EDSA had always been a symbol of peace in the Philippines. It had always been a taken alongside the dove. Last Saturday, September 28, it was associated with yet another universal symbol of peace – the candle light.
Prayers can move mountains. Nothing is impossible to God.
September 28, 2013, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines alongside with other stakeholders and partners in peace light up their candles and offer a prayer and asked for God’s blessing to unite our nation and grant us peace and justice.
The Prayer and Candle-Lighting Event, was part of AFP’s series of “Peace Events” this year. It was done not only to remind Filipinos on the true meaning of peace and how the attainment of it should be a shared responsibility of everyone, but also to remember the civilians, the soldiers, and policemen who perished in the three-week humanitarian crisis in Zamboanga City that started early September.
Hundreds of civilians, ROTC cadets, students from Camp Aguinaldo Elementary School and Camp Aguinaldo High School, members of OPAPP, PNP, other government agencies light up candles and said a prayer with AFP active members, reservists and their participated in this event.
September being declared as the National Peace Consciousness Month by GPH Proclamation No. 675 and Sept. 21 as International Day of Peace as proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly, the activity was a joint venture of AFP and other concerned government agencies and instrumentalities—including LGUs, GOCCs, as well as members of the private sector and civil society groups.
Raising their prayers, the participants had in mind the victims of the Zambo crisis, including those from Nur Misuari’s faction in Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who were driven by false promises into waging a violent war against the government.
LTGEN ALAN R LUGA, Vice Chief of Staff representing AFP Chief of Staff GENERAL EMMANUEL BAUTISTA during the event.(Photo by: 7CRG)
“We can never erase the scars of war. I have seen the eyes of innocent children turned into fear and fury; the compassion of people turned into hatred and anger. We now know that every ounce of violence begets violence, thus resulting to a vicious cycle of conflict and vengeance,” LTGEN ALAN R LUGA, Vice Chief of Staff said in his speech representing AFP Chief of Staff GENERAL EMMANUEL BAUTISTA during the event.
“Today, as we light our candles, may the healing warmth of love flow into those hearts and lives shattered by violence and oppression. May this give strength and hope in their grief and sorrow.”
Luga particularly cited 1LT JOHN KRISTOPHER RAMA, 2LT FLORENCIO MIKAEL MENESES and 1LT FRANCIS DAMIAN whose gallant stand against the threat to peace in Mindanao should become inspiration in the pursuit of a peaceful and progressive future for the Philippines.
Pledge of peace was led by N-Peace Emerging Champion of Peace awardee Bai Rohaniza Sumndad- Usman as President of Young Moro Professionals Network.
An interfaith prayer rendered by three children coming from Muslim and Christian faiths and IP Dumagats from Rizal brought emphasis to the fact that the AFP advocates peace for everyone.
The activity was simultaneously celebrated in AFP units all over the Philippines as a form of united stand of the organization for peace.
“May the light of our candles illuminate our call for everyone to adhere to diplomatic resolutions of any conflict and struggle. May this inflame our desire for our country to be united and committed to a peaceful way of life.”