SAFHA 2021 Issue - Magazine: Of Hopes and Peace

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Of Hopes and Peace SAFHA, API, and Diario Verdad holds Peace Journalism training Pg 5 Ateneo Center for Culture and Arts: Living Art in the New Landscape Pg 7 Humans of Zamboanga: Featuring Frencie Carreon Pg 12

2021 ISSUE

Editorial Board A.Y. 2021 - 22


Maraming SALAAM-at! : SALAAM-AdZU Becomes an Accredited Club of the UNESCO Clubs PH SALAAM commemorates 2020 Mindanao Week of Peace; conducts talk on youth for peace


SAFHA, API, and Diario Verdad upholds Peace Journalism training

Shariful S. Mansul Editor-in-Chief

SALAAM, API promotes coexistence with Interreligious Dialogue webinar

Janice M. Francisco Associate Editor

Michael John D. Alipio Content Editor

Angelo Paulo R. Bitangcor Creatives Editor


Formation through SACSI’s Service-Learning Program


Living Art in the New Landscape


ACLG implements Municipal Nutrition Governance Program in ZaNorte

Chrizelle Jance R. Sicat Managing Editor Abeer U. Uri Janice M. Francisco Mary Elizabeth S. Apolonio Layout Artist Florence F. Midel, Corelle Trixie B. Tancay, Ranya A. Raz, Shahani E. Buddiman, Joaquin Carlos A. Gonzales, Abeer U. Uri, Regina Esther Angelica T. Francisco, Mudznalyn B. Usama, Mary Elizabeth S. Apolonio, Vinz Harrold E. Basilio, Aizel Joy M. Potot, Fatma Shaheen S. Hadjirul

In 2020, the world was shaken by the abrupt emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and consequential lockdown. Our lifestyles were being rewired towards something new. Through 365 days of that and so much more, some fought to silence the blaring noises, and others cried out to fill the void. We're stranded on boats set sail towards different stars, some bigger than the others.

Writers Ms. Sharmaine S. Canama Dr. Felice Noelle Rogriguez Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram Mr. Abdul Warith H. Abdula Fr. Antonio B. De Castro SJ Contributors Mr. Abdul Warith H. Abdula Ms. Coniely Mhar P. Himor

Cover by Abeer U. Uri

We have come together to unite through the hardships and move from where we are towards better destinations.


This theme, "Of Hopes and Peace", is inspired by humanity's overcoming struggle and building of solidarity in this pandemic. As we envision a better post-pandemic future, this will only be possible through the inspiration of hope and peace. Theme by Fatma Shaheen S. Hadjirul



Continuing Peace in the New Normal


Celebrating World Wetlands Day Through Art


CCES, SDUs conduct Opportunity 2.0 Program for Subanen Youth


Magellan, Inquisition and Globalisation


CHR, AdZU establish Human Rights Center; Human Rights Org formed


Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazzali on Fasting and the Benefits of Hunger


Humans of Zamboanga: Frencie Carreon


Christian Reflections on Violence, the Cross, and Easter Hope


Local Youth Development Council holds Election of Members for 2021-2023


Remembering with Criselda Yabes’ Below the Crying Mountain

AdZU Students participate in Online Muslim-Christian Dialogue Training


A Year in Review

DIRECTOR’S NOTE This year’s issue is a testament to the dedication of our volunteers in the pursuit of youth participation in nation-building. The SAFHA Publications was created last academic year for two reasons: to serve as a platform for SALAAM – AdZU to present its aspirations and accomplishments, and to promote the activities of the Social Development Council in its mission of social involvement. It is with great pride and joy that we release a second issue, even with the changes provided by the ongoing pandemic.

Michael John D. Alipio Executive Director

I express my greatest appreciation to the people who have made this possible: the Editorial Board; our writers, layout artists, and contributors; the Ateneo Peace Institute; other offices of the Social Development Council under the leadership of Mr. John Mayo Enriquez; and to Board Trustee Fr. Antonio De Castro SJ and University President Fr. Karel San Juan SJ. Your support made this issue a reality – muchas gracias! Our mission continues! AMDG +

SALAAM Organization - AdZU

EDITOR’S NOTE In the present issue of SAFHA, we continue to give voice to action that affirms the existence of the light at the end of the tunnel. As the pandemic continues, and so is our endurance of it, as we create newer and brighter ways of helping each other. Altruism is a survival trait, after all. In this issue, however, we would like to include into the boundary of holding on the gift of gentle reflection together with the themes of hope and peace. In a creative configuration, it can be said that hope is peace and vice versa. If peace is in one sense one's resolve amidst raging tensions, then hope is peaceful. And if hope is in one sense the belief in the end of raging tensions, then peace is hopeful. In the playful world of meanings, plurality is a veil of singularity. The mystics knew. In this issue, we demonstrate not just the variety of good news, but the unity of their aim.

Shariful S. Mansul Editor-in-Chief SAFHA Publications

The wagon of peace can only run with the wheels of hope. Or is it that hope is the wagon and peace the wheels? Never mind, they are inseparable as the pieces here show. With the ground these examples set, we are condemned to follow forward.

Maraming SALAAM-at!:

SALAAM – AdZU becomes the first accredited AdZU club of the UNESCO Clubs PH Written by Ranya A. Raz


he National Coordinating Body of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Clubs in the Philippines (NCBUCP) officially hailed SALAAM Organization - AdZU as one of its newly accredited organizations, formally conferred during their 10th-anniversary celebration last December 19, 2020, making it the first among AdZU organizations and second in Zamboanga City. With SALAAM - AdZU’s goal for nation-building through peace, dialogue, and social action initiatives, its momentous accreditation indicates its past programs’ alignment with UNESCO’s mission and vision as an advocacy-based student organization. Stated in their website, UNESCO Clubs PH aims to 1) promote understanding of the ideals of UNESCO and work for the success of their implementation; 2) facilitate international understanding, cooperation, and world peace; 3) support human rights; 4) contribute to the training in civics and democracy of their members; and 5) participate in social development conceived as the attainment of the conditions most conducive to the full development of the human personality.

SALAAM - AdZU’s notable activities include; KAMALAYAN Webinar Series, SAFHA’s Peace Weaving through Peace Journalism training, as well as partnership facilitating programs, such as Social Development Office AdZU’s Mindanaoan Ako, Filipino Ako! Leadership Peace Camp and Summit, and Ateneo Peace Institute’s Majlis Lecture Series.

SALAAM celebrates 2020 Mindanao Week of Peace; conducts talk on youth for peace Written by Corelle Trixie B. Tancay


he SALAAM Organization of Ateneo de Zamboanga University (SALAAM AdZU) celebrated the 2020 Mindanao Week of Peace in a webinar dubbed "A Talk on the Role of the Youth for Peaceful Mindanao" with Mr. Jaime Salva Jr. last December 2, 2020.

He highlighted the grassroots levels as the most affected communities in the COVID crisis, encouraging advocacies to center on the marginalized. "The COVID-19 crisis and the response to it are exacerbating the underlying roots of conflict, particularly inequality... young peacebuilders could be at the forefront of building peace and tackling the virus," he said.

The webinar focused on how the youth can be the leading key in promoting peace through compassion amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Salva, the 2020 Olive Peace Prize recipient from Equal Access International – Philippines, emphasized how the youth can be a part in combating the injustice and inequality that the pandemic intensified.

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Known for his advocacy on upholding peace and rights for the children of Mindanao, Mr. Salva serves as Program Director of the Seeds of Hope under IYouDahan, a youth organization he founded that expresses positive messaging and concrete inspirational stories of Mindanaoans.


SALAAM, API promotes coexistence with Interreligious Dialogue webinar Written by Shahani E. Buddiman


ogether with the Ateneo Peace Institute (API), the SALAAM Organization of Ateneo de Zamboanga University celebrated the annual World Interfaith Harmony Week last February 13, 2021, with the webinar "COEXISTENCE: Discussing Interreligious Dialogue and the Document on Human Fraternity."

The webinar ended with an insight-sharing from reactors of various organizations, such as the Alliance of Religious Organizations, Muslim Students Association, SALAAM Organization, and from Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Encapsulating the Christian and Islamic perspectives presented in the Document of Human Fraternity, the webinar was first led by Fr. Antonio "Tony" De Castro SJ., an AdZU School of Liberal Arts faculty and a member of the University Board of Trustees. MP Datu Mussolini Lidasan, Executive Director of Al-Qalam Institute of Ateneo de Davao University, followed his talk featuring the Islamic perspective.

The Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, having the second anniversary of its historic signing last February 4, was a declaration of peace drafted and signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Fr. De Castro expressed how the Document serves as a reminder that calls to "on" people to work hand in hand in establishing peace. He tackled the crisis in the modern world, such as suffering, depression, and isolation, and how the world’s situation must drive the people to uphold coexistence.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week is celebrated on the week where February 4 falls, now known as the International Day of Human Fraternity following the Document's signing.

MP Mussolini focused on the Document's expression of human security and emphasized the youth's impact on engaging in peacebuilding advocacies through patience, honesty, and social action and involvement.

SAFHA, API, Diario Verdad holds Peace Journalism training Written by Florence F. Midel


n collaboration with Ateneo Peace Institute and Diario Verdad of Maven Media Asia, the SAFHA Publications of SALAAM Organization - Ateneo de Zamboanga University conducted a 4-day webinar training named “Peace Weaving through Peace Journalism” last October 11, 18, 25, and November 1, 2020. With SAFHA writers and members from other organizations of AdZU’s Higher Education Level as participants, the training covered the following topics; Peace Journalism, Standards in Content Writing, Creatives and Good Design, and Social Media Management and Optimization. Ms. Maria Frencie Carreon, Executive Director of Maven Media Asia, delivered the first session on Peace Journalism and highlighted the importance of choosing a peace-inciting style and approach in writing. The second session with Ms. Louriane Mae Gallardo, Web and Communications Specialist of AdZU Communications Office (UCO),

tackled the Standards in Content Writing and stressed its differences and common grounds from journalism. The third session on Creatives and Good Design by Mr. Joshua Rommel Vargas, Communications Head of the Project Hawak Kamay 2020, focused on the significance of sensitive and inclusive graphic design. The last session featured Mr. Dominic Aumentado and Mr. Romeo Descalso III, Associate Vice President for Social Media and Vice President for Creatives and Media of Ateneo Psyche, on Social Media Management and Optimization. They emphasized effective ways to boost Facebook posts, establish a concrete brand identity, and convey information to the social media audience. The webinar training aimed to capacitate student journalists with the fundamentals of journalism with an emphasis on peace and digital media.


Photo Credits: Social Awareness and Community Service Involvement Office

Formation through SACSI’s Service-Learning Program Written by Joaquin Carlos A. Gonzales & Angelo Paulo R. Bitangcor


Which offices were involved in the program implementation?

riven by the desire to continuously form men and women for others, the Social Awareness and Community Service Involvement (SACSI) Office of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, in partnership with the colleges and the social development units, implemented the Service-Learning Program (SLP). With this, the SAFHA Publications interviewed Ms. Jeleth P. Patiño, SLP Program Officer, to know more about the initiative.

The University partnered with its social development units, such as the Ateneo Center for Leadership and Governance, and the Ateneo Peace Institute. And as well as with the schools and colleges in the University. The implementation of the SLP is anchored on the integration of the curricula of schools and colleges with AdZU’s Peace and Development Agenda.

What is Service-Learning Program?

How was the program implemented?

Service-Learning Program (SLP) is one of the programs of the ladderized social formation track of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University designed for college students. The program is anchored on a specialized curriculum where students apply learned theories taught in the classroom through social involvement, handled by SACSI under its Student Formation component. Students who undergo the SLP will experience the University’s extension work through an immersion that combines development theory and practice.

Students who are enrolled in the program are first given an orientation before undergoing a two-week immersion in their respective offices of assignment to experience online community assessment. With this, their teacher then will help process their community experience through sessions and journal writing. A post-immersion project or output is also expected from the student. The program will then culminate with a showcase of outputs and sharing of experiences and lessons during the SLP implementation.

What are the objectives of the program?

Do you have a message for those who have undergone the program?

Designed for AdZU third-year and fourth-year students, the program aims the following: deepen the understanding and appreciation of the various service and leadership-related theories and concepts taught in the classroom through exposure in the community; provide a venue for experiential learning; and exchange resources with partner institutions by enhancing its clients’ capacities while providing opportunities for student formation.

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On behalf of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University SACSI Office, I would like to congratulate the students who underwent and completed the Service Learning Program. This program is designed for you to learn and know more about yourselves and the community. Understanding and seeing the value of being men and women for others is an example of what you have accomplished from this program. May you remember all your learnings from this program and continue to serve for the rest of your lives. Again, congratulations!


Social Development Office

Living Art in the New Landscape Written by Abeer U. Uri


iving Art in the New Landscape” is the theme for Mindanao Art Fair 2020 — an annual event celebrating Mindanaoan art and its artists. This year, the Gallery of the Peninsula and the Archipelago is among the participating galleries with its exhibit entitled “Diskarte: Lockdown Musings”. Diskarte is accessible on the online platform Kunstmatrix, running from November 21 to Dec. 21, 2020. The exhibit featured 11 local artists from Zamboanga City whose works are visual reflections of personal experiences during quarantine. And these were made into different mediums such as traditional paintings, digital art, sculptures, and mixed media. The showcase depicts moments of life before the pandemic, such as those captured by the works of Edwin Jumalon. Batuta (2020) and Supot Uod (2020) by Neil Carandang segues into the surrealism of our new reality as we start to lose track of the passage of time — presenting us tranquility in various forms, akin to the Waiting Room (2020) illustrated by Mijan Jumalon. Forced into this new lifestyle, there are times when we felt punished. We fight against systematic barriers, pandemic anxieties, and everyday odds to attain the means to survive, a sense of fulfillment, and contentment. Amidst the melancholy and somber, the statement ‘self-reliance is second nature’ to Filipinos Ionee Bel Garcia’s Like Plants on Concrete (2020) as we turn to diskarte to equip ourselves for the future. The paintings by Dominic Ian Cabatit marked an optimistic transition towards a “promise of a new dawn.” Kiko Miranda’s multimedia pieces dive into the subject of identity— the experiences that formed us, our subconscious selves, and our growth as we heal past our struggles. Through this quarantine, art served as an outlet for thoughts and emotions, and it resulted in unique and creative works such as Ced Zabala’s video art, Jana Jumalon-Alano’s terra cotta, John Gualbert Cases’ symbolistic digital art print and sculpture, Lorna Fernandez’s multimedia tapestry series, and Is Jumalon’s non-representational illustration. Beyond the exhibit, also hosted were two eKwentuhan episodes featuring live painting sessions with Garcia and Cabatit on the Facebook page of the Ateneo Center for Culture and the Arts. Through the lockdown, art comforted us in different forms, including crafts, baking, music, games, films, and it provided a brief escape to help us heal and take a break. Diskarte shone a light on various styles of the featured artists’ creative diskarte and personal reflections as they experienced the quarantine, not exclusive of the social, political, and economic spheres. Take a look at the artworks at Supot Uod by Neil Carandang, Frailer than Shells by Is Jumalon, Wild Flowers by Jana Jumalon Alano Photo Credits: Ateneo Center for Culture and the Arts

Ateneo Center for Culture and the Arts


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Photo Credits: Ateneo Center for Leadership & Governance

ACLG implements Municipal Nutrition Governance Program in ZaNorte Written by Regina Esther Angelica T. Francisco


he Ateneo Center for Leadership and Governance (ACLG) recently implemented the Municipal Nutrition Governance Program (MNGP). This program aims to address the prevalence of stunted growth, wasting, and malnourishment of children in selected municipalities in Zamboanga del Norte. And this is through the program’s focus on reducing the prevalence of stunting in the province by 10% in 19 of its municipalities.

Two batches have undergone a five-day training for the first module of the program: Municipalities of Siayan and Godod for Batch 1 (March 22 - 26, 2021) and Municipalities of Sindangan and Leon Postigo for Batch 2 (April 13 - 17, 2021) via Zoom. This module consists of eleven sessions with eight speakers focusing on leadership and technical competence capacity-building for municipal officials. For the implementation of this program, the ACLG partnered with the Department of Health - Zamboanga Peninsula - Center for Health and Development, National Nutrition Council, Korea International Cooperation Agency, United Nations Children’s Fund, and the Zuellig Family Foundation. The MNGP corresponds with the signing of Republic Act 11148 or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act popularly known as the First 1000 Days Law. Aside from Zamboanga del Norte, the program is also implemented in the provinces of Samar and Northern Samar by the Davao Medical School Foundation.

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Ateneo Center for Leadership and Governance

Continuing Peace in the New Normal Written by Mudznalyn B. Usama & Janice M. Francisco


s the University adjusts its instruction online, so does its mission for peace. The Ateneo Peace Institute (API) has conducted various activities for the academic year in pursuit of peace in and out of AdZU. And this has been made possible by the office’s Muslim Affairs Program. Below are the many activities of API for peace in the new normal:

Majlis Lecture Series The Majlis Lecture Series discusses many questions we have on Islam. Whether it is with our misconceptions or interreligious dialogue, Majlis as a platform gives reflective lectures by leading Muslim figures on various topics. The series includes lectures on Shari’ah as law by Atty. Mehol Sadain, the resilience of faith by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf (President of Zaytuna College in California), Islam as against terrorism by MP Datu Mussolini Lidasan, and Mary in Islam by Prof. Yusuf Morales.

Photo Credits: Ateneo Peace Institute

International Peace Day Celebration In celebration of the annual International Peace Day, the office conducted a quiz bowl competition and essay writing contest to engage the students of the University last September 21, 2020. This is in partnership with the Social Awareness and Community Service Involvement Office and the SALAAM Organization - Ateneo de Zamboanga University.

AKAP Movement Akap evokes the feeling of an embrace. And the project of the API, entitled AKAP Movement - Integrating and Empowering Emerging Youth Muslim Women Leaders in Peace Process, aimed to empower young Muslim leaders to challenge misconceptions and promote peace. Coinciding with March as Women’s Month, AKAP shed light on many issues including polygamy, divorce, inheritance, and violence. This Mindanao-wide project is student-led, serving as the final output of Ms. Janice Francisco in her immersion in the office as a service-learning program student.

Ateneo Peace Institute


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Photo Credits: Ateneo Center for Leadership and Governance

CCES, SDUs conducts Opportunity 2.0 Program for Subanon Youth Written by Mary Elizabeth S. Apolonio and Vinz Harrold E. Basilio


ith the prevalence of out-of-school youth (OSY) in the country, the United States Agency for International Development with the Education Development Center launched Opportunity 2.0. - a funding opportunity for organizations to strengthen programs and services for the OSY in their communities. Through the Social Development Office and its units, the Ateneo de Zamboanga University is among the many institutions funded with their Indigenous People Academy (IP Academy) program. The Center for Community Extension Services (CCES) leads in the implementation of the program. For its first month of implementation, sessions were conducted on mental wellness, project management, and youth leadership. For the mental wellness session focused on self-awareness last March 4 and 15, 2021, CCES worked with the College Guidance and Counselling Office. A training on project management conducted March 24 to 25 focusing on community-based implementation was given by the Social Awareness and Community Service Involvement Office. On March 29 to 30, The Ateneo Center for Leadership and Governance also provided a training on youth leadership for the OSY. The said sessions were held in the Barangay Multi-Purpose Covered Court, Barangay Limpapa, Zamboanga City. Over 80 IP OSY has participated in the sessions, all of them coming from the Subanen communities in barangays Limpapa, Labuan, and Patalon. The IP Academy is a six-month program for the IP youth in Zamboanga City aimed to increase Subanon OSY participation in the community, particularly on their advocacies and development projects competencies.

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Center for Community Extension Services

Photo Credits: Ateneo de Zamboanga University

CHR, AdZU establish Human Rights Center; Human Rights Org formed Written by Aizel Joy M. Potot & Chrizelle Jane R. Sicat


he Social Awareness and Community Service Involvement (SACSI) Office serves as the link between the Ateneo community and the outside communities to uphold the students’ holistic formation. As the social involvement arm of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, SACSI has shown support and continues to advocate in many social causes, and particularly on human rights. Through the SACSI, the Ateneo de Zamboanga University forged a partnership with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for Region IX to establish the Center for Human Rights Education. First in the region, the center seeks to empower the rights of the vulnerable sectors of society and promote Filipinos' welfare, especially in Western Mindanao. A memorandum of agreement for its establishment was signed last December 17, 2020, with University President Fr. Karel San Juan, Assistant to the President for Social Development John Mayo Enriquez, CHR Regional Director Atty. Judelyn Macapili, and Promotion Division Officer-in-Charge Daniel Paculang. The center will also be supported by the College of Law’s Center for Legal Services and SACSI’s Youth Alliance for Human Rights of Ateneo.

Youth Alliance for Human Rights of Ateneo With the creation of the center, SACSI organized YAHRA., its human rights student volunteer organization. Serving under the Human Rights Program of the office, it advocates for human rights and aims to educate, empower, and protect the welfare of the Filipinos and marginalized. YAHRA was also a participating organization in this Philippine Development Youth Congress last March 22 - 27, 2021. They placed 2nd-runner up in the congress, with an endowment of P 5,000.00, for their project entitled “Our: The Future of the Present”. The creation of both the Center for Human Rights Education and YAHRA is a testament to the University’s continuing mission for social involvement – through the promotion of human rights.

Social Awareness and Community Service Involvement


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Story by Maria Frencie L. Carreon Written by Fatma Shaheen S. Hadjirul

As young as she was, writing felt like a destiny etched within her. “My passion and personal struggles rippled a desire to turn my skill and interest into something more. From there on, my journey as a journalist and a writer continued and blossomed.” She hoped to take up a degree in music major in piano at the University of the Philippines in Dilliman. But after spending summer in Baguio, she was not able to enroll in time, as scheduled. However, she ended up spending freshman year in journalism at the University of Santo Tomas, before her sister beckoned her to be home and opt for mass communications at Ateneo de Zamboanga University as if the tides were meant to wave in a different direction.

“Growing up in a well-secured family, my parents taught us to be compassionate and accepting to those who vary from us— in faith, social status, and philosophies in life. I witnessed my parents support the children of struggling families through financial aids and scholarships, some of whom even went to the same university as mine.” “I couldn't miss any of my schools' publications unjoined. I became the editor-in-chief during my last years in grade school and high school, a contributor during my one-year stay in UST, and eventually became AdZU's BEACON Publication's editor-in-chief. A decade later, journalism became my profession— what looked like the only ideal avenue for my devotion to writing.” “I ventured to be a publisher-editor of Seasons Magazine but it lasted for three years only. I realized Zamboanga City was not cut out for a social magazine, for advertising and social issues and fashion. Seven years later, I was invited to join Zamboanga Today, which was my outfit where my post varied: associate editor for a year, business editor for 6 months, feature editor for 3 years, then editor-in-chief for more than a year.” “Unfortunately, my encounters in my early years as a journalist were not as pleasing, witnessing first hand corruption and lack of integrity in local media that clashed with my principles of peace journalism. Banners were paid, submitted articles were subpar, and unnecessary competitions were suffocating. I knew that I was not fit in that kind of nature, and I knew I had to make my own avenue for ethical journalism.” “Out of pursuit to be a practicing journalist that can uphold truth and righteousness, I resigned and tried a weekly paper on my own. This was The PhilSouth Angle. This only lasted for two years, as I decided to pursue higher education.” She was awarded by Australia with the Australian Leadership Award for which she was granted a full scholarship at The University of Sydney for a Doctorate in Philosophy (Arts) in Peace and Conflict Studies, for which she majored in Peace Journalism. Sadly, at the close of her final year and upon completion of her research and academic requirements, she had a brain stroke that caused her to lose her memory temporarily, caused depression as the paralysis and difficulty in writing with her right hand brought her high spirits down. “My neurologist encouraged me to write short sentences, then paragraphs as my memory recall was really weak. But depression was killing me, added to the fear that I could not, literally, write again. Then while struggling on a wheelchair, I saw my daughter’s journal and as I was left alone to deal with my tears, I picked it up, flipped through the pages, reading the lines. The poetic lines were from the heart of a daughter in emotional pain. The succeeding pages impressed me. When my daughter Frances came back, I admitted I read the journal, and asked, “Can I write that way?” Frances told me I was a writer, a journalist, a researcher, and that my written works supported the family, sent my four children to school. I found that disbelieving. Was that really me?“


“It inspired me then that one day, I could write again. I started reading books, enrolling in the master classes of Malcolm Gladwell and Dan Brown. I could not remember why and how my home had lots of books. It took me months to realize how much of a book lover I was. Ateneo invited me to teach, and I did for a year, until I realized that the comm students misread me. Perhaps I was not cut for them. The depression came back, and I had to fight it. I returned to writing news and feature stories, but the local dailies did not accept my articles even when I wrote for free. In my frustration, I conceptualized Diario Verdad. I met friends who assured me they would help me. I felt good, and after a year, with publication costs getting paid, with subscriptions in the local community boosting the trend, I was already beaming. That, despite the false talks in local politics and the foul allegations in cyberspace.” “In 2015, I started venturing into the beauty of book writing. I found a new path where I could mingle art and science through journalism. My first book, Pajaros, Zamboanga, y Periodismo de Paz (Birds, Zamboanga, and Peace Journalism), was launched at Dusit Hotel. It was the beginning of my relentless strive in writing from the heart and the first stepping stone of many other books that came after it. Orgullo was on the protected areas in the Zamboanga Peninsula and Turtle Islands. Scissors, Water, Papers, Stone was on the lives of migrants in Zamboanga City. I wrote fast, and I realized my Mac and my terrabytes were filled with my own researches, photos, and that helped me through my recovery.” “Throughout it, I am still a solo parent of four. Behind my love for the art of writing is my genuine love for my children. It was undoubtedly a struggle to raise them alone, yet no difficulty is a reason to give up. Instead, turned the fears and struggles into courage, as all women and mothers should.” “I believe my strides were to push a new narrative on journalism that I have been holding on to: tell a story. Traditional journalism has been made to look straight, but with peace journalism, we leave no stones unturned and no sides untold.” “As the pandemic hit us all, I spent the time on writing, learning, polishing my writing. My books and articles are manifestations of my dedication to recounting stories through the power of truth and courage, and as long as I don't run out of words to pen down and stories to tell, I cannot stop writing.” Maria Frencie Carreon: Publisher, editor, author. At times, teacher. To many, friend. To her única hija and three sons, best buddy.

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Local Youth Development Council holds Election of Members for 2021-2023 Written by Sharmaine G. Canama, The BEACON Publications

AdZU Students participate in Muslim-Christian Dialogue Training Written by Michael John D. Alipio


he mission of interreligious dialogue continues even with the ongoing pandemic. The Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation. Inc. (TPFCI), supported by the Freedom of Religion and Belief in Action Fund, is currently conducting an online training entitled “Creating Safe Spaces for Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Collaboration in Colleges and Universities.” This nine-month program aims to capacitate student leaders in promoting dialogue to counter extremism and radicalization in schools and communities. Six students represent the Ateneo de Zamboanga University in the program, namely: Michael John D. Alipio (B.A. International Studies – III), Miladanica B. Barraca (B.S. Accountancy – II), Janice M. Francisco (B.A. International Studies – III), Alsharir I. Hamsain (B.S. Business Administration – III), Shariful S. Mansul (B.A. Philosophy – III), and Abeer U. Uri (B.S. New Media and Computer Animation – II). The said students are also expected to implement an online dialogue-based project with funding from the TPFCI, with Mr. Abdul Warith H. Abdula of the Ateneo Peace Institute as moderator. Other schools participating in this program are Kolehiyo ng Pantukan (Davao), Notre Dame of Jolo College (Jolo), Notre Dame of Marbel University (Koronadal), Philippine Women’s College (Davao), Pagadian Youth Peace Movers (Pagadian), and St. Louis University (Baguio). This program is ongoing, running from January to September 2021.


arious Local Youth and Youth-Serving Organization Leaders have gathered at the Session Hall of Sangguniang Panlungsod to elect the members of the Consejo de Desarollo de Los Jovenes de la Ciudad de Zamboanga (Zamboanga City Youth Development Council) on Wednesday, February 10, 2021.

The said Local Youth Council is composed of 25 representatives from youth and youth-serving organizations who shall have a seat in the planning and execution of projects and programs to ensure wide and multi-sectoral youth participation in local governance. Among the elected members are the following:

IN-SCHOOL YOUTH SECTOR 1. Supreme Student Government Federation Senior High School 2. Ateneo de Zamboanga University Nursing Academic Organization

Active Citizenship 12. Rotaract Metro Zamboanga

OUT-OF-SCHOOL YOUTH SECTOR 3. Pag-Asa Youth Association of the Philippines (PYAP), Inc.Zamboanga City Federation 4. MyDEV Zamboanga Network FAITH-BASED YOUTH SECTOR 5. Ulama Council of Zamboanga Peninsula – Committee on Youth 6. Archdiocese Youth Apostolate (AYA) SPECIAL ADVOCACY-BASED YOUTH SECTOR Health 7. Red Cross Youth Zamboanga City Chapter Education 8. Kabataan sa Kartilya ng Katipunan (KKK) 9. Diverse Youth of Unbound Zamboanga (DIYUZ) Environment 10. I Can Make A Difference, Inc. Governance 11. Ateneo Center for Leadership and Governance (ACLG) “Lahat tayo dito ay nagkakaisa para sa kabataan ng Zamboanga City, kasi gusto natin maiabot sa kanila kung anong nararapat. And as President of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Zamboanga City Federation, we see to it na yung participation kung anong dapat para sa ating mga kabataan ay nabibigyan ng pansin,” Hon. Cary John Pioc said in his welcoming remarks. After the elections, Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar went to the City Council for the Induction Ceremony of the elected

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.Peace-building and Security 13. Youth Solidarity for Peace (YSP) 14. Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) Youth Peace Mediators – UNESCO Club 15. SALAAM Organization – Ateneo de Zamboanga University Social Inclusion and Equity 16. Mujer – LGBT Organization Incorporated 17. Youth With Disabilities Economic Empowerment 18. Zamboanga City 4H Club Federation Public Relations and Journalism 19. The BEACON Publications OTHER YORP-REGISTERED ORGANIZATIONS: 1. Rotaract Club of Zamboanga City West 2. Rotaract Club of Zamboanga City North 3. Rotaract Club of Universidad de Zamboanga – CES 4. Interact Club of Ateneo De Zamboanga Senior High School 5. IAYSP- International Association of Youth and Students For Peace (Zamboanga Chapter) 6. Ateneo De Zamboanga University – SUGPAT Alternative Learning School for Peacebuilding and the Arts (SUGPAT-ALSPA) members after which Hon. Cary John Pioc, RN presided the first regular meeting as Chairman of the Council. The Consejo de Desarollo de los Jovenes de la Ciudad de Zamboanga shall serve as the core of the advocacy on youth participation in nation-building and youth empowerment and shall finalize the 3-year Local Youth Development Plan (LYDP) that is anchored on the Philippine Youth Development Plan (PYDP) and the development plans of local government units.

Celebrating World Wetlands Day Through Art Written by Michael John Alipio


orld Wetlands Day is an annual celebration every 2nd of February to raise awareness of the significance of wetlands on the planet. It started with the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971 – an international agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. With the treaty’s 50th anniversary, the Ateneo Center for Environmental Sustainability, and the University Communications Office partnered for the production of Mira: Exploring the Wetlands of Zamboanga City. Mira is a series of vlogs featuring the different wetlands in the city as hosted by Mr. Dominic Ian Cabatit of the School of Liberal Arts. Aside from this, he has also featured his appreciation of the wetlands through his watercolor paintings.

Mr. Cabatit painted five wetlands of which he was able to visit through Mira: Sta. Cruz Island, San Roque Boglake, Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST) Bird Sanctuary, Merloquet Falls, and Pamucutan Falls. He says that as an artist, painting beautiful sceneries is how his love for nature is expressed. And especially, if it involves bodies of water which he has a particular liking, whether it is an ocean or a waterfall. His works were originally posted in his personal Facebook account, explaining how his love for nature prompted him to share the paintings on social media. He explained, “Usually when I make something, I’ll post it in my social media accounts, and social media sites are powerful tools to spread your love and passions, and it’s a good way to touch people with the same passions as you.”

Wetlands are “area[s] of land that is either covered with water or saturated with water” (National Geographic, n.d.). Aside from being home to various plants and animals, it also serves as natural water-treatment facilities and reservoirs toabsorb excess water. Swamps, marshes, and bogs are major classifications of wetlands.

The ZSCMST Bird Sanctuary is the first documented breeding site of the Great White Egrets in the Philippines. Other migratory birds were also observed to frequent the sanctuary. This is managed by the college and is located fronting the Fort Pilar Shrine.

Lagoon, 2021 Sta. Cruz Island, 2021 Merloquet, 2021 Pamucutan, 2021 Bird Sanctuary, 2021 Watercolor on paper Photos by Dominic Ian Cabatit

Mr. Dominic Ian Cabatit works as the Radio-Television Studios Technician of the Communications Department, School of Liberal Arts. He is also a nationally recognized artist, with works being featured by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Gallery of the Peninsula and the Archipelago.


Magellan, Inquisition and Globalisation Written by Dr. Felice Noelle Rodriguez & Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram


lobalisation’s beginnings are symbolised by Ferdinand Magellan’s near circumnavigation of the world half a millennium ago. But its history is not simply of connection and trade, but also of intolerance, exploitation, slavery, violence, aggression and genocide.

On 16th March 1521, Magallanes’ depleted fleet of three ships arrived in the eastern Visayas in the central Philippines. The ships had sailed through the straits at the southern tip of the Americas which now bears his name. Sailing on to Cebu, he demanded native acceptance of his God and King, plus tribute.

MAGALHÃES, CONQUISTADOR The Philippines today struggles with this history. Some Filipinos highlight the warm native reception extended to Magellan’s fleet and the first Catholic mass, reminiscent of American Thanksgiving mythology. For others, native resistance to conquistador aggression, captured by Danilo Madrid Gerona’s biography of Magellan, is more memorable.

He twice attacked the small neighbouring island of Mactan, where the Cebu airport now is, razing two villages who did not comply. Anticipating the third attack before dawn on 27th April, Lapulapu – a local leader, with the name of a grouper fish species – prepared to resist. MAGALLANES, NEAR CIRCUMNAVIGATOR As Ferdinand Magallanes, he persuaded Spanish King Carlos V to sponsor his proposed circumnavigation to get to the Moluccas spice islands in Southeast Asia by sailing west, as allowed by the Tordesillas treaty. The monarch provided him with five ships, crew and provisions for the expedition.

In 1494CE, Pope Alexander VI, now of Borgias TV series infamy, united the Iberian Catholic kings behind the Inquisition. His Tordesillas treaty, after Christopher Columbus’ 1492 ‘discovery’ of the New World under Spanish royal auspices, gave the Portuguese rights to Brazil and all lands east of it, with Spain getting the rest of the Americas.

Over-confident and arrogant, Magallanes shunned offers of reinforcements. Lapulapu’s mobilised village defence force greatly outnumbered and prevailed against his. Thus, the 500th anniversary recalls a rare victory for native resistance against the conquistador.

Vasco da Gama reached India in 1498 with the help of an Arab trader. In February 1502, he returned to demand that the ruler of Calicut (Kozhikode) expel all Muslims. When rejected, da Gama bombarded the port city and severely maimed those he captured. Under Portugal’s second Viceroy to the East, Afonso d’Albuquerque, Fernão de Magalhães distinguished himself in several Portuguese naval sieges, attacks and sackings of ports in southern India and beyond. Portugal had its eyes on Malacca well before arriving there. For the Portuguese chronicler Tome Pires, Malacca then was the greatest port in the world. Magalhães arrived with the first Portuguese expedition to Malacca in 1509, returning in 1511 with a thousand men under Albuquerque’s command to capture it. Magalhães was later injured in the 1513 Portuguese invasion of the Maghrib (Morocco). This aggression had begun almost a century earlier under the legendary Prince Henrique, Henry the Navigator. Later, after failing to get what he believed to be his due, Magalhães moved in 1517 to Sevilla, the base of the Spanish Inquisition and navy.

Photo Credit: ahmadfuadosman

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Of the five ships in his original fleet, only the smallest, Victoria eventually returned to Spain in 1522 under Spaniard Juan Sebastian Elcano. Nevertheless, despite the loss of most of his ships and many crew, the King still made a huge profit. SLAVE, THE FIRST CIRCUMNAVIGATOR? But there is another, largely untold story. After the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511, Magalhães left with a captured teenage slave, whose original name no one knows. Perhaps to honour Henry the Navigator, Magellan renamed him ‘anRyk’, probably a Catalan version of the name. A favourite slave of Magellan, anRyk served as his interpreter and was to be freed upon his death. However, the ship’s captain refused to honour the will. Unsurprisingly, anRyk deserted. Thus, he may well have become the first to circumnavigate Earth, as some claim he returned to live out his life near Malacca, avoiding the Portuguese there. In 1957, a history teacher in Singapore named Harun Aminurrashid published a novel to inspire children in the newly independent Malaya. The hero was a character loosely based on what was known about anRyk, whom he lionised as Panglima (Commander) Awang. Thus, we have the heroic figure of Panglima Awang. Almost Spartacus-like, the captured defeated slave becomes the hero. Recent portraits as well as a sculpture of Enrique da Malacca by the Malaysian multimedia artist Ahmad Fuad Osman strengthen this image. A MAN OF ALL NATIONS Today, anRyk is claimed by several contemporary Southeast Asian nation states. Some Malaysian historians have reified the fictive Panglima Awang. Thus, Malaysian memorialisation has involved not only making history from fiction, but also creating new myths from history. Indonesian claims rely on self-appointed Magellan chronicler Antonio Pigafetta’s suggestion that anRyk was from Sumatera; others claim he was from the Moluccas, Maluku today. Some Filipinos insist he stayed there, becoming Filipino before there was even a Philippines. More than anyone else, anRyk symbolises island Southeast Asia, the Nusantara.

Photo Credit: enriquedemalacca

In Iberia, in Europe, in the West, there is a subtle debate over personalities and dates. For the Portuguese, the circumnavigation began under Magellan’s leadership in 1519. For their neighbours, the Spaniard Elcano led the Victoria back in 1522. His diverse crew allows pan-European claims, ignoring most slaves, presumably of colour, who were not deemed worthy of mention in the official ship manifests. Imperialism today is, in many ways, a far cry from what it was five centuries ago. Yet, there are many continuities and parallels, including racisms, cultural, including religious intolerance, exploitations and oppressions of various types despite changing forms, relations and even vocabularies. The voyages of exploration and conquest were driven by greed. Nonetheless, God, king and country have been readily invoked to legitimise avarice and atrocities. Invoking 21st century intellectual property norms, globalisation today involves vaccine imperialism, apartheid and genocide. He twice attacked the small neighbouring island of Mactan, where the Cebu airport now is, razing two villages who did not comply. Anticipating the third attack before dawn on 27th April, Lapulapu – a local leader, with the name of a grouper fish species – prepared to resist.


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Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazzali on Fasting and the Benefits of Hunger Video by Ink of Knowledge Transcribed by Mr. Abdul Warith H. Abdula, Muslim Affairs Program


now that fasting is one of the pillars of religion. It has two special qualities. First, its true nature lies in not doing something rather than in action. Second, it is a victory over Satan for Satan’s armies are carnal appetites and fasting is the abandonment of those appetites.

weakens passion and it enables one to control their desires, which is the greatest benefit. Sixth, it reduces the need for sleep. A full stomach leads to laziness. Seventh, it frees up time that otherwise would have been spent in preparing and eating food. Eight, it has health benefits. Many diseases stem from overeating. Ninth, it saves money. And finally, tenth, it makes one more generous. Know that the merit of hunger does not lie in hardship just as the merit of medicine does not lie in its bitterness.

Know that the Prophetic practices of fasting are six. First is delaying the pre-dawn meal. Next, hasten to break the fast with dates or water before the prayer. Third, brush your teeth in the afternoon. Fourth, be generous. Next, recite the Qur-an, and last is seclusion.

You should be aware of three rules regarding food. First, you should quantify the amount of food and eat only what is necessary to nourish the body. Next, you should estimate the speed and frequency with which you eat, eating as slowly and infrequent as possible. Finally, you should eat simple foods and avoid unnecessary luxury.

Know that fasting has three degrees. The lowest degree is of the Common Folk that is, simply restraining the stomach and genitalia. Next is the fasting of the Select that is, restraining all bodily limbs. This lies in six things: One, restraining the eyes from looking at things that distract one from God; two, restraining the tongue from foolish and other harms; three, restraining the ear from listening to improper things; four, restraining the hands, feet, and all bodily parts from the indecent; five, restraining the stomach from overeating after breaking the fast; six, maintaining a state of humility after breaking your fast. God is your judge and it is God who will decide your reward.

Know that the stomach is the tank of the body and it irrigates its limbs and organs. The stomach’s desire is the source of all other desires. When the stomach is full, other desires are activated. Thus, to control the desires of the body and prevent (spiritual) diseases of the heart, one must address its root cause and break the desire of the stomach.

The objective of controlling the stomach’s appetite is to attain a position between hunger and fullness so neither one distracts from the remembrance of God.

The highest degree is the fasting of the spiritual elite. It is to restrain the soul from thought of all things except God. One must give oneself entirely to God and fast from everything inwardly and outwardly. “Know that one of the most difficult desires to overcome is that of the stomach because it is built into the natural human self. Hunger has been given to humans so that they may nourish their body. However, if left uncontrolled, the appetite of the stomach will become one of the greatest mortal vices – gluttony. The way to break the desire of the stomach is to prevent it from becoming full. In other words, maintaining a state of hunger.

Know that the worst container you can fill is the stomach. One third of it is for food, one third is for drink, and the remaining third is for the remembrance of God.”

Inkofknowledge. (2015, June 26). Imam Al-Ghazzali on the Importance of Fasting [Video]. YouTube.

Hunger has ten benefits. First, hunger purifies the heart and its spiritual perception. Second, it softens the heart and renders it more receptive to Divine grace. Third, it humbles the ego. Fourth, it reminds one of the sufferings of the poor. Fifth, it

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Inkofknowledge. (2015, June 26). Imam Al-Ghazzali on the Benefits of Fasting [Video]. YouTube.


For SAFHA Publication’s 2021 Issue, we have included a zine. A zine (pronounced zeen) is a small booklet formatted to be easily produced. Its origins can be traced back to the 18th century to disseminate self-published ideas. For the first issue, we feature Fr. Antonio B. De Castro SJ's Christian Reflections on Violence, the Cross, and Easter Hope (with some help from Rene Girard)

Visit and read at or The 2021 Editorial Board.


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Remembering with Criselda Yabes’ Below the Crying Mountain Written by Shariful S. Mansul


ew people today remember the Burning of Jolo in 1974 that prompted the Tausug diaspora to Sabah and Zambaonga under the Marcos dictatorial regime. When the seasoned journalist Criselda Yabes went to interview eyewitnesses of the tragedy years later, she faced difficulties and realized one thing: People don't want to get reminded of what hurts. In 1974, a war broke out that reached international headlines and altered a people's destiny and that continues to shape them until today.

On the one hand, the story follows the narrator, a journalist based in Paris, deciding to leave the comforts of her European apartment to search for a lost part of her in, strangely enough, Jolo. This is further underlined when on one occasion, she stands on Bud Datu, poetically put as the Hill of Rulers on which in the past Tausug nobles would rendezvous, and looks at the town proper and the contours of the shoreline from the heightened vantage point. Suddenly, she reflects on the mysterious charms of the place, the capital of a bygone sultanate. Certain things cannot be simplified, and more than anything, the novel highlights this undescribabilty and elusiveness to ready-made explanations.

In 2019, Yabes' novel Crying Mountain became one of the few works from the Philippines to be published by the illustrious Penguin Random House. An earlier edition was published by the University of the Philippines Press where the book won the UP Centennial Literary Prize together with another novel of her writing, still about Sulu, Sarena's Story: The Loss of a Kingdom. One may trace her heart for Jolo to a short stint as a young girl in the once peaceful, and by peaceful that with which coexistence is possible, place. And indeed, this is half of the novel's driving point.

On the other hand, from a different time, a half-American mestiza from Zamboanga, Rosy France Wright, elopes with a lover, Professor Omar Hassan who carries radical ideas about the Moro nation, on a nocturnal sail onboard a prahu to that same place. In Jolo, she immediately earns the nickname Milikan, and together with her lover, they live in the residence of the business-minded Hadja Lu, the aunt of the professor. And right after this sequence, a whirpool of cultural elements evoking nostalgia occurs — a short history of the bean-sprout empanada, satay (locally known as satti), smuggled Malaysian goods, the Perlas Theater, Notre Dame, the consoling presence of Maw’buh, a short-lived religious and ethnic coexistence — bringing back pre-1974 Jolo and indeed, some of these lines resist the claws of time. The novel tells of two intertwined lives in different junctures of time in the process outgrowing from their innocence and naivete, meeting at a single point. But to reduce its narrative to that of coming-of-age is just the surface, for if anything, it's a work of historical fiction revolving around an event that defined hundreds of thousands of people for decades to come. Its inexhaustible ability to recall names of a lost time is not merely a demonstration of cultural abundance and hybridity, but more so, of complexity. There is no dualism in history.

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The crying mountain referred to in the title is Bud Tumangtangis, the tallest mountain on Jolo island where streams of freshwater flow from its misty peak as if in a perpetual state of crying, hence the name. The folkloric kura’ sambalani, the Pegasus of the Tausug imagination, is said to make itself appear on the top where grave markers of holy men called tampat are to be found.

“The mist hides its grandeur, but always, the mountain looks down on the miniature set of God’s creation, calculating the odds and favors of its fate. How much tragedy can a people take?”

The novel, according to Yabes, started after she read a declassified military report on the Marcosian crackdown of the Moro rebellion under Nur Misuari in the 1970s and the 1980s. The themes of the decades before, however, do not easily wane. Certain terminologies and names still crop up in our collective imagination until today, for as we go further in time, fresher wounds are made. Yabes does not bring definite answers, but forces us to face these daunting questions at hand. In the first few pages, the narrator laments with Bud Tumangtangis—

In Below the Crying Mountain, Criselda Yabes brings the gift of remembrance, which is ambivalently good or bad or the innumerable in-betweens. The final judgement, however, lies in the hands of whom the question is addressed. What do we make of a memory? For anyone in a modern-day spiritual quest of knowing Mindanao and its oddities, the novel is a must-read.

Photo Credits: Narratives Publishing

The SALAAM Organization – Ateneo de Zamboanga University congratulates our SAFHA Publications Editor-in-Chief Shariful S. Mansul for his contribution to the recently released book entitled Sumangsang Sug: Going Against the Current. The book narrates the experiences, struggles, culture, and triumphs of the Tausug people as written by Tausug essayists, and is published by Narratives Publishing.


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Ateneo Peace Institute, Fr. Jose Maria Rosauro SJ Hall, Fr. Eusebio Salvador SJ Campus, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, La Purisima Street, Zamboanga City, 7000


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