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.”
Feb 25 2016
Last November 2015, Coffee for Peace received an award initiated by IIX and UNDP on PeaceBuilding. Coffee for Peace was chosen for the Philippines as a Social Enterprise with Peace Impact.
This month, Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX Asia) from Singapore conducted the impact assessment for Coffee For Peace in terms of inclusive development in the communities where our farming partners live. We are grateful to Jia Ling Lim, Macey Tan, and Vivienne Zerrudo of Shujog for their help in this impact assessment.
Len Rempel, our partner from East Zorra, Ontario is also here to visit us. So we travelled with the impact assessment team in Bukidnon for two days.
It is very encouraging to see the result of this assessment. Not only on profit but also on the lives of people, the environment, and the peace aspect.
Joji wanted to find out what Coffee for Peace’s positive influence has been so far, and how to scale their impact moving forward.
We travelled with Joji up to Mount Apo, the tallest mountain in the Philippines overlooking the island of Mindanao, which has been plagued by multiple conflicts for decades. The conflict in Mindanao has been difficult to resolve at the national level, and has been a major reason for impeding economic development in the region, amidst multiple other issues.
During the decades of conflict, the densely forested hills of Mount Apo, which are supposed to be protected under national park status, were heavily deforested by large logging and mining companies. Without its natural forest cover, the hills’ topsoil was lost to erosion and rivers built up with silt, while landslides and flooding got worse, claiming more lives.
“The only way that we see could resolve the environmental and economic problems, is by empowering the communities to learn how to deal with conflict peacefully. And at the same time, providing a way of livelihood, which is coffee. I have a market for coffee, and a lot of people are looking for coffee!” Joji chuckles as she takes another gulp from her coffee cup.
Coffee for Peace envisions ecological recovery through coffee farming. The Arabica coffee thrives in elevated highlands and more importantly, grows best in shaded areas, which incentivizes the farmers to plant native forest trees. Farmers can continue to grow vegetables and coffee around reforested areas, while the growing trees would help to sustain the very soil and water needed to sustain agriculture, livelihoods and life itself for generations to come. Coffee for Peace advocates for this during their coffee training sessions with the local farmers.
“It would protect the environment, it would provide income,” Joji said simply.
While at the village, we spoke with Nalgene Libres, the daughter-in-law of a coffee farm owner and a member of the local Bagobo tribe.
“Coffee is very important because it is the key source of income to us, next to vegetable farming,” Nalgene told us in a matter-of-fact manner. Nalgene is 27 years old, bright and bubbly and her laughter can be heard two houses down the village road.
“With the extra income, we can sustain the daily needs for school-going children. We can have savings to use for emergencies, such as when we are sick. It helps a lot in our family!” she added.
What would happen if you didn’t farm and sell coffee? I had to ask. She looked at me for a second, tensing up as she thought about the possibility.
“If there is no coffee? The people around here will just depend on vegetable crops! It is very difficult. We will need to take on credit to buy seeds, and if the vegetables don’t grow, all our efforts and money will go to waste. And we will need to take more loans – it’s a vicious cycle.”
Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2016/02/25/cfp-goes-through-impact-assessment/
Feb 04 2016
Two Kalinga tribes — the Sumacher Tribe and the Naneng Tribe — have invited Joji and me to become a ceremonial part of their people. This is equivalent to becoming both a spiritual member of the tribe and becoming a ‘naturalized citizen’ of the community.
Being embraced by the loving and caring tribal community is both a privilege and a responsibility. The Alngag Clan from the Sumacher Tribe extended their invitation two years ago. Twinkle Alngag Bautista, one of their daughters, introduced us to her immediate family. When her grandmother embraced Joji as part of the family, we became a part of the clan through a sort of ‘matriarchal declaration’. That opened the door for Twinkle to bridge the development of a personal relationship between us and her uncles and aunts.
My most previous trip to Kalinga was like a biblical ‘koinonia’ where life and resources have been mutually shared in the power and energy of the Spirit. I will not forget a conversation between me and Twinkle in front of her family while planning for a 1,100 meters above sea level hike up to their tribal village.
“You know, I left my jacket and sleeping bag back home,” I said, with a bit of anxiety.
Her answer was so assuring: “But you’re here. This is your home. We have all your needs in Kalinga!”
I’m home in Kalinga! What a privilege!
And as in any other cultural contexts, being home is also a responsibility.
One morning, I was having breakfast with another member of PAR Kalinga. His name is Pullan Albert. (Yes, Albert. Their American surname which they got during the American attempt to occupy the Cordilleras, is another story in another blog.) Pullan and I gradually became like brothers in the two years since he attended our PAR Seminar. He made a proposal during our breakfast: “Kuya Dann, would you consider becoming a part of Naneng Tribe through a traditional ceremony.”
“What would that normally mean?” I respectfully asked.
“You would be regarded as a member of my clan and the tribe will embrace you as really one of us,” he answered.
“During the time when the Naneng Tribe is at war against another tribe,” I continued, “what is expected of me?”
He paused for a moment. Then he said, “You will have to be loyal to our tribe.”
“That means I have to fight Naneng’s enemy tribe, right?”
“Yes. But you can also be Naneng Tribe’s peace negotiator,” he replied. “You are still considered loyal to the tribe if you negotiate on our behalf.”
“So no one would force me,” I was expecting to be assured, “to use weapons against an enemy tribe?”
“If that becomes a part of our elders’ understanding about your becoming a member of the Naneng Tribe, yes,” he tentatively assured me, “no one would force you to use weapons of war against our enemy tribe.”
I gave my conditional ‘Yes’ until I hear from the elders.
Peacebuilding is relationship-building. And relationships always entail both privileges and responsibilities.
Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2016/02/04/privileges-and-responsibilities-in-relationship-building/
Jan 22 2016
I’m so blessed to enjoy a relaxing Saturday in a small coffee shop that —
- serves world-class quality coffee (Specialty Coffee Association of America, Specialty Coffee Association of Europe);
- has been evaluated as sound business in terms of five-pronged bottom line — people, peace, progress, partnership, planet (PriceWaterhouseCooper, Foundation for Sustainable Society Inc, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Citibank, Marketplace Magazine);
- had just won an award from the United Nations (UNDP-NPeace);
- is being served by award winning baristas;
- is facilitating the socioeconomic transformation of hundreds of coffee farmers;
- contributes to the practical propagation of inclusive development;
- corporately embraced by various tribal councils and leaders, local justice-advocating community organizations, government agencies, local government units; and,
- inspires the community we belong to as a family.
CoffeeForPeace. It’s not just another coffee. It’s JUST coffee!
Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2016/01/22/being-grateful-about-coffee-for-peace/
Jan 14 2016
60 peacebuilding leaders from all over the Philippines gathered together for the purpose of “Consensus-Building on Transitions, Contingencies and Prospects for the Bangsamoro”. It was held last 09-11 January 2016 at The Pinnacle Hotel, Davao City.
I participated to listen to how the people on the ground — Bangsamoro (MILF, MNLF), Indigenous Peoples, Settlers — would answer the following questions:
- What is the current state of the Bangsamoro Basic Law?
- What are the key issues and obstacles to the envisioned Bangsamoro?
- What needs to be done?
- How can we as leaders respond to and address the key issues?
- What concrete actions can we do in the Senate and the House of Representatives in the remaining sessions?
- If there is no BBL, what is Plan B?
- How can we concretely engage the election to further advance the Bangsamoro?
Their answers to these questions wil help our national peace movement in our strategic and tactical plans.
Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2016/01/14/national-peacebuilding-leaders-hold-summit-on-the-bangsamoro/
Jan 07 2016
My New Year’s reflection was focused on the immediate future — 2016.
But my meditation took me to the Final Future: “The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:26-27 NIV)
I interpret the above statement as follows:
:: the glory of all nations or tribes will be preserved
:: all tribes and nations will be equally honored
:: no more corruption
:: no more undignified and dehumanizing existence
:: transparency, not deception, will be the rule
:: social interaction is energized by the life-giving character of the individual-in-community
:: the standard of one’s credibility is based on the character of the Lamb–that is, sacrificial and unconditional love for others
Joji and I are so blessed because in this mission field where we have been sent by the Church, we found a glimpse of the future.
During our first year in Mindanao, a Muslim community within the vicinity of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front embraced us and welcomed us in their midst.
This year, 2016, we will be ceremonially welcomed by the Kalinga people in the northern part of the Philippines. in time with the dedication of the Peace and Reconciliation Guest House on a beautiful mountain where a river flow through it.
We can actually assume that we have homes and communities from the south to the north!
So, here’s my prayer for 2016:
Oh Divine Creator of all peoples and nations, may my present dreams, visions, ministries, actions, and behavior be consistent with what Your will is for the whole of humanity and for the whole creation. Amen.
Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2016/01/07/a-personal-theology-of-hope-for-humanity-2/
Dec 25 2015
I’m grateful for the memories of deep joy with Elia & Eve. Just before I left for Manila, I had a date with them at the Richmond Centre Mall. Below is our time together caught in my video.
Wishing they are with us here in Mindanao as we celebrate Christmas.
After school ice cream time with Elia and Eve at Richmond Centre Mall food court.
Posted by Lakan Sumulong on Thursday, 19 November 2015
Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2015/12/25/i-miss-having-ice-cream-with-elia-and-eve/
Dec 25 2015
Near the end of my one month bonding with my grandchildren, we had this evening of dance lessons. We never planned it. Our spirits just connected in love through music and dancing.
Kiana was listening to her music and I just danced in front of her, her sister Kaya, and her parents — Allan and Lele. Later, Kiana expressed how much she loves to learn dancing. I just kept dancing and she later joined me.
Dancing Lesson: Kiana Part 2. Video by LéLé Pantoja Chan.
Posted by Lakan Sumulong on Thursday, 12 November 2015
Kaya was watching us all along. Soon, she joined me and we had a dance party together.
Dancing Lesson: Kaya. Video by LéLé Pantoja Chan.
Posted by Lakan Sumulong on Thursday, 12 November 2015
Lele, their mom, was taking the videos.
Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2015/12/25/i-miss-dancing-with-kiana-and-kaya/
Dec 03 2015
Joji is enrolled at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business at the Rockwell Campus in Makati City, Philippines. She actually started at the beginning of Fall 2015 but made an arrangement with the university to miss her initial classes due to our Canadian commitments and speaking engagements.
I enjoy listening to her. Here are some stuff I’m learning from her materials so far.
What is Inclusive Development?
It is a process that leads towards the goal of an Inclusive Global community.
It is based on understanding of 2 concepts:
Inclusion is a process and a goal.
Diversity is a fact of life. Difference is normal. Some people are excluded from society because of difference. Difference can be due to a range of factors, some universal, some cultural and context specific.
Inclusion is about society changing to accommodate difference, and to combat discrimination. It sees society as the problem, not the person.
To achieve inclusion, a twin track approach is needed:
:: Focus on the society to remove the barriers that exclude — i.e. mainstreaming.
:: Focus on the group of persons who are excluded, to build their capacity and support them to lobby for their inclusion.
Because inclusion involves everyone in society at all levels, collaboration and networking are core strategies to achieve inclusion.
Development needs to be carefully defined.
The Millenium Development Goals provide a basic framework :
:: Develop a Global partnership for development
:: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
:: Achieve Universal primary education
:: Promote gender equality and empower women
:: Reduce child mortality
:: Improve maternal health
:: Ensure environmental sustainability
Key ingredients of development are:
:: poverty alleviation,
:: human rights
:: civil society participation.
Inclusive Development therefore is the process of ensuring that all marginalized/ excluded groups are included in the development process.
Through Inclusive Development, Joji is also very committed to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Inclusive Development upholds the Sustainable Development Goals:
People. We are determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.
Peace. We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.
Prosperity. We are determined to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.
Partnership. We are determined to mobilize the means required to implement this Agenda through a revitalised Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focussed in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people.
Planet. We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.
Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2015/12/03/joji-is-enrolled-in-a-masters-degree-program-in-entrepreneurship/
Nov 10 2015
Every three years, Joji & I report back to our sending agency, Mennonite Church Canada, in our capacity as lead peace and reconciliation missionaries at PeaceBuilders Community. During a NAM tour, we are assigned to speak at various church organizations, inter-faith gatherings, peace advocacy groups, and academic institutions. We arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia in the evening of 10 September. Our NAM tour included Winnipeg and Manitoba Area, Greater Toronto and Southern Ontario Area, Washington DC Area, Virginia, and then back to the Greater Vancouver Area and British Columbia.
Joji will be back in Davao on the second week of November; I will be back at the end of November.
I’m still here in Vancouver, enjoying the love of my daughters, sons-in-law, and grand-children. I’m also doing some readings at The University of British Columbia (UBC) to help our faith-based peacebuilding organization to be more informed and effective in our justice-based peace advocacy.
Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2015/11/10/4608/
Nov 04 2015
We have a new government in Canada. A young Prime Minister. A new cabinet: 15 women; 15 men; 3 Sikhs; 2 belonging to the First Nations/Indigenous Peoples; 2 with disabilities.
I applaud those cabinet members who affirmed their faith; who took an oath in the name of God.
Half of the new cabinet did not mention ‘God’ in their declaration (yes, ‘declaration’ — not taking an oath; not swearing). It’s like the biblical Book of Esther — no mention of ‘God’ but so godly in principle in its story-line. I have no problem with non-religious statements in governance, as long as the quality of governance is ethical and consistent with justice and peace expressed in the Great Commandment–love God, love neighbours as we love ourselves; or consistent with the Fruit of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, etc.
I’m also tired of religious language by politicians–many Filipino politicians–who use God-talk to perpetuate a corrupt value-system and rotten governance system.
May God bless all the cabinet members in the Trudeau government.
Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2015/11/04/a-new-liberal-canadian-government-in-ottawa/