South Cotabato, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has established an exclusive Peace Committee to take united action towards making the nation free from conflicts. In order to support the practical initiatives suggested by UN DPI NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), the IBP has inaugurated a total of 93 lawyers (9 Board of Governors and 84 regional representative lawyers) as members of HWPL National Committee on Peace in IBP. The lawyers were also appointed as HWPL Publicity Ambassadors. The IBP is an official organization of all Filipino lawyers whose names appear in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court.
For the inauguration ceremony, IBP President Atty. Rosario T. Setias-Reyes, an active member of the HWPL Advisory Council, extended special invitations to the South Korean Peace Delegation: Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL and Chairwoman Nam Hee Kim of the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG). The two Chairpersons will serve as advisory members to the HWPL National Committee on Peace in IBP. Atty. Jose I. De La Rama, Jr. will serve as the head of the Committee while he continues to serve as the IBP Governor for Central Luzon.
In response to President Setias-Reyes’s call for the Board of Governors to voluntarily establish the Peace Committee in the IBP, the committee members pledged to strive to make peace a reality in the Philippines through supporting HWPL’s peace proposal: the International Convention on the Renunciation and Cessation of War and International Armed Conflicts. They affirmed their solidarity in instilling hopes for those in need of peace through their expertise.
As the only means to bring peace to the world, HWPL Chairman Lee has suggested such a Convention and founded the HWPL International Law Peace Committee, consisting of international law scholars and professionals.
“If each nation’s head and leaders desire for world peace and love their people, they must work for the establishment of the right framework for the international convention on peace. For future justice in the Philippines and the rest of the world, all the honorable officers who are here with me today are forming that framework on behalf of all people. We have to urge the nations to participate in supporting the International Convention which can promote peace,” said Chairman Lee.
Chairwoman Kim also called on the officers present, especially women leaders to actively work for peace by saying “Numerous international agreements and principles for peace have been drawn up and ratified until today. However, war and civil unrest have not stopped in this world. We, the women, have the responsibility to protect our husbands, children, and our neighbors.”
Since IBP faces unique challenges inland, it continues to provide free legal services to citizens of the Philippines as one of main objectives of IBP. Just last month, IBP vowed to help and give legal assistance to the lumad (Indigenous People) evacuees.
At the same time as the formation of the IBP Peace Committee, the Monument to the Declaration of World Peace was erected and an HWPL day was designated in the MILF base camp in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Province. This location was once a hot-spot during 40-years of armed conflict between MILF and the government of the Philippines. The region now serves as a reminder to the real costs of armed conflicts and the need for transformation from a culture of violence to a culture of peace.