ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Creating a harmonious relationship in the community level is an important means to spread the advocacy of peace, according to Fr Angel Calvo, president of Peace Advocates Zamboanga, as the organization brought the message and action of peace to the village of Santa Catalina in Zamboanga City on Friday.
”It is very important to start the advocacy on peace in the community level such as in the Barangay,” he said during the opening ceremony of the ‘Paz na Barangay,’ which is part of the week-long observance of peace that started on November 27 to December 3.
Hundreds of out-of-school youths, students, teachers, and Christian and Muslim families gathered at the Don Gregorio Evangelista Memorial School in a day-long activity to broaden their appreciation of peace in their community. The event was also initiated by the school in celebration of Filipino Values day.
In his message, Manuel Banua, Santa Catalina village chieftain, said: “We must talk, sit down and coordinate so that we can attain real peace and unity in our community.”
Fr. Calvo emphasized the importance of communal relationships particularly in the inter-religious level.
During the event, colorful cultural presentations were rendered by the school's pupils to signify the diversity of the village and region.
”The multi-purpose court of the school was filled with students wearing colorful clothes. It reflects our different cultural backgrounds and beliefs, but that peace is still attainable,” one young student said.
Simultaneous peace skills workshops on visual arts, culture of peace orientation, and peace on environment and literary were also held during the day.Each of the clusters has several facilitators who trained the participants on how to integrate the “peace in their field of interest,” organizers said.
The Paz na Barangay has been held annually by PAZ to bring peace-making to the grassroots. (Albert Arcilla)