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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 > opinion.inquirer.net/100168/supreme-injustice#ixzz4UlHjAZt2 

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 > http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/818184/students-say-their-piece-for-peace#ixzz4L2nL1DNh

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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 http://www.paxchristi.net/news/appeal-catholic-church-recommit-centrality-gospel-nonviolence/5855#sthash.AnmdBNev.dpbs
 
The Catholic Reporter also wrote about this historic conference. Article may be accessed at http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/landmark-vatican-conference-rejects-just-war-theory-asks-encyclical-nonviolence

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JUST PEACE, NOT JUST WAR, IS THE WAY OF JESUS by Jasmin Nario-Galace | Conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace | Rome, Italy

How are Catholic communities embodying and practicing just peace? I am from Miriam College, a Zone of Peace. Miriam College is one of the 2, 500 member-schools of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) which has a JEEPGY program. The letter J in JEEPGY stands for Justice and peace, E for Ecological integrity, the second E for Engaged citizenship, P for Poverty alleviation, G for Gender equality and Y for Youth empowerment.  The JEEPGY expresses CEAP’s vision of  Transformative Education which enables individual to participate in the fulfilment of God’s intent for all peoples—a world free from war and the threat of it; a world where justice and equality prevail; a world where human rights are promoted and respected; a world where diversity is accepted and celebrated; a world where resources of the Earth are utilized with future generations in mind.

JEEPGY uses a whole-school approach. CEAP encourages its Catholic member-schools to integrate JEEPGY in the different facets of school life: their vision-mission, co-curricular and extra-curricular programs, research, instructional materials and outreach projects.

The general orientation of the JEEPGY framework is in righting relationships with GOD, HUMANITY and all of CREATION. The pillar programs are guided by the values of just peace: Stewardship, Human Dignity, Integrity, Equality, Love, Dialogue, Solidarity, Tolerance and Spirituality, among others. [1]

We take seriously what Pope John Paul II had said: to reach peace, teach peace! Many Catholic schools in the Philippines, including the school where I am from, Miriam College, have declared themselves as Zones of Peace. Miriam College, as a JEEPGY champion, shares capacities with our CEAP-member schools on why and how we should  infuse the principles of just peace  in the various aspects of school life. Many Catholic schools have explicitly articulated in their vision and mission and school philosophy the principles of just peace. Just peace principles are integrated in the curriculum. Miriam College, through the Peace Education Network, helped in getting the government of the Philippines to issue and Executive Order mandating basic education and teacher education institutions to integrate peace education in their curriculums. Catholic schools have also put up actual physical spaces such as centers for peace, justice, environment, social action or gender equaity  to ensure promotion of these values in the school culture.  Catholic schools have also integrated just peace principles in their curricular and extra-curricular activities.  Student organizations promoting the principles of just peace such as Pax Christi have been established in many academic institutions. Catholic outreach projects also live out the principles of just peace. Miriam College, for example, has a Twinning Project with a school in Mindanao attended by Muslims which is the minority in the country and historically, the oppressed people. Students exchange letters (snail mails) throughout the school year and get the chance to meet and learn together at the end of the year. The project is our way of accompanying the national peace process with a people-to-people peace process that helps build bridges of friendship and understanding between young people from two cultures and faith traditions, and challenge historical prejudices.
How does a turn to just peace impact our moral analysis of conflict, practices and engagement with society?

If just peace means “protecting, defending, and restoring the fundamental dignity of all”, if it means “prioritizing love, compassion, reconciliation and mercy,” if it means the way of Jesus which is  loving the enemy and not winning over him/her but winning him/her over to our side; if it means the way of Jesus which is inclusion and not exclusion ,then the way we analyse and approach conflict should be the way of nonviolence! The new emphasis of our peace work should be on looking at and addressing the roots of conflict.

Of the 29 armed conflicts currently being waged in the world, only one is classical according to Project Ploughshares. Most of these are civil or internal and waged along ethnic lines. Many of these wars are waged because of experiences of deprivation, of historical injustice, of the refusal of the majority to allow the minorities to chart their political future with greater autonomy. The changing nature of conflicts calls on us to change the way we solve them.

For example, the dispossession of land of the Muslims and the indigenous peoples in the Philippines, as well as government neglect that pushed them further down  the cauldron of poverty, the refusal to allow them to exercise their right to greater self-determination cannot be solved by war. Catholic communities in the Philippines, including our predominantly Catholic security sector, are beginning to see the wisdom of targeting the root causes of the conflict and not those who wage it modifying its security paradigm from winning the war to winning the peace. Many Catholic educational institutions are in the forefront of supporting the peace process, in lobbying for laws that will address the legitimate grievances of a people historically marginalized and oppressed, reaching out to those in the margins especially the Muslim and indigenous women whose voices are otherwise not heard, and finding spaces to bring these voices to the attention of decision-makers including policy makers,. Many of us back home are in the forefront of campaigns to end war and the proliferation of weapons because we know that the billions of pesos spent by our military for war can be used to improve the lot of our country’s ethnic and religious minorities. We are in the forefront of campaigns to end war because we have personally heard the narratives of victims.

In a recent round of dialogue with Moro and indigenous women in conflict-affected areas, we consistently heard them say:  that war is not the answer, its effects bring much suffering because of loss of lives and displacements; the proliferation of weapons leads to greater insecurity; and the socio-economic deficiencies breed more unrest.

If these are the concerns of communities in armed conflict, do responses such as  military action make any sense?. 
I say no.

I believe that Catholic communities should work for the abolition of the war system. Let us delegitimize war as a means of resolving conflict. Let us focus our efforts on preventing violent conflict by addressing the root causes of injustice, poverty and discrimination. And for violent conflicts that are already there, let us use the means already available to us such as diplomacy, negotiation and dialogue.

Terrence Rynne said it quite well: “The only path is to renounce violence, to begin anew with dialogue, to break the chain of injustice.” 

That is Jesus’ way. That must be our way as Catholic faithful.


[1] From a PowerPoint presentation of Mary Ann Cruz, CEAP Plans, Programs and Research Officer on  Transformative Education and CEAP’s JEEPGY Pillar Programs, JEEPGY Academy.


Conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace
Rome, Italy 
April11-13, 2016
The conference was organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International

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Women will keep on to see the resurrection by Jasmin Nario-Galace | Philippine Daily Inquirer

The last men standing were actually women.

Women accompanied Jesus throughout His suffering until He breathed His last and was laid in the tomb. Women were also the last ones seen in the gallery of the 16th Congress until the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) breathed its last and was laid in the tomb by the same Congress.

But the women are not wailing. They pin their hope in the resurrection of a peace process stalled by the nonpassage of the proposed BBL. They are not weeping. They know that the failure of Congress to pass the proposed law will not put off the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, 2014.

Hence, they are keeping on. They are working to sustain the gains of the peace process, some of these their own.
The peace process may have been derailed, but women are already assured of their right to meaningful participation in political affairs and protection from violence as this right is already enshrined in the CAB, the peace agreement that lays down the principles for the establishment of an autonomous political entity for the Bangsamoro.

The peace process may have not yet reached the finish line, but we can no longer discount the fact that women played meaningful roles in getting to where we are at the moment. The head of the government’s peace office is a woman, and so is the government’s chief peace negotiator. Women are heads or active members of various peace mechanisms such as the Joint Normalization Committee, the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission, the Third Party Monitoring Team, and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission; women lead the government’s technical and legal teams. Even the MILF has two women advisers in its legal team. Hence, in terms of actual participation, women have broken the glass ceiling.

The peace process may have been temporarily silenced by the nonpassage of the proposed BBL, but we celebrate the fact that the voices of the women in communities, normally unheard, have been brought to the fore. Women were consulted on what they wanted in the Bangsamoro Basic Law and saw their perspectives actually integrated by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in the BBL draft it submitted to President Aquino as well as in the House of Representatives ad hoc committee’s version of the bill.

Congress may have struck down the proposed law, but it can no longer take away the confidence this peace process has built among women who were trained in leadership and participation in governance, peace and security. The skills in public speaking, advocacy, message and platform development, among others, will stay with the women, many of whom are seeking positions in the upcoming elections. Yes, the belief that they are secondary citizens has been challenged these past years during the peace negotiations. “We can participate,” women joyfully exclaimed in one of the leadership training sessions of which this author was cofacilitator.
Indeed, the developments brought about by the peace process have convinced them that the days of political invisibility are over. Mindsets and attitudes have changed, including those of men, many of whom are now supportive of the cause.

The peace process may have been stalled, but the long period of sustained ceasefire has allowed women and men in the conflict-affected areas to experience how it is to live without war. Women have expressed time and again that their sources of insecurity were war and armed conflict and their impact, such as evacuations and displacement; the peace and order problems including the proliferation of firearms; and socioeconomic deficiencies and social instability. But thankfully, the sustained ceasefire has allowed children to go to school, and their elders to engage in livelihood uninterrupted. The sustained ceasefire has allowed development programs and socioeconomic activities to flourish. Women can’t let go of that peace now. They will build a path forward.

Yes, the 16th Congress may have struck down that piece of legislation, but women will keep on to see the resurrection.

Jasmin Nario-Galace is executive director of the Center for Peace Education-Miriam College, Secretariat of the Women Engaged in Action on 1325. WE Act 1325 worked with Al-Mujadillah Foundation, Kutawato Council for Justice and Peace, Nisa Ul Haqq fi Bansamoro, Pinay Kilos, Tarbilang Foundation, Teduray Lambangian Women’s Organization and UnYPhil-Women in projects to put in operation women’s participation in the Bangsamoro that are administered by Conciliation Resources and Oxfam and funded by the UK and Australian Embassies.




SOURCE: Philippine Daily Inquirer > http://opinion.inquirer.net/94057/women-will-keep-see-resurrection#ixzz45b3kafTq


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