The GenSan Peace, Information and Knowledge Center was opened for public last week. The center is located at the compound of the City Social Welfare and Development Office, beside the post office along Roxas Boulevard.
The center is a small library of various books, journals, documentations, pamphlets and magazines which is open from Monday to Friday.
Rebecca Magante, head of the CSWDO, related that the building where the center is located was built by former Moro rebels and New People’s Army who returned to the folds of law in the 1980s through the National Integration Program of the government.
“This building is the output of the carpentry and masonry training we gave them,” she said.
The United Nations Development Program-ACT for Peace Programme sponsored the renovation of the learning center in line with its drive to educate the public about peace-building and peace-keeping.
The Peace and Development Advocates in Gen. Santos City (PDA-GenSan) will help in gathering more reading materials for the center. “We welcome any institution or individual who will donate additional books, research documentations, or other materials that will enrich the knowledge center for the benefit of the public,” Wahida Abtahi, executive director of PDA-GenSan, said.
“We are blessed having an information center where people will learn about peace,” said city councilor Lourdes Casabuena during the blessing of the peace center on Feb. 28. “If we have respect within ourselves, that is peace and we must radiate that to others,” she stressed.
Rep. Darlene A. Custodio, of the first district of South Cotabato and General Santos City, pointed out that one does not have to be a leader first to become a peace advocate. “Advocating respect starting in your home, neighbors and community makes a person a peace advocate,” she explained. “
Diosita Andot, programme manager of the UNDP-ACT for Peace Programme, said the people must understand conflict and peace.
“Having high level of understanding about conflict and peace will make us aware if the context of peace is always there in whatever we do,” she explained.
The UNDP will also provide documentations of their 10-year peace-building interventions in Mindanao in response to the 1996 GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement.
The peace center will operate under the management of the CSWDO.
The launching ceremony was also attended by the city police director, members of the International Monitoring Team, Ustadz Monir Samsudin from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth-Philippines, National President of the Peace and Development Advocates League Cmdr. Johnny Akbar, Fr. Angel Buenavides of the Kapayapaan Kapatid Council and representative from the Kalinaw Sarangani Unit. (Gandhi C. Kinjiyo / MindaNews)