The Tagabawa Tribal Council of Barangay Alegre welcomed the Inclusive Development Team of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee For Peace (CFP) to establish a model coffee farm in their area. We went through the process of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as required by law. The municipal, provincial, and national authorities protecting the Indigenous Peoples’ rights gave their respective affirmations and blessings to this project.
Last 20 August 2019, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed and a kanduli (covenant lunch) was celebrated for this model farm partnership between the Alegre Tribal Council and the PBCI-CFP Family. The Hon. Datu Rogelio B. Manapol (Provincial Tribal Chief in Davao del Sur) led the tribal representatives of Barangay Alegre and Bansalan municipality. Ms. Joji Pantoja (CEO of Coffee for Peace, Inc. and Executive Vice President of PeaceBuilders Community) led the PBCI-CFP Inclusive Development Consulting Team in this relational-strengthening and partnership-enhancement event.
The official signatories were Sihaya Ansibod, in behalf of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc., and Datu Rogelio B. Manapol, in behalf of the Provincial Tribal Council of Davao del Sur. The signing was witnessed by Datu Indalecio L. Diano (Provincial Officer of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples) and Bae Berna Malang (Municipal Tribal Chieftain of Bansalan).
This initiative is a continuation and enhancement of a long-term partnership between the Tagabawa Bagobo tribe and the PBCI-CFP Inclusive Development Team. It all started through a series of listening sessions in November 2015. One of the major voice we heard was the women’s aspirations for themselves, their families, and their tribal community. They expressed the need to have a sustainable livelihood program for them. After one year of social preparation, leadership development, and skills training, a post-harvest processing plant was built by the Bagobo Tagabawa women, administered by the Bagobo Tagabawa women, for the employment of the Bagobo Tagabawa women. This project was further enhanced by Coffee for Peace‘s social entrepreneurship training and mentorship program and was eventually recognized by the United Nations Development Program as a contributor to the Sustainable Development Goals in the Philippines.
The operations of this post harvest processing plant included buying cherries from the Balutakay Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative and from other coffee farmers around Mt. Apo. This became a peace and reconciliation bridge between the Bagobo Tagabawa and the Christian Settlers which was documented in a video by the UNDP.
Meanwhile, a young man named Aldren Banal who has been working for a year in Japan became a part of PeaceBuilders Community. After a year of prayerful dialogue, he decided to put his savings to start a coffee farm. He requested PBCI-CFP Inclusive Development Team to help him. We invited him to go through our two-year, full-time Social Entrepreneurship Internship Program. Our Field Operations Director, Sihaya Ansibod, introduced him to our long-time coffee farming partner, Marivic Dubria, President of Balutakay Coffee Farmers Cooperative (BaCoFa Coop), and who was also the 2019 Philippine Coffee Quality Competition champion in the Arabica category. With the permission and blessing of the local tribal council, and after undergoing the FPIC (Free Prior and Informed Consent) process, Marivic sold the rights of one of her coffee farms, located in Barangay Alegre, to Aldren Banal.
Sihaya saw these developments through her Inclusive Development lenses and proposed that this farm would be nurtured as a PBCI-CFP Model Farm. Aldren Banal agreed. And after a few months of processing, we received the blessings of the Indigenous Peoples of Bansalan and of the Province of Davao del Sur.
The Hon. Datu Manapol, in his statement during the final segment of the FPIC process, said: “I appreciate PeaceBuilders and Coffee for Peace. They often visit me in my office to give an update every time they start or change any of their activities in the IP ancestral domain.” He was referring to the relational-oriented field operations leadership of Sihaya who belongs to the Erumanen Ne Menuvu tribe and who is at-home with the ways of certain communities in Central Mindanao. In the same speech, Manapol addressed Lakan Sumulong, PBCI-CFP DreamWeaver, and said: “We should sit down and talk more how we can reach other communities who are with Kapiid Ka Banwa, Inc.”
In response, Lakan expressed the willingness of PBCI-CFP Team to serve as Inclusive Development consultants to the IP communities around Mt. Apo.