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Latest News from MPI

MPI Announces the 2016 Annual Peacebuilding Training

MPI is pleased to announce the dates for the 2016 Annual Peacebuilding Training.

Next year's training will be held from May 13 to June 3, 2016. Registration for the first week would be Sunday, May 12.

Please check back here for more information and how to register in the latter part of 2015.

See here for more information on our Annual Peacebuilding Training Program.

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Timuay Ansiman Gumandal Balabag 1959 - 2016

Timuay BalbagOn January 23, 2015, we received the sad news from Lakewood, one of the Ancestral Domains with which MPI is working, that Timuay Ansiman Gumandal Balabag passed away due to a heart attack. He died at the age of 56 in his house at Barangay Baking, Lakewood, in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines.

As an MPI scholar, Timuay (Tribal Chieftain) Ansiman actively participated in most of MPI’s activities, including a recent activity in their tribal hall where he acted as a key informant in the Indigenous Political Structure (IPS) documentation for Lakewood. During the activity, he encouraged his fellow Timuays to intensely collaborate in sharing information and doing the genealogy because one will never know when Magbabaya beckons one home. Indeed, death comes like a thief in the night.

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The Path to Reconciliation: Indigenous Leaders Integrate Traditional and Legal Practices in a Conflict Transformation Process

Rosemarie Guilingan "I will call him my beloved uncle again," reaffirms Rosemarie Guilingan as tears flowed down her cheeks. Rosemarie is the daughter of Datu1 Dalepusan Isis Guilingan and the niece of Barangay Captain2 Luciano Tanglanan, the two main actors in a conflict that once divided Pikumpungan Subanen Lupa Pusaka3 (PSLP), the Indigenous Peoples' Organization (IPO) of the Ancestral Domain Council of Sindangan-Godod in Zamboanga del Norte Province on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.

The conflict between Datu Isis Guilingan and Barangay Captain Tanglanan emerged out of the difference the two indigenous leaders had as to how they wanted to relate to mining concessions in their communities. The divisions among the Subanen people of Sindangan was a prime example of how extractive industries, such as mining, which often operate with little consideration for the environment, can destroy not only the natural surroundings and ecosystem of the community, but also can shatter human relationships, regardless of blood ties. Mining investors and politicians who chose to shortcut and circumvent the legal processes to expedite their mining operations were those primarily responsible for the confrontation between Datu Isis and Barangay Captain Tanglanan.

Because he remained steadfast in his constant demands for a legal and culturally-bound process, tribal elder Datu Isis was identified as responsible for the slow and uncertain progress of the mining operation in Sindangan. To further their interests, the mining investors sought ways to "unseat" Datu Isis and enter into negotiations with a "new" PSLP that would accelerate the approval process for operating mines in the area.

Eventually, when the mining company failed to keep its commitment to Tanglanan and his associates, Tanglanan realized his mistake, regretted his action and sought forgiveness from Datu Isis. For his part, Datu Isis and his council made every effort to deal with this resource-based conflict through a conflict transformation process, integrating traditional indigenous practices with newly acquired skills in conflict transformation.

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MPI in Peacebuilder Magazine

Read about MPI in the Spring/Summer 2015 edition of Peacebuilder.

This is a special issue of Peacebuilder, focusing on various peacebuilding institutes whose roots include the Summer Peacebuilding Institute of Eastern Mennonite University, including MPI. Bonnie Price Lofton, the author and editor-in-chief for Peacebuilder came to the Philippines to visit MPI and some of the individuals and organizations that also benefitted from MPI's Annual Peacebuilding Training. The article about MPI begins on page 38 of the magzine (page 40 in this online version).

In addition, there is a short piece about Babu Ayindo and whether he thinks SPI is still needed (page 7 of artilce/page 9 online).

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Open Letter to the Public on the Situation in Maguindanao

On 16 March 2015, All-­Out Peace released a statement on the humanitarian crisis in Mindanao, "A Call for Humanitarian Ceasefire in MaguindaNOW! All­Out Peace Statement of Appeal." As an Asian training institute grounded in the Mindanao, Philippines, context the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc., affirms All-Out Peace's call for just and peaceful resolutions to the conflict in Mindanao, particularly in the areas of Maguindanao identified in the statement of All-Out Peace.

We also express our grave concern over the humanitarian crisis that has arisen out of the decision by the Philippine National Police (PNP) – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) operations. There are now 123,537 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) according to Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART).

As with All-Out Peace, MPI is alarmed by the use of artillery shelling and airstrikes and intensified military operations with "no fixed timeline for the ongoing operations" according to military sources. This will not only result in increasing casualties on both sides of the conflict, but will result in long-term psychosocial damage to the residents, especially the children.

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