Peace Workcamp

Spaces for Dialogue, Analysis and Action Among Key Peace Stakeholders Towards Sustainable Peace in Minadao

May 20 Thursday


May 20 - 23, 2010


Gardens of Malasag Ecotourism Village, Cugman Watershed, Cagayan de Oro City



A peace work camp for key Mindanao leaders and stakeholders to collectively analyze the roots, history of the Mindanao conflict and formulate a strategic plan to contribute to the pursuit of lasting peace.

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On May 20 – 23, a peace work camp on the pursuit of sustainable peace, equity and development in Mindanao was implemented by the Resource Center for Empowerment and Development (RCED) of Balay Mindanaw Group of NGOs (BMFI). The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung supported this first and particular event which was held at the Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village in Cagayan de Oro City. Special in its design, the work camp provided both space for various creative outside activities, and space for analysis and dialogue among the participants and speakers.

Invited were forty (40) young Mindanao peace stakeholders who, despite their diverse cultural and vocational background, share the same vision of equity, development and peace. The participants were, amongst others, composed from various NGOs, the armed forces, the police, and the media. Since this peace work camp was the first-of-its-kind conducted by BMFI and KAS, developing and deepening of interpersonal relationships between the individual peace stakeholders was of particular interest.

Based on the consent that the disruptive factors of the Mindanao conflict are highly complex, the participants were encouraged to share expert knowledge from their commitment to peace-building. Recurring among the notions is the feeling that Mindanao is only in the center of interest during election times. Furthermore, peace talks carried out by the government often appear to be exclusive and lacking transparency. Connected to these assumptions, the peace campers along with the key speakers agreed that the most crucial work in peace-building begins in civil society, far away from interests in political power. Nonetheless, it is clear that political ideology, an effective party system and political movements are indispensable in the long run to move on towards sustainable peace and development.

A prior concern of the peace work camp was to discuss possible responses or initiatives towards the chance of lasting peace. To accomplish that, deepened analysis and understanding of the historical conflict roots is required; it thus represented a key part of the work camp. A Mindanao historian provided an overview about the multiplicity of ethnic backgrounds as well as depictions on regional differences. To facilitate cultural sensitivity, the groups of participants were also given the chance to research on different Moro tribes by interviewing them on the resort area.

The space for reflection towards the end of the camp then combined observations on the present situation with future perspectives. The Mindanao peace stakeholders exchanged their ideas of the underlying causes of this decade-old conflict and possible solution strategies in an interactive game. Aspects such as a lack of education and communication, unequal distribution of resources and services, or mistrust between and amongst groups, obviously seem to block fruitful peace negotiations. By providing first suggestions on how to strategically push the peace process in Mindanao, the participants displayed their object to maintain and extend their active commitment to the vision of a just and peaceful Mindanao. Although this first peace work camp of BMFI in collaboration with KAS can only be seen as a tiny part of contribution, it certainly set the tone among the participants for continuous dedication in their struggle.

Group picture of the Peace Work Camp participants with Dr. Peter Koeppinger, Resident Representative of KAS and Charlito Manlupig,President of BMFI (third person from the right standing).

Contact person

Dr. Peter Köppinger

Representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in the Philippines


Balay Mindanaw Foundation