LGU celebrates National Peace Consciousness Month

“Let us bear in mind that the biggest wars begin with the tiniest seed of hate sown in the hearts of men. Peace therefore, is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice, equality and progress – which are the very elements that we need to have in our community to erase feelings of anger and resentment in people”. With these words from City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan, the City of Catbalogan has added its voice to the nationwide call for peace.

September being the National Peace Consciousness Month by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 675, series of 2004, the City Government has partnered with the 8th Infantry Division to mark this event last September 22, 2014 during the flag raising ceremony at the City Hall.

Speaking right after the mayor, 8ID Commanding General Jet B. Velarmino also made a similar call for united action to attain peace.

These messages were given due emphasis as the crowd recited the Ceremonial Pledge of Peace in unison. This was followed by the symbolic signing of the Pledge of Peace and the Community Prayer for Harmony.

Saying that achieving genuine peace should be a “matter of urgency” for everyone, City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan warned against the complacency common in people not living in conflict-torn areas. She added Catbalogan City, which is composed of diverse groups, can also be susceptible to conflict.

“Where differences exist, biases, misunderstandings and misinterpretation tend to prevail. Therefore, our challenge lies in converting these threats into opportunities to encourage dialogue, harmony and trust within our ranks”, she said.

Addressing an audience that included Ms. Imelda Bonifacio, Coordinator for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), city and barangay officials, heads of various government offices, city department heads and employees, the mayor said that dedication on the job is in itself a big step towards spreading peace.

According to her, “It is by performing the duties and tasks entrusted to us public servants that we are able to gain the trust of the people. And where there is trust, there is solidarity and sincere desire for genuine peace”.

Although achieving true and genuine peace is a big responsibility, the mayor expressed confidence that it is possible in Catbalogan as she cited the multi-sectoral and inter-agency partnerships that have been made in previous activities. “At dahil dito, kampante akong hindi imposible ang adhikaing “Nagkakaisang Bayan Para sa Kapayaan”, she said.

(Article by Ms. Lai Minh Mabulay; Photos by Michael Balan)

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