In the midst of the festivities of Misamis Occidental’s anniversary, the provincial government was joined by the archbishop of Ozamiz City in urging people to cooperate to achieve peace, after recent incidents of violence in the province.
At the Perangat Festival, Vice Governor Rowena Gutierrez addressed Misamisnons in behalf of Governor Henry Oaminal, highlighting the need to “keep our determination, support one another, and endeavor to further the development of our beloved province.”
Emotionally, Gutierrez recounted the night when her husband, Lopez Jaena town Mayor Michael Gutierrez was assassinated during a Christmas celebration–almost two years before another attempt was made on the life of Oaminal using an improvised explosive device (IED). Barely a month would pass before radio broadcaster Juan Jumalon, also known as ‘Johnny Walker,’ would be fatally shot in the middle of his live Facebook broadcast.
The vice governor claimed the incidents were attempts to “divide and terrify us.”
“But in truth, their actions [only] bolstered our spirits and promoted our unit because we are stronger as a people.”
Ozamiz City Archbishop Martin Jumoad, who officiated the mass wedding of 201 couples during the Kasalan sa Kapitolyo, sought the participation of the public in vigilance against crime.
“We can only attain peace, welfare and progression if there’s unity among civilians. Peace really depends on civilians. That’s why it is not advisable to shut up,” said Jumoad. Furthermore, he encouraged civilians to actively coordinate with the police should they notice suspicious activities.
“I appeal to the civilians, people of goodwill. We need to cooperate with our men and women in uniform so that peace and order will remain in the province,” Jumoad added. “Unity and cooperation as well as the kind of relationships that we have to care for each other will bring us to development.”
In light of the recent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), the archbishop also stressed that poll results must be accepted to maintain an orderly and peaceful province.
Rather than resorting to illegal means, Jumoad continued, “it’s better to try and lose 15 times in running for a certain position.”
Oaminal in a statement encouraged the people to “defy the efforts of criminal elements to hamper the spirit of Misamis Occidental’s anniversary celebration.”
“Let us remain a united community and stay on the path of progress of our 5Ms,” the governor added.
The 5Ms or Misamisnon Magpuyong Malinawon, Malambuon ug Malipayon (Misamisnon Live Peaceful, Prosperous and Happy)’ is the development thrust for Misamis Occidental led by Oaminal.
Different groups from all over the province participated in the Perangat Festival, a thanksgiving celebration, and competed in the program’s dance competition for the P5-million grand prize.