao peace process as the agreements between our government and rebel fronts are tested by fast-approaching milestones. As one human family inhabiting one global village called Earth, we shall have to undertake many projects for climate adaptation, disaster management and ecological enhancement for the survival – yes, survival – of our present and future generations.

Let us go forth boldly, with faith in God and our selves, with love and solidarity in our heart, with hope in our common destiny of many peoples in one society under one reign of peace.

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A Test of Our Commitment to Peace

(Statement of the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. on the tragic death of over 40 members of the PNP-Special Action Force in Maguindanao Province last January 25, 2014)

As an active civil society consortium who with its partner-members have been for many years involved in the peace process and socio-economic amelioration of local communities, the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA) expresses its deep concern and apprehensions over the new crisis that imperils and complicates the hard-earned establishment of a new Bangsamoro autonomy as means to an enduring peace in Mindanao. The crisis is caused by the wholesale death of more than 40 members of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) in an encounter with alleged men of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, despite its current ceasefire with the government, in Maguindanao province last Sunday, January 25.

The magnitude and seeming brutality of the killings have stirred up a highly emotional response in many corners and levels of the nation calling for the suspension or outright termination of ongoing legislative and other efforts to grant the MILF a better system of political and other forms of autonomy. Fortunately, there are many more than the angry and cynical who continue to believe a peace deal with the Bangsamoro people, and therefore for Mindanao, is the only way forward, is urgent even more, is truly within our grasp now more than ever. We especially laud the steadfast commitment of President Aquino and MILF chairman Ebrahim Murad to stay the course.

We also join the nation in condemning the unwarranted massacre of the policemen. The tactical lapses they and their commanders may have incurred while in the line of duty cannot justify the enormity and depravity that characterize their bloody fate.

Every crisis presents an opportunity as well. Let not the lives of the over 40 SAF elite policemen be wasted on the altar of peace, and so too with the over 150,000 other lives sacrificed since the start of the Mindanao war. Instead, the crisis should test the commitment of all parties and constituents to the hard labors of peace-making, for this incomprehensible and ineffable tragedy to supercharge the forces of peace. To achieve this, we petition that:

For government to conduct an independent, thorough and prompt investigation of the incident so that the truth and findings about it may correctly inform the future action of people and communities in relation to their peace and security;

For the MILF to similarly conduct its own investigation to accurately determine the accountability of its men and organization and thereby facilitate the rendering of justice to all the aggrieved and offended;

For government to ensure that obligatory justice be given to the victims and their families, and for the nation as one to exert every means to bring speedy healing and closure to this painful and foul experience so that in solidarity with one another Mindanao and the nation shall carry on with the tremendous tasks and challenges of peace- and nation-building at this most critical of times.

For the past decades, Mindanao’s search for peace has seemed like Sysiphus’ stone, rolling down again and again just when it is about the reach the summit of success – and the Maguindanao massacre threatens to be such an experience anew. But like Sysiphus, every time we have to go back down to pick up the pieces, to roll up the stone again, we gained and continue to gain new strength of spirit to journey on towards our everlasting rewards. May this tragedy in our hands be such a fire in our hearts.


Rev. Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF
ZABIDA President

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Let Not Fr. Tentorio Die in Vain

(Statement of Peace Advocates Zamboanga on the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato, on Monday, October 17, 2011.)

WE condemn in the strongest terms the murder and killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, a religious of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), who was treacherously shot dead in the premises of his Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato last Monday, October 17, 2011. We grieve over the tragic loss to God and mankind of another faithful worker in the mission to build the Kingdom of God.

Fr. Tentorio served and helped the people of Central Mindanao, especially the much-marginalized indigenous peoples of the region, for some 30 years. His death is an irreparable loss to the people of his community. But with him all people who believe in what he struggled and worked for – justice, love, freedom, truth, and peace – partly die, too.

His killing is an indictment not just of those who executed him, but of the society that produced the killer/s and the motive behind the evil and barbaric act. Fr. Tentorio pursued his pastoral duties with an uncommon zeal and courage because he daily witnessed the unjust and unjustifiable sufferings of the people around him. Their sufferings have been the results of the greed, betrayals, violence and corruption committed by others, perhaps by a nameless many day in and day out. This is the real culture of impunity that is said to be rife hereabouts.

The President has reflexively ordered the investigation and arrest of the perpetrator/s. But even in the rare event that the killer/s is caught, that would not be enough. Government has a constitutional, political and moral duty to wipe out the culture of impunity afflicting our society and people. It is a spreading cancer that results in rising insurgency, terrorism, criminality, and poverty.

We hope and pray that the killing of Fr.Tentorio will arouse local people and communities from apathy, indifference and cynicism – and so to inspire and energize us all to carry on his work and mission wherever we may be. By so doing, we shall affirm to God and ourselves that there is hope in our dreams for peace and better life, and that Fr. Tentorio did not live and die in vain.

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