Arrupe Offers “Pakig-ambitay” on Grassroots Peacemaking and Peacebuilding

In observance of the Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP, which runs from 27th November to 3rd December 2014 with the theme We Pray for Long Lasting Peace in Mindanao: Give, Share, Live and Proclaim Peace), the Communications and Advocacy Program (CAP) of the Arrupe Office of Social Formation will be conducting the Pakig-ambitay para sa Kalinaw sa Mindanaw,  a two-part series of an afternoon conversation where two discussants share about their actual experience of peacebuilding and peacemaking in their own respective communities to a fairly small group of student leaders, faculty, and civil society groups in Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU). The “Pakig-ambitay,” therefore, is derivative of the “Pakighinabi” series which is run by the Office of the President.

For the first part, entitled Pakig-ambitay para sa Kalinaw sa Mindanaw” (Part 1), Mr. Mike Alon, a Muslim, and the Executive Director of IMAN, Inc. (Integrated Mindanaons Association for Natives, Inc.)—an organization that undertakes initiatives and programs on peace education, community building and delivery of basic social services for children in grassroots Moro communities, especially in Kabacan, North Cotabato—has been invited to be one of the discussants.  He will be joined by another discussant who knows what it’s like to take up the cudgel on peace-building and peace-making from the grassroots level, Mr. Orson Sargado, the Program Manager of Peacebuilding at Catholic Relief Services (CRS).  Mr. Sargado previously taught at ADDU. The expected audience for this small-group conversation are student leaders from the SAMAHAN Central Board, the Campus Club Organizations (CCO), student leaders from the Socio-Civic clubs, and the corps of Arrupe Vols. This will be on Wednesday, 3rd December 2014, at 3:40 p.m., at the “Pakighinabi” Room, 3rd floor of the Community Center.  This activity will serve as the culmination of the university’s observance of the MWOP.  This round-table discussion (RTD), conversation-style, and will be moderated by students.

For the second part entitled “Padayon sa Pakig-ambitay para sa Kalinaw sa Mindanaw” (Part 2), a post-MWOP offering, it will feature Fr. Roberto “Bert” Layson, OMI, the parish priest of the Sto. Niño of Kulaman, Sultan Kudarat, who is known for his pioneering work in building peace zones in war-affected areas in Pikit, North Cotabato, as one of the discussants. Fr. Bert is recognized for his pastoral ministry in peacebuilding not only locally but also internationally.  His work among those affected by internal displacement due to war and conflict in his own neighbouring communities has been highly publicized. He will be joined by (again) Mr. Mike Alon of IMAN, Inc., who will do a reprise of his role, but this time directed to a different audience. A small group of ADDU faculty and some of the university’s external partners (NGOs) and civil society groups, will be invited for this purpose.  This second part offering, which is done in coordination with the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia, will be on Monday, 15th December 2014, at 3:40 p.m., at the “Pakighinabi” Room (3rd floor) of the Community Center.  This RTD will be moderated by faculty.

In an announcement made earlier by University President Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, both Fr. Bert Layson and Mr. Mike Alon will be bestowed by the university the distinction of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, during the Commencement Exercises in March 2015.  They are being recognized for their advocacy in promoting peace-building initiatives and inter-religious/inter-cultural dialogue, as well as in initiating Spaces for Peace in their own respective communities.  (By M. Isabel S. Actub, Arrupe Communications & Advocacy)

Bangsamoro Basic Law Takes Centerstage in a Forum during MWOP

MWOP FORUM PNG FILEIMG_9013IMG_9032IMG_9039IMG_9054IMG_9010The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was again elevated to centerstage when the Arrupe Office of Social Formation’s Communications and Advocacy Program (CAP) brought a representative from the Government Peace Negotiating Panel (GPNP) in the person of Atty. Mohammad Al-Amin Julkipli who gave a comprehensive presentation of the BBL in a forum held at the Finster Auditorium on 28th November 2014.  The Arrupe Office originally invited, as early as July, no less than the government’s chief negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer—an invitation that intended to build on the observance of the annual Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP) in late November.  But due to unmitigating circumstances related to her hectic schedule, especially that the BBL has already been submitted to Philippine Congress for public scrutiny, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) sent Atty. Julkipli to speak on her behalf.

Atty. Julkipli is a member of the legal team of the GPNP, and an alternate member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).  As a young Moro (Tausug) lawyer from Zamboanga City who used to lecture at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) in Zamboanga City on Philippine Government and Constitution, Current Sociology, and Political Dynamics (with emphasis on peace and conflict studies), he walked the forum’s audience through the intricacies of the BBL including: Issues on its constitutionality, the timeframe given for its implementation, the challenges that lie ahead once it passes through the scrutiny of congress and eventually presented to the proposed Bangsamoro territory for ratification in a plebiscite, and its overall impact in the entire effort of the government to seriously pursue Mindanao peace at all cost.  In a lecture that specifically highlighted issues on territory, governance and political structure of the Bangsamoro entity, its socio-economic development and patrimony, provisions for normalization, among others, Atty. Julkipli’s knowledge of the law provided some fresh insights on the process as to how the drafting of the BBL has broken new grounds in serious efforts at peacemaking and peacebuilding in the Philippines, courtesy of the government of Pres. Benigno Aquino III.  He also reiterated how the proposed creation of the Bangsamoro territory took into consideration lessons learned from previous peace negotiations conducted by previous governments.  He mentioned how this new law truly made the necessary effort to integrate political correctness by providing a gender dimension that pays serious attention to the role of women in governance, as well as providing inter-governmental support and funding inorder to make sure that strong monitoring mechanisms are in place. Continue reading

Bangsamoro Basic Law to be tackled in today’s Forum

Today at Finster Auditorium, the Ateneo de Davao University, through the Arrupe Office of Social Formation’s Communications and Advocacy Program, will once again feature the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on center stage when it conducts a forum on important updates, issues and concerns pertaining to the BBL.  The Arrupe Office has invited no less than the government’s chief negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, as its resource speaker who will provide the university community an update on where the BBL is at now since it has been submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to the Office of the President, and eventually to the Philippine Congress for further public scrutiny.  Owing to unmitigating circumstances related to the schedule of Prof. Ferrer, she is sending a member of the legal team of the Government Peace Negotiating Panel (GPNP), Atty. Mohammad Al-Amin Julkipli, in her stead.  The forum is set at the Finster Auditorium during the activity period at 3:40 p.m.

While it sits in the hands of congress for further study—anticipating more public debates and discussions traversing all sides of the congressional divide—the BBL has already been receiving a lot of attention within the university and even beyond it, such as, for example, the Davao Association of Colleges and Schools (DACS) even the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).  Through the primary efforts of the office of the university president, Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, more avenues for discussions pertaining to the BBL have already been provided by Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) in the course of months since the creation of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) in 2012, and eventually the historic signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in the later part of March 2014.

In its observance of this year’s Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP), the university is again leaving no stones unturned by offering another round of discourses where the university community will be informed on recent discussions on the BBL by bringing over a resource person from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).  In late July of this year, the Arrupe Office has invited the youngest commissioner of the BTC in the person of a young brilliant lawyer, Atty. Johaira Wahab, for a modified round-table discussion (RTD).  In that venue, she discussed the difficult process in the crafting of the BBL draft, as well as the continuing debates which accompanied the draft’s final form prior to its submission to Pres. Benigno Aquino III.

This afternoon’s forum promises to be a stimulating one, as it draws participation from students from the college, as well as faculty from all units. This forum is part of the coordinated efforts of the university to observe this year’s Mindanao Week of Peace which bears the theme “We Pray for Long Lasting Peace in Mindanao: Give, Share, Live and Proclaim Peace.” (by M. Isabel S. Actub, Arrupe Communications and Advocacy)

Introductory Peace Note

IMG_8850Read by Mr. Lunar Fayloga on the Occasion of the Launching of the

Mindanao Week of Peace

26th November 2014

 Good afternoon, magmalinawong hapon kanatong tanan! I welcome all of us in this short and important ritual which marks our institutional commitment to commemorate peace as a way of life and the pursuit of peace as our way of proceeding as a Filipino, Catholic and Jesuit University.

We may ask ourselves, why peace? Why continue to take this path for which people across all generations, and people of all colours and religious persuasions have devoted a great deal of their time working toward something which has remained so very elusive for so many, especially those who paid such a high price for it?  Ultimately, our answer would be—as we join in the week-long observance of the Mindanao Week of Peace 2014—that this is no time to be despairing.

For us, this is the time to feel the spirit of God leading us to this important juncture in the history of our country when we are so close to finally sealing the much coveted peace in this region of Mindanao. The historic signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) ushered in a new era for us.  With the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) now in the hands of Philippine Congress, and awaiting public scrutiny, let us all be mindful that there is still a lot of work ahead of us. But at least, the opportunities for sealing peace abound.  Let us also be mindful though that we continue to pray and work hard for this elusive peace to finally reign not just in Mindanao but for the rest of the country.

This year is the 5th year of our commemoration of one of the most painful chapters in our history as Mindanawons, the Maguindanao Massacre—with the victims and their families still awaiting justice from a legal system that remains suspect in the eyes of many.  This, and all other instances of conflict and violence which continue to be a thorn in our side, are still here, casting a deep shadow in our desire to live in peace.

This afternoon, as we launch the 2014 Mindanao Week of Peace celebration which will formally start tomorrow, we are invited to pause and reflect, to remember and to dream what lies ahead in our desire to achieve a state of being where peace ultimately reigns in our hearts and in our minds. This celebration is also a moment to honour our heroes, our champions of peace—those who have fallen by the wayside and those who continue to take up the cudgel of peace-building with the last draw of their breath.

This afternoon, as a university community, we look to our God for inspiration and strength, we pray to Him to give all of us the courage to live as peacemakers and peace-builders in a land that is constantly challenged with the reality of conflict and violence. In this short ceremony, may we be reminded of this constancy by which God loves us as His children.