Why does religion have such a big impact on peace?
The answer is easy when and why people fight. When you think differently, when you have different cultures, you perceive other people as others.
Then you fight with others to protect yourself and for your own gain.
Different religions mean that there is a very big difference in thought. The culture is completely different, and the difference in beliefs is quite large.
That’s why 80 percent of the world’s wars have been fought for religious reasons so far. Therefore, religious leaders cannot achieve complete peace without becoming one.
Mindanao is a prime example.
Mindanao is on the path to peace after ending the military collision between the Philippine government and Moro groups, which lasted over 40 years and resulted in more than 120,000 casualties.
In General Santos on 24 January 2014, a civilian agreement was signed for the peace of Mindanao. The signing ceremony, hosted by HWPL and organized by the IWPG and the IPYG, was attended by over 300 residents including politicians, university professors, religious leaders, and students.
The Chairman of HWPL Man-hee Lee, war veteran over 90 years old, shouted, “If you want peace, raise your hand!!”
Before the audience, Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Robles Capalla of Archdiocese of Davao and Governor Esmael G. Mangudadatu of Maguindanao signed the agreement as representatives to cooperate in ceasing the conflict and building peace.
With this agreement as a starting point, HWPL launched a peace movement to raise public awareness of peace not only in Mindanao but throughout the WORLD.
HWPL WARP Offices : 277 offices in 129 countries
In accordance with the World Alliance of Religions Agreement signed by major world religious leaders, the strategies in the efforts for building peace in the religious community are also steadily being implemented.
India’s WARP Office began on January 4, 2015, and as of November 2021, five are in operation, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune. It held more than 350 meetings online and offline.
The HWPL World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Offices have been established and actively operated in 130 countries around the world, contributing to preventing religious disputes and promoting harmony through close dialogue and communication between different religions.
When religious leaders and believers focus on the value embedded in their scriptures and promote understanding of each other’s text, harmony among religious groups is possible.
Do you know a peace documentary? There are still quite a few people in the world who seek peace.
I really admire them. Because they endure things that are difficult for others to pursue easily. I think it’s more noble.
The peace documentary was very touching. As if it were not easy to see plants grow, I felt like I was watching peace bloom like a flower right next to me.
It’s a breakthrough in ending the 50-year bloody conflict in Mindanao, the Philippines
A procession of 10,000 people who filled a total distance of 19.9km is shouting.
Has the peace that men and women of all ages desperately shouted for come?
Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines.
The land where death was closer to life than to say, “When peace comes to Mindanao, world peace comes.”
The armed conflict between the Philippine government and Mindanao militants, which began with the “Massacre in Morocco” in the 1960s, has turned into a confrontation between Catholic and Islamic religions, killing 120,000 people over the past 50 years.
The peace documentary “The Great Legacy” captures the end of the conflict through HWPL’s movement that began in 2014 in Mindanao, Philippines.
In particular, the Philippine locals, who melted the weapons used in the civil war to create an HWPL peace monument and wished for peace on the divided Korean Peninsula, resonated with the hearts of the audience and applauded.
The film highlights the HWPL civilian peace agreement ceremony held in Mindanao General Santos City, Philippines on January 24, 2014.
The Chairman Lee Man-hee brought together leaders and locals from both sides who were at the center of the Mindanao conflict. He asked them to raise their hands if they wanted peace, and when all the participants raised their hands, Lee led the two leaders to sign for peace.
Upon hearing the news of the peace agreement, government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) finally agreed on the final annex of the preliminary peace agreement on January 25, and the civil war was effectively ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in March 2014.
The Chairman Lee Man-hee said “We are a family of peace that will achieve peace born in this era. Do you want conflict or peace?”
All people shouted “PEACE!”
HWPL’s sincere efforts and the Chairman Lee’s sincerity made a dramatic peace, which was considered a challenge that could never be solved.
It’s a dangerous place for terrorism and accidental danger. The situation in the Philippines is not easy to push ahead with work among soldiers with guns. Even in such a place, not everyone can risk death to enter. I was really touched by this.
One field participant said, “The first overseas volunteer destination I went to was the Philippines, and I personally found it fascinating to see the first scene people cheering. Since our country is a divided country, we should be more interested in peace than anyone else.
But I really felt that Filipinos are more interested in peace activities than anyone else. After watching this preview, I felt that peace was really coming, so I thought about various activities, including small things and talking about joining together.”
The miracle of peace achieved by everyone being united is recorded as a “great legacy” in later generations. I hope we can all be messengers of peace.
In the Philippines, the 1st National Peace Convention was held on January 25, 2023 with the theme, “Peace Builds One Nation, One Future: Peace is Here”, attended by over 1,500 peace advocates.
The project was spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Manila Metro (RCMM), in collaboration with a South Korea-based organization, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL).
Dr. Ronald Adamat, Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Founding Chairman of Volunteer Individuals for Peace (VIP), spearheaded the event.
“We want peace to reign in our country. We want peace to be the language everyone of us will speak and every Filipino and every foreigner will understand. Today, let’s declare peace as a pandemic. Infect people not to rest in peace but to live in peace,” said Dr. Adamat.
In attendance also is HWPL Chairman Lee Man-hee from South Korea who is visiting the Philippines for the 11th time. He said, “As I have toured the world 32 times and talked about the cessation of war as we have to leave a land of peace as a legacy for the future generation, and this country, the Philippines, is showing this. Let’s do everything we can to do the work of peace.”
“Peacebuilding in Mindanao after conflict is becoming known worldwide. This is the case of transforming death into life for peace. Starting with Mindanao and the Philippines, when we unite in love, peace will come to our world. For this reason, everyone in the Philippines has to become one and work together as messengers of peace,” said Chairman Lee.
The five resolutions were consolidated during the second Plenary Session to call for President Bongbong Marcos to proclaim January 24 as ‘National Peace Day’ or “Truce Day”.
I am grateful that there are still people doing the work of peace. Even if it’s hard and difficult, I hope you don’t lose your strength and keep going. 🙂
Reference: Philippine Star – Peace advocates attend the unveiling of the Peace Monument at the Plaza Asuncion in Manila on Tuesday. https://bit.ly/3wBf4db
Mindanao is geographically home to 13 ethnic groups. The Mindanao conflict dates back 40 years. The conflict arises in the Philippines when Moro people are reduced to a minority.
Many people suffered from prolonged conflicts between Moro and Christians in southern Mindanao. So the Moros formed a group for independence in southern Mindanao. That’s how the Moro-Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was created.
There were 120,000 casualties in Mindanao over 50 years. After 20 years of negotiations with the Philippine government, the civil war ended. Motive for that was the Civil Peace Agreement on January 24, 2014.
To commemorate this, they built a peace memorial inside the MILF, designated January 24 as Peace Day, and continued to attend the Peaceful Conference of HWPL.
The process of continuing the ongoing and practical efforts for peace was not easy, but they really tried hard to make it. In the process, they thanked HWPL and Chairman Man-hee Lee for leading the world peace movement.
The Chairman Lee said, “We are transcending borders, races, and religions for the end of war and peace in the global village. Just as the light, rain and air in the sky give life to many people, we are trying to make peace happen to everyone.”
“We are a family of peace born in this era and making peace. Do you want conflict or peace?”
There was a special event in Cotabato City, where the third peace memorial was erected. One of the combatants returned the weapon, melted it, made a globe, and decorated it on the monument.
Most of the former fighters said they would farm or run small businesses. They are looking forward to spending more time with their families and moving away from the familiar fights.
In each session of the 1st National Peace Convention, there will be speeches followed by an open forum to produce a resolution from each sector group.
These resolutions will be consolidated into one which will be presented to the President during the second plenary session.
The event is organized and spearheaded by the Volunteer Individuals for Peace (VIP), a local peace organization chaired by Dr. Ronald Adamat, Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
Through the partnership of VIP and CHED with HWPL, the introduction of peace education at the national level and collaboration of peace activities at the international level have been pursued.
I am sure that today’s event will be of great help in achieving peace in the Philippines. We’re going to join the music festival!
I hope you can participate in the scene of peace and develop your sensitivity to peace.
The first National Peace Convention is set to take place on January 25, 2023 (Wednesday) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
More than 1,000 participants are expected to attend from different sectors including lawmakers, university presidents and educators, youth and women leaders, media, religious leaders, and civil society organizations.
The 92-year-old HWPL Chairman will be coming to the Philippines in commemoration of the 9th Anniversary of the January 24 HWPL Peace Day.
What is HWPL Peace Day? The Peace Day has been celebrated annually to commemorate a civilian-led peace agreement signed at General Santos City in 2014 to boost reconciliation among the local communities.
This peace convention aims to establish a roadmap towards the attainment of national unity through peace in consonance with the Marcos Administration’s agenda.
Through this event, a resolution will be presented to President Bongbong Marcos for a possible declaration of National Peace Day – a special working holiday.
The chairpersons of the two host organizations will give speeches during the first plenary session to present the milestones achieved for peace-building at the national and international levels, as well as their plans. Vice President is also invited to speak at this session.
On January 21, 2019, the historic referendum was held. It was expected this BOL plebiscite could see peace come to the island group after 50 years of unrest. This vote asks the residents whether creating a new self-administered region known as Bangsamoro (BARMM) or not. The government thinks it could bring a peaceful resolution to the Mindanao conflict, which has claimed more than 150,000 lives since the 1970s.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who was mayor of the Mindanao city of Davao before he took office, formally signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law in July 2018. That is why a referendum is being held. Now, President Rodrigo R. Duterte considers Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari as someone who can help in resolving the conflict in Mindanao.
Once the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) takes effect, the island of Mindanao will have an autonomous Muslim government with legislation, administrative and fiscal power. However, the power of national defense, foreign affairs, and monetary policies is left to the central government. The Philippines government expects the establishment of a Bangsamoro self-governing region to maintain a peace regime while suppressing the expansion of Islamic extremists.
A total of 2.8 million registered for the Bangsamoro plebiscite, with 2.17 million in the provinces and cities covered by the January 21 polls. If the “yes” vote wins, then a second plebiscite is set on February 6 in six Lanao del Norte towns and in 67 villages in North Cotabato, where more than 600,000 voters registered.
Road to Peacebuilding in Philippine Mindanao : Past 4 years
Despite the opposition of one governor of the Sulu Islands, the BOL has been praised by the United Nations, the European Union, the U.S. and Japan as “welcome” and “groundbreaking.”
The BOL’s momentum was created in March 2014 when the government and MILF signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which serves as the basis of the draft BOL.
The MILF officially said “The BOL has been the fruit of peace negotiations for 17 years, and it is the result of efforts by various people and outstanding legal experts in the four-year term.”
It was signed by the President Rodrigo Duterte on 26 July 2018.
“Korean Peace Leader,” the hidden hero of peace in Mindanao
As the news of the end of the civil war spread, the Korean peace leader, Man hee Lee, who visited the scene of a dispute at the age of 84 four years ago, is drawing attention again.
On January 24, 2014, at the request of the Philippines` archbishop, Mr. Man hee Lee was visiting Mindanao to end the civil war. The Chairman Lee found that the cause of the Mindanao conflict was a religious conflict between Catholic and Islamic nations, and led a civilian peace agreement. This scene was reported through the Philippines’ state-run PTV and private media.
On June 25, the day after this peacebuilding news of HWPL was delivered to the Philippine government and the Islamic military. On this day, the Philippine government and the Mori-Slam Liberation Front have signed an annex document to recognize the Islamic autonomy of the Bangsamoro and to disarm up to 10,000 people. Accordingly, the two sides prepared detailed bills and signed an official peace agreement in March that year. In June 2015, the actual arms return of the MILF was carried out.
On 24 January 2016, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) held an unveiling ceremony for the Monument to the Declaration of World Peace located in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Province. To commemorate the historical Mindanao Peace Agreement mediated by Chairman Lee of HWPL, Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim of MILF also decided to designate January 24th of every year as ‘HWPL Day’.
Over 10,000 people from communities in Sultan Kudarat participated in the ceremony. Hon. Al haj Murad Ebrahim, Chairman of MILF said “Today, where people are suffering from wars and conflicts, all leaders of diverse sectors including politics and religions, are taking part in the peace movements of HWPL by implementing an international law on cessation of wars and world peace, and establishing the HWPL World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office, as a follow-up on the pledges they made before God and all people.
Peace is not a matter confined to a single person but to every individual. Therefore anyone who is part of this global family must all become messengers of peace. Let us all participate and become the messengers of peace to pass on peace as an eternal legacy for the future generations!”
Also, the 30th World Peace Tour of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light or HWPL, will be held in Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan on February 15, 2019. The 30,000 participants in Region 3 including social representatives in the Philippines and international peace activists will going to attend the peace summit.
To support Peace Building, the 30th World Peace Tour are organized by the Volunteer Individuals for Peace (VIP) by Dr. Ronald Adamat, CHED’s Commissioner and Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL.
Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL, signed the MOA on peace education with 127 schools in 9 countries including the Philippines, etc. The Commissioner Ronald L. Adamat of the CHED, who proposed MOA to HWPL, expressed hope for HWPL peace education by saying “Children easily imitate war through toys like war weapons, but they don’t know how to play and imitate peace. Promoting peace education through the CHED will affect many Philippine educational institutions and play a crucial role in promoting peace in the Philippines.”
Even if the BOL passes the referendum, there are many challenges facing the path toward a peaceful settlement of Mindanao. For example, disarmament of rebels following the end of the civil war is a controversial issue. A representative case of rebels being incorporated into the government at the end of the civil war is found in Nepal. Nepal suffered greatly due to strong opposition from the previous government and political circles in the process.
How does the Philippines cope with this crisis? I don’t know well, but I think this controversial issue will be expected to be discussed at the peace summit of the 30th World Peace Tour. This is because the Article 1, 2 of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) details the disarmament. Also, through Peace Education of HWPL, the wind of peace will blow in all Mindanao, Philippines.
DPCW Article 1 – Prohibition of the threat or use of force
2. States should refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of military force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations Charter or international law in general.
DPCW Article 2 – War potential
3. States should take measures to ensure that existing weapons of mass destruction, weapons capable of causing widespread and unnecessary suffering and weapons incompatible with international humanitarian law are gradually dismantled or destroyed. States should cooperate in disarmament and the reduction of arms stockpiles, ideally under international supervision. Decommissioned weapons manufacturing facilities should be repurposed, so that they may serve purposes that are beneficial to humanity in general.
4. States should strive to reduce excessive standing armies and military bases.