Yes, Virginia, There is a Peace Vote
IN its monthly meeting on Saturday, February 16 held at Western Mindanao State University, members of the Inter-Religious Solidarity for Peace (ISP) agreed to hold a candidates forum on April 13, in a venue to be decided later. The forum would be a major part of ISP’s plan to generate and mobilize a “peace vote” in the city, and through its alliances throughout Mindanao as well.
The peace vote is intended to persuade candidates in the May elections to commit themselves to support and implement identified peace-making and –building programs and measures if and when they are elected. The agenda will embody concrete issues and problems impacting human security and peace, in such areas as ecology, social services, economy, peace process, education, good governance and so forth.
The peace vote will be mobilized through media campaigns and other means, such as the candidates’ forum. Only candidates for mayor and congressmen will panel the forum, during which it is planned that they be invited to sign a covenant of support for a “people’s peace platform”.
It is hoped that if many other areas in Mindanao will do likewise, real and inclusive peace will be realized much sooner and better.
The main resource person in the meeting was Task Force Zamboanga chief Col. Glenn Macasero, PA. He briefed ISP members on ongoing efforts of his command against terrorist threats in the city. He was invited in the wake of recent kidnapping incidents and other criminalities in the city.
In the open forum after Col. Macasero’s briefing, ISP lead convenor Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF mournfully talked about the killing of Dr. Albert Hussin, a professor of Ateneo de Zamboanga University, shot three days earlier in Pagadian City. Dr. Hussin was a known peace advocate who was involved in several social-building advocacies.
Fr. Calvo appealed to ISP members to reveal any information that would solve Dr. Hussin’s killing to render him justice. He recalled that Universidad de Zamboanga president Archie Eustaquio’s killing last year remains unsolved to this day. Eustaquio was a honorary member of ISP. (Peace Advocates Zamboanga)