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3 Giugno 2014

EU, global interfaith group set peace conference in Mindanao

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MANILA, Philippines – An international interfaith organization is set to hold a peace conference in Mindanao where delegates from all over the world will come together and hold dialogues with local religious and political stakeholders.
European Union (EU) Ambassador Guy Ledoux said that the conference, which is co-sponsored by the EU, aims to promote “understanding, respect, and appreciation,” among the different people in Mindanao.
“Our commitment to co-fund this event is not only an expression of belief and conviction in the path towards peace in Mindanao. It emphasizes our strong confidence that interfaith dialogue has the capacity to go beyond political processes: to promote understanding, the respect and appreciation of others, as well as their different values, principles, and faiths,” Ledoux said in a press conference Tuesday.
“Coming from a European perspective, where economic and political integration is happening against a background of different languages, nations, and cultures, we believe that open communication, the exchange of ideas and experiences, including interfaith dialogue builds confidence and increases inclusiveness at a grassroots level,” he said.
The main organizer of the event is The Sant’Egidio Community, a movement with over 60,000 supporters in 73 countries. Also contributing to the peace conference is Muhammadiyah, an Islamic organization in Indonesia that devotes itself to social and educational activities.
Around 50 main participants will join the conference that will be held on June 6 to 7 at the Notre Dame University in Cotabato including: Maguindanao Governor Toto Mangundadatu, North Cotabato Governor Lala Talino-Mendoza, Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong, South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance Fuentes, and ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman.
The Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles will also attend along with Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo and Abuhuraira Udasan the Grand Mufti of Central Mindanao.
Members from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) are set to join. Among them are Mohangher Iqbal, Chairperson of the MILF at the Peace Talks, Al-Hajj Mirad Ebrahim, MILF Chairman and Absalom Cerveza, spokesman of Nur Misuari.
Massimo Roscigno, Italian Ambassador to the Philippines and also co-sponsor, said that interfaith and interculture dialogue is “a powerful tool to foster social harmony and mutual understanding.”
“Culture and religion can be unifying, rather than divisive forces in our multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, bringing to the surface the common aspirations of people towards peace and prosperity,” he said.
Ledoux said that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that was signed last March has paved the way for peace in Mindanao and this has to be reflected down to the grassroots.
“We have to ensure that there is real reconciliation of the heart between different parties there. The dramatic events that have happened over the last decades, these leaves scars and those need to be healed. That is why this dialogue needs to take place,” Ledoux said.

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