BY Mike S Apostol

Yesterday, February 7, 2016, was the culminating program of a week-long activity of solidarity and dialogue a movement for love and peace by the Silsilah Dialogue Movement with Fr. Sebastiano D’ Ambra, PIME, convenor United Nations Interfaith-Harmony Partners- Zamboanga (UNI-HP-Z). The movement has been going on every year in Zamboanga City being attended and joined by different faiths and religions, government offices and the religious sector, in search for total peace and love among neighbors and religions through dialogue and spiritual approach. The General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution in October 20, 2010, because the community of nations felt an “imperative need for a worldwide dialogue for peace through the spiritual approach.”

In Zamboanga City, different religious leaders from different faiths joined together for a continued dialogue in search of peace, harmony and love. The movement in Zamboanga is spearheaded by the Silsilah Dialogue Movement (SDM) which started many years back and became a national movement supported by the National Government when President B.S. Aquino III signed into Law Republic Act No. 10525, declaring the first week of February every year as as World Interfaith Harmony week and enjoined all government office to join the search for peace and harmony among all faiths through spiritual approach and dialogue. Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar also sponsored a city council resolution when she was still a city councilor supporting the move of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement for harmony and peace in Zamboanga City.

Today in Zamboanga City there are almost 30 government, non-government organizations, private organizations and civic associations and religious groups who are active supporters and partners of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony week celebration. These groups contributed in their own way the search for harmony and peace in Zamboanga City, though constant dialogues in a spiritual approach. The Muslim Council of Ulamas, and some Catholic and Christian leaders are also active supporters of the interfaith movement.

In 2014, the World Interfaith Harmony Week (WHIW) brought the Zamboanga partners led by the Silsilah Dialogue Movement to win the First Prize for World Harmony Week activity sponsored by H.M. King Abdullah II of the kingdom of Jordan. “The prize will be awarded to those events or texts that are judged to have been most successful in promoting Interfaith Harmony and imparting religious understanding”.

PIME’s Fr. Sebastiano D’ Ambra, the spiritual force behind the Sisilah Dialogue Movement (SDM) is enjoining everyone in Zamboanga City to join him in looking for a lasting peace in Zamboanga City through constant dialogue and built up trust and harmony. Right now the SDM is represented by the following civic and religious leaders in Zamboanga City, like, Atty Arsenio L. Gonzales Jr. coordinator for the Christians. Atty. Mohamad Taha S. Arakama, coordinator for the Muslims and Elizabeth L. Solis, EDC, Secretary. These are the prime movers of the dialogue movement for peace and harmony in Zamboanga City.

Scoop: Indeed Zamboanga City needs a dialogue for peace and harmony among its people. The city is on the heels of unstable peace and order situation, because the city’s peaceful citizens are constantly haunted by rumors of lawless elements movement out to sow disaster and chaos in the city even today and information reveals that those who wanted to disturbed the tranquility and peace of the city are allegedly Moro lawless elements. We needed dialogue and the freedom to live peacefully and harmoniously. Perhaps it is time to reflect both government forces and rebel factions. Agree or disagree.

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