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We are given advice by people who are motivated by love and joy to help transform our land and peoples towards justice and peace. These advisers guide our staff, field partners, volunteers, and each other by sharing their expert views and perspectives on various issues we’re facing as a community of justice-based peace and reconciliation advocates and workers.

Conflict Transformation & PAR Community Development

Lakan studied theology at Febias College (B.A., 1979). He finished Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines (M.A., 1982). While serving as a pastor in Olongapo City, he was politically active against the Marcos dictatorial rule. In 1986, he and his family migrated to Canada. In 1989, he began serving as Lead Pastor at Grace International Baptist Church in Vancouver, BC. Dann was appointed in 1995 as Director of Global Ministries of the Baptist General Conference of Canada. In 2002, he finished his Master of Theology degree from VST, University of British Columbia. Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, BC commissioned him and his wife, Joji, to the Philippines as International Witness Workers in 2006 in partnership with Mennonite Church Canada.

Asked what fuels his positive outlook in life: “It’s the influence of a carpenter named Jesus, a 1st century Palestinian Jew, who was executed by the imperial power of his time. He said: ‘Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.’ Jesus defied death—the ultimate negative factor in our cosmos.”

Leadership Training and Development Communications

Joseph is known among pastors and Christian leaders in the Philippines as an effective leadership development teacher. He’s ‘Boyet’ to his family and friends. He completed his bachelors degree in Development Communications and masters degree in Development Management  from the University of the Philippines. He was the Director for Transformational Development at the Asian School of Development and Cross-Cultural Studies (ASDECS). He currently serves as Executive Vice President for Organizational and Program Development at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc.

Asked about his perspective of our connections as human beings, he said: Where ever we are and regardless of what we are into, we share the same heart – created in God’s image – with innate value and dignity as human being. Our lives are joined together and we share each others’ joy as well as pain.

PAR Community Development & Pastoral Care

Pastor Norman has been serving as our spiritual adviser from the first day of PBCI. He earned a Master of Divinity (with honours) from the Asian Theological Seminary in Quezon City. In 2010, Norman was invited to visit Canada to participate in a pastors conference. There, he was immersed in Peace Theology, saw its impact in the Canadian society, and started asking what it means to be a follower of the Prince of Peace in a conflicted land like the Philippines.

Asked about his theological journey as a pastor in Mindanao: “It was through the ministry of PBCI that I have seen a particular theological conviction actually applied as an effective framework for building peace between Christians and Muslims. By following Jesus Christ–the Prince of Peace, Christians can actually help build peace in Mindanao.”

Indigenous People’s Narrative and Culture

Datu Vic is a respected leader among the Indigenous Peoples (IP) of Mindanao. He is the Spiritual Leader of the Talaandig Tribe of Bukidnon, a first nation occupying their ancestral territory around Mount Kitanglad in unity with the Higaonon and Bukidnon communities. Datu Vic is also the administrator of the Apu Agbibilin Community, Inc. and a member of the Council of Elders of the Mindanao Peoples’ Caucus. PBCI consults him in our strategic decisions when IP issues are involved.

Asked how he looks at life and reality as a Talaandig elder: I am an Indigenous Person and live according to indigenous worldview. My faith is indigenous as well and my knowledge system is nurtured by common sense. I submit myself to the laws of nature and live with it. Everyday I keep on searching my relationships with the world, its elements and people. It is really nice and enjoyable!

Conflict Transformation in Corporate and Business Settings

Wendy started her relationship with us as a consultant when Dann & Joji Pantoja were being considered in 2005 by Mennonite Church Canada as peacebuilding missionaries to the Philippines. Since PBCI started in 2007, she has been serving as our occasional training facilitator for staff development. She also accompanied us in various fields of operations as we facilitate peace dialogues between parties-in-dispute in Mindanao’s armed-conflicted areas. She is a peace and conflict transformation studies professor at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Canada, and mediation practitioner. She lived in Dumaguete, Philippines for four years with her family and comes back each year to teach at the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute. Her PhD dissertation and Mindanao research projects examine local peacebuilding efforts in a variety of communities.

Asked what she would like to do as a visiting mentor at PBCI: I hope that I can be part of creating an imagination for peace within your staff. There are so many complex conflict dynamics that require peacebuilders of passion, commitment, and courage. PBCI is an organization that has a strong vision for peace, much needed in Mindanao.


Social Theology and Ethics

Professor Aldrin Penamora completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Social Theology and Ethics from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. He serves as the Manager of Christian-Muslim Research Center of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC). Aldrin also helps us — leaders, staff, and volunteers of  PeaceBuilders Community — as we think biblically through the various justice and peace issues we are facing in advancing Peace and Reconciliation in the Philippines.

Asked how he can help the peace processes in Mindanao and how he considers the risks involved:  As a Christian theologian and ethicist, I think I can be of help to PBCI in terms of theologically equipping its members. I believe I must be prepared to also suffer in following Jesus, who was persecuted and crucified. If the Lord will call me to suffer for His name, then I only pray that he give me the strength to rejoice in participating in Christ’s sufferings (1 Pet. 4:13).    


Global Issues in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation

Jon is currently the Peacemaker-in-Residence for Elizabethtown College’s Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking. With more than 25 years of  working in 30 countries in Asia and Africa, Jon has focused his efforts at peacebuilding and conflict transformation on a grass roots and middle-out communities.  Jon has an MA in Religion with a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

When asked what are currently the defining questions in his work and reflection on peacebuilding, Jon answered: “The role of imagination and creativity in nonviolent approaches to conflict transformation; interconnectedness of all things especially between individuals and the environment; subtle energies and mystery involved with reconciliation, healing and transformation; and, detachment, observation and non-judgment in creating dialogue space.”

Social Entrepreneurship and Inclusive Development

Joji started using her Tagalog Indigenous name, Lakambini Mapayapa. She graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (B.Sc., 1979). She also studied International Relations at the University of the Philippines. She moved to Canada in 1986 and since then developed a successful career in the investment and financial industry. She returned to the Philippines in 2006 and since then established and led our inclusive development initiative — Coffee For Peace Corp. (CfPC). As the CEO of CfPC, she became the Women Entrepreneur Winner of CitiBank-Business in Development Network, Philippines in 2010. She also received, in 2015, an N-Peace Award from the United Nations Development Program – Impact Investment Exchange Asia (UNDP-IIXAsia) in behalf of the women who comprise the 80 percent of the farming farmers of Coffee For Peace, Inc. She was invited for the N-Peace Awards Ceremony at One UN Hotel, New York, NY. In October of 2017, Lakambini completed her Master of Entrepreneurship in Social Enterprise Development from the Ateneo Graduate School for Business. Joji was also one of the three winners of the 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award. In October 2021, she was honored by the UN Women Empowerment Principles Award. In that same month, she was conferred the honorary title Bai Kasunayan by the Bagobo Tagabawa Indigenous People’s Structure of Mt. Apo in Southern Mindanao.

Asked why she left her career in Vancouver, Canada for Mindanao: I can’t imagine having a summary of my life printed on my tombstone as: “Spent her life managing rich people’s money.”I want to be remembered as: “A person who walked with the people as they find dignity through sustainable economic development.”

Public Administration and Inclusive Development

Malou brings a healthy mix of traditional indigenous wisdom and modern scientific knowledge in this Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) movement. Her vision is to integrate PAR principles and practices in the educational system, in social entrepreneurship, and in public administration. Her educational training — Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Master of Arts in Public Administration — prepared her well for this vision. Her PAR dreams and energies are mostly channeled through her work as Associate Professor of Public Administration at the Kalinga State University in Tabuk City.

Asked about the impact of PAR principles in her life and work: “The concepts of peace and harmony being taught by PeaceBuilders Community gave me a deeper understanding of my own basic relationships—with the Creator, with my being, with others, and with the creation. These notions of peace and harmony made a positive impact in my personal life, my family, and even in my academic profession.”


Mining Industry Issues in the Philippines

Rosabel is one of the original incorporators of PeaceBuilders Community. She has been contributing in the growth of this organization through her expertise in mining and geology as it impacts the economy and ecology of Mindanao and the Philippines. A graduate of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, she is aware of the justice issues in the Philippine mining industry. After finishing our advanced course in peace and reconciliation training, PBCI commissioned her to make a study of the mining issues from the perspective of our Shalom Theology.

Asked about her role in the development of our position paper about the Philippine mining industry: “I’m glad to be a part of a community that thinks biblically as we face the economic-ecological challenges before us as followers of Jesus Christ. I praise God for allowing me to use my training as we contribute to the transformation of our country.” 

Cordillera People’s Right to Self Determination

Johnny is employed as Community Affairs Officer at the Office of the Provincial Vice Governor, Province of Kalinga.  He is also serving as an Elder of a local congregation of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines in Tabuk City. In the 1990s, he was a leader of a revolutionary movement that has been fighting for the liberation of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera Region. During that time, he served as Deputy Secretary General of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA) for the Defense of Ancestral Domain and for Self-Determination. Johnny finished his Law degree in March 1993 from San Sebastian College-Recoletos in Manila. Prior to his Law education, he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree (Political Science and Economics) in March 1985, from Trinity College in Quezon City.

Asked about his view on Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) principles and practice: “I’m happy to know that all my experiences in the past can be used by God to bring about justice and peace among my people. As a follower of Christ, I’m thankful that I’m now a part of PAR family.”


Inclusive Development and Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Self Determination

Tala is the Pilipino term for ‘star.’ She is a proud member of the Kalinga First Nation and celebrates the fact that she belongs to the Indigenous People (IP). She’s a graduate of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. In 2020, Tala completed her Master of Arts degree in Conflict Transformation at the Eastern Mennonite University—Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Tala is the Chief Operating Officer (on leave) at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. and also Senior Vice President at Coffee for Peace, Inc.

Asked about her passion as an IP missionary: “I believe in the wealth of the indigenous knowledge. I dream of IPs rejoicing in their cultural heritage without shame and freely sharing the indigenous knowledge with the mainstream — the business world, academe, media, etc. The encouraging thing is, there are already steps done to uphold the IPs. We can build on them.”

Logistical Operations and PsychoSocial Intervention Training

Bennette served as our Director of Support Operations for several years. She made sure that our field workers — both paid and volunteer staff — were adequately cared for through her administrative and financial management skills. In those times of emergencies due to war and natural disasters, Bennette and her team proved to be efficient and effective in their logistical operations. She’s now running her own inclusive business with her husband. Bennette also serves as Vice President for Public Relations at Coffee for Peace Corp.

Asked about her motivation for returning to Mindanao, she said: “My heart goes out for the people in Mindanao especially the victims of armed conflicts—children and youth alike. May the Lord extend his arms through me, to let them know that they are not alone in their struggles, that they are loved by the Heavenly Parent, the God of peace.”

Islamic Worldview and Values

Ustadz Abdulkadir is the Executive Director of the Bangsamoro Development and Resource Center (BDRC), our partner in Values Enhancement Training (VET) among the Islamic leaders around the Ligawasan Marsh.  Most of our relationships around Ligawasan (Marsh Lands) are through the facilitation of Ustadz Abdulkadir.

Asked about the importance of the Values Enhancement Training (VET) in the context of Mindanao: The continuous war heightened the biases and prejudices between Muslims and Christians in Mindanao. This grim and morbid scenario of war leads to the theoretical framework of first VET to delve on the Muslim-Christian Dialogue.  VET provides space for wider understanding, analyzing and interpreting the tenets of Islam and exerts positive and harmonious relationship between Muslims and Christians especially in the conflict affected communities.


Global Peace and Reconciliation Issues

Hadje is currently the vice-president for references of Philippine International Studies Organisation (PhISO), Faculty of Global Studies, Foundation University, Amsterdam. He is also an associate member at the Center for Palestine Studies-SOAS, University of London, UK. Presently, he is taking an international program, Master of Arts in Theology specializing in Intercultural Theology at the Protestant Theological University, Groningen, Netherlands.

Asked about his idea of what he would contribute to PBCI: It is my dream to be a part of this organisation. I believe on the vision and mission of PBCI, its advocacy campaigns on creation care, immigration, peace & nonviolence, poverty & justice.  Broad enough to include a diverse variety of theological and pastoral perspectives on Peace and Social Transformation.

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