We, the PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI), a national team of Christian peace and reconciliation missionaries, are deeply concerned and saddened by the behavior of some fellow Christians who have placed Bibles, translated in Maranao language, inside relief packs that were distributed in certain evacuation centers where displaced persons from Marawi are currently staying.
We, at PBCI, make sure that our staff and volunteers, who are often working in coordination with the larger network of peacebuilding organizations—made up of Migrants, Bangsamoros, and Lumads—practice the following ethical principles:
First, we uphold the primacy of Love based on the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
PBCI insists that our actions and words as peace and reconciliation missionaries are motivated by unconditional love and not based on advancing the interests of our religious institutions. We see all true Muslims, particularly the Bangsamoros, as our neighbors whom we relate-in-love through honest, transparent inter-faith dialogue framed in peace and reconciliation.
Second, we will consistently implement our ethical values which govern our peacebuilding policies in the field. We have been committed to our peacebuilding relationships with the Bangsamoro, the Lumad, and the Migrants since 2006. For more than a decade, we have applied the PBCI ethical values — like love, truth, justice, peace, respect, and accountability. We will continue to practice our field standards on humanitarian response based on the Humanitarian Charter and the Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response.
Third, we will offer our counsel to this particular group of Christians who distributed Bibles to the Marawi evacuees hoping these Christians would also consider applying the above-mentioned principles and ethical values. Although each Christian denomination are governed by their own particular church polity, we will seek to have an intra-faith dialogue with these sisters and brothers based on peace and reconciliation principles and practices.
Fourth, we will also call on the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) to establish ethical guidelines among their member bodies and organizations as we continue to engage in inter-faith dialogues and inter-faith humanitarian services during natural and human-induced disasters and crises based on established international humanitarian standards. We will offer our help to the PCEC Peace and Reconciliation Commission to connect directly with the Marano civil society leaders on the ground so that future ethical and inter-faith working relationships will be established.
Finally, our immediate response to this delicate situation is also seen in the context of our continuing support to the on-going implementation of the peace process between the government and the Bangsamoro. Being aware that the conflict between the government and the Bangsamoro is not religious but primarily due to historical injustices and land-based issues, a political solution is necessary for this political problem. We believe that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro is the best politically-negotiated agreement so far between the government and the Bangsamoro. For PBCI, the most practical next step in the implementation of CAB is for the Philippine Congress to pass the newly-drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law. The BBL, in our understanding of the history of Mindanao, would help begin a just and law-based peace in our land.
May the Creator of all humanity grant us the peace, based on justice, for which we all are working together.
Rev. L. Daniel Pantoja
President & CEO
PeaceBuilders Community, Inc.
PBCI CODE OF ETHICS
Love. We will love all people unconditionally and we will practice selfless love to the point of offering our lives to the people with whom we are called to live and to serve. This is exemplified in the humble life of Jesus of Nazareth whom we follow in response to His sacrificial love.
Truth. By God’s grace, we will not lie. As witnesses to the truth we have experienced in Jesus Christ, we will initiate transparent and honest interaction with all the people concerned as we relate with them and as we formulate and implement our policies.
Justice. As justice is an attribute of God, our tasks will be implemented in accordance with what is just and equitable among all people concerned. We will listen to, and suffer with, those who have been oppressed because of historical injustice. Because of the redemptive nature of Jesus’ Way, we will act justly as we peacefully seek the healing of the nations from all forms of injustice.
Forgiveness. Using the energies available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will absorb the violence committed against us so that our lives may be used as servants to stop the cycle of violence within us and around us. We will seek the forgiveness of people and communities who were treated unjustly by our fellow Christians—who misused the name of Christ to advance their greed for wealth and power.
Peace. We will seek harmony and reconciliation with the Creator, with our Being, with Others, and with the Creation. We believe in solving problems through non-violence. By God’s grace and mercy, we will not use weapons to hurt or to kill people as a means to accomplish our dreams, mission, and objectives.
Voluntary Service. The backbone of our community will be the voluntary efforts of our team members as they offer their time, or their skills, or their financial resources for the cause of peace.
Respect. As fellow-beings created in the image of God, we will work with all people, respecting the differences in our worldviews, value systems, and behavior patterns. As fellow stewards of our planet, we will respect traditional ways of preserving our natural environment.
Patience. The work of peacebuilding in each context is a long-term process. Though we will seek wisdom from the lessons learned from other contexts, we will not be presumptuous to use them as “quick-fix solutions” to a specific conflict-situation we are facing. We will always consult patiently with the people with whom we are called to love and to serve.
Mutual Learning. Because all truth is God’s truth, we will seek to be both learners and teachers when we work with other people. We recognize that modern knowledge can be harmonized with traditional wisdom from many cultures, and that this harmonized learning will enrich our mutual growth and development.
Accountability. We will submit ongoing reports to all the people concerned—sponsors, clients, volunteers, staff—as we manage the resources entrusted to us.