Interreligious Cooperation Promoted in Mindanao
Mindanao Peace Symposium, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines November 11 and 12
Dr. Robert Kittel, Director of Peace Education, UPF-Asia
Thursday, November 12, 2009
(This is an abbreviated report – full report link here)
A coalition of eight sponsors, including government, NGOs, and religious organizations, brought together over 160 participants under the banner, “Peace Development through Inter-Religious Cooperation in Mindanao.”
For two days delegates deliberated and discussed various components of peace—but their approach was very different. Rather than focus on military strategies, arms control, and mechanisms for surrender or ceasefire, they took a journey back into history and looked at their common ancestry.
For the full report on the symposium published in the Gold Star Daily News of Mindanao, click here.
On the first day, Dr. Ronald Adamat, member of the Government of the Philippines Peace Panel for Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and an advisor to the Office of the President on the Peace Process, gave an update on the current negotiations stressing that the values and sentiments of Mindanaoans must be reflected in any peace agreement.
Life-long advocate for bringing together peace and education, Dr. Estrella Babano, gave four guideposts to achieve peace and development: 1) harmony with God, 2) harmony within yourself, 3) harmony with others, and 4) harmony with the environment. As the director of Department of Education, Region X, Dr. Babano explained why peace must be linked with development. There can be no peace in the midst of economic disparity, she pointed out.
“Peace is something dynamic,” she said, “It deals with human relationship, and these are greatly affected by a number of factors, the biggest of which is our pride or ego.” The key to peace is to become “selfless,” to forget ourselves and seek peace for others first.
“It was the first time Pentecostal pastors dealt directly with Muslim leaders on issues of peace, cooperation, and mutual understanding,” said Massimo Trombin, International Field Director of the Global Peace Festival, one of the sponsoring organizations.
Concluding the symposium, all participants—Christian, Muslim, and Lumad—signed the Mindanao Peace Covenant 2009. It called for the creation of a culture of service and peace to:
- Encourage religious leaders to begin a ministry of reconciliation among all groups
- Establish an Inter-religious Peace Council based on repentance and forgiveness as the first steps
- Support elected officials, educators, and leaders of religious and ethnic groups to find common ground as “One Family Under God”
Programme of the November 11-12th Seminar click 2009 Nov 11-12th symposium programme