WALKING with the victims of last year’s war in Zamboanga City is the best way to cure their wounds and to heal social conflicts in local communities.
This was the message of Fr. Angel Calvo in his welcome remarks at the opening program of the Week of Peace 2014 held at the Boy Scout Campsite, Pasonanca Park this morning (November 27).
The five-kilometer parade from Centro Pastoral to the park that preceded the opening program, he said, is symbolic of the march to freedom whereupon peace is build. The parade was participated in by thousands of students, government employees, soldiers, urban poor and rural residents, and religious and civil society leaders and representatives.
The Week of Peace celebration, the 18th held annually in the city, is our collective commitment to the struggle for peace despite the daily challenges and problems, he said. The celebration being spearheaded by the city’s Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP), Fr. Calvo as its convenor underscored the spirituality required in the search for peace. He said peace is a gift from God given in small sizes, which everyone should cultivate to grow and spread.
He said the trek to the park symbolizes the need to walk with the victims of the war to help them rehabilitate and recover the lives they lost by the violence of the rebels’ attack of the city.
In her message, Mayor Ma. Isabel Climaco-Salazar said the city should also walk with the efforts to establish the Bangsamoro entity through the ongoing structuring of the Bangsamoro Basic Law by Congress. She said the new entity will ensure that all peoples in the region will benefit from its goals. She added that last year’s war opened new doors to better unify the populace of the city.
In its statement read during the program, the ISP said: “The Week of Peace 2014 serves to highlight the peace-making challenges before us: psycho-social healing not only of individual victims but also affected social segments, the need to repair our divisiveness and overcome apathy and negativism, the need to redress the immediate victims of all acts violence of the past, the need for peace education among the youth, the need for good governance to reduce poverty and so foster peace in families and communities.”
Young wards of Akay Kalinga, a shelter for homeless children ran by Fr. Calvo’s Katilingban para sa Kalambuan, Inc., presented a dance and mime number. The ceremony ended with the release of doves and balloons.