Philippine: PWPA Conference
by Chooli Julia Nuyana, Christine Obligar and Yuri Nsaako
Around 100 educators and government leaders from all over the Philippines converged at the Grand Regal Hotel, Davao City for the Professor’s World Peace Academy (PWPA) National Conference with the theme, “Trailblazing Innovative Pathways to Peace and Nation-Building,” which was held last April 13, 2018. This conference also served as an assembly of the different officers of existing and candidate PWPA Chapters in the different regions in the Philippines. Part of the conference was also the official launching of PWPA in Davao Region.
This conference was co-organized by the Universal Peace Federation and the Professors World Peace Academy-Philippines with the support of PWPA International and the local city government of Davao. During the Opening Session, the newly installed President of PWPA in Davao Region (Region XI) Hon. Pilar Braga who is also a Councilor of the City of Davao, gave the welcome remarks. This conference was also graced by the presence of Dr. Chung Sik Yong, Regional Group Chair in Asia-Pacific who during his Special Address, gave a very timely challenge to the educators and delegates on their roles towards nation-building. The keynote address was delivered by the President of PWPA International, Dr. Thomas Selover. Dr. Selover, who is also the President of the Sun Hak Peace Graduate School; one of the many educational institutions founded by the founders of PWPA, Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, gave an inspiring and insightful address where he discussed the five principles of a peace-loving society namely: Interdependence, Mutual prosperity, Universally Shared Values, Win-Win-win Thinking and Hyo Jeong or filial connection feeling. “It is meaningful to me to be here in Davao City. I am excited by the vigor of this city that produced the very vigorous President of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte,” he opens.
The first session of the conference proper addressed the critical issues of our time with moderator, Dr. Glenn Pajares, Dean of College of Arts and Science of the University of San Jose Recoletos. The first speaker was Dr. Robert Kittel, International President of Youth and Students for Peace. Dr. Kittel talked about the Universal Principles of Peace which emphasized the Principle of Goodness which is placing public above private and living for the sake of others. He also stressed on the Principles of Love wherein he introduced about the Four Family Loves. He shared this curriculum that was released at the Africa Summit on January. He emphasized that peace and development should be fundamentally based on the loves experienced in the family namely: Children’s love, siblings love, conjugal love and parental love. He said that each has its role and unique character and they build on each other. “The foremost obligation is to respect, defend and protect the family. It is absolutely essential because it is in the family that the four loves are nurtured, learned and bequeathed to the next generation. To live for the sake of others is the essential point of universal values that Father Moon teaches. We see that living for others is universal and selfishness is the root of our problem,” he said. “This is what we need to teach our children in word and in deed. The four family loves is the framework. Take it and make it yours. Use the Filipino culture inside of it,” he concluded his speech.
The second speaker was from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Director of Davao, Hon. Chinot Adao who did a presentation entitled, “Resolving Conflict: The OPAPP Experience,” where he discussed what the government is doing as far as conflict solution and conflict management is concerned. He presented the 6-point peace and development agenda issued by the President, which is the road map of OPAPP in the mandate to promote peace and development in the country.
One of the highlights of the PWPA National Conference were the plenary talks that addressed critical issues and challenges of the modern society in the aspect of local government, media and family. With the Editor-in-Chief of Mindanao Times, Ms. Amalia B. Cabusao as the moderator, timely and relevant issues were laid out to be discussed and were presented by the resource speakers. Mr. Aljo R. Bendijo, a PTV Channel 4 (Government Television) broadcast journalist, who spoke about responsible and reliable journalism’s role in peace building said that in order for the society to be influenced and moved towards peaceful means, it is important that the media and press be utilized righteously and be used as a means to open people’s minds to peaceful advocacies. Mrs. Maria Luisa Fatima Nebrida, a movie director-scriptwriter-producer, on the other hand, expressed the importance of using arts and film in advocating peaceful causes. After showing a trailer of one of the movies she produced, she stressed that films that carry peaceful advocacies play a huge role in influencing people. “Film happens to be a very powerful medium because film moves people to change. More than any other medium, it projects light to the issue, move people to meditate, convey a story and chronicle history. Atty. Wencelito Andanar, former undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, as he spoke about LGU’s said, “Our comparative advantage is what other countries do not have.
It is the responsibility of local government executives to look for that unique feature in their provinces, cities and municipalities. Ask what do I have, and make the most out of it. Develop it.” In his very passionate remarks he encouraged officials from the LGU sectors to lead righteously while bearing in mind their responsibility of service to their community and pursuance to make it better and more prosperous for the people in it, even applauding Sultan Pax Mangudadatu, the governor of Sultan Kudarat for exceptional good governance.
Finally the Chairman of Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and PWPA- Philippines, Dr. Julius B. Malicdem, the last speaker of the session gave an insightful message tackling alarming issues of rampant family breakdown in the Philippines while stressing the importance that in order to build a nation and secure the lives of the future generations, it is important to build families first to be a school of love and God-centered. In his presentation, he stressed that if a person is not exposed to the four types of love learned in his familial upbringing, he can have defects as he grows and these can be reflected in his character and attitude towards society. He then spoke about the Peace Marriage Blessings that took place all over the Philippines which aims to renew marriages and rebuild families, and how the government should support such a peaceful cause. The session ended with remarks from reactor, Dr. Felicitas V. Sicam, one of the PWPA Board Members. Then an open forum followed.
Another session that followed focused on Initiatives of Civil Societies which was facilitated by Mr. Jose Marie Flores of PWPA Davao. The presentations included the following; Mindanao Peace Initiative presented by Hon. Pax S. Mangudadatu, Governor of the Province of Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao; Dr. Antonio Delos Reyes who spoke on “Federalism and Its Impact in Nation-Building”. Another presentation is about the “Zero to Hero” Project presented by Dr. Venus Agustin, President of International Peace Leadership College (IPLC) in Rizal province as well as the President of World Tongil Moo Do Federation in Asia. He introduced about the program “Zero to Hero Project” initiated by PWPA, IPLC and WTMF. The concept of this project is to educate out-of-school youth, unemployed individuals, drop-outs, young people with different backgrounds who have lost their vision in life, educate them to raise their dignity to become productive youth based on developing their potentials through education of heart and Tong Il Moo Do (The way of the Unified Martial Arts– TIMD) training. The goal of the program is to raise 10,000 120-Days TIMD graduates and 3,000 TIMD Instructors within four years through series of 120-Days TIMD Instructors Training Program and Peace Studies. The 120-days TIMD Instructors Training Course and Peace Studies was officially endorsed without expiration by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the Philippines last November 29, 2016.
The conference ended with the Closing Session facilitated by Dr. Irma Balulot, with the appointment of Ambassadors for Peace who are mostly from the education sector. Then representative delegates gave their impression about the conference. The conference formally ended with the installation of the President of PWPA Davao Chapter, Hon. Pilar Braga who gave her inaugural message who was also celebrating her birthday and with the concluding remarks from Dr. Thomas Selover of PWPA International.
The day after the conference, all the PWPA national officers as well as PWPA chapters who were still present had a special organizational meeting to draw out their plans for the year and discussed future programs.