SAN NARCISO, ZAMBALES—The first Peace Monuments in a maritime institution was unveiled at the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) on August 15, 2022.
This project was carried out through the close collaboration of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Volunteer Individuals for Peace (VIP), Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), and PMMA.
The peace monuments serve as a daily reminder for all that “peace is here” and “everyone should become an ambassador of peace”, according to Capt. Reynaldo M. Sabay, Assistant Superintendent for Academics, Training Research and Extension, Philippine Merchant Marine Academy.
Participants, cadets and key officials joined the symbolic Peace Walk, followed by the ribbon cutting of the peace monument. As the peace monuments unveiled, the attendees lit candles and flew balloons as a symbol of peace and unity.
On the same day, PMMA and HWPL signed partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to continuously carry out projects especially the integration of Peace Education. HWPL turned-over peace corner materials including peace education modules, True Story Book of HWPL, brochures, DVDs and banners to be displayed in their library.
Commodore Joel Y. Abutal, Superintendent at PMMA, signed the MOU driven by his motivation to support the cessation of war. He stressed that while cadets are trained to serve in times of war, we will never be prepared for the effects of war such as devastation, destruction and death. He added that we should be advocates for peace to prevent war from happening.
Local government officials also personally attended and gave congratulatory messages.
“Nagsisimula ‘yan sa ating sarili, kung ang bawat isa ay mapayapa, tayo ay higit na makakapag-advocate at makakapagparating sa iba ng kapayapaan. Kaya’t mas mabuti na simulan din po natin sa ating sarili,” Mayor La Rainne Abad-Sarmiento said in her congratulatory message.
Vice Mayor Richard Lance Ritual also expressed interest in establishing a peace marker in the province of Zambales, as part of Zambales belongs to the disputed area in South China Sea. He said that it will communicate that Zambales does not want war and advocates for peaceful resolution.
“’Pag ang kapayapaan at katahimikan ang mamumuhay sa puso ng mga kadete at mga tao dito, there’s no chance na magkaroon tayo ng giyera. Doon din sa pupuntahan natin, ma-eengganyo natin lahat ng tao na maging peace advocate,” said Engr. Edwin Ebdane, Provincial Planning and Development Officer, and representative of Governor Jun Ebdane Jr.
The Peace Monument Project was initiated by HWPL in partnership with schools, organizations and communities in the Philippines who support the peace initiatives especially for international law and education. Dr. Ronald L. Adamat, Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), declared during his speech in the Unveiling Ceremony of the Peace Monument in Siniloan Integrated National High School last February 21, 2022 that he will establish peace monuments in state universities and colleges in the Philippines. Among these, PMMA was the first to finish the construction while the first to unveil was Central Luzon State University last July 15.
PMMA is a maritime education institution operated by the Philippine government. The academy is located in San Narciso, Zambales. Students are called ‘midshipmen’, also referred to as ‘cadets’. Upon graduation, students are commissioned as ensigns (second lieutenants) in the Philippine Navy Reserve, with the option to join the merchant marine, the Philippine Navy or the Philippine Coast Guard.