On February 15, a grand peace festival under the theme of “We are One for Peace to Attain Sustainable Development” was held with 30,000 participants in the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan in order to forge international peace solidarity.
This festival was co-organized by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), a UN-affiliated NGO headquartered in South Korea, and Volunteer Individuals for Peace (VIP), a non-profit corporation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the Philippines.
The event was attended by social, educational, and political figures such as governors, 11 Davao chiefs, presidents of 16 universities, professors, students, citizens, and media. In the opening ceremony, the students associated in 13 universities performed parades and performances for the festival. Hon. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Governor of the province of Bulacan, delivered his welcoming message by saying “I thank all those who made this peace rally together and will devote all my best efforts to serve you, the heroes of peace, to achieve peace.”
In his speech, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL stressed on the importance of uniting one as we are all peace messengers regardless of religion and nationality. He also urged for collective efforts of all members of society to establish sustainable development and peace secured by international law for peace. “Every individual of the family of the global village born in this era should become a messenger of peace to end the war and make sustainable peace a legacy for future generations,” Mr. Lee said.
As a part of combined endeavor for the establishment of international law for peace, Director of International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), Mr. Chung Young Min, encouraged the participants to support the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) to develop it into a legally binding framework.
The DPCW was drafted by the collaboration of international law experts and HWPL in search of a resolution to build sustainable peace in the global society. It includes provisions to cease war-related actions and achieve peace such as respect on international law, prohibition of the use of force, peaceful dispute settlement, ethnic/religious harmony, and spreading a culture of peace.
According to organizers, this festival was the very result of a strategic partnership between HWPL and VIP to seek international cooperation for peacebuilding from civil society groups in the Philippines and South Korea through education and campaigns as a cultural approach. In their partnership through a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), the two organizations planned to expand the work of peace starting with State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) and also established January 24th as ‘Day of Peace’ in support of the DPCW.
Dr. Ronald Adamat, Commissioner of Commission on Higher Education (CHED), as well as Chairman of VIP, expressed the expectation on the further partnership to promote peace education and projects for a culture of peace by saying “The value of our organization, so as this MoA, is to transform the Philippines into a society where people will live in harmony, respect each other to attain sustainable development.”
The event concluded with a signing ceremony of “Philippine Peace Declaration” as a common standard protocol to achieve national and global peace by abhorring all forms of armed conflicts, supporting all unification efforts, and educating the respect, love, and understanding.