Participated by various national and local agencies, NGOs and the church, spearheaded by the Northern Samar Provincial Government in partnership with OPAPP supported by Provincial PAMANA Management Team, the launching of 2016 Peace Month was held successfully on Sept. 3, 2016, at Sacred Heart Plaza, Catarman, Northern Samar. Hundreds of participants gathered as early as 4:00 early morning all set for the Run and Walk for Peace in 3, 5 and 7 kilometers.
While waiting for the arrival of runners, a Zumba for Peace took place and a short program followed afterwards. Speaking before the participants, Ms. Maricel Bantilo, Area Coordinator of the Office of the Presidential Advise on the Peace Process (OPAPP) presented the overview of the Peace Month Activity. She said the event is based on Proclamation No.675 issued in 2004, declaring September of every year as National Peace Consciousness Month to instill consciousness among Filipinos on the comprehensive peace process, and promote the culture of peace based on non violence, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, tolerance, understanding and solidarity.
A run-down of the activities for the whole month include radio guesting thru PIA, simultaneous flag raising and recitation of the pledge for peace, bike for peace, the conduct of orientation on mainstreaming peace promotion and conflict prevention and other sectoral concerns to community driven project formulation by DILG, conduct of bridges for peace, stakeholder’s dialogue/consultation, peace caravan, inauguration/turn-over of PAMANA Lapinig-Jipapad farm to market road, highlighted with the scheduled visit of the highest official of OPAPP, and the culmination activity with the release of peace lanterns, candle lighting and peace concert.
OPAPP was tasked to lead and coordinate with national government agencies, civil society organizations and different sectors in the observance of the month-long celebration. Vice Governor Gary Lavin representing Governor Jun Ong expressed great appreciation to everyone who woke up early and exerted effort to support the provincial government’s campaign and efforts to achieve real long lasting peace.
As he uttered appreciation, 803rd Brigade Commander Col. Mario Lacurom made a strong appeal to the people for support on AFP’s drive to secure the constituents and the nation as a whole from terror attacks. The Philippine Army he said, is doing everything, sacrificing their lives just to make sure peace reign in every corner of the nation. PNP Deputy Provincial Director Jesus Miranda, likewise, sought for everyone’s support on the PNP’s campaign and war against illegal drugs and criminality. Campaign for peace is a continuous effort, he said, not only for the month of September but throughout thhe year.
In closing, Senior Board Member Florencio Batula spoke of the quest for peace, saying “it is a universal concern that transcends any racial, cultural, religious or political convictions, but alongside its importance to humanity, it has increasingly become a lonely crusade, but we are not losing hope because all people even those who care less will surely be enjoying the fruits it may bear.”