Peace and unity acceptance key for successful referendum

Former Bougainville Diocese Administrator Tony Luwong says driving the message of peace and unity among Bougainvillians is the cornerstone of the scenes people are observing as Bougainville take the Referendum vote.
Luwong voted on Monday with hundreds of others near the 1956 built Hahela Catholic Parish church in Buka.
He has been actively involved with the Bougainville Yumi Wan program since 2016 after the visit of Our Our Lady of Fatima.
“That’s a peace and unity program, “ he said.
Luwong said the visit by Fatima united Bougainville though many Catholics were hoping for miracles.
“Unity was one thing that people took on hand,” Luwong said.
“During that time we saw some extra ordinary things happen.”
“We did not have money but people gave and the government added some without us asking.”
Luwong said the Haku portion of the Buka Island road was impassable and people offered their road works machinery free of charge to fix the road.
He said people united and this has continued till the Referendum.
Luwong appealed and resonated the message they have been drumming that “without peace and unity, we cannot have Independence.”
They visited 13 districts uniting people and promoting peace and unity.
“Everywhere we went almost 100 per cent want Independence,” he said.
“No matter what the outcome is, we must make sure people do not revert back to violence.”
“The promise of the people we visited there will not be any more violence regardless of what the outcome is.”
He said people have made significant pledges of exchanging shell monies called “mimis” .
From Selau just on the mainland side of Buka passage to Tinputz 23 “mimis” were exchanged, it was significant.
“With mimis people settle fights and those 23 mimis are now in Parliament.”
“The message we have been preaching is that the government, the Church and custom must unite.”
Luwong said with their work: “I would say the people are united.”
“I would say there will not be any need to be violent.”