Lobregat enjoins support to Interfaith Harmony week

In News by 1000 Women in Religion

Lobregat enjoins support to Interfaith Harmony week

Posted on Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines/01 February 2012 by Sheila Covarrubias– Mayor Celso Lobregat today reiterated his call on all offices and agencies in the city to actively participate in the activities of the celebration, a directive he issued through Executive Order 434 and signed 4 January.

Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat reaffirms his commitment to interfaith harmony and support to the celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week during its launching program Wednesday afternoon highlighted by the signing of the pledge of commitment at a local hotel. JOEY BAUTISTA
Displaying harmony and unity, people representing different faiths, culture and beliefs this afternoon converged at a local hotel to launch the World Interfaith Harmony Week celebration in Zamboanga spearheaded by the National Ulama Conference of the Philippines (NUCP) Zambasulta chapter.

Mayor Lobregat along with Archbishop Romulo Valles, Basilan Ulama Supreme Council President Dr. Bongcael Tabasan, DILG Regional Director Paizal Abutazil (representing Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo), Silsillah Dialogue Movement founder Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra and ARMM OIC Governor Mujiv Hataman (represented by NUCP-Zambasulta head of secretariat Ali Aiyub) were among those invited to share their thoughts on interfaith harmony during the launching program at the Astoria Hotel that was highlighted by the unveiling of the logo, a creation of artist Rameer Tawasil and the signing of the pledge of commitment by the different stakeholders.

The world Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on 23 September 2010 by King Abdullah II of Jordan and less than a month later, on 20 October 2010, it was unanimously adopted by the UN and declaring the first week of February as World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Lobregat in his message said the World Interfaith Harmony Week is based on the pioneering work of the common word initiative, an initiative that started in 2007, calling on Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious commandments: love of God and love of neighbour, without nevertheless compromising any of their religious tenets.

“Today’s launching of the week-long celebration demonstrates our strong resolve for the attainment of long and genuine peace through dialogue amongst all stakeholders—Muslim, Christians and all other faiths in the community, a policy to which our administration is committed for years now,” the mayor stressed.
The activity likewise, he said, also typifies the strong and harmonious relationship between Muslims and Christians in Zamboanga City towards the promotion of dialogue and peace. He commended the Ulamas, and all other organizations dedicated to Muslim-Christian dialogue for peace, like the Silsilah Dialogue Movement of Rev. Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME, and the Peace Advocates of Zamboanga headed by Rev. Fr. Angel Calvo.

Like the NUCP and other stakeholders, the city government under his administration, the mayor stressed, has been a strong advocate of dialogue and peace as all initiatives are directed towards harmony and peace. These initiatives include the implementation of projects that promote Muslim Christian relationship such as the sponsorship of sunset meal called Pagbukah during Ramadan, the implementation of a literacy program for Muslim women and the acceleration of basic social services and implementation of various infrastructure projects in Muslim-dominated communities.

For his part, Arbishop Valles said religious leaders in Mindanao were ahead of the UN in advocating for interfaith harmony by 17 years through the organization of the Bishops Ulama Conference, which has the same objectives and purpose as the UN’s declaration.
In their individual messages, Sec. Robredo (read by Dir. Abutazil) and ARMM OIC Gov. Hataman (read by Prof. Aiyub) called on all people to “rise above their differences” and to “drop all biases” to attain peace and harmony in this part of the country and the world.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week celebration in Zamboanga, themed “Celebrating harmony among all people of God”, is organized by the NUCP-ZamBaSulTa with the support of Silsillah Dialogue Movement, Archdiocese of Zamboanga, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, office of the city mayor and other stakeholders.
Other activities during the week include a workshop on interfaith harmony in the barangay at the Harmony Village in Sinunuc 2 Feb. at 8am; dinner and cultural presentation and launching of arts month among others.

Also present during the kick off program this afternoon were Councilor Luis Biel III, Rev. Fr. Nev Vigano, Fr. Max Rodriguez, Fr. Giulio Mariani, Dr. Abdurahim Kenoh, Prof. Ali Yacub, and other religious leaders and peace advocates. (Sheila Covarrubias)