|Photo c/o author|
In 2004, the administration under then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo enacted Proclamation No. 675, which decrees the month of September as the National Peace Consciousness Month. This is an opportunity to educate all Filipinos on peace and the peace process.
In the nine years that the Peace Month has been established, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has been tasked to lead the observance of the event. For this year's edition, the sport of football will be kicking off, literally, the activities for the Month of Peace.
On Sunday at the PhilSports Complex, members of the Philippine national football teams, with the help of some members of the Armed Forces, who branches participate in the United Football League, conducted a football clinic to children. This is in collaboration between the PFF and the OPAPP, who announced previously that our footballers, specifically the Azkals, are deemed as "Ambassadors of Peace" for their role in building peace and solidarity as role models for all Filipinos.
The football clinic, dubbed as 1 Goal For Peace, is one of the final activities for the senior national football teams before they depart for an ASEAN country this month. The Azkals are scheduled to face three ASEAN countries in friendlies, while the Malidtas are scheduled to participate in the 2012 AFF Women's Championships in Vietnam. Members of the under-19 national team, dubbed as the Teen Azkals, also helped in teaching the children. In addition to the clinic, there was a peace fair held at the venue.
The theme for this year's Peace Month is “Ako. Ikaw. Tayo. Magkakaiba, Nagkakaisa sa Kapayapaan,” a call that everyone should come together for nation-building, in spite of our differing ethnic groups, religion, beliefs, et al. Just like in football, there are different roles and personalities in a team, but all share in one goal.
Among the officials who graced the event are Sec. Teresita "Ging" Deles of OPAPP, the PFF's Mr. Mariano "Nonong" Araneta, as well as Mr. Knut-Are Okstad of the Norwegian Embassy. In addition, representatives from the different organzations involved with the ideal of peace like the People Power Volunteers for Reform, Asia-American Initiative, Urban Poor Associates and GenPeace were in the event as well.
There are other activities lined up for the National Peace Consciousness Month, all of them detailed on the specific website OPAPP created for the month.