In remembrance of the tragic encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao one year ago, the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement (TPBPM) held an interfaith prayer and mural painting activity in their Peace Home in Quezon City on January 24, Sunday.
TPBPM followed the activity up with a celebration of the International Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 14 to 20). As part of the Peace Hero Challenge program of TPBPM, volunteer Peace Heroes, holding hand-drawn peace posters, distributed snacks, peace notes, bookmarks and flowers to random people along EDSA-Cubao.
“In remembering great injustices done in times of conflict, it is also important to remind ourselves of the kindness, big and small, that humanity is also capable of. Every act of kindness is also an act of peace. It is our organization’s mission to create more awareness on how everyone can contribute to building a peaceful society in their own ways and spheres of influence,” Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman, TPBPM Founder and Executive Director, said.
TPBPM was founded in 2013 with a mission to make every Filipino child and youth a peace builder. Since then, TPBPM has adopted schools and communities to spread its advocacy, including Tatak Elementary School and Hadji Salik Kalaing Elementary School in Mamasapano.
One year ago, in the morning of January 25, 2015, 44 members of the Special Action Force (PNP) of the Philippine National Police hunting for wanted terrorists were killed in an encounter in Mamasapano. At least 7 civilians were also killed and 3 more were injured. More than 25,000 families fled their homes in the ensuing operations.
“We stand in solidarity with the entire nation as we continuously seek for justice and clarity,” TPBPM said in a statement. “While we all have heard multitude of judgments about the said issue, may we still keep an open mind and an open heart and may peace still reign within our hearts and within our minds.”
The tragedy has disrupted the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest armed separatist group in Mindanao, leaving the future of children and the youth in conflict areas in more danger than it was before.
Teach Peace Build Peace Movement Statement in lieu of the January 25, 2015 Tragic Encounter in Mamasapano Turning One Year
As we look back on the day of January 25, 2015, we remember the tragic encounter in Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao. It has been exactly one year and our hearts still break together with the families and friends of those whose precious lives were taken.
The Teach Peace Build Peace Movement, along with its pool of peace advocates all over the country, strongly condemns the use of violence in any way. We recognize its consequences as it affects innocent people and prevent them from living a peaceful life especially with our younger generations.
We stand in solidarity with the entire nation as we continuously seek for justice and clarity; as we all search for enlightenment; and as we all dream of a completely just society. While we all have heard multitude of judgments about the said issue, may we still keep an open mind and an open heart and may peace still reign within our hearts and within our minds.
Once again, we would like to share our points of reflection from last year:
Is this the kind of “present” that we want to give to our children? Is this the kind of “future” that we hope to achieve for them? Let us listen to the voices of our children. We have and will always be for efforts that will help bring peace in Mindanao and in our country. We have and will always be for a long-term approach in building peace, and we will do our part in helping build peace by sharing our mission.
May we continue to pray fervently for justice to be served to those who have been affected by this incident and may we continue to hope that justice prevail beyond this.
May we continue to remember and honor the sacrifices of those who fought for peace.
May we all still believe in peace for our families, for our nation, and most importantly, for our children.
May we never, ever forget.
May we never, ever give up for Peace. This is for our generation and for all generations.
Peaceparazzi: Kuya Glendford Lumbao and Ate Bea Favila