Finding a common ground by which to unite diverse sectors of society is a challenge for every leader since the dawn of humanity.
This challenging feat is one of the objectives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the creation of the Peace Mural at the Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue or EDSA in Metro Manila. The 3.8 kilometer wall at the most symbolic avenue in the Philippines was slated to become the canvass of one of the greatest Filipino street artwork to be unveiled this coming July 6.
Started last May 26, the mural is being completed by various sectors of society in the community spirit or bayanihan.
Working in collaboration with Asia America Initiative (AAI), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Dolphins Love Freedom Movement, and Metro Manila Development of Development (MMDA) and various local artists, the concept of the Peace Mural Project was hatched for it to stand as an enduring reminder that unity can be achieved under a single goal.
Capt. Gene Gabrido, Deputy Commander of the 7th Civil Relations Group, said that the mural stands for the relentless and united call of the organizers for the peaceful resolution of all internal armed conflicts for the sake of the Filipino people for the next generation.
“We hope that it would be able to communicate to them (local armed rebels) that we Filipinos don’t need arms to solve our problems,” he said. “That what we need is to work together as one nation.”
He also said that it seeks to unite every Filipino under the spirit of Bayanihan in order to achieve peace and development in the Philippines aside from inspiring the revival of our sense of nationalism and patriotism.
“The AFP is focused on winning the peace for our people. This is manifested through our efforts to support the peace process and engagement to all stakeholders to join the bayanihan effort,” he added.
The Peace Mural is also slated to become another source of Filipino pride as the organizers and participants are working together to have it recognized on the Guiness Book of World Records as the Longest Mural in the world after its completion.
Gabrido said that the military choose art as a medium in passing on the message of peace to the world because art is common to everybody.
AG Saño, one of the primary Filipino artists working on the design and completion of the artwork, said that he believes art is an effective medium to pass on the message of peace because it had already been used as a weapon for change in different eras in different countries.
“Art was able to create social and political changes that affected the lives of millions of people. There is no reason why it can't help advance concepts such as peace in the Philippines,” he said.
In the international community of nations, Gabrido said that the mural seeks to tell the world that Filipinos can do great things while working together.