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DAVAO CITY, September 21, 2017 — During the National Day of Protest on Thursday, also the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by former President Ferdinand Marcos, Davao City had the biggest and the most peaceful gathering which was contrary to what people had expected to witness on this supposed day of bitterness and mourning. The Davao Peace Council celebrated the International Day of Peace with the theme, “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety, and Dignity for All”.

The theme honors the spirit of TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety, and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life – “Together for Peace”.

Joined by 56 organizations from the private and public sectors in Davao, the Davao Peace Fair held at Abreeza Ayala Mall was a huge success.

The program started with a ribbon-cutting ceremony headed by HOPE Foundation and representatives from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Office of the City Mayor, Indonesian Consulate, and Japan Consulate, followed by some short messages of support from the Office of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, Marawi Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra, EastMinCom Maj. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Office of the Indonesian Consulate, Office of the Malaysian Consulate, Office of the Japan Consulate, Office of the Republic of Korea, and Mr. Ferdinand Jovita, Director of Conflict Prevention and Management, OPAPP.

From left to right – Mai Mai Benedicto of DXAB, Rahana Jhan of NCMF XI, Erique Mendoza of Soka Gakkai International, and Hope Militante of Hope Foundation

The celebration was filled with fun and excitement as it was graced with outstanding cultural and art performances by some local talents including artists from the Association of Creative Artists (AOCAI) Davao, Musikademy, Soka Gakkai International Of the Philippines, and JavaJive Artist Circle. A colorful cultural tribal dance offered by the Kaagan dancers showed the diverse culture and the coexistence of the Tri-People of Davao.

The PNP and AFP Bands also shared their impeccable talent in music while Private First Class Johnson Metilado from the AFP offered a heartfelt spoken poetry about peace. The Keepers Davao Chorale wowed the audience with their rendition of When you Believe and Lead Me Lord.

Some of the performers in the Youth Benefit Concert were the Top Faces of Davao Campus Edition Finalists who showcased their talents in acting, singing, and dancing.

Jane Veroy, Top Faces of Davao Campus Edition Finalist

Each year, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on the 21st of September. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and people.

“In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats. We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbors as ‘the other’. Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people — and societies — from achieving their full potential. Together, let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights. Together, let us build bridges. Together, let us transform fear into hope.” — United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

The entire day was dedicated to the victims of Marawi siege and all the efforts highlighted solidarity with the refugees. The benefit concert aimed to express hope despite the challenges our country is currently facing.

In this time of confusion in the nation, the Davao Peace Council alongside the local government of Davao and Marawi sends a message of hope and love to all the corners of the Philippines and throughout the world.

The Davao Peace Fair Council

Here are the member organizations of the Davao Peace Fair 2017 Council:

1. Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
2. Brahma Kumaris
3. Humanitarian Organization for Peace Engagements
4. National Nutrition Council Region XI,
5. National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Region XI
6. Rotary Club Pag-asa,
7. University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council
8. Ateneo Migration Center
9. Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services
10. Eastern Mindanao Command,
11. Tactical Operations Group 11(PAF)
12. 5th Civil Relations Group
13. 10 Infantry ( AGILA ) Division
14. Task Force Davao
15. Philippine National Police Region XI
16. Department of Justice Region XI
17. Mindanao Land Development Authority
18. Global Impact Phils Foundation Inc.
19. Young Moro Professionals Network-Southern Mindanao
20. JCI Duwaling
21. IDIS
22. Kiwanis Golden Tagum
23. 1197 DXFE
24. QUOTA International
25. Agdao Violin Institute,
26. Davao Eagle Online
27. Nutrihealth International
28. Rotary Club North Davao
29. Rotary Club South Davao
30. Monfort Bat Cave ‘ Phil.Bats For Peace Foundation, Inc.
31. We Are Marawi
32. RECON XI
33. Commission On Human Rights XI
34. Tebow CURE International
35. Office of Councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta
36. Office of Councilor Pilar C. Braga
37. Liga Ng Barangay ABC Chairman: CouncilorJanuary C. Duterte
38. Sokka Gakkai International
39. Youth For Peace ( YFP )
40. TEACH-Davao
41. Child Hope Mindanao
42. CMO Company ( 10th ID )
43. Clean Water Phils/BSF
44. Rotary 2000
45. Rotary Downtown
46. STCPD
47. 4Life
48. AOCAI
49. AIESEC-AdDU
50. Rotary Sta.Ana
51. Rotary Central
52. Dept. of Agriculture
53. MCMN
54. Soroptimist International-Davao
55. Maharlika Sports Dev’t. Institute, Inc.
55. JavaJive Artist Circle
56. OTS Variety Show Team