The Baraguir Family, a member of the traditional leadership in Mindanao, has been our partner since the beginning of PeaceBuilders Community. The family head, Datu Kharis Baraguir, is like a father to PBCI staff.
In May 2011, the family established Datu’s Brew —
- a coffee shop that tells the story of their people;
- a coffee shop that displays the fine handicrafts of Maguindanao; and,
- a coffee shop that contributes to the peace-building in Mindanao.
Hence, Datu’s Brew is now known for their three inter-related values: history, art, and peace.
Located in Gov. Gutierrez St. at the heart of Cotabato City, the place is fast becoming the hub of leading Bangsamoro families. It’s also a favorite meeting place of many international civil society leaders.
Last September 21, 2013, Datu’s Brew won the championship at the Coffee Brewing Contest during the First Cotabato City Coffee Summit. It was then that Bai Jehan Baraguir felt confident that her coffee shop can now support, and in turn be supported by, a local Maguindanao coffee farming community.
She shared her idea to, Joji Pantoja, PBCI Executive Vice President. Jehan and Joji are sisters in this vision of establishing inclusive businesses as vehicles for justice-based peace and development. Coffee and Maguindanao handicrafts are two of the many ideas they are ‘brewing.’
Upon the invitation of Bai Jehan, Joji led her Field Operations Team to a certain village in the Municipality of Upi, Province of Maguindanao. Tala Bautista, PBCI PAR Coordinator, was with them. She reports:
The team visited a possible coffee plantation in Upi, Maguindanao through the invitation of Bai Jehan Baraguir, owner of Datu’s Brew in Cotabato City. The coffee farmers were family of one of the baristas in the coffee shop. The site had a lot of money lying on the ground. Coffee seedlings were robustly growing. The hills had gentle slopes. If we crossed a dozen rivers in our last coffee training, today, we passed through a road that seems to be once was a river! Despite that, it was a trip that’s worth all the bumps. Truly, Mindanao is blessed!
After the field visit, an orientation was given to the main farmers at the Datu’s Brew coffee shop.
The road to the coffee community is rough. That is a challenge. That is also a very good opportunity.
In places where PBCI have been working, needs are made known by trained PAR Communities to the concerned government agencies, non-government organizations, business corporations, and religious organizations. We have seen, for example, a municipal engineer pave a road from the town center to a coffee community upon the request of a local pastor. The municipal mayor gave the go-signal as part of their farm-to-market initiative.
From a visionary’s perspective, we see this road as a symbol of unpeace and undevelopment. Through unconditional love and partnership between Muslims and Christians, we see genuine peace and reconciliation, we see justice-based development, we see salaam-shalom in our beautiful land!
PBCI is excited as we enter this new chapter in our engagement with the Bangsamoro. Our first engagement was helping in the implementation of the established ceasefire mechanisms during the height of the 2006-2008 armed-conflict as we were working with Mindanao People’s Caucus and its field operations team, the Bantay Ceasefire. Our secondary engagement was helping to advance the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) especially among the constituents of the Philippines Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC).
We are now entering a new phase of our engagement when we look at the FAB with critical optimism. In a post-FAB scenario, there are factors, among many others, that need to be developed sooner than later:
- The Bangsamoro leaders, especially the MILF, will have to transition from being a revolutionary movement to being practitioners of effective and efficient statecraft as they start to govern themselves. That’s mainly the domain of the Bangsamoro. We Christians, however, can continue to pray for, support, dialogue, and be the cheer leaders of, the new Bangsamoro leaders and their constituencies as they play in their own courts.
- The people on the ground will need to learn inclusive business to get the economy going so as to make the comprehensive peace agreement sustainable. This is where we, Christian partners of our Muslim sisters and brothers, want to contribute. We’ll open the channels for global inclusive business advocates and practitioners to invest their time, talents, and treasure in the budding salaam of the Bangsamoro and of the whole Philippines.