September marks National Peace Consciousness Month PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 September 2013 11:18

The Philippines is set to celebrate the 10th National Peace Consciousness Month that aims to promote a culture of peace, and raise awareness and understanding among the public on the comprehensive peace process.

Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said this time of the year is “another great opportunity for the public to engage in empowering venues that encourage positive action and dialogue for peace.”

“The peace month is also a time to celebrate the milestones we have achieved in the peace process,” she added. “For one, we are inching closer towards signing a Comprehensive Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).”

Deles said that the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF have already completed two of the four annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB). These are the Annexes on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, and the Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing. The remaining annexes being discussed by the parties on the negotiating table are on normalization and power sharing. These four annexes, together with the FAB, will constitute the Comprehensive Agreement which the parties aim to sign within the year.

“The government and the MILF couldn’t have achieved these if not for the support of our people. However, we still need to strengthen our peace constituency in order to sustain the gains of the peace process,” the peace adviser stated.

The GPH and the MILF panels are slated to meet in September to resume discussions on the remaining annexes.

Deles related that this year’s peace month celebration centers on the theme, “Lahat ay peace-sible!” which is a play on the Filipino proverb, “Walang imposible sa taong naniniwala na lahat ay possible (Nothing is impossible to a person who believes that everything is possible).”

“The theme is a hopeful reminder that lasting peace is possible, especially if we all contribute towards it,” she said.

Deles said that OPAPP, together with its peace partners, has organized activities for the month-long commemoration.

To serve as a kick-off event is the “1 Goal for Peace” on Sept. 1 at the Emperador Stadium, McKinley Hill Football Field in Taguig City. At least 200 Muslim and Christian kids from urban poor communities are expected to participate in a football clinic to be led by the Azkals and the Philippine Football Federation coaches and football players.

The event is a collaborative project of OPAPP, Generation Peace, Asia-America Initiatives, and Urban Poor Associates. The event is sponsored by Air21.

On Sept. 21, OPAPP will join the global celebration of the International Day of Peace through the KaPEACEtahan 2013 to be held at the Liwasang Aurora, Quezon City Memorial Circle in Quezon City. Now on its third year, the event is envisioned to serve as a venue where peace advocates and the public can gather to celebrate peace and the journey taken to achieve it.

Highlights of the KaPEACEtahan 2013 will include a Job Fair and Serbisyong Bayan participated by various government agencies as well as a peace concert featuring National Peace Ambassadors, Ebe Dancel and other local artists.

A series of conferences with the theme, “Imagining a Post-conflict, Post-Agreement Philippines,” is also slated to be held in key cities in the country. The conferences aim to provide an avenue for stakeholders to envision a “post-conflict, post-agreement” society and assess what these stakeholders can contribute in ensuring that the realization of a just and lasting peace is indeed possible.

OPAPP has been leading the annual celebration of the National Peace Consciousness Month by virtue of Proclamation No. 675 series of 2004.