PeaceBuilders Community MetroManila is a “bayanihan” towards a just, radical, and active non-violent transformation of our beautiful land. Its mandate is to practice and propagate our message of peace—as harmony with the Creator, harmony with our being, harmony with others, and harmony with the creation—in the various contexts of the urban reality in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Bennette, front in blue shirt, leads in the field operations of PBCI MetroManila.This is in response to the needs of farmers to market their products at sustainable prices and to meet the needs of the urban poor in the national capital region to gain access to affordable vegetables.

PAR-Based Bayanihan

We always start our field operations with Peace and Reconciliation (PAR). PAR is the heart of our ministry.

PEACE. The concept of peace—from the Hebrew term shalom and the Arabic term salaam—is understood here as:
:: harmony with the Creator (spiritual transformation);
:: harmony with our Being (psycho-social transformation);
:: harmony with Others (socio-political transformation); and,
:: harmony with the Creation (economic-ecological transformation).

RECONCILIATION. This is focused on building relationships between antagonists. The primary goal is to seek innovative ways to create a time and a place to address, to integrate, and to embrace the painful past and the necessary shared future as a means of dealing with the present.

BAYANIHAN. Bayanihan is the Tagalog word that means sharing of life, resources, efforts, labor, and time to accomplish a community endeavour. The first part of the word, bayan, means people, society, or community. We can also find the word bayani which means hero. We can even make sense of the middle segment of the word ani which means harvest. The last segment, anihan, means harvest time.

Bayanihan is almost equivalent to the New Testament concept of koinounia which means fellowship among believers in Christ who are sharing life and resources, energized by the Spirit of God.

With this perspective, three board members of the PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI)—Joseph “Boyet” OngkikoBennette Grace Tenecio Mañulit, and AJ Moldez—were challenged to respond to the pressing needs in Luzon during the CoViD19 Enhanced Community Quarantine.

Lakan Sumulong, PBCI DreamWeaver, started connecting people to form an emergency response team. However, they will also be challenged, trained, and mobilized to commit towards a long term vision, though starting with the team’s initial mission focus. We are praying that the team’s perspective of the problem expands from simple to complex. That’s when they’ll commit to mid- and long-term objectives.

Workers and leaders from various community-based organizations, including PBCI MetroManila team, join hands together in Bayanihan to meet the needs of rural farmers and urban poor.

The “Budding Social Enterprise” Project

We’re dreaming and working towards a social enterprise that would build a justice-based sustainable food supply chain between the farmers in the rural areas and the vulnerable communities in Metro Manila’s urban poor areas. Although the idea was sparked by the crises brought about by CoViD19, this is being seen by the PBCI leadership team as part of its peacebuilding journey from the rural context to the urban context.

“This is a continuation of what we’ve learned as peacebuilders in Mindanao,” said Lakan. “The crises we were facing were food security, health challenges, and human rights issues in the midst of decades-long war. We soon learned that our peacebuilding approach should be holistic, inclusive, sustainable, and regenerative,” he adds.

“In the midst of those crises,” recalls Joji Pantoja, CEO of Coffee For Peace, “we listened actively. And I kept hearing ‘kapi sa kalilintad’ which I soon learned to mean ‘coffee for peace’ in the Maguindanao language. Those listening events became the energy seeds that fuelled the vision and realization of the social enterprise I’m now leading.”

Joji is excited how this budding social enterprise project would propel an urban contextualized PAR movement.

The momentum of this budding social enterprise is slowly gaining energy. Bennette Grace, the PBCI MetroManila Field Operations Leader, and her best friend, MaiMai Lim, are at the forefront of this project. Maimai has been our active partner in PAR advocacy for the past four years through her business and civil society connections.

PBCI prays that this ‘budding social enterprise project’ would make a difference that can change and transform lives through, and beyond, this pandemic.

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