QUEZON CITY, March 20 (PIA) — The Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CRSAFP) has hailed the 12 million strong peace advocacy group Yes for Peace for effectively bringing its peace education campaign to the masses.
In a simple ceremony held at the CRSAFP Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo over the weekend, AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations MGen Mequiades L. Feliciano presented the recognition to Yes for Peace lead organizer Ernesto Alcanzare, “for taking the initiative of gathering professionals, organizations, and government servicemen in a movement for the attainment of peace in our country through, giving voice to the peace loving sector through signature drives, peace caravans and information campaigns that spotlight the need to advance the cause of peace and development, an unsolicited initiative that is worth recognizing and emulating.”
“We must be able to mobilize the youth in nation-building. It may be cliché to say but the youth is the hope of our country,” Feliciano said in his speech.
For his part, BGen Ronnie S. Evangelista, the 36th Commander of CRSAFP, who signed and issued the certificate said, “Without doubt, all Filipinos — men, women and children, including the armed rebels–Love our Country. It is therefore the single unifying factor of all Filipinos.”
“Let us create collaborations and partnerships with the civilian sector of our society, both government and non-government institutions, in the attainment of our Mission,” he added.
After accepting the recognition, Alcanzare said, “Anchored on the Filipinos’ Love of Country, Yes for Peace–Bayanihan ng Bayan has deliberately been designed to transcend our differences in religion, political affiliation, socio-economic stature and even gender and thus provide equal footing on common ground for Filipinos killing Filipinos to fight for or protect the human rights of Filipinos to peace.”
For his part, Lawyer Domingo B. Alidon, President of Department of Education – National Employees Union (DepEd-NEU) said, “Frankly, I was surprised that the AFP is the first institution directly affected by recent events in the peace talks to publicly recognize our unsolicited initiative to bring the Filipino people into the center stage of the comprehensive peace process pursuant to the three underlying principles stated in the mandate of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.”
Likewise, Johnny Balawag, Chairman of the National Board of Trustees of the DepEd-NEU commented, “Curiously, these principles stressing that the peace process cannot be left alone to the government nor to the armed insurgents alone but needs the involvement of all Filipinos were apparently ignored by professional OPAPP staff ever since their office was organized by former President Fidel V. Ramos.”
For his part, Mama S. Lalanto, al Haj, Adviser of Yes for Peace said, “In the past, most Filipinos were made to believe that the AFP will never agree to a permanent ceasefire because of widespread allegations that its officers earn from purchases war-materiel and would thus want the armed conflicts to last forever.”
EarIier, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus C. Dureza wrote in a letter to Yes for Peace, “We note with appreciation the peace advocacy efforts of this citizen-led initiative that you are pursuing and congratulate your unwavering efforts to support the peace process.”
Also recognized for their invaluable contributions to the fulfillment of the AFP Mission to “Protect the people, secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory,” include: Ligtas Patrol; Keysquare, Incorporated; InfiniVAN, Incorporated; IPS Incorporated; Bantay Bayan, Incorporated; Department of Environment and Natural Resources – National Capital Region; HOPE Incorporated; Institute of Electronics and Communications Engineers of the Philippines; Regional Emergency Assistance Communications Team; Rotary Club of Camp Aguinaldo; Security Reform Initiative; and Teach Peace Build Peace Movement.
It can be recalled that Yes for Peace is also supported and implemented by the DepEd, the Philippine Postal Corporation, the Philippine Information Agency, the Philippine News Agency, the Philippine Broadcasting System, the Radio Television Malacanang, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, the Girl Scouts of the Philippines and the Alpha Phi Omega. (RJB/JCP/PIA-NCR)