GENERAL SANTOS CITY (December 1, 2010) – Peace Network composed of local officials of South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City (SOCSARGEN), the Bishop Ulama Conference and the Kapayapaan Kapatid Council, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, students, peace and justice advocates joined the culmination program of the yearly Mindanao Week of Peace Wednesday (December 1).
With the theme “Responsive and Responsible Governance: Key to Peace Development and Sustainability”, the yearly convention aims to develop peace consciousness and as everyone’s concern.
“Despite cultural diversity, Sarangani is a peaceful province because our communities do their part,” Sarangani Governor Migs Dominguez said.
“The answer is not with us, your government officials, but with the sincerity of the heart of everyone in the community.”
When you go back to your homes, remember the responsibility is in our hands by becoming ‘attorneys’ and ‘judges’ for peace in our community.”
Organizer and program manager of Kalinaw Sarangani Program Jocelyn Lambac-Kanda lauded participants from Sarangani’s farthest communities who braved bad weather to attend the event.
Sarangani has 50 peace and development communities assisted by the program in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme - Act for Peace. These communities are the most impoverished and conflict affected areas in the province during the 70s.
These communities have begun to develop with livelihood assistance from the Act for Peace and the Kalinaw inculcating the communities the value of peace.
In a testimony, SPO2 Abuhari Pangolima bore witness of how the culture of peace training has changed his character as a law enforcer.
“All I want for the people of Polomolok (South Cotabato) where I am assigned is to know that I am a good and peace-loving drug abuse resistance education officer,” Pangolima said.
“Before you can be a peace builder, you must first learn to accept your own identity,” youth for peace representative Joylen Cabanda- Balandan said. Balandan is a pure-blooded Blaan from Sarangani.
“Peace is what we are all longing for,” Koronadal City Mayor Peter Miguel said. “There must be peace in our hearts, in our actions, in our reactions.”
“In our days, there is yet no perfect situation for peace that’s why we have here the International Monitoring Team from Malaysia and that is why we hold hands together.”
Peace partner Gerry Roxas Foundation representative Rosamund Parado said it has conducted trainings to 12,000 peace volunteers in 1,500 barangays of 21 provinces since 1998.
“Our objective is to strengthen the barangay justice and peace system,” Parado said. (Russtum G. Pelima/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)