Joji Pantoja

Joji (aka Lakambini Mapayapa) graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (B.Sc., 1979). She also studied International Relations at the University of the Philippines. She moved to Canada in 1986 and since then developed a successful career in the investment and financial industry. She returned to the Philippines in 2006. As CEO of Coffee For Peace, Inc., she became the Women Entrepreneur Winner of CitiBank-Business in Development Network, Philippines in 2010. She also received, in 2015, an N-Peace Award from the United Nations Development Program – Impact Investment Exchange Asia (UNDP-IIXAsia) in behalf of the women who comprise the 80 percent of the farming farmers of Coffee For Peace, Inc. She was invited for the N-Peace Awards Ceremony at One UN Hotel, New York, NY. In October of 2017, Lakambini completed her Master of Entrepreneurship in Social Enterprise Development, Ateneo de Manila University - Graduate School of Business. Asked why she left her career in Vancouver, Canada for Mindanao: “I can’t imagine having a summary of my life printed on my tombstone as: ‘Spent her life managing rich people’s money.’ I want to be remembered as: ‘A person who walked with the people as they find dignity through sustainable economic development.’”

Author's posts

Sep 18 2014

TALA IS OUR NEW MISSIONARY TO KALINGA

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“Her sense of creativity cannot be boxed within the programmable cells of MS Excel.” Twinkle “Tala” Bautista and I enjoyed our time together while she’s sharing her dreams for her people starting with her new arabica coffee seedling yard in Kalinga.

We, at PeaceBuilders Community and at Coffee For Peace, have learned to respect Tala as a person who enjoys leading people and who is patient in managing things. She has no trouble talking with people and loves to organize them. When assigned a leadership task, she can anticipate problems and provide solutions even in circumstances that are unpredictable. She works best under pressure; the higher the pressure, the more she’s challenged, and the better the performance she gives.

Tala does not function well in office routines.  Not because she is not able.  She’s so capable.  Her adventurous being doesn’t fit in the air-conditioned Consultants’ Room at the former PeaceBuilders Community Center. Her sense of creativity cannot be boxed within the programmable cells of  MS Excel. The chronos-time that measures efficiency is not enough to handle the kairos-time that energizes her effectiveness.

Twinkle Alngag Bautista was born in 25 September 1986 in a village called Bulanao, Municipality of Tabuk, Province of Kalinga. When she was five years old, she saw on TV a soldier giving a boy to a nun. The boy was a survivor of a natural disaster. “At that moment,” Tala recalled, “I knew deep within me that I wanted to serve other people.”

Later, as a teenager experiencing the struggles of growing pains and seeking to determine what was real and what was not, she said: “The only thing that I was sure of during that time was that I wanted to serve the Lord with all of my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength. I was rock bottom when Jesus showed He was holding me and was close with me all along.”  And thus began “another level of relationship” between Twinkle and her Creator.

In 22 April 2007, she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. She’s also a licensed Secondary Education Teacher and an eligible Civil Service Professional. Her internship in Journalism was with ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ largest media corporation. Her first employment was with the Philippine Information Agency, the communications hub of the Government of the Philippines. Then she went back home to Kalinga to serve at the Cultural Heritage Research Center, Saint Louise College.

It was in December 2011 when Tala became a part of our community. After a one-year field mission in Bukidnon, the Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Community in that province was established. In fact, PAR Bukidnon is right now the strongest PAR community in the country.

Just before we released Tala back to her home province, she was assigned to be a part of a PAR teaching team in Zamboanga City in the first week of October 2013, right after the Zamboanga Crisis of 08-28 September. It was there when she was assured that the God who called her is the same God who will ultimately bring Jubilee in this world.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/09/18/tala-is-our-new-missionary-to-kalinga/

Jul 02 2014

INCLUSIVE GROWTH IS THE KEY ASPECT OF OUR PEACE AND RECONCILIATION ADVOCACY

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Inclusive Growth is a crucial part of our peace and reconciliation (PAR) ministry. Pastor Emmanuel Alkuino (center, standing at the back), spiritual leader of the PAR Community in Bukidnon, presides in the inauguration of the Mount Kalayo Institute for Social Enterprise Growth, a mentoring hub of inclusive growth movement at the Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon Province. Seated at the table are representatives of various Bangsamoro communities, CMU leadership, national leadership, Indigenous Peoples’ tribal councils, and PAR movement. 06 June 2014. (Photo credit: Dawn Albert Pates, PBCI)

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 ministry.

Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) is the heart of our ministry.

Our concept of peace — from the Hebrew term shalom and the Arabic term salaam — is understood here as:

Our understanding of reconciliation is focused on building relationships between antagonists. The primary goal is to seek innovative ways to create a time and a place to address, to integrate, and to embrace

  • the painful past and
  • the necessary shared future, as a means of dealing with
  • the present.

PAR determines our operations at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. and at Coffee For Peace, Inc — the current embodiment of our ministries here as Mennonite Church Canada workers. PAR will also be the framework as we facilitate the establishment of other ministry structures initiated by PAR Communities across the Philippines. PAR is also a set of lenses through which we implement and assess an economic concept called Inclusive Growth.

In the past few months, Dann and I have been actively participating in an inclusive growth movement in Mindanao being spearheaded by the Central Mindanao University (CMU). PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee For Peace were invited to participate in the First Mindanao Social Business Summit last June 4-6, 2014 at the CMU campus. As one of the participants in this Summit, we helped in promoting inclusive economic growth in Mindanao with the theme “Wealth Creation with Justice and Peace through Social Entrepreneurship.” As a result of this Summit, a mentoring hub for inclusive growth entrepreneurs was established which we now call Mount Kalayo Institute for Social Enterprise Growth (MKISEG).

I was exposed to the concept of Inclusive Growth three years ago when I was invited by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to participate in an economic conference.

“Inclusive Growth refers both to the pace and pattern of growth, which are interlinked and must be addressed together. Rapid pace of growth is unquestionably necessary for substantial poverty reduction, but for this growth to be sustainable in the long run, it should be broad-based across sectors, and inclusive of the large part of a country’s labor force. This definition implies a direct link between the macro and micro determinants of growth.”

(World Bank)

In that economic conference, ADB used Coffee For Peace as a business model for Inclusive Growth:

INCLUSIVE BUSINESS IN THE AGRI-BUSINESS SECTOR

Products for which yield issues do not exist or can be overcome.
Coffee for Peace sources arabica coffee beans and civet coffee, the most expensive coffee in the world, from 19 tribes in Mindanao, the poorest region of the Philippines. Receiving fair prices from Coffee for Peace instead of below market price from middlemen and traders increases the income of the indigenous people and thereby supports the peace building activities in the region through economic development. Coffee for Peace utilizes the inclusive business model in their promotion and markets the coffee to the export market as “Just” coffee with a premium price.

(Promoting Inclusive Growth through Business Development at the Base of  the Pyramid — Inclusive Business Market Study, Philippines, March 2013, ADB TA- 6518 REG, p.35)

The economic growth of the Philippines is currently one of the hottest in the world and we have even invited our friends to invest in the Philippines. But this economic growth is not being felt by the majority of our people. Only a few oligarchs in our country are enjoying this so-called economic growth.

In that same ADB conference, I learned that —

“Over the past decade, the Asia and Pacific region has successfully reduced income-based poverty and improved living standards for all, including the poor and those vulnerable to poverty.

Based on most recent international poverty figures, by 2005 about 27% of the Asia-Pacific populations live on less than $1.25 per person a day and 54% are vulnerable to poverty ($2). Despite the global financial crisis, the poverty incidence in the region has further declined over the last years. The social indicators of poverty in the region, as expressed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have also shown substantial improvement since the 1990s.

While poverty and living standards have improved in the region, more than 900 million people in Asia and the Pacific still live on less than $1.25 a day. In terms of economic benefits and access to social services, large numbers of people are being left behind or left out. In many developing countries, economic inequality has increased in the past decade. Without steps to address these disparities, the risks this trend poses – including social instability – will continue to grow.”

(Asian Development Bank)

Inclusive Growth became a strategic agenda in the economic growth in the Philippines, and consequently, we have integrated the concept in our Peace and Reconciliation ministries through PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee For Peace.

There are many more debates about Inclusive Growth. A very critical set of questions are still have to be answered:

“At the forefront of this endeavour is clarifying what inclusiveness means. Is it equity? Empowerment? Opportunities? Participation? Satisfaction? A combination of these? Or something else? Greater clarity about this is essential to making sense of the relationship between inclusiveness and growth to define inclusive growth.”

(Rafael Ranieri and Raquel Almeida Ramos, IPC-IG Paper 188: International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth)

 

Inclusive Growth is based on 3 pillars:

  • high, sustainable growth to create and expand economic opportunities;
  • broader access to opportunities to ensure that members of society can participate and benefit from growth; and,
  • social safety nets to prevent extreme deprivation.
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Dann and I joined the Bukidnon PAR Community for a souvenir photo during the inauguration of the MKISEG.

Immediately after the Summit, the PAR Community in Bukidnon met for prayer, breakfast and discernment process on how to initiate an inclusive growth framed in Peace Theology. The result was the establishment of Sidlak Kalinaw (Shine Peace) — a social business company offering agro-industrial and affordable housing technologies.

While still overwhelmed by the initiative of the PAR Community in Bukidnon, Dann and I were invited by a group of Christian individuals and families in Metro Manila who are successfully running their respective small- and medium-sized business companies. Through their Bible study group, they felt moved by the Spirit to go beyond the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) their respective companies are involved in. They wanted to go further and start a new business together that advances justice and peace in the business community.

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Dann and I were invited to facilitate a meeting of a group of business entrepreneurs and professionals seeking how they can best advance justice and peace in the business community and in government agencies. La Taza Cafe, Manila. 02 July 2014.

After a few coffee and lunch meetings with the key couple, we decided to gather as a group — both their friends and our friends — specifically to do something together about this “spiritual restlessness to use our business skills to love God, to serve the people, and to nourish our resources to advance peace and reconciliation.” At the time of this writing, the corporate lawyers in the group have started drafting the articles of incorporation for a new inclusive growth company.

Inclusive Growth is fast becoming a key aspect towards a sustainable Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) movement that is happening among the beautiful people in this beautiful land.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/07/02/inclusive-growth-is-an-aspect-of-our-peace-and-reconciliation-advocacy/

May 31 2014

WILLARD METZGER JOINS PBCI AND CFP 2014 RETREAT IN MINDANAO

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28-30 May 2014. Dr. Willard Metzger, Executive Director of Mennonite Church Canada, visited Mindanao and encouraged us during the joint spiritual retreat of the PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee For Peace. Willard was accompanied by Gordon Janzen, MCCanada Witness Facilitator for Asia.

Before coming to Davao City, they spent time with our sisters and brothers at Peace Church Philippines in Manila and then visited our PAR Team in Valencia, Bukidnon. Willard and Gordon met with Emmanuel Alkuino, our PAR Leader in the Province of Bukidnon, who is also a pastor, an inventor, and a community development leader.  Emmanuel Alkuino showed them his brick factory, his bamboo processing technology, and various farm technologies geared for the Philippine economic context.

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Both Dann and I were encouraged by the visit of Willard and Gordon, especially as we spent a few days travelling together, dreaming, and strategizing on various projects that would advance the Gospel of Peace in this part of the globe. Our interaction with them helped us crystalize practical approaches on how the Anabaptist convictions, as applied in the context of the Philippines, would bring spiritual transformation, psycho-social transformation, socio-political transformation, and economic-ecological transformation in this land.

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Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/05/31/willard-metzger-joins-2014-pbci-and-cfp-retreat-in-mindanao/

Mar 20 2014

WE INVITE OUR CANADIAN PARTNERS TO INVEST IN MINDANAO

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We are calling investors from among the Mennonite Church Canada to come and see for themselves what is happening in the economy of the Philippines, especially in Mindanao.

Our country’s economy remained to be on an upward trend even after the major floods, armed-skirmishes, super-typhoons, storm surge, and earthquake we have experienced in the past three years. According to the Asian Development Bank: “Despite natural disasters that devastated parts of the country in the fourth quarter of 2013, gross domestic product (GDP) grew by a solid 6.5% in that period, bringing full-year growth to 7.2%, well above the 4.7% average recorded from 2008 to 2012.”

The Philippines, according to Moody’s Analytics, may even lead Asian economic growth in 2014. Our gross domestic product (GDP) has the potential to grow between 5.3 to 6.5 percent this year, lower than last year’s 7.2 percent and the government’s target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent for 2014. This is a little bit higher than that of Asian region’s projected growth, which is near 5 percent in the second half of 2014.

Last 31 February 2014, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III visited Malaysia and invited the business community there to invest in Mindanao. The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports:

Addressing about 200 of Malaysia’s top businessmen, Mr. Aquino said the Philippines was past its days as a “laggard” and “the sick man of Asia,” with its economic rise recognized internationally through credit ratings upgrades and renewed global interest.

“Mindanao … has land so fertile that a patch of it left unattended for a short while becomes quickly overgrown. Now that lasting peace in that particular region has come within reach, perhaps investing this early in Mindanao is an opportunity that is presenting itself to all of us,” Mr. Aquino said.

“Now, you are presented with another opportunity to reap the maximum gains from a country that is experiencing rapid growth, and is set to sustain [that] growth over many years. May I pose this question: Is anyone here really willing to pass up this opportunity and set [themselves] up for regret somewhere down the line?” he said.

Yes. As the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro will be signed this month, let’s enhance the actual peacebuilding, reconciliation, and sustainable livelihood work on the ground. 

The Philippine government invites the Malaysians to invest in Mindanao.

We now invite the Canadian business community to invest specifically with us as we expand Coffee For Peace!

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT JOJI PANTOJA 

Joji Felicitas B. Pantoja is co-founder and chief operating officer of both Coffee for Peace and PeaceBuilders Community. She graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (B.Sc., 1979). She also studied International Relations at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. She moved to Canada in 1986 and since then developed a successful career in the investment and financial industry with Investor Group Canada and then with Investia Financial Services.

She returned to the Philippines in 2006. In 2010 she became the Women Entrepreneur Winner of CitiBank-Business in Development Network, Philippines–defining her bottom lines as profit, people, and planet. She also received an award from the Foundation for Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) in 2010 for “Business with an Impact on the Bottom of the Pyramid.”

Asked why she left her career in Vancouver for Mindanao, she said: “I can’t imagine having a summary of my life printed on my tombstone as, ‘Spent her life managing rich people’s money.’ I want to be remembered as: ‘A person who walked with the people as they find dignity through holistic and sustainable economic development.’”

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/03/20/we-invite-our-canadian-partners-to-invest-in-mindanao/

Jul 03 2013

ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY TAKES SHAPE AS PART OF OUR DREAM

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Dawn Albert Pates, PAR Resource Development Coordinator, asks a question regarding an important trade issue during one of the plenary sessions of the First Philippine Investment Conference at SM Convention Center, Lanang, Davao City which was held last 25-26 June 2013. PBCI is active in various business circles who are involved in the coffee industry.

Part of our dream at PBCI is to be economically sustainable in our ministries in the Philippines.

But we don’t want to remain in a dreamworld. With God’s grace, we will continue with our labour of love to worship God and to realize our dream of peace and reconciliation in our land. In order to accomplish the vision of having Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) among our people, we must have a sustainable support system. A sustainable support system has to be a genuine partnership between national and international resourcing. Our global Mennonite family has been helping us in the initial stages of our vision and mission.

Now, we have to explore and build local economic programs to help sustain this peace and reconciliation movement. Here are some of the steps we’re making to build a sustainable, national PAR movement:

1. We have established a department at PBCI called “PAR Resource Development.” This department is dedicated to the on-going development of sustainable support programs of PBCI through the following endeavours: (a) new social business development; (b) promotion and marketing of our current coffee products and consulting services; and, (c) global trading of our coffee beans and other related products.

dawn2. We have appointed a PAR Resource Development Coordinator. She is Dawn Albert Pates. Dawn started working with us as a volunteer in 2008. As a member of the University Peace and Reconciliation Team, she helped in peace education activities among students in various universities in Davao City. In 2013, she became a full-time staff member at PBCI. She excels in conceptualizing, organizing, and mobilizing resources for income generating projects to support our peacebuilding work. Dawn will help Joji in initiating and developing relationships with business corporations, civil society organizations, religious organizations, government agencies, and other possible partners or clients to promote our products and services. She will also take part in the PBCI Management Team.

3. We are intensifying the multiplication of our coffee farming communities among Indigenous People (IP). PBCI is now in partnership with 27 IP communities–we train them how to plant, grow, harvest, and process Arabica coffee. Our social business organization, Coffee for Peace (CFP), buys them at fair trade price. CFP then exports their coffee to Level Ground Trading in Canada.

4. We have entered into partnerships with business families who own real estate properties to develop model coffee farms and shared service facilities for farmers. Last month, we have signed a memorandum of agreement with a family to use one hectare of their land to build shared service facilities. This month, we will sign another memorandum of agreement with a business family in the Province of Bukidnon to use a 15-hectare land to develop a model farm for Arabica coffee. Both projects will be funded by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry to develop the IP communities in this province. PBCI will be the managing organization for these private-public partnerships.

5. We are beginning to be active in various business circles who are involved in the coffee industry. Last 25-26 of June, PBCI and CFP attended the First Philippine Investment Conference at SM Convention Center, Lanang, Davao City along with more than 1,000 participants. The event’s theme was “Investing in Priority Industry Cluster for Small and Medium Enterprises.” CFP products were put on the exhibit. During the event, the team was able to build relationships with organizations and people with the same vision of helping the farmers who are at the bottom of the pyramid. In this conference, we noticed that the term “inclusive growth” is becoming a byword in the business world.

Please pray as we work hard to eventually stand on our two feet, in the hands of God.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2013/07/03/economic-sustainability-takes-shape-as-part-of-pbci-dream/

Jun 06 2013

OUR SMALL ‘COFFEE FOR PEACE’ IS MAKING A BIGGER IMPACT

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I was with tribal women in Mt. Apo checking on the quality of their coffee cherries.

Our social business is small but its impact is getting bigger.

According to the Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus, a social business is “a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective within the highly regulated marketplace of today. It is distinct from a non-profit because the business should seek to generate a modest profit but this will be used to expand the company’s reach, improve the product or service or in other ways to subsidize the social mission.”

Some of our partners, investors, observers, and even our critics, are saying that Coffee for Peace (CFP) is getting bigger in its impact.  It is addressing the social issues that concerns our farmers, our environment, and the peace situation in our land. These are happening as we advance justice and fairness in the coffee industry.

We invite you to join us at CFP as one of our investors.

::  Your investment will be used by CFP primarily to buy the premium quality coffee beans of the Indigenous People (IP) at fair trade prices.  They will then be sold locally and globally at fair trade prices.

::  Your investment will be used to manufacture our locally-designed coffee roasting machines.  They will be sold to CFP-trained IP entrepreneurs to help them put up their own coffee roasting business.  This will help promote their own tribal coffee brand.

::  Your investment will be used to establish more coffee shops, featuring the other products of IPs who are in partnership with CFP.

As the Indigenous People earn their money through Fair Trade, they will also go through financial management training.  And as they grow in managing their cash resources, they will be encouraged to invest in their respective community development needs, like —

::  Establishing their respective Schools of Living Tradition — to preserve and enhance their own cultural traditions and values

::  Establishing Community-Based Health Programs —  to address the holistic wellness of their community

::  Establishing Peace and Reconciliation Teams —  to address conflicts between families in their tribal community.

I’d be happy to connect with you personally if you’re interested to be our partner at CFP.

Email me: joji@coffeeforpeace.com

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2013/06/06/our-small-coffee-for-peace-is-making-a-bigger-impact/

Apr 20 2013

THE DREAM OF PAR COMMUNITY MULTIPLICATION IS BEING REALIZED

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Joji Pantoja leads a Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) coffee farming workshop in an armed-conflicted area in Mindanao. A livelihood program is a critical component of PAR Seminar. In this case, Peacebuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) trains the farmers on how to grow and care for their coffee trees, how to process their coffee beans in accordance with global quality standards, how to market their products with justice and dignity, and how to develop themselves as coffee entrepreneurs. PBCI’s sister organization, Coffee For Peace, buys their Arabica coffee beans at fair prices.

Our dream is to see one Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Community in each of the 80 provinces in the Philippines by the year 2020. This dream is spiritually motivated and is technically planned. We call this dream Vision 2020.

The dream was borne out of a spiritual realization that the church can, and must, be an effective agent of peace in the face of a post-911 global realities. This prompted my husband, Dann, to reflect on a biblical peace theology that can be applied in the historical context of the Philippines.

In January 2006, the Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, British Columbia commissioned us as peacebuilding missionaries to Mindanao, Philippines. We were sent with their love for God and for the people in this land, along with their prayers, pastoral care, and finances.

After several years of working in the field as conflict transformation missionaries, the local leaders began asking us to train them to form local community-based peace teams that would help in the on-going work of reconciliation within their respective areas of responsibilities. Out of necessity, a local peace team started organizing another peace team in the next village or in the next municipality. Thus, we thought of forming a province-wide leadership community who would coordinate the organization of local teams. We started referring to this provincial group as Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Community.

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Here’s an example of PAR growth in one of the provinces in Mindanao: In the early months of 2011, a group of bishops, pastors, business executives, academicians, and local government administrators invited us to conduct a series of PAR Seminars among them. After three consecutive months of training, the Region 10 PAR Community was organized. One of the graduates invited us to train the members of the Council of Evangelical Churches in Bukidnon (CECB). CECB in turn shared the PAR principles among the members of the Valencia City Evangelical Ministerial Association, Inc. (VCEMAI). Both CECB and VCEMAI decided to make PAR to be a major component of their ministry in the province. In partnership with PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee For Peace (CFP), they have started organizing PAR Teams in several municipalities and villages in Bukidnon like Dominorog and Manalog. They also helped PBCI to organize PAR Communities in the provinces of Maguindanao and Davao del Sur.

PAR Community  is an initiative to organize a group of local leaders—church leaders, local government leaders, non-government organization leaders, business leaders, academic leaders, or any mix of these—

  • who have expressed interest to have a working relationship with us, who have made a commitment to embrace our Peace Theology;
  • who have invited us to teach them our PAR Seminar Series;
  • who have a vision to work with us in developing a PAR Program needed in their area; and,
  • who have organized themselves as PAR catalyst group in their particular province in accordance with our Dreams, Values, and Team organizational standards.

Today, PAR Communities have been established in 19 out of 80 provinces in the Philippines. But we still have to nurture, stabilize, strengthen and facilitate the sustainability of these PAR Communities. A few weeks ago, PBCI appointed Tala Bautista, one of our newly-trained field workers, to be the PAR Mobilization Coordinator. Her overall job objectives are:

  • to coordinate, monitor, and evaluate all activities and resource appropriation to reach the monthly, quarterly, and yearly objectives that would lead towards the realization of Vision 2020; and,
  • to assist PBCI in establishing one PAR Community in each of the 80 provinces by 31 December 2020.

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Imagine.  By December 31st, 2020, each of our 80 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 conflict 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.

God willing, by January 01, 2021, the 80 PAR Communities in 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 transformation!

With the power of the Holy Spirit, Dann and I are more energized and motivated to surf God’s waves of peace and reconciliation in this beautiful land.

Thank you, our partners, for being with us through your prayers and support.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2013/04/20/the-dream-of-par-community-multiplication-is-being-realized/

Feb 14 2013

OUR DAVAO GROUP OF FRIENDS IS ALSO OUR FUN GROUP AND SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY

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We hang out with them. We laugh with them. We journey in life with them. We pray with them. We eat with them. We learn with them. We do ministry together with them. We worship with them.

This is a small group in the Christian congregation where we belong in Davao City. This is our spiritual community. Most of them are young families. Dann and I are the oldest couple in this group. We’re the only grandparents. They call me Ate Joji. “Ate” means older sister. Dann is “Kuya”–older brother.

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The co-leaders in this group are Pastor Norman and Rosabel Naromal. The regular hosts in most of our gatherings are Chito and Joy Legaspi. These two couples are also deeply involved in the ministry of PeaceBuilders Community. They are members of our Board of Trustees.

Having a community of friends who are also our ministry partners is a warm embrace of God. Every time Dann and I are in the field, we’re assured that we have a family of prayer partners who are thinking about us, monitoring our Facebook walls, checking on us through text messages or mobile phone calls, and making sure that we are well.

Dann and I have gone through many crises as peacebuilding missionaries in the Philippines. This group, in varying degrees of involvement and confidentiality, have been helping us tremendously. They are also our base of pastoral nurture here in Mindanao.

Because we are nurtured and supported by a local community, along with the love and support of our global community, we are able to love and nurture others.

We praise God for our community!

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2013/02/14/our-davao-group-of-friends-is-also-our-fun-group-and-spiritual-community/

Feb 07 2013

AN ECONOMIC-ECOLOGICAL CONCERN: SHOULD PBCI BE ANTI-MINING OR PRO-MINING?

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Part of my job here at PeaceBuilders Community is to deal with the economic and ecological issues we’re facing as a Mennonite peace and reconciliation consulting group. A big issue happening right now in Mindanao is that of mining our land’s precious minerals.

The under-developed Philippine economy needs the revenues that can potentially be generated through the mining industry. Every year, our country produces about a million individuals looking for a job but our economy can only produce about two hundred thousand jobs. The rest would be jobless, easy recruits by human traffickers, by criminal organizations, or by various non-state armed groups. Most government agencies and business corporations advocate for the accelerated development of the mining industry to help curve unemployment, poverty, and social injustices in the Philippines.

However, the Philippine political system is not yet mature to handle huge multi-national mining corporations who have more economic power than the government of the Philippines. Our system of governance is not yet capable to implement and enforce the existing laws that would guide the mining industry to be inclusive in terms of its financial benefits. In most mining operations in the Philippines, the financial investments, the tax revenues, and the financial income related with mining tend to corrupt the government, the family, and the society as a whole. A Jesuit scholar, Fr. Joel Taboras, describes this phenomenon well in his article, The Dancing Elephant in the Crystal Shop: SMI. In his critic of the government’s granting of “conditional Environmental Clearance Certificate” (ECC) to Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), he avers:

SMI will clear 3,935 hectares of forest – including 1,350 hectares of protected rainforest. It threatens 812 flora species, 247 of which are Philippine endemics and 52 of which are mainland Mindanao endemics. 55 species are under the Threatened Species list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. For amphibians and reptiles alone, 28% are Philippine endemics and 20% are Greater Mindanao endemics.

With its 500-hectare large pit with the depth of two stacked Empire State Buildings and its similarly large fresh-water catchment, it will adversely affect the fresh water supply of the Koronadal Valley, including its irrigation system, and threaten its shallow aquafers with toxicity. The Mal River will be worst affected through the SMI construction of a fresh water dam just above the NIA’s irrigation dam.

Finally, the mine is in a highly unstable social area where not only old forests but the indigenous B’laans are to be displaced to make way for SMI’s open pit and fresh water catchment and toxic-waste mountain, and where the Free and Informed Prior Consent (FIPC) of most of the B’laans has not been secured. In fact, instead of the FIPC, there have been ugly killings of B’laans who have stood up to fight the mines, including Atari and Daguil Capion. Just yesterday, the Capions testified before a congressional committee in Koronadal how their relatives had been massacred. Here, unfortunately, the military and the police are implicated.

Meanwhile, 40,000 Muslims depend on fishing in Lake Buluan, almost certainly to be adversely affected by the SMI project.

In connection with this issue, we have been bombarded with questions by our partners, colleagues, and critics while in the field. Here’s the most frequent one: “Is the PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) pro-mining or anti-mining?”

There is no simple answer to this.  We decided to educate our position.  So, we started by consulting with Rosabel Naromal.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.  Her passion is to use her expertise to serve God, to serve the Filipino people, and to help develop a proposal regarding mining issues from the perspective of advancing justice-based peace and development.

For the past six months, Rosabel has been doing research on mining from ecological, economic, social, and political perspectives.  She reviewed the history of mining laws in the Philippines. She also reviewed the arguments in the on-going debate between those who advocate to accelerate the mining industry, and those who advocate to stop mining operations in our country.

Our staff also identified and discussed the various views and positions who make up the spectrum between pro-mining and anti-mining advocacies.

We also sent our field workers on a fact-finding mission to some mining operations in Surigao del Norte, Compostela Valley, and Kalinga.

Next week, the reports of our field workers will be integrated into the paper that we are developing as a team.

Meanwhile, Dann is also working on a theological reflection paper on mining.

Soon, we will publish our position paper. But before that, we’d like to listen to you. Would you kindly share your perspectives on this issue of mining? Please share your view on the comment box below.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2013/02/07/an-economic-ecological-concern-should-pbci-be-anti-mining-or-pro-mining/

Jun 04 2011

A SATURDAY AFTERNOON WITH KUBLAI MILAN & FAMILY

Kublai Milan, his wife Maan, Dann, and I had a meeting about a children’s coloring project he’s working on in partnership with the University PAR Team of PeaceBuilders Community. We’re now ready to print them.

Book One is about Peace.

Book Two is about Joy.

Book Three is about Love.

Dann and I were so happy to see the whole Milan family. Maan and I had a few moments to update each other with our respective journeys.

Kublai shared his new huge visual arts projects in various places in Mindanao. It’s so energizing and refreshing to listen to his creative ideas.

Maan and Kublai also helped us take care of Akira–the daughter of Frani Catua, one of our baristas at CFP.

Kubing and Kunta, the two sons of Kublai and Maan, enjoyed our fresh juice and pastries at CFP.

What a great Saturday afternoon with a beautiful family!

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2011/06/04/kublai-and-family/