On 24 January 2014, international NGO Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) arranged a peace agreement to end the 40-year conflict between Christian and Islamic groups in the Mindanao region of the Philippines. The agreement was signed by local political and religious leaders. The civilian group-led peace agreement is now being implemented and has created an atmosphere of peace between the government of the Philippines and the Moro people.
HWPL has held various events and activities in the Philippines since June 2013, including providing relief and support for low-socioeconomic households, hosting inter-religious dialogues aimed at fostering interfaith harmony, and establishing a youth network for peace.
In addition, HWPL hosted the first peace walk festival on 24 January 2014 in Mindanao, General Santos, Philippines. Over 1,000 people, including students from the Mindanao State University, members of the International Peace Youth Group, and believers from the two warring faith groups, participated.
On the same day, representatives of the two faith groups including Esmael G. Mangudadatu, Governor of Maguindanao and Catholic Archbishop, signed an agreement for the establishment of peace and the cessation of war. According to HWPL, the Mindanao peace agreement proposed a “civilian-centred awareness, improvement, and action-based” approach to peace.
In line with this approach, the organisation is cooperating with local groups to carry out peace initiatives centred around civil society, including education, religion, youth, and women, in order to eliminate sources of conflict and strengthen the core values for peaceful development.
Age 84 at the time, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL recalls holding hands with the representatives from the two faith groups as the agreement was signed: “While the signing of the agreement for peace was shown to the participants, the moderator explained the peace agreement, which was photographed and videotaped. The crowd erupted in cheers and applause of joy and delight.”