This coming Monday, 15th December at 3:40 p.m., Fr. Roberto “Bert” Layson, OMI and Mr. Mike P. Alon will be the lead discussants in a conversation on grassroots peacebuilding entitled “Padayon sa Pakig-ambitay para sa Kalinaw sa Mindanaw” (Part 2) at the “Pakighinabi Room” of the Community Center. Both Fr. Bert Layson and Mr. Alon are recognized as staunch advocates of grassroots peacebuilding. Their initiatives and involvement in creating zones of peace in the municipality of Pikit in North Cotabato left an indelible mark in pushing the boundaries of serious peacemaking among communities that are often affected by the impact of war and conflict.
Fr. Bert was a former priest in Pikit whose parish took a lead in organizing activities pertinent to interfaith dialogue among surrounding Muslim, Christian and Lumad villages. The parish in Pikit also served as some sort of a refugee center for people who were displaced during outbreaks of sporadic violence, especially during the encounters between the military and rebels troops in 2003. Both Fr. Bert and Mr. Alon were heavily involved in the conduct of interreligious activities in Pikit and in neighbouring communities. This post-Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP) offering is initiated by the Communications & Advocacy Program of the Arrupe Office of Social Formation, in partnership with the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia. This is the second series of an afternoon conversation on peace, with faculty and some members of civil society groups as the intended audience. The first series, attended primarily by student leaders, was conducted on 3rd December 2014 at the same venue, with Mr. Alon and Mr. Orson Sargado of Peacebuilding-CRS as resource persons. (By M. Isabel S. Actub, Arrupe Communications & Advocacy)