ucanews.com reporter, ManilaUpdated: July 29, 2013 09:05 PM GMT
A soldier and a teenager paint a piece of the mural
Soldiers and peace advocates have unveiled what they claim is the "world's longest peace mural" spanning 3.7 kilometers in the suburbs of Quezon City.
"This project is about breaking barriers that prevent us from moving forward," said AG Sano of the Dolphins Love Freedom Network, one of the sponsors of the project said.
"I was convinced of this when I saw soldiers painting with the children of rebels," he said during Saturday’s unveiling that was attended by soldiers, volunteers and members of non-government organizations.
The mural was painted on the wall of the armed force’s headquarters along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, one of Manila's major arteries, White Plains Avenue, and Col Bonny Serrano Avenue. The painting was started on May 26.
"We saw art as a good way of creating better understanding and … the promotion of peace," said Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman of the Asia-America Initiative group.
"This is a portrait of the Filipino’s aspiration for peace," she added.
General Emmanuel Bautista, the armed forces chief of staff, said the solution to ending armed conflict in the country lies in the Filipino practice of Bayanihan or cooperation as symbolized by the mural.
Bautista noted what he described as an "increasing clamor for internal peace and security" in the country to end more than four decades of armed conflict with Muslim and communist rebels.
The Philippine government and the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front have said in recent weeks that a final peace deal to end almost four decades of war in Mindanao is about to be signed.
Peace negotiations with communist rebels, however, have been stalled for almost two years.