By Teng Lauban Datu,
Cotabato City Bureau Chief
The gradual integration of peace education in the general curriculum of schools and universities is seen as an effective measure to prevent and counter violent extremism and communist insurgency in the country, according to Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr.
“Peace education should be comprehensive and multi-pronged. First, we have to educate the vulnerable, the orphans, those in the ‘last mile areas,’ and the youth,” Galvez said.
He explained that the national government’s continued engagement with educational institutions is in line with its efforts to mainstream and institutionalize peace education.
“We are partnering with different universities so that peacebuilding will be part of the major curriculum in all subjects that we have,” Galvez said.
Opapp, in partnership with the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education, is taking the lead in developing educational materials and other literature to promote peace education in the country under the Executive Order 570.
The presidential peace adviser noted that peace education will counter the efforts of local terror groups to spread the ideology of violent extremism in the country in the long-term.
“Peace education will really play an important role in our administration’s program to remove the concept of the ISIS caliphate in the minds of our brothers and sisters,” Galvez said during a peace dialogue last Wednesday with the students of the San Beda University-Manila.
He was specifically referring to a Mindanao-based terrorist organization which pledged allegiance to the ISIS group in the Middle East, and was responsible for carrying out the Marawi siege.
The Presidential Peace Adviser, who was then the Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-Staff, shared his experiences during the height of the Marawi siege and the city’s eventual liberation from the hands of the terror group.
Part of Galvez’ presentation was a nine-minute video which documented the battle of Marawi.
During an open forum with the students, Galvez pointed out that the declaration of Martial Law has served as a major deterrent and contain the terror groups which would like to expand and wreak havoc on the populace.
Galvez said peace education will help sustain the gains of the peace processes in the country, and provide the youth and future leaders the necessary tools to address situations of conflict and social divides through non-violent approaches. (with reports from opapp)