ZAMBOANGA CITY – Bringing the core values of interfaith dialogue to the grassroots, the Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP) on Saturday launched a radio program which aims at strengthening relations between different faith groups, particularly in this region.
The one-hour radio program dubbed as “In Solidarity” was aired live over the Radio Mindanao Network and is scheduled to be in the airwaves every Saturday starting from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will run for a twelve-month period.
Claretian priest Fr. Angel C. Calvo, the Catholic convenor of the IRSMP, said the radio program will basically promote dialogue between different religious groups.
He said interfaith dialogue is critically important, now more than ever. The global tension, particularly after the 9/11 attack in the United States, resulting in religious discrimination from different sides escalated into disastrous proportions.
The weekly one-hour radio program and daily airing of radio plugs is being implemented by Peace Advocates Zamboanga’s (PAZ) media group and is funded by the Australian government through its embassy in Manila.
Rey-Luis Banagudos, the radio program’s producer, said the project seeks to enhance the public’s basic understanding of and appreciation for others’ religions.
The radio program will impart grassroots peace-building messages through discussion/affirmative inquiry of successful examples of interfaith work or resolution of any forms of structural violence in the society.
Likewise, the radio plugs will carry messages about interfaith relations with preference to topics on cultural commonalities, common social and economic aspirations, theological common teachings, support for peace process, call to end terrorism and lawlessness on the basis of religious tenets.
To be very effective in delivering the message, Banagudos said, the radio program format will be in a talk-show type, where guests are interviewed live by two anchors— Dr. Marcelina Carpizo, director of the Western Mindanao State University’s (WMSU) Center for Peace and Development, and Alain Paragas, a psychology instructor of WMSU.
The radio program is also equipped with field reports from eight Mass Communication students of WMSU.
Fr. Calvo said the radio program is just but one of the media the IRSMP is using to spread the importance of dialogue on interfaith.
Aside from the radio program, the project also includes a monthly 30-minute documentary, dubbed as “Solidarity Connections,” which is expected to be aired on the first week of August at RPN 5 channel.
“The project aims to use the power of television to influence opinion by promoting a culture of peace and interfaith cooperation,” the project briefing said, adding that it hopes to “encourage viewers to undertake or become involved in similar initiatives to peacefully address challenges in their own local communities.”
The 30-minute documentary program will also highlight stories about interfaith projects and activities underway in the communities in the whole Western Mindanao areas.
PAZ plans to extend the reach of the project by syndicating the programs and distributing them on compact disks to partner organisations like cable TV operators, schools, civil society organisations and community centres in Western Mindanao, particularly the conflict-prone island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.