Mayor convenes City Interfaith Council PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 June 2014 13:02

For the first time since the enactment of City Ordinance 420, the City’s Interfaith Council headed by Mayor Beng Climaco convened Monday to finalize steps for the law’s implementation and operationalization.

Attended by officials and representatives from various faiths, the meeting held Monday, June 23 at the City Hall conference room, discussed mechanisms on how the ordinance strengthening the city’s interfaith program can be effectively implemented.

During the meeting, Peace Advocate Zamboanga (PAZ) Chair, Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF, was elected co-chair of the Interfaith Council.

Based on the ordinance, the Council is composed of the mayor as chairperson with co-chair to be chosen by and from among the members of the Council. The members include Archbishop Romulo de la Cruz; head of the Darul Ifta or his authorized representative; head/ representative of the Evangelical Group of Churches; head/representative of Indigenious people; the Regional Director of the National Commission on Muslim Affairs; the head, convenor or representative from Inter-religious Solidarity for Peace; the head convenor or representative from the Silsillah Dialogue Movement; the Division Schools Superintendent or his authorized representative; one representative from the Higher Education Institutions in Zamboanga City; head of 3 accredited NGOs or POs or civil society groups doing interfaith advocacies; head/representative of 3 other religious faith not represented above as maybe appointed by the City Mayor and one representative from the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

Approved on December 17, 2013, the ordinance mandates the creation of the Council and the establishment of inter-faith desks and focal persons. Its authors include Councilors Mel Sadain, Charlie Mariano, Juan Climaco Elago II, Mike Alavar, Roel Natividad, Rogelio Valesco Jr., Myra Paz Abubakar, BG Guingona, VP Elago, Luis Biel III, Eddie Saavedra, Josephine Pareja, Rodolfo Bayot and Cesar Jimenez Jr.

The local government recognizes and encourages interfaith dialogue as a legitimate tool for peace and understanding. It shall always recognize and desire the concept of unity in diversity among her inhabitants as one of the media for development.

The ordinance stresses that “interfaith initiatives are crucial in the promotion of peace and  harmony, good governance, cultural tolerance, ethical standards and human rights as well as the development of moral, spiritual and intellectual capacities for the holding and enhancement of human dignity in the city considering the characterization of the city as a “melting pot” of various ethnic groups and diverse culture and faith”.

The newly-created Inter-faith Council will be formally installed into office on Friday, June 26 at 2pm.

Among those present during the meeting were Councilor Gerry Perez; NCMF Regional Director Macderul Sangkula; Local Council of Women Chair Dr. Mila Fernandez; Darul Ifta Deputy Mufti Sheik Abdulwakil Tanjili; IRD Coordinator, Archdiocese of Zamboanga Fr. Joel Malcampo; Prof. Ali Yacub; NCIP OIC George Jocutan; INC Minister Allan Mina; Rev. Paul Ersando, president of the Zambonaga Ministers Fellowship; Ismael Musa; representatives from the ESPERANZA group and numerous other agencies and associations and other well-meaning and concerned individuals. — Sheila Covarrubias