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PIA Press Release

Community leaders seal statement of support to continued peace

ICC General Santos City (14 October) -- Leaders representing the tri-people (Christians, Indigenous Peoples, and Muslims) in Malapatan, Sarangani yesterday sealed a statement of support intended to preserve peace and order in the locale.

Vice Mayor Jorge Sambaga, former MNLF member-turned politician urged his townmates to be vigilant and actively get involved in making sure that no armed group shall disrupt the serenity of the town.

"Hinaot kitang tanan atong ipadayon ang naandan natong pakigdayig, pagminahalay ning atong lungsod, ipadayon ang malinawong pagpuyo sa tibuok lumulupyo. Dili kita makipagtribo-tribo kinahanglan atong pagsinabutan unsay angay natong pagkahimuon nga makahatag og kaayuhan sa tibuok nga lumolupyo," Sambaga told his constituents.

The unanimous support to peace agreed by tri-people was organized by the Kapayapaan Kapatid Council (KKC) of SocSarGen (South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City).

Atty. Guialil Kanda, field director of the Office on Muslim Affairs and Prof. Mario Aguja of the Mindanao State University-General Santos City served as resource speakers of the forum.

Both resource speakers agreed that dialogue was still the key ingredient toward maintaining peace in conflict areas in Sarangani and the entire Mindanao.

Professor Aguja pointed out to the local leaders that arms or guns were not the solution to resolve the existing problem in Mindanao and that emotions as a result of the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain must not rule.

Meanwhile former Sarangani Board Member Raphael Lantingan, representing the IPs, echoed that when it comes to ancestral domain claim, people must not also forget to consider and respect the rights of the IPs.

A number of unresolved issues on ancestral domain claims by the IPs are still pending for further study under the National Commission on indigenous People (NCIP).

With the continuing fight between government troopers and the MILF in Central Mindanao and some areas of Lanao Norte, KKC has made a difference by unlocking the path of dialogue between and among Muslims, Christians and IPs in SocSarGen.

The peace dialogue in Malapatan was just among the many peace development advocacy campaigns initiated by the organization that encouraged "exchange of ideas, understanding of beliefs and practices, appreciation of each culture and religion."

KKC is composed of religious leaders from the Muslim and Christian communities in SocSarGen.

Fr. Angel Buenavides, DXCP-CMN station director said the peace forum is important to empower people.

"Information is power. If people are given the right information, dili lang haka-haka og dili tsismis they will have empowerment. With that, dili sila magpadala sa kahadlok sa palibot."

He said dissemination of right information will enhance the sensitivity of community and leaders. As a result, according to him, they themselves will feel the need to express what they want to happen in their respective area.

DXCPCMN, the Radio Station of the Diocese of Marbel, serves as the secretariat to KKC. The peace forum, a forerunner to the Mindanao Peace of Week celebrated every last week of November to first week of December, has also been scheduled in Maasim this October. (PIA SarGen) [top]

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