Salam! Kalinaw! Kapayapaan! Peace!

We in Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) and in behalf of the Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP) of Zamboanga City extend our felicitations of solidarity and goodwill to “Duyog Mindanao: People’s Caravan for Peace and Solidarity” and – on the occasion of your multi-sectoral forum (on November 27), as well as the Mindanao Week of Peace celebration – to all our beloved Mindanaoan brothers and sisters.

Our “People’s Caravan” from Baguio to Mindanao is a symbolic expression of the Mindanaoans’ long, difficult yet ever hopeful journey to establish peace in our one, common homeland. We witness today how this quest for our birthright from God and from our shared universal human values has flourished on our fertile and fertilized Mindanao grassroots and civil society as a widening movement from Tawi-Tawi to Surigao, throughout the four corners of our Land of Promise. Our hard-earned history and culture of peace, bursting forth in popular expressions like the Week of Peace and Duyog Mindanao, is now bringing us unstoppably closer to our cherished goal.

In our multi-faith and multi-cultural realities in Mindanao, inter-religious dialogue and understanding has emerged as the touchstone and overarching paradigm for our struggle for peace and development. But as a globalized-world, modern-day path to communal, multi-sectoral peace, our home-grown faith-based peace-making has its fine share of cynics and critics.

Thus, our present successes in inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue and solidarity-building inspire us to journey forward in our exodus. In the volatile situation caused by the floundering peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Bangsamoro rebels, amid the rising clamors of our indigenous communities for social justice as well as the poverty and conflict plaguing Mindanaoans, our inter-religious and people’s peace-building movement is challenged to explore higher and more innovative thresholds to address the relentless challenges and roadblocks that together we face.

Let us continue to draw moral courage and strength from our shared vision. Let us journey our way to peace, solidarity and social justice for all by our interfaith belief.

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