By Christine May Obligar, FFWPU Philippine
For the 3rd time, Philippines had a very successful staging of the Peace Road 2017 in spite of the very challenging rainy weather. Just like the previous years, days before the event, Manila experienced heavy downpour of rain but in the morning of the event, the sun came shining out.
The Opening Program of the event was first held in front of the Marikina City Government Hall at Plaza De Los Alcaldez, Marikina City, Philippines last August 20, 2017 with the theme of “One Global Family United to Realize One Dream”. This event gathered a total of 2,030 registered participants and staff (1,230 bikers and 1,800 peace marchers) from different associations and organizations all over the Philippines. The 3rd installment of Peace Road in the Philippines garnered a lot of support from different government and non-government organizations and especially this time, the Marikina City Government co-hosted the event. The local government of Marikina City fully endorsed the event and provided assistance especially for the venue and mobilization of government personnel like traffic and police enforcers.
The program started with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem and doxology led by Ms. Marvie Villamero, an alumnus of the International Peace Leadership College. This was followed by the recognition of the different guests, partners and participants. These included the different services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Air Force of the Philippines; Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), National Bicycle Organization of the Philippines (NBOP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Public Order and Safety Quezon City, City Government of Marikina, and the Rotary Club of Marikina Heights. Non-government organizations included the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) Philippines, International Association for Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), World Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (W-CARP), Youth Federation for World Peace (YFWP), Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA), World Tong Il Moo Doo Federation (WTMF), Asian Clergy Leadership Conference Philippines (ACLC), Asian Mobiles Medical Service (AMMS). Partners in the education sectors included the International Peace Leadership College (IPLC), Sun Hwa International Academy (SHIA), and the Pamantasang Lungsod ng Marikina (PLMAR) and many other colleges and universities in Manila. Clubs and associations of bicycles riders all over the Philippines came in to support the event.
The Vice Mayor of the City of Marikina, Hon. Jose Fabian Cadiz who also completed the Peace bike tour, gave the welcoming remarks. In his message he said, “I think it is the right time that the city of Marikina will become the epicenter of our aspiration to attain peace and order by means of biking and walking in the Peace Road. Let us tell the world that we aim for peace. This is why we are all gathered here today. Let us all keep in mind that we can attain one global family with one dream. Our dream this morning, is our dream tomorrow. Our dream in the future is for all humanity to make hands together so that peace will reign in this world”.
Representative of the City of Marikina’s Mayor Marcelino R. Teodoro, Atty. Val Claudio; said in his speech, “We all seek one goal, and this is peace. Today we will run. Today we will walk. Later we will ride for one thing, one goal and one vision, and that is for peace. The most important of all objectives of human beings is to search for peace”.
Chairman of UPF Philippines, Dr. Julius Malicdem, gave the keynote address where he highlighted the vision and the legacy for peace of the founders, Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. He said, “We are all gathered here today to show to the world that we all long for true and genuine peace regardless of our nationality, our race, culture and religion we all have a common goal and that is to see the day when all humanity will live in true and lasting peace as one global family under one God. Our coming together here today calling for peace and calling for positive change is truly a noble gesture of building one family under God. The motivation beyond the Peace Road project is to foster cooperation and harmony among nations in pursuit of one common goal, the dream of humanity and that is to realize true and lasting peace for the sake of the future generation, for the sake of our children, and for our children’s children.” Also present in the event were, Rev. Masatate Kajikuri, Secretary General FFWPU Asia, Gen. Ramon Santos from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process and representing Congressman Leopoldo Bataoil, Atty. Bayani Hipol, President of UPF Quezon City Chapter, Mr. Brian Lu, President of Council of Sectoral Representatives for Quezon City, Ms. Merly Barlaan, WFWP Philippines President and Dr. Andrade, President of Rotary Club of Marikina Heights.
The keynote message was followed by the signing of the Peace Road banner which is headed by the leaders and representatives of the different clubs, and partner organizations to express their support for the reunification of South and North Korea. A photo opportunity with the flaglets and Peace Road banner was granted afterwards.
Bikers and marchers assembled themselves in front of the City Hall to begin the 21 km Peace Road course which will pass through the main roads in four cities, Marikina, Cainta, Pasig and Quezon City. With excitement and anticipation in their faces, they waved their flags to signal that they are ready to begin the Peace Road as Atty. Claudio led the passing of Peace Road flag to one of the representative bikers.
The PNP-NCR Police Office, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Bicycle Organizations lead the Peace Bike Tour. The coverage of the Peace Bike is 21 km bike loop from the City Hall to the Freedom Park in Marikina. As soon as the bikers departed, the peace marchers also begun their march for peace around major roads near the City Hall. Peace Road in the Philippines has already made a “brand” and name recall in the Philippines as many bikers participated not only once but were happily joining every year. The oldest biker who joined the event for 3 consecutive years who is 81 years old said, “Definitely, I will join again next year!”
After the Peace March, the participants were entertained with cultural performances of youth groups and different organizations as they waited for the peace bikers to arrive. Performances were given by the pride of IPLC, the Tong Il Moo Do Martial Arts demonstration team; Ms. Marvie Villamero who rendered a vocal solo, followed by the Korean Fan Dance presented by the selected students of Sun Hwa International Academy. Ms. Jin Aaliyah Pizarra, one of the finalists for the Singing Competition for 26th Phil-Korean cultural exchange, also rendered a beautiful song number. Celebrity guest, Yohance Bui with Dream Catchers graced the event with their talents. This was followed by the Marikina City dancers called Soldiers of God Batallion.
With loud cheers and waving of flaglets, the guests and participants enthusiastically welcomed the peace bikers as they arrived at the finish line in the Freedom Park at the back of the City Hall. The last part of the program is the recognition and acknowledgment of the of Peace Road partners and sponsors, and as a sign of appreciation, they were presented with tokens and certificates. The program was concluded with the cheers of Eog Mansei headed by Mr. Rene Lansangan, President of WCARP Philippines.
Noteworthy in this Peace Road event is the involvement of the IAPP in the organization with IAPP Philippines President, Congressman Leopoldo Bataoil as the Chair of the Peace Road 2017 Philippines Organizing Committee. Peace Road was also well promoted through the radio interview in DZAR and live TV interview in the national government television channel PTV 4. PTV 4 also came to cover the event. Post event interviews are also scheduled in the coming days.