Speech of Sylvia
Okinlay-Paraguya, Balay board chair,
during the Ateneo Peace Award
9 December 2007
for the citation, and here for more info
about the award.
Magandang Hapon, Maayad ha
hapon, Wassalam Alaikum, Buenas tardes!
Paraguya, Chair of BMFI, delivers speech after accepting the
In behalf of Balay
Mindanaw Foundation, Inc., we would like to thank Ateneo de
Zamboanga for this award. As a 10-year old NGO, this is really
This award reflects Ateneo’s pursuit for peace; very relevant in
an island where one of the longest running conflict in the world
Balay Mindanaw shares this
award with its partner communities. The representatives from the
partner barangays, including barangay officials, peoples
organizations, - their representatives are here with us today. A
long road to peace… they have traveled all the way from their
barangays to accept this award.
As the Chairperson of the
Board of Trustees, we recognize the efforts of the staff of BMFI. We
also honor the person who started it all- Mr. Kaloy Manlupig. His
passion to work with the poor has brought BMFI to where it is now.
With its vision –
Kaangayan, Kalambuan, Kalinaw (in that order), BMFI started its
community-based activities. BMFI worked with the barangays, Pos,
local government units using the framework of Sustainable
Integrated Area Development. Our experience in enhancing
participation of community has been mainstreamed in the ongoing
peace process of the Government of the Philippines and the
Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa sa Mindanao. BMFI serves as
the independent secretariat of the peace talks between the GRP and
RPMM. The barangay plans based on the consultation processes among
the multistakeholders in the barangay become part and parcel of the
peace process. Thus negotiations include the participation of the
BMFI has also engaged the
military. It has three major programs. One, “Education the
Officers, Soldiers and CAFGU”. Second is Creating a Space for
like-minded Generals and Colonels to elevate the peace practices to
policies. Third is General for Peace. The latter has been conducted
for the Generals in the Philippines and East Timor.
As we accept this award, we
also honor the Sumilao farmers who walked more than 1,700 kilometers
for their land. (Gandhi walked for 600 kms; the farmers almost
tripled their walk). We would like to thank the Ateneos for their
support to the plight of the farmers. We ask all of you to campaign
for the return of the lands to them. The Lumads have been
marginalized for long. Let us not allow that another mistake will be
committed which will marginalize them once again. For there can
be no peace without equity.
Let this award challenge us
to continue to work for peace. Let us be steadfast in our support
for the ongoing peace processes- GRP-RPMM, GRP-MILF, GRP-CNN. That
we continue to live peace in our hearts, in our lives, in our
communities, in Mindanao, Philippines and the world.
Thank you again for this
award. Allow us also to give these token of appreciation to Ateneo
de Zamboanga. Please accept these books. These are documentation of
our efforts to help build sustainable communities, help build peace.
Muchos Gracias! Daghang