Peace events that commemorate citizen-led peacebuilding efforts for a decade are organized in 89 locations across 59 countries in May. On May 25, 5,000 participants gathered at the Peace Gate of Seoul Olympic Park in South Korea, and other thousands of individuals around the world are expected to join the events until the end of this month.
Officially named ‘HWPL’s 10th Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace and the Peace Walk’, the global events are held by an international NGO named Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) affiliated with the United Nations Economic and Social Council with the joint auspices of public and private organizations in different countries.
Recalling HWPL’s peace activities for the past 10 years, Chairman Lee Man-hee said, “Since we pledged to work together for world peace 10 years ago, we have been calling for peace all over the world. We have advocated that peace should be taught at home and at school, and that everyone should become messengers of peace. I went to the battlefield in Mindanao, Philippines to raise the voice of peace and we were promised not to begin war again.”
On the same day, various areas in the Philippines held simultaneous events in partner schools and communities particularly in Cavite, Laguna, Lucban, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Cotabato City.
Peace Monuments Unveiled in Schools and Universities
Partner schools and universities in support for HWPL’s peace education initiative have unveiled peace monuments which serve as a constant reminder of the shared commitment to create a peaceful environment inside the campus.
The first to celebrate in May was Victorious Christian Montessori (VCM) in GMA, Cavite, which is the first private school to implement HWPL’s Peace Education as a separate subject from K-12. Along with the unveiling ceremony of their peace monument, VCM also launched the Peace Education Organization and held the oath-taking for the officers. The students also participated in activities such as freedom wall for peace messages and prayers, recycle drive, and donation drive of old toys and clothes for the less privileged.
Among state universities under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), thousands of students, school officials and peace advocates witnessed the unveiling ceremony of the HWPL-VIP Peace Monuments erected in Tarlac Agricultural University (TAU) and Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology (NEUST). This project was carried out through the close collaboration with Volunteer Individuals for Peace (VIP), a peace NGO chaired by CHED Commissioner Dr. Ronald L. Adamat.
Dr. Engr. Feliciana Jacoba, university president of NEUST, expressed her excitement to conduct their flag ceremony with the new landmark at the center of their campus. She also said that through this, the university “guarantees and strongly adheres to the perpetuation of peace” inside and outside their parameter.
To date, there had been 15 HWPL peace monuments unveiled in the Philippines; 9 of which were erected inside campuses.
A Peace Wall was also unveiled in Pila, Laguna. The project was initiated by Mrs. Vikki Yu, HWPL Regional Coordinator, in collaboration with HWPL and DepEd Laguna Pila Sub-office. As part of the peace education initiative, the Peace Wall aims to promote awareness on peace among the youth especially the students through graffiti or street art.
The Peace Wall was designed by local artist, Kirk Ryan San Jose.
Thousands of citizens and tourists flocked this year for the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, the “art capital” of Quezon province. It is known as one of the most colorful festivals in the country, celebrated annually every fifteenth of May as residents thank God for their harvest and in recognition of the patron saint of farmers, San Isidro Labrador.
Among the floats that paraded during the festival was HWPL’s Peace Float, where the tagline “Peace is Here” can be read.
“As we show our support for the Pahiyas Festival, we also included in this float our statement for peace. This month of May, we are commemorating our 10th year founding anniversary, so this is a significant opportunity for us, that through this festival, we have shared the message of peace to the people,” said John Rommel Garces, Chief Branch Manager of HWPL Philippines.
The symbolic Peace Walk commenced all of the aforementioned events as a gesture of solidarity and support for the 10th annual commemoration.
Moreover, peace coordinator teachers from Cotabato City also commemorated by holding a Peace Walk during the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Athletic Association (BARMAA) MEET PARADE 2023.
Peace Booths for Legislate Peace Campaign and Membership
In all of the events, HWPL established peace booths to boost the signature campaign for the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW), a document that HWPL is submitting to the United Nations to be implemented as international law.
Teachers, students, people of authority including Lucban Mayor Augustin M. Villaverde had signed individual support for the DPCW.
In South Korea, a joint statement was released by HWPL and participating organizations to affirm their commitment to institutionalizing peace through international cooperation, aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, justice and strong institutions.” They pledged to engage in mediation efforts and raising awareness and provide education in conflict areas, empower youth and women, and promote best practices for the participation of civil society.
HWPL announced its ambitious goal to garner the support of 10 million citizens through their signatures to advocate for the establishment of an international law for peace.
To sign support for the DPCW and/or register as a member, anyone may scan the QR code or fill out this form: https://forms.gle/w3STgYTncDWyZ5bHA
Membership registration, information about peace projects, and reading the full text of the DPCW are available on HWPL’s official website at www.hwpl.kr.