Lakan Sumulong

Dann Pantoja is beginning to use his Tagalog indigenous name -- Lakan Sumulong. This is a statement that our indigenous identities can be a redeeming factor in healing our 'being' (that is, who we are as a people); help symbolize our determination to contribute what we ought to be 'doing' as a nation (that is--active, non-violent, radical transformation); and, determine how we will prioritize what we will be 'having' (that is, inclusive growth and national development based on justice and peace). Asked what fuels his positive outlook in life: “It’s the influence of Jesus, a first century Palestinian carpenter who was executed by the imperial power of his time. He said: ‘Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.’ Jesus defied the ultimate negative factor in our cosmos--death.”

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Apr 01 2018

LOOKING AT REALITY FROM THE ‘RESURRECTION PERSPECTIVE’

Looking at parts of Southern Mindanao from Mount Matutum, the ancestral domain of the B’laan People. One of these days, the Indigenous Peoples’ right to self determination and their way of living will resurrect from the past and present colonial powers.

Happy Resurrection Day!

I believe that Jesus rose from the dead not merely as a religious dogma that can be self-serving and at times used as a bigoted “I-am-right-you-are-wrong” statement.

I believe the Resurrection because —

  • I see Life transcending the seeming finality of death;
  • I see the Light surpassing the seeming endlessness of darkness;
  • I see Justice overcoming the seeming endless oppression of the powerless by the powerful;
  • I see Hope out-living despair and hopelessness;
  • I see peace in the face of people struggling in the midst of unpeace that surround them;
  • I see Love conquering hatred and healing the wounds of bitterness;
  • I see Compassion embracing all humanity and all creation as one inter-connected, mutually-energizing reality.

 

I see Reality from the lenses of Resurrection.

Christ is Risen!

Let’s Celebrate Life!

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2018/04/01/looking-at-reality-from-the-resurrection-perspective/

Mar 04 2018

PRAYING FOR KALINGA ON A SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP TIME

While Lakan Sumulong watches, a group among PAR Seminar participants in Sumacher, evaluate the possibility of an inclusive development initiative in their home village — starting with coffee. Sumacher, Tinglayan, Kalinga. 21-24 February 2016.

As I conclude my specially-appointed time for worship, I’m focusing my prayers today for the communities in Kalinga who welcomed Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Principles and Practices. We were invited to visit and share hearts and minds with the Kalinga First Nation in  2010. I’m praying that PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee For Peace would grow in our understanding of the cultures of the various tribes in Kalinga as we apply indigenous wisdom in peacebuilding and inclusive development.

Right now, I’m praying that the long-term inclusive development program,consisting of a series of short-term activities, would be blessed by the Creator:
1. May the current training of key PAR leaders from among the Kalinga youth be blessed until they are able to run this peacebuilding and inclusive development initiatives in their province;
2. May the series of inclusive development seminars among local farmers and community leaders we have been doing in the past few years, starting with coffee plantation, be practiced effectively while we’re developing local, national, and international solidarity markets and partners;
3. May the post-harvest processing plant in Tabuk that our partners are starting be operational soon so we can sustain the quality and quantity of our products.

Next step: God willing, this coming April, a technical team made up of —
:: a coffee agriculturist
:: a development communications professor
:: a landscape architect
:: a social business marketing expert
:: a justice-peace theologian, and
:: two community development consultants
will travel to these places to share hearts and minds with elders and leaders of various Kalinga communities.

This 5-minute video captures some highlights of our journey with PAR Kalinga.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2018/03/04/praying-for-kalinga-on-a-sunday-morning-worship-time/

Dec 24 2017

A RADICALLY-TRANSFORMING, PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Our Davao family — Byron, Mandy, Eyna, Lakan, Lakambini, Edna, Mary — sends you our greetings during this Holiday Season!

It’s Christmas Eve in Mindanao.

We’re just recovering from Marawi War where more than a thousand died and more than a million people were displaced. Then Tropical Storm Vinta devastated us in the past two days with floods and landslides leaving 200+ dead. Now, we’re watching a major fire — a known mall in the city — two blocks away from our home, with some 37 persons unaccounted for and presumed to be dead by our city’s fire department even as I write this Christmas blog. While we are all safe at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. and Coffee For Peace family network, we grieve for the people in our land.

Then there are the cries and deep lamentations of the many mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and other loved-ones of those who were killed in the present War On Drugs wherein at least 12,000 people—including those allegedly killed by vigilantes—will be forever be in our nation’s psycho-spiritual conscience. Almost all of those thousands of people killed in this so-called war belong to the poorest of the poor.

As we watch the world around us during this Christmas Season, we remember the Song of Mary and what it means to the hearts and minds of people suffering injustice, wars, corruption, and oppression:


“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor
on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations
will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One
has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.

His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud
in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful
from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.”

~ Song of Mary (Luke 1:46-53)


Mary’s song was both a song of praise and a cry for justice.  Jim Wallis expounded well on this song in one of his Christmas articles:

“This is not the talk of charity and giving Christmas toys and turkeys to the less fortunate. The language of Mary is the narrative of revolution and redistribution, two words that the powers that be just hate. And while the revolution that Christ brings is not violent, it is nonetheless completely transformational.”

This is the reason why we keep focused on our Peace and Reconciliation advocacy as our small contribution to the advancement of justice-based peacebuilding initiative in this country.

Two weeks ago, we were hosting 50 budding social entrepreneurs from all over Mindanao—Indigenous People, Muslim, Christians—who are aware that the economic initiatives they are doing are meant to contribute to a positive, radical transformation of our people in this beautiful land.

We see this new generation of social entrepreneurial activists as the new inter-faith, peaceful, positive, sustainable, regenerating revolutionaries.

This Christmas Season, may we all experience the Peace of God — that radically-transforming, peaceful kind of Christmas about which Mary was singing.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/12/24/a-radically-transforming-peaceful-christmas-to-all/

Dec 12 2017

MUSLIM FRIENDS INVITE ‘COFFEE FOR PEACE’ TO BE HALAL CERTIFIED

Ms. Zuhairah A. Abas (Philippine Department of Tourism – Region 11), Aleem Solaiman Piang (Davao Muslim Ulama Halal Certifying and Monitoring Agency, Inc.), and Hajji Kadir S. Murod (Masjid Ecoland) sharing with me the mutual benefits of halal-certification during their visit at Coffee For Peace Bistro, 12 December 2017, Davao City.

For the past 10 months, I have been thinking of going to an Islamic office to inquire how Coffee For Peace Bistro could become a certified Halal place for food and beverages. This would attract more folks belonging to the Muslim community from Davao City and from all over Mindanao to trust CFP, to become our coffee shop clients, and eventually to be part of our peacebuilding network. We have been practicing Halal standards at CFP for the past 10 years although we’re not officially certified.


Halal. In Arabic, halal simply means permissible or allowed. Opposite to it is haram, which means forbidden or not allowed. To make meat halal or permissible, an animal or poultry has to be slaughtered in a ritual way known as Zibah or Zabihah. To make it readily comprehended halal is somewhat like Jewish kosher. (Halal Food Authority)


It was Sihaya Ansibod, our PAR Field Facilitator and Inclusive Development Worker in Central Mindanao, who informed me about the growing interest among some Muslim leaders who frequent CFP Bistro to become halal certified. Arafat ‘Toto’ Balono, our expert transporter for more than a decade, was the one who arranged for me to meet with the halal authorities in the Greater Davao Area. Sihaya and Toto introduced me to  Ms. Zuhairah A. Abas of the Philippine Department of Tourism – Region 11. With her were Aleem Solaiman Piang of the Davao Muslim Ulama Halal Certifying and Monitoring Agency; and, Hajji Kadir S. Murod who is the administrator at Masjid Ecoland, one of the largest mosques in Davao City which is walking distance from CFP Bistro. Ms. Abas presented the possibility of including CFP Bistro as a Muslim-friendly place for tourists coming from Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Aleem Piang encouraged me to apply for halal-certification since he’s already aware that we have been practicing halal standards in our preparation of food and drinks. Hajji Murod promised to promote CFP Bistro among the Muslim community members in our neighborhood.

 

Lakambini exchanges ideas with a group of clients and peacebuilding colleagues from a Muslim community in a nearby town during a Saturday evening at CFP Bistro.

This meeting may be one of the initial steps for Coffee For Peace, Inc. to be officially Halal Certified and deepen the trust-building between the Christian Settlers, Muslim, and Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao. Through this, we pray that CFP Bistro would truly be a space for peace among the tri-people of Mindanao.

 


 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/12/12/muslim-friends-invite-coffee-for-peace-to-be-halal-certified/

Nov 03 2017

PEACEBUILDERS METRO MANILA IS ATTRACTING MORE PAR PRACTITIONERS

Evolving leaders of PeaceBuilders Community—MetroManila: (L-R) AJ Moldez, Joji Pantoja, Boyet Ongkiko, Chi Ongkiko, Missy Moldez, Herman Moldez, Lakan Sumulong

The PeaceBuilders Community in MetroManila is being enriched by the participation of a few more people who are challenged to follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Many of them are especially attracted to the Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Theology and its application to the various issues in life and society that they are concerned about.

The Man of Peace in MetroManila, as far as the leadership of PeaceBuilders Community—Philippines is concerned, is the Rev. Herman Moldez, a retired pastor and a respected Christian leader in the Philippines. He was Joji’s mentor in the mid-1970s during her early days with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Our paths crossed when his son, AJ Moldez, became an active member of PeaceBuilders Community and participated in our mentorship program at the PeaceBuilders School of Leadership. Soon, AJ’s parents invited us for dinner and started interacting theologically with us. Their family opened their discipleship training center and guest house in Quezon City to PeaceBuilders Community workers. We needed a facility like this whenever we pass through MetroManila, travelling from north to south and vice-versa. AJ has been referring to this place as “PeaceBuilders Hub Manila”.

Two weeks ago, Rev. Herman Moldez and I served as plenary speakers in a national mission conference.

Last week, AJ bought me a ticket and introduced PeaceBuilders Community to a group of young professionals. He has been sharing the work of PeaceBuilders to this group. Before our meeting is over, they made a commitment to be a long-term prayer and financial partner of PBCI, with an initial gift of P30,000.

PeaceBuilders Community—MetroManila is getting rooted in genuine relationships and a sincere commitment to grow together in advocating radical transformation, active non-violence, and inclusive development based on biblical peacemaking.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/11/03/peacebuilders-metro-manila-is-attracting-more-par-practitioners/

Oct 19 2017

THE BUILDING OF THE NEW KAPEYAPAAN SHOP IS WELL UNDER WAY IN BUKIDNON

The roots of Coffee For Peace, Inc. is getting deeper among the rural poor.

For this reason, we have established Kapeyapaan (Tagalog, kape=coffee + kapayapaan=peace)—a low capitalization business for rural ‘farmerpreneurs’ (from coffee farming, to coffee processing, to operating inexpensive but high quality rural coffee shops).

The home of Kapeyapaan Shop, which will also be the house for Kalinaw Youth Movement, BeyondBorders Christian Community, and PAR Bukidnon is being built in Valencia City. The seating capacity for a regular coffee shop operation will be 60. The seating capacity when used as a worship center on Sundays will be 90-100. Joji continues to oversee the plans designed by Architect Gloryrose Dy Metilla.

The day-to-day building construction management is being done by Clay Rojo. This is made possible through an impact partnership with GiversTrust, Inc.

We thrive! We don’t merely survive.

We give all the glory to the Creator-Sustainer of all!

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/10/19/the-building-of-the-new-kapeyapaan-shop-is-well-under-way-in-bukidnon/

Sep 09 2017

I’M SO ENERGIZED BY THE DEDICATION OF MY PEACEBUILDING COLLEAGUES

Last night, after two days participating in a Joint Advocacy Planning, I had a great time with my friends and colleagues from the ‘All-Out Peace Network’ and ‘Mindanao PeaceWeavers’ — Yols Rafol Esguerra, Violeta M. Gloria, Ryan Rosauro, Edsal Edres, Randy Ponteras, and Lyndee Prieto.  We had laughters, food, and great espresso-based beverages at Coffee For Peace Bistro.

We missed most of our colleagues from various parts of the country who needed to fly back home.

I’m grateful for friends and colleagues who are so committed to love this land and people by advocating justice and peace. Being around these folks energizes me to continue working for peace and reconciliation in this beautiful land.

 


 

I was asked to give an opening statement as part of the hosting group. Photo by Violeta M. Gloria.

Just before this relaxed evening, this same group were part of a conference among the leading peacebuilding and human rights advocates from all over the country. We were expanding our constituency base.

The Mindanao PeaceWeavers, with whom PeaceBuilders Community is affiliated, served as host to this national conference we refer to as ‘All-Out Peace Network’. I was assigned to welcome the delegates and to give a keynote address to help set the theme and atmosphere of the conference:


“We hope to forge joint actions in promoting an advocacy agenda on the peace process and humanitarian appeal… prolonged armed conflict and humanitarian crisis in Marawi/Lanao… taking into account the growing uproar on the culture of impunity with the killing of Kian delos Santos as a potential tipping point…”


The conference objectives were:
a. To draw reflective analysis on the various conflict milieus and contextual factors that underpin the peace process and change agenda;
b. To identify the crucial role of civil society actors in engaging the peace process and addressing the security challenges brought about by the human rights situation and the threat of violent extremism;
c. To develop a common action agenda and civilian advocacy roadmap as basis of concrete collaborative actions on peace and human security of participating networks

Some of the major tasks that were accomplished were:
a.  Defining a scope  — we formulated a desired change, vision, idea, measure, or project. (What will be different?)
b.  Mapping the forces, ideas, people, happenings that may impact successful implementation of desired changes.
c.  Assigning scores as to weight of the identified forces, and tried to see what total force combined.

I learned a lot from this seasoned community organizers and movement leaders. One of the highlights of my learning was an approach to process people and organizations towards a broad coalition of justice and peace advocates.

Some questions that assisted us in determining who should be involved and why are as follows:
:: What roles do various stakeholders play in the process (authority, role)?
:: Who will participate in the process?
:: Who are the potential beneficiaries?
:: Who will be adversely affected?
:: Are the stakeholders organized?
:: Who has existing rights? Who has control over resources?
:: Who are likely to be voiceless?
:: Who are likely to mobilize resistance?
:: Who are dependent on whom?
:: Who are responsible for the intended plans?
:: Who has money, skills, or key information?
:: Whose behavior has to change for success to be reached?
:: What power gaps exist between staleholder groups? How to deal with them?

 

Joint Advocacy Planning. All-Out Peace Network. Brokenshire Conference Center. Davao City. 07-08 September 2017.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/09/09/im-so-energized-by-the-dedication-of-my-peacebuilding-colleagues/

Aug 24 2017

OUR MINDANAO PAR TEAM ENJOYED BEING TOGETHER IN A LEARNING CONFERENCE

This learning conference is so enriching — intellectually, spiritually, psycho-socially.

It was great to have a chance chatting one-on-one with Pastor James Wuye. The story of Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye was told in a movie The Imam and the Pastor, which is widely used in Christian-Muslim inter-faith dialogue.

I’m also grateful for Clay, June, and Sihaya — our regional team leaders in advancing Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) in Mindanao.

We’re extra-blessed to get to know Abel and Gimaidee better; Abel is June’s younger brother.


RATIONALE
Since 2010 there has been an increase in the number of violent global conflicts, with 19 all out wars and 43 high-scale conflicts reported in the last year. The conflicts have also become more deadly, killing 180,000 people in 2015 and making another 60 million refugees, internally displaced persons, or asylum- seekers. The current international reality makes clear that war has a growing momentum over the prospect of peace. War results in a dismantled identity, requiring a response that humanizes both the other and ourselves. Dialogues between divergent religious groups have the potential to serve as a unifying force between seemingly contrasting viewpoints and approaches. Religion is a foundational component of society, shaping the cultural, political and economic realities of a people. Prominent religious leaders have acknowledged that world peace is only possible if the two largest faith groups, Muslims and Christians, reconcile with one another through conversation. However, in the past two decades religion has been found to be at the center of most violent conflicts around the world. Violence perpetrated by groups that manipulate religion and religious identity is a major security challenge at the global, national and local levels. Amid the challenge of violent extremism, there had also been an increase in multi-religious collaboration among faith-based actors. Interreligious action and cooperation involve multi-dimensional approaches that strengthen community expressions of religion in complementation with social, political and economic affairs to promote human dignity and transformation of society. The conference will gather together religious and spiritual leaders, dialogue practitioners and peacebuilders from different regions of Mindanao. Participants will reflect together with two renowned religious peacebuilders from Nigeria- Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye on practices, challenges and lessons in interreligious peacebuilding. The organizers believe that this gathering will help galvanize faith-based approaches in peacebuilding. The shared learning process is envisioned to affirm shared values and commitment of religious peacebuilders to demand justice, foster solidarity and sustain peace amidst the continuing challenges of conflicts and violence in the region.

CONFERENCE OBJECTIVES
For religious leaders, dialogue practitioners and peacebuilders to Reflect on practices and challenges in interreligious peacebuilding as an approach to prevent and address conflict and violence in the context of Mindanao and Nigeria Enhance understanding and appreciation on the distinct roles of faith actors in peacebuilding and social cohesion Formulate concrete actions to bolster and promote interreligious collaboration for peace in Mindanao and in Nigeria Strengthen and support network of actors and institutions involved in interreligious peacebuilding efforts.

“Learning Conference: Advancing InterReligious Action for Peace.” 21-23 August 2017. Davao City. Organized by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Philippines


 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/08/24/our-mindanao-par-team-enjoyed-being-together-in-a-learning-conference/

Jul 27 2017

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, MUSLIMS, AND CHRISTIANS GATHER TO LISTEN TO EACH OTHER

Participants and leaders in the Mindanao PeaceWeavers (MPW) and All-Out Peace (AOP) take time for this photo opportunity after a dialogue with Mohagher Iqbal, Chair of the Peace Implementing Panel, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) . 25-26 July 2017, The Pinnacle Hotel and Suites, Davao City, Philippines.

More than 30 peacebuilding leaders from all over the country met to compare notes on our field experiences as we face the realities of Martial Law in Mindanao, the Marawi Crisis, Human Rights under Duterte, and the increasing number of killings related with the War on Drugs.

We listed our fears and hopes from the field. It was so inspiring that we have three times the number of pages on ‘hope list’ than ‘fear list.’ The energies of peace transcend the energies of unpeace.

Here were the highights of this conference:

Based on what we’ve heard, we were able to work together towards forging synergies.

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/07/27/indigenous-peoples-muslims-and-christians-gather-to-listen-to-each-other/

Jun 29 2017

REFLECTIONS AND ACTION-PLANS AS WE SERVE CIVILIANS IN WAR-TORN MARAWI

Government troops are seen during their tactical operation against the Maute Group-ISIS who have taken over large parts of the Marawi City. 25 May 2017. Photo by Romeo Ranoco

The 2017 Marawi Crisis. The initial skirmishes started in the afternoon of 23 May 2017 between Philippine government security forces and the Maute Group, who were joined by the Abu Sayyaf groups, and claimed themselves to be part of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The clashes began when elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) launched an operation in Marawi City to serve a warrant of arrest against Isnilon Hapilon. Hapilon is a leader of the Abu Sayyaf who was in Marawi to join forces with the Maute group. The Maute group had pledged allegiance to ISIS and are believed to be responsible for the 2016 Davao City bombing according to AFP and PNP reports.

They also occupied the main street and set fire Saint Mary’s Church and Dansalan College, run by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. The group also attacked the Marawi Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church, taking The Rev. Fr. Teresito ‘Chito’ Soganub, its Vicar-General, along with several church-goers as hostage.

 

The downtown area of Marawi City burns as the Philippine Air Force sustains its air strikes against the Maute Group-ISIS.

At around 11:20 PM, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law all over Mindanao from Moscow, where the Russian government was hosting him with several of his government officials. Maute group militants attacked AFP’s Camp Ranao and occupied several buildings in the city, including Marawi City Hall, Mindanao State University, a hospital and the city jail.

On 26 May 2017, the AFP stated that some of the terrorists are foreigners who have been in the country for quite some time, offering support to the Maute group in Marawi.

Almost one month after the Marawi armed conflict started, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that over 314,800 people are displaced. 94 per cent are staying with host families, while 17,700 (6%) people are staying in 83 evacuation centres.

As of 28 June 2017, the casualties reported are as follows:

  • 299 militants killed (11 foreigners)
  • 9 militants captured
  • 71 government forces killed (10 by ‘friendly fire’)
  • 297 government forces wounded
  • 110 civilians dead (59 due to illness)

Most government agencies and civil society groups responded promptly to the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) with relief goods and emergency services.

 

Residents of Marawi are moving out of the armed conflict area towards the adjacent City of Iligan.

It’s easy to be merely reactive in this kind of an all-out war scenario. But we want to be proactive. So, we have to look deep within ourselves and make sure that our actions are centered on who we are, which will determine what we will do and what we need to have.

:: First, we will stick with our sense of identity and will be governed by the heart of our mission. PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) is a fellowship of Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) missionary-consultants — peace building operatives, conflict transformation specialists, restorative justice practitioners, disaster response specialists, and community development workers — who are dreaming and working together for a just, radical, and active non-violent transformation of our beautiful land. We normally work in partnership with religious institutions, civil society organizations, political fronts, business corporations, and government agencies.

PAR is the heart of our ministry. PAR is Peace and Reconciliation. Peace—from the Hebrew term ‘shalom’ and the Arabic term ‘salaam’—is understood here as harmony with the Creator (spiritual transformation); harmony with our Being (psycho-social transformation); harmony with Others (socio-political transformation); and, harmony with the Creation (economic-ecological transformation). 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.

All our activities in Marawi will be framed in peace-and-reconciliation principles and practices.

:: Second, we will listen to all parties and yet remain on the side of the civilians, both Muslims and Christians, in our actions (programs) and words (official statements). 19-21 June 2017. I joined the 50 leaders and representatives from various civil society organizations who belong to the Mindanao PeaceWeavers. We met in Cagayan de Oro City to compare notes on their perspectives and activities in response to the Marawi Crisis. Our group proceeded to Iligan then to Marawi for a Peace and Solidarity Mission.

 

1. Lakan Sumulong exchanges perspectives with Lt. Col. J. Herrera, the spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the Marawi Crisis. 2. A Muslim representative from the victims of this war, accompanied by Christian civil society colleagues, shares her views and feelings to AFP officers. 3. Lt. Col. Mamon (a field commander of AFP), Jehan Usop (a Muslim civil society leader), and Lakan Sumulong (a Christian peace worker) pose for a souvernir photo symbolizing inter-faith, action-oriented peace dialogue.

We did a lot of listening. We listened to the volunteers who were rescuing civilians trapped in the crossfire. We listened to the quietness of abandoned homes, destroyed neighborhoods, and militarized zones. We listened to the provincial authority’s political and human security perspectives. We listened to the police and military officers’ view of the armed-conflicted areas. We listened to civilian evacuees and their narratives. We listened to fellow civil society leaders from Marawi City and its immediate surroundings make sure that our interventions are culturally-sensitive and ethically-appropriate. The ‘listening process’ of the entire mission is a combination of dialogue circles, key informant interviews, humanitarian & psycho-social activities, and group conversations which culminated into a solidarity conference among civil society networks.

 

1. Gus Miclat (Executive Director of the Initiatives for International Dialogue), Zia Alonto Adiong (spokesperson of the Lanao del Norte Crisis Management Committee), and Lakan Sumulong (President of PeaceBuilders Community) pose for a picture after a brief information exchange. 2. Brig. Gen. Rolando Bautista (Commanding General, 1st Infantry ‘Tabak’ Division, AFP) and Lakan Sumulong show the “Bangon Marawi” banner representing the civil society Peace and Solidarity Mission to Marawi. 3. Lakan Sumulong, Reinna Bermudez (representing the Commission on Human Rights), and Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo (a Muslim human rights lawyer) briefly shared human security concerns at the Lanao del Sur Capitol Complex.

The whole 3-day event ended in a day of listening session to each other as an All-Out Peace Movement.Together, we were able to develop initial strategic course of actions on how we would respond to Marawi as a network of civil society organizations.

:: Third, we will continue to support the Peace Process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). We affirm what the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Jess Dureza, said: “I always say this before, and even now, I can build easily the [physical] structures destroyed by the [armed] conflict. I can also build the school buildings that were burned down. But building of the relationships, bringing back social cohesion, and mending the torn social fabric brought about the conflict takes time. The healing takes time.”

We also laud the statement of the MILF expressing their determination to continue the Peace Process, particularly their call to proceed with the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB):


The MILF is firm in its resolve to settle the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people through the negotiated process now contained in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. The different mechanisms of the peace process are still engaged with their esteemed counterparts in government and are working towards finding ways on how best to address the challenge posed by the violence being committed in Marawi by groups who have chosen to take violence without regard to the best interest of our people. Now more than ever, the MILF and the government must work closely to ensure the protection of the gains of the peace process and to even forge with greater resolve to immediately implement the peace agreement so that no other groups may use its non-implementation to justify their continued pursuit of violence for violence’s sake.


For PBCI, the most practical next step in the implementation of CAB is for the Philippine Congress to pass the newly-drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law.

:: Fourth, we will start our Marawi PAR initiatives through psycho-social debriefing and peace education of children traumatized by this continued violence. The Maute brothers were young men who embraced the violent, radical expression of religiosity propagated by ISIS. They were able to recruit hundreds of young people with their ISIS outlook and were able to challenge the AFP and the PNP over the control of the Islamic City of Marawi.

We, at PBCI, are encouraged to help in this psycho-social debriefing as our response to a Shariah ruling or fatwa promulgated by the Bangsamoro Mufti, Sheik Abehuraira Abdulrahman Udasan against the entry and spread of violent radicalism or extremism in any Bangsamoro community.

 

Please continue praying with us as we discern the Spirit in our on-going response to this human-induced disaster.  Pray for sensitivity and humility among us, leading these operations, and among our field workers, so that we might not do harm as we seek to do good.

Our continuing prayers, and the long-term action path we are taking, are:

  • rescue;
  • relief;
  • rehabilitation;
  • restitution;
  • reconstruction;
  • reconciliation; and,
  • rest.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/06/29/reflections-and-action-plans-as-we-serve-civilians-in-war-torn-marawi/