Lanao del Norte leads interfaith ‘walk for peace’

Provincial leaders of Lanao del Norte spearheaded an interfaith “walk for peace” to signify the locals’ desire for peace, while the armed conflict in Marawi City shows signs of ebbing as it enters its fifth month.

Lanao del Norte Gov. Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo has called on her constituents to work for peace and avoid sectarian biases to heighten understanding among the province’s Muslim, Christian and “lumad” (native) residents.

Dimaporo made the call during the interfaith “Walk for Peace and Reconciliation” on Wednesday organized by the province’s Committee on Culture, Arts and Interfaith Relations, in collaboration with the Lanao del Norte Provincial Interfaith Council and the Universal Peace Federation-Mindanao, the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army.

Hundreds of participants from the religious sector, academe, local government units, the military and non-goverment organizations marched in Baloi town.

“[We] have to respect and understand each other’s differences with regards to culture, tradition and faith to sustain the peace and order, and [to attain] a prosperous and progressive province for all constituents of Lanao del Norte,” Dimaporo said in a statement.

She said that the province has been known as “The Land of Beauty and Bounty” and residents want to keep it that way through peace initiatives.

Dimaporo said the activity aims to bridge cultures and religions as an avenue for achieving inclusive growth.

“The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness for Sustainable Peace in the province and throughout the country,” she said, adding that the march for peace also honored fallen soldiers who had sacrificed their lives in the battle field of Marawi for the citizens to continuously live in peace, and to the innocent civilians who were caught by the atrocities perpetrated by terrorists.

The event was highlighted with the peace covenant signing among the stakeholders at the Balo-i municipal hall grounds.

Provincial Boardmember Grecille Matalines, chair of the Culture, Arts and Interfaith Relations, Balo-i town was selected as venue for the walk “as this municipality was the first Local Government Unit who responded and extended their help to the victims and evacuees of the Marawi hostilities.” (PNA/Jigger J. Jerusalem)