National peace consciousness month activities slated

Manila, Aug. 31 – The Office of the Presidential on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has lined up a series of activities nationwide for the celebration of the 9th National Peace Consciousness Month (Peace Month), that starts on Sunday, September 2, OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles said today.

The month-long celebration, which carries the theme ‘Ako. Ikaw. Tayo. Magkakaiba, Nagkakaisa sa Kapayapaan’ is intended to raise awareness among Filipinos on the need to advance the government’s on-going peace process with Moro and communist rebel groups and promote a culture of peace among Filipinos, Deles said. This culture of peace will be anchored on nonviolence, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, tolerance, understanding and solidarity – values guided by the principles of “daang matuwid,” she added.

The peace month celebrations will start with a football clinic featuring the national men’s football team, the Philippine Azkals, and a Peace Fair. Following this will be a series of events which include a massive “I Am for Peace” campaign involving famous celebrities; a series of photo exhibits on the gains of the peace process in major Metro Manila malls; a job fair, cultural and gala program showcasing peace process milestones; a golf fundraising tournament; and simultaneous peace concerts in key cities in the country.

Deles said every Filipino is a stakeholder of peace, emphasizing that the peace process will need a vast constituency because the work of peace is not government’s alone. “We will need the participation of the entire public,” she said.

“Despite our differences, we Filipinos have proven that we can work together to achieve gains in the peace process,” Deles stated. “This peace month, we are reminded of the triumphs we have accomplished as a people.”

The peace adviser related that September was chosen to be the peace month by virtue of Proclamation No. 675 because many of the peace milestones occurred during the month.

“It can be recalled that 26 years ago, the government and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army, now called the Cordillera Forum for Peace and Development, forged the Mt. Data Sipat (cessation of hostilities) on Sept. 13. Ten years later, the government signed the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front on Sept. 2,” Deles explained.

Deles added that it was on Sept. 15 that OPAPP was established through Executive Order No. 125.

Other significant peace events happening in September also include National Day of Prayer for Peace and Reconciliation (Sept. 12), Launching of 2001-2010 International Decade for Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World (Sept. 19), and International Day of Peace as declared by the United Nations (Sept. 21).

Deles called on everyone to “join in the celebration of peace through the different activities lined throughout September.” 

The celebration kicks off on Sept. 2 with “1Goal for Peace,” a football clinic featuring the Philippine Azkals and trainers from the Philippine Football Federation. Some 500 Christian and Muslim children mostly from urban-poor communities will also participate in the Peace Fair, organized in partnership with the People Power Volunteers for Reform, where they can get to know each other and do fun activities together. It will be held at the Philippine Sports Arena in Pasig City starting at 9 AM.

On Sept. 14, celebrities and personalities will take a positive step to promote peace with the “I am for Peace Campaign” to be launched possibly with the President at the Malacañan Palace.

A series of photo exhibits highlighting the gains in the peace process will be shown in major malls, such as SM North EDSA,  SM Fairview, Glorietta, Robinson's Galleria and Shangri-la Plaza all throughout the month.

Deles said people from all walks of life are invited to celebrate the International Day of Peace through “KaPEACEtahan” on Sept. 21 at the SM North EDSA The Block. A job fair and Serbisyong Bayan featuring frontline government services will be held in the morning while cultural performances, shown vis-a-vis the peace milestones under the Aquino administration will be highlighted in the evening.

Golfers will tee off at the “Teem Up for Peace” on Sept. 28 as a benefit golf event for communities affected by armed conflict in Bicol.

Also on Sept. 28, local bands and artists will take the lead in declaring “I Want Peace” in four simultaneous rock concerts to be held in key cities around the country, including the NCR. #