EU envoys laud children's paintings for peace

February 10, 2012 11:00 pm 

COTABATO CITY, Feb. 10 – Ambassadors of the European Union and acting Regional Governor Mujib Hataman on Thursday handed the awards to school children who won in the painting competition organized by the International Monitoring Team and the Department of Education in the ARMM last year.

Close to 650 entries from 11 schools in the towns of Talayan and Datu Piang, two Maguindanao towns where soldiers and Moro rebels figured in bloody clashes in the past, joined the contest dubbed as "Let's Paint for Peace."

Organizers said the contest was limited to the two towns as the initial pilot activity of “a series of peace activities designed not only to broaden the support base for peace process through the inclusion of children and young people, but also to introduce new energy and different perspective to the peace process.”

It was an initiative of EU monitors of the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development Component (HRDC) of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), in cooperation with DepEd-ARMM and non-government organizations (NGOs) that make up the Civilian Protection Component (CPC) of the IMT.

Twelve out of the 646 paintings anchored on the theme “Dreaming of Peace in My Barangay” were selected to receive major and special awards, according to Susan Robertson, head of the IMT-HRDC.

Robertson said the children, aged 10 to 12 years old, were encouraged to depict their views of a peaceful community through their painting.

The winning pupils, including all participating schools, were given commemorative plaques and the paintings serve as the centerpiece of a 2012 calendar produced to promote peace from a child’s perspective.

Hataman congratulated the winners as well as organizers of the competition.

“The activity’s theme not only expresses the children’s dreams but also the collective aspiration of ARMM,” Hataman said.

Hataman underscored anew that peace and security is one of the three pillars of his transitional reform governance which includes reinstitution and activation of peace and security bodies, formulation of regional internal security plan and the regulation of loose firearms towards dismantling of private armed groups.

“The need to reform ARMM is one step towards the realization of peace,” Hataman said.

“While our children paint our dreams so beautifully, we must endeavor to make it a reality,” he said.

Ambassador Guy Ledoux, EU head of delegation, also lauded organizers and participants of the activity.

“(It) reminds us what the ultimate objective of the peace process is and most importantly for whom it is intended,” Ledoux said.

“Therefore, let us all be reminded that what is at stake here is not to broker a peace agreement, not even to achieve peace, but to improve the lives of all the people of Mindanao and the Philippines who deserve to be free from fear, free from want and free to act on their own behalf,” Ledoux said.

Ledoux also announced EU’s P180-million assistance program to civil society organizations (CSOs) engaged in peace building and monitoring. He also declared their continuing support to NGO-members of IMT’s CPC as well as those who act as informal coordinator of the International Contact Group (ICG).

He said that EU stands ready to extend assistance even after the signing of the peace agreement “as many challenges will still remain to ensure that peace in Mindanao is lasting.”

He added: “Promoting peace amongst other values such as respect for human rights, the rule of law, and democracy, is one of the core objectives of the EU as a legacy of our history.

Joining Hataman and Ledoux during the awarding ceremonies were Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel chair Mohaqher Iqbal and member Yasmin Busran-Lao, GPH peace panel member Prof. Miriam Ferrer, ARMM OIC Vice Governor and concurrent DSWD-ARMM Secretary Bainon Karon, ARMM Executive Secretary Anwar Malang and IMT Deputy of Mission Admiral Mohamad Adib Bin Abdul Samad. (PNA)



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