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Latest News from MPI

Statement of MPI in Light of the Mamasapano Encounter

The Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc. (MPI) is greatly saddened by the tragic encounter that recently took place in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, between members of the Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) Moro. The incident claimed the lives of at least 50 PNP-SAF soldiers and 5 MILF members. Several more from both camps were wounded. We send our heartfelt sympathy to the families who have lost their loved ones in this terrible incident. For this to happen in the midst of the peace process between the Government and the MILF is extremely worrisome.

Unfortunately, there are clamors through social media and other venues for an all-out war, vengeance for the deaths of comrades, and justice through violent means. At present there is little clarity as to exactly what happened and who holds responsibility. Clearly, though, we are all affected, especially the people of Mindanao and those who are in the immediate area of the encounter.

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Run and Roll participants in their wheelchairs

Running for a Cause

For the second year in a row, the Lanao Regions of Northwestern Mindanao in the Philippines celebrated the Mindanao Week of Peace in style. It is a one-of-a-kind celebration. People from different sectors and institutions join, have fun, and run together for one purpose—PEACE. All parts of society join the fun run: from elementary, high school and college students and teachers to the police, government, and community workers.

In 2013, the Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP) was celebrated in Lanao with a fun run, I Run 4 Peace, organized by the local organization EcoWEB, Inc. along with its partners. I Run and Roll for Peace was the theme of the run in 2014. The goal was for the run to be more inclusive. In 2014, the mobility-challenged were able to join, celebrate and support the push for long-lasting peace in Mindanao.

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Black and white picture of building frame of a typhoon resilient house

The Happiness of Your Neighbor is Happiness for Everyone

Barangays Batug, Cabacungan and Alegre

Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) was one of the strongest typhoons in recorded history. This storm, the strongest in the entire world in 2013, passed right through the Visayas in the central part of the Philippines. Barangays Batug, Cabacungan and Alegre were three communities heavily damaged by the typhoon, which left many homeless and with no income generating activity. Months after, the recovery process is still going on and some improvement is being seen, but much is  yet to be done for life to get back to normal.

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Subanen Community of Bayog AD shows their unity in restoring the forest in their domain

Zamboanga del Sur Tribal Subanen Community Joins Mindanao to Beat India for Guinness World Record by Treevolution

On September 27, 2014, at least eight Tribal Subanen communities from five municipalities in Zamboanga del Sur joined the Mindanao-wide one hour Tree Planting of 4.6 million trees in a quest to beat the record holder in India in the Guinness World Records for most trees planted simultaneously (multiple locations), where 1.9 million seedlings where planted in one hour.

The municipalities of Tigbao, Dumalinao, Pitogo, Kumalarang and Bayog participated in the tree planting, which covered an area of 205 hectares. Romeo Ansale, Forest Specialist of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in the province, said the target was to plant 102,500 seedlings in the assigned area.

The team of the Resource-Based Conflict and Peacebuilding Training Program of the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Incorporated (MPI) was present to observe and document the process. Bayog and Kumalarang were participants in  Phase One of the program from 2012-2013 and had scholars trained in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM), including climate change and using Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP) for preparedness.

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Participants and facilitators of the 2014 Summer Peacebuilding Training of NARPI

Looking In, Looking Out: My Experience With NARPI

Nanjing, China – Attending the 4th Summer Peacebuilding Training of the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) was both an insightful and exciting experience for me, someone who was actively involved in organizing the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) 2014 Annual Peacebuilding Training. I was afforded a rare opportunity to be a participant, not the organizer of the training or a member of the Secretariat. It was hoped that I would be able to bring home new ideas and perspectives that would help in MPI's 2015 Annual Peacebuilding Training. The experience, however, proved to be not only advantageous to my current position in the institute, but also to my professional development as I become more engaged in peacebuilding.

NARPI is a partner institute of MPI and similarly, is a training institute that provides peace education and conflict transformation training to peacebuilders with a focus on Northeast Asia. It was established to create space to build networks and relationships, share stories and experiences and bridge differences among Northeast Asian countries. This year's training, which ran from the 8th to the 22nd of August, was hosted by one of the most prominent and oldest universities in China, Nanjing University, in a city that had once been the capital of the country and a place rich in history and culture—the city of Nanjing.

The 2014 Summer Peacebuilding Training of NARPI brought together 52 participants, most of whom were from Japan, Korea and China, as well as Canada. I found it remarkable to be the only Filipino—in fact the sole Southeast Asian—in the group. I was amazed how similar Northeast Asians are, especially their language, the use of characters and even eating with chopsticks (I had to learn to eat with them for the two weeks, but they were kind enough to teach me how to use them). At times I felt like an outsider, but more often I felt like a long lost relative at a warm family reunion.

NARPI offered six courses with three different courses concurrently held each week for two weeks. I took the Restorative Approach to Historical Conflict in the first week and Peacebuilding Skills: Transformative Mediation in the second week for two reasons. The first is that these courses are not offered at MPI's Annual Peacebuilding Training. The second, and more importantly, I saw both as relevant to what is happening now in my country, particularly in Mindanao. I believed that they would certainly contribute to deepening my understanding of issues that surround the peace process.

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