Through the Presidential Proclamation 675 of the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued in 2004, the month of September was declared as the National Peace Consciousness Month, according to the website of Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).
September has played a major role in the pursuit of peace, the OPAPP said. Several peace milestones were recorded in September such as the signing of the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army on September 13,1986 and the declaration of September 21, 2000 as the International Day of Peace by the United Nations.
For this year’s celebration, the peace month has this theme: ‘Ako. Ikaw. Tayo. Magkakaiba, Nagkakaisa sa Kapayapaan.’
The month-long celebration had its kick-off event called “1GoalforPeace’ last September 2 at the Philippine Sports Complex in Pasig, with the Philippine Azkals and the Philippine Football Federation holding a football clinic for 100 children coming from urban poor communities who are being taken care of by various non-government organizations.
OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles explained why this year’s peace month celebration kicked off with sports and such activities. “Itong mga football clinic, itong mga paglalaro ay sinasabi lang sa atin na dapat nagsasama-sama, dapat nagtutulung-tulungan, dapat nagsasaya magkakasama.”
On the Azkals as new Ambassadors for Peace, she said: “They were invited. They’ve agreed. Nabasa ko sa diyaryo that they’ve even said they will play all their games in September for the cause of peace.”
Aside from the football clinic, a fun peace fair for the children was also held. The event concluded with 500 children making a giant peace sign.
To continue the peace month celebration, an “I Am for Peace” campaign will be launched on September 14 probably at the Malacañan Palace with President Benigno Aquino III; “KaPEACEtahan” on September 21 at SM North EDSA The Block; and “Teem Up for Peace” for golf enthusiasts, and simultaneous rock concerts around the country on September 28.
The annual celebration, according to OPAPP, aims to remind Filipinos that “transformation begins in the hearts of the Filipino people.”
(Editor’s Note: In line with the Peace month celebration, we shall be posting video clips of the events in the coming weeks.)