Annual Event To Commemorate Civilian-Led Peacebuilding In Mindanao Calls Forth Collective Action To Develop Peace

CaribPR Wire, WASHINGTON D.C., Fri. Jan. 28, 2022: On January 24, 2022, over 22,000 people from 51 countries attended a virtual Peace Conference in honor of the annual Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) Peace Day celebration. The event commemorated a civilian-led peace agreement made between the Islamic and Catholic communities in Mindanao, Philippines 8 years ago.

This year’s gathering was titled the “Law of Peace in Heaven and on Earth” and aimed to: (1) promote interfaith harmony between religions and, (2) raise public support to establish an international law for peace.

Back in 2014 HWPL, an international NGO, mediated the conflict in Mindanao by proposing a peace agreement by local representatives. Witnessed by Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL, the peace agreement was signed by local leadership: Hon. Esmael G. Mangudadatu, the then Governor of Maguindanao, and Archbishop-Emeritus Fernando Capalla of the Archdiocese of Davao. Since then, the province of Maguindanao and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has declared January 24th as “HWPL Peace Day.”  In addition, leaders have built Peace Monuments throughout the Philippines to honor the peace agreement, with the newest monument planned to be unveiled in February.

Monday’s event reaffirmed the region’s and HWPL’s continued dedication to international cooperation and the importance of local partnerships when building peace in Mindanao.  Key figures from the Philippines gave congratulatory messages including Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senator Panfilo Lacson, Senator Cynthia Villar, Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, and TV News Anchor Mariz Umali. Keynote speakers from various fields also presented commitment messages declaring their plans to promote peace in their respective sectors including law, education, youth, women, private business and media.

For instance, Prabhu Mahendra Das, Temple President of Sri Sri Radha Madhava Mandir, said that he decided to participate in the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace Office organized by HWPL because it is “a global platform for religious leaders to talk, share, discuss, learn, and grow together harmoniously and peacefully.” For the contribution to peace in the field of religion, he added, “I firmly believe that all religions should enter into a partnership [with HWPL] through the form of a Memorandum of Understanding.”

Justice Raoul Victorino (ret), Chairman of Philippine National Prayer Breakfast and Dean of the College of Law of Philippine Christian University, shared how he was inspired by the “revolutionary movement” that HWPL initiated to endorse global peacebuilding by drafting the “Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW). ” The DPCW was written by global experts in international law to advocate peace as a global culture and norm. He declared, “I will strive to get the support of the President of the Philippines for the DPCW. At the same time, I will integrate the DPCW [education] in the college of law by collaborating with the Philippine Association of Law Schools.”

Also, representing the Philippines education sector, Commissioner Ronald Adamat of the Commissioner on Higher Education (CHED), shared, “The CHED Commission en Banc has issued an endorsement to President Duterte, urging him to declare January 24th as ‘National Peace Day’, that will provide for simultaneous celebration and observance of peace through peace activities, events, and ceremonies by all instrumentalities and agencies of government, including the private sector. This shall also be celebrated and observed in the education sector.”

Chairman Lee, during the closing remarks, said: “Our purpose is to bring all people in the world together to create a world of peace and leave it as a lasting legacy for future generations. To make this world a peaceful place without wars, let us become messengers of peace. Let us remind people around the world of that emotion – a longing for peace – and the Peace Day so they can remember all of this forever.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: See images for use with this press release HERE and HERE