PAR is peace and reconciliation. The vision of establishing at least one PAR community in each of the 80 provinces in the Philippines is spreading and being casted in accordance with the active prayers of staff, volunteers, and network of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI).
Last 02 July 2013, June Rojo led her PBCI Bukidnon Team to meet with the key leaders of the Municipality of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. The city mayor, Mario Okinlay, welcomed them to discuss the advancement of Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) in their town and surrounding barangays (or villages). It was agreed that the Municipality of Impasug-ong and PBCI will soon sign a Memorandum of Agreement to implement PAR program in this town.
Meanwhile, the leaders of a B’laan community from Mount Matutum invited the PBCI Davao Team to conduct PAR Seminar in their barangay. Last 12 July 2013, thirty B’laan farmers finished the first book of the PAR training program. Their dreams as a community are similar to the aspirations of many families—that is, to send their children to go to school and to leave something for the next generation. They even shared with us a challenge they’re facing with regards to their children’s education: What is the kind of education would they want their children to have and what would they want to leave for the next generation? These are questions faced by all Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the face of globalization, in the midst of the reality that many IPs in the Philippines are slowly losing their culture.
The Mount Matutum PAR training will continue in the next three months. Our team looks forward to going back, feeling the embrace and warm welcome of the B’laan neighborhood. All the four community elders were there and they welcomed the team with an indigenous dance and music. It had also rained as PAR Seminar One ended, which for the B’laan is a sign of blessing. Pastor Fred Fredeluces, the missionary who has been serving God among the B’laans in Mount Matutum for the past 20+ years, was the one who invited us to bring PAR in this area.
In the same week, PBCI was invited by Pastors Dominador and Carmencita Ysip of the Municipality of Baler, Province of Aurora to explore the possibility of organizing a PAR Community in their province. They made a commitment to coordinate with the churches and pastoral fellowships of all the municipalities in Aurora for this purpose. These leaders even offered the use of their newly-built mission house as a base for the PBCI PAR training team in Luzon.
While PBCI do not have a team of full-time staff in Luzon, a group of pastors and Christian leaders met with Dann Pantoja last week to re-affirm their commitment to propagate the vision of PAR in Luzon. Led by Dr. Doy Nacpil, the original graduates of the pilot PAR Seminar in Central Luzon requested PBCI for an advanced PAR Teachers’ Training to equip more equippers in saturating Luzon provinces with biblical principles of peace and reconciliation.