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Church Leaders, Educators, & Peace Advocates Converse on the Challenges of Peacebuilding on the Bangsamoro

10003185_10152362433649804_5792102683723688427_n 10155780_10152362646304804_550921434203711962_n 10167976_10152360776489804_5239939795523320670_n              In the wake of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on 26th March 2014, the Catholic Church through its Mindanao bishops, heads of educational institutions and seminaries, peace centers and representatives of the media, as well as some invited guests from the Peace Panel representing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and civil society groups and nongovernment organizations (NGOs), huddled together in a confab that tackled the challenges brought about by the historical signing of the CAB.  Using the round-table discussion format, the Conversations on Peacebuilding in Mindanao conducted on 9th-10th April 2014 at Finster Auditorium of Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) was sponsored by the Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue (ECID) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) in Mindanao.

Role of the Catholic Church in Peacebuilding

            The two-day gathering was predicated on the need to take a long hard look at the newly signed CAB, its impact on the entire peace process, as well as on the coordinated peacebuilding efforts done by the Catholic Church through its various institutions that are working for a lasting peace in this region of the Philippines.  The confab also brandished finding new and creative ways in righting historical injustices through the creation of various modes of discourses that will usher in better platforms in support of pursuing justice and the common good for all Mindanawons, especially the Muslims, the Lumads, and people at the margins.

Historical Context

             The first day started off with a hearty welcome led by Bp. Angelito Lampon, DD of the Vicar Apostolic of Jolo and Abp. Romulo Valles, DD of the Archdiocese of Davao. This was followed by the rationale of the confab given by Abp. Antonio Ledesma, SJ, DD of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, wherein he emphasized the role of the Catholic Church in the promotion of the peace process in Mindanao, highlighting various perspectives in pursuit of reconciled diversity, at the same time understanding the historical context of the conflict in Mindanao. Prof. Rudy Rodil, himself a veteran of many peacebuilding initiatives, gave the context of the peace process tackled by the GPH and the MILF through the many years of negotiation under different administrations. Continue reading

ADDU Assists IP Communities in Bukidnon

          The Lumad communities covered under the Jesuit mission center in the Municipality of Cabanglasan in Bukidnon received assistance from the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) in the form of canned goods and other food stuffs, courtesy of the students of the National Service Training Program-Civic Welfare Training Service (NSTP-CWTS) who already completed the course requirements in March of 2014.

          The food stuffs, including about 900 canned goods, were packed and divided among five indigenous people’s (IPs) communities that inhabit the hills and mountain areas of Cabanglasan in northeastern part of the Bukidnon, namely the Matigsulit and Ummajamñen (those living near the Ummayan and Sulit rivers), Tapayañen, Tigwahanon and Pulangihon (those living along the serpentine areas of the Pulangi River). They were delivered at Binhi Te Peglaum Lumad Scholars Dormitory of the Kahungyaman Cultural Center for Peace and Development in the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Parish in Cabanglasan, a mission center administered by the Society of Jesus.  The provisions will be delivered to these far-flung communities where the families of the majority of the Lumad scholars lived. 

            Fr. David John delos Reyes, SJ, the executive secretary of the University Research Council (URC) headed the team that delivered these goods, assisted by Ms. Gina Villagonzalo, the new First Year Development Program (FYDP) coordinator and M. Isabel S. Actub of the Communications & Advocacy Program (CAP) of the Arrupe Office of Social Formation, and Gerard Tinampay a student-volunteer from the Campus Lay Ministers. Continue reading