Joji & Dann Pantoja

Joji & Dann Pantoja are peace building missionaries commissioned by Peace Mennonite Church and administered through Mennonite Church Canada. They are assigned to the Philippines to lead a team of Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Specialists called PeaceBuilders Community Inc. They also co-founded Coffee for Peace Corp. to help indigenous farmers in the Philippines produce, process, and market their products in accordance with inclusive and sustainable development principles.

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Feb 06 2018

A YOUNGER SET OF COMMITTED LEADERS ARE BEING EQUIPPED TO SPEARHEAD PAR MOVEMENT IN THE NEXT DECADES

We are mentoring the next generation of leaders in this Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) vision and mission  for which we’ve been sent as missionaries. This PAR Movement is now being carried by three ‘organizational vehicles’ — PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI), Coffee for Peace Corp. (CfPC) and AJM Planning and Design (AJM). These young leaders are organizing themselves to run a social enterprise to sustain this PAR Movement.

Convergence of three organizations. PBCI, CfPC and AJM are legally distinct from each other but functionally inseparable as one inclusive development consulting group.


 

PBCI is a non-profit organization that trains peace and reconciliation leaders and field volunteers — like conflict transformation specialists, restorative justice practitioners, and inclusive development leaders — who are dreaming and working together for a just, radical, and active non-violent transformation of our beautiful land. PBCI normally works in partnership with religious institutions, civil society organizations, political fronts, business corporations, and government agencies.

 

CfPC is a for-profit corporation. While doing profitable business, CfPC addresses social issues that concern our farmers, our environment, and the peace situation in our land. CfPC is committed to multiply justice-oriented social enterprises in the coffee industry. CfPC is also the primary social enterprise model in this PAR Movement.

 

AJM’s mission is to create positive impacts on society and the environment through landscape architecture. Through landscape architecture, site planning, urban design, environmental graphics, and digital media, AJM seeks to communicate and demonstrate peace and reconciliation messages as people enjoy public parks, campuses, resorts, camping sites, business centers and other public places throughout the country.

 


 

Mentoring new leaders. Starting this year and in the following years to come, we will invest most of our time and energy equipping and empowering a new generation of leaders through the PeaceBuilders School of Leadership (PBSL). PBSL is the continuing education program for current PBCI staff, consultants, and selected volunteers; it is also the training and qualifying program for PBCI’s prospective Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) seminar facilitators, consultants and new staff candidates.

Meet the new members of our senior leadership team who are going through basic and advanced programs at PBSL:


 

Twinkle Alngag Bautista. We call her ‘Tala’ — the Pilipino term for star. In her own words, she desires to be “a Tala that points toward the Prince of Peace; a star that reflects only the Prince of Peace; to shine pointing to the Shalom.” Tala is a proud member of the Kalinga First Nation and celebrates the fact that she belongs to the Indigenous People (IP). She’s a graduate of the University of the Philippines in Diliman with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. At an early age, she dreamed to be a missionary. Now that she’s part of PeaceBuilders Community, she testifies with much excitement that she is a ‘peacebuilding missionary’! At PBCI, Tala is our most qualified partnership designer and seasoned inclusive development mentor. At CfPC, she serves as vice president for community development.

 

 

Sihaya Ansibod. Her christianized name is Jobelyn Basas. Sihaya obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Community Development from Southern Christian College, Midsayap, Cotabato. She is a proud Erumenen ne Menuvu — one of Mindanao’s indigenous peoples. The meaning of her indigenous name, Sihaya Ansibod, is “The Enlightened One”. Her gifts of spiritual discernment and wisdom are being demonstrated in the delicate tasks she’s doing in the field — community organizing, conflict transformation, inclusive development initiatives. She has good working skills in dealing with various kinds of situations, proficient in working with computers, works effectively with PBCI office and field teams, and flexible in adapting changes in new settings.

 

 

Aiza Wanay Baluyan. Aiza is ‘Wanay’ — a proud indigenous woman from the tribe of Banao in the Province of Kalinga. She is a Registered Nurse with specific expertise on health advocacy. Along her professional journey, she gained skills on systems administration, event coordination as well as community-based learning facilitation. She is also a dedicated environmental activist. Her dream is to continue her passion to help her people in the area of community-based health care and inclusive development initiatives — such as coffee farming, processing, and marketing. While learning peace and reconciliation with PBCI and CFP, she is also dreaming to rejuvenate the coffee plantations in their tribal lands in Kalinga, starting with the properties her family owns. While finishing her PBSL program, Wanay will serve as systems administrator at the CfPC office.

 

 

Bennette Grace Tenecio-Manulit. Bennette holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. She served as PBCI’s director of support operations for several years. She made sure that our field workers — both paid and volunteer staff — were adequately cared for through her administrative and financial management skills. In those times of emergencies due to war and natural disasters, Bennette and her team proved to be efficient and effective in their logistical operations. Her advanced leadership and management skills brought her to lead a national project of the Philippine Relief and Development Services, the relief and development arm of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches. At present, she’s running her own inclusive business with her husband, Norman. Bennette also serves as vice president for public relations at Coffee for Peace Corp.

 

 

AJ Moldez. AJ is a graduate of the University of the Philippines—College of Architecture, with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree. He has worked with the pioneers of landscape architecture in the Philippines and since has worked on projects ranging from high end residential projects to masterplanned developments. Right now, he’s the principal at AJM Planning and Design — a collaborative and faith-inspired design studio that is committed to using landscape architecture as a vehicle for peace and reconciliation advocacy. He joined PBCI a year ago and since then have directed his business and professional activities in support of peace theology and inclusive development. While going through his PBSL program, AJ also serves as vice president for innovation planning and design at Coffee for Peace Corp.

 


 

Inclusive development consulting group. As we are getting deeply immersed in divided communities because of unresolved conflicts, the more we are becoming aware of the need for inclusive economic development as a critical aspect of our peace and reconciliation mission. Inclusive Development is based on three pillars:

  • high, sustainable, regenerating development and growth to create and expand economic opportunities;
  • broader access to opportunities to ensure that members of society can participate and benefit from development; and,
  • social safety nets to prevent extreme deprivation.

A number of people’s community organizations with whom we are working together are moving towards inclusive development. They are actively involved in the areas of various livelihood initiatives, such as: vegetable farming and marketing; bamboo product manufacturing; and, brick-making using silts and palay hull.

These inclusive development activities are all framed in Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Principles — that is harmony with the Creator (spiritual transformation), with one’s being (psycho-social transformation), with the others (socio-political transformation), and with creation (economic-ecological transformation).

Because of these emerging needs expressed by our field partners, we are prompted to organize ourselves into an integrated inclusive development consulting group. All the talents, expertise, years of experience, and resources of PBCI, CfPC, and AJM are now converged into one group of companies to serve our clients better.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2018/02/06/a-younger-set-of-committed-leaders-are-being-equipped-to-spearhead-pbci-cfp-in-the-next-decades/

Jan 01 2018

MAY OUR NEW YEAR BE FILLED WITH LOVE, JOY, PEACE, AND PATIENCE

May your 2018 be filled with love, joy, peace, and patience!

We’re projecting what we need as we face the New Year. We need to be embraced by love, joy, peace, and patience. And we pray that you also would be embraced by love, joy, peace, and patience this coming year.

Love. We’re facing a global reality where there is increasing divide between people and nations because of race, politics, religion, culture and other factors that make us different from each other. Perhaps this is what John Naisbitt predicted two decades ago: the more global our economies become, the more tribal our identities will be. And these are exacerbated by the interests of those who make billions of dollars when people and nations engage in armed conflicts.

It is during these times of alienation between nations and people when we need most the harmonizing energy of love. We worship a God of love. The DivineLove transcends our differences and bridges us with each other. This is best communicated by this video from Sojourners community, whose mission “is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, to inspire hope and build a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world.”

Joy. The year 2017 has been filled with fear and sorrow.  There were 1,123 terror attacks and 7,571 fatalities around the world. More than ever, we need the angelic message that went hand-in-hand with the proclamation of the Incarnation. Addressing the terrified shepherds, the angels’ comforting words are so needed by the world’s marginalized people groups whose human security are in great danger: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” God’s presence, the Joy of the world, was given to us through a very gentle intervention of the Eternal One into the chaos and painful realities of the temporal: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)

As we learn and grasp the extent of humanity’s cruelty against humanity in 2017, we invite you to focus on God’s Joy—for our focus determines our reality. It is through the lenses of God’s transcendent reality that we can see the beauty and the goodness of this world—through the eyes of the Emmanu-El.

One of my most joyful days was with my Vancouver family—whom I terribly miss this Christmas Season. When I’m psycho-socially down, I look at this video and can’t help but swim in the pond of joy.

Peace. The Arabic word salaam and the Hebrew word shalom basically means, “completeness, soundness, welfare, and peace.”  Completeness has the idea of being whole—that is, all the parts are connected with each other.  Soundness can be understood also as safety of the body and clarity of mind.  Welfare can be viewed as wellness—that is, holistic health and prosperity.  Peace can be read as tranquility, contentment, and healthy relationships with God and other human beings, and thus, the absence of any hostility or war.

In a conflicted world, unpeace characterizes the alienated life of human beings—that means, alienation of humanity from the Creator, from our being, from others, and from the creation. This is the prevailing construct of reality in the world today.

But there’s an alternative way to look at Reality—the Creator’s Ultimate Reality. It is the Creator’s will for us to enjoy the quality of life that is characterized by harmonious relationships — with the Creator, with our being, with others, and with the creation. This is Salaam-Shalom Reality. This Reality is the vision of life where spirituality, community, identity, and economy-ecology are harmoniously connected with each other.

One of my most peaceful afternoon in 2017 was in Ligawasan Marshlands in Maguindanao. There, at a territory mostly controlled by Moro Islamic Liberation Front, my fellow peace workers and I had an experience of peace among local folks whose lives are truly submitted to the Creator—whom they refer to as Allah.

Patience. We experienced a bad year in the Philippines due to increased human rights violation, increased poverty despite the so-called economic growth, and betrayal of trust by duty bearers. Observers and analysts are predicting that 2018 would be a more dangerous year. We need a kind of spiritually-energized patience to sustain us through these challenging times. My greatest human inspiration as far as patience is concerned are the people of the Cordilleras. Their rice terraces are the monuments of such patience. Their cultural and political perseverance to protect and defend their ancestral domains show a strong people’s deep awareness of their being. The Cordillera people encourages me to hope for genuine autonomy as they stay true to the peacebuilding and reconciling aspects of their indigenous values and principles.

A timuay—an indigenous people’s leader in Mindanao—taught me that patience is inherent in the inner being of each indigenous person. “Natural spirituality,” he said, “is spirituality of patience.” And both the Christian and Islamic faiths regard patience as a spiritual virtue. The Arabic word sabr is the Islamic virtue of patience, endurance, or more accurately perseverance and persistence. Patience, in Christianity, is one aspect of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). A dictionary defines patience as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

Love, joy, peace and patience are the virtues that energize us in our peace-and-reconciliation work with the Indigenous People, with the Moro people, and with the Settlers here in the beautiful island of Mindanao in Southern Philippines. It is this unconditional love that motivates us to joyfully serve these peoples towards peace. Together, we face our challenges with patience from our respective spiritual resources.

Joji and I are followers of Jesus. Our worldview is shaped by our humble understanding of God as our Heavenly Father. We seek to be shaped by the life and work of Jesus of Nazareth in our words and actions. Our spiritual strength comes from the Holy Spirit who energize us with love, joy, peace, and patience. We are convinced that the spiritual power within us is greater than the threats of the greed-oriented, war-mongering powers of this world.

May our 2018 be filled with love, joy, peace, and patience!

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2018/01/01/may-our-new-year-be-filled-with-love-joy-peace-and-patience/

Sep 10 2017

CFP WON THE NATIONAL INCLUSIVE BUSINESS CATEGORY AT THE ‘ASEAN BUSINESS AWARDS 2017’

We are so encouraged when Joji received another citation from the ASEAN Business Awards 2017:


ASEAN BUSINESS AWARDS 2017
NATIONAL WINNER, PHILIPPINES
Inclusive Business Category

Coffee for Peace is a social enterprise in the areas of Mt. Apo, Bukidnon, and the Cordillera Administrative Region which envisions Peace Communities practicing relational harmony and enjoying quality life by engaging in a sustainable coffee value chain. It incessantly seeks various ways to economically allow marginalized communities in Mindanao and the Philippines become sustainable. This is not only an approach to sustaining peace efforts but also to give a better alternative to armed struggle and other destructive environmental practices just to bring food on the table.


We dedicate this award to all the farmers in the Philippines.

We will continue to pray for your liberation from all kinds of oppression.

We will continue to listen, to serve and to work, with your guidance, towards the advancement of justice for the peace of all the families toiling the land.

We honor our Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) field training facilitators — Clay & June Rojo, Twinkle ‘Tala’ Alngag Bautista, Byron ‘Bee’ Pantoja, Jobee ‘Sihaya’ Basas, Aiza ‘Wanay’ Baluyan — with this award. We express our gratitude for the administrative work of Tyron Ortiz and Chacha Denila Homez.

Coffee for Peace is also a finalist all over Southeast Asia in the ‘Inclusive Business’ category.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/09/10/cfp-won-the-national-inclusive-business-category-at-the-asean-business-awards-2017/

Feb 25 2017

WE THRIVE! WE DON’T MERELY SURVIVE.

Perhaps it’s time to review the funding sources of those who work for justice and peace in the name of Jesus.

 

We’re learning that the old notion of community-based, regenerating approaches (such as social entrepreneurship — Coffee For Peace in our case) to support our ministries are once again more sustainable than funding from governments and other institutions.

 

Monks and nuns in the past have practiced these self-regenerating ministries.

 

Now, even a mixed community of married couples, single parents, young people (PeaceBuilders Community in our case) can live with each other five days a week, eat together, pray daily together, worship weekly together, and earn our living together while serving God together in demonstrating peace and reconciliation in the historical contexts of our people and our land. And we can enjoy RestDays as families and individuals during the weekends.

 

 

Yet, we still need our global community — individuals and families — who want to invest from their own pockets in our social entrepreneurial initiatives.

 

We can also return to community-to-community partnership like what Paul of Tarsus facilitated between Macedonian communities and Jerusalem communities. So the local-global partnership (koinonia) can still be practiced and even be nurtured!

 

It is still an exciting time to be assured of the acts of the Spirit in spite of, and in the midst of, these dark days of the 21st Century Empire.

 

We thrive! We don’t merely survive.

 

 

VISION 2020

 

BY FAITH, WE SEE AT LEAST ONE PAR COMMUNITY IN EACH PROVINCE BY 2020

Imagine.  By December 31st, 2020, each of our provinces will have a circle of leaders called Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Communities!  They would serve as the catalysts to organize PAR Teams in their municipalities or cities.  These PAR Teams, in turn, would serve as radical transformation volunteers in their respective families, churches, neighbourhoods, barangays, cities or municipalities.  The PAR Teams would also get involved in PAR Programs that are relevant to their specific context.

We are operating in 33 out of 81 provinces in the Philippines as of January 2016.

20 in Mindanao. 4 in Visayas. 09 in Luzon.

 

 

A NON-VIOLENT, RADICAL TRANSFORMATION

 

God willing, the Peace and Reconciliation Communities in all the provinces of the Philippines would advance as a Peace and Reconciliation Movement with an integrated framework for peace-building, who are organized in partnership with various parts of the People of God, who are mobilized to do ministries of justice and peace in the name of Jesus, and who will lovingly serve all the peoples of our land unconditionally regardless of religion, ethnicity, or political ideology, to the end that our land will experience holistic, radical transformation!

Using an integrated framework for peace-building, PBCI will serve each PAR Community to be equipped in spiritually-energized social discernment and analysis.

1.  We will serve each PAR Community by equipping them with certain spiritual discernment skills and social analytical tools to help them understand the issues causing the crises they are facing in their particular province.  By having a clear discernment and analysis of their situation, they can make relevant and effective crisis intervention.

2.  We will encourage them to look beyond their current crises and to envision a future when there is genuine peace and reconciliation in their particular province.  This vision is characterized by the kind of social structures and relationships they would desire.  Such long term vision will help them discern the root causes of the crises they are facing and will also help them look through the taken-for-granted facades of social realities that keep the cycle or recurrence of their crises.

3.  We will walk with them, in each ‘level of response’ and through ‘the time frame of activity,’ as they move from their crises to their desired change.  We will offer how our understanding of shalom transformation (spiritual, psycho-social, socio-political, and economic-ecological) would guide their journey towards their desired future.

 

May this vision be counted as one of the many prayers for the transformation of our beloved country.  May God bring genuine peace and reconciliation among our people and in our land!

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/02/25/we-thrive-we-dont-merely-survive/

Jan 21 2015

PAR BUKIDNON ESTABLISHES INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT PLANS

See Photo Album

From the 20th to the 22nd of January we were in Bukidnon Province. We met with the architects of Central Mindanao University’s Mount Kalayo Institute for Social Enterprise Growth (MKISEG) to explore the possibility of a partnership between MKISEG and Coffee For Peace to create a program for training indigenous farmers in coffee cultivation.

We also made sure to spend time catching up and fellowshipping with the PAR Bukidnon team and with the enthusiastic young missionaries of the Kalinaw Youth Movement — PAR Bukidnon’s campus ministry at CMU.

Pastor Manny Alquino of PAR Bukidnon gave us a tour of his Sidlak Pinoy operation — a social enterprise which creates inexpensive house-building bricks out of Bukidnon’s abundant river silt mixed with the ash of burnt rice hulls.

Before heading back to Davao, we joined MKISEG in presenting our coffee education plans to the regional office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. The NCIP shares our hopes for an improved quality of life among Bukidnon’s marginalized IPs.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2015/01/21/4436/

Jan 01 2015

WE’RE SO EXCITED TO EMBRACE 2015

joji-talaandig2015b

Embraced and loved by our new extended family and community: Nanay Adelfa Saway, a tribal council elder, teaches Nenia and Joji the basic moves of the native Talaandig Eagle Dance. 08 March 2014, Talaandig Ancestral Territory, Bukidnon.

 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Isaiah 43:18

There are overwhelming reasons why Joji and I, along with the whole PeaceBuilders Community, are excited to face the New Year!

New Sceneries. By the invitation of various local and provincial tribal leaders, we will be extending our Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) community development operations in the Kalinga Province. This scenic province will be a major focus of our presence.

PAR Kalinga, although still in its early phase, already has a full schedule in two significant fields. Salome Haldemann, our international staff assigned to focus on this development, reports:

The first field is the preservation of the indigenous traditions and culture.  Among the main riches of the Cordilleras are the presence, culture and history of their indigenous people. The Kalingas have customary peace processes, traditions of hospitality and solidarity, and a strong relationship with the spiritual world. But they are disregarded by the mainstream lowland culture. In the minds of many Filipinos, the Kalinga’s history of head hunting is highlighted because of cultural prejudice. Lowlanders tend to turn this exceptional practice as if this is the Kalinga’s only characteristic.

kalinga-par

Newly-organized PAR Kalinga, with PBCI PAR Consulting Team. Pastoral House, Tabuk City, 07 November 2014.

The second field of work for PAR Kalinga is seeking to help in the transformation of the political, economic and social injustices in the Cordillera Region. The Cordilleras are full of natural resources, but have been one of the poorer provinces of the Philippines for years. Their riches—gold mines, forests, pure spring water, streams—are drained for the good of the Manila-based central government. However, the Cordillera’s provinces reportedly receive less funding from the government than all the other provinces in the Philippines. A promise of autonomy for the Cordilleras had been negotiated in 1986, after years of fighting from the Cordillera People’s Alliance – Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPA-CPLA) but the government now considers the agreement closed, after what CPA regards as foul play. Tension is strongly felt by those who fought for autonomy, and PAR Kalinga has been asked to help in advocating for the cause.

New Horizon. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has organized the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP). Its First Volunteers’ General Assembly was held last 23-25 December 2014 in Camp Darapanan, Barangay Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. PBCI representatives were invited as observers.

From being a revolutionary front, the MILF is transitioning to become a political party. In his opening remarks, Hon. Sammy Al-Mansour, UBJP Secretary General, said: “Our struggle is moving from the shooting of bullets to casting of ballots.” Al-Mansour is also the Chief of Staff of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the military wing of the MILF.

For our community, this would be a new challenge in a new horizon of conflict transformation.

ubjp-01

Civil society leaders, including representatives from PBCI, were invited as observers at the First General Assembly of the new MILF political party — the United Bangsamoro Justice Party or UBJP. December 24, MILF Main Camp, Maguindanao.

We will be anticipating, with much excitement, how this revolutionary-force-turned-political-party would help transform the electoral horizon of Mindanao as they prepare in 2015 to participate in the 2016 elections.

New Mountain. We will be establishing a new model farm for arabica coffee in Kapatagan, a community at the foothills of Mount Apo. Coffee For Peace will be acquiring an 8000-square meter property from our friend and fellow peace advocates — Edwin and Inday Arcenas. We will soon be working together in advocating Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) principles and to plant Arabica coffee together in this mountain range (1000+ meters above sea level), applying our Coffee For Peace advocacy.

New Depth. As we are getting deeply immersed in divided communities because of unresolved conflicts, the more we are becoming aware of the need for inclusive economic development as a critical aspect of our peace and reconciliation mission.

In the past few months, we have been actively participating in an inclusive growth movement in Mindanao being spearheaded by the Central Mindanao University (CMU). Much of our time in 2015 will be strategically invested in developing inclusive growth and development with our CMU partners. We are going to further develop a new social business enterprise called Sidlak Kalinaw.

talaandig2014-dannjojivicliza

Posing for photo with Bae Lisa and Datu Migketay Saway

New Heights. The growing relationship between PBCI and the key leaders of Indigenous People is helping our peacebuilding advocacy reach a new level of effectiveness in the area of conflict transformation.

Last year, a group of scientists and researchers from CMU entered Mount Kitanglad to study certain plants for medicinal purposes. The Cultural Guards of the Talaandig Tribe patrolling the forests arrested the researchers who entered the tribal territory without permission from the tribal council. Past issues and deep wounds immediately re-surfaced.

Our PAR team in Bukidnon were invited by Datu Migketay ‘Vic’ Saway — the spiritual leader of the Council of the Seven Tribes in Bukidnon — to help in the conflict resolution processes. Both the Talaandig Tribe and CMU executives have agreed to go through a conflict transformation process between them. The two parties have expressed a clear vision of where this long-term process is going. Reconciliation.

As we enter 2015, we will be investing time and resources working on this issue.

 

joji-talaandig2015a

Embraced by our new community: A Talaandig dreamweaver helps Joji wear her new native attire–which was completed after two years of hand weaving and sewing.

New Expanded Family and Community. We have been embraced by certain leaders from both the Bangsamoro and the Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao with their love, hospitality, patience, and mentorship.

We, at  PeaceBuilders Community, have also embraced them with love, expressed through our justice advocacy for their rights as well as through our sincere respect for their culture.

Last October 15th, Jonathan Cranston, one of our international staff, participated in a tribal celebration. He was able to interact with some academic and tribal leaders advocating for the right to self determination of the indigenous peoples in Mindanao. Here’s a segment of his report:

This struggle for official recognition of traditional tribal homeland is the experience of many in the indigenous community, says Prof. Sharon Bulaclac, a faculty member at Mindanao State University and a consultant for PeaceBuilders, Inc. who attended Talaandig Day with the PeaceBuilders Team. According to Prof. Bulaclac, government administrators at both the local and national levels often have ties to corporations whose profits would suffer as a consequence of official recognition of tribal domain claims. The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 is ostensibly in place to protect tribal rights to tribes’ ancestral lands. Nonetheless, says Prof. Bulaclac, “even though the law is there, sometimes they will pretend that the law is invisible.” The datus (chiefs) of the Panalan Higaonon tribe, who also attended Talaandig Day, made the same assertion as Prof. Bulaclac. They told me that though IPRA is on the books, it is not enforced, and they feel that Mindanao’s Lumad peoples lack recognition and are disrespected.

Another international staff member, Arthur John Block, shared his observation on the communal spirituality of the Talaandig Tribe:

We entered the hall and were surprised to see it full of people. Despite the gorgeous art on the walls, to the school groups and other curious but respectful spectators, the center of attention in the second floor of the two-storey Hall of Peace was the ceremony taking place. A joyful and smiling Talaandig leader was drawing drips of water from a jar with a piece of a banana leaf and anointing the infants and toddlers brought forth by their parents, welcoming and dedicating them into the community; as this was happening, a table of tribal leaders prayed passionately with their hands outstretched toward the children. The colors, the smiles, and the positive reverence displayed by all involved illustrated the beauty – both aesthetic and spiritual – of this tribal community.

The year 2015 will be decisive as we directly advocate for the IP’s right to self determination in several specific cases. One of which is walking with our Dulangan Manobo sisters and brothers. Even as we commit to this, we humbly keep in mind that we are not here to simply help. We are here to bind our lives with the oppressed. Their liberation is our liberation.

We’re excited to embrace 2015. Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2015/01/01/were-so-excited-to-embrace-2015/

Nov 08 2014

KALINGA PAR COMMUNITY IS BORN!

kalinga-par

We were invited by a group of tribal leaders in Kalinga Province to share our the Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Principles being advocated by PeaceBuilders Community.

The first segment of our Kalinga journey were spent in various tribal communities to get to get initial experience of the places, the people, and the various cultures in this province.

 

 

The second segment of our journey was invested in PAR teaching:

We facilitated a PAR Orientation and Vision Sharing. This two-day introductory seminar generated much agenda for a possible peace and reconciliation movement among these community leaders in Kalinga.

The two-day event concluded with a questionnaire that Twinkle prepared. Those questions would be discussed in the respective communities who were represented in this initial seminar.

Below are some images of those exciting two days in Tabuk, Kalinga:

 

Finally, we were invited to participate in a celebration, review, and renewal of peace pact between two tribes:

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/11/08/kalinga-par-community-is-born/

Oct 02 2014

ACTIVE NONVIOLENT RADICAL TRANSFORMATION IS HAPPENING

radicalism-conference-seasia

We’re attending this gathering of diplomats, executives of international aid agencies, corporate decision makers, and political leaders. This is a sort of reaction to the growing concern about ISIS and other “radical groups.” The event is called A Forum on Current Dynamics of Radicalism in Southeast Asia: Peace Building Challenges and Opportunities in the Philippines, held here in a five-star hotel, Shangri-la EDSA.

The organizers invited us for free!

 

My reflections based on Peace Theology:

Radix. Latin word for root.

Radical. A person who advocates thorough or complete political or social change; a member of a political party or part of a party pursuing such aims. (synonyms: revolutionary, progressive)

I’m a radical in a sense that I see, analyze, and act to understand and help solve my perceived root of a problem.

There are violent radicals.

There are active nonviolent radicals.

I belong to a movement committed to active nonviolent radical approach to social change. I am a Radical Transformation activist.

Governments, corporations, civil societies, religious institutions, academic institutions, security sectors, and media must distinguish active nonviolent radicals like us from those violent radicals.

Radicalism is not the problem.

Terrorism is the problem. Terrorism is committed both by non-state armed elements and the armed forces of many states.

Radical, active nonviolent transformation is happening!

 

radicalism-forum

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/10/02/active-nonviolent-radical-transformation-is-happening/

Aug 20 2014

OUR SUPPORT FOR THE BANGSAMORO IS BASED ON A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE

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Representatives of civil society organizations deliver a statement of support to the respective chairpersons of the GPH and MILF Peace Panels. 04 August 2014, Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City. Photo Courtesy: OPAPP

The positive attitude of PeaceBuilders Community towards the Bangsamoro is energized by our peace theology.

While being supportive and actively praying for the success of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), our hope for the future goes beyond politically negotiated agreements and beyond legislative acts of governments.

As a community of Christian peace and reconciliation missionaries, our hope is ultimately based on a biblical view of the final justice and peace on earth when Christ, the Prince of Peace, will govern the world with genuine justice for all. In our worldview, the reality of this radical just-peace began with the first coming of Jesus Christ and will be completed in His Second Coming. In this sense, the context of our peacebuilding mission is in the intersection of the ‘already’ and of the ‘not yet.’

It is this biblical hope that motivates us to call on our fellow Christians to repent, seek forgiveness, and correct our unjust actions, as well as to forgive, and to reconcile with, the people who treated us unjustly—in the past.

It is also this spiritual hope that energizes us to strive for just-peace in the present—including our support and advocacy for the on-going peace process between the GPH and the MILF.

It is because of this hope that we say, “Peace is possible!” with much conviction and passion.

From this theological perspective—

  • We affirm our support for the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its four Annexes;
  • We continue to celebrate the signed 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, praying that it will be an effective instrument to attain just-peace in Mindanao and in the whole Philippines;
  • We express our appreciation for both the GPH and MILF Peace Panels who demonstrated their dedication and commitment to peace as the “only option” in this negotiation;
  • We applaud the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) for finally submitting a “mutually agreed draft” of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to the Office of the President;
  • We call on His Excellency President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to certify the BBL before the Legislative Branch as an urgent bill;
  • We call on the Legislative Branch of our government to process this Bangsamoro Basic Law with careful, responsible examination and deliberation using the lenses of justice, righteousness, and peace for all;
  • We call on the People of the Philippines to look at this peace process through the reconciling eyes of their spiritual hearts and minds.

As we dream and work towards national peace and reconciliation, we resonate with the statement of the late Nelson Mandela: “In the end, reconciliation is a spiritual process, which requires more than just a legal framework. It has to happen in the hearts and minds of the people.”

And so, we pray for the completion of this peace process between the GPH and the MILF for the salaam-shalom of Mindanao and of the whole Philippines!

We deeply believe that peace is the will of God. May God’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven.”

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/08/20/our-support-for-the-bangsamoro-is-based-on-a-spiritual-perspective/

Jan 30 2014

SO AFFIRMED BY THE PHILIPPINE CHURCH IN THEIR SUPPORT OF THE PEACE PROCESS

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Leaders of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front pray together for the continuation of the peace negotiation between the Bangsamoro and the government, held in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao last 14 May 2013. PCEC consistently supported this talks until the January 25th signing of the 4th Annex.

We are so thankful for the explicit, official public support of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) to the tail-end of the peace negotiation between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The PCEC statement of support was quoted in major media outfits in the Philippines, especially in the giant GMA Network.

PCEC WELCOMES THE FINAL STAGES OF THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS IN MINDANAO

Prayerful statement of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches on the signing of the Annex on Normalization and the Addendum on Waters during the 43rd Exploratory Talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) held last 25 January 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as the final parts of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

We praise God for bringing the GPH-MILF Peace Negotiations in this stage when all four Annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) have been signed. Along with all the God-worshipping and peace-loving people in our country, we shout “Hallelujah!” as we give our support to this newly-signed agreement.

We congratulate the members of both the GPH and the MILF Peace Panels, past and present, for their faithfulness, diligence, and perseverance in pursuing this noble task of conflict transformation through peaceful negotiations. We specifically applaud the current members of both the GPH and the MILF Peace Panels who have demonstrated transparency, determination, and trustworthiness as they struggled with many difficult issues around the negotiating table.

We anticipate with much excitement the final signing in the next few weeks, when all aspects and annexes of the FAB are integrated into one Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

We pray that the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by the Transition Commission would reflect the just and peaceful aspirations of all the Moro people, all the various tribes among the Indigenous Peoples, as well as the Migrants in Mindanao. We also pray that this Bangsamoro Basic Law would pass the careful, responsible examination and deliberation in the House of Representatives using the lenses of justice, righteousness, and peace for all.

We pray that even now, those of us who truly seek genuine transformation towards the peace of the Moros, Indigenous Peoples, and Migrants in Mindanao, would start praying for, and plan on supporting, Moro-led political parties that reflect the justice-oriented and reconciling peace for Mindanao and the whole Philippines. We also pray that the 2016 election for the Bangsamoro Government would pave the way for a new political leadership among Muslims in Mindanao.

We call on our leaders in the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches of the government to exemplify honor, transparency, justice, and compassion as we continue this negotiation and partnership until all aspects of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro have been fully implemented.

We call on all those who claim to follow Jesus Christ—the Prince of Peace—to pray with the whole body of believers for the peace of our land as we journey together with our Muslim neighbors.

May we all experience genuine shalom-salaam within us and around us!

PCEC Board of Directors

January 30, 2014

(For more information, contact Bishop Efraim Tendero at 913-1658 or at bishopef@gmail.com.)

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/01/30/so-affirmed-by-the-philippine-church-in-their-support-of-the-peace-process/