Civilian-led peacebuilding; Catholic and Islamic communities call for global peace law on annual Peace Day


CHICAGO, IL, Jan. 30, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — On January 24, 2022, more than 22,000 social representatives from 51 countries attended the International Peace Conference celebrating the Day of Peace event that took place held virtually. The event commemorated a civilian-led peace agreement reached between the Muslim and Catholic communities in Mindanao, Philippines 8 years ago.

In 2014, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international NGO mediated the conflict in Mindanao by proposing a peace agreement through local representatives. In the presence of Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL, the peace agreement was signed by Hon. Esmael G. Mangudadatu, then Governor of Maguindanao, and Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla of the Archdiocese of Davao representing local leaders. Since then, Maguindanao Province and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have declared January 24 “HWPL Peace Day” and commemorated it as an annual event to reaffirm international cooperation and local partnership for the consolidation peace in Mindanao.

Additionally, peace monuments have been built in honor of the peace accord in Mindanao. The 1st and 2nd Peace Monuments were erected in 2015 and 2016 respectively. In 2021, the third Peace Monument was unveiled in Cotabato City. Being the first in Luzon, a peace monument in Dingras, Ilocos Norte was unveiled last January 24 as part of the 8th anniversary event of the HWPL Peace Day celebration. Additionally, another monument at the Siniloan National Integrated High School is expected to be unveiled in February.

The event, under the theme of “The Law of Peace in Heaven and on Earth,” aimed to promote interfaith harmony among religions and build public support for establishing international law for peace.

Key personalities delivered 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 presenter Mariz Umali, all from the Philippines. Keynote speakers from various fields also delivered pledge messages declaring their plans on promoting peace in their respective sectors, including law, education, youth, women, private business and the media.

Prabhu Mahendra Das, President of Sri Sri Radha Madhava Mandir Temple, said he decided to participate in the World Alliance of Religions for Peace (WARP) office organized by HWPL as a “global platform for religious leaders to speak, 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 in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOU)”.

Retired judge Raoul Victorino, president of the Philippine National Prayer Breakfast (PNPB) and dean of the Philippine Christian University (PCU) law school, explained how he was inspired by the “revolutionary movement” launched by HWPL to endorse the consolidation of global peace through the draft of the “Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW)” by world experts in international law to uphold peace as a global culture and norm. He said, “I will endeavor to gain the support of the President of the Philippines for DPCW’s national solidarity support. In parallel, I will integrate DPCW [education] in law school by collaborating with the Philippine Association of Law Schools.

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

“Our goal is to bring together all the people of the world to create a world of peace and to 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 this emotion – a desire for peace – and Peace Day so that they can remember all of this forever,” President Lee said during the closing address.

To learn more about HWPL, the global peace organization, or to get involved with local chapters in your area, please contact [email protected]

HWPL is a non-governmental organization registered with the Seoul Metropolitan Government of the Republic of Korea. It is associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC) and has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In accordance with the spirit of the Declaration of World Peace, which HWPL aims to realize world peace through heavenly cultivation and restore the world community with light, we carry out peace activities all over the world.

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