AS WE end the first month of the year next week, let us ponder on what February brings.
On February 1-7 is the World Interfaith Harmony Week as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on October 20, 2010. In the resolution, the UN-GA "points out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and establishes World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith."
"Recognizing the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, the General Assembly encourages all States to support during that week the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world's churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship, on a voluntary basis and according to their own religious traditions or convictions," the UN website about the International Week reads.
It is apt for the country to mark this week, even celebrate it, as the Bangsamoro Basic Law is still being deliberated in Congress, with a few members pushing for a watered down version that Moro leaders fear will not be any better than the law that created the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (Armm), which has been deemed a failure.
Stakeholders are getting antsy and impatient, even President Rodrigo R. Duterte has indicated as much.
During House Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez' birthday celebration earlier this month, the President admitted he already has a draft Executive Order to push BBL as he continued to urge Congress to craft a BBL that will pass constitutional challenge.
"About the Muslim insurgency, I am really waiting for the product of Congress. But I have my own, it is Executive Order No. 10," Duterte said in a speech in Alvarez's birthday attended by around 1,200 politicians and prominent individuals.
Duterte had earlier said that he believes that in its present proposed form, the BBL could not hurdle constitutional barriers. But that is politics, that is governance. There is more to peace and harmony that we, the people, can explore even without a law.
There is so much about harmony among people of different beliefs and religions that we Filipinos must become familiar with, especially those in the national capital and Luzon and Visayas, who cannot even set aside their biases against the Moro people much less understand what tri-people really means.
In the end, while government focused in pushing peace knowing that that is what will bring development and alleviate poverty, the people themselves have to strive to live in harmony with every neighbor and fellow, regardless of beliefs, because it is in harmony where the ill-intentioned will be exposed.
In harmony, communities become brothers and sisters looking and reaching out to each other to help the whole community step forward and live in peace. Let us strive for that state of being with the people around us.