“BEING a Muslim, I don’t have difficulty in interacting with other people because I am used to it. I believe that each and every one of us must value equality. We may have different attitudes, different religions, but we have the same Filipino blood running through our veins. We must unite ourselves and attain peace together. After this camp, I will share all the insights I have learned to my fellow students in Sangali and show others the way to achieve peace.”
These burning words were said by a participant in the Pagtimuk Peace Camop that was held in the Ateneo de Zamboanga University High School campus in Barangay Tumaga last November 23-24, 2007.
In line with the celebration of the week of peace, the Ateneo High School Social Action (AHSSA) hosted an overnight gathering of various students from different schools in the city. This event heightened the awareness of the participants on issues concerning peace and synergized efforts for the goal of the advocacy.
Timuk is a Yakan word for “coming together”. This word was integrated in the minds of the 132 delegates from nine ZAMBASULTAPS member schools, which are five non-sectarian and 10 government-run schools. Bro. Dennis Ryan V. Cruz, SJ and Ruth R Guerrero, were the project coordinators of PAGTIMUK and AHSSA.
Sponsors of the peace camp were ZAMBASULTAPS, Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ), ABS-CBN Zamboanga, Mister Donut, ADZU –High School Council of Leaders and ADZU-High School Social Studies Department.
Various activities were held during the camp to extract ideas and action plans from the participants. These initial plans would aid to sustain pacifism in the region. One highlighted activity was a rally that consisted of discussions about violence and peace, community singing, and band performances. An “amazing race” enhanced the children’s teamwork and physical skills.
Guerrero was grateful of the enthusiastic involvement of the participants, and she encouraged the crowd to choose peace when confronted by the the realities of conflicts and misunderstandings.
“May we seek to listen to the voice within us and amongst us, so that we could give a more realistic definition of what peace is and how we could be of help towards its attainment,” she advised them.