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Ed Garcia, one of our esteemed GenPeace mentors, also known as ‘Master Yoda’ is not just inspiring GenPeace Youth network. In fact, he has mentored and inspired countless peace advocates from all walks of life. Below is Peter Perfecto’s article published by PDI. –Editors Note
One mentor in my life who probably most influenced my decisions in taking roads less travelled is Ed Garcia. Ed has always championed peace and human rights not only in the Philippines but across the globe, having worked extensively with Amnesty International and having been a part of International Alert for many years now. Though based in London, Ed manages to return to the Philippines regularly to help push our peace process forward even just one little step at a time. He never tires of the effort, always reminding me that peace is everyone’s business.
During his last visit to the Philippines, Ed stayed for over three months to meet various stakeholders in the peace process, help organize the Waging Peace in the Philippines Conference 2011, and even get a small group that included next-generation youth peace leaders to dialogue via Skype technology with a leader of one of the parties in our decades-old conflict. That was Ed’s other consistent message to those who would listen: Keep the dialogue always going and make sure the youth are always part of that dialogue. He, of course, made sure to seek me as the representative of the constructive voice of business on national issues, the Makati Business Club (MBC). He understandably wanted MBC to make the peace process its business, too, and subsequently help get more of the private sector involved.
I most certainly agree with Ed that business groups need to become part of the peace process. The private sector has been both bane and boon to the peace process. In line with the continuing evolution of corporate social responsibility, however, it must become part of the solution and not one of the roots of the conflict. The private sector must become genuine nation-builders and, subsequently, effective peace-builders.
In a 2011 National Caucus on conflict-sensitive business practice, International Alert (IA) explained that “the entry of extractive, energy, and agribusiness companies in rural areas across the Philippines creates both opportunities and risks for improving the living standards of the poor and excluded in our society and the ability of local authorities to govern local economies.” Some of the opportunities highlighted were new jobs, new skills and new livelihoods, as well as enhanced revenue sources for local government units. IA further explained that “there are liability risks that resonate in the eruption of violence and conflict in the areas where companies operate; the increased incidence of illegal ejection or displacement of communities; the inducement of graft and corruption; and the use of abusive security forces and the provision of the means to kill.” The private sector must work to enhance the opportunities and aggressively act to mitigate the risks.
To link arms with the various peace advocates, business can support the following Easter Proposals to Wage Peace that can serve as the first steps leading to the resumption of peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF):
1. Easter Talks: Convene facilitated direct talks (or “nontalks”) between the respective chairs of the negotiating panels in the period of Easter (or before) to ensure that conditions are established for the resumption of formal peace negotiations.
2. Easter Releases: Release at least four or five people relevant to the peace process who will somehow be “a collective force for good” in assisting in the discussions on the substantive issues on the agenda of the peace talks. Accept the offer of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform and other civic and religious leaders to receive those released either in cognizance or to provide safe conduct for a temporary stay abroad.
3. Easter Pause: In the spirit of Easter and in the spirit of magnanimity and reciprocity, desist from armed offensives during the period of the talks. The duration and terms of reference of this initial Easter Pause may be negotiated as the talks progress. Establish independent capacities to more effectively verify violations both of human rights and of the provisional truce that has arisen from this Easter opportunity.
The Waging Peace Convenors led by the likes of Ed Garcia, Karen Tañada and Gus Miclat made these proposals last Feb. 27 during the commemoration of the late Sen. Jose W. Diokno’s death anniversary. They called on the government and the NDF to “negotiate a political settlement and pay tribute to the late Ka Pepe Diokno who lived and worked to build a nation worthy of our children.”
The business sector may not be ready to fully support the above calls, but I am certain that a just and lasting peace makes good business sense to all in the sector.
Last Jan. 20, the Eisenhower Fellows Association of the Philippines sponsored a forum on business opportunities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Amidst the conflict, business opportunities were highlighted and the challenges discussed. While conflict seems to not have prevented private investments in Mindanao, the continuing security and land access problems have been key constraints to urgently needed investments. Companies like La Frutera, Dole Philippines Fruits, ArDex Corp., Sumitomo, Mega Sardines, Shemberg, Agumil, Filipinas, Bj Coco Mill, Granexport and NorMin Veggies are successfully operating in conflict areas in Mindanao. More will most certainly venture into the region if the peace process would just reach a final political settlement. But that will only happen if we all make peace our business.
Peter Angelo V. Perfecto is the executive director of the Makati Business Club.
You may download the file here.
Call for Entries extended until October 29, 2010.
Malapit na naman ang International Day of Peace. Oo, sa September 21 yun, at may mga activities ulit sa Quezon City circle at kahit malayo, pwede kang makilahok…
Do you have ‘pieces’ (i.e. essay, poetry, photos, short stories) on Peace? Share it, and GenPeace will publish it.
Meron ka bang mga tula, sanaysay, larawan at maikling kwento na patungkol sa giyera’t kapayapaan? Ibahagi mo sa amin, at pag napili, isama nating mailimbag! Selected pieces will also be read during the Peace Day celebration.
What is Peace Stories/Kwentong Kapayapaan?
Kwentong Kapayapaan is a compilation of war and peace stories (in photo, video, or written format) told from the various perspectives of the young generation. It presents the harsh realities that the young generation faces in the armed conflicts in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon. It speaks of the brutality suffered in invisible hands—that of structural violence. The youth in the stories cry out and clamor for peace in the Philippines. These are stories that present the essentiality and possibility of peace. Kwentong Kapayapaan shows us the youth’s compelling role in peacebuilding.
Kwentong Kapayapaan is your story told from your perspective.
About Kwentong Kapayapaan
Kwentong Kapayapaan is part of the Peace Day Project which celebrates September 21 as the International Day of Peace. Few people know that the date is a UN mandated and universally recognized day of peace.
Our aim is to institutionalize the celebration of the 21st of September as the International Day of Peace, in other words reach the point where awareness of Peace Day becomes self-sustaining, and engage the different sectors, particularly the youth, in the Day’s peaceful observance.
We would like to celebrate the Peace Day by: 1) Remembering and understanding the different conflicts that need to be resolved in the Philippines; 2) Bringing to focus the peace issues by highlighting different stories of peace and conflict and; 3) Creating a collective and creative space for youth organizations to discuss, participate and express their aspirations for peace.
So, to recap:
WHAT: Kwentong Kapayapaan: Stories of War, Peace and Peacebuilding in the Philippines
WHO: You! We want to tell to a broader audience your story as a Youth NGO working for Peace, as a youth living in a community displaced by armed conflict, as an indigenous youth aspiring for peace, and so on.
WHY: Because telling your story is the best reason for everyone to work for peacebuilding. The Stories will highlight the role of youth in peacebuilding, best practices in peace advocacy, as well as document the effects of war and conflict on the young generation. The stories aim to provide a “human face” to the advocacy of peace. We are now accepting submissions of human interest stories on peace and conflict.
WHEN: Deadline for submission of stories is on September 15, 2009
HOW: Mail your stories to: email@example.com or send to:
c/o GZO Peace Institute, 2nd Floor Hoffner Building, SDC,
Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights
Quezon City 1108
1. Submission of your Kwentong Kapayapaan may be any or all of the following format:
• PHOTO (with captions)
• VIDEO (raw videos or completed works, include a one paragraph explanation of you story if needed)
• AUDIO recording
• WRITTEN (essay format or a one-page description of your story)
2. You may send your story submission by:
a. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
b. SNAIL MAIL:
• GZO Peace Institute, 2nd Floor Hoffner Building, Social Development Complex, Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City 1108
3. Topic: The story must focus on the Youth and one (or all) of the following:
a. peace and conflict Issues (personal, organizational, community, local or national in scope)
b. Initiatives in peacebuilding (best practices and success stories)
c. Aspirations for peace (Peace Philosophy)
d. Personal experiences or anecdotes in war and/or peace
e. Faith, Culture and Peace
f. Other possible subthemes such as:
• Forms of violence
• Children in Armed Conflict Situations
• Internal Displacement
• Islam as a religion of peace
• Christianity as a religion of peace
• Belief systems and cultures as vehicles of peace
• Community-based peace initiatives (Peace Zone, etc.)
• Self determination
• Agrarian Reform
• Youth Peace Initiatives
• Peace Aspirations
• Indigenous Peoples
• Social Justice
• Collective action
• Support for the Peace process
4. The different stories will be compiled by GenPeace and presented during the 21 September International Day of Peace Celebration as a short documentary.
A possible tie up of Peace One Day and GenPeace?!?? Wait.. let’s rewind a bit.. what is Peace One Day? And what can we do together? Hmm..
In 1999 filmmaker Jeremy Gilley decided to try and establish the first ever Day of Peace with a fixed calendar date. In September 2001 the Member States of the United Nations unanimously adopted the first-ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence—Peace Day, 21 September.
Peace One Day now works to create global awareness of the day and manifest life-saving activity and individual action throughout the world on September 21 each year.
The day is working. Lives are being saved and individuals are making commitments.
So… what do you think?
CLUSTER MUNITION COALITION CONDEMNS GEORGIAN USE OF CLUSTER BOMBS
After admitting use, Georgia must sign global treaty banning weapon
(Geneva, September 2, 2008) – A network of 250 non-governmental organisations across 70 countries has condemned Georgia’s use of cluster munitions, just three months after 107 nations agreed to ban the weapon. In a letter to Human Rights Watch, the Georgian Defense Ministry stated that cluster bombs were “used against Russian military equipment and armament marching from Roki tunnel to Dzara road [sic],” but that they “were never used against civilians, civilian targets and civilian populated or nearby areas.” The majority of the world’s nations that have banned the weapon have declared any use of any cluster munition in any location unacceptable, because of the harm they cause to civilians during and after conflict.
“Cluster bombs are indiscriminate killers not only during attacks but leave a deadly legacy long after conflict,” said Thomas Nash, coordinator of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “We are disturbed to learn that both Georgia and Russia have used cluster munitions. This highlights again the urgency of the international ban, to be signed in Oslo this December by the majority of the world’s nations.”
The Cluster Munition Coalition welcomes Georgia’s willingness to acknowledge its use of cluster munitions and hopes that this is a first step toward adopting the treaty. The CMC launched a series of actions to protest the use of cluster munitions by Russia in Georgia last month and the international campaign group will now pressure Georgia as well to immediately renounce any future use of the weapon. Read the rest of this entry
Just like to share this reflection forwarded to us below from a participant of the Young Leaders Program and his insights on his interfaith youth encounter.
Infinite success sa ating mga upcoming projects!
Kapayapaan Nawa’y Manaig sa Daigdig!
May Peace Prevail on Earth!
Convergence of the Cross and the Crescent
By Manuel Jeffrey “Jepoi” Ordaniel Sistoso
The Young Leaders Program (YLP 2008) of the Australian Embassy and the National Defense College of the Philippines last June 17-24 gave me a unique opportunity to establish networks and friendships with young Muslims and visit Mindanao for the first time. For a Christian like me who was raised in a strictly devout Catholic family, dealing with Muslims for eight straight days is close to impossible.
YLP 2008 was a national gathering of thirty young leaders from Christians, Muslims and Indigenous Peoples (IP) groups. I was lucky enough to have been chosen as one of the pioneering participants this year.
I would call it an adventure that I started to feel when the organizers emailed me the names of my co-participants including short information on where they’re from, their respective religions, affiliations, ethnicities and contact details. Twelve were Muslims, mind you. Also along with that email were the names of our roommates for the first leg of the program which would be held in Quezon City . I must admit, my Mom got worried, to the point a bit hysterical, when she found out that the person I would be sharing a room with is a Muslim. I just couldn’t blame her for having such a response. For majority of people in our hometown, the only things that come to mind about Islam and Muslims are violence, terrorism and women selling pirated DVDs downtown.
I know from that point, I had a mission.
Read the rest of this entry