Bright smiles and warm congratulations illuminated the virtual platform as 1,000 Filipino peace advocates gathered to celebrate the “HWPL & IWPG Philippines 2021 Year-end Peace Messengers’ Gathering” last December 4, 2021 via Zoom.
With the theme of “The Lights of Peace Shine: A Starry Night of Appreciation”, the organizers held their first ever ‘appreciation night’ to acknowledge the efforts and remarkable achievements of their partner individuals and organizations who have significantly contributed to the organization’s peace movement in the country.
The organizers namely Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) and International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) are international non-governmental organizations committed to the achievement of world peace and cessation of war. Since 2013, the organizations have been actively conducting peace initiatives among various sectors such as international law, education, religious community, youth, women and media.
Hon. Jose Warren Villa, Vice Mayor of San Juan City, Senator Joel Villanueva and Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo gave congratulatory messages for the event.
“I wish HWPL Philippines all the best in its advocacy to achieve sustainable world peace and cessation of war through peace education, interfaith dialogue, youth and women empowerment and voice of press,” said Chief Justice Gesmundo.
The Chairman of HWPL, Man Hee Lee, shared his appreciation message for the Philippines and talked about how they started HWPL in the country, “I went around the world 31 times. Among them, I visited the Philippines the most, just like as it is my home. I’ve been there, back and forth the most. Not only this but we went to many schools, including universities in the Philippines, holding hands and promised to work together for peace.”
The awarding ceremony took place after the presentation of progress reports from each department namely international law, peace education, religion, youth, women and press. HWPL awarded 21 plaques of recognition, 101 certificates of recognition and 175 certificates of appreciation as an expression of their ‘heartfelt gratitude for the wonderful contribution and continuous support’ of their partners for peace from different sectors of the society.
On behalf of all the awardees, Commissioner Dr. Ronald Adamat of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), who received a Plaque of Recognition, gave an acceptance message, “I believe it is critically important for those of us in this profession to realize the power we have and how it can help the powerless to realize their goals to have a peaceful living. Admittedly, we cannot solve the problems by communications alone; we need to be steadfast in teaching peace education. It’s an everyday work but we, HWPL, the Commission on Higher Education, can use our work both in the service of world peace and the service of humanity.”
He also shared the future plans of CHED for the implementation of peace education in the higher education curricula such as continuously conducting trainings and capacity building workshops for faculty members from various HEIs, certification of peace education advocates, champions, and development of action plan for Executive Order 570, “Institutionalizing Peace Education in Basic Education and Teacher Education”.
HWPL volunteers wrote and presented their heartwarming performance through a spoken word poetry entitled “Daan Patungo sa Kapayapaan (Way to Peace)” The main objective of the spoken poetry is to make us envision the world without conflicts and war, urging us to act upon implementing peace throughout the world.
At the end of the program, the winners for the Best Attire of the Night for male and female were announced, namely Mr. Nasrodin Ibra, with his cultural attire, and Ms. Sholai Lim, with her red tribal Filipiniana. The attendees submitted their entries by posting their photos wearing formal or cultural attire on Facebook using the hashtag #HWPLIWPG2021YearEnd