For years, the Philippines has been plagued by conflicts and violence within its waters. Decades of struggle have driven people out of their livelihoods, fuelling poverty, especially in conflict-affected areas. Not only is the country challenged by forms of violent extremism, but also with increasing cases of corruption, rising socio-economic inequality, and lack of government transparency.
In 2021, the Philippines ranked 117 out of 163 countries in the Corruption Perception Index, 138th in the World Press Freedom Index, 16th in the Global Terrorism Index, and 127th in the Global Peace Index. Scores from these indexes indicate that the Philippines has yet a lot more actions to perform in order to attain peace and development.
For communities to thrive, institutions must embrace the concepts of peace and integrate them into their plan towards development. As the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development describes it, not only that peace and security are prerequisites for achieving development, but sustainable development provides the pathway to peaceful societies. By promoting peace, communities can reduce poverty and prevent conflict, which translates to a healthier environment that promotes economic growth and improvement of social capital.
How to achieve development through peace
As discussed in our previous article, Johan Galtung, a Norwegian sociologist, described that peace can be achieved through two processes: positive peace or building institutions or systems that foster peace. Following Galtung’s thought, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) described eight important pillars that can address targets leading to peaceful societies.
According to the IEP, peace is achieved when societies adopt all pillars simultaneously: a well-functioning government; a sound business environment; an equitable distribution of resources; acceptance of the rights of others; good relations with neighbors; free flow of information; a high level of human capital; and low levels of corruption.
Under the 16th Sustainable Development Goal of the 2030 Agenda, peace can be achieved through cooperation among all stakeholders of society. Governments, businesses, civil society, and communities must work together to implement lasting solutions, combat corruption, uphold transparency, and ensure participation at all times.
How we can promote peace
To reduce conflicts and achieve peace, every individual must participate in the process. Advocating peace through various forms such as showing respect for one’s fundamental rights, promoting the rule of law, holding officials or institutions accountable for their actions, participating in decision-making at all levels, and promoting transparency.
Promoting peace may come as a daunting task for most people, but by working with the virtue of harmony and cooperation, institutions and communities will thrive and prosper with peace.
This article is written by John Vincent Balawen, the Founder and Chief Librarian of AKLATAN, in partnership with Conversations to the World.
AKLATAN is Ambisyon Philippines’ flagship project on development awareness through education. Throughout its activities, AKLATAN hopes to empower, educate, and engage educators-advocates for development.
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