Underscoring the need for Filipino youth to realize the value of peace and nation-building, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Wednesday, May 24, revealed plans to institutionalize a national peace curriculum under the Department of Education (DepEd).
Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte (OVP photo)
The official delivered a speech for the first anniversary of insurgency-free Davao City at Rizal Park in Davao City.
She talked about how she sees education as a way to teach children the ways in which peace affects their lives and future, and the lessons that Davao province learned from freeing once insurgency-ridden Paquibato District from the New People’s Army (NPA) through the Peace 911 initiative.
“The Department of Education is working hard to institutionalize a national peace curriculum to teach our children the value of peace as they build their skills and learn more about conflict resolution and non-violence,” she said.
“Through the national peace curriculum, we strengthen our youth’s resilience, maturity, and sense of patriotism,” Duterte added.
Calling education the “greatest equalizer”, she stated how “opportunities” for graduates will always be the same regardless if they are rich or poor.
“Education, as we know, harbors power that could change the course of our lives and that of our fellowmen,” she said.
The Vice President described education as a “tool that can emancipate us from poverty or injustice.”
“It is also a powerful tool for peacebuilding and combating terrorism,” she added.
Duterte called on Filipino parents, including “former rebels and their families” to ensure that their children are in school and to protect them from the temptation of terrorism and insurgency.
“Let us guide our children to become catalysts of solidarity, progress, and lasting peace in our respective communities,” she appealed.
The DepEd chief highlighted how peace in Paquibato proved that “there is hope in our active peacebuilding efforts.”
Through the Peace 911 initiative, the then Davao City mayor helped transform the far-flung community of the city’s Paquibato District which used to be a “stronghold” of the NPA.
The district was declared “insurgency-free” before the Vice President ended her term as mayor in 2022 to run for the vice presidency.
“Peace 911 is an empowering tool. An education tool. This allowed the people of Paquibato to unmask their enemies,” she said.
In her speech, she thanked the local government unit, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the community people, and Inday Irene Santiago, who created Peace 911.