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Breaking Down the Walls: Perspectives from the Academicians (1st edition)

IT IS a nostalgic feeling to be once more writing for Mindanao Times, my column entitled: “Loud Whisper” which I have coined for the general public and to reminisce once in a while about this global virus that has hit us and our brothers and sisters for seven months now. It’s a whisper in the ears of millions yet it can’t be louder than just a whisper to say and tell about it because everybody is wondering and asking. When will it end? When will that promised-vaccine start? When will we see everybody smiling, alive and kicking? Can we still feel and embrace the joyous carols of Christmas? Oh? When? Why? How? Who? What? These are question words which we can not definitely address.

This coronavirus pandemic has adversely affected us tremendously, mentally, physically, psychologically, economically, socially, emotionally, politically, environmentally, culturally, religiously, and whatever you may call it.,
It is for this reason that I come to seek answers to address these questions. Perhaps it is through this forum or platform that we can collectively put our heads together to arrive at solutions to this pandemic that seems to kill the majority of human beings in this majestic world.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man and improving him as a rational, moral and social being. .. Our liberty itself depends on freedom of the press and that press freedom should not be limited because to do so would mean losing that freedom entirely.”

Thus, the International Association of Academicians for Peace, (IAAP) has recently been conducting fora in virtual form (zoom confab, etc.) to discuss the implications of this deadly virus and the different sectors of society all over the world also give their perspectives and insights on this issue with relevance to factors affecting them. The IAAP is only one organization that has greatly been active in making this study through the conduct of forums globally. The PWPA (Professors World Peace Academy) is a member of this international association. In Davao City, this group is headed by her Hon. Councilor Pilar Braga. On the national level, the president of PWPA is Dr. Venus Agustin, president of the International Peace Leadership College.

There were already series of zoom and TV-YouTube conferences held for the purpose and I can report that lately our international speaker, Dr. Raymundo Arcega of Lyceum of the Philippines University in Manila was one of the distinguished speakers on this topic: Breaking the Walls…Other speakers are presidents of Korea University, Univ. of Fiji, Bangladesh University; HongKong University, Nepal, India, Japan, etc.

Also, two weeks ago, a similar forum (zoom confab) was conducted. The resource speakers were: Dr. Louie Ignacio, Dean, College of San Juan de Letran and professor of UST and Mr. Ronnie Sodusta, a graduate of Sun Moon University in Korea.

The themes of the zoom confabs are : Opportunity and Hope at a Time of Global Crisis: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values; and Resiliency in the New Normal, Educating for Peace, Solidarity and Justice.

In his SONA, months back, his Excellency, President Rodrigo Duterte stressed the New Normal System and said that we have to adapt to this system because that’s the only way where we can make things easy for everybody, for every Filipino. We have to innovate because we are now living in a world of uncertainty and a world that is more than a crisis caused by this Covid19 pandemic.

Filipinos are greatly and adversely affected by this. With what’s happening now, we can’t really address this very soon but we shall pretend to live a normal life.. DOH, the WHO and the IATF always remind us to follow health protocols. We should maintain order and security because if we don’t then we might see ourselves caught between conflicts which is inimical to our search for peace, unity and prosperity.

But, of course the bottom line is, we must seek solutions to this problem collectively and in solidarity. We should seek solutions to this problem if we still want to survive. In his presentation, Dr. Ignacio stressed that we can start seeking for justice in the level. If there is justice in the barangays, there would be peace. We can eventually have sustained happiness, satisfaction and prosperity.

Just last week this forum was followed up by another one and this was held in Korea. State leaders also were invited to give their perspectives on pursuing interdependence in a community of peace, during a time of global crisis. They presented their speeches live over a television using the YouTube platform and were broadcasted all over the world. Other speakers like state leaders and their First Ladies, members of the press, academicians and businessmen were also invited to speak and give their insights.

Just last night President Duterte expressed his concern that OFWs and seafarers who are still abroad and are stranded could not come home to the Philippines because they are sailing and floating on the sea. I like his descriptive word used to describe them, “limbo” which means they are all in a place of oblivion and uncertainty.

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