Sarangani, GenSan mothers join peace movement

In a two-day training workshop organized by the Mindanao Commission on Women held at Phela Grande Hotel here on January 29-30, the participants crafted a plan on how they can spread “peace” to their fellow mothers.

The participants, who call themselves “conveners,” agreed to tap potential mothers in the barangays with leadership capability who in turn will form “peace circles” composed of 12 to 25 members.

Irene Santiago, MWC chair, said members of Peace Circles must undergo training in order to develop “personal peace”, learn conflict analysis, being a “Thirdsider” and develop “creativity” in spreading peace.

The module “The Third Side” provides tools for training women to be “thirdsiders” that empower them to prevent, resolve and contain conflict. A thirdsider can take the role as a bridge-builder, arbiter, equalizer, mediator, referee, peacekeeper or healer.

One of the conveners and the peace program manager of Kalinaw Sarangani Unit, Jocelyn Lambac-Kanda, said conflict is part of any relationship. “Conflict is a cycle and it is important that someone has to be equipped in preventing conflict from escalating into violence,” she explained.

City councilor Lourdes Casabuena who convened the GenSan participants, said peace must start from one’s heart. “If peace is within us, it will eventually radiate to others,” she pointed out.

Bai Matabai Diamad, president of Sarangani Center for Muslim Women, believes that if every home has a peace advocate, communities become peaceful. “Thus, it is very important that our mothers themselves become peace advocates,” she stressed.

The MCW urges the mothers to undertake Bantay Peace Agreements, Bantay Peace Dividends, Celebrating Women’s Creativity on International Women’s Day (March 8), Fast for Peace during Holy Week, Millions Minutes of Peace on Mother’s Day, Wear Blue for Peace on International Day of Peace, Festival of Lights during Mindanao Week of Peace, and Clear the Clutter, a major fundraiser in December.

MCW, which has 13 network areas all over Mindanao, has three major program areas that include politics and governance, peace and multiculturalism, and poverty reduction.

Among its major activities include Kamindawan-Mindanao Women’s Conference, Mothers for Peace Movement, Mothers for Peace Fund for food Security, Young Women’s Leaders Conference, Mothers for Peace Lecture Series, Mindanao Women’s Peace Summit, Anti-Rido Campaign, and Engaging in GRP-MNLF and GRP-MILF Peace Processes.

The organization is composed of 25 women leaders with years of experience working for peace and development in Mindanao. Mothers for Peace Movement forms the mass base of the organization.

MCW is based in Davao City with the websites www.mindanaowomen.org and www.mothers4peace.com. (Gandhi C. Kinjiyo / MindaNews contributor)