HWPL Peace Education Development Forum in the Philippines

On 18 September 2020, “HWPL Peace Education Development Forum” was held in the Philippines. This forum was held online attended by Commission on Higher Education commissioners, superintendents, presidents, principals, teachers, and students as well as 375 teachers from Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Rwanda, and more. They could not gather in the same place due to the pandemic, but they had the same desperate and eager heart for peace. Particularly, this forum was meaningful in that people in educational circles from Mindanao, a region that has suffered from conflicts for many years, attended and presented specific implementation goals for peace education.

In 2014, HWPL Chairman Man Hee Lee went to Mindanao, the Philippines, and mediated a peace agreement between the representatives of the Catholic Church and Islam. Religious conflict between the two had been one of the great causes of ongoing struggles in Mindanao. In 2015, Mindanao Peace Agreement Monument was erected in Mindanao. And in 2017, the Commission on Higher Education of the Philippines signed an MOA on peace education with HWPL to teach university students a spirit of peace and train them as peace messengers. They have been making efforts for the implementation of peace education.

At this forum, the attendees sought specific ways to realize peace education in the Philippines. Dr. Ronald L. Adamat, the Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education, delivered a speech saying, “We are preparing our students to be equipped with knowledge, skills, attitude, and values in conflict resolution and peace works. If values of peace such as unity, love, harmony, and understanding are embedded in them, then criminality will be minimized if not eradicated, corruption will stop, drug addiction will be addressed, and conflict resolution will be erased.” The Commission on Higher Education has approved to integrate peace studies into the recent education curriculum, and they are taking steps to ensure that peace education is implemented in each university.

Dr. Concepcion Balawag, the Superintendent of the Department of Education in Region XII of Cotabato City, emphasized that people should be trained on how to live peacefully since Cotabato City is diverse with various cultures, tribes, and religions. She said, “I was pleased to see that the 12 lessons in HWPL Peace Education curriculum dealt with the values of peace that all people should have embedded inside of them. We started planning to develop teaching materials for the peace education curriculum.” Cotabato City conducted two workshops last January for the implementation of peace education, and they have developed 54 lesson plans so far. Also, they are preparing for peace education to be integrated into major curriculums.

In addition, the attendees had a time to listen to the thoughts and impressions from students, parents, and teachers who took “Voice of Peace PH,” an online class on peace education in the Philippines, and reaffirmed that peace education is the hope in this global crisis. At the end of the forum, all participants sang “We Are One,” a song composed by Dr. Ronald Adamat, and promised to achieve peace by cooperating with each other.

HWPL’s Philippine branch plans to build partnership with every school in the Philippines so that they can introduce peace education to the students. HWPL hopes that peace education is implemented throughout the Philippines and the citizens of peace are trained so that peace can be established as soon as possible.