ZAMBOANGA CITY: Thousands joined the celebration of the Week of Peace in Zamboanga City and Sulu province with government officials and community leaders pledging to work hand-in-hand and together sustain the peace and harmony among peoples in the southern Filipino region.
The peace celebration, which started November 26 until December 3, brought members of the different sectors of society, including civil society groups and non-governmental organizations, the police and military authorities in Sulu and Zamboanga.
Governor Totoh Tan, in his message delivered by his father, Vice Governor Sakur Tan, praised participants in the Week of Peace and called on the public to continue advocating for peace in Mindanao.
He urged everyone in Sulu to support not only peace, but the efforts of the government in bringing harmony among all races.
The Vice Governor led provincial officials and other groups headed by Kusug Tausug in the celebration and peace parade participated by more than 10,000 people around the province and a program held at Notre Dame Gymnasium in the capital town of Jolo.
“This annual observance of the Week of Peace is a manifestation that majority of our people desires peace and that they want peace to reign in Sulu and Mindanao. Peace has no shape, no form and no face. It is abstract and resides in the heart of those who seek it. Peace is perfection as God is Perfection, not attainable in a lifetime,” Tan said.
The Sulu Provincial Women’s Council headed by Nurunisah Tan also led a huge contingent to the Week of Peace celebration and she urged residents to continue the harmonious and peaceful relationship between Muslims and Christians.
Meanwhile, in Zamboanga City some 5,000 people – Christians and Muslims and tribal members – also joined a torch parade on December 2 organized by Interreligious Solidarity for Peace.
“We end our meaningful celebration of the Week of Peace with the traditional torch parade to signify our advance from the big and small achievements of our community’s peace-building and peace-making towards the exciting challenges and opportunities we together face in the new year,” Spanish priest and missionary Father Angel Calvo said.
He urged people to face the challenges united in purpose and vision. These challenges, he said, are found in the coming elections, environmental threats, and the Mindanao peace process.