The PBCI Information & Communications Team is a group of volunteer writers and web designers at PeaceBuilders Community Incorporated (PBCI) who are working from different parts of the globe. Their task is to document all the activities initiated by the various communities and groups belonging to PAR Philippines — a national peace and reconciliation movement doing inclusive development initiatives, social entrepreneurial training, multiplication of effective peacebuilding workers, conflict transformation consulting, and restorative justice processes. PBCI is a community of missionaries who are dreaming and working together for a just, radical, and active non-violent transformation of our beautiful land.

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PCEC BISHOP LISTENS TO MILF ON HOW TO ENHANCE CHURCH’S SUPPORT TO PEACE TALKS

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L-R: Professor Abhoud Sayyed Lingga (MILF Peace Panel Member), Bishop Efraim Tendero (PCEC National Director), Chairman Mohagher Iqbal (MILF Peace Panel/Bangsamoro Transitional Commission): PCEC and MILF discuss how to enhance their partnership in advancing just and sustainable peace in our land during their May 14 meeting in Simuay.

Cotabato City, May 14, 2013 — PCEC Bishop Efraim Tendero met with MILF Peace Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal this afternoon in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. Tendero asked Iqbal on how the Church can enhance its support to the GPH-MILF Peace Talks.

Before answering Tendero’s question, Iqbal gave an update on the current state of the negotiation between the GPH and the MILF. He highlighted the need to sign the Annexes in the newly-signed Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB). The said FAB Annexes include crucial details such as wealth sharing, power sharing, and normalization.

“The Church can help in the peace process more effectively if its constituents would support the hastening of the completion of the Annexes in the newly-signed Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, ” Iqbal said. “The resolution to the GPH-MILF conflict is political in nature.”

Atty. Naguib G. Siwarimbo, a member of the MILF Peace Panel, also suggested that the Church will have “to journey with the government and with the negotiators and keep the pressure on both panels not to further delay the transition, as time is of the essence.”

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L-R: Rev. Daniel Pantoja (his back on the camera), Prof. Abhoud Sayyed Lingga, Bishop Efraim Tendero, Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, Datu Kharis Baraguir. The PCEC delegation and the MILF team prayed together after the meeting.

The other members of the Bangsamoro Transitional Commission, which Iqbal also chairs, were also present, including the second highest ranking member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).

The meeting started at 1:30 in the afternoon. Bishop Tendero expressed appreciation that the MILF leadership team prepared a sumptuous lunch and that the MILF hosts waited for the PCEC delegation before taking their lunch in order to have a solidarity meal.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Bishop Tendero made a commitment that, “PCEC will initiate inter-faith and multi-sectoral consultation to advocate for the support of the prompt signing of the Annexes to the FAB.”

The PCEC bishop was accompanied by a team from PeaceBuilders Community along with Wendy Kroeker, a conflict transformation consultant from the Mennonite Church Canada.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2013/05/14/pcec-bishop-listens-to-milf-on-how-to-enhance-churchs-support-to-peace-process/

BUKIDNON CHRISTIAN LEADERS WELCOME PEACE BUILDERS SCHOOL OF LEADERSHIP

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The 2013-15 PBSL Class invokes the presence of the Holy Spirit as they start their first quarter 2013 session.

Twenty-one people finished the first quarter of the PeaceBuilders School of Leadership (PBSL) in Valencia City, Bukidnon from 24-26 April 2013.

They are a group composed of peacebuilders, pastors, church leaders, missionaries and educators. It was designed as highly academic activity with the book “Mediation in Pastoral Care” as the main focus and the books “Yahweh is a Warrior,” “Why did Jesus, Moses, Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road” and “Just Peacemaking” as reports of some PBCI staff.

 

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Joji Pantoja uses a bag to illustrate the need to look at our so-called enemy as a real, multi-dimensional person; this helps us in our process of forgiveness.

Once again, the whole team witnessed an outpouring of the Spirit as the participants shared not only their minds but also their hearts and souls. Personal stories were shared, proving again that peacebuilding begins in one’s “being” or in a person’s relationship with the Creator. It served also as a healing place for some of the participants as they explored peacebuilding.

PBSL is the training program for PBCI’s prospective PAR Consultants and new staff candidates; it is also the continuing education program for current PBCI staff, consultants, and selected volunteers.

PBSL is a two-year program with four quarters in a year. The next session will be held in June.

 

 

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PBSL

Mission:

To equip effective peace-building and transformation leaders in the context of 21st century global realities based on an anabaptist peace theology.

Requirements:

This is an advanced leadership development program for those who have finished college or university degree, and have completed PBCI’s Peace and Reconciliation Seminars 1, 2, & 3.

Learning Resources:

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Dann Pantoja congratulates Pastor Eddie Isada, one of PBCI’s national intern, who finished the first quarter course of this two-year peacebuilding leadership training program based on Peace Theology.

  • A graduate-level leadership training based on Peace Theology and a set of Social Ethical Values
  • Has a well-established field experience in peace-building and conflict transformation in the context of Philippine realities
  • Facilitators are immersed, on a continuing basis, in various levels of conflict transformation processes in 19 out of 80 provinces in our country
  • Enriched by its national and international interns who bring to each class a rich mix of experiences and knowledge
  • A learning program whose learning facilitators are actual practitioners who have gone through academic disciplines in biblical peacemaking and social ethics
  • Participants are connected and actively working with local and global networks of peace-building practitioners

Courses Offered:

  • PEACE THEOLOGY 101 :: Introduction to Peace Theology. This is a biblical-theological discussion of peace from the perspective of active non-violence. This course will help the students to appreciate and to evaluate a biblical understanding and contemporary practice of Peace Theology. Such evaluation will be done within the framework of social sciences and informed from the perspective of biblical theology. The students will be intellectually involved in the current discussions on the meanings, proposals, and tasks of Peace Theology.
  • PEACE THEOLOGY 202 :: Peace and Peacemaking in the Old Testament. A biblical analysis of war and warfare in the Hebrew Bible. The class will study Millard C. Lind’s book, YAHWEH IS A WARRIOR; and, Gordon H. Matties’ commentary on JOSHUA. In his preface of JOSHUA, Matties said: “In an age of fear and insecurity, in which ethnic nationalisms continue to give rise to conflict and war, we dare not avoid critical engagement with biblical texts that have been used to justify colonialism, conquest, occupation, and ethnic cleansing. In this commentary I suggest that the book of Joshua is not a conquest account even though it incorporates several conquest accounts into its narrative. I advocate for the book of Joshua even as I engage in a ‘difficult conversation’ with it.”
  • PEACE THEOLOGY 303 :: Peace and Peacemaking in the New Testament. The class will study Willard Swartley’s COVENANT OF PEACE: THE MISSING PEACE IN NEW TESTAMENT THEOLOGY AND ETHICS. “Covenant of Peace” seeks to restore to New Testament theology and ethics the peace that many standard texts have missed. In this accessible volume, Willard Swartley explicates virtually all of the New Testament, relating peace — and the related emphases of love for enemies, non-retaliation, and reconciliation — to core theological themes such as salvation, Christology, and the reign of God.
  • SOCIAL ETHICS 101 :: Introduction to Social Ethics. This course will examine the sources for values that underly our personal ethics. It will also introduce the learners to some of the significant ethical theories in Western and Southeast Asian traditions, theories that we will apply to social and political issues in current Philippine society.
  • SOCIAL ETHICS 202 :: Culture, History, and Social Ethics in the Philippine Context. A survey and analysis of the cultural and historical factors affecting our social ethics as Filipinos. The class will discuss case studies of corruption and transformation from the lenses of spiritual, psycho-social, socio-political, and economic-ecological aspects of our realities.
  • SOCIAL ETHICS 303 :: Roots of Conflict, Violence, and Peace in the Philippines. An examination of influential theories about the sources and nature of conflict, violence, and peace. The class will discuss various levels of conflict — personal, family, community, society — and how Shalom Theology is applied in the conflict transformation processes needed for the healing of our land.

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Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2013/04/26/bukidnon-christian-leaders-welcome-peace-builders-school-of-leadership/

DANN PRESENTED MINDANAO PERSPECTIVES AT A FORUM ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING

The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) invited Dann to present some facts about human trafficking in Mindanao.

With the help of our research team and some of our connections with the military, we were able to gather the following:

  • Of the 1,000,000 college graduates annually, only 5-10% are employed in jobs consistent to their course, and only 30-40% will find any employment. The vast majority of graduates will remain unemployed. Guess who’s going to seduce the more than 500,000 jobless Filipinos we’re producing every year?
  • Most of the victims of human trafficking come from the porous borders of Mindanao. In a study by Lila Ramos Shalani, Department of Education, she interviewed 2,759 randomly selected households from 231 barangays in five provinces – Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao in ARMM, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat from November to December 2010. The study showed that more than 40 percent of families in Central Mindanao had been displaced from 2000-2010 due to violent conflict in the area. One in ten families had been displaced five times or more. Many of the trafficking cases happen from Central Mindanao.
  • Last June 13, 2012, Naval forces have intercepted a motor launch with 184 victims of human trafickking. Lt. Col. Erwin A. Alea, commander of the 4th Civil Relations Group, said troops from the Western Mindanao naval force captured the vessel seven kilometers off the coastal village of Ayala in Zamboanga City. The motor launch was heading towards the direction of Sabah, Malaysia with undocumented victims mostly women.

How do we connect unemployment, armed-conflicts, and human trafficking?

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2012/07/30/dann-presented-peace-justice-perspectives-at-a-forum-on-human-trafficking/

MCC UGANDA RESPONDS TO “KONY 2012” VIDEO AND DEBATE

We support the perspective of our fellow Mennonite workers in Uganda regarding the Kony 2012 campaign. 

Kony 2012 campaign is an instant global, online success. Many people who are supporting it are well-meaning and may really be seeking for justice. We’re also struggling with injustice and violence in the Philippines so it’s important to learn from this discussion.

Their video is currently one of the most popular media online:

 

Here is an alternative view, based on a peace theology, to enhance our understanding of this issue. Your comments will be appreciated.

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches which shares God’s love and compassion for all in the name of Christ by responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice. MCC has worked in Uganda since 1979; and currently supports local church and community organizations in their efforts to end the war in northern Uganda.

We have watched Kony 2012, an Invisible Children video that went online on March 5, 2012, and has attracted several million viewers. In response, MCC Uganda would like to share the following perspective.

The conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda has spread beyond the boundaries of Uganda into Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Central African Republic (CAR). Following the 2006 peace process between the two parties, the LRA has not re-entered the borders of Uganda. Since then Northern Uganda has embarked on recovery and reconstruction programs supported by the Uganda government and many nongovernment agencies. It is therefore grossly misleading for Invisible Children to emphasize a northern Ugandan context of 2003, for an international campaign of this magnitude today. A generation of night commuters, whose situation is emphasized in the video, has now grown into teenagers and adults, and is experiencing other post-conflict difficulties.

Over the years, the conflict in question has involved multiple actors beyond Joseph Kony and the LRA. Therefore any efforts to end the war must address all the key actors in the conflict, not only one individual. Furthermore, during the two decades of the LRA conflict, there have been several good attempts to stop the LRA. These efforts were mostly initiatives by the Ugandan people (political and civil society leadership), with many positive results achieved. However, the video is trying to mobilize mainly the American public as if there has been nothing done in the past about this war.

The image of Kony the ‘bad guy’ that is presented to the young boy in the movie by his father is disturbing, and reinforces negative stereotypes held by young Americans about Africa and its peoples.

The call for a military action to stop Joseph Kony is nothing new. This particular war has witnessed some of the most expensive but failed military operations in the past, namely; Operation North, Operation Iron Fist and Operation Lightning Thunder. MCC reaffirms its stand against the use of military approaches as the best option to end conflict. Past military offensives to stop Kony have not only failed, but have also caused thousands of civilian deaths. MCC is strongly opposed to such military offensives.

We would like to stress that dialogue and reconciliatory processes that happened between 2006 and 2008 have led to the current relative peace in northern Uganda. MCC would further like to recognize and continue to support the tireless efforts by local groups to advocate for nonmilitary approaches to ending the war in the LRA-affected countries of Africa’s Great Lakes Region.

David Otim, Ronald Milne and Sally Jo Milne on behalf of MCC Uganda

March 15, 2012

May we experience God’s justice and peace within us and around us!

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2012/03/23/mcc-uganda-responds-to-kony-2012-video-and-debate/

JOJI PARTICIPATES IN MCC ASIA’S DIAKONIA 2012 CONFERENCE

The participants of the Asia Anabaptist Diakonia Conference held in Central Java, Indonesia

On February 19-29, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) conducted the Asia Anabaptist Diakonia Conference in Central Java, Indonesia. The participants came from Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia (Central Java and Papua), South Korea, India, China, Japan, and Nepal.

Peacebuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI), Coffee for Peace, Inc. (CFPI), and the Integrated Mennontie Church (IMC) represented the Philippines. Each organization presented what “diakonia” means in their context, and how they respond to diakonia in their communities.

Diakonia is a Greek word meaning “care or service”. During the conference, all the participants contributed towards strengthening a theology of diakonia in the Asian context. There were six Asian Values for Diakonial Ministry that were formulated:

  1. Proclaim the Gospel of Peace by following Christ’s example in the way of peace, doing justice, bringing reconciliation, modeling unity, and practicing non-resistance even in the face of violence and warfare.
  2. Show our love which is inclusive of all races, gender, faith, background with a preference for the “least of these”, through transformative diakonia by valuing relationships between people, empowering them also to do diakonia with others.
  3. Encourage volunteerism and networking among churches and people of different faiths without diluting our core Anabaptist values.
  4. Value transparency and integrity in what we do by giving our best and quality service to others.
  5. Be sensitive at all levels and adaptive to culture and social changes in the communities we serve.
  6. Be simple and humble in our approach by using what is already existing in the community, using indigenous and locally available materials in ways that care for Creation and which are sustainable.

As the Asian churches shared their own experiences, there were several common themes that surfaced among the countries. These themes include:

  1. Conflict and trauma- India, Papua in Indonesia, Philippines, and Nepal have current situations of violent conflicts. Although there is not a current violent conflict, China, Japan, South Korea, Java in Indonesia, and Vietnam continue to deal with the impact of historic violent conflict and trauma.
  2.  Disasters- Natural disasters are a common theme connecting all of the Asian nations.
  3.  Ethnic diversity and religious pluralism are common themes across all participant contexts. A number of the Asian nations are dealing with religious radicalism and conflict that is blamed on religions although its source may be much more complex.
  4.  Poverty is also a shared theme. Although the GDP and HDI indicators are relatively high in some of the participant nations, much church work is focused on the areas of poverty as churches give priority to the most marginalized.
  5. In many of the contexts, the church is small, or a minority, or oppressed, or under suspicion and yet continues to reach out to serve. The church has the capacity to have a big impact on communities and also on other churches of other Christian traditions. Results are not measured by growing numbers of church members.
  6.  A shared concern was for youth to plan and implement diakonial ministry. In some places, the youth are ready and eager to serve, but have not been given the freedom from older leaders to get out and work. In other places, the youth have left the church and leaders are concerned about how to motivate and welcome the participation of young people for diakonia.

As the Anabaptist churches in Asia shared about their diakonial ministry, it is very interesting to note that most Asian Anabaptist churches work with other Christian churches towards serving people in their community, and serving people of different religious groups.

In the Philippines, it is a challenge for the Christian churches to work together and embrace the ministry of Peace and Reconciliation as a Diakonial response to the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

Being able to hear and see that the situation in the Philippines has many similarities across Asian countries, it becomes much more encouraging to strengthen the Christian church, regardless of religious affiliation, to work together for the ministry of Diakonia, for the benefit of the Filipino people- Christians, Muslims, or Lumads.

 

The participants from the Philippines (L-R): Eladio Mondez, Integrated Mennonite Church; Regina Mondez, Peacebuilders Community, Inc.; and Joji Pantoja, Coffee for Peace, Inc.

 

Report written by Regina Mondez, PBCI Church Resourcing Coordinator

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2012/02/29/we-participated-in-mcc-asias-diakonia-2012-conference/

WE FORMALIZED OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH THE TALAANDIG TRIBE

PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee for Peace has been working with the Talaandig First Nation for the past three years in the areas of peace-building, fair trade, and cross-cultural understanding.

Last Sunday, February 12, 2012, we celebrated this partnership and formalized it through a ritual offered to the Creator — known to Hebrew writers as YHWH, to New Testament writers as THEOS, to the Talaandig people as MAGBABAYA, to the Muslim as ALLAH, and to the Western Christians as GOD.

In the Talaandig worldview, every aspiration, action, event, or project starts with spirituality. That’s how we, at PeaceBuilders Community, look at the world too. We start with the many common grounds with other cultures. We engage in honest, transparent, and relational dialogue when we encounter differences in our worldviews.

In all things, our relationship with the Talaandig people is grounded in the unconditional love of God.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2012/02/12/we-formalized-our-partnership-with-the-talaandig-tribe/