Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) is a long-term process and commitment. The beginnings of PAR Kalinga started seven years ago. Our approach was to listen and learn and seek the Spirit’s leading on how to proceed. We are still listening, and will continue to listen to the voice of the Spirit as our relationship takes root with the Kalinga people.
Taking roots among Tabuk City’s leadership. Mayor Ferdinand B. Tubban of Tabuk City — along with the Vice Mayor, the City Council, as well as the assembled officers and employees of the city government — welcomed PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee For Peace (CFP) during their Monday morning flag ceremony last 30 January 2017 at the lobby of their city hall. After the flag ceremony, the mayor invited us to his office and we explored ways to work together in developing the coffee industry of Tabuk City using the inclusive development framework of PBCI-CFP. We promised to be back on April 2017 to do a city-wide training of the coffee farmers to be sponsored by the city government in cooperation with other government agencies.
Taking roots among three tribal communities. The past three years have been an exciting development with three tribal communities in Kalinga. The Botbot Tribe, the Sumacher Tribe and the Banao Tribe, in different occasions, have invited PBCI-CFP to conduct trainings on PAR and inclusive development. The Banao tribe was traditionally growing and supplying coffee in the past. Because of unfair trading, many farmers stopped growing for commercial purposes. Today, they maintain their coffee plants for their family’s consumption.
We first came to Upper Kalinga in November 2014 by the invitation of the Botbot Tribal leaders in Tinglayan and started doing soap-making and other social entrepreneurial workshops with them. Later, we met some public school teachers from Sumacher and started PAR training with them. Last week, the Banao tribal elders explicitly invited PBCI-CFP to have a partnership with them. We promised to be back in this community by April 2017 to do CFP and PAR training.
Taking roots among leaders of Christian churches. PAR Kalinga is now welcomed by Evangelical Protestant leaders. This is the first time we got involved with Protestant and Evangelical churches in Kalinga. PBCI first entered Kalinga through the invitation and hospitality of Bishop Prudencio Andaya, Apostolic Vicar of the Tabuk Vicariate. It was Twinkle ‘Tala’ Bautista, one of our PBCI Consultants, who introduced us to Bishop Andaya. Then we were introduced by the Alngag and Chulsi families to the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA). Now, our peacebuilding activities in Kalinga seems to be expanding through Aiza’s involvement with the evangelical churches in Tabuk City. Aiza ‘Wanay’ Baluyan, our PAR Kalinga Field Worker, grew up as an Anglican and became involved in an Evangelical community when she was at the university in Tuguegarao City. She continued her connections with the Evangelicals in Tabuk City and introduced PBCI-CFP to their leaders.
Taking roots among the revolutionaries. PBCI-CFP have been a peacebuilding partner of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) in the past four years. Last 01 February 2017, our President and CEO visited Camp Conrado Balweg of the CPLA and was welcomed again by one of their senior leaders, Elder Pablo. We were hosted by Ma’am Chupan Chulsi, the Chief of Staff. We shared hearts and minds with each other on how the Kalinga tribes and the larger Cordillera people would continue the struggle for the autonomy of the Cordillera People. CPLA believes that the current movement towards a Federal Republic of the Philippines is in harmony with the aspirations of the Cordillera people. Over a delicious, locally-prepared, organic dinner, we shared dreams, we articulated the richness of our indigenous cultures, and we made plans for activities to deepen our peacebuilding partnership together.
More about Wanay
GELLI AIZA ‘WANAY’ SANNADAN BALUYAN
Aiza is Wanay — a proud indigenous woman from the tribe of Banao in the Province of Kalinga. She is a Registered Nurse with specific expertise on health advocacy. Along her professional journey, she gained skills on event coordination as well as community-based learning facilitation. She is also a dedicated environmental activist. Her dream is to continue her passion to help her people in the area of community-based health care and inclusive development initiatives — such as coffee farming, processing, and marketing. While learning peace and reconciliation with PBCI and CFP, she is also dreaming to be a medical doctor.
Wanay serves as PAR Field Facilitator and Inclusive Development Worker
Asked how her indigenous cultural values would help enrich PBCI: “I was raised in my tribal community practicing our values and customs which are Caniyao, Ngilin and Fain. It is Caniyao when you harm any of God’s creation. Ngilin is to abstain from doing any act that is prohibited in our community that will harm the environment and the body. Fain is when you do not offer what you have to your neighbors and to other people. We value communal decision; respect to other people; and we have our own way of negotiating peace in a non-violent way with our neighboring tribes and to other people which we call Bodong.“