14-16 November 2015. The Managa Tribal Council (MTC) and the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BaCoFA) invited PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee For Peace (CFP) for a series of consultations. With the guidance of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the discussion revolved around the socio-cultural procedures and legal steps towards an inclusive development initiative that would be sustainable and community-supported. This inclusive development initiative would be established in the ancestral domain of the Bagobo tribe in a specific location on Mount Apo.
PBCI and CFP accepted the invitation primarily to listen to the dreams and aspirations of the Bagobo tribal community and the local farmers.
During the 14 November meeting in Barangay Managa, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, a representative from the NCIP, Berna Malang, explained the process of using or borrowing the ancestral domain of the Indigenous People (IP). After the NCIP presentation, Barangay Captain Sixto Taparan of Managa, spoke in the behalf of the Bagobo tribal community.
The highlight of this meeting was the session when each of the representatives of the Bagobo tribal community were given time to express their dreams and aspirations:
- They want their tribe to be united, especially regarding the future of their younger generations.
- They want to revitalize their tribal culture: “The Bagobo culture is already vanishing because of cross-cultural marriages; the traditions and customs of our tribe are not being passed on to the next generation.”
- They want to have control on their livelihood and to determine their own development: “Only 75% of the population in our place have sources of income.”
- They want a quality education that preserves and respects their tribal identity and culture: “We suffer the social and economic limitations in sending our children to school especially in the secondary and tertiary levels; the current education system does not include teaching our children regarding the traditions of our tribe.”
- They want quality health-care system: “Some people in our tribal communities have limited access to the health care facilities of the government. The Barangay facilitates the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), but the people needs a more adequate health care facilities.”
PBCI-CFP also heard the following questions:
- Would the Arabica coffee livelihood project, as advocated by PBCI-CFP, help in establishing sustainable economic development by the Bagobos and for the Bagobos? If so, how?
- Would PBCI-CFP help in promoting traditional Bagobo arts and products — weaving, for example — especially those produced by our women?
- Considering that we have the coffee knowledge and processing equipment, who will help us in the overall coffee business implementation?
- Would PBCI-CFP willing to explore with us how we can pass-on our culture and traditions to the younger generations? If so, how?
During the 16 November meeting in Barangay Balutakay, at the foot of Mount Apo in Bansalan, Davao del Norte, 8 farmers, representing the BaCoFa, and three representatives of PBCI-CFP met to discuss the transition process for the BaCoFa to move from merely being a raw material supplier to become a farmerpreneur community — that is, coffee farmers who are operating their own post-harvest processing facility, thus adding value to their products, and marketing their products locally, nationally, and globally in partnership with Coffee For Peace.
As a result of these meetings, the respective management teams of PBCI and CFP are now working on further research, strategies, and operational plans in response to the expressed dreams and aspirations of the Bagobo tribal community and the local farmers in Mount Apo. We will then go back to them for another series of consultation until a genuine partnership, based on justice and peace, becomes a reality.
The respective vision and mission of the PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee For Peace will govern all our decisions and actions as we build genuine relationships with the IPs based on justice and peace.