Foreign Affairs

Cotabato City leads peace-building efforts to establish sustainable peace in Mindanao

On Feb 7, the 5th Annual Commemoration of the Peace Day in Mindanao was held with the theme of “Day of Peace: Cotabato City Supports the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) – Youth of Cotabato City Allied for Peace and Progress.

About 5,000 participants filled the Cotabato City Plaza to celebrate the Peace Day in Mindanao originally designated on January 24th in 2014. Local government officials, youth leaders, religious leaders, teachers and students from secondary schools and higher education institutions gathered to collectively work for the creation and development of sustainable peace through the DPCW.

The Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) is a comprehensive document, which clarifies the role of members of the international society to prevent and resolve conflicts. It is in the process of being introduced to the UN as a draft resolution and eventually be implemented as a legally binding document to sustain peace globally.

In 2014, Chairman Man Hee Lee of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) signed a peace agreement with the former Governor of Maguindanao Esmael Mangudadatu, and Fernando Capalla, who are now serving as the Congressman and Archbishop-emeritus of Davao, respectively.

Since then, HWPL has cooperated with local organizations in Mindanao to open the channels for peacebuilding including peace education for students and inter-religious dialogues for mutual understanding.

In her speech, Dr. Concepcion Ferrer-Balawag, Cotabato City Schools Division Superintendent, commended the success of the most recent two-part Peace Education Writeshop held on January 17-18 and January 31-February 1, 2020, respectively.

A total of 85 supervisors and writers from 55 schools participated to contextualize the 12 Lessons proposed by HWPL by creating a teaching guide for the integration of Peace Education to all schools in Cotabato City.

I am extending my heartfelt gratitude to the HWPL for the partnership we have established to better serve our Filipino learners as we prepare them for life, said Dr. Balawag.

The Department of Education Cotabato City Schools Division expressed their full support toward the integration of Peace Education by signing a Memorandum of Agreement with HWPL.

Moreover, HWPL’s affiliated youth organization, International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) continuously work with local youth organizations especially with Gallant Adolescent New Generation (GANG) for the advancement of the DPCW and the civic betterment of Cotabato City.

Violence has never been the solution, said Rauf Lumabao, the President of GANG. He emphasized the significant role of youth being at the frontline of peacebuilding in advancing the DPCW as an instrument to make this society free from violence.

As one of the highlights of the event, city officials led the “Kadsapa sa Kalilintad” or Peace Promise Padlock with the pledge for sustainable peace in the presence of Cotabato City. Afterwards, all shouted a unified call, urging the President to support the implementation of DPCW, We want peace. President Duterte, please support DPCW.

Graham Nazer Dumama, Vice Mayor of Cotabato City and the Director of HWPL led the groundbreaking ceremony for the establishment of the HWPL Peace Monument which will serve as a visual representation of the peace movements initiated and the partnership declared with Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, Mayor of Cotabato City.

Source: Lao News Agency