Photo by Act Teachers Party-list
Photo by Act Teachers Party-list

At 6 AM on September 30, teachers from Metro Manila joined a Peace Walk from Andres Bonifacio Elementary School in Gil Puyat Avenue (Buendia) to Cuneta Astrodome in Roxas Boulevard. They held flaglets and posters for peace.

This gathering closed out the National Peace Consciousness Month of September with possibly the largest gathering that expressed support for the peace talks since the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) resumed formal talks on August 22 to 26. The Department of Education National Capital Region (DepEd NCR) and Alliance of Concerned Teachers National Capital Region (ACT NCR) Union organized the assembly.

More than 6,000 teachers attended the annual celebration coinciding with National Teachers’ Day in Cuneta Astrodome that assumed the theme “Guro, Kabalikat Sa Pagbabago” [Teacher, Partner for Change].

September was declared National Peace Consciousness Month from 2004 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 675. Before this, National Peace Consciousness Week was observed from February 28 to March 6.

The proclamation cited allowing more active participation from the citizenry and coinciding the observation of peace month with significant peace milestones of the country for the move to September. Said milestones included signing of a Final Peace Agreement by the GRP and the Moro National Liberation Front on September 2, 1996 and signing of a Peace Pact, or “Sipat,” by the GRP and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army on September 13, 1986. The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process was also created through Executive Order No. 125 in September 15, 1993.

Following the success of the first round of talks of the GRP and the NDFP in August in Oslo, where both panels agreed on all six points in the agenda, various sectors and people’s organizations launched peace forums and gatherings throughout the month of September. These peace forums were attended mostly by NDFP consultants.

National Teachers’ Day Law or Republic Act 10743, meanwhile, was approved on January 29 this year. It came from House Bill 445 filed by ACT Teachers Partylist in the House of Representatives for the recognition of October 5 as National Teacher’s Day and initially intending for October 5 to become a special working holiday.

Featured image from DepEd’s twitter account.