PEACEBUILDING THROUGH THE BEC BASED PROGRAM
In 2003, the prelature of Ipil started implementing the BEC-Based Integral Evangelization Program and immediately focused its efforts on addressing the issues which faced the region, especially the grassroots. It exercised active participation in movements for peace such as the Local Government, Churches and Community Organization for Peace or LOGCCO. It also organized Educator and Student Peace Advocates or ESPA in 11 private and public high schools and colleges. The Prelature is also an active member of the Interfaith of Good Governance, the Council of Leaders or COLE, and the Community-Based Culture of Peace Animators.
Through the program, the Prelature, in coordination with the Local Government also co-facilitated the Mindanao Week of Peace Celebration and a prayer rally for good governance.
Included in the second batch of Empowering Marginalized Communities through BEC-based Integral Evangelization Program, the Prelature of Ipil implemented the program from the year 2003 until 2005, during which it prioritized grassroots empowerment. Located in the southwestern part of Mindanao, the prelature pursued the promotion a most relevant component of the BEC program-justice and peace.
As early as the 1970s, most of the areas under the prelature has been facing crises such widespread poverty and rampant armed conflicts due to the unending ideological differences of the Tri-people-Christian, Muslims and lumads.
Through the program, the Prelature also facilitated learning events such as the Culture of Peace and Education Seminar and Capability Building Training for Peace Animators, and the formation of core groups in the barangays of each parish participating in the BEC-based program.
As a part of the continuous advocacy for peace, a radio program hosted by Prelature staff is also regularly aired. Three Peace Zone barangays have also been established.
To monitor and evaluate the implementation of peacebuilding in the barangays, the Prelature facilitated the formation of the Parish Social Action Teams or PSATs that are directly responsible in ensuring the proper implementation of the program at the grassroots.
EMPOWERING WOMEN AND CHILDREN FOR PEACE
Addressing violence against women and children is also one of the initiatives undertaken by the prelature through the BEC program. During its implementation, the prelature was able to organize the Initiative for Women-Alicia Group or IWAG, a federated women’s organization duly registered under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and accredited by the local government unit. It led the creation of parish level quick response teams (QRT) for women and children. Livelihood initiatives for women were also made available under the program.
A Gender Awareness seminar was conducted with the assistance of the Prelature. Pre Cana and marriage enhancement seminars in the parish were redesigned to include gender and sensitivity issues. The program provides paralegal assistance to women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
The implementation of the sustainable agriculture component of the BEC-based program in the Prelature of Ipil addresses the issues of poverty. During its implementation, the SA component was able to help countless farmers in their struggle against the disadvantages of chemical farming. The practice of Diversified Integrated Farming System provided them with nature farming techniques which they used as alternatives to the harmful chemical based farming.
The establishment of the community trial farms also provided them with venues to develop their own chemical-free SA techniques. Currently, most of the SA program practitioners in the prelature of Ipil hav already achieved zero-chemical farming and are committed to totally eradicate chemical farming in the areas under the Prelature.
SUSTAINING PEACEBUILDING INITIATIVES
The prelature of Ipil, as a member of the LOGCCO, believes that the close coordination between the local government, Church, and local organizations for peace is an effective strategy in the promotion of peace.
Utilizing this set up, concepts like the culture of peace can easily reach the diverse majority of people in the area and promote change. In a region where the issue of the tri-people is significant, promotion of unbiased and non-violent behavior is paramount.
Committed to work for development, the prelature of Ipil guarantees that it will continue to pursue the advocacy for peacebuilding. It is motivated by the ideal that the development in the context of good governance would always serve to nurture the seed for change towards peace.
IMMACULATE CONCEPCION PARISH, DIOCESE OF IPIL WOMEN AND CHILDREN PROGRAM
The parish of Immaculate Concepcion is one of the five participating parishes that implement the women and children component of the BEC-based Integral Evangelization Program. Under this component, the parish through the assistance of the diocese, proactively responds to the issues that face women and children.
For the past years, cases of violence against women and children in the parish, such as harassment in the form of domestic violence and sexual exploitation, have been increasing. Because of this, the parish decided to undertake concrete initiatives to lessen if not to completely eradicate violence against women and children. In 2003, when it was included as one of the parishes that would implement the BEC-based program, the parish initially took action by conducting orientations on gender awareness in its different ministries. It also incorporated relevant awareness raising issues on women and children in Pre-Cana and marriage enhancement seminars.
As the program advanced, the parish was able to facilitate the creation and strengthening of a Quick Response Team (QRT) for abused women and children. It also organized the initiative for Women-Alicia Group or IWAG, a federated women’s organization duly registered under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and accredited by the local government unit. At the grassroots level, it focused on organizing women’s groups and the introduction of paralegal as well as livelihood assistance. Presently, the parish of Immaculate Concepcion continually implements these initiatives with the objective of upholding the rights of women and children.
Reference: National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace Annual Report 2007, p84-86