ZAMBOANGA CITY- With barely two weeks left before national and local elections, a local civil society group called the Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP), is staging a round-table forum for local politicians on Thursday in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines.
IRSMP lead convener Rev. Fr. Angel C. Calvo said the forum, which would be held at the Lotus Restaurant of the Grand Astoria Hotel, will focus on major, selected public issues relevant to the group's peace-building advocacy and as a voter's education exercise.
Filipinos are to elect their senators, congressmen and local officials on May 14 polls.
Calvo said the forum, which will start at 1:30 p.m., will center on two main issues: Peace-building, peace and security; and ecology and natural resources.
"May 14 is election day. The next set of mid-term elections that will mold our city's future will occur on that day. We would like to hear our local politicians and aspirant candidates' views and programs if ever they will be elected or re-elected," he said.
Invited guests are limited to candidates running for congressional and mayoralty seats.
The candidates will have two minutes to give an initial statement. They will also have the chance to speak more in response to questions during the open forum, which will be attended by IRMSP members, special guests and media.
IRMSP is a loose movement made up of Islam, Protestant and Roman Catholic religious leaders and lay people who regularly meet to discuss current public issues to foster a culture of dialogue and peace. It also implements small community development projects to promote inter-faith bonding.
"We hope that with this forum, we can learn about our candidates' plans and platforms," said Jaafar Kimpa.
Rev. Ronald Bilang also aired a similar statement. Both Kimpa and Bilang are conveners of Islam and Evangelicals, respectively. (Darwin Wee)