A KaPEACEtahan Festival, organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), was held on September 21 at the SM North Edsa The Block Atrium in Quezon City to commemorate the International Day of Peace, and also as part of the National Peace Consciousness Month celebration with this year’s theme “Ako. Ikaw. Tayo. Magkakaiba, Nagkakaisa sa Kapayapaan.”
The annual event convened various sectors of the society in a job fair, a Serbisyong Bayan Center, and a cultural gala night.
The job fair, which was organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), was participated by 25 local and international employers offering more than 2,500 job openings.
Human Resource Assistant Mary Jane Galang of Wizard Manpower and Allied Services Inc., in fact, has good words for the job fair organized by DOLE. “First time ko ‘to sa jobfair. Masaya, nakakatuwa kasi organized talaga. Di ko ini-expect na ganito karami yung tao na sumusuporta sa mga job fair. Di ko sinasabing maraming walang trabaho. Ang sinasabi ko, marami yung naghahangad ng matiwasay na pamumuhay. So sa nakikita kong pag-oorganize nila, malinis, dedicated sila sa ginagawa nila at maasikaso sila lalo na sa amin lalo na sa akin na first time, (This is my first time in a job fair. I’m very happy because it’s really organized. I wasn’t expecting that there’s a lot of people supporting job fairs. I’m not saying that there’s a lot of unemployed. What I’m saying is that many people are hoping for a better life. So with how it’s organized, I can see they’re dedicated in what they’re doing and very attentive to us, especially to a first-timer like me.)” she told SecurityMatters.
Even human resource field coordinator Robert Santiago of Khumbu Enterprises, Inc. (Sandugo) felt the same way. “Maganda naman kasi lahat nung mga applicants namin is nabigyan ng opportunity; yung may mga experience, at saka yung mga fresh grad lalo na yung mga kabataan na naghahanap talaga ng trabaho. Maganda… (It’s nice because all of our applicants are given opportunity, those with experience and those who are fresh graduates, especially the youth who are really looking for a job.),” Santiago also said to SecurityMatters.
Both companies believed that the job fair, attended by a lot of people, has been a great help in serving their needs and the needs of those who are looking for jobs. “Sa tingin ko, marami nanaman kaming made-deploy. Nakakatuwa, (I think we will be able to deploy many applicants.)” Galang disclosed.
The Serbisyong Bayan Center, on the other hand, provided mobile services to the public through several government agencies. Among the agencies involved were the National Statistics Office, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Government Service Insurance System, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine National Red Cross, and Philippine Health Insurance.
The gala night, meanwhile, became a ground for OPAPP officials to share the recent developments in the ongoing peace talks with rebel groups and how many people have been cooperating in their campaign for peace. According to OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, “Nakakatuwa na habang tumatakbo ang buwan ng Setyembre ay parami ng parami ang nagdedeklara ng “I Am for Peace.” Ito ho ‘yong ating kampanya na bawat Pilipino sana ay sabihin na “I Am for Peace.” Nakakatuwang makita na mas marami na ang kumikilos para sa kapayapaan. (It’s so nice to know that this September more and more people are declaring “I Am for Peace.” With this campaign, we hope that every Filipino will say, “I Am for Peace.”)
She added, “Malayo na ang nararating ng ating usaping pang-kapayapaan sa ating mga kapatid sa Moro Islamic Liberation Front o MILF sa Mindanao. Patuloy din nating inaabot ang kamay ng kapayapaan sa ating mga kapatid sa CPP-NPA-NDF upang sila ay mahikayat na makipag-usap muli sa pamahalaan. Sa kabilang dako ay malapit na nating matuldukan ang pag-implementa sa matagal nang nakabinbin na mga peace agreements sa ating mga kapatid sa Moro National Liberation Front o MNLF, sa Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army o CPLA, at maging sa Revolutionary Proletarian Army o RPA-ABB. (We have gone far in terms of peace talks with our brothers and sisters from Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF in Mindanao. We are also continuously extending our hands for peace with our brother and sisters from CPP-NDA-NDF so that they will be encouraged to have peace talks again with the government. On the other hand, we are near the implementation of long-due peace agreements with our brothers and sisters from Moro National Liberation Front or MNLF, Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army or CPLA, and Revolutionary Proletarian Army or RPA-ABB.”)
Underscoring the purpose of the celebration, and also the fruits of the peace process, Atty. Maria Cleofe Getti Sandoval, OPAPP undersecretary, also said in her speech, “Ngayong araw na ito, ipinagdiriwang natin sa KaPEACEtahan ang kaibahan nating mga Pilipino, ang iba’t ibang hibla ng ating pagka-Pilipino. Ngunit higit dito, ipinagdiriwang natin ang isang layunin na magbubuklod ng ating mga pagkakaiba: kapayapaan. Ang kapayapaan na nagbunga ng mas maunlad na buhay para sa ating mga kapatid sa iba’t ibang post-conflict areas ng bansa. Iniaalay natin ang araw na ito sa katahimikan na ngayon ay matatamasa ng bawat isa sa mga nasalanta ng kaguluhan noon. Inaalay natin ang araw na ito, ang KaPeacetahan na ito, sa pagbabagong naidulot sa pagtulak ng kapayapaan gaano man ito kahirap. (Today, we are celebrating at KaPEACEtahan our differences as Filipinos, the different lineage of being a Filipino. But beyond this, we are celebrating one objective that will unite our differences: peace. Peace that has resulted to better lives for our brothers and sisters in post-conflict areas in the country. We are offering this day for peace that is about to be experienced by those who were affected by chaos before. We are offering this day, this KaPEACEtahan, to the changes brought about by pursuing peace, no matter how difficult it has been.)”
The cultural gala night was also graced by peace ambassadors Megan Young, Mikael Daez, Ramon Bautista, Kiray, and Igi Boy Flores. It also showcased the talents of hegalong player Diwa De Leon, sand artist Joseph Valerio, and Colegio de San Juan de Letran Filipiniana Dance Company who presented the beauty and richness of Filipino culture, and the peace gains, through various dances. The night ended with a song from Virlanie Children’s Choir.