Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc. (BMFI) is a Filipino Mindanao-based and Mindanao-focused non-stock, non-profit organization. BMFI’s work and its people articulate a sense of fierce pride for Mindanao and a passion for transforming this poorest and most conflict-torn of the country’s region into a “balay”, a true home for its peoples – Christians, Muslims and Lumads, indigenous peoples of Mindanao.
It is a non-stock, non-profit foundation primarily engaged in promoting equity-based development and sustainable peace. It was registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on May 8, 1996.
BMFI’s mission statement reads: Helping Build Empowered Sustainable Communities. Helping Build Peace in Mindanaw as it pursues its vision of Kaangayan, Kalambuan, Kalinaw sa Mindanaw, sa Pilipinas, sa Kalibutan (Equality, Development, Peace for Mindanao, for the Philippines and for the World).
Its peace-building and development work in the rural areas of Mindanao are pursued through principled partnerships with the people’s organizations, non-governmental organizations, local government units, government agencies and other sectors towards the building of a Mindanao which is truly a home (“balay” and “banay”) for its tripeople – the Moros, the Lumads (Indigenous Peoples) and the settlers.
For the past 15 years, BMFI’s involvement in Mindanao peace-building and development work has been at the following levels of intervention:
At the barangay level, BMFI engages in actual community organizing activities following the COCO-BREAD framework which has been adopted by the Philippine Community Organizers Society (PHILCOS). It facilitates the forging of community-based and area-focused partnership among the development players through the institutionalization of mechanisms for democratic participation in governance through participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and barangay development planning (BDP) using the sustainable integrated area development (SIAD) approach both in the lowlands and the uplands; On its ninth year, BMFI has started its Community-Based Peace-Building Program as its key intervention at the village level. Here, BMFI is committed in strengthening the community peace builders and advocates under the local peace movement called the LAWIG KALINAW.
At the municipal level, BMFI contributes meaningfully to the over-all development of the municipalities where it is engaged in barangay-level intervention by working for the incorporation and integration of the community/barangay development plans into the municipal plans and budgets, and the formation of municipal partnerships like the Municipal Peace and Order Councils (MPOCs) of the province of Misamis Oriental;
At the provincial level, BMFI helps in the strengthening of provincial partnerships, networks and movements especially in the area of peace-building and democratic participation in governance. It actively participates in the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) of Misamis Oriental, representing the civil society groups in the province. BMFI conducts peace education and research activities for community leaders, local government officials, military, police and non-government workers.
At the sub-regional (Northern Mindanao) and regional (Mindanao) levels, BMFI contributes meaningfully to the strengthening and the sustained relevance of sub-regional and regional coalition-building and advocacy efforts like the Regional Development Council (Region 10), Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE), Mindanao Congress of Development NGOs (MINCON), Mindanao Peace Advocates Conference (MPAC), Mindanao Peaceweavers, Kusog Mindanaw (Mindanao Force), and other multi-sectoral movements for Mindanao development, and partnership work with the various government agencies. In 2005, BMFI started to engaged the military and police by providing them capacity development on peacebuilding and conflict management, in partnership with the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
At the national and international levels, BMFI participates meaningfully in partnerships, networks and other national and international movements for peoples’ development. Among the key national engagements of BMFI are its active participation in the Caucus of Development NGOs (CODE-NGO), National Peace Conference (NPC), Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMP), Consortium for the Advancement of Peoples Participation for SIAD (CAPP-SIAD), among others. BMFI has also begun collaborative work in peace-building with Action Asia, Action Global, TRANSCEND, Global Initiatives for Department of Peace and the UK-based Responding to Conflict (RTC).
BMFI acts as the Mediator and Independent Secretariat of the Peace Process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa sa Mindanao (RPM-M), a Mindanao-based revolutionary group called the Revolutionary Workers’ Party in Mindanao. This peace process covers the poorest communities in the whole of Mindanao.
As widespread as BMFI’s scope of operations, so are its activities diverse. Pursuing a vision of equity, development and peace for Mindanao through peace-building and sustainable integrated area development (SIAD) approach by promoting democratic participation in local governance and agrarian reform implementation obviously entails a lot of work in community organizing, networking, partnership building, education, research, publication and advocacy.