Peacebuilders Community, Inc. was invited by Central Mindanao University (CMU) as consultant for Proposal Writing for Peace Process last April 28-29, 2015. The said activity was participated by selected professors who are members of Mt. Kalayo Institute for Social Enterprise Growth (MKESEG). CMU decided to have this kind of workshop because they believed that the university as an academe has a big role in peace building and development. However, as they observed, the University is still not practically involved.
CMU President, Dr. Maria Luisa Soliven, opened the event by sharing her vision for the University. According to her, “One of my visions is for CMU to train transformative leaders who would contribute to the peace of Mindanao and of the whole Philippines.”
Rev. Luis Daniel Pantoja, CEO of Peacebuilders Community, gave the overview of the peace building and development in the Philippines. He shared the main framework of PBCI which is Peace Theology where the peace of God is Central to the Good News. The four quadrants are the core concepts of PAR which gave more emphasis on the shalom-transformation that leads to holistic harmonious living.
:: Harmony with the Creator — spiritual transformation
:: Harmony with our Being — psychosocial transformation
:: Harmony with Others — sociopolitical transformation
:: Harmony with the Creation — economic-ecological transformation
Joji Felicitas Pantoja, CEO of Coffee for Peace, discussed how Coffee for Peace as an enterprise was related in the peace building approach. Aside from giving the whole overview of what Coffee for Peace is, the facilitator gave emphasis on the “Being, Doing, Having” where knowing the self or one’s own identity first is important because it is the foundation of who you are. What you do or what you have does not define the self, but rather one’s own identity centered on God. According to her, most of the tribal communities in the Philippines don’t know who really they are because of the influence of modernization that’s why one of the goals of CFP is to bring back the preservation of the culture of each community while empowering them to become more sustainable by using their own resources and be involved in inclusive development.
As a result of the activity, the core participants initiated to adopt the peace building framework of PBCI, not just in their institute but in the curriculum of the whole university. They understood how PAR could be an instrument of transformation. This also gave them the idea of building a Peace Center within CMU. The peacebuilding center being created at the Central Mindanao University is now officially called University Center for Peace and Reconciliation (UCPAR).
PBCI was also given a chance to talk about the executive report of the Peace Council on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). It was participated by selected faculty staff, and students of CMU. They were very interested on the said topic. The discussion was very interactive where some the participants asked questions about the implications of BBL when it comes to system of the GPH, its boundaries and limitations and how it affects the peace process of the country.
Overall, PBCI’s stay at CMU during those two days was a success. The PAR Training inspired the core members of MKESEG to start their new peace center and to inculcate the values of peace theology. It is clear that they are willing to adopt and apply the learnins they gained from the training.