The 1st National Peace Convention was held earlier today, January 25, 2023 at the PICC. The theme is “Peace Builds One Nation, One Future: Peace is Here” which was attended by more than a thousand peace advocates to build a holistic roadmap towards the attainment of national unity through peace in consonance with the Marcos Administration’s agenda.
Dr. Ronald Adamat, Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Founding Chairman of Volunteer Individuals for Peace (VIP), spearheaded the event.
Dr. Adamat is the first Filipino recipient of the prestigious Mahatma MK Gandhi Prize for Non-Violent Peace awarded last year in recognition of his contributions to peace-building including the higher education.
In attendance also is Chairman Lee Man-hee of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), a 92-year old Korean war veteran.
The two peace advocates first met in 2017 during HWPL’s World Peace Summit held in South Korea. As an expression of their shared commitment to promoting peace, CHED and HWPL signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) in 2018 to integrate peace education in the higher education curricula.
The convention commenced with the first Plenary Session followed by parallel sessions in the afternoon. The parallel sessions was conducted separately for five sector groups- lawmakers and non-government organizations, academe and youth, religious and ethnic groups, women, and media. Each session produced a resolution which contained their solidarity with the organizers’ peace-building efforts.
The five resolutions were consolidated during the second Plenary Session to call for President Bongbong Marcos to proclaim January 24 as ‘National Peace Day’ or “Truce Day”.
The date January 24 was proposed in commemoration of a civilian-led peace agreement signed at General Santos City in 2014 to boost reconciliation among the local communities. It was proposed by Chairman Lee to mediate between the existing conflict in Mindanao at the time. The date was later declared as ‘HWPL Peace Day’ by then Maguindanao governor Toto Mangundadatu in 2015 and BARMM Chief Minister and MILF Chairman Ahod Ebrahim in 2016.
The organizers believe that the declaration of a National Peace Day shall be the mechanism by which every year, peace-related activities are observed and celebrated accross the country.