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Peace Education

Asian Peace and Unity Corps Inaugurated in the Philippines

The Asian Peace and Unity Corps-Philippines, an organization of active and retired military and police officers, government officials, media personalities and youth leaders, had its inauguration on Dec. 2, 2014, during a one-day conference in Quezon City.

The program, which was held under the theme “The Philippines’ Patriotic March of Integrity toward Unity, Peace and Prosperity,” was jointly organized by the Asian Peace and Unity Corps-Philippines (APUC-Phils), Universal Peace Federation-Philippines (UPF-Phils) and the anti-corruption organization Integrity Circles Movement (ICM).

The creation of APUC was inspired by the vision of UPF co-founders Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon to establish a “Peace Kingdom Corps” in order to safeguard true and lasting peace in the world. The organization first appeared in Asia in December 2013 with a three-day conference in Bangkok, Thailand.

Thirty-two military and police officers, including active and retired generals, attended the Dec. 2 event, which took place in the national headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Retired Lt. General Raul S. Urgello, former president of the Association of Generals and Flag Officers, was one of the prominent attendees. There were also 21 media representatives, 30 representatives from the business sector and NGOs as well as representatives of UPF and its sister organizations.

After an opening prayer offered by Professor Agnes Barredo-Fenoli, welcoming remarks were delivered by Police Chief Superintendent Rene D. Ong, deputy director for Police Community Relations, representing PNP Director General Alan L.M. Purisima.

“It takes only one man” to change the world, said Irma Astilla-Balulot, secretary general and vice chair of APUC, in her opening address. Deputy Director Ong pledged to Mrs. Balulot that the PNP community relations group would work together with APUC.

The leaders of the three co-sponsoring organizations—retired Brigadier Gen. Robert P. Santiago of the Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP), the founding president and co-chair of APUC-Phils; Major Gen. Alfredo S. Cayton Jr., president, UPF-Phils, and Dr. Antonio C. Roldan of the Integrity Circles Movement—gave overviews of their organizations. Hon. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, representative of the 2nd District of Pangasinan province, gave an inspirational talk on how Korea lifted itself from the plunders of war through a strong patriotic spirit.

Engr. Julius B. Malicdem, chairman of UPF-Philippines, introduced Dr. Chung Sik Yong, UPF-Asia regional chair and APUC-Asia founding chair. In his keynote speech, “Loving the Enemy Opens the Way toward Unity, Peace and Prosperity,” Dr. Yong said: “The most important thing to achieve ‘Unity, Peace and Prosperity’ of a nation is for the families to be stable and loving. Loving the enemy starts first from living a life for the sake of others.”

In the first session Hon. Natalio C. Ecarma III, undersecretary for Defense Operations of the Department of National Defense, spoke on “Brave Peacekeepers, Models for Peacekeeping in Foreign Soil.” He was followed by Congressman Roy V. Señeres of the OFW [Overseas Filipino Workers] Family Party, who spoke on “Bring the OFWs Back to Build Peace in the Home and True Prosperity in the Nation.”

In the second session, “Patriotism and Integrity: Critical Factors in Building a Roadmap for Peace,” Dr. Antonio C. Roldan of the Integrity Circles Movement spoke on “Patriotism and Integrity: The Standards of Leadership and Good Governance.” Dr. Roldan, the co-founder of Transparency Philippines, writes assessments on corruption in the Philippines which are used by Transparency International. He is a consultant to many prominent organizations, among them the American Chamber of Commerce, the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and the Makati Business Club. Most notably, Dr. Roldan is the author of “Basic Christian Community,” the methodology used by the Catholic Church to expand Catholicism among the grassroots.

The Most Rev. Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. D.D., former bishop of the Diocese of Caloocan, Metro Manila, spoke on “The Role of the Catholic Church in Building a National Culture of Integrity.”

In the third session, “Challenges on the Way toward Peace and Unity in the Philippines,” Brigadier Gen. Angelito M. De Leon, the third-highest-ranking officer of the 300,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), gave a talk entitled “Internal Peace and Security Plan: Bayanihan,” about the flagship program of AFP Chief Gregorio Pio Catapang.

Gen. De Leon expressed to APUC Secretary General Irma Astilla-Balulot that “we need a civilian partner,” and the two agreed to continue communications.

Retired Gen. Dionisio R. Santiago, AFP chief of staff, 2002-2003, spoke on “The Filipino Soldiers and Their Struggle for Peace.” The last speaker was Hon. Jesus G. Dureza, press secretary for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and spokesman for former President Fidel V. Ramos, speaking on “Prevailing Concerns on the Bangsamoro Basic Law.” Mr. Dureza is currently the president of the Philippine Press Institute and publisher of Mindanao Times. After the session, Mr. Dureza accepted an invitation by Secretary General Balulot to join the Board of Trustees of APUC-Phils.

In the fourth session, “Lessons in Patriotism and Integrity in the Philippines: Protecting the Gains of the Aquino Administration,” Ursula McLackland, secretary general of UPF-Asia, spoke on “The Principles of Patriotism and Integrity,” which was based on Dr. Moon’s core teachings. This was a fitting topic, showing the attendees what is truly needed to lead a country toward unity, peace and prosperity. Finally, Honorable Gov. Alfonso V. Umali, president of the League of Provinces in the Philippines, which represents the country’s 81 governors, spoke on “Milestones in Good Governance in [Local Government Units].” Gov. Umali stayed for the entire conference and listened to all the lectures including that of Dr. Yong.

During the evening banquet the PEACE (People’s Empowerment for the Advancement of the Communities and Environment) Awards were officially launched and the conveners were introduced to the audience. Officers of APUC and ICM were also installed and inducted. Hon. Herminio Coloma Jr., the communications secretary of the president, appeared on video to give a congratulatory message. Then Hon. Eduardo G. Batac, undersecretary for Civil, Veterans and Reserve Affairs, represented the secretary of National Defense.

Atty. Rene A.V. Saguisag, a former senator and a prominent human rights lawyer, after leading the banging of a gong to inaugurate the PEACE Awards, the Asian Peace and Unity Corps as well as the Integrity Circles Movement, gave a short message to the distinguished audience. To cap the event, the well-known Los Caballeros band from the Philippine Army played music as the audience danced.

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