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IBCO

PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM IN MINDANAW

 

In the year 2000, CO Multiversity Mindanaw deepened its partnership with stakeholders in the peace and development in Mindanao.  While continuing to serve institutions seeking to strengthen their CO-CD perspectives and methods of work through training and consultancy, efforts were also made to sharpen its distinctive competence through specific interventions focused at sustaining the broader peace process in SZOPAD communities. 
 
Strengthening Women's Role in Peace
 
Two women's organizations were assisted in their strategic planning process at the start of the year.  The Annual Congress of the Bangsamoro Women's Federation on January 22-23  became a venue for an exchange of insights and processes on area/ institutional development with a view to strengthening the role of women in peacebuilding.  Similarly, the Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women, created as a body to promote the interests of Moro women under  ARMM,  was assisted in the review of their vision, mission and goals in the context of their participation in the  implementation of the Peace Agreement in SZOPAD.
 
A People's Church Working for the Fullness of Life
 
The Diocese of Marbel became engaged in a series of CO-CD and organizational development processes which aimed to enable the staff and volunteers of the Social Action Center to internalize a common vision and strategy which would guide their thinking and work with their community-partners in the local parishes.  Starting with a two-day Orientation to CO-CD on February 14-15, the diocese requested for continuing capability building interventions focused on Strategy Development on September 18-20 and  Program Development on November 3-4.  The outputs of these processes were integrated into the annual planning process of the diocese.
 
 
Peasant Federation Capacities for AR
 
PALAMBU sustained its initiatives towards federation strengthening with COM facilitating a series of two workshops on assessment and planning of MAPALAD, one of its more prominent members.  Through this process,  an evaluation of how the peasant organization can build on its internal strengths and continue to mobilize support from AR advocates was translated into specific long-term and short-term goals.
Peace as a Lumad Agenda
 
An Indigenous People's Forum, PANAGTAGBO,  sought the support of COM in its initiatives towards coming up with an IP Agenda for Peace through its provision of process inputs on the design, resource accessing, implementation and evaluation of their major project dubbed "Mindanao Indigenous People's Peace Forum" held in December. 
 
From Conflict  to Community Development
 
Of  the MNLF organizations which attended last year's  CO-CD Orientation, the Southern Palawan State Revolutionary Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Fhardi Adjimin,  signified their intention to seriously employ CO-CD processes in their community peacebuilding efforts. Thus,  through the support of the Multi-Donor Assistance Program, twenty of their peace and development volunteers in the municipality of Bataraza underwent hands-on training on Community Profiling from July 10-14 and October 6-19  in six barangays.  This culminated in a discussion on Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD) as a development strategy which the SPSRC has decided to pursue in its continuing pursuit of peace.
 
 Promoting CO-CD  as a Strategy for Building a Culture of Peace
 
As its distinctive contribution to the peacebuilding efforts in Mindanao, the CO Multiversity pursued a dialogical process in which the Peace and Development Advocates (PDAs), formed through the support of the UNDP, were engaged in thorough discussions as well as on-the-ground experiential training on the principles, methodology and step-by-step process of community organizing. 
 
 
Cotabato City was the venue of the Roundtable Discussion on CO-CD and Conflict Resolution held on March 21-22 as a follow-up process to refine the content of the CO-CD Manual developed in 1999.  Perspectives from the three key disciplines of history, anthropology and CO were brought into the discussion with the presence of Mindanao scholars and development practitioners together with the Chairpersons of four State Revolutionary Committees  of the MNLF.   A framework on community organizing as a strategy for peacebuilding resulted from the discussion.  The participants also recommended the conduct of a CO trainors' training  which would invite participants from the major ethnic groups to surface significant cultural nuances which influence CO work.
From June 26-30, fifteen (15)  PDAs from all over Mindanao and Southern Palawan explored CO principles and practice from a deep culture perspective during the CO Trainors' Training held in Davao City.  The outputs from the training eventually became the basis of the on-the-job training program design which was developed for the CO CapaBuild Program on Peace-Based CO in the Context of Tri-people Communities which started in November 2000. 
 
With these series of discourse and training activities on CO-CD among the PDAs as strategic partners, the groundwork for a more intensive and area-based training for four (4)  COs in Brgy. Chua, Sultan Kudarat was thus laid.  The interest and commitment which had been generated as a result of these processes has facilitated the formation of a CO training infrastructure which involved the Chairperson and key officers of the State Revolutionary Committee  of the selected area in Central Kutawato, consultants from the NGO and academe and the trainers from CO Multiversity.
 
 
Towards a Mindanawon Consciousness: Creating a Critical Mass through Educational Strategies
 
CO Multiversity joined other groups in broader initiatives to create a critical consciousness on Mindanao as it forged institutional linkage with the Multi-Donor United Nations Development Program in a series of roundtable discussions. 
As co-convenor of the first discussion entitled "Insighting Mindanao: Analysis, Agenda and Advocacy"  held immediately after People Power II on February 5-6, 2001,  it played a key role in the design, mobilization of participants and facilitation of the sessions.   With the coming into office of COM Executive Director Dinky Soliman, who also played a key role in the mobilizations of People Power II, the participants were given fresh insights by Ms. Fides Bagasao into the reconfigured forces in government and their potential impact on Mindanao development.   A significant output of the discussion was a statement which outlined the policy advocacy issues as well as the educational strategies that could be pursued in developing a Mindanawon consciousness.
 
The second discussion dubbed "Mindanawon, Paminawon, Intawon" held on March 29-30, 2001 in Davao City again saw the active role of COM in a collaborative effort to bring together government and civil society on possible areas of engagement in Mindanao peace and development.  Subsequent follow-up activities were identified in the areas of concept-building and module development for the evolution of a unifying consciousness among the tri-people living harmoniously in "shared territory".

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)

 

One of the groups that participated in the COLC Consultations  in Zamboanga, was the team from the UNDP-HRD Program and some MNLF leaders and ex-combatants. The Zamboanga  COLC resulted to  a request  from  the UNDP-HRD of the Special Zone of Peace and Development (SZOPAD) Program for the CO Multiversity  to  conduct a  Community Organization- Community Development Orientation for the  MNLF state chairs and  zone commanders. More of this initiative will be described under the COLC initiative.
As a result of this link-up with the UNDP-HRD program  of the Multi-Donor Program for the Special Zones of Peace and Development(SPCPD), the CO Multiversity  has been requested to provide community organizersí training  for Maguindanao trainees from Christian and Muslim communities of Sultan Kudarat. Currently, one CO Multiversity trainor, the same one who conducted training  in the Mandaya communities in Davao Oriental  is based in Cotobato serving as the trainor. In effect, the experiences that the trainor gained in the Mandaya organizing in Davao Oriental enhanced her capacity to deal with tri-people issues such as ancestral domain claim in the context of the multi-cultural context of Sultan Kudarat.
The second team member of the CO Multiversity is presently involved with the Mindanao Round Table on the Mindanao which is a multi-sectoral forum involving Christian, Muslim religious leaders and scholars, as well as key players of the MNLF and MILF , as well as  leaders from the federations of indigenous communities,  regional business  councils .
This   formation aims to promote a Mindanaoan perspective which will guide the formulation and implementation of the development agenda of the different sectors in Mindanao. The Mindanaon perspective considers the distinct historical and cultural background of the communities of Mindanao, from the early Islam influenced settlers, to the indigenous communities of the highlands, to the migrant settlers from Visayas and Luzon .