ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Dec 5 (PIA) - Peace Caravan, Children's Peace-tival, and Youth Peace Camp highlight this year's celebration of Mindanao Week of Peace in Basilan with the theme "Kapayapaan Para sa Kinabukasan ng Kabataan."
Hundreds of children from Sumisip town joined the Children's Peace-tival and launching of 2020 as the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous People.
No less than the Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines graced the occasion who was delighted to be able to finally visit the province of Basilan.
"You may know that I have very special desire to visit this wonderful Philippine Island. So rich in culture, history, and nature. It is a privilege to be able to participate in this celebration of peace with the people of Basilan, in Basilan," Senor Jorge Moragas, Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines said during his speech.
The crowd were amused when he uttered in Filipino his appreciation for the efforts of the people to work for peace.
"Pinupuri ko ang inyong pagsisikap sa pagtataguyod ng kapayapaan (I laud your efforts in promoting peace)," he said.
Religious leaders from Christian Catholics and Muslims also delivered messages of peace. Both leaders, Basilan Bishop Leo Dalmao DD and Basilan Ulama Supreme Council Chairman Dr. Aboulkhair Tarason emphasized on unity and love for fellowmen that results to respect for all people regardless of faith, sex, and age to build a progressive and peaceful community.
Moreover, Basilan Governor Jim Hataman Salliman proudly announced the new image of Basilan and encourage the people outside to visit the province and see for themselves and experience the peace that the people are enjoying now.
"Even as we have struggled for so many years of what is expected of us and our community, we can say that Basilan is now different as what it has been said [before]," the governor said as he recalled and describe the unpeaceful image of Basilan before.
He recalled how the people of Basilan were robbed-off of opportunities and peace because of violence, conflict, and poor governance that affected children and youth then.
"However, all these changed because of the efforts of various sectors, the local government, military, police, religious leaders, and civil society; Basilan today is different," he said.
Meanwhile, in a separate event, some 200 young people, some of them are children and families of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and former Abu Sayyaf participated in leadership training during the Youth Peace Camp at a local beach in Lamitan City over the weekend.
The youth have undergone different activities and workshops on Leadership facilitated by the Philippine Information Agency, coastal clean-up and went through various obstacles/challenges during the amazing peace race team-building activities that helped develop their self-confidence, building trust and camaraderie.
The various activities of the Mindanao Week of Peace in Basilan were the joint effort of the Provincial Government of Basilan, Nagdilaab foundation Inc., ZABIDA, Manos Unidas and AECID, LAMITAN City LGU, and in collaboration with Joint Task Force Basilan and other stakeholders. (EDT/RVC/PIA9-Basilan