Thousands march for peace in Sulu PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 28 November 2014 12:14

SULU – Thousands of people participated in the celebration of the Sulu Week of Peace as provincial government leaders urged citizens to continue supporting peace and development efforts to sustain the economic progress here.

The celebration, which began with a walk from the capital town of Jolo to the Provincial Capitol in Patikul town, was led by Hajja Nurunisah Tan, who is the chairwoman of the Sulu Provincial Women’s Council (SPWC); and Vice Governor Sakur Tan.

Sulu Governor Totoh Tan supported the weeklong peace celebration which was participated by provincial government employees and civil workers from different government agencies, and various sectors from the academe to the Muslim and Christian religious groups and organizations, to the local municipal governments, the business and police and military and civil society groups and students from local schools.

The celebration also coincided with the observance of the SPWC’s 18-day Campaign to End Violence Against Women. Vice Governor Tan also gave an impromptu speech and talked about the importance of having peace in Sulu, and urged the locals to support it.

Hajja Nurunisah also thanked all those who attended the march and called on every resident continue supporting the government’s efforts to sustain peace and development in Sulu.

In her speech, she urged the public to help in raising awareness on violence against women and children. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to address you today on this very important occasion, trying to raise awareness on violence against women and children. I cannot overstate the importance of this initiative. Violence against women and children is a terrible reality that affects the lives of thousands, if not millions, all over.”

“Although violence is a threat to everyone, women and children are particularly susceptible to victimization because they often have fewer rights or lack appropriate means of protection. Ang malala pa dito, mga kaibigan, ang nambibiktima o nananakit sa ating mga kababaihan at mga bata ay yaong mga taong malapit at kilala nila,” she said.

She said everyone has a responsibility to act and emphasizing that violence against women and children in any form, in any circumstance, and in any community, is unacceptable.

“Tackling violence against women, at home and even outside, is one of the priorities and advocacies of the Sulu Provincial Women’s Council. Our actions are founded on firmly held principles. We believe that where women live free of violence, have equal access to education, healthcare, political and economic opportunities, societies are healthier, more prosperous and more peaceful.”

“SPWC commits itself to helping end and prevent violence against women and children from happening, holding perpetrators to account for their actions and providing support to women and children who experience violence,” she added.

Hajja Tan said the people’s support is important in pursuing the advocacy and for it to succeed in Sulu. She appealed to everyone to support the advocacy by reporting abuses on women and children, and even domestic violence.

“Alam namin, sa tulong ninyo, sa tulong ng lahat ng sektor ng ating lipunan, tayo ay magtatagumpay sa adhikaing ito. We need your support in order to educate and engage our community to positively change attitudes and behaviors. Schools, the media, our workplace and local community should help promote respectful and non-violent relationships and equality,” she said.

“Let me say that this peace celebration is doubly significant for us. We are not just trying to promote awareness at ending violence against women and children; we are also promoting peace and so I say to you now that peace in Sulu will not reign unless our homes, our families and our communities, particularly our women and children, are free from violence,” she added. — Franzie Sali and Al Jacinto