A CRY FOR PEACE IN MINDANAO: War is the Mother of all Poverty

Oct 5, 2017

by Joint Statement

 

We, a group of Muslims and Christians and members of civil society from Mindanao, have answered the invitation of the Sant’Egidio Community to come together in Rome to dialogue on peace in Mindanao.

 

Scene from a recent workshop of the Bishop-Ulama Conference

Scene from a recent workshop of the Bishop-Ulama Conference

We were graced by the active presence of His Eminence Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, O.M.I., Archbishop of Cotabato, and of His Excellency, Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim, Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. They had attended the International meeting on “Paths of Peace,” organized in Munster-Osnabruck, Germany, by Sant’Egidio Community.

           

Our hearts cry for peace. We felt the sufferings of the displaced people of Marawi and the whole region, particularly the ongoing ordeal of innocent hostages inside the city. We experienced helplessness as well as righteous indignation while the weapons of destruction daily increase the death toll of combatants and civilians.

           

Scene of devastation in Marawi City (Photo by Froilan Gallardo)

Scene of devastation in Marawi City (Photo by Froilan Gallardo)

Marawi dramatizes for us three interconnected challenges to peace in Mindanao: violent extremism and terrorism; the uncertainties of the implementation of the political peace process; and the crucial role of religious leaders and communities in the rebuilding and development of Marawi.

 

In this light, we make the following declarations:

 

1.      The conflict in Marawi is not a religious war; it is a war against terrorism and violent extremism.         The many stories of mutual assistance between Muslims and Christians attest to the rejection of this evil. These stories of solidarity likewise attest to the Filipinos’ sense of sharing a common humanity with anyone in need, regardless of creed or community.

 

2.      Islam and Christianity are religions of peace.  We call for the inclusion of peace education at all levels in our schools, madaris and communities. We need to build a Culture of Peace based on personal integrity, respect for human rights, inter-cultural dialogue, care for the environment, peaceful coexistence and eradication of poverty. We recall the words of Andrea Riccardi, founder of Sant’Egidio that “War is the Mother of all Poverty.”

 

3.  Inter-faith and intra-faith dialogue should be promoted as a means of understanding and appreciating other cultures and religions and enhancing cooperation. This dialogue must move from the highest level to the grassroots levels of society. Dialogue starts with self-examination to remove biases and prejudices.

 

4.    We welcome the current efforts at writing a more inclusive history of Mindanao that explores the root causes of conflict and depicts significant events and personalities from Muslim and indigenous people communities.

 

5.      We commit ourselves to reach out to our youth, who will be the future leaders of our Mindanao communities. They have so much to contribute towards building our communities with a renewed vision of Mindanao as our shared homeland.

 

6.      We appeal to our legislators and government officials to prioritize and expedite the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). This has been delayed since the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in March 2014. An approved BBL should provide a positive alternative to violent extremism.

 

7.      We fully endorse the call of Duyog Marawi (“Accompany Marawi”), spearheaded by the Prelature of St. Mary in Marawi together with local government units and civil society organizations. The united efforts of volunteers of different faiths are the best example of working and living together in peace and solidarity.

 

            As religious leaders and representatives of civil society we commit ourselves to this declaration.

 

Holding on to his belongings a boy runs away from the fighting in Marawi City. (Photo by Froilan Gallardo).

Holding on to his belongings a boy runs away from the fighting in Marawi City. (Photo by Froilan Gallardo).

            We express our profound gratitude to the Community of Sant’Egidio for initiating this informal dialogue on the peace process in Mindanao and we ask the same Community to carry on this conversation with all those who seek peace.

 

Smoke rises in downtown Marawi City after military planes dropped bombs on Friday (August 11, 2017). Photo by Froilan Gallardo

Smoke rises in downtown Marawi City after military planes dropped bombs on Friday (August 11, 2017). Photo by Froilan Gallardo

            May the Compassion and Mercy of Almighty God, that we are asked to share with others, be our light and hope in these moments of crisis.

 

Rome, Sant’Egidio, 15th September 2017

 

Signed:

 

H.E.. Most Rev. Antonio Ledesma, SJ

Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, Philippines

 

 

H.E.. Most Rev. Edwin de la Peña

Bishop Prelate of Marawi, Lanao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines

 

Ms. Mona Liza Pangan

Witness from Marawi, Lanao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines

 

H.E.. Dr. Said Zamahsari Salendab

Secretary General of the Hayatul Ulama in Mindanao, Philippines

 

Dr. Ustadz Abdulmuhmin Mujahid

Executive Director of the Regional Darul Ifta-ARMM, Mindanao, Philippines

 

Dr. Mauro Garofalo

Head of International Relations, Community of Sant’Egidio

 

Prof. Alberto Quattruci

Secretary General of Peoples and Religions, Community of Sant’Egidio

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