[i]Posted on behalf of Loreta Castro, Executive Director of The Center for Peace Education, The Philippines.[/i]
The Philippines’ E.O. 570: Institutionalizing Peace Education in Basic Education and Teacher Education
July 24, 2008 is a good day for us here in the Philippines. It was marked by the signing of the “Implementing Guidelines” of Executive Order 570 issued by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo last September 2006. The Executive Order (EO) mandated the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to institutionalize Peace Education in Basic Education and Teacher Education.
The formal signing of the implementation guidelines by the concerned cabinet ministers heralded the beginning of action on the ground. The Secretary of the Department of Education and the Commissioner of the CHED as well as the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process not only signed the document but also publicly expressed their commitment and concrete plans in 2008-2009 in order to give life to the guidelines. Some of the specific actions mentioned by the cabinet members were the issuance of memoranda to their constituencies to provide information and more concrete guidance, curriculum review and development, and capacity-building activities.
I was invited to witness the signing because I was the civil society representative in the Executive Committee that prepared the implementing guidelines and it was a joy for me to see that EO 570 is beginning to have the life and vibrancy that it deserves. I am aware that the signing ceremony featuring the public commitment of the concerned government agencies is just the beginning. The more difficult part is the challenge of implementation.
The Center for Peace Education, of which I am the Executive Director, has committed to collaborate with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in ways that we can, especially with regards to this EO. I believe that only through such engagement and cooperation among civil society organizations, government and other stakeholders can we be more effective in pursuing goals that are for humanity’s common good.
We need more purposive focusing on the goals that count, and invest in these goals our renewed energy and commitment. I submit that building a culture of peace is among the essential goals for today and tomorrow. Human and ecological survival and well-being, now and in the future, depend on this. Therefore, it makes good sense for all to work together towards this vision.