QUEZON CITY MEMORIAL CIRCLE, Metro Manila, February 3 — Filipinos in various walks of life, including from the government, religious groups, women leaders, professionals, and youth organizations joined together today here as they sent a strong message that they will not be divided.
Nor are they going to be cowed by violent extremism.
Iman Council of the Philippines (ICOP) Chairman Ahmad Said Basher (2nd, left) and Monsignor Albert Songco, vicar general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), display their copy of the Bible and the Qur’an. The two religious leaders exchanged their respective Holy Books to affirm Muslim and Christian unity, understanding, respect, and harmony during the walk for peace Sunday, February 3, at QCMC. (Photo: NCMF)
Estimates from the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) which helped organized the activity placed the participants between 2,000 and 3,000 people.
Amidst the evils of society’s attempts to divide them, thousands of Christians and Muslims, instead, demonstrated in a resounding manner their unity against the forces of evil.
NCMF Secretary/CEO Saidamen B. Pangarungan.
Monsignor Albert Songco, vicar general for AFP, MOP.
They walked for peace and unity which also counted the participation of many members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Among the prominent speakers and participants National Commission of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary/CEO Saidamen B. Pangarungan; Monsignor Lucio Rosaroso, Jr., vicar general for PNP, Military Ordinariate of the Philippines (MOP); Imam Ebra M. Moxsir, president, Imam Council of the Philippines (ICOP); Rev. Samuel Erandio, Base Evangelical chaplain; Nanay Bing Pimentel, convenor, Pasalord Movement; Aleem Said Ahmad Baseher, chairman of ICOP; Monsignor Albert Songco, vicar general for AFP, MOP; Alexander Lapore, Diocese of Cubao/Knights of Columbus;
Police Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, PNP regional director, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO); Bishop Noel P. Pantoja, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC); Maulana Alan Balangi, president, One Bangsa; Datu Basher “Bong” Alonto, president, NCR Muslims for Peace and Justice NCRMPJ); Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva (through a representative); spiritual leader, Jesus is Lord Movement (JLM); Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo, executive director, Iglesia ni Kristo (INK) (through a representative); and Bro. Mike Z. Velarde (through representative), servant leader, El Shaddai.
Aleem Basher and Monsignor Songco made a symbolic exchange of Qur’an and Bible in a show of harmony and understanding.
After the program during which the speakers denounced violence and their perpetrators, assured solidarity with the people of Sulu and Zamboanga City, the leaders signed a Peace Covenant represented by a “Panata ng Katapatan” (Pledge of Sincerity).
The peace and solidarity walk was a response to terrorists’ bombings of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu, on january 27, and the grenade attack on the Masjid (Mosque) Kamahardikaan in Talon Talon, Zamboanga City.
A total of 22 worshipers died in the twin bombings of the cathedral, which authorities believed were the handiwork of two Indonesian suicide bombers. Two “da’e” (Tableegh religious teachers) died in the mosque attack. More than 100 people suffered injuries in the bombing attacks.
More photographs of the walk for peace and solidarity:
This story will be updated soon as more information and pictures come in. (EKU)