Lilia bats for interfaith dialogues in Zambo PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 January 2014 11:22

District 2 Congresswoman Lilia M. Nuño yesterday called on all residents, both Christians and Muslims, to  pursue more interfaith dialogue programs to bring back what she described as a “long-cherished Christian-Muslim harmony that has prevailed in Zamboanga City for many years in the past.”

Rep. Nuño made the call in her speech during the State of the City Report at the City Council as she related “a real but unseen phenomenon slowly creeping back into Zamboanga City after the September siege.”

“I am referring to the observation that the MNLF siege has triggered a seeming return of animosity between and among the faithful in our city,” Nuño said.

She stressed that the only platform available for the residents is through interreligious dialogue whose only objective is peace.

“Let us engage in interfaith dialogue, especially among the younger generation, in order to bring back that long-cherished Christian-Muslim harmony that has prevailed in Zamboanga City for many years in the past. We must understand that interfaith dialogue is a process so intricately designed, that to embark on it is not as simple as sitting people down and engaging them in conversation. It is a skillful undertaking,” said the District 2 House representative.

“I may sound like a broken record but I will say it again: there cannot be progress and prosperity in the city without peace. Around the world, people suffer because there is no peace,” Nuño added.

She revealed that there are many organizations working silently on the ground promoting peace and interfaith dialogue in Zamboanga City and among them are the Peace Advocates in Zamboanga, The Peacemakers’ Circle, The Bishops Ulama Conference, and Silsilah Dialogue Movement that specifically undertake interfaith dialogue.

“We appreciate their commitment,” she added.

“let us help in bringing interfaith dialogue into the center stage of our city. Let us capacitate each other in undertaking this activity. Let us work in finding that common ground, of building back that trust and respect once again, so that truly, lasting peace can reign among us all in Zamboanga City,” Nuño urged.

In the same speech, Nuño revealed that she was able to secure an allocation of P24.5 million from the DPWH for the immediate repair and rehabilitation of roads in five barangays in District 2 that were damaged during the infamous Zamboanga siege.

She said P5 million was allocated to repair the damaged roads in Sta. Catalina, P5 million in Kasanyangan; P5 million in Talon-Talon, P5 million in Mampang and P4.5 million for Arena Blanco. The implementation of these projects will start soon, she revealed.

The congresswoman disclosed that during and after the September siege, she had the privileged of working closely with local leaders, particularly Mayor Beng Climaco Salazar, in providing relief operations for the more than 100,000 residents initially affected by the conflict.

“I recall that even without media coverage, we worked hand in hand with hundreds of local and international volunteers in helping our beleaguered brothers and sisters in times of dire need,” she said.

“Last December 20, no less than DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman graced the turnover of five bunkhouses at Taluksangay to displaced families. The five bunkhouses with 54 rooms are part of the 21 units to be constructed by the DSWD and the Habitat for Humanity foundation. Earlier on in October 14,I delivered a privilege speech before the House of Representatives where I condemned in the strongest possible terms the attack by misguided elements of Moro National Liberal Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari. I demanded justice and retribution for the peaceful-loving residents of Zamboanga City. I thanked President PNoy and his cabinet members for their immediate attention and actions to Zamboanga City’s problems,” Nuño said.

She said she anticipates to  have her hands full in the next two and a half years of her term “with so many things needed to be done as a congressional representative.”

“But more than just enacting laws and legislating the national budget, I see a more urgent concern for Zamboanga City: the need to find lasting peace. We need to find lasting and permanent peace not only in Zamboanga City, but also in the entire Mindanao. As a Muslim and as a peace loving-citizen of our country, I will support the Mindanao peace progress undertaken by the Aquino administration with the signing of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement between the government and the Moro lslamic Liberation Front. Once the proposed Bangsamoro organic law is submitted to Congress for amendments, in order to replace the current ARMM, I will support that bill after I am assured that the decision of the people of Zamboanga City to stay out of its territorial jurisdiction is duly respected.

There is no substitute for peace. We must have peace in Mindanao now,” Nuño pledged.