Many of us always put in our prayers the prevalence of peace — in our personal life, in our homes, in our workplaces, in our communities, in our country. Who wouldn’t want peace? Apparently, there are people who don’t and because of this, our government and peace-workers still work on creating and maintaining peace on a daily basis.
Many may not know it but there is actually a ‘peace month’ in the Philippines. The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) leads the celebration which is held every September of every year. The observance of the month-long celebration is mandated by Proclamation No. 675 “declaring September of every year as National Peace Consciousness Month to instill greater consciousness among Filipinos on the comprehensive peace process, and promote a culture of peace based on nonviolence, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, tolerance, understanding and solidarity.”
Interestingly, the selection of ‘September’ as the peace month is not by chance nor by default. It was chosen because according to OPAPP website, ”it holds several significant milestones in the history of pursuing the peace process in the country” since 1986.
[peace activities held in "September" from OPAPP website]
|Sept, 1, 1992||Creation of the National Unification Commission which studied and recommended the adoption of the comprehensive peace process|
|Sept. 2, 1996||Signing of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front|
|Sept. 12, 1996||National Day of Prayer for Peace and Reconciliation|
|Sept. 13, 1986||Signing of the Mt. Data Sipat (peace pact) between the Government of theRepublic of the Philippines and the Cordillera Peoples’ Liberation Army|
|Sept. 15, 1993||Creation of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the PeaceProcess thru Executive Order No. 125|
|Sept. 19, 2000||Launching of 2001-2010 International Decade for Culture of Peace andNon-violence for the Children of the World|
|Sept. 21, 2000||International Day of Peace as declared by the United Nations|
This 2012, the ‘Peace Month’ is already on its 9th year and this year’s celebration aims to harness a culture of peace among different sectors and inspire them to play their part in achieving a just and lasting peace for the country.
I once had the privilege of working with OPAPP on a research project on their peace programs and in our team’s travels in different places in the Philippines, I have seen how the presence of peace in what used to be conflict areas transformed community people, from fear-stricken to hopeful and productive residents. I was even impressed with a group of women from a small town in Bacolod who formed a cooperative and through their efforts and hardwork, the economic activities of the cooperative became successful and was able to support the financial needs of the members and even invested in putting up a transient home for tourists. Another success story is also found in Bohol (another former conflict area) which, after the success in peace process, became one of the country’s prime travel destinations.
Peace is important to all of us. Everyone must be a peace worker in whatever way we can contribute in creating and maintaining peace in our homes and in our communities. Peace is everyone’s business.
Thus, I commit that I, Mhel Villamar Daroy of Marikenya.com, IS FOR PEACE!
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