The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) seeks to generate and promote public awareness in the Philippines on a vital document on peace and brotherhood sealed by Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb of the Al-Azhar University in the United Arab Emirates in 2019.
OPPAPRU Secretary Charlie Galvez underscored the need for a “sense of awareness” among the Filipinos that the Human Fraternity Document exists.
It may be recalled that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. warned that an “increasing geo-political polarization” was a threat to “hard-won peace in the Asia-Pacific.”
Addressing the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last September 21, the Marcos offered his country’s peace-building experience with the Bangsamoro to the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
Galvez expressed this during a peace forum held at the Ateneo De Davao University in Davao City.
The forum was the first Philippine platform in which the document was revisited and adopted in the context of Filipino diversity with the theme, #BrotherandSisters: Human Fraternity as a Guide in Living in Peace and Establishing Peaceful Communities.
The Human Fraternity Document, signed by the two religious figures during Pope Francis’ trip to United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 3 to 5 2019, has been described as a “remarkable” document, as it is the result of a historic dialogue between leaders of two of the world’s largest and most influential religions.
Galvez, in a press statement, expressed hopes the OPAPRU can address the gap in the Filipinos’ awareness on the peace document and its laudable objectives.
“The most challenging part of this [effort] is…making people [aware] that this document exists,” Galvez noted, adding this would require an inclusive, integrated and holistic approach focusing on both local and international stakeholders.
The Human Fraternity Document upholds, among other principles, the conviction that authentic teachings of religions invite the people to remain rooted in the values of peace, and that freedom is the right of every person; each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought expression and action; Justice based on mercy is the path to follow in order to achieve a “We aim to promote the [Human Fraternity] Document to various international partners such as the United Arab Emirates, United States, Germany, Sweden, France, among others,” Galvez said.
He said the OPAPPRU will also promote the document with government institutions such as the Anti-Terrorism Council and other line agencies, including the departments of defense, interior and local government, environment, and the National Commission on Indigenous People.
“At the local level, there is also a need for us to promote the document with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, ulama councils and other CSOs to secure their support,” he added.
In order to realize and sustain the objective of the Human Fraternity Document, Galvez said the OPAPRU will push for the institutionalization of the document in the government’s national peace agenda.
“This is to ensure the inclusion of the document as a guiding principle in teaching [the] peace education agenda among formal and informal learning institutions in the country,” he emphasized.
Galvez stressed that institutionalizing the Human Fraternity Document will be crucial to the implementation of the proposed executive order that aims to strengthen the mainstreaming of peace education in the basic and higher education sectors.
“Our objective is to promote the culture of peace, enhance community resilience for peace, and provide a proactive approach to counter various forms of recruitment and mobilization by violent extremist groups, especially among vulnerable communities and individuals,” he said.
In September of this year, over a hundred peace education champions from all over the country converged in Davao City to participate in the First National Peace Education Summit organized by the OPAPRU’s Social Healing and Peacebuilding Office.
The summit provided a venue to gather recommendations from the participants on how to effectively mainstream peace education in the basic and higher education sectors, and facilitate more robust peace constituency-building interventions through partnerships. (With reports from OPAPPRU)