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Compostela students join peace month celebration

COMPOSTELA VALLEY – The Youth for Peace Movement Comval and the Supreme Student Government of Compostela Valley has recently launched a peace symposium in Nabunturan town here in support of the National Peace Consciousness Month celebration.

Organizers said the 2nd Campus Peace Symposium (CPS), having the theme “Cultivating the Zones of Peace for a Proactive Studentry in Compostela Valley,” is a month-long event that will be conducted among 55 Secondary Schools and it is expected to be participated by a total of 5,500 students who will come from different clubs and organizations.

Participants to the peace forum.

It will run until September 28. Various stakeholders – the Provincial Local Government of Comval, Department of Education Comval, Department of the Interior and Local Government of the province, Provincial Social Welfare and Development, Provincial Sangguniang Kabataan Federation, 1001st Infantry Brigade, and the Compostela Valley Provincial Police Office are also part of the program’s implementation.

One of the aims of CPS is to set the schools that are situated in town centers and conflict-affected areas as genuine peace avenues, by not only protecting the students from conflict but by also educating them on how they could avoid violent extremism.

It is a mechanism of YFPM Comval since 2017 that supports the Department of Education’s Order number 44, which declares the schools as “Zones of Peace” to protect the students from the armed conflict between opposing state and non-state forces, and assure that their well-being and education will not be hampered.

Additionally, the CPS was established to decrease the resurgence of youth recruitment to become child soldiers, which according to an international organization called Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers in 2008 is 20% or 1 out of 5 total NPA members. These are composed of youth under 18 years old.

This data was even proven factual by the 1001st Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army, a military unit based in Compostela Valley, when it’s September 2017 data shows that out of 166 surrenderees last year, 20% of these are 17 years old and below with high-school-level educational attainment.

Aside from the ceremonial launching, a training of trainors was also conducted to prepare the CPS facilitators about the flow of the event and equip them with skills and knowledge in facilitating.

The facilitators are composed of SSG Advisers, SSG Presidents, and Peace Officers from selected schools. Some of the lectures that were presented during the training are the Role of the Youth in Peacebuilding; and current status of peace situation in the province by the military and police.

The training was also graced by the Provincial Director of DILG, Noel Duarte; the head of the province’s Youth Development Office, Janice Clarion; and the Youth Formation Officer of the DepEd Comval, Joseph Corpuz, who shared their messages to the participants and support for the symposium.

“Conflict cannot be avoided because we are human beings. And as human beings, we have a lot of limitations. What is important is as human beings, we are gifted with the capacity to widen our understanding of the people around us and the situation we are in, so we will not arrive in violence. We need to understand and respect each other,” Corpuz said. (Mindanao Examiner)


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