By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
The active participation of the military in Friday’s International Day of Peace or “Peace Day” celebration here led by various peace advocates makes it unique and special from previous years’ celebrations, according to Madett Gardiola of the Brahma Kumaris, one of the event core organizers.
Brahma Kumaris is a non-government and non-sectarian organization that focuses on developing spiritual dimension.
“Ten years ago, a few groups were celebrating peace day in Davao City minus the security sector particularly the military. But the military’s participation in this year’s peace day celebration makes the difference,” Gardiola said.
International Day of Peace is an annual event observed worldwide every 21st of September, as mandated by the United Nations, in order to dedicate to the promotion of peace, justice, and respect of human rights.
Gardiola said the military’s participation for the first time in this year’s Peace Day celebration signals the security sector’s “openness to ongoing peace initiatives”.
In fact, she said the military led by Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) Lt. Gen. Jorje Segovia has the biggest booth of all the 26 participating peace groups that joined the Peace Fair at the SM Annex Activity Center purposely to promote peace initiatives.
The Security sector also took center stage in the Peace Concert which featured the EastMinCom bands and musicians from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the same venue.
Gardiola said the military’s active participation this year formed part of the sector’s bayanihan framework that focuses on building relationships.
The impressive number of participating groups also indicates the increasing awareness of the public on peace initiatives.
“More people are doing peace today,” Gardiola said.
Segovia said the military has shifted from its traditional military campaign for peace into outreach programs to communities and now joining peace groups in promoting peace.
He cited the Youth for Peace Summit being initiated by the military in the provinces as one of the military’s peace campaign reforms.
Graduates of the said summit formed the Youth For Peace Movement, which also actively participated in the Peace Fair, Segovia said.
“If there is one group who wants to end the war, it’s the military, because we are always away from our families,” Segovia said.
The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) led by executive director Gus Miclat said IID together with its allied local and regional networks including the Mindanao Peaceweavers (MPW) and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict- Southeast Asia (GPPAC-SEA) joins the rest of the world in calling for a celebration of peace and a stop to the destruction and violence that conflict and war brings.
Engaged in dialogue and peace-building for a quarter-century, IID treasures every effort and measure whereby the message of peace and an end to war resonate in the minds and hearts of men and women.
IID noted that Sept 21 which is also the day former President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law forty years ago is just apt to be the day marking the call for global peace.
“Martial Law struck a blow that still reverberates strongly with a number of us to this very day. Yet we should also note that despite this history we have moved on with manifest hopeful steps forward,” IID in a statement said.
The Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC), in partnership with the Generation Peace Youth Network (GenPeace) joined the celebration.
“Now that peace is everyone’s primary concern, we discourage any efforts to spoil or sabotage this, in order to protect private vested interests. It is time that we give utmost importance to the general welfare and the safety of our civilians, women, and children. We call on everyone to maintain our respect to others regardless of faith, color and race,” MPC and GenPeace further said in a statement.