6 Peaceweaver awardees honored in Week of Peace PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 December 2012 14:23

The Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP) honored four personalities and two organizations as this year’s Peace Weaver Awardees during a ceremony held on December 2 at the spacious gymnasium of Claret School of Zamboanga City.

The awards are given annually by the IRSMP to individuals, organizations or communities who had engaged in extraordinary efforts to achieve peace.  It is a major highlight of the annual Week of Peace celebration, which this year was from November 29-December 5.

The six new peaceweavers who have joined the roster of the long list of Peaceweavers are: MILF Peace Panel, GPH Peace Panel,  Roberto Villares Sr. (posthumous), Panglima Mohammad Salih “Oloh” Biri (posthumous), Dumingag town Mayor Nacencio Pacalioga Jr., and Dr. Hilda Babon, Ed. D.

The MILF and government panels were given trbute for successfully negotiating the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro last September after 15 years of negotiations in Malaysia.

The MILF panel was described in the citation as “The wise and prudent vanguard of that collective Bangsamoro aspiration …  For negotiating for 15 years for a peaceful resolution of the 40 years of armed rebellion –and the antecedent centuries of a war of resistance in Mindanao – the MILF peace panel has earned a unique and rare place in the world stage as a Peaceweaver.” 

The award to the government panel also acknowledged the role, aside from Atty. Marvic  Leonen as its head, of Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles, Malaysian Facilitator Tengku Dato Abdul Ghafar Tengku Mohammed and government panel members Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Presidential Assistant on Mindanao Affairs Yasmin Busran-Lao, former Agriculture Secretary Senen Bacani and Dr. Hamid Barra.

“There can be no better example of true peace advocates”, the President has described them.   “They form an exceptionally capable and truly caring peace panel who along with the President profoundly understand the complex exigency to weave into reality the Bangsamoro dream.” their citation added.

The late Roberto Villares, his citation said, was an outstanding public high school principal in the city for 38 years. Under his wise and highly-moral leadership, he molded thousands of young Zamboangueños into the noble-minded, law-abiding and peace-loving citizens that they were and are today. 

The late Panglima Oloh who hailed from Siasi Municipality, migrated to Zamboanga City in the early 1940s and became a businessman dealing in marine products.  He subsequently resided in several Muslim barrios including Rio Hondo, Campo Islam, Basiwasan, Sta. Barbara and Sta. Catalina.  In each, he made his mark with God and man by building a mosque for his fellow residents.  At least one of these – the one in Sta. Barbara - is still standing today.

“If Bicol has its Jesse Robredo, then Western Mindanao unequivocally has its Dumingag Mayor Nacianceno Pacalioga, Jr. Like the Bicolano and ultimately Filipino legend, Pacalioga who is fondly called as “Jun” has made good and effective governance the keystone of his 5-year old administration.   His vision and governance is spelled out and operationalized through his town’s General People’s Agenda (GPA), whose 15-point community development programs are centered around a flagship agricultural movement that promotes orgnanic farming. 

His agenda  in organic and multi-crop and diversified farming has raised the households’ productivity and incomes.  The farming technologies have also enriched the soil and ecology of Dumingag. Pointedly, natives who years ago left the town for greener pastures elsewhere are now going back – because the greenest of pastures today is in their own hometown. 

As proof of his outstanding leadership and success, he was an international recipient of One-World-Award 2012 conferred on him in Germany just last September – for extraordinary  performance in governance, agriculture, economy, social development and environment.   There are a few more national awards in recognition of Dumingag’s and Mayor Jun’s community-building successes.

Lastly, the IRSMP honored Dr. Hilda Babon as one of the Peaceweaver awardee this year due to her exemplary contribution in peace building in the education sector in the war-torn province of Basilan.  As Division Superintendent of City Schools of Isabela City she has institutionalized peace education in many of the public high schools in that capital town of Basilan province. 

During the night’s affair, a presentation of the Solidarity thanksgiving was also given to the following individuals and institutions, namely: Dr. Maybelle Baustista-Tee (Education) Lt Col Randolph Cabangbang, PA (Security), Atty. Laisa Masuhud-Alamia (Human Rights), Department of Interior and Local Government (Governance), Barangay Mariki (IRD) and Zamboanga Federation of Differently-Abled Communities (Advocacy).

Also in the spotlight was the Youth Solidarity for Peace (YSP), which received a special presentation for being this year’s awardee of the ASEAN Ten Accomplished Youth Organization (TAYO) which was held in Bangkok Thailand last September. — Albert F. Arcilla/Peace Advocates Zamboanga