Celso on framework pact: ‘Get involved, be vigilant’ PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 30 November 2012 14:38

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday called on thousands of delegates to the opening of the Mindanao Week of Peace celebration to get involved and be vigilant on the framework agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“As city mayor of Zamboanga, I am one with all of you in our wanting for peace and in our advocacy for peace. We are here because we all want peace,” Lobregat told thousands of people mostly students from different schools during the Mindanao Week of Peace opening ceremony at Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex in Baliwasan yesterday morning.

To understand the framework agreement and to know its implications, Lobregat stressed that people must also have to read and understand the Philippine Constitution because the autonomous regions, not only in Mindanao but also in the Cordilleras, emanate from the constitution.

“Be aware. Be involved. Make sure that you understand what is in the framework agreement. Aside from that, you also have to be knowledgeable about the law that created the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” he said.

“That is why,” he added, “as former congressman and as mayor, I make sure that I read all these documents to be able to understand that implications of the framework agreement.”

The mayor lamented that of the thousands who filled the main grandstand to the brim yesterday only a handful had read the constitution, much less the framework agreement. “While we have to be positive, we also have to be vigilant and to be involved,” he reiterated.

For his part, Claretian priest Fr. Angel Calvo said peace is now in the hands of the people with the signing of the framework agreement.

“We must celebrate because peace is in our hands,” said Fr. Calvo, president of Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) and lead convener of the Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP), which is the organizer of the annual Mindanao Week of Peace celebration, now on its 5th year.

During the program, Prof. Ali T. Yacub, Muslim convener of IRSMP, read the movement’s statement of support for the framework of agreement, while Msgr. Crisologo Manongas, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga read the statement of the Bishops Ulama Conference.

This year’s Mindanao Week of Peace celebration is anchored on the theme “Together for Sustainable Peace in Mindanao.”

A torch parade is set on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. this time from the sports complex in Baliwasan to Paseo del Mar where a program will follow to officially close the weeklong celebration of peace. — Vic Larato