By Jerome Carlo R. Paunan
QUEZON CITY, March 4 (PIA) --The Rotary District 3780, composed of 101 Rotary Clubs headed by its Governor Congresswoman Bernadette Herrera of the Bagong Henerasyon Party-List, recently conducted a peace symposium as part of its whole day celebration of the 115th Anniversary of Rotary International at the Rotary Center, this city.
Undersecretary Severo “Nonoy” Catura, Executive Director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee underscored the need for direct people’s participation in the Whole of Nation approach to end all armed conflicts in the country, particularly the armed conflict with the local communists. The committee is currently being chaired by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
“Bringing about a just, unifying, sustainable and lasting peace cannot be left to the government alone. The people must be empowered to assert peace as their right and directly get involved. I hope that Rotary clubs across the country can help mobilize people’s participation in communities that they serve,” Catura said.
Using the R-O-T-A-R-Y as an acronym, Catura called on those present to take six directions to pursue their actions for peace and conflict prevention/resolution, “R-evolutionize the call for Peace; O-bjectify or concretize Peace through actions; T-estify on the benefits of having Peace; A-ccount for people in the Peace Process; R-amify or spread out the call for Peace; and Y-earn or earnestly desire for Peace.”
Earlier this year, Medialdea was appointed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to replace Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III as head of the government negotiators with the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front.
Cosanie M. Derogongan, Director of the Bureau of Peace and Conflict Resolution of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos urged the audience composed of Champion of Service Presidents spoke on how stumbling blocks to in the path to peace can be overcome by being open and receptive to different perceptions on religion.
Derogongan, an internally displaced person (IDP) due to the Marawi Siege called on all Rotarians to help ensure that such unfortunate event will never happen again by instilling the value and importance of direct people’s participation in building peace and resolving conflicts.
Towards this wish, Derogongan requested those present to support the Yes for Peace movement to counter the continued recruitment activities of the ISIS.
The NCMF currently headed by Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan is currently active in raising consciousness among Muslim Filipinos on the discreet and highly secretive recruitment by the ISIS who lure supporters with promises of financial support to unsuspecting and susceptible victims who fall into the trap laid down by the armed extremists.
Ernesto Angeles Alcanzare, Organizer of Yes for Peace, for his part said, “one hundred percent of the Rotarians who responded to the Yes for Peace–Bayanihan ng Bayan questionnaire during the symposium agreed to the proposition to resume open, transparent, inclusive and participative Peace Talks, national or local, here in the Philippines to enable the negotiators to address the expressed needs of affected communities and basic sectors of our society.”
Peace Talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF have stalled because of its refusal to agree to the firm and non-negotiable pre-condition set by President Duterte that Peace Talks held here instead of abroad.
It can be recalled that during its 1056th meeting, the UP Board of Regents declared all campuses of the University of the Philippines System a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality and offered the premier educational institution in the country as mediating institution and venue for peace talks between the government and all armed revolutionary groups. (PIA NCR)