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PH and the treaty banning nuclear weapons by Loreta Navarro-Castro | Philippine Daily Inquirer

On Oct. 6, the Nobel Committee announced that it had awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition of nongovernment organizations in 100 countries, in recognition of its role in achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was adopted by 122 states on July 7.

In its response to the announcement, the ICAN acknowledged that the treaty is a historic agreement that “offers a powerful, much-needed alternative to a world in which threats of mass destruction are allowed to prevail and, indeed, are escalating.”

Nuclear weapons are the most destructive weapons ever created, and they threaten the very survival of humanity and our Earth. Hence, the elimination of nuclear weapons has been the goal of ICAN from the time the network was established. After the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize, ICAN paid tribute to all those who have supported the treaty, particularly the campaigners all over the world, the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the hibakusha, the victims of nuclear test explosions worldwide, and the states that have signed and ratified the treaty.

It should be a source of pride that the Philippines is one of the first 50 countries to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was opened for signature last Sept. 20 (United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs). Long before the negotiations on the treaty, our delegation had constantly expressed the Philippines’ strong stand on the abolition of nuclear weapons. In 2015, the Philippine government reiterated this position in a statement at the UN: “We will continue to state the strong case for the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and tirelessly call for the start of a process … that will fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.”

It can thus be said that the Philippines has taken a leadership role on the matter even prior to the treaty negotiations. The Philippines has the distinction of being the first Asean country to endorse the “Humanitarian Pledge.” It was also among the first few countries that collectively issued a working paper at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference that highlighted the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of using nuclear weapons. The working paper also cited the need for effective measures toward a legal framework that would ban nuclear weapons.

The “Humanitarian Pledge” reflected a fundamental shift in the international discourse on nuclear disarmament — moving away from a deterrence paradigm and toward one that looks at the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and the demands of true human and planetary security. In 2015, increasing international support for this pledge indicated that many governments were ready to move forward on the issue of prohibiting nuclear weapons, even if the nuclear-weapon states were not ready to join.

The Philippines’ consistent support for the cause culminated in its “yes” vote for the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last July. It is hoped that the Philippines will continue to take the lead in this matter by ratifying the treaty soon.

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Loreta Navarro-Castro is the program director of the Center for Peace Education, and a professor of international studies and education at Miriam College.

Published at the Philippine Daily Inquirer >

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Twinning Project Workshop marks MC’s UN World Interfaith Harmony Week celebration

Selected students from the twin schools Miriam College High School and Middle School and the Rajah Muda National High School (RMNHS), marked the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week with a Youth Peacebuilding Workshop on campus last February 6-7, 2014.
The workshop opened with a public forum on the theme, “Celebrating Life with Mercy and Compassion”, attended by some 200 students from the Middle School, High School, and the HEU. 
The RMNHS students, who have travelled from Pikit, North Cotabato, also had teambuilding activities and a wider interaction with High School students as well as a mini-workshop on Muslim-Christian dialogue. The two groups of students also shared their past peace-related activities and their plans for the coming months. 
The CPE is grateful to the committee that helped organize the various activities. They are Mao Rovillos, Mean Lascano, Ann Gabuat, Ato de la Cruz, and Pax Christi with Mirma Tica as moderator.

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Supreme injustice | Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last Nov. 8, the Supreme Court decided  that former president Ferdinand Marcos deserves to be given the honor of being buried in the hallowed grounds of the Libingan ng mga Bayani on the basis of a policy that allows soldiers to be buried in that cemetery. What could have been a historic opportunity to make a decision upholding human rights and justice turned into an ignominious and supreme injustice to the Filipino people.

Marcos was not an ordinary soldier; he was a tyrannical dictator who imposed martial law on the Philippines and unleashed a reign of terror for 13 years, leaving on its wake the murder, torture and rape of thousands of Filipinos who resisted the dictatorship. His ill-gotten wealth for his family and friends robbed the Philippine government of billions of pesos and continues to be the object of investigation and court proceedings here and abroad. By dismantling the democratic institutions of the country during martial law, he plunged the country into its lowest political, economic and cultural abyss.

To this day, the Marcos family has neither shown any remorse nor admitted guilt despite the global condemnation of the massive human rights violations committed by their patriarch. With arrogance and impunity, they have initiated a campaign to distort history, reinvent the Marcos years as the golden years in Philippine history, and declare Marcos as a national hero. In this project, the Supreme Court has proven to be an effective accomplice.

To honor him as a hero is mocking the thousands of victims who died and those who were tortured and continue to suffer because they fought and resisted the dictatorship;

To honor him is to say that the massive human rights violations committed by the Marcos regime with impunity; the unprecedented plunder of our country’s resources and the destruction of our democratic institutions never really happened in our recent history;

To honor him as a hero is to deny that the Filipino people exercising their sovereign will, ousted the dictatorship for his crimes against the people during the 1986 People Power Revolution;

Lastly, to honor Marcos is to dishonor the dignity, legitimacy and the very credibility of the Supreme Court itself as an institution that stands for fairness and justice.

We urge the nine Supreme Court justices who supported this decision to reflect on the impact of their decision on the thousands who died and those who are tortured and are reliving their suffering and to consider the future of the Supreme Court, whose credibility has been seriously eroded because of this unjust decision.

As an institution of learning that values VERITAS (truth), peace, justice and the integrity of creation, we will continue to promote an enlightened and critical understanding of the struggles of Filipinos against martial law  and the historic redemption of our freedoms and human rights in the People Power Revolution where Maryknoll/ Miriam College was an active participant.

We promise to promote Philippine history from the prism of those who struggled to fight for democracy and not from the revisionist version of those who are now trying to systematically distort and conceal the brutal realities of the past.

We commit ourselves to always remember and never forget the bitter lessons of the past so we can continue to build a future for the next generations based on respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and dignity of the Filipino people.

PROF. AURORA DE DIOS, executive director, Women and Gender Institute;
DR. JASMIN NARIO-GALACE, executive director, Center for Peace Education;
CARLO GARCIA, executive director, Environmental Studies Institute; 
NIKAELA CORTEZ, president, Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Miriam

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer > 

CPE: Waging peace in the country and beyond

The Center for Peace Education (CPE), WE Act 1325, Pax Christi-Pilipinas and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) co-organized a peace forum titled “Luv Peace, Luv Diversity: Supporting the Peace Process and Embracing Diversity as Pathways to Peace” on December 9, 2016.
It was held at St. Therese Educational Foundation of Tacloban Inc where approximately 500 students, teachers, and administrators from various Catholic schools in Samar and Leyte attended the forum. Speakers counted Bro. Ariel Manga, OFM, CEAP Region 8 Trustee, Dr. Jasmin Nario-Galace of the CPE, Mary Ann Cruz of CEAP National, and Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman of Teach Peace, Build Peace Movement. They emphasized that peace processes, if successful, can potentially end wars; hence the need to support them. They also reinforced the importance of the recognition of and respect for diversity as pathways to the building of a culture of peace. 
On December 17, 2016 CPE, through Dr. Jasmin Nario-Galace, was a resource person at a Peace Education workshop at Sagaing University in Myanmar. The workshop, attended by about 800 would-be teachers, aimed to teach participant nonviolent ways of dealing with conflict as well as infraction of school rules. It also introduced the concepts, skills and values integral to educating for peace as well as the peaceable teaching-learning process to students. Participants gave excellent feedback of their experience. 
The workshop was organized by Kalyana Mitta Foundation (KMF), a Myanmar NGO that supports the youth to create sustainable futures, grounded in a socially engaged Buddhist perspective. KMF is working all over Myanmar in the fields of rural development, peace awareness, interfaith, and environment.
On December 20, CPE through Dr. Galace, gave the keynote address at the launch of the Schools and Communities of Peace Heroes Formation Program (SCPHFP). Participants were 45 public school teachers from Mamasapano, Maguindanao; Maharlika, Taguig; and Porac, Pampanga which are pilot schools of the SCPHFP. The program’s goal is to form teachers of peace in the grassroots who will help create peaceful learning environments that respect cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic diversities. The program is under the tutelage of the Teach Peace, Build Peace Movement. 
CPE, one of Miriam College’s advocacy centers, has been, for years working to broaden the support for peace in the country and beyond.

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Students say their piece for peace by Maricar Brizuela | Philippine Daily Inquirer

STUDENTS lit candles for peace on Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, as they urge President Duterte to stop extrajudicial killings. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Students from various schools in Metro Manila plan to send a statement to President Duterte and other government officials calling for a stop to extrajudicial killings.
Around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, around 500 students from Miriam College, Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) and the University of the Philippines held a candlelight vigil on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City, to protest the recent wave of drug-related killings sweeping the country.
The students occupied a portion of the sidewalk from AdMU to Miriam College where they lit candles to remember the lives lost in the government’s war on drugs.

Jasmin Galace, executive director of Miriam College’s Center for Peace Education, told the Inquirer that they decided to hold the activity to coincide with the celebration of the International Day of Peace.

“We will say our piece, we will speak up for peace,” Galace added.

Aside from the activity on Wednesday, she also said that Miriam College and other schools were planning to send a statement on extrajudicial killings along with thousands of signatures to Mr. Duterte.

“We want to say that there are other methodologies to fight drugs,” Galace said, adding that while they support the crusade against the drug menace, it was still important to value life.

According to her, Miriam College wanted to emphasize that its school grounds “is a zone of peace” where every human life is valued.

“We believe that political, economic and food security are also important, not just security from external threats,” Galace said.

“Maybe the government just does not have the time to sit down, process and reflect on the other methods they can use to fight illegal drugs,” she added.

SOURCE: Philippine Daily Inquirer >

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Dr. Galace shares MC’s whole-school approach to peace education at S. Korea conference

The Center for Peace Education, through its Executive Director Jasmin Nario-Galace, shared the experience of Miriam College on peace education at the 3rd Gangjoeng Peace Conference held at Gangjeong Village, Jeju Island, South Korea.

The Gangjeong Peace Conference is an annual gathering of peace educators and advocates from South Korea that is meant to give a space to peace activists to interact, network, and share their stories of peacebuilding.

More than 120 peace advocates attended the conference that had three sub-themes: peace education, non-violence and village peacebuilding. Dr. Galace was a resource person for the sub-theme on peace education.

In her presentation, Dr. Galace emphasized the various challenges to peace, both direct and structural. She suggested various pathways to the building of a culture of peace highlighting the pathway of peace education. She discussed the rationale for peace education, as well as its key themes. She shared Miriam College's whole-school approach to peace education where peace themes and values are integrated in the school's mission and vision, curriculum, extra-curricular activities, research and learning materials, among others.

Miriam College, which has mainstreamed peace education in the life of the school for the past 30 years, is recognized for its work on the field within and outside the country.

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Stories of hopes and challenges: Three decades of peace education in the Philippines

The Center for Peace Education-MC and the University for Peace (UPeace) Costa Rica co-organized a storytelling conference on June 27-28, 2016 to celebrate three decades of peace education in the Philippines. MC President Dr. Rosario Lapus gave the opening message which affirmed the value of storytelling in facilitating transfer of knowledge.
"It has been more than three decades since peace education in the Philippines has become a goal, a pedagogy, a program, and a movement", according to Dr. Virginia Cawagas of UPeace. CPE founder Dr. Loreta Castro said that "deliberate and sustained peace education, both in schools and communities, is an important force and pathway towards a culture of peace."

Before the adoption of Executive Order 570 in 2006, mandating basic education and tertiary education institutions to integrate peace education in the curriculum, academic institutions like Miriam College, some NGOs and grassroots organizations have already been promoting and mainstreaming peace education in their teaching-learning processes and activities.

In Miriam College, peace education began in the early 1980s when peace and global perspectives were integrated into certain subjects. Peace education courses were eventually offered in the Departments of International Studies and Child Development and Education as well as in Grade 7.  In 1991, MC committed itself to being a Zone of Peace. The School's peace education efforts became more systematic with the establishment of the Center for Peace Education in 1997. Today, CPE has become a resource for many educators from various academic institutions and community-based organizations within and outside of the country.

The storytelling conference held in Miriam College featured stories of approximately 30 educators from around the country who narrated their achievements and their hopes as well as the challenges they have encountered in implementing peace education in the country. There were 65 participants in all. Members of the MC Community who shared stories or served as facilitators were Dr. Jasmin Nario-Galace and Mirma Tica of CPE; Angelina Alcazar, College ADSA and officer of APNIEVE; Melinda Lamorena of the Middle School; Atty. Christine Lao of the IS Department; and Jaime Villafuerte of the High School. The stories will be compiled in a book that will be published late this year by the CPE and UPeace.

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Peace Education Training held for Philippine Colleges of Education

The Center for Peace Education of Miriam College (CPE-MC), in cooperation with the Philippine Association for Teacher Education and with funding support from the Samuel Rubin Foundation, organized a training for faculty teams from the Philippine Colleges of Education last May 19-20.

The workshop sought to introduce the participants the knowledge base, attitudes, and skills that comprise peace education as well as on the teaching-learning approaches and strategies compatible with educating for peace. It also sought to encourage the participants to integrate peace education into their professional courses beginning SY 2016-2017.

This type of training is deemed strategic and significant because it means reaching a very important sector, that is, the teacher educators, who have in their hands the great potential of  influencing future generations of teachers and, through these teachers, countless future students and young people.

There were 28 participants from sixteen 16 institutions representing state universities and private colleges from various parts of the country. They have come from as far north as the Ilocos region and as far south as Palawan. This training is the fifth in a series of trainings since 2010 that the CPE-MC has conducted.

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HEU students participate in Peace Boot Camp

Rotary International, in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), hosted its very first MasterPEACE: Be Masters for Peace Boot Camp. The camp aimed to give the youth a better understanding of the peace process in Mindanao while further promoting peace education and peace as a lifestyle.  Delegates of this camp were chosen through a rigorous application process, and were cut down to only 70 student leaders from different colleges and universities all over the Philippines. Representing Miriam College were students, Soteya Trasadas, IV-BA International Studies, and Bianca Pabotoy, III-BA Communication.

The delegates were given a two-day conference at PHINMA Training Center in Tagaytay City, with a number of plenaries from notable peace advocates, including Miriam College’s Center for Peace Education Executive Director Dr. Jasmin Galace. The delegates were given exercises to understand peace in a more personal level. A concise run-down on the important details that concerns the Bangsamoro Basic Law was also given to the delegates before leaving for another two-day immersion in Cotabato City.

The immersion included a visit in Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the site where members of both the AFP and MILF were massacred.

Delegates were also given a chance to interact with a Madrasa or a Muslim school, situated beside the field of the Mamasapano Massacre. 

MasterPEACE Boot Camp is the pioneering conference of the OPAPP for the youth. By Bianca Pabotoy

CPE joins advocates at peace conference in Rome

Pax Christi Pilipinas and Center for Peace Education (CPE) Program Director Loreta Castro, Ph.D and Executive Director Dr. Jasmin Nario-Galace. Ph.D. joined about 80 bishops, priests, religious and lay peace advocates at the Conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace held in Rome, Italy  on April 11-13, 2016. The conference was organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International. 
The Conference aimed at contributing to the Catholic understanding and commitment to nonviolence.
Dr. Galace was a lead discussant in the session of Nonviolence and Just Peace where she discussed the CPE and Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines' initiatives at just peace building. She also discussed how a turn to just peace can impact our moral analysis of conflicts, practices, and engagement with the broader society. (Read Dr. Galace's speech)

Dr. Castro was part  of the conference's  planning committee along with other peace advocates from all over the world.
Outcome document may be accessed at
The Catholic Reporter also wrote about this historic conference. Article may be accessed at

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