A new pool of 72 barangay leaders and
community-based development workers participated in Balay Mindanaw’s
recently concluded Operation Peace Course (OP KORS for short), a
two-week training program.
Teresita Torreon, Barangay Secretary
of Barangay Lunotan, asked herself before the start of the training:
“Ngano kami pa? Ug kamo na lang diay ang maglihok sa barangay kay
kamo man ang nakamao?” She later realized how crucial their roles
are as leaders in their community.
“Dako man diay kini og ikatampo sa
akong personal nga kinabuhi ngadto sa komunidad,” commented Demar
Saluma, who has no involvement whatsoever in the barangay then until
his Barangay Captain (Barangay Kalagunoy) pushed him to join and
undergo the training. He realized, after the module on
self-transformation, that he has a significant contribution in the
development of the community, most especially if he has to transform
himself from his old way of life.
The first batch of participants (37 of
them) came from the Misamis Oriental Eastern Towns of Lagonglong,
Sugbongcogon and Kinoguitan, covering 20 barangays. This was
conducted from March 20 to April 1, 2006. The second batch of 35
came from 23 barangays of Gingoog City. This was conducted from
April 17 to 29, 2006.
Hosted by the Balay Mindanaw Peace
Center, these two batches were facilitated and managed by the
training team of Balay Mindanaw Group of NGOs in the hope to
increase the core pool of trained and committed community-based
leaders and NGO workers.
Designed with four major modules, the
peace course provides a venue for learning and opportunity of
experiences. These modules include participatory workshops and
interactive discussions in (1) self-transformation, (2) conflict
transformation, and (3) basic peace-building skills like mediation,
dialogue, communication, negotiations and reconciliation.
|Participants from the municipality of Kinoguitan get serious in their planning workshop.
More challenging, according to Lovella
Pagaran, a community development worker in six barangays in Gingoog
City, is the process of reconciliation, she being a victim of
injustice at one point in her life.
The fourth module provided the
participants the opportunity to design their barangay peace building
plan based on their learnings and based on the current barangay
development program. The challenge was not only how to integrate
their peace plans but how to compliment their development plans in
order to make peace sustainable in their community.
Roger Comprado and other barangay
captains who see their leadership role in the community with great
magnitude, learned more about their true selves for the first time
through this training, including their limitations and strengths.
They realized they can do more for their community because of this
newly found understanding, deeper and better than the old ones they
knew and practiced for a long time.
Two weeks was long enough to be away
from their families, work and community, but most of them thought
that if they are not open to opportunities like this (and this
training has taught them to understand deeper of themselves, others,
their situations and issues confronting them), they cannot help
their community to at least start the peace they are yearning for.
OP KORS! Operation
“Op Kors!” is coined from the
English expression, “of course,” which means or “yes,” “agreed,”
“okay.” This was adapted by Balay Mindanaw as an acronym for “Operation
The word “operation” often used to
connote a military campaign or a surgical procedure, but was used
here instead to relate a series of peace trainings or courses which
Balay Mindanaw hopes to share to its partner barangays and partner
||Graduates of Gingoog City cheer up with the OP KORS sign.
Balay Mindanaw organized the first
peace course in 2005. A total of 53 barangay leaders and NGO workers
graduated from the course. The first operation peace course then was
a four-week program, including a week-long exposure in the barangay
consultations on the GRP-RPMM Peace Process.
This peace course is part of the peace
education component of the Peace
Building Program of Balay Mindanaw.
Subsidized by the German Technical
Cooperation (GTZ) and funded largely by MISERIOR, this undertaking
is in partnership with the Catholic Relief Service (CRS). As an
accompanying partner of BMFI since the designing of the Peace
Program, CRS has been providing Balay Mindanaw the technical support
in terms of facilitation, flow and delivery of topics, processing
and training management.