IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay, Feb. 10, 2011â€” â€œIn war there is no such thing as unwounded soldier. And in war there is no victor, only victims,â€ so said an army official.
Armyâ€™s 102nd Infantry Brigade commanding officer Col. Santiago R. Baluyot said that like everybody else, the men in uniform also â€œseek peace that is honorable.â€
The Army officerâ€™s call for peace rang aloud inside the camp in Barangay Sanito, this town, as men in uniform, representatives of civil society organization, the media, and the church gathered for a candle-lighting ceremony on February 8 at 6 p.m.
The candle lighting event dubbed as â€œIlaw ng Kapayapaanâ€ (Light of Peace) was part of a nationwide activity jointly organized by the government and the civil society organizations in support to the resumption of peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) that officially started on February 9.
For many times, Baluyot said, he had lighted candles in honor of dead relatives, officers and men who have valiantly fight for peace. He said he had seen pains and anguish in the faces of wounded and dying soldiers.
Baluyot had seen numerous battles in the soils of Jolo and Basilan as a young Army officer.
â€œNow, I am lighting candle again to manifest our desire to be part of healing the nation from divisive and bloody conflicts,â€ he declared.
He urged those present â€œthat as we light these candles let us remember the victims of war, the widows, and the orphans so that they also share the peace that we seek and long for.â€
Speaking in behalf of the civil society organization, Dr. Rolando Olmoguez, president of Rotary Club International in Sibugay, also urged everyone to â€œgive peace a chance as we enter a new era of search for peace in the roundtable discussion on how to achieve peace in the land.â€
â€œWe cannot afford more bloodshed, disorder, and chaos in the land,â€ Olmoguez, who is also the head of Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Hospital, said.
In an interview before the opening of the candle lighting activity, Ustadz Sarabi Camsain said he is â€œoptimistic that peace is achievable because the president is an Aquino who does not want trouble.â€
â€œWe have tried his mother as president and we benefited from her administration,â€ he said.
The organic law that created the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was enacted under the watch of the late President Corazon Aquino.
The Muslim, the ustadz said, is looking forward for a better peace situation under the Aquino administration.
The candle lighting event was opened with prayers from Pastor Antonio Manaytay of the Christian and Missionary Churches in the Philippines (CMCP) and Ustadz Sarabi Camsain for the Muslims. (Antonio Manaytay)