COTABATO CITY – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao led by Governor Mujiv Hataman joined Wednesday the celebration of the International Day of Peace.
Hataman said he wished for an everlasting peace not only in the region, but elsewhere in Mindanao where armed conflicts have affected tens of thousands of innocent people.
He said every September 21, “we commemorate two events that speak of the contradictions we face as a nation – the International Day of Peace, a day that speaks of humanity’s greatest hope at a time when the world is wounded by conflict and injustice.Here in Philippines and especially in the far south, in the island of Mindanao, we know what it means to hope for lasting peace as we struggle for social justice.”
“Today, we also remember how, four decades and four years ago, the late Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in the guise of securing peace in our land, unleashing upon our people a kind of violence and injustice unmatched in recent history. Such stark contrast between peace and conflict is one that our people continue to live with, in a constant attempt to remember our past as we realize a better future.”
Faced with contradictions, Hataman – a peace activist – said “our people know first-hand the meaning of triumph and struggle, the meaning of terror and peace. Above all else these words carry more than meaning, because for us these words carry our nation’s history.”
“As we observe the International Day of Peace and as we remember the day Martial Law was once declared in our country, we recognize the value of the freedoms we now have and we honor the memory of those who struggled for these same freedoms,” he said.
He also called on the people to “pay our respects to those who fought before us and have won small triumphs that lead us to the day of victory, a day when our people can finally live lives free from fear and want.”
“Let us ponder on the lessons passed onto us by generations of fighters and revolutionaries who dared to dream of just and lasting peace for our people. Let us pray for our children as we continue to fight for the future they deserve, one where they would not need to run away in fear for their lives or mourn a death without a body to bury.”
“Today is a reminder of our troubled past, our continuing struggle in the present, and our promised future. Now, more than ever, let us not waver in our conviction and our commitment to just and lasting peace. This much we owe to our ancestors, to our children, and to ourselves,” Hataman said. (Bureau of Public Information)
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