PeaceBuilders Community took part in ‘Tingog Mamasapano’ — “Surfacing the Unheard Voices of Civilians Caught in the Crossfire: A Women’s Solidarity and Listening Mission,” last February 11, 2015. We sent two of our women staff members who were both born and raised up in Mindanao — Dawn Albert Pates (PAR Resource Development) and Kevin Marie Becira (Information and Communications Team).
Oxfam organized this event and coordinated with a number of civil society organizations involved in peacebuilding in the Bangsamoro area.
Here’s a report by Dawn and Kevin, our field representatives in this mission:
This is our first small step towards sifting through the Mamasapano encounter that claimed the lives of so many people, including a 5-year old girl; and listening to the various narratives and surfacing key insights that would hopefully prevent a similar event from ever happening again.
We visited and interviewed some women residents of Mamasapano, Maguindanao who experienced being caught in the crossfire. We were able to have focus group discussions and listened to women civilians and were able to generate stories of the community’s experiences before, during and after the clash.
The mission is not meant to find fault or determine who is responsible for the clash, but, it is meant to surface the impact of the clash on the civilians, particularly women and children, and to amplify the calls of the communities that war is not an option and to continue the peace process.
We need to quickly distill and learn from the lessons of Mamasapano to counter the repercussions and ensure that we are not deterred from the path of peace.