The Department of Education, Peace Education Bureau was established in the Philippines in 2006, to help support the full integration of peace education in all of the curriculum, as well as the activities of all primary and secondary institutions. In order to make the advocacy effective, an institution has to meet and pass all the requirements in order to be included in the School of Peace.
The philosophy is that if war starts in the mind, then peace can also be sown in the minds of people. Various activities have been conducted in the past years, including seminar workshops on the culture of peace, Peace Camps, Peace Run, Peace Shower, Peace-tree planting and growing.
The Peace Education Bureau focuses on revisiting the history of Mindanao from its pre-colonial era down to the colonial period as tools to trace the roots of conflict. It seeks to integrate Peace Education into the curriculum and actively participate in peace movements and activities initiated by both government institutions and the church. However its work is not just limited to giving inputs, trainings and seminars on issues related. It aims to make peace become a culture and lifestyle for every Filipino Christian, Muslim or indigenous person. This will be made possible though the integration of peace programmes in all schools and in all subjects offered both in primary and secondary education. All schools are to encourage the celebration of Mindanao Week of Peace, during which each tribe is free to express their hopes, dreams and aspirations in life. This is meant for all to appreciate the diverse culture of the people in Mindanao.
To measure the success of the activities, a unified evaluation form was formulated by the Regional Office of the Department of Education. An annual gathering of all youths is the most anticipated part of the organisation. The main beneficiaries are both teachers and students in elementary and secondary education. It educates these stakeholders through calling PTA meetings and conferences in order to discuss the peace and stability situation of the area, and to solicit ideas on what possible solution or contribution they can give.
The initiative recognises the that the sowing of peace is never done overnight. The seeds must be planted over and over again. Some schools who have introduced the programme have noticed changes in the behaviour of both teachers and students. For teachers, who now educate on the many aspects of Mindanao history, bias towards certain tribes has been lessened. For students, it is noticeable that Muslims and Christians are now playing basketball together. Teenagers are now confident to go out of their homes even at night either to see cultural festivals in the plaza or attend social activities.