Book on peace building in the communities launched

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/22 Sept) — A book on peace building efforts in the communities was launched here on Tuesday, in time for the International Day of Peace and the commemoration of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines.

The 92-page “Lawig Kalinaw: Mga Sugilanon sa Pagpanday og Kalinaw sa Katilingban” is published by the Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI) and its sister non-governmental organization, the Katilingbanong Pamahandi sa Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (KPMFI).

Written by Cagayan de Oro-based writer Marc Eliemel Y. Tagub, the book is composed of stories of 16 peace builders in rural Misamis Oriental and of a Higaunon datu in neighboring Agusan del Norte.

The stories include peace building among couples, within the family, settling land and other disputes, confronting a demolition team, ensuring participation of the indigenous people in barangay governance, and even keeping the peace in heated partisan politics.

Originally written in English, it was translated into Cebuano by MindaNews editor Bobby Timonera. The Cebuano and English versions of the stories were printed side-by-side.

The featured peacebuilders were mostly graduates of Balay Mindanaw’s peace building course called “Operation Peace Course” (which they dub as OP Kors!).

The OP Kors! peace education program was first organized by Balay Mindanaw in 2005, mainly for community leaders and workers of non-governmental organizations. It later expanded to a wider target audience and has trained local chief executives, indigenous peoples and even military personnel. “To date, more than 1,800 barangay leaders, IPs (indigenous peoples), LGU and NGO workers and military personnel have graduated from the course,” said the book’s introduction.

Balay Mindanaw published earlier this year “Soldiers for Peace: A Collection of Peacebuilding Stories in Mindanaw,” which featured soldiers who applied in the field what they learned in the OP Kors! training.

Loretta Rosales, chair of the Commission on Human Rights who attended the book launch, lauded Balay Mindanaw for the two books, saying these were important to help keep the peace in the country.

Tagub first wrote for The Mindanao Current, a weekly newspaper based in Cagayan de Oro. He also wrote for The Crusader, the school paper of Xavier University in this city, as features writer and associate features editor. He was Crusader’s editor-in-chief in 2005-2006. He was chosen in 2005 to represent Xavier University in the Young Economists Convention of the Philippines’ position paper writing contest. In the same year, he became one of the two Philippine representatives for the ASEAN campus journalists/leaders exchange program held in the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia. At present, he is a technical writer for the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. He also works with LGUs and local and international NGOs as freelance researcher, research assistant, documenter and writer. (MindaNews)