Caraga observes Week of Peace

By Alexander Lopez

November 30, 2019, 5:30 pm

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – The Mindanao Week of Peace is being celebrated in Caraga Region starting Thursday, November 28, until December 4 this year.

The week-long celebration kicked-off at the St. James the Great Parish here participated by representatives from indigenous peoples (IPs), Muslims, and Christians from different provinces in the region.

This year’s celebration carries the theme, “Towards Human Fraternity for Peace in Mindanao.”

Most Rev. Cosme Damian R. Almedilla, the bishop of the Diocese of Butuan, led the opening of the celebration. He was joined by top officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the region.

Almedilla said the celebration is a process by which Christians, Moro, and IPs interact through series of activities to understand the various perspective of peace based on beliefs, customs, traditions, and actual experiences of each sector.

Activities that will run for one week will mostly involve cultural sharing of peace from the perspectives of each participating sectors. Other activities include cultural presentations, a tree planting for peace, ecumenical gathering and prayer, and distribution of reading materials on peace to students.

The weeklong celebration will also be participated by government line agencies and the local government units (LGUs) in the area.

Buenavista Mayor Norbert Pagaspas welcomed all the participants to the activity as he urged participants to promote peace in communities for a well-lived life.

“Everyone deserves peace. We are happy to see people being united and working peacefully regardless of cultural differences," Pagaspas said.

In a message read by lawyer Ramie Duropan during the occasion, Agusan del Norte Gov. Dale Corvera said that despite the different cultures, customs, beliefs, principles, and even clashing personal viewpoints, the people of Caraga must “stand in great hope to fortify the alliance of civilizations so that we can advance the most clamored status of peace in Mindanao."

Maj. Francisco Garello, Jr., the Civil-Military Operations (CMO) commander of the 402nd Infantry Brigade, also shared with the participants the message of Brig. Gen. Maurito Licudine, which focused on the gains of the continuing implementation of the whole-of-nation approach of the government to end local communist armed conflicts in the region.

"Your cooperation in solving the insurgency problem in the country would create a huge impact on the fulfillment of our common goal - to achieve sustainable peace. Let's reflect on ourselves and assess how we could better contribute to peace and development," Licudine said.

Muslim and IP leaders, during the press conference on Thursday, welcomed the celebration of the week of peace, saying that the occasion will serve as a venue to share their concepts of peace.

In the same press conference, Lt. Col. Francisco Molina, commander of the 23rd Infantry Battalion, vowed the Army's support for Mindanao Week of Peace, saying their forces will also participate to the slated activities.

Molina also said while the week of peace is celebrated, the Army will continue to perform its mandated task of securing the people and communities in the Caraga. (PNA)