The Occidental Mindoro Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Community is now officially organized. Twenty-three volunteers—pastors, educators, civil society leaders, community leaders—went through four days of training. They were qualified based on their track record as community leaders who are committed to the transformation of our nation.
The community elected six members of the leadership core through a method of consensus-based decision making. The core leaders are as follows:
- Susan Reyes, Chairperson
- Francisco Mallari
- Danny Asir
- Roberto Paulmanal
- Rey Flores
- Phoebe Flores
They invited the PAR Consulting and Training Team of PBCI composed of
- Dann Pantoja
- Joji Pantoja
- Tala Bautista
- John Mel Sumatra
- David Quico
- Sherel Quider
The training was based on the Peace and Reconciliation Resource Manual which was co-published by PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC).
Below are the contents of the PAR training manual:
PART ONE: BASIC COURSE
- Pursuing Peace. This is an in-depth discussion of the differences and similarities in various conceptions of peace. Peace will be discussed from theological, psycho-social, political, and economic-ecological perspectives.
- Understanding Strategic Peacebuilding. Strategic peacebuilding is protracted peacemaking. It is the opposite of protracted warfare. Learn the concepts, processes, and strategies of building peace from a conflicted situation to reconciliation. Get familiarized with various components of peacebuilding and why reconciliation is its main component.
- The Nature of Conflict. Conflict is like a tree. It has leaves and fruits, trunk, and roots. Learn how this analogy crystallizes the various conflicts we’re experiencing—at home, in our communities, in our neighborhoods, in our towns and cities, in our province, in our country and in our world.
- The Process of Conflict Transformation. Conflict grows like cancer. It transforms people and communities. Before you know it, it may have affected the larger system—marriage, family, church, government, business, etc. Learn some practical ways to detect the negative effects of conflict during its early stages.
- The Process of Reconciliation. Is it possible to rebuild positive relationships between antagonists? Does reconciliation really work in the healing of emotional and psychological aspects of the conflict? Hear stories of people who chose to journey from violent conflict towards reconciliation.
PART TWO: SKILLS FOR EVERYONE
- Learning the Art of Conflict Resolution. Get exposed to the various approaches and stages of Conflict Resolution—i.e., informal discussion, negotiation, conciliation, facilitation, mediation, arbitration, litigation, legislation. Find out what works best in certain situations. Experience simulated scenarios where you will be prompted to learn the following: Fact-Finding Skills, Listening Skills, Conflict Mapping Skills, Conflict Energy Management Skills, Resolution Approach Skills
- Asserting Your Rights through Peaceful Negotiation. Learn the art of being assertive without being abrasive or offensive. Sharpen your skills in distinguishing the other parties’ real interests from their officially stated position. Find out the characteristics and qualities of a good negotiator.
- Bridging Conflicting Parties through Mediation. Mediation is the art of facilitated negotiation. It is a process by which a mediator assists disputing parties to collaboratively discuss their concerns through problem-solving. Find out how to assist in documenting mutually acceptable points of agreement the parties may reach. This is a fascinating experience where a mediator, who does not have authoritative decision-making or enforcing power, becomes an effective peacebuilder because of the voluntary, private, and face-to-face participation of the parties-in-conflict.
PART THREE: FOR THE HEALING OF OUR LAND
- Understanding Peace in the Context of Globalization. What is Globalization? How do global realities affect our local life? This is a discussion of global realities from the perspective of local people. This is also the context of our peacebuilding task among the various social-political groups in our country.
- Enlisting Peacebuilding Volunteers. Learn the process of prospecting, qualifying, training, and developing volunteers for peacebuilding. Test yourself how you’ll fit as a member of a Peace and Reconciliation Team.
- Organizing Peace and Reconciliation Teams. How do we share the vision of peacebuilding with others? Is your community or organization ready to launch a Peace and Reconciliation Team? What are the mission objectives of a Peace and Reconciliation Team? How do we inspire and challenge others with this mission?
- Communicating Cross-Culturally. The Philippines is a multi-cultural country. How do we communicate the Culture of Peace across these cultures? How does cross-cultural communication contribute to peacebuilding?
- Armed-Conflict Area Survival Training. This is an outdoor experience. Participants will be exposed to a simulated armed-conflict situation and will be taught how to react with clarity of mind and discipline.
- Fundamentals of Trauma Healing. Understand the basic concepts of trauma and trauma healing. After a lecture presentation, you will be exposed to true-to-life case studies to apply the principles you’ve learned.
- Volunteer Evaluation. This is a tested tool to assess the ability of a volunteer-candidate to effectively do the task of peace and reconciliation in the context of Philippine realities. This will also provide leaders with additional tools to be active in multiplying peacebuilding workers.
To the CORE LEADERS of PAR Occidental Mindoro:
I pray for God’s enabling grace as you promote peace in your area with the help of the Prince of Peace – Jesus Christ. We thank God for Rev. Dann Pantoja for catalyzing the formation of your group and also the staff of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) for their help.
God’s blessings be yours always.
Bishop John R. Tayoto, Chairman
PAR Commission – Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC)
Thank you, Bishop John Tayoto, for your very encouraging words. Praise God. Thank you for introducing us to the Mindoro Christian leaders. We appreciate the leaders in Mindoro for their burden and their heart for the transformation of their province.
May the Prince of Peace use this PAR Movement to acquire a lasting and proper reconciliation in relation to the political rivalry of the political leaders so that the healing of our land and development can really be attained. Truly God is good!
Dear Pastor Abella:
May God bless your group as you advance the principles of Peace and Reconciliation in Occidental Mindoro.