A statement of unity was signed in Zamboanga City by 24 leaders of civil society organizations and church leaders calling on sobriety, solidarity and peace in dealing with the latest spate of violence in the city.
Twelve persons, including an American soldier, were killed while 201 persons were injured in last month’s spate of bombings here.
The Statement of Unity, whose signatories include Archbishop Carmelo Morelos, Hj. Ahmad Sakaluran, president of the SALAM Peace Foundation, Inc. and Commission on Human Rights regional director Manuel Mamauag, viewed with “grave concern” how the violent incidents “have increased fear and again created an atmosphere of doubt and mistrust of one group or another.”
The Statement noted that “the global specter of violence and fear has assumed personal dimensions in our city.” But it added that it is “important to place it in proper perspective, knowing that many can get
carried away with anxieties that can deeply affect us.”
“Let us not rush to judgment in the absence of facts. Under stress and without solid information to work with, we tend to explain the incidents by attributing them to some group or another. Such
attributions work against our efforts to mold a united community, a community where the members share a common vision of peace and hope,” the Statement read.
“The culture of violence is formidable. It must be countered with a united front that can undertake doable, realistic and effective action to build a culture of dialogue and peace. Let us be vigilant,
well-informed, critical and responsible. In out current modes of thinking and acting we must leave no room for error in our judgment lest we aggravate an already explosive situation. Let us open more
venues for seeking information from lawful authorities while we fully cooperate with them,” it said.
The signatories urged residents to “entrust our lives to the Supreme Being who watches over all of us especially in these times of uncertainty and dread,” and to be “united in prayer and in action.”
The signatories also appealed to “all people of goodwill” to “join in our call for sobriety, solidarity and peace. We must chart our course together in the dignity of human beings who are loved by Almighty God.”
The Statement quoted verses from the Bible and the Koran — “So peace is on me the day I was born, that day that I die, and that day that I should be raised to life again,” from Surah Mariam, Holy Q’ran XIX:33 and “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity! . For there the Lord commanded the blessing – life forever” from Psalm 133 of the Bible.