Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Monday, September 22, 2008

Organizing and Capacity Building for Laguna Lakeshore Communities towards Lake and Human Security




Project Objectives and Expected Results:

To promote and develop sustainable policies and programs in Laguna de Bay through consolidation of MAPAGPALA alliance’s resource mobilization program and to integrate gender in the training and organizing for lake ecology and human security.

1. To consolidate the gains of MAPAGPALA coalition by supporting its advocacy/networking through the production of multi-media materials of its agenda, accomplishments, challenges.

2. To develop MAPAGPALA’s capacity for resource generation both internal and external by providing technical support in proposal formulation/negotiation/fund raising campaigns for lakeside protection and human security in community and the private as well as student/youth sector.

3. To sharpen initial gender mainstreaming in the lakeside/riverside communities to enable women to participate in environmental, economic and decision making processes.

4. To develop women led community – based initiative which supports women participation in the above mentioned arenas.

5. To link with community based resource management (CBRM) networks particularly those with gender based processes as well as the
6. riverside/coastal communities in Cebu where gender mainstreaming has been accomplished in the community as well as town/municipal levels resulting to access to resources, pro-women policies, etc.

7. To develop a team of organizers/trainors/community leaders who can establish similar processes in selected lakeside/riverside communities.


Level of Achievement of the Expected Results and Reflections

1. The project has contributed to the strengthening of MAPAGPALA alliance’s organization, advocacy, networks, and resource mobilization

The following results have been achieved because of MAPAGPALA’s continuing organizing and advocacy:

 More than 200 hectares of illegal fishpen structures in Laguna Lake were demolished because of MAPAGPALA’s continuing advocacy activities. . DENR Secretary Angelo Reyes also committed to conduct further study on the lake’s present situation incorporating the recommendations of the alliance. In a dialogue held in his office, the newly appointed DENR secretary also promised to meet the leadership of MAPAGPALA regularly to sustain coordination of his office with the concerns and affairs of the alliance.

• Stopped the forced eviction of more than 150 urban poor families affected by the proposed linear park project by the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission along Napindan River in Taguig, Metro Manila.

• Strengthened member-federations particularly the Taguig Coalition Against Dike in Taguig by expanding its membership-base and reorganization of leadership. A new local fisherfolk organization was also formed in Baras, Rizal.

• Eviction problem of 35 urban poor families. Through linkaging with an NGO expert in housing issues (Community Mortgage Program), 28 families in Barangay Malaban were saved from possible eviction of their houses by a private land owner. The NGO serves as a mediator between the two parties involved to explore the possibility of CMP in the area. The process of negotiation is on-going but the threat was already gone.

• Two round table discussions were held with various NGOs, academic and research institution, and fisherfolk coalitions to share potential cooperation on strategies and resources regarding the advocacy on the lake’s environment. The meetings were participated by the HARIBON Foundation, CODE-NGO, Kilusang Mangingisda (National Fisherfolk Movement), Tambuyog Development Center, University of the Philippines-School of Environmental Science and Management, COPE Foundation and NGOs for Fisheries Reform (NFR). Each organization committed to support MAPAGPALA in its cause either through technical aspects like research, training and resource generation.

• Two project proposals were written and submitted to potential funding agencies like CODE-NGO and Pondong Pinoy ( the Catholic Church’s fund-raising initiative intended to support community – driven projects).

• A video documentation and printed material (brochure) have been produced that will be used for continuing advocacy and awareness raising of MAPAGPALA’s agenda to protect and preserve the lake against many forms of destructive activities.

2. The project has contributed to the formation of local women’s organizations and MAPAGPALA Women alliance.

Before the project began in January 2006, the following communities had very loose organizations of women as the result of the previous gender program which primarily focused on providing gender education to few women leaders. This project was instrumental in the formation, structuring and consolidating local women organizations in the areas covered by MAPAGPALA and for the alliance as a whole. The newest member of MAPAGPALA is the MAPAGPALA-Women which local chapters are found in the following towns/cities and barangays numbering to more or less 150 active women-member each group or total of more or less 2, 500.


3. The project has contributed to the resolution of the perennial problems of women and their families.

• Lack of access to affordable but quality medicines. Through establishment of 15 community-owned and managed Botika-Binhi (community-based Generic drugs stores) outlets which benefited around 10, 000 families (approximately 650 families per community) in 13 of the 8 towns and cities in Laguna Lake.

• Lack of access to free potable water. By demanding accountability from local officials in Barangays Malabana and Linga to provide artesian well in their community as temporary relief to the problem.

• Poor drainage system. Improved a portion of a drainage system in a community in Barangay Malaban getting rid of the perennial flooding that cause insect-borne diseases, skin disease, etc.

• Lack of access to legal source of electricity. Expanded the number of households in Barangay Malaban, Binan, Laguna who benefited from legal connections of electricity which usually brought them more problems before such as higher cost of fees, criminal liability for electric pilferage, frequent brownouts due to electrical overuse, prone to fire division of the community and tolerating of illegal business done by syndicates, and lastly, tolerating the LGUs and government’s inaction to people’s real needs. Due to the women’s actions on the issue of electricity in Baranmgay Malaban, the neighboring barangay (Barangay dela Paz) which is not covered by this project has also accessed legal connection when MERALCO expanded its program.

• Lack of access to financial assistance to fund women identified projects. More or less P 120, 000 were accessed from local government units annual budget to support women-identified and prioritized projects such as Botika-Binhi expansion and livelihood. In fiscal year 2007-208, women identified projects are already inserted and included in the annual budget of LGUs.

4. The project has contributed to the development and training of 50 women leaders for MAPAGPALA alliance and in the communities as well.




Women became more aware of the following because of the activities conducted:
• Gender Bias, Roles,
• Generic drugs as alternative to branded medicines; Rational Drug Use
• People became more aware that health is not a priority of their local government units particularly women’s health.
• Gender and Development (as mandated by Philippine Laws) is not popular or mainstream in LGUs; women have no particular or focused programs, no budget allotted for them, no structure made to cater to their needs; the local officials are not aware of policies made specially for women; policies enacted for women are not implemented in the local levels; women have no representatives or direct participation in community structures which affect them such as FARMCs, Barangay and Municipal/City Development Councils, or even in their community organizations.
• Local Budgeting Process
• Lake Issues and Concerns/MAPAGPALA Lake Agenda
• National and Local Agencies concerning women

At least 50 women have demonstrated enhanced skills on the following:

• Leadership and Basic Organizing skills
• Facilitation skills
• Financial Management and Simple Bookkeeping
• Negotiation Skills
• Writing Request and Petition

5. The project has contributed to the development and building of more public relationships that will cater women’s concerns.

Such positive gain would give the public a better understanding of the activities of the alliance and MAPAGPALA-Women and ultimately ensure future cooperation to programs that will benefit the communities. Some of the key government agencies, NGOs, people’s alliances and individuals that have been supportive and have manifested their support to the cause of the alliance are the following:

• Barangay, municipal/city Chief Executives and Officials in the areas covered (except for Taguig City where the LGU officials were all in bad faith with the alliance because of the controversial Road Dike issue).
• The Offices of the governors of Laguna and Rizal
• The Offices of the District Representatives of Taguig-Pateros, Rizal D2, and Laguna D2.
• The Offices of Party-list Representative AKBAYAN!
• The Offices of the national government, namely: Regional Departments of the Department of Labor & Employment, National Council on the Roles of Filipino Women (NCRFW), Department of Health, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management (FARMCs), Bureau of Fisheries, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Housing Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
• The (Kilusang Mangingisda) Fisherfolk Movement – Women Sector, a national alliance of small fisherfolk women.
• The Kabalikat sa Binhing Kalusugan (KBK), Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Botika – Binhi, COPE Foundation, and the Foundation for the Development of the Urban Poor, Baras Parish Pastoral Council.
• The parish priests in Barangay Dalig, Barangay Evangelista, Tanay, Lumban and Sta. Rosa.

6. The project has contributed to the enhancement of women’s participation

• More or less 3, 000 women members in 17 communities
• Participation in local councils meeting and planning
• Participation and representation in the alliance’s affairs, decision-making and programs (MAPAGPALA-Women is now officially one of the seven federations member of MAPAGPALA
• A women’s desk was established in Calamba, Laguna. Women’s Desk is a particular department in local government units but most of the LGUs in the Philippines have not established such in their respective localities.




Reflections on the Results

Lakeshore women give high priority to basic needs such as health services, water, education and livelihood when consulted during planning of development initiatives. COM recognizes that lack of, or limited access to, essential services is a major obstacle to women’s advancement because it prevents them from participating in the mainstream of economic development and community life. Addressing these issues enables women to gain self-confidence and participate in transforming gender relations. However, the challenge remains to increase women’s role as decision-makers in community affairs and local institutions, a necessary step towards improving political representation and women’s empowerment.
Community organizing is a means in raising awareness about gender issues. We know, however, that in the communities where we are assigned, gender issues are not necessarily shared, and often are not even known. That puts a burden of responsibility onto the community organizer to make gender popular and understood as part of the people’s empowerment process.

The project contributed significantly to improving women's involvement in public life and accessing resources to respond to their identified needs, which at this moment is more focused on health. Given the clear correlation between empowerment, poverty, and gender on the one hand and the key role that MAPAGPALA alliance play in the protection and preservation of the lake and its environs on the other, the need for greater participation by women, firs of all, in their male dominated alliance, is evident. Formation and strengthening of women community organizations gave equal opportunities for women's membership and representation and they were encouraged to assume leadership functions in the alliance. Women structures which are also apparent in the community level subsequently provided more avenues for women to participate in the local government affairs such as the inclusion of more pro-women programs and policies in the development plans.





This project assured that women were capable of participating in setting up, operating and managing small-scale community projects. Initially, fifteen local women’s groups have established Botika- Binhi as a hub for more health-related programs in the future. They learn how to deal and engage their local officials which made remarkable contribution to bring the LGUs and the communities to work together to improve health services for the people. This experience serves as an exercise to cooperation for other issues and concerns that would probably crop up in the near future.

In summary, the project moved one step forward in advancing women’s capacity to participate effectively by establishing the appropriate women’s structures (organizations) in the community and the alliance. It provided the backbone for women to work into deeper issues of women and not to limit their interests on typical community issues but to take definite actions against other unconventional forms of violence against women. It also contributed to widening their networks and setting up linkages for more active support on their cause.
Activities

1. Formation of team of trainor/trainees/organizers to follow up the initial efforts for gender mainstreamning. A CO trainer and two advance community organizers were assigned specifically for the gender mainstreaming component of this project. Each organizer was assigned in one to two selected sites (Calamba and Binan) which covered four barangays with three women organizations for each site. A staff house or field office was set up in Binan being the focal area.

2. Establishment of three sites (Calamba, Laguna, Cardona, Rizal and a third one) after assessment of previous efforts/initial organizing based on gender perspectives in the context of lakeside issues on environment, livelihood and reproductive health and the development of indicators of success as recommended by the local women’s organizations. Three sites were successfully established for gender mainstreaming, namely: (1) Calamba in Laguna, (2) Cardona in Rizal, and (3) Binan in Laguna. In Calamba, three women’s groups in three barangays have been established; Binan (with the largest and biggest land area and population) has three women’s groups established; Cardona has two groups in two barangays. Having full-time


organizers worked in these areas, the sites have also more actions and projects done. It has experienced the full cycle of organizing process. Thus, the elected president of MAPAGPALA-Women came from Calamba.

3. Training and organizing activities of COs and communities in the sites selected. The two organizers assigned in the selected sites underwent the advance CO Course intended for COs who already passed the Basic CO Training. Regular activities for training were conducted which include monthly evaluation, bi-monthly tactic sessions, theoretical education sessions and field supervision. Leaders in the communities were trained through seminars, study sessions and one-on-one mentoring by the organizers. Their actual experience in mobilizations and negotiations, petition writing, conducting meetings, evaluations, community forums, etc., were also contributory to their learning.

4. Networking/exchange with community based resource management initiative with gender-based processes in Cebu coastal communities which have mainstreamed gender in local/barangay level mechanisms. Actual exchange program (area exposure) in Cebu was not able to pursue because of some factors such as availability of leaders both in Cebu and MAPAGPALA-Women for the visit and enough funding requirement to shoulder the expenses of the visit. Instead, the project sought other ways to provide the necessary requirement for this activity. The Cebu model was discussed by an experienced organizer in a meeting of MAPAGPALA-Leaders to provide the theoretical inputs. And in order to expand the network of support from other women’s groups, the alliance linked with the women alliance of the National Fisherfolk Movement (Kilusang Mangingisda). Linking with Lihok-Pilipina, the women organization in Cebu, is still a track that will be pursued even if the project has ended.

5. Accessing of resources for community initiatives for women’s participation. The establishment of Botika-Binhi in every community was a deliberate strategy to start building relationships with key public and private institutions for the purpose of accessing resources for women’s identified projects. Since health service is a universal need that nobody would deny, it is a good entry point both to gather women and potential resource provider. The strategy has proven successful for resource accessing. More or less P 100, 000 pesos already committed by local government officials. The ceremonial opening of each Botika-Binhi where LGU officials were invited to inaugurate was a good tactic to push for counterpart funds from them.

In Calamba, Barangay Lingga committed to channel its funds for its own Botika in the Barangay to the women’s Botika-Binhi while Barangay malaban is allotting P 50, 000 for livelihood project proposal of the women. In Barangay Evangelista, the women leader was invited by the municipal council to discuss about the Samahan ng mga Kababaihan sa Evangelista, the women organization and their projects. The council committed to provide more funds for the drugstore.

A bigger project proposal was developed to totally expand and strengthen the MAPAGPALA-Women Health and income-generating project. The proposal which was submitted to the Catholic Church’s Pondong Pinoy include the expansion of Health Projects.


6. Development of opportunities in Mapagpala for stronger women’s participation.After the successful MAPAGPALA-Women congress held at the University of the Philippines on December 7, 2006, and participated by more than a hundred women leaders from each member-federation of MAPAGPALA, the women has rightfully elected its formal leadership. The leaders elected mandated by the by-laws of the alliance is now a full member federation of the six federations belong to the alliance, with equal rights and opportunities as a regular member. Moreover, at the local level, the women can also participate in the affairs of their federations since local women leaderships have also been established.

7. Formulation of simple handbook to guide communities, organizers in organizing gender based community initiatives in the context of lakeside/riverside/water related resources and directory of support groups. The handbook (as of this writing) is still on the process of development.



E. Reflections on the Strategy and Approaches Used

Two pronged strategies were used to achieve the expected results in gender mainstreaming in this project, namely:

1. Supporting the consolidation of advocacy materials as well as its multisectoral allies, designing and implementing a resource mobilization campaign to sustain MAPAGPALA’s role as grassroots based environmental watchdog cum advocate for lake and lakeshore community security.

2. Follow up the strategic opportunity for developing community organization in the context of gender and aquatic resource management
To mainstream gender in the alliance, it is imperative to ensure that gender is integrated in all of its activities, programs, structures and policies. Thus, establishing separate women’s groups in the local and alliance levels structures is also necessary. The project has initiated two approaches:

The project aimed at developing learning model for MAPAGPALA leaders and COM organizers on how to apply the methods of community organizing in the context of gender given their limited resources against the enormous tasks of reaching out to more communities covered by MAPAGPALA in Laguna Lake and subsequently train leaders who can apply their learning to other communities. Two professional organizers and a trainer were assigned to implement the activities involved in the CO training module. To illustrate the process, the diagram below is presented with corresponding explanation of each step.





Women as Peacemakers


The project “Mainstreaming Gender in Conflict Resolution Mechanisms in The Peace Zones” resulted to laudable successes in terms of introducing the gender perspective to the leadership of Muslim communities in the project areas. These are considered milestones since it breaks into the well-engrained notions of patriarchy so dominant on the Muslim culture.

Concrete manifestation of appreciation of the gender perspective among the men leaders in the Muslim communities is their commitment translated into legislative actions of ensuring women’s participation in local governance, in leadership, and especially in conflict resolution mechanisms.

The women leaders positioned, however, lags in terms of embracing a gender-perspective, even compared to the men.

But with the present set-up where mostly men occupy leadership position, they are the ones who are first afforded the opportunities of attending gender sensitivity and gender-based activities. The Muslim women lag in terms of embracing a gender-perspective, so this was articulated in their recommendations.

The initiative needs to be supplemented with on the ground efforts at strengthening women’s voice in peace process and enabling women to emerge as equally capable leaders in their communities.

The grounds for gender advocacy and women empowerment in the Muslim world proved fertile. Now lies the bigger challenge of sustaining the successes and to embark on a more comprehensive development agenda for the Muslim women, in particular and the whole Muslim community, in general.

The tasks at hand for CO Multiversity, being catalysts for meaningful development in the Muslim areas, are heavy with these demands.

Struggle for water that benefited a municipality


Tubig
Uploaded by peterahon


16 February 2006

Vangie is the president of Kasiglahan Village 1 Action Group, a position she held since they were relocated in 2001. They were uprooted to a distant place in Montalban, away from their source of livelihood by the Pasig River. When they arrived the relocation site was a virtual wasteland. They were provided with just a skeletal structure of a house, devoid of the basic services of a decent community.

She considers the consummation of their long struggle on the issue of water rights as one of her biggest fulfillment as a leader. When they were relocated by the government they were told that it is impossible for them to be provided with water system. A challenge she and her members never gave up.

“I feel so much relieved since I don’t get mad anymore to prod my brothers to fetch water for the family. It had been a constant cause of irritation among us siblings. Today my brothers have more free time and not tied up here at home fetching water for our use. Good thing also they now have job” quips Vangie.

Before, she used to bathe with a single pail of water because it is expensive. The water source is also distant from their house. Today, for her morning ritual, Vangie cleans their porch with water where their dogs sleep. Vangie related, “It is a convenience for us to have water. My old and sickly mom is spared from fetching water, she just have to ensure that our containers are full by filling them from the gushing faucet.”

History of Struggle

San Jose Builders is the developer of the village. They used to supply the village with water for just only an hour. The first 30 minutes water is thrown because it is dirty and smelly, then after, the next 30 minutes the villagers get cleaner water to use only for washing and cleaning.

A water container commonly used in the community contains 5 gallons of water. It is priced at least PhP 30.00/container. When water got so expensive and commercialized some people went on building their shallow wells that became a business of non-relocatees (those who had purchased their house and lot).


Discussion with NHA

Vangie related the countless meetings with NHA and discussions with the developer. People rejected the water supply provided by San Jose builders since it is of poor quality not fit for drinking and cooking. They even made several lobby with the National Anti-Poverty Commission forcing GMA in a dialogue with them in 2002 to commit PhP 5.5 M for their water system.

Some members suggested to have shallow wells but they observed that during the season of El Nino and summer time the wells dry up so the group did not pursue and decided to have water supplied by a water company.

Vangie is proud to say that through their advocacy not only their organization but even those non-relocatees who live in the village benefited from her group’s effort. “Even the whole town gets water as well when the pipes were laid from its source passing by several places to our village”, she beamed.




When Private Firm Listened to People’s Organizations

One concern of the people was the exorbitant connection fee pegged at PhP 7,393.00. But for Vangie the real bottle neck was with NHA asking the relocates to pay 50% of their unpaid housing loan amortization since 1999. Which on an average a family or house owner should pay NHA at least PhP 5,000.00.

The National Housing Authority (NHA) of Montalban in its attempt to force relocatees to pay their housing loan made all effort in preventing the people to get water connection. They could only be given water connection if they get barangay clearance and certification from NHA. The NHA having talked with the barangay and water company required the people to comply with their mandate. This was questioned by the group asking for NHA’s policy on water connection for the relocatees which the agency could not produce.

In November 2006, Manila Water begun installing waterpipes in the village. “We know we have to pay our obligations but also it is our right to have water and NHA should not prevent us from availing that service” claimed Vangie. So the Homeowners Association (HOA) presidents of the village and other groups made a stand “Tubig muna bago bayad sa bahay” (“Water first before housing payment”). It was a consensus made by the people. A general assembly to make the people aware of the issue on water was held. Vangie was instrumental in facilitating it.

With these effort of the people and the NHA Project Office in Montalban had to offer lower amortization fees. The HOA presidents even met with Mayor________ to bring their concerns . Vangie, the only woman and being the most vocal argued in the meeting that it has been the government’s backlog of providing them water service for the last 6 years of their being relocated. She made an appeal to the mayor that because one person is not able to pay amortization all the rest of the residents gets persecuted. They asked the mayor for the policy but he can’t also produce it. Dok, one of the most active KV1 members even presented to the mayor the Urban Development Housing Act (UDHA) on the rights of the relocates, but unaware of the existence of such law. To settle the issue the Mayor asked them to just pay NHA a minimum PhP 1,000.00. Vangie related that one of the HOA presidents gave up on their consensus, but she remained steadfast with the agreement they made to the people. Nothing came out of the meeting.

“If electricity could be pilfered using a jumper, how much more with water that is easy and not as dangerous to tap”, was the threat of the people. This was the message brought by the people to the main office of Manila Water when they were told that only those who applied and paid NHA will be given water. The people reasoned out that if they will provide water service and in the situation were people could not pay they can always cut their service. But with NHA, housing is fixed through the period of time, and their service won’t be cut and removed. The people wanted for Manila Water to understand that not all them are with permanent employment. But since they live there they will definitely not run from their obligations.

By December, Manila Water applicants were only 400 mostly private homeowners or non-relocatees which is not the bulk of residents of the village totaling to more than 10,000. But at the end it was through the constant lobby lead by Vangie and Dok that prevailed. “On my part it is so unfair that these people who are not even members of our organizations would complain to me why water is not yet available to think they didn’t even contribute a single centavo at the least to our expenses, or their time and effort as the case maybe. It is distressing.”, complained by Vangie.





Manila Water approached the organization to provide a masterlist of the villagers. They were asked to recruit 100 people to apply but KVI Action Group was able to send hundred plus of people that same day they asked them to have people apply for water connection with a no connection fee.

The next day a mob of residents went to Manila Waters then based and hosted at the compound of NHA. The NHA prevented the people from getting in their compound and apply for water connection. This cause more anger to NHA. Manila Water made an agreement to the villagers that application would be collected from the presidents of the HOA. But there were some problems in compliance since some of the HOA presidents were not fast enough to inform their residents and come-up with a masterlist.

Once again the requirement to get certification from NHA was invoked. Also, most people were not able to pay the PhP1,000.00 water connection fee, which was reduced to PhP600.00, still not so many people were willing to pay the amount, until finally it was reduced to PhP 300.00 only then the application peaked once again. Before the connection fee is one year to pay, but today it is three years to pay which is equivalent to the total amount of PhP 7,392.00.00. But Manila Water seems not able to provide residents with water meter base a necessary equipment for them to avail water service.

Water was available to most of the residents by Dec 16, a most welcome Christmast gift for the people to see the initial flow of water on their streets. By January 2007, connections even inside the house were available.
The water supply is plentiful at its designated time from 9 AM to 3 PM.

“CO Multiversity provided us with a lot of help. The organization is always available for help and assistance in all the dialogues especially with the Manila Water. It provided us support in strategizing and tacticizing.
On the personal level it is CO Multiversity that developed my self confidence and become a whole-person. Today, I can talk face to face and explain my position even a high ranking official. I now have a very strong confidence to voice out my opinions and ideas. I am also honing my skills at negotiations and quickly think of strategies” enthuse Vangie.

Peacebuilding Project – Enhancing the Role of Women in Community-Based Conflict Resolutions

Objectives of the Project:

This peacebuilding project was aimed to integrate the important role of women in the conflict resolution mechanisms of the peace zones. Specifically, after a four-month timeframe, the project was expected to enable 10 key staff of CO Multiversity, 14 people organization leader-representatives, and 20 women leaders to increase gender awareness and install women in the peace mechanisms in each of the six peace zones, namely,

a) Brgy Makir, Datu, Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao
b) Brgy Bayanga Norte, Matanog, Maguindanao
c) Brgy Mataya, Buldon, Maguindanao
d) Sitio Cagarawan, Tugaig, Barira, Maguindanao
e) Brgy Daguan, Kaptagan, Lanao del Sur and
f) Brgy Chua, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat

Through research utilizing Focus Group Discussion (FGD), gender-related literature, gender-sensitivity training and forum the project had intended to:

1) describe the situation and role of women in conflict situations and resolutions;
2) discuss the cultural and historical factors which have contributed to the situation of women;
3) share practical tools in gender analysis from existing models and frameworks; and
4) plan for the integration of women I conflict resolution mechanisms in the localities.

The strategies employed in implementing the project included research on gender-related literature and conduct of Focus Group Discussion (FGD), gender consciousness raising at the level of the CO Multiversity staff, people’s organizations, and the Local Government Units (LGUs), and followed with application of the gender framework particularly ensuring legislative support for inclusion of women at the peace zone peace mechanisms.

The end output of this study is an attempt to identify the gaps of women participation in governance specifically with focus on conflict resolution mechanisms, increased gender sensitivity, and usher the leaders in mainstreaming gender at the local level, barangay and municipal units of government of the above mentioned peace zones. The Community Organizers’ Multiversity in collaboration with the Sindaw Ko Kalilintad, the alliance of peace advocates comprising of people’s organization from the peace zones and LGUs (Local Government Units) assisted the communities in mainstreaming gender in the peace mechanisms.


II. Highlights of Accomplishments

A. Research

An important component of the project is the research on gender related literature the situation of women in the peace zones through a Focus Group Discussions.


1) Review of Related Literature

Prior to any mainstreaming activity, COM gathered facts, information and related studies about gender from literatures in order to have an overview of the global and national situation of women. Relevant facts about women that has bearing on the project were gathered and considered in the process of intervention. These facts pertain to the following gender aspects: health, labor force, politics, violence, pro-women legislations and involvement in conflict resolutions.

In conclusion to the related facts, women in the global and national scene remain behind compared to men in almost all aspects of life – economic, social and political despite the pro-women programs and women in development initiatives.

There is also scarcity of women engaged in promoting culturally sensitive gender orientation in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where the peace zones are located. There is an existing Bangsamoro Women Organization but the emphasis is more on culture, religion, and economic concerns.

2) Situation of Women in the Peace Zones as a Result of FGD

In determining the situation of women in the peace zones, 30 women leaders were gathered in a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) at the El Marco Hotel in Cotabato City last April 4, 2006. The FGD enabled the women participants to understand better gender as well as how they have been actively involved in resolving local conflicts such as family feuds and even in times of war. Women usually act as mediator in conflicts. In the peace zones, they are active peace advocates. The FGD found out that despite this, there are no women in formal conflict resolution mechanisms like the barangay justice system and in the council of elders.

The FGD disclosed the women presence in the formal governance structure of the peace zones, it is apparent that women are not look up as leaders. In the peace zones where seven people’s organizations of peace advocates exists, there were 53 women leaders an approximately 30 % of the total leadership if each organization had 22 elected leaders. It also affirms the OneWomen study on women’s rights in the Philippines that women have been actively involved in nation-building but in other venues like civil society organization and other social movements.

The impacts of war as enumerated by the women in FGD had been dreadful especially to women. They had experienced conflict at various levels and types such as clan-based violence and war. They do not want conflict to occur anymore so as much as possible they tend to mediate or take action to prevent conflict amongst clan, families, and residents in the peace zones.

There are women attributes, hardly possessed by men that make them effective even in informal mediation approaches such as calmness and a deeper sense of understanding.


3) Cultural and Historical factors affecting women participation in conflict resolution mechanisms:

The low women participation in the formal conflict resolution mechanisms can be accounted to two factors, the cultural aspect and history.

The Muslims who adhere to Islamism teaches that as long as there are men, women are not to rule or govern. That is why most of Muslim women in politics hold only secondary positions. However, there is a woman who showed a difference. In Lanao del Sur, the Mayor of Kapatagan is a woman. She is believed to be intelligent, brave, and responsible. Hence, this paper affirms that religion can not be a hindrance to women empowerment only that there is a need to break the belief. For the Muslims, Islam embraces culture and religion.

Historical events such as war made women bound to caring for children at the evacuation centers and most of all for survival.

Another factor that hinders women participation in governance is the lack of highly literate and courageous woman in the community. Having grown in a culture that treats women as secondary to men, most of the women in the peace zones are aloof and so embarrassed to talk except for a few who have been exposed, educated, and experienced.


B. Consciousness Raising

A Gender Sensitivity Training (GST) and Forum on Mainstreaming Gender at the Local Peace Mechanims was held in Davao City last June 13-15, 2006. This was participated in by council members from the LGUs, members of the council of elders and barangay justice (Lupon), officers of people organizations, and women leaders of the six peace zones.

The two-day GST and Forum was aimed to increase gender sensitivity among LGU officials, People’s Organization leaders and Women Sectors of the Peace Zones in order to eventually mainstream gender in local governance particularly in the conflict resolution mechanisms. Specifically, the training enabled the participants to:

1) articulate their own awareness and understanding on the basic gender concepts and issues and Islam concepts on gender;
2) discuss the situation and issues of women based in the peace zones;
3) appreciate the vital role of women in governance particularly in resolving conflicts;
4) explain the different approaches, framework and tools for gender and development;
5) develop an LGU-PO collaborative plan in mainstreaming gender in the peace zones.

In this activity, the result of the FGD with women was shared to the group which received affirmation that women’s role is significant in attaining peace yet they were not recognized in the formal government structures. The cultural and historical factors contributing to the situation of women were thoroughly deliberated in the forum since most of the participants are learned individuals in terms of Islam and the cultural aspect.

It was affirmed in the Gender Mainstreaming Forum that the cultural and religious beliefs affected women participation in governance. With humility, some participants accepted their indifferent treatment to women in all aspects. The councilman of Matanog expressed how he had been cruel to women all his life. The members of the bodies that resolved conflicts, Ulama Council, also realized that they cannot tackle all types of conflict without the women.

Upon the adoption of the Gender and Development (GAD) Framework, the GST and forum ended with a mainstreaming action plan which assured legislative action for women to become a permanent member of the local peace mechanisms in the peace zones.

C. Community-Level Gender Mainstreaming

By community-based application, this means that the peace zone leaders adopted the Gender and Development Framework (please refer to figure 1) and hence provided a friendly environment for women participation at the barangay and municipal level. In particular, the 6 peace zones differ in their application considering the unique situation of the localities regarding governance or administration.

COM’s advocacy continued at the local level. The Technical Officer attended Sangguniang Pambarangay (Barangay Council) sessions, Council of Elders’ Meetings, and in people organizations’ board meetings. The advocacy had been successful so far though the implementation pace differs. Table 5 below shows how the peace zones install a gender-sensitive peace mechanism and the constraints they identified.





The qualities of the women to be appointed member of the peace councils were deliberated in the process of approving the resolution though they were spelled out in the document. Women who are learned, experienced, mature, and respected in the community are candidates to the appointments.

The outcome listed in Table 1 had gone through processes which are unique from each locality. The gender mainstreaming processes undertaken are seen relevant and worth sharing thus, a case study is packaged as addendum to this report.

III. Problems Encountered

 So far, there was no significant problem encountered in implementing the project except of the major considerations by the Barangay LGU on financial implications. The LGU is obliged to provide an honorarium for members of the Barangay Lupon or the Council of Elders, Municipal Committees, and similar bodies. Aside from this, most of those in the committee are there by appointment of the chief executive. Hence, requesting such additional seat for women is seen as a burden to the LGU.

 In the peace zones, most women have been active at the people’s organization level. Women participation especially in decision making in governance is seen as weak at the moment.

 The women’s groups that exist mostly were organized with an economic drive which is a basic need. Hence, there is a need to widen their horizons and increase their capabilities in order to gain courage to participate in formal governance structures.

IV. Recommendations

The gender inclusion legislations/policy would be of no significance unless the following recommendations will be pushed through:

 Strengthening of women organizations in the peace zones through capacity building is necessary with the aim of responding to the women needs and aspirations towards participation in governance.
 Support women inclusion in the peace mechanisms Information Education Campaign (IEC) like highlighting women achievements as they are involved in resolving conflicts and exemplary practices in governance.
 Coaching the women who are involved in governance and in the peace mechanisms to make them effective in leadership and decision-making.
 The Gender and Development (GAD) Framework must be consciously implemented in order to effect a gender-sensitive governance in the peace zones.

V. Lessons Learned

 In advocating for gender equality, it should be underscored that partnership is the end goal of the initiative rather than empowering women to overpower men.

 If men are given the due respect, empowering women would not be taken as a threat to them but rather a support to their endeavors.

 Financial support that was seen as constraint to the application of gender-sensitive policies can be remedied by advocating both at the local legislative and executive levels.

Part 3 - Needs and Recommendations in Mainstreaming Gender in Peace Zone Conflict

Needs and Recommendations in Mainstreaming Gender in Peace Zone Conflict
Resolution Mechanisms

􀂃 To conduct more Gender Sensitivity Fora with
peace zone stakeholders – LGU, traditional &
religious leaders, PO, and women leaders.
􀂃 Establishing and strengthening of women
organizations in the peace zones through capacity
building.
􀂃 The Gender and Development (GAD) Framework
must be consciously implemented in order to
effect a gender-sensitive governance in the
peace zones.
􀂃 Adopt the GAD Gender Continuum as shown in
Figure 1.1
􀂃 Support women inclusion in the peace
mechanisms Information Education Campaign
(IEC) like highlighting women achievements as
they are involved in resolving conflicts and
exemplary practices in governance.
􀂃 Coaching the women who are involved in
governance and in the peace mechanisms to
make them effective in leadership and decisionmaking.
􀂃 Effect policy inclusion of gender in PO
constitution and bylaws or through resolutions at
the LGU level.
􀂃 Increase community awareness on gender using
culture-sensitive forms of IEC and advocacy.


Concluding Remarks

The four-month project “Mainstreaming Gender in
Conflict Resolution Mechanisms in The Peace Zones”
resulted to laudable successes in terms of introducing
the gender perspective to the leadership of Muslim
communities in the project areas. These successes are
considered milestones since it successfully breaks into
the well-engrained notions of patriarchy so dominant on
the Muslim culture. When the project ended, the most
concrete manifestation of appreciation of the genderperspective
among the men leaders in the Muslim
communities is their commitment translated into
legislative actions of ensuring women’s participation in
local governance, in leadership, and especially in
conflict resolution mechanisms. The women leaders
positioned, however, lags in terms of embracing a
gender-perspective, even compared to the men. Since
most of those who occupy leadership position at present
are men, they are the ones who are first afforded the
opportunities of attending gender sensitivity and
gender-based activities. The Muslim women’s turn is
still a backlog at this time. This is another needed
breakthrough that COM faces, thus the articulation in
their recommendations.

At the Mindanao level, the Mindanao Commission on
Women, composed of women who are in politics, was
organized in 2002. It aimed to lobby for women’s
participation in the MILF-GRP peace talks. This initiative
needs to be supplemented with on the ground efforts at
strengthening women’s voice in peace process and
enabling women to emerge as equally capable leaders in
their communities.

The tasks at hand of the COM, being catalysts for
meaningful development in the Muslim areas, are heavy
with these demands. The four-month has tested the
grounds for gender in the Muslim world and the grounds
proved fertile. Now lies the bigger challenge of
sustaining the successes and to embark on a more
comprehensive development agenda for the Muslim
women, in particular and the whole Muslim community,
in general.

Part 2 - Gender Issues in Peace Building




Community Level Gender Mainstreaming

COM’s work in the Muslim communities for the last five years employs community organizing approach that is issue-based. Communities’ response was an affirmation of the effectivity of such approach, in the sense that the community itself identifies their own problems and brainstorm on possible solutions. Community organizers acted as facilitators and intervened only in terms of capacity building of community leader, both traditional and elected.Though project areas are at the barangay level, the municipal LGUs were regularly informed and invited to gatherings where project concerns are discussed. Also, LGU officials in both barangay and municipal levels
were invited to attend consciousness-raising activities, like the Culture of Peace.


Table 7. Women’s Attributes: Cultural and Historical Factors Influencing Women’s role in Conflict Resolution

1) Family Feuds Usually mediates between two disputing parties Women are expected to be calm and patient in tackling issues; women being highly respected by tradition should not be hurt
2) Political Rivalry Sometimes mediates and Negotiates Women remain neutral in between two conflicting parties and not prone to suspicion.
3) Land Conflict Sometimes serves as witness of the incident or cases
Women is knowledgeable about land areas, ownership and ownership
4) Inheritance Gives information and advises; mediates Women are more understanding than men and are more careful and kind to approach on settling conflicts.
5) “Duaya” or man marrying more than one woman
A strong woman can defend one’s right as a wife Islamism allows a man to
enjoy up to 4th marriage engagements
6) Political Campaign Acts as a campaign manager of a political leader/party A woman has tongue to influence individuals.

After some 3-4 years of community activities focused on problems identified by the PO, COM decided to
integrate the Gender and Development GAD Framework.

The Gender- Sensitivity Sessions proved to be useful and instrumental in introducing the Gender perspective to the Muslim leaders. It provided them venues to discuss and to reflect how women have been treated in their culture purportedly by following Islamic tenets. It also became the venue where they realized and accepted how women are affected as a consequence.

In the same sessions, after long deliberation, they appreciated the Gender and Development Framework.
To prove, they approved in principle that they will work for the mainstreaming of women participation in municipal and barangay affairs.

COM’s advocacy continued to the local level. The Technical Officer attended Sangguniang Pambarangay
(Barangay Council) sessions, Council of Elders’ Meetings, and in people organizations’ board meetings.
Common in every session are exchanges and sharings of realizations and affirmations of how important and indispensable the roles of women are.



The advocacy of COM had been successful so far though the implementation process and paces differ from area to area. Cases of Barira and Kapatagan are presented below whose experiences in local governance put to test the purportedly Islamic tenet of prohibiting women to occupy positions of power or leadership.


Case 1: Barira Experience
No Women in Politics: Islamic or Political?

Historically, legends tell that the municipality of Barira
got its name from a woman’s weaving tool, “barira”.
During a flashflood, the tool was carried away by the
torrential currents of water. Before the area became a
municipality, it was ruled by a woman. Hence, women
played significant place in the history of the
municipality. However, the present municipal
leadership seems to deviate from this historical account
of the place. As told, he is just following Islamic tenet.
When incumbent Mayor Alexander Tomawis took office,
he called to his office the two elected women to the
municipal council and told them he does not want any
women in the council or in any elected position in the
local government. He terminated the two elected
women and replaced them with his two appointed men.
The basis was purportedly Islamic – women are not
allowed to assume positions of power. The two women
did not show any signs of protest, nor the other
members of the council or anybody in the municipality.
All seemed to uphold the Mayor’s decision and action,
on the belief that he is just doing what is an Islamic
practice.
During the Gender-Sensitivity Session, Hadji Oranto
reflected and shared this experience to the group:
“ I am in a hot water with the gender issue in my LGU…
You know I was awarded the ‘Most Outstanding Peace
Advocate of Year’… There where actually two elected
women councilors in Barira. The mayor called these
women and told them he does not watn a woman in the
SB on in any elected lower position in the local
government. No one questioned it because that’s the
order of the mayor. I received several feedbacks and
questions. Is the Mayor’s administration a dictatorship
or what? But I replied that’s not the case. Now there’s
an apprehension that the Mayor is pushing for his
wife’s mayorship in Buldon. That’s exactly contrary to
his management in Barira. So I have been
contemplating. Maybe I have to leave this LGU. Your
comments to this forum will surely help me think
through these things seriously. I would appreciate if a
gender forum will be held in Barira inviting the Mayor’s
presence.”
In a regular Barira Ulama Council meeting last July 24,
2006, a gender-based perspective of development was
advocated to them. The religious and traditional
leaders appreciated the women empowerment
initiative. They also affirmed that women’s
involvement in resolving community conflicts is very
helpful. They welcomed the women to the council.
However, since their appointment to the council is a
prerogative of the Mayor, they suggested to first refer
the matter to the chief executive. The latter, when
consulted declared that he already had on desk plans to
appoint a woman member to the Ulama Council. He
envisioned of a knowledgeable woman, experienced,
mature and highly respected by the community to
become a member of the Barira Ulama Council. The said
appointment shall take place as soon as requirements
are ready and proper orientation must be ensured.
However, there are some apprehensions on this move.
As articulated by one official of the municipality, the
Mayor is actually pushing for his wife’s mayorship in
Buldon, the adjacent municipality. So, the community
wondered what really is the Islamic teaching regarding
women’s involvement in politics?
While this was happening at the municipal level,
initiatives at the grassroot level was also brewing.
The Cagarawan Tugaig Farmers’ Organization (CFTOI)
was organized by the COM previous project and was
able to tap other sources to help put up their consumer
store in Barira. Unsurprisingly, the officers of the
organization is mostly men, while women occupy
positions which are extension of the household – that is
managing their coop store, selling the goods and the
safe-keeping of the organization’s money, a Treasurer.
The 9-member Board of Directors, the policy-making
body of the organization are all men.
After attending the gender sensitivity fora and
workshops facilitated by COM, the PO leaders did not
have a hard time admitting the sensibility of the GAD
framework. They are already fully aware of women’s
active role in the organization. The success of their
consumer cooperative store is attributed to the
undaunting efforts and efficiency of the women who
manage and run the store. Even in meetings, women
are as active as the men in voicing ideas and opinions.
As a concrete move that they uphold GAD and embrace
such as a developmental perspective, they approved in
principle that at the BOD, there should have at least 30
% women members. They are now preparing to
formalize this resolution which needs a General
Assembly endorsement. But they are very sure, there
will be no problem with the GA.


Case 2: The Case of Kapatagan
Being a Woman does not mean Gendered
Having a woman leader does not mean she will
automatically espouse gender-based development
agenda, even to assure that women will be given equal
opportunities with men in positions of leadership.
Unless the leader, either man or a woman, has critical
views on the historically-evolved man-woman roles in
the broader context of societal processes, and he/she
appreciates the alternative framework for development,
that is GAD, and then he or she will likely continue the
tradition of making women subordinate, marginalized
and unrecognized in broader social processes. This is
the experience of Kapatagan.
The Mayor of Kapatagan is a woman and she was
elected because there was no man capable or more able
than her to assume the position. As a Mayor, she has
the mandate to appoint 15 members to a Municipal
Committee, which takes charge of settling conflicts in
the municipality. Surprisingly or expectedly, there was
no single woman appointed. At present, there is a
woman sitting but this is accidental since her husband,
who was the member, died and she assumed the
position. The wife who assumed her husband’s role
and the mayoralty of the now-Mayor are both cases of
unintended women participation in leadership and
governance. This is purportedly Islamic – women will
come only when there are no capable men.
This became an interesting discussion during the Gender
Sensitivity session with Ulama Council members. They
realized such situation and have reflected on them.
They also appreciated the Gender-based framework of
development. As a result, they articulated a plan to
put women in the Ulama Council.
Gender advocacy with Ulama Council of Kapatagan, Lanao del Sur
In a meeting last August 4, 2006, the Kapatagan Ulama
Council en banc acted to pass a resolution to the
Sangguniang Bayan requesting for at least two women
representative to the Municipal Committee coming from
the Ulama council. The Ulamas who worked for the
enactment of the said resolution are all male, and they
have attended the COM’s gender-sensitivity workshop.
Gewa T. Bagnas, Sultan of Kapatagan & SB Member:
“As a Muslim traditional leader, I wish our women be given equal opportunities to
assume leadership positions because I know very well they can do a lot. Mayor Rayda
Bansil-Manlangit is an example. Women’s role is utmostly needed – from the
household to the community. I admit that there are women who are more capable,
more intelligent, than men. That is why we should support the move to put them in
positions of governance, more so in conflict resolution mechanisms. There are things
which we men cannot respond and handle as effectively and as skillfully as women
can in an investigation process. More so, women are more adept in ironing out the
qualms and quirks of our Muslim brothers.“
At the same time, at the grassroots level, the male
leaders of Illana Daguan Benito Malinday Farmers’
Association (IDBM) who have attended the gendersensitivity
workshop approved in principle the idea of
allocating women in the Board of Directors. They
assured that they will work it out in the next General
Assembly which is the policy making body of the
association.
IDBM is also a brainchild of COM’s community organizing
work. For more than two years, it partners with COM on
implementing community projects the community itself
identified. For both bodies, it is welcome to discuss
anything for the development of the community, and to
brainstorm on new ideas. The GAD framework was
objectively discussed, and there was no strong reaction
on mainstreaming women’s participation in leadership
of the organization.
Mainstreaming Gender in Conflict Resolution
Mechanisms
COM has worked with the POs for some two years
already. It has facilitated the formation of Peoples
Organizations in the project areas and strengthened the
existing ones. COM enhanced their capabilities by
providing trainings on leadership, community
development, culture of peace and conflict resolution.
In the process, COM and the PO have become partners
in implementing much-needed community projects.
From the side of the community and PO, COM has
already established credibility and legitimacy in their
role as their mentor, facilitator and partner in
development. In like manner, to the COM community
organizers, they already have established rapport with
the communities, have identified credible and
dependable leaders and have attained some level of
understanding on how the community people can be
effectively mobilized for their own development.
Thus, mainstreaming gender in local peace mechanisms
presents lesser hardship in the sense that COM
organizers and PO leaders and the community in general
has reached a level of partnership wherein they can
discuss matters that pertains to the betterment of their
communities. Below are different approaches of
mainstreaming gender in peace at the barangay level.
COM Project Coordinator, Bing Constantino giving
input in Gender Sensitivity Training

Case 3: Case of Bayanga Norte
Women Participation in Peace Leadership
Realizing that the PO is already a significant player in
community development, COM did not go directly to the
LGU-barangay but mobilized the PO to this effect.
Since the municipality has no Council of Elders to attend
to local conflict settlement, the role of the Lupon
(Barangay Jsutice) is very crucial because in its hands
lies all the responsibilities of settling disputes and
conflict in the community.
Having attended gender-sensitivity session, it was not
difficult for the officers to steer the association for a
gender-responsive action. The Iranun Farmers’
Association of Bayanga Norte (IFABN), passed a
resolution requesting the barangay council of Bayanga
Norte to appoint at least three women representatives
to the barangay justice.
Likewise, it was not difficult for the barangay council to
yield to the POs request. The barangay chairman and
few others have attended the gender-sensitivity
activities of the COM. In a regular session held last
August 1, 2006, the Sangguniang Pambarangay approved
the resolution for immediate implementation that three
women should become members of the Barangay Lupon.
In addition, the barangay council mandated the IFABN,
being the most active and credible PO in the barangay,
to recommend the women representatives. As a
response, IFABN assured they will select educated,
active and committed members of the association who
have already provided track record in active community
engagement.

Case 4: Case of Makir
Assuring Women’s Role in In Peace Building
A Council of Elders exists in the municipality of Makir.
However, there are no women members. The PO
(Samahan ng Maralitang Mamamayan ng Makir) (SMMMI),
which COM has facilitated to be organized, informally
initiated to request the Barangay Council to draft a
resolution that there shall be 3 seats for women in the
Lupon (Council). This paved the way for the crafting of
a Barangay Ordinance enacting a local Women
Empowerment Act. This act stipulates that 40 percent
(40%) of the seats of the Barangay Lupon shall be
allocated for women. Moreover, also the Council of
Elders itself applied this resolution to their
organization.
Instantly women were appointed as members to the
Barangay Justice and at the Council of Elders. The
criteria for choosing the representatives were based on
availability and maturity. Active and committed women
members of the SMMMI were on top of the list of
possible women aspirants.
Furthermore, the barangay government also committed
to extend to the new women members the benefits
Lupon receives, such as monthly allowance taken from
the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of the barangay.
At the same time, the people’s organization, Samahan
ng Maralitang Mamamayan ng Makir (SMMMI), also
adopted in principle the same policy. They are waiting
to formalize the decision in the general assembly in
order to make constitutional amendments.

Reflections and Recommendations
Gender and Islam
Many of the cultural practices in the Muslim
communities which prohibit or restrict women’s
participation in the mainstream society have become
unquestionably Islamic, even to the Muslim leaders.
The cognitive assumption that they are Islamic leaves
little room or no room at all for critical analysis on how
these practices are impacting their women and their
society. However, there is a growing critical mass
among the Muslim populace, especially those who have
attended gender sensitivity sessions provided by
development programs. And there are already
numerable inroads to implementing gender-responsive
programs that addresses women’s subordination,
women’s exploitation and invisibility.
The peace zone communities already have a certain
grasp of gender but this was not fully understood. The
Kapatagan woman expressing appreciation for the initiative
towards gender balance.
advocacy done by COM with the support of the people
organizations under the Sindaw Ko Kalilintad alliance of
peace advocates received positive responses at the
barangay and municipal levels. The gender initiative
was considered significant in the peace zones where
conflict particularly rido (clan violence) is prevalent.
At the project level, gender-based interventions
focused on the increase of women’s participation in
conflict resolution as well as community leadership.
This is already a milestone in Muslim community
development. However, the bigger challenge of
formulating a gender-responsive development agenda
lies ahead.
Thus, in tandem with increasing women’s participation
in local conflict resolution, it would be more meaningful
that the project will now embark on gender-based
community development program. Doing such, it is
envisioned that the community will now engage in
proactive moves that will deal with the basic problems
of men and women in the respective areas. Examples of
these proactive programs are community health (ie
primary health care) and community food security.

GENDERED CONCERNS IN THE QUEST FOR PEACE: Experiences in the Peace Zones





COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS MULTIVERSITY
Davao City
August 2006

Introduction

For the last 4 years, the CO Multiversity has been engaged in working for peace and development in select municipalities of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur using community-based approaches.

While there are visible successes in terms of strengthening peace mechanisms for local conflict resolutions and enhancing the capacities of Local
Government Units and People’s Organizations in managing community development, there is a glaring lack of gender-responsive strategies and outputs in these programs.

However, this lack of gender-based approach by the CO Multiversity is considered a strategy for effective community organizing especially in these Muslim areas. It is fully aware that patriarchal tradition is more enmeshed in the Muslim’s culture and institutions compared to the majority Christian. Thus, handling gender as a crucial component of peace and development demands full caution and cultural sensitivity and thus comes later in the process of community organizing.

By mid 2006, with support from Trocaire, CO Multiversity crossed
the bounds by embarking on a 4-month project “Mainstreaming Gender in Conflict Resolution Mechanisms in The Peace Zones”. Gender-sensitivity sessions, workshops and fora, have been conducted attended by LGU officials, from municipality to barangay, as well as leaders of POs and traditional
leaders from the 7 project areas. In these venues, participants share, reflect and did some introspection as they hear and listen to discussions on Gender.

Admittedly, this gender-based paradigm provided them a different way of looking at human relationship, posing questions and challenges on their own understanding and assumptions of a historically evolved tradition.


Situation of Women in the Peace Zones
The focused group discussions and gender-sensitivity workshops have provided venues for PO leaders and LGU officers, men and the very few women alike, to once again discuss openly and objectively their community and family lives, giving emphasis on the roles women
have played and the roles they have assumed.

The process elicited voluntary reflections and sharing of reflective realizations from the participants on how they felt about such practices and traditions. Some excerpts below:

Sangguniang Member of Matanog: “I realized that what I’ve been doing for a long time is a big mistake.”

Hadji Quirino Oranto, Sindaw Alliance President:
“You’re right Kagawad. I also have that same realization long time ago but I just don’t how to address it. Now is the time thus this forum is very significant to me.”
Alim of Matanog:”I accept that we men have done a mistake and it is what Islam is teaching. Islam condemns oppression of wives or women in general. Doing such is punishable by Allah. In Islam, the men are responsible for women.”

Ustadja: “… the woman may go learn, teach, work, etc, as long as with the husband’s consent. The family is a
woman’s priority because it is believed that she cannot enter heaven if her family has been neglected.”

Salik D. Alim, a
Sangguniang Member of
Matanog, Maguindanao
admitting mistakes done to their women.


Table 1. Roles women play in the community
1. Acts as negotiator or mediator over a dispute or times of controversy and war
2. Maintains peace in the community
3. Promotes better living in the community
4. Promotes peace initiatives in her own community and even with neighboring communities
5. Engages in livelihood promotion or
productivity
6. Leads the community in governance or in
political affairs
7. Serves as police officer
8. Serves or leads in spiritual affairs of the community
9. Performs occupational tasks such as doctors, engineers, administrators, organizers, etc.
10. Performs any task that a man does
11. Participates in decision-making for amicable settlement over disputes
12. Joins in worthwhile competitions/contests such as Koranic reading, cultural presentations, etc.
13. Earns for a living
14. Acts as adviser to individuals, families or groups
15. A pacifier
16. A peace advocate
17. A facilitator
18. Volunteers for disaster response team





Table 3. Problems/Issues of Women in the Peace Zones
1. Lack of infrastructures such as social
halls, health centers, etc.
2. Lack of livelihood opportunities
3. Lack of support to women activities
from the government
4. Lack of men’s support to women’s
welfare
5. Lack of unity among women
6. Most women dwell in poverty
7. Financial problems often beset women
8. Non-resolution of some big family feuds

Table 4. Community Activities where women’s participation is a must
1. Practically, in all community affairs
2. Medical missions
3. Teachings on values and spiritual upliftment
4. Formation of organizations
5. During Kanduli or cultural celebrations
6. Peace for a, symposia, trainings, seminars
& meetings
7. Bangsamoro assemblies
8. Quranic Reading Competition



Women Participation in Conflict Resolution

Table 5 below presents the series of conflict eruptions in Mindanao which each of the seven barangays in the study have undergone. These conflict eruptions date back to the 70s which most participants identify as a watershed of Mindanao history. These conflicts leave indelible imprints on the lives of women as they witness
or experience the horror of war and its concomitant component of human indignity.

In peace or in conflict, women play important roles.

Table 5. Women Participation in Conflict Resolution

1) Family Feuds Usually mediates between the disputing parties
2) Political Rivalry Sometimes mediates and negotiates
3) Land Conflict Sometimes serves as witness of the incident or cases
4) Inheritance Gives information and advises; mediates
5) “Duaya” or man marrying more than one woman - A strong woman can defend one’s right as a wife
6) Political Campaign Acts as a campaign manager of a political leader/party


Table 6 enumerates the roles women assume in conflict resolutions as discussed by the participants.

Organizing and Capacity Building for Laguna Lakeshore Communities towards Lake and Human Security

Lakeshore women give high priority to basic needs such as health services, water, education and livelihood when consulted during planning of development initiatives. COM recognizes that lack of, or limited access to, essential services is a major obstacle to women’s advancement because it prevents them from participating in the mainstream of economic development and community life. Addressing these issues enables women to gain self-confidence and participate in transforming gender relations. However, the challenge remains to increase women’s role as decision-makers in community affairs and local institutions, a necessary step towards improving political representation and women’s empowerment.

Community organizing is a means in raising awareness about gender issues. We know, however, that in the communities where we are assigned, gender issues are not necessarily shared, and often are not even known. That puts a burden of responsibility onto the community organizer to make gender popular and understood as part of the people’s empowerment process.

The project contributed significantly to improving women's involvement in public life and accessing resources to respond to there identify needs, which at this moment is more focused on health. Given the clear correlation between empowerment, poverty, and gender on the one hand and the key role that MAPAGPALA alliance play in the protection and preservation of the lake and its environs on the other, the need for greater participation by women, firs of all, in their male dominated alliance, is evident. Formation and strengthening of women community organizations gave equal opportunities for women's membership and representation and they were encouraged to assume leadership functions in the alliance. Women structures, which are also apparent in the community level subsequently, provided more avenues for women to participate in the local government affairs such as the inclusion of more pro-women programs and policies in the development plans.


This project assured that women were capable of participating in setting up, operating and managing small-scale community projects. Initially, fifteen local women’s groups have established Botika- Binhi as a hub for more health-related programs in the future. They learn how to deal and engage their local officials, which made remarkable contribution to bring the LGUs and the communities to work together to improve health services for the people. This experience serves as an exercise to cooperation for other issues and concerns that would probably crop up in the near future.

In summary, the project moved one step forward in advancing women’s capacity to participate effectively by establishing the appropriate women’s structures (organizations) in the community and the alliance. It provided the backbone for women to work into deeper issues of women and not to limit their interests on typical community issues but to take definite actions against other unconventional forms of violence against women. It also contributed to widening their networks and setting up linkages for more active support on their cause.

Monday, September 01, 2008

UNAHIN ANG KAPAKANAN NG MAMAMAYAN, ITIGIL ANG UMIIGTING NA DIGMAAN!

SA MGA KASAMA, KAPATID AT KAIBIGAN NA NANINIWALA SA KAPAYAPAAN,

KALAKIP NITO ANG PANAWAGAN NG MGA PEDERASYON AT SAMAHAN NG MAMAMAYAN SA LALAWIGAN NG MAGUINDANAO AT SHIARIFF KABUNSUAN NA KASALUKUYANG NASA GITNA NG PAPAIGTING NA LABANAN SA PAGITAN NG MILF AT GRP.

LUMAGDA AT SUMAMA SA KAMPANYA PARA SA KAPAYAPAAN.


KUNG MAY MGA TANONG, PAGLILINAW, TULONG, SUPORTA AY MAKIPAG-UGNAYAN LAMANG SA MGA SUMUSUNOD:
• Mokalidin Kido - Chairperson, Maguindanao Ad-Hoc CSO Federation and President of Pandag Federation of CSO, 0926-320-6861
• Hadji Quirino Oranto - Vice-Chairperson, Maguindanao Ad-Hoc CSO Federation and President of Barira CSO Federation, 0919-779-3835
• Moslemin Abas - Community Organizer, Community Organizers Multiversity, 0919-449-5602
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UNAHIN ANG KAPAKANAN NG MAMAMAYAN,
ITIGIL ANG UMIIGTING NA DIGMAAN!
LUNGSOD NG COTABATO, AGOSTO 21, 2008

Higit 100,000 pamilya ang kabi-kabilang itinataboy ngayon sa mga ‘evacuation centers’ at milyong mamamayang Moro at Kristiyano ang naiipit sa umiigting na digmaan sa pagitan ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front at Tropa ng Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas. Milyong halaga na ng kabuhayan ang nasira, mga ari-arian na nasunog, mga batang tumigil sa pag-aaral, mga proyekyong-pangkaun laran na nawalang saysay, mga buhay na puno ng takot at agam-agam. Ito at marami pang iba na mukha ng digmaan na naranasan namin noong All-out-war 2000, Pikit-War 2003 at hanggang sa kasalukuyan.

ITIGIL NA ANG DIGMAAN. Ilang araw nang balot sa pangamba ang mga mamamayan ng Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan at kabuuan ng Mindanao mula sa sunod-sunod na palitan ng mga putok at iringan sa pagitan ng magkabilang panig. Simula sa unang bakbakan nuong Agosto 09, 2008 sa Pikit, Aleosan, Pigkawayan at Midsayap sa North Cotabato, hanggang sa Lamitan, Tipo-Tipo sa Basilan, Kauswagan, Kulambugan, Linamon, Maigo sa Lanao del Norte, sa Maasim Saranggani, at hanggang ngayon sa Shariff Aguak Maguindanao at Kabuntalan Shariff Kabunsuan. At gayundin sa marami pang karatig pook at barangay na naaabot ng mga putok at pagsabog mula Maguindanao, North Cotabato hanggang Zamboanga at Iligan City.

Mga pangyayari na maaaring mauwi sa mas matinding panganib, magdulot ng maraming pagkasira ng kabuhayan at kinabukasan, mga buhay na mawawala at mapipinsala at isasantabing kapakanan ng mas nakararaming mamamayan. PROTEKTAHAN ANG BUHAY AT KINABUKASAN NG MAMAMAYAN, WALANG MANANALO SA DIGMAAN.

KAYA KAMI, mula sa iba’t ibang Pederasyon at Samahan ng mga Mamamayan mula sa Maguindanao at Shariff Kabunsuan na kumakatawan sa mga naging biktima at magiging biktima ng digmaan at bilang mga samahan na inatasan upang manguna para sa kagalingan ng aming lugar at mangalaga ng kapayapaan ay nagkakaisang nananawagan sa magkabilang panig NA IGALANG ANG KARAPATAN NG MAS MARAMING MAMAMAYAN UPANG MAMUHAY NG MAPAYAPA AT LIGTAS, ITIGIL ANG DIGMAAN AT ISIPIN ANG KAPAKANAN NG LAHAT. BUMALIK SA MAHINAHONG NEGOSASYON AT IPAGPATULOY ANG USAPANG KAPAYAPAAN. Nananawagan din kami sa lahat ng sektor at insitusyon, sa mga NGOs, pribadong sektor, simbahan at lokal na pamahalaan na tumulong sa dagliang pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng mga kapatid nating kasalukuyan biktima ng digmaan at sa pagkumbinsi sa magkabilang panig upang maging mahinahon at bumalik sa negosasyon.

HINDI DIGMAAN ANG TUGON SA KAHIRAPAN, IPAGPATULOY MULI ANG USAPANG PANGKAPAYAPAAN AT IGALANG ANG KARAPATAN NG MAMAMAYAN.


HADJI QUIRINO ORANTO President – Barira CSO Federation
TAHA DIRON President – Buldon CSO Federation
KHANAPPI AYAO President – DOS Federation of CSO
EDUARDO DIESTRO President – Datu Piang CSO
ASGAR AMILOL President – SSB CSO Federation
HADJI AKMAD COMPANIA President – Talayan CSO Federation
SAJID ABDULLAH President - Alliance of Active Organizations in Guindulungan
ISHMAEL ENTAL President - Datu Anggal Migtimbang
Multi-sector Federation for Peace and Development
CITA ABU President – United Civil Society Organization of Datu Montawal
MODRIKA MASUKAT President – Alliance of Municipal CSOs of Paglat
MADATO USMAN Vice Chairperson – Datu Blah Sinsuat CSO Federation
MOSIB LUMAMBAS Vice President – Sultan Kudarat CSO Federation
AMINA PUALAS President – Sindaw Ko Kalilintad
ALEX ALBA Executive Director - TASBIKKA
AMIL ABDULRAHMAN President – Datu Odin Sinsuat Radio and Information Association
ROJIPAY MANGULAMAS President -Talama Association for Peace and Development
HJA. GIOBAY DIOCOLANO Executive Director – Kadtabanga Foundation of Peace and Development Advocates, Inc.
ADBUL CADIR MARANDACAN President – Salam People’s Organization, Buldon
EDILBERTO VILLARUEL Mindanao Coordinator – Community Organizers Multiversity
ALIBATA GUMAGA Datu Paglas CSO Federation
HADJI CASIM ZAMAN President – IFABN, Matanog
MAMA KAMION Mamasapano CSO Federation
RAYHAN DIGANDANG Federation of United Mindanawan Bangsamoro Women Multi-Purpose Cooperative
OTING AGTING KFPDAI
MISUARI AKMAD Auditor - Datu Paglas CSO Federation
ESMAIL SALIK Chairman – Datu Anggal Midtimbang Multi-Sector Federation for Peace and Development
LOLITA SANTOS Treasurer – Datu Montawal CSO Federation
MARTEN SAMBUTUAN Secretary – Sultan sa Barongis CSO Federation
SAMIRA USMAN Secretary – CSO Pagalungan Federation
JANGCALA BUTULAN Secretary – FAPCSO
MOKHAMAD TOLINO United Youth for Peace and Development
DATU MARCOS UNTONG President – CSO DOS
RASUL MANTIKAYAN Assistant Treasurer – CSO DOS
MOKALIDIN KIDO President – Pandag Federation of CSO
ISAGANI DEANO President – Upi People’s Council
ZENITH MATURAN Staff – Upi People’s Council
KUSAIN AMIN CO - KFDAI
MOHAMMAD ABAS Supervisor – TASBIKKA / CDFS
MOSLEMIN ABAS CO – CO Multiversity
MILA SULTAN Business Manager – Talayan CSO Federation
SUHARTO UTAP President – RABPA CSO Federation

Monday, April 23, 2007

SANAYAN.COM



Leadership Training for Leaders of People’s Organizations


INTRODUCTION

To fulfil its promise, democracy must meet challenges of equity, inclusion and accountability. This requires an "organized" citizenry with the power to articulate and assert its interests effectively. Unfortunately, in the Philippines, the concerns of many remain muted because of unequal and declining citizen participation. Organized communities confront these challenges by revitalizing old democratic institutions and creating new ones. Leaders learn to view social, economic, and political problems from an organizer's perspective, and to act on these problems using a "praxis" of organizing: "mapping" power and interests, developing leadership, building relationships, motivating participation, devising strategies and mobilizing resources to create organizations and win campaigns. Principles common to community and issue organizing are emphasized.

The Sanayan.com (literally means COM leadership training program), is revitalized training programs of COM which are directly related to community organizing and empowerment. There are three categories of CO modules included in Sanayan.com: (1) the regular on-the-job CO Training, (2) the three-day CO Orientation, and (3) the topic-focused CO orientation. This first course offering falls in the second category. It aims to draw out learning based from actual and theoretical experiences of the leaders and people who are also involved in the same field with the end view of levelling – off their understanding and appreciation of empowering approaches to change with emphasis given to community organizing. It will gather 100 community/sector leaders of people’s organizations/federation who worked with or working with COM in different parts of Luzon.

It will include the urban poor from Pasig River, Bulacan and Montalban, the fishing sector from Laguna de Bay, the indigenous communities from Mindoro, Tarlac and North Quezon, and farmers from Nueva Ecija and Mt. Banahaw in Quezon Province, and the labor union in EPZA in Cavite. Majority of the participants are women or/and members of women organizations in their respective sector.

CO Multiversity lives with the CO tradition of poor people confronting unjust structures in their communities and society in general by a collective non-violent action. For the past twelve years, COM has been involved with the issues of marginalized sectors by facilitating the kind of CO training used during the time of PECCO in 1970s. However, it also adapts from the changing circumstances in the communities, society and the world.

OUTLINE:

This course focuses on how to build organizations through which people can act on common interests. It addresses three questions: why people organize, how organizing works, and what it takes to be effective community leaders. As "participant observers" participants learn to use their experience as data. They learn to "map" the power and interests at work in their communities, develop leadership, build relationships, motivate participation, devise strategy, and engage in action to create organization and win campaigns.

PARTICIPANTS:

Although developed from organizer training modules, this course has been redesigned for community leaders with interest in "empowerment strategies" as applied to policy making, service provision, community advocacy and electoral politics. Participants will be most successful who have a strong interest in the organization, issue or community with which they are working. The training will be attended by a maximum of 100 participants from among COM partner sector/communities in Luzon.

REQUIREMENTS:

1. Active community leaders with "organizing experience" on their own sector that should require an average of 2 to 3 years.

2. Participants are expected to attend all sessions and take an active part in discussions and all activities during the 3-day event.

MATERIALS:

Filipino-translated (or written) reading materials are required for this course. The secretariat will make sure that materials are available to each participant three days before the first session begins.


CONTENTS DESCRIPTION:

· Analysis of Poverty Situation in the Philippines and Different Approaches to Change.

· Gender and Community Organizing

· Understanding Power and Self-Interest: What it is, how it can be built and used for justice and as positive factor in public life

· Moving from Problems to Issues: Issue and Target Analysis

· Action-Reflection-Action: Strategies and Tactics, Evaluation and Reflection

· The People’s Organization: Characteristics and the Rural CO Standard

· Skills on effective organizational meetings and Resource Accessing

· The Way Ahead: Challenges to People’s Organizations