RP holds 1st peace-building tele-conference

July 31, 2006
The Manila Bulletin
RP holds 1st peace-building tele-conference
KABACAN, North Cotabato — The Philippines hosts today what has been dubbed as the world’s first peace-building tele-conference sponsored by the United Nations (UN) and the Canadian government. The project, dubbed as “PeacTech,” involves a seven-part televised two-setting talk show aimed at gathering and enabling representatives of concerned sectors to voice out their sentiments and recommendations on socio-political issues affecting Filipinos, especially the minorities. The first episode of the project will be conducted today at the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) campus in this battle-scarred town, on one hand, and in the University of the Philippines-Diliman campus in Quezon City, on the other. Kabacan Mayor Luzviminda J. Tan welcomed the project and thanked the organizers for choosing her town as site for three episodes of the peace-building project. She said the televised peace dialogues would help show how this town evolved from being a conflict-ridden municipality into a progressive town. Project manager Robin Pettyfer, a Canadian television journalist, said that 200 selected representatives of concerned sectors are expected to converge at the USM campus while a similar number of counterparts are set to gather at the UP-Diliman campus. The two participating groups will exchange information on various socio-political issues in televised proceedings, to be shown on huge TV monitors in both campues. Pettyfer said the UNICEF and the Australian government are using the talk shows as an experiment to bring together different groups that are “often divided by conflict.” He said the series is inclusive of children and youth from several sectors: Former Moro rebels, soldiers; Muslims, indigenous peoples, Christians; out-of-school youth; university students, and children from conflict zones. (Ali G. Macabalang)

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