“National peace is the prerequisite to national unity and prosperity for all.”
— NCMF Secretary/CEO Gene A. Mamondiong
By EDD K. USMAN | Twitter: @edd1819 | Instagram: @bluestar0910 | Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital News and Current News
Short link: https://wp.me/paaccn-mdv
(SDN) — It’s the month of September, year 2022.
And annually in the Philippines the first of the “ber” month is celebrated as the Philippines “National Peace Consciousness Month”.
As usual the celebration, led by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU), this year’s theme revolves around “Pagkakaisa at Paghilom: Isang Bansa para sa Kapayapaan” (Unity and Healing: One Nation for Peace).
Over at the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) headed by Secretary/CEO Atty. Guiling “Gene” A. Mamondiong, the Commission will stage a “Peace Caravan” Nationwide on Saturday, September 24.
The NCMF Central Office in Quezon City will kick off the Peace Caravan that will go through cities of Metro Manila. Meanwhile, NCMF Regional Offices will also conduct their respective Peace Caravan in solidarity with the National Government.
Mamondiong noted the importance for Filipinos of all faiths to come together and embrace peace among themselves and with their fellow Filipinos.
“Peace is not alien to Muslims…because Islam is peace”
“National peace is the prerequisite to national unity and prosperity for all,” the NCMF head emphasized.
Created through Republic Act No. 9997, the NCMF is mandated “to preserve and develop the culture, tradition, institutions, and well-being of Muslim Filipinos in conformity with the country’s laws and in consonance with national unity and development.”
Mamondiong rallied all the officials and employees of the Commission to support the celebration of the National Peace Consciousness Month and embrace its message not only in September but throughout the year and thereafter.
“Let us show what Muslims are: peace-loving, can live with people of other religions, and can understand other people’s culture,” he added. “And that we support the administration of President Bongbong Marcos, Jr., that through our personal capabilities we will be behind every effort of the national government to achieve long lasting peace and help preserve it.”
“Peace,” Mamondiong said, “is not an alien term to us Muslims, because Islam literally means ‘peace’. So, let us live in peace, be at peace with others, and practice this support the government.”
On Thursday, September 22, the NCMF announced the holding of the Peace Caravan during a press conference at the Commission’s Central Office, Jocfer Building, Commonwealth Avenue.
NCMF Director for Administrative Service Abdullah “Abel” S. Macarimpas, who was in the press conference, followed through on the message of Mamondiong.
Macarimpas said the NCMF has 17 regional offices scattered throughout Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. He added that the regional offices after securing permits in their respective local government units (LGUs) where they are based will also stage their Peace Caravan.
“Madrasah schools and mosques do not teach or preach extremism, violence”
“Muslims are everywhere in the country in search of peace and economic development. Immediately upon our people’s migration in different parts of the country, the first priority is to establish a madrasah (Islamic school) and mosque to teach and instill in our children to be peace-loving citizens because our Islam religion means peace,” said Macarimpas.
He emphasized that, “we condemn all forms of violence. Our madrasah schools and mosques do not teach or preach extremism and terrorism. Extremism and terrorism are against the core principles of Islam.”
Macarimpas said there are some groups or individuals misusing and distorting the peace message of Islam to suit their evil agenda, but they are being condemned by Muslim communities everywhere. “So, judge Islam based on its principles, not on what Muslims do.”
The Bureau of Peace and Conflict Resolution (NCMF-BPCR) headed by Director Cosanie Derogongan is the lead bureau in the Commission’s observance of the month of peace and the staging of the Peace Caravan.
Before 2004, the Philippines marked the peace month in February-March
In an interview with SDN — Science and Digital News, Derogongan, a former officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP), mentioned prevailing “misconceptions” that “Muslims are violent.”
“There are misconceptions among non-Muslims because they do not know what ‘Muslim’ means. For example, a person will judge a house on its outside appearance but was not able to see the interior of the house,” the BPCR director said, apparently, saying that before judging Islam and Muslims people should first know what Islam stands for and the meaning of the term “Muslim”.
“If you are Chinese,” Derogongan pointed out, “if you are Muslim, you should know what your religion stands for (so as not to distort its principles). So, that is what we are promoting, understanding of your religion and other people will understand it, too.”
He urged his fellow Muslims to be law abiding because if they do not follow the law, that is against the teachings of Islam.
NCMF Commissioner Yusoph Mando, on the other hand, said the Commission “wants to send a clear and strong message that despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, peace should always be the center of our heart.”
Recall that the celebration of the National Peace Consciousness Month started with the issuance in 2004 of Proclamation No. 675 by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The proclamation recognizes “the need to instill greater consciousness and understanding of the Filipino people on the comprehensive peace process to strengthen and sustain institutional and popular support on the national peace efforts.”
Previously, National Peace Consciousness Month was observed in February-March; Arroyo’s proclamation changed this in consonance with the International Month of Peace celebrated every month of September. (✓)