Ilonggo students to launch ‘inner peace’ project thru art

John Resty Dabalus (left) and Rynshien Joy Olivete of the Augustinian Communicators’ Guild hold a discussion during the Peace Advocates Summit of Angat Buhay Youth program. ACG will also lead the FilAr Peace which will launch on Friday, Feb 18, 2022.

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

A new mental health project by a reputable Ilonggo student organization will change the way we see mental health and attaining inner peace, through the medium of film and art.

The Augustinian Communicators’ Guild (ACG), an organization of AB Communication students at the University of San Agustin, is set to launch their month-long “FilAr Peace” project on Friday, Feb 18, 2022.

The project’s name comes from the words “film” and “art”, and alludes to the word “pillar”, with the general aim of using the said mediums as foundation to raise awareness and prevention, with the over-all theme of “Inner peace [as a] stepping stone to societal peace”.

Three “interventions” were identified by the ACG as part of the project: FilAr Peace Talk, FilAr Peace Film Festival, and FilAr Peace Art Exhibition.

FilAr Peace Talk will be the launching pad of the project on Friday, with the theme “Our collective peacefulness will start with you”.

Dr. Raymond John “RJ” Naguit, founding Chairperson of the Youth for Mental Health Coalition, and 2nd nominee of Akbayan Party-list for the 2022 national elections, will be the speaker for this virtual event.

The second intervention, the FilAr Peace Film Festival, is an online film festival competition which will be open for all.

The last intervention, the FilAr Peace Art Exhibition, is a collaboration with the local Sigahum Artists’ Group that will be exhibited in Mamusa Art Bistro for the public to visit.

Thirty percent of the proceeds from sales in the project’s duration will be fully given to the family of 26-year-old banana cue vendor Harold Loza from Santa Barbara town, who lost his job during the pandemic.

Loza’s father previously managed their small business, which has been running for 40 years, but suffered a stroke last year. His mother also has a mental health disease, and he has since looked after them together with his 17-year-old younger brother.

In a statement, the ACG says that the project is their “war” against the lack of inner peace and the prevalence of suicide in the country and in Iloilo City.

“[ACG] believes that war is something subjective. Our concept of war is dependent on the realities that we encounter on a day-to-day basis. In our community, we currently have a war against mental health. Iloilo has the highest number of recorded suicide cases with 59 incidents in the province and 7 cases in the City [in 2019]. In [University of San Agustin] alone, four suicide cases happened in the span of two months in 2019,” the ACG said in their statement.

“Our inner peace affects how we perceive peace in a larger context. Peace always starts within

ourselves, and once this peace is distracted, the society is threatened as well. Discrimination,

prejudice and hatred bloom,” they added.

They also stated their belief “that the use of film and arts is one of the most effective ways to get the attention and sympathy of the youth to join our cause because this is something feasible to them.”

FilAr Peace is supported by the Office of the Vice President’s “Angat Buhay Youth” program and is scheduled to run until March 25.