Peace Walk: Stop Wars, Support DPCW
in Cotabato City, BARMM. (Photo courtesy of HWPL Philippines)

COTABATO CITY (December 5, 2023) – As part of the Mindanao Week of Peace, a diverse group of multi-stakeholders came together through a vibrant Peace Walk of around 300 individuals from 23 organizations from different sectors including teachers, students, community leaders, religious leaders, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), youth, women and the security sector held on December 2, 2023 at Cotabato City, BARMM.

The lively parade of colors commenced at the Cotabato State University (CSU) Campus Park, culminating in PC Hill, here.

HWPL said that this significant gathering aimed to emphasize a collective commitment to fostering peace and cooperation among the diverse communities in Mindanao.
 
LTC Dennis C Almorato, Battalion Commander of 6CMO, said “Our Peace Walk today is not just a simple walk; it is a strong statement that peace is not only a dream but a goal that we can achieve together. Every step we take is a symbol of our strength, resilience and commitment to working together for a peaceful future.”
 
Guests of honor representing different sectors also gave solidarity messages, including Archbishop Emeritus Antonio Ledesma from the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro; Sheikh Abdulrahim Sangkua of the World Association for Alazhar Graduates; Mr. Philip Cuevas of Cotabato State University – Indigenous Peoples Center; PLT Jay-ar Rimorin, Assistant Company Commander of 44th Special Action Company, 4th Special Action Battalion, PNP Special Action Force; and Mr. Nash Mantao, Youth Development Officer of US Agency for International Development (USAID).
 
Students of Cotabato Rasheeda High School and Cotabato City Central Pilot School Drum and Lyre Corps that showcased captivating performances. The atmosphere resonated with positivity as doves were released after the community singing, symbolizing the shared aspiration for lasting peace. The celebration concluded with a poignant Symbolic Gesture of Peace, as participants affix post-it notes on the Freedom Peace Wall, echoing their commitment to building lasting harmony.

Youth Participants at the Freedom Wall. (Photo courtesy of HWPL Philippines)

Ms. Nicole Lopez, National Coordinator of HWPL Philippines, conveyed the message of Chairman Lee Man-hee of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light, reminding everyone to strengthen the call for cessation of end of wars, particularly the recent Israel-Hamas conflict.
 
Hosted by the HWPL in partnership with Kutawato Greenland Initiatives, the Mindanao Week of Peace festivities continued with a series of impactful events, in conjunction with the observance of the UN International Volunteer Day (December 5).

On December 3, a clean-up drive was organized in Manila Bay, underscoring the importance of environmental responsibility and sustainability. Additionally, from December 4-5, a Toy Donation Drive for Badjao Community and a dedicated clean-up initiative were also held in Cotabato City, reinforcing the spirit of giving and community welfare.

The event serves as a reminder of the power of collective efforts aiming to “recognize the common aspirations of Mindanaoans to live in peace, unity, and harmony with each other regardless of status in life, religion or culture”.

The Mindanao Week of Peace is annually celebrated from the last Thursday in November to the first Wednesday of December through Proclamation Order No. 127, issued by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. (Tu Alid Alfonso, BMN/BangsamoroToday with a report from HWPL Philippines)

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