Peacebuilding Program

By Kaloy Manlupig
(Uploaded 27 April 2006)

Peace-Building and Development Work in Mindanaw: Helping Build Empowered Sustainable Communities. Helping Build Peace in Mindanaw.

Goals and Objectives

Balay Mindanaw’s Peace-Building Program aims to contribute the attainment of just and lasting peace in Mindanaw by:

  1. Helping build empowered sustainable and peaceful communities through comprehensive community-based peace-building initiatives;
  2. Helping build a strong and stable peace constituency and a social movement of peace-builders through a comprehensive peace education and institution-building program; and
  3. Helping find a final resolution to the Mindanao conflict by acting as mediator and Independent Secretariat to the Peace Process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa sa Mindanao (RPM-M).

Since 2005, BMFI has been implementing its Peace-Building Program entitled Helping Build Peace in Mindanao through the following program components:

Program Component One: Community-Based Peace-Building

The barangay (Philippine village) is the key locus and focus of BMFI’s area-based peace-building and development work.

BMFI’s Area-Based Operations Team (ABOT) will continue to live and work fulltime in the 80 barangays that have been identified as BMFI focus-barangays. In these barangays, BMFI’s intervention is at its fullest. This is also seen as the important anchor to keep BMFI “grounded” and rooted as it pursues its other multi-level involvement in peace-building and development work.

Within the next two years, it is projected that BMFI will be able to fully integrate a community-based peace-building component into its sustainable integrated area development program.

Already, all the twenty (20) community organizers of BMFI who are called Sustainable Integrated Area Development Organizers (SIADOs, also pronounced “shadows”) and 25 community leaders and barangay (village) government officials have undergone a four-week Comprehensive Peace-Building Course called OP KORS (Operation Peace Course) held from February to May 2005 in partnership with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).

The last week of the four-week course was devoted to formulating the various community-based peace-building plans of the new peace-builders.

BMFI’s barangay-based and barangay-level peace-building work focuses on the following:

  • Identifying and training indigenous local leaders and forming them into community-based peace-builders who will take the lead in developing alternative conflict transformation mechanisms;
  • Incorporating peace-building framework in pursuing democratic local governance work especially through facilitating the strengthening of local people’s organizations and cooperatives, the barangay development councils (BDCs), the conduct of PRAs, the formulation of barangay development plans (BDPs), enterprise development, internal and external resource mobilization and indigenous technology development;
  • Helping improve people’s access to justice through institution-building and capability-building interventions

At the end of two years, the following shall have been achieved:

  • At least one local leader per barangay in sixty (60) barangays trained and actively functioning as community-based peace-builder
  • At least sixty (60) community-based alternative conflict transformation committees/teams formed and functioning
  • Community-based M&E system installed in each of the sixty (60) barangays
  • Sixty (60) barangay-based para-legal and access-to-justice teams formed and functional

Projected impact on the communities:

  • Local conflicts resolved at the local level
  • Justice issues surfaced, understood and resolved
  • Greater and more institutionalized participation in local governance
  • Improved land tenure security
  • At least 50% of the legal issues/conflicts resolved at the barangay level

Program Component Two: Peace Education and Peace Constituency- Building

A key part of Balay Mindanaw’s new strategy on peace-building is Peace Education as it expects to form a core pool of trained and committed NGO peace workers and grassroots and local government leaders able to work on community-based peace-building and as support team for the Peace Process.

We envision to put in place a team of peace-building cadres in the partner-barangays of Balay Mindanaw.

These trained peace practitioners are expected to be the start of a social movement that will integrate the work for empowerment, development and peace as key to solving Mindanao’s marginalization, underdevelopment and unpeace.

A Comprehensive Course for Peacebuilders in Mindanaw consisting of at least four modules including a seven-day actual work in the various peace zones in Mindanao will be run at least twice a year for two years. This course is a follow up to the 7-day course conducted during the last quarter of 2004 and the four-week course conducted from February to May 2005 in partnership with CRS.

In each course, there will be two simultaneous classes to be run: one for the NGO development workers and peace-builders; and another course for local government officials, barangay captains, paralegals and key local people’s organizations and community leaders.

The Course objectives are:

  • Increase awareness on Peace-Building
  • Develop/enhance skills in understanding conflict (analysis) and peace-building interventions
  • Deepen personal orientation and commitment of peace practitioners
  • Formulate Peacebuilding Strategies and Plans
  • Facilitate/Initiate the formation of core/pool of peace practitioners

Component Indicators:
After two (2) courses:

  • 50 NGO workers and 50 local leaders trained and functioning as peace-builders
  • community-based peace-building programs formulated and implemented

CRS will be requested to continue providing the resource persons and facilitators to augment the present BMFI team.

Program Component Three: GRP – RPM-M Peace Process

Framework for the Peace Process:

Empowered and sustainable communities are the real foundation of lasting peace. The process itself (and not the process’ end) will already allow these communities to win small victories, and build peace by and for themselves. The final resolution is important but communities need not wait for this. Building peace is here and now.

Over-All Objectives:

  1. Final resolution to the conflict through a formal peace agreement between GRP and RPM-M; and
  2. Empowered, sustainable and peaceful barangays, communities and tribes able to freely analyze their situation, appreciate their resources, identify their needs, formulate and implement their own plans, and living in harmony with history, culture and nature.

Specific Project Objectives:

  1. The formulation of conflict profile/mapping specifically of the barangay, consolidated sectoral issues with stress on cases of conflicts as well as issues on the marginalization of the tribal groups, and identified priority projects thru the conduct of local consultations in at least twenty barangays in Mindanao.
  2. Implementation of priority development projects in the barangays covered by the local consultations.
  3. Pursue the formal talks leading to a formal peace agreement.

Indicators for Objectives:

Objective 1:

  • At least 200 local consultations conducted
  • At least 200 consultation documentation
  • At least 200 peace and development agendas formulated
  • At least 500 proposals for the priority projects developed

Objective 2:

  • At least 100 livelihood projects implemented
  • At least 100 other community projects implemented

Objective 3:

  • Peace agreement signed

Among the most important component of this proposal is the establishment of the Community Peace and Development Support Fund of P100,000.00 per barangay or a total of P1,000,000.00 for ten barangays. Something should immediately happen after each consultation especially in terms of priority projects identified during the consultations. However, it would take sometime to mobilize sufficient resources especially coming from the government. The P100,000.00 allocated for each barangay is expected to ensure that something actually happens in the community after the consultation. This amount would be enough to support small rural infrastructure, livelihood, and other small development projects. This is necessary to help these communities experience the “small victories” needed to inspire them to continue pursuing the path of and to peace.

The priority projects are already identified by the communities through local consultations using participatory technologies.

Target Groups

Component One of BMFI’s Peace-Building Program targets the eighty (80) poorest rural upland barangays (villages) in Claveria, Gingoog and the Misamis Oriental Eastern Towns (MISORET) where BMFI is currently doing community-based work.

Component Two of this Program targets the local community leaders, the elected barangay officials, and the professional NGO workers by training and forming them into peace-builders who will form the core of the new social movement of community-based peace-builders in Northern Mindanao.

Component Three of this Program targets the two principals in the three-decade old conflict between the Government and the revolutionary groups by mediating in the Peace Process that hopefully could lead into a final resolution. This Component will also target the poorest and most marginalized barangays and tribal villages where local consultations will be conducted as integral part of the Peace Process.

Other Actors

This Peace-Building Program is viewed by BMFI as its modest contribution to the bigger and wider pursuit of peace of the various stakeholders at various levels:

The Communities, Villages and Tribes: These are most major stakeholders in the quest for peace. BMFI’s interventions will be heavily influenced and tempered by the local realities, local initiatives and local knowledge. Thus, BMFI’s work is seen mainly as a humble effort to supplement and complement the efforts of the key stakeholders on the ground. This Program will be firmly rooted in the partner barangays and tribes. The barangay development councils, the tribal councils and the various sectoral and geographic organizations participating in these participatory mechanisms are considered as key actors.

The Civil Society: This Program is also viewed by BMFI as its contribution to the broader efforts of the other civil society organizations and networks. Among these networks are the Balay Mindanaw Group of NGOs (BMG), Mindanao Congress of Development NGOs and NGIs (MINCON), Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE), Kusog Mindanaw, and Mindanao Peace Advocates Conference (MPAC). BMFI holds key leadership roles in all these networks and coalitions.

The Church: This Program is also seen as an effort to complement the various initiatives of the local churches especially in the areas of justice, peace and integrity of creation. This is also seen as the anchor peace program of the CABUSTAM cluster of PMP.

The Government (Local and National): Governance is more than the action of government. It is the interaction of government agencies and officials with the corporate sector, civil society organizations, churches, and political parties in the adoption of policies, setting of priorities, allocation of resources, selection of officials, and implementation/non-implementation of decisions. Thus, government is viewed as a key stakeholder in the quest for equity, development and peace. BMFI will continue to work in principled partnership with the local government units, the development councils, the Government Panels in the Peace Processes, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the other national government agencies.

The Resource Partners: BMFI has been blessed by the continued trust and support from its resource partners. These partnerships will be pursued and nurtured in the spirit of mutual respect, transparency and accountability. Among the key resource partners of BMFI are MISEREOR, CORDAID, CRS, German Development Service, GTZ, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Trocaire and Christian Aid.

Future Prospects/Sustainability

The Project is considered as an investment into the future. Its success will largely be measured by its impact on the empowerment of peoples and communities as they continue to strive for authentic development and lasting peace.

Furthermore, one of the key result areas of the over-all BMFI program is to increase the capacities of target communities to initiate their activities and raise their own funds from various sources to supplement their own internally mobilized resources. The program calls for community resource mobilization as a key to sustainability.

The Peace Process is viewed as an opportunity or avenue for peoples, tribes and communities to understand, realize, confront and resolve their own issues and problems of inequity, injustice and poverty. The best guarantee of sustainability are the empowered, sustainable and peaceful barangays, communities and tribes able to freely analyze their situation, appreciate their resources, identify their needs, formulate and implement their own plans, and living in harmony with history, culture and nature.