Education Secretary: ‘Peace is Possible Today’
“Peace is possible in our lifetime. Peace is possible today.”
Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro said this in his speech during a night of cultural performances mounted by Silliman University as a treat to the delegation from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the Palarong Pambansa.
The University is the billeting venue for some 500 members of the ARMM delegation from April 20 to 28. Its selection was the choice of the Secretary who personally met with Silliman President Dr. Ben S. Malayang III to discuss the proposal. Silliman also serves the playing venues of the national games for basketball, football, softball, tennis and chess.
According to the Secretary: “Peace will have to begin in the hearts and minds of young people.”
He highlighted sports, particularly the Palarong Pambansa, as an opportunity “not to divide but to broker peace”. An annual event, the Palaro was described as in line with the aim of the Philippine government to further the peace talks in Mindanao.
The Secretary apologized for what he considered is a seeming apathy from many towards the Mindanao crisis. But he assured the ARMM delegation of what he is optimistic about: a “wonderful journey — a dream to make peace part of your land and in our time”.
“I am sure all of you, young people from the ARMM and young people from the Philippines, dream of a time when we can live in peace,” the Secretary said.
He urged the ARMM delegates to share their experiences in Dumaguete and how peace was possible in the city, when they return to their respective homes and communities.
“(Share) that Christians and Muslims can live and eat and pray and dream together, that we are one people, and that Palarong Pambansa was part of that process that brought peace to our land,” the Secretary said.
Also present during the cultural show dubbed “Silliman Performs for ARMM” were DepEd Undersecretary for Finance and Administration Hon. Francisco Varela, members of the Silliman Board of Trustees Chair Prof. Leonor M. Briones and Dr. Angel C. Alcala, Dr. Malayang, and other University officials, including Vice President for Development Prof. Jane L. Belarmino who is in charge of the ARMM delegation arrangements on campus.