QUEZON CITY (1 September 2022) – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) will lead the opening of this year’s National Peace Consciousness Month with the Ringing of the World Peace Bell and a Candle Lighting Ceremony, on Thursday morning in this city.
The theme for this year’s Peace Month, “Pagkakaisa at Paghilom: Isang Bansa para Kapayapaan,” aims to remind Filipinos that through unity and cooperation, the nation can attain genuine and long-lasting peace.
It is a clarion call for everyone to work together, heal the wounds of the past, and apply the lessons learned from previous experiences to build a future that is free from distrust, hate, violence, and prejudice.
Special Assistant to the President Secretary Ernesto Antonio F. Lagdameo, Jr., the event’s Guest of Honor, will be represented by OSAP USec Joahna Paula A. Domingo, while Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte will deliver the welcome remarks.
The Peace Bell, which represents the Filipino people’s aspiration for a just and long-lasting peace, was donated by the World Peace Bell Association (WPBA), a Japan-based organization that promotes world peace by donating Peace Bells to countries across the globe.
The Ringing of the Peace Bell will be attended by the members of the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization, Intergovernmental Relations Body and OPAPRU’s Multi-Sector Governance Council; leaders of former revolutionary organizations which have signed peace agreements with the national government; international and peace partners; and officials of the Quezon City Local Government Unit.
Peace Month 2022 activities
The OPAPRU will also kick off the Peace Month with the opening of the KaPEACETahan Peace Fair, which highlights key milestones of the comprehensive Philippine peace process and shows how the national government’s peace initiatives are transforming conflict-affected communities into show windows of peace and development.
At the peace fair, OPAPRU’s peace partners have set up booths to showcase their products, which are a result of improved peace and development conditions in their localities. The event will also feature activities such as music classes and art exhibits, as well as food stalls. The activity will also serve as OPAPRU personnel’s “family day” for solidarity, wellness and celebration.
The OPAPRU, through its Social Healing and Peacebuilding Office (SHAPEO) and Knowledge Management and Peace Institute, shall also conduct the Second Peace Research Conference with the theme “Ending Conflicts: Women’s Role in Building and Sustaining Peace.” The activity aims to highlight the various peace interventions being carried out by government and private institutions, and elevate national conversations on peace work, peacebuilding, and peace and security.
The peace agency, through its Peace Panel and Political Concerns Office and SHAPEO is also conducting the fifth instalment of MasterPEACE: Enriching Youth Perspectives on Peace and Human Security. It is a series of online webinar sessions that seeks to discuss, revisit, and understand the role of youth and their contribution towards peacebuilding. It will be followed by an immersive 2-day physical workshop on peacebuilding and project implementation.
The OPAPRU’s Communications and Public Affairs Services shall also launch its Conflict Sensitive and Peace Promoting (CSPP) Guidebook for Government Information Officers, which aims to equip government communicators with essential CSPP knowledge and skills they can use in their advocacy and peacebuilding work.
The OPAPRU will also launch its Gawad Kayapayaan or Peace Awards Project, which seeks to recognize the country’s peace advocates and champions; highlight their contribution to the country’s strengthened peace and security; present best practices in peacebuilding that can be replicated and sustained; and nurture and expand the peace constituency that shall maintain a culture of peace and advance the peace agenda.
Other National Peace Consciousness Month activities lined up for this month throughout the country include Peace Caravans; Local Peace Engagements Support to Ugnayan sa Barangay and Serbisyo Caravan in ELCAC Priority Areas; a Regional Media Engagement in Catbalogan City, Samar; an Art Session for Martyrs’ Orphans and Internally Displaced Children with Moro artist Rameer Tawasil in Maguindanao; a Regional Youth Peace Conversation in the City of Borongan in Eastern Samar Province; a Peace Education for Former Rebels in Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Del Norte, and Zamboanga Sibugay Province; the SWAN Annual Assembly (Peace Conversation) in Calbayog City, Samar; a Regional Former Rebel Leaders’ Summit with Provision of Food and Non-food items in Zamboanga Sibugay Province; Khidmat 2022: a Service Caravan for Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Communities and SportsPeace 2022: Pagpahugut sin Parsugpatan para ha Kasajahitraan (Strengthening partnership toward peace) in Sulu; and other activities in support of the Executive Order No. 70 or the Whole-of- Nation Approach in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict.
Call for unity
Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. underscored that this year’s Peace Month theme is centered on the collective goal of bringing peace, reconciliation, and unity throughout the country.
“By heeding the call for unity — regardless of religion, culture, and political beliefs – we, as one people and one nation, can attain our common goal of achieving a genuine and long-lasting peace,” he said.
He also called on the public to “let go of the pain of the past, learn from its experiences, and use this to inspire us to build a better future for our nation that is free from conflict, prejudice, violence, and animosity.”
Galvez also reminded Filipinos that “all of us have an important role to play, and that is, to help build a better, brighter and more peaceful future for our children and the generations to come. Let us keep the fires in our bellies burning, as we continue with our peace journey.”