Love, peace festival benefits 1K Basilan ‘children of war’

Love, peace festival benefits 1K Basilan ‘children of war’

LOVE AND PEACE FESTIVAL. Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. (left), commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), and Mayor Brenda Junaid of Tabuan-Lasa town in Basilan (center) join the three “children of war” in a photo session during the Festival of Love and Peace on Sunday (Oct. 4, 2020). A total of 1,000 children of war from different barangays in Tabuan-Lasa receive food packs, toys and bicycles during the festival. (Photo courtesy of Westmincom Public Information Office)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A total of 1,000 pre-assessed “children of war” from different barangays of Tabuan-Lasa, Basilan province, participated and benefited from the Festival of Love and Peace.

Themed “In Health there is Hope, with Hope there is Harmony”, the Festival of Love and Peace, which was held on Sunday in Barangay Lanawan, Tabuan-Lasa, was spearheaded by the Save the Children of War (Mindanao) Association, Inc. (SCWAI) in cooperation with the local government of Tabuan-Lasa and the 4th Special Forces Battalion.

In a statement Monday, the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said toys, bicycles, and food packs were distributed to the children during the festival.

“I am very proud of you all because you are our true partners in carrying out peace and order here in Basilan,” Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., commander of Westmincom, told the children of war and their guardians during the activity. “I am happy that during my stint as the commander of Western Mindanao Command I was able to join you in this momentous event.”

Col. Antonio John Divinagracia, Joint Task Force Zamboanga commander, said the festival “is a great venue for the promotion of peace in the communities.”

Divinagracia is one of the pioneer officers who facilitated the realization of the programs of the SCWAI.

“Let us all unite to get rid of conflicts here in Basilan,” said Dr. Arlyn Jawad Jumao-as, SCWAI president.

Meanwhile, Tabuan-Lasa Mayor Brenda Junaid said it is the first time that a helicopter landed in the island municipality.

Tabuan-Lasa was created out of the 12 barangays of Sumisip town that were not on mainland Basilan, through Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 187 ratified in a plebiscite held on March 29, 2008.

The Festival of Love and Peace is a yearly activity conducted in conflict-affected areas to help the children impacted by previous conflicts recover from traumatic experiences.

The children of Tabuan-Lasa were able to showcase their talents in dancing and poster-making. (PNA)

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