ZAMBOANGA CITY – CREATING a harmonious relationship at the village level is an important means to spread the advocacy of peace, said Fr. Angel Calvo, president of Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) as the organization brought the paradigm of peace to Barangay Sta. Catalina last November 28.
“It is very important to start the advocacy on peace in the community level such as in your barangay,” he said during the opening ceremony of the “Paz na Barangay,” which was part of the weeklong observance of peace that started on November 27 to December 3.
Hundreds of out-of-school youths, students, teachers, and families gathered at Don Gregorio Evangelista Memorial School in a day-long activity to broaden their appreciation of peace in their community. The event was also initiated by the school in celebration of Filipino Values day.
In his message, Manuel Banua, the chairman of Sta. Catalina, emphasized the importance of talking and discussing about peace “We must talk, sit down and coordinate so that we can attain real peace and unity.”
Fr. Calvo emphasized the importance of communal relationships particularly in the inter-religious level.
During the event, the schoolchildren engaged in a contest of colorful cultural presentations. This was to underscore the cultural diversity of the village and region here in Mindanao.
Present also during the Paz na Barangay were some members of the Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP) and officials of the barangay council.
“The multi-purpose court of the school was filled with students wearing colorful clothes from all grades. It reflects our different cultural backgrounds and beliefs, but that peace is still attainable,” observed a young student.
After the short program, later in the afternoon a simultaneous peace skills workshop was held. The workshops were subdivided into four clusters – visual arts, culture of peace orientation, and peace on environment and literary.
Each of the clusters had several facilitators who trained the participants on how to integrate “peace in their field of interest,” organizers said.
The workshop was spearheaded by PAZ’s Youth Solidarity for Peace (YSP).
Last year the Paz na Barangay was held at the Muslim dominated Barangay Recodo. The event has been held annually by PAZ to bring peace-making to the grassroots.