Gebert Manda Andang, one of the former Program Coordinators for MPI’s Resource-Based Conflict and Peacebuilding Training Program, tragically died in a work-related accident on Tuesday evening, February 25, 2020.
Gebert, affectionately known as “Terso,” was part of the Resource-Based Conflict and Peacebuilding Training Program team from August of 2014 until June of 2017. He was responsible for assisting with the trainings in whatever ways needed, including being a documenter and helping to prepare the venues, programs and activities. Terso also worked directly with the communities, including following up on the validation of their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles and Indigenous Political Structure. He was key in the production of the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent guidebook published by MPI to assist the ancestral domains in Northwestern Mindanao and wherever else it could be used.
Terso was the first staff member of MPI to come from an indigenous community, the Subanen Ancestral Domain of Bayog in Zamboanga del Sur Province. He was one of the first scholars of Phase 1 of MPI’s Resource-Based Conflict and Peacebuilding Training Program. It was during the training in Phase 1 that the Program team recognized his potential and decided to invite him to join the team for Phase 2. Later on, he would participate in MPI’s Annual Peacebuilding Training Program. Of his work with MPI, Terso wrote:
I fully give my best to serve for the betterment of MPI’s vision and mission, a strong commitment for peace and justice, respecting the rights of everyone and of our environment.
Terso was a leader in his community and his ancestral domain. He served as treasurer for the Local Government Unit of his barangay (local political division within a city or municipality). He studied for a Bachelor of Elementary Education-Filipino at Saint Columban College.
Terso was married to Gemariekhan Tamac Andang. Aside from Gemariekhan, he leaves behind two young children. Germariekhan posted on Facebook what a kind, caring and loving father Terso was.
Terso will be greatly missed by MPI, his teammates and colleagues, his fellow scholars and MPI alumni, but most of all by his loving wife and his two children. May we all continue to work for peace and justice, especially among the indigenous people and for our environment as did Terso.