To symbolize the significance of finding meaning in one’s journey particularly in specific moments of life (in this case, the meaning of one formative aspect of the learning process that first year students undergo in their “journey” through college), as well as to highlight the culmination of the university’s observance of the Jesuit Restoration, students of the First Year Development Program (FYDP) of the Arrupe Office of Social Formation (AOSF) numbering close to a thousand, accompanied by their FYDP guides, marched from the city’s People’s Park to the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) Jacinto Campus in the early morning of Saturday, 14th March 2015. Changes were made as to the assembly and destination points (as announced earlier), which were originally set from ADDU’s Roxas Gate to the Matina Campus.
Dubbed as the “Pilgrim’s Walk for Peace,” the short march commenced at 5:00 a.m. and ended an hour later. Participating students and guides carried placards, tarpaulins and banners that expressed and articulated strong support to promote the culture of peace in the wake of the outbreak of hostilities that erupted in central Mindanao between government forces and rebel troops from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)—skirmishes that ensued after the infamous Mamasapano incident in late January).
The walk ended with a mass held at the Jacinto Campus Open Field presided by Fr. David John delos Reyes, SJ, the Executive Secretary of the University Research Council (URC) and a Guide of the FYDP. After the holy mass, a community celebration followed through the “Musikahan at Sayawan.” This musical extravaganza featured local school talents such as Mr. Norman “Nonoy” Narciso and Mr. Peter Paul Elicor of the Humanities and Letters Cluster of the School of Arts & Sciences (SAS). (By Arrupe Communications)
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. Continue reading
In one rare occasion, in conjunction with the university’s observance of the Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP) 2014, the Arrupe Office of Social Formation’s Communications & Advocacy Program brought together a group of student leaders in an afternoon conversation on peace, held on 3rd December 2014 at the “Pakighinabi” Room of the Community Center. The student leaders were in the company of two prominent peacebuilders on the ground who shared their respective experiences in grassroots peacebuilding: Mr. Mike Alon of IMAN, Inc. and Mr. Orson Sargado of Peacebuilding program of Catholic Relief Service (CRS). Entitled “Pakig-ambitay para sa Kalinaw sa Mindanaw:” An Afternoon Conversation on Peace, Part 1, this modified round-table discussion (RTD), conversation style, is a derivative of the “Pakighinabi” series where discussants were asked to lead discussions on a specific topic, and where members of the audience freely interact not only by asking questions but also by offering their own reflections, sharings, insights and learnings, addressed to the lead discussants as well as to the rest of the audience.“Papa” Mike—as addressed by co-discussant Mr. Sargado—a veteran peace warrior, presented some personal insights on grassroots peacebuilding based on his experience as a Muslim working in war-torn communities in Pikit, North Cotabato. He conveyed how he worked among Muslims, Christians and Lumads through the peace zone which he and Fr. Roberto “Bert” Layson, OMI, created in Pikit. He highlighted the importance of respecting culture and religion among the different stakeholders that live side by side amidst a volatile situation. He also underscored the fact that peacebuilding efforts alone are not enough if they are not accompanied by the delivery of basic social services to communities that are plagued by poverty and a lack of socio-economic opportunities. Continue reading