Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence and Children Protection Issues in Conflict-affected Areas in Central Mindanao

The project “Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence and Children Protection Issues in Conflict-affected Areas in Central Mindanao” is a joint collaboration of United Youth of the Philippines-Women (UnYPhil-Women) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) together with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) under the DFID funding support. .

The overall goal of the project is to strengthen Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Children Protection (CP) prevention and response in conflict-affected communities of Central Mindanao. Specifically, it aims to (a) capacitate local prevention mechanisms in monitoring, reporting, and responding to GBV and CP issues, (b) raise awareness of community people of GBV and CP issues, and (c) provide prompt and appropriate services to survivors of GBV and GCRV in the communities. The coverage areas of the project are where UnYPhil-Women are primarily operational. All the identified communities experienced conflict and displacement in 2013, thus, women and children from these communities were more vulnerable to gender-based violence (GBV) and grave child rights violations (GCRV). The principal activity of this project is Situational Needs Assessment; accordingly, GBV and Child Protection (CP) programming in the identified areas shall be determined by the results of the assessment.

The project will be implemented under four (4) main components. However, the activities are for the first quarter of project implementation. The second quarter activities shall be determined by the Situational Needs Analysis.

The four (4) components expected result are:

  • Numbers of local protection mechanism members trained in GBV and CP prevention and response
  • Community people from eight (8) identified communities gained awareness of GBV and CP issues
  • At least 80% of reported GBV and GCRV cases are verified and promptly responded to with appropriate service

 The project shall be implemented in five (5) barangays from four (4) municipalities of North Cotabato such as:

  1. BrgyMalingao, Municipality of Midsayap
  2. BrgyPaiduPulangi, Municipality of Pikit
  3. BrgyMarbel, Municipality of Matalam
  4. Brgy New Bunawan, Municipality of Tulunan
  5. BrgyMaybula, Municipality of Tulunan

And three (3) barangays from three (3) municipalities of Maguindanao such as:

  1. BrgyDamabalas, Municipality of DatuPiang
  2. BrgyMirab, Municipality of North Upi
  3. BrgyGanta, Municipality of ShariffSaidona

Direct Beneficiaries:

  1. No. of Women: 320
  2. No. of Men: 160
  3. No. of Youth: 160
  4. 100% of GBV and GCRV Survivors

Indirect Beneficiaries:

  1. 30 LCAT-VAWC and LCPC members in 7 municipalities
  2. 80 CBCPN members in 8 barangays

The Situational Needs Assessment is composed of 2 activities like Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and Key In format Interview (KII). The participants should be from selected direct beneficiaries from Women (5), Men (5), Youth (5 girls and 5 boys) and from the KII it should be the Barangay chairman, Religious Leader and School Teacher.

This is basically the social preparation component of the project. The result of the Situational Needs Analysis will then be the basis of GBV and CP programme development for the eight (8) sites in the next quarter of the project.

This project shall demonstrate in operational terms the response of UNYPHIL-Women to a myriad of concerns related to the present inequalities to gender brought about by armed conflicts in Central Mindanao, and the apparent prevalence of unaddressed – or selectively addressed – cases related to it. The Bangsamoro Human Wellness Center (BHWC) will serve as the mechanism/vehicle on which its officers, members and volunteers could resonate from as they engage in responding and preventing GBV and GCRV in conflict-affected areas.

Through the BHWC, UNYPHIL-Women shall provide a range of services to women, children, and communities including holistic response to violence survivors and community information sessions. The BHWC project team shall also engage with government agencies and other stakeholders and, through the Case Management Worker, with the GBVSC and CPWG to identify the best course of action to address the needs of survivors of violence. It is intended that all identified activities under this project shall be implemented utilizing the BHWC as staging platform. Thus, part and parcel of this initiative is the capacity building of local actors in GBV and CP response, and enhancing the participation of women in the beneficiary communities in GBV monitoring and reporting as sustaining mechanisms to preserve the gains of this initiative in the identified barangays.

The project will be implemented within a period of 6 months that will commence on the first day of March 2014. The activities outlined will be implemented on the first quarter of the project, after which, another work plan for the rest of the implementing period shall be devised based on the results of the Situational Needs Assessment. The project will end on the last day of June and an evaluation activity will determine the impacts and outcomes of the project.

 United Youth of the Philippines-Women


Strengthening National capacities towards the protection of IDP’s and People affected by Repeated Displacement

The southern Philippines island of Muslim Mindanao is home to 21 million people; in addition, 63% of the country’s indigenous communities are situated in Mindanao. Many of them, especially in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have been, and continue to be forcibly displaced due to a number of factors.

The national government has engaged different rebel groups into a peace process to reach a doable political settlement. It has signed the final peace agreement with MNLF way back in 1996 and is currently undertaking the peace process with the MILF. The government and MILF have reached significant milestones by the signing of Framework Agreement in 15 October 2012, and subsequently all its 4 annexes on Transitional Arrangement and Modalities (27 Feb. 2013), Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing (13 July 2013), and Normalization (25 Jan. 2014). This provides a rich ground for durable solutions to various caseloads of displacement.

However, the situation in Mindanao remains volatile and fragile up to this time. The population remains vulnerable to unstable and continuing threats resulting from armed conflicts and clashes between the Government Armed Forces and armed groups of which examples include the Zamboanga City stand-off with the Misuari led MNLF, the clash with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in some areas in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, rival political candidates, and family feuds or “rido” which deemed to me more deadly.

UnYPhil-Women, has been an important partner of UNHCR in the field to ensure that the displaced population and population facing protection risks, especially the women and children in the remote locations, are provided assistance and protection. It took charge to reach locations where government agencies have limited access in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and Zamboanga Sibugay.

The aim of this project is to support the government in its commitment to ensure protection of IDP’s, most vulnerable population at risk of displacement and other forms of rights violation and persons with specific needs. Intend to create impact by empowering affected communities and IDP’s themselves, especially among women and children able to negotiate with state and non-state actors directly to prevent displacement and reduce the level of fear and seek redress to protection institutions including CHR/RHRC and DSWD.

 Target population of the project

The main communities targeted through this project include communities in ARMM, especially women and the youth, which are high risks of displacement due to evolving political developments including communities of indigenous people; are displaced multiple times and are particularly fragile and are living in a protracted situation of displacement for many years. IDPs and other vulnerable affected by armed conflicts and forms of violence resulting to violation on their rights and degradation on dignity and quality of life who needs legal support shall also be a priority for this project.

UnYPhil in collaboration with the RHRC shall also engage the local government officials and line agencies, security forces and law enforcement agencies to ensure that people requiring temporary assistance due to their condition subsequent to conflict and displacement are protected and provided appropriate assistance.

Category of people requiring temporary assistance

At risk communities Communities at particular risk of forced displacement in ARMM
Currently displaced Communities displaced due to natural disaster, armed conflict , rido, political violence, development aggression etc. displaced communities could be in a situation of protracted displacement (e.g. over 1 year) or multiple displacement (displaced many times during a year)
Returnees Those who were forcibly displaced and have returned home recently and need support in re-establishing themselves.
Host communities Communities accommodating IDP’s, either in public building or in their homes.
Resettled Communities Communities of former IDP’s that have settled elsewhere

 Implementation arrangement

Targeted populations are the IDP’s particularly the women sector and those people facing the risk of cyclic displacement in municipalities. Having been affected by protracted conflict, many of them do not posses civil documentation being in remote locations and unable to exercise, defend or demand their rights and live in safety and with dignity. Among women, there are those who have fewer learning opportunities and decision making power despite their immense potential to positively influence and support their communities and provide inputs to the peace process.

Coverage area:

Cotabato City Cotabato City
North Cotabato Aleosan, Carmen, Kabakan, Midsayap, Pikit, Matalam, Tulunan
Basilan All municipalities especially Al-Barka, Mohammad, Adjul, Tipo-tipo, Sumisip, Tuburan, Ungkaya Pukan
Sulu All municipalities especially Patikul, Indanan, Maimbung, Parang, Panglima Estino
Tawi-tawi All municipalities especially Simunol, Bongao

Approach and process

  1. Baseline Data Gathering, Monitoring and Analysis
  2. Protection Monitor, referral and advocacy for durable solutions
  3. Awareness Raising and IDP community participation
  4. Prepositioning of core relief item

Bangsamoro Basic Law Signing: Challenges, Shadow and Uncertainties

COTABATO CITY (20th of April) – The draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was completed and signed by 13 of the 15 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). Commissioners Atty. Johaira Wahab, Chair of the Committee on Transitory Provisions, and Fatmawati Salapuddin from Sulu were absent, while Froilyn Mendoza, representative of the indigenous people and Peter Eisma from Basilan signed with reservations. All of them have yet to issue an official statement on their actions. (As of April 29, only one (1) female commissioner has not signed the draft BBL.)

On April 18, 2014, 4-days after the submission of the partial draft of the BBL to the Office of the President, a text message already circulated, claiming that the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) was allegedly secretly meeting three commissioners of the BTC asking them not to sign the draft of the BBL. Afterwards it became viral on the social networking sites. People started to doubt the sincerity of the government’s commitment to the peace process.

In the morning of April 20, OPPAP posted the response of the GPH Panel Chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer on the allegations: “The report circulating on social media that 3 BTC commissioners did not sign the draft BBL on orders of OPAPP is FALSE. In the first place, the proposed BBL is not yet finished. They will still meet on Sunday to put all the parts together. Secondly, we had no secret meeting with GPH representatives to the BTC. We meet with them when they want to consult us on their concerns and to ask them to update us. This is natural. The MILF representatives also meet with the MILF Central Committee to consult and update. Thirdly, we gave no instruction to any BTC commissioner not to sign the draft. We trust them to act according to their judgment and the best interest of the peace process. Please help us correct the misinformation”.

On the same day, Luwaran stated related to the signing of the commissioners on the BBL: If by chance, any commissioner decides not to affix his/her signature to the proposed BBL, such is within the purview of his or her right. No one can question that. But one thing sure is that he or she has to explain why he or she did not sign.  History will judge his or her decision. But in the immediate, the negative decision will surely make the spoilers happy; they will feast on this even if the decision was based on reasons personally well-thought-out”.

Before the signing of the draft an estimated 1000 individuals from the communities and civil society organizations gathered in front of the BTC office expressing their support for the signing and demanding unity among the BTC members and the Bangsamoro as a whole. The peace rally was led by United Youth for Peace and Development (UnYPAD).

A female participant of the rally expressed her fears, saying “Akoy nababahala sa mga nangyayari at sa tema na aking nababasa, worried ako dahil baka hindi pirmahan ng BTC ang BBL. “Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit ayaw nilang pirmPhoto0239ahan ang BBL” other women added. (I am worried with what is happening and with what is written in the placards I am reading, I am worried that the BTC will not sign the BBL). (I cannot understand why they do not want to sign the BBL). Many women who joined the rally broke into tears while calling upon the attention of the BTC and urging them to sign the BBL.

We at UnYPhil-Women, who had always been accompanying the peace process and are hopeful to the peaceful resolution of conflict, have yet to understand the commissioners actions. We are not yet in the position to condemn their decisions, because we believe that they have accounted the best interest of the Bangsamoro people.

But we deserve an explanation. We, who are working on the ground and who the government and the MILF expect to disseminate information to the Bangsamoro people. We deserve to know the reasons, because we don’t want to give information that were merely based on assumptions to our communities; likewise, our communities are expecting us to provide them with honest and clear information and feedback on the status of the peace negotiation.

As a woman organization involved in the pursuit of progress and just peace for all, this issue has tainted the hopes of the people for a better tomorrow. Everyone is in high spirits on the recent development of the peace process and with the circulation of an alleged ‘maneuvering’ by the OPPAP on the signing of the draft BBL, everything changes. Gone is the euphoria, all that is left is uncertainty. We would say, this is the time to be vigilant. A time where all of us seeking to realize the Bangsamoro dream should take a stand to commit ourselves in safeguarding the dignity of the process by holding the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission accountable for all their actions and transparent with their decisions.

By: Hasna Adi

United Youth of the Philippines-Women

A Better Bangsamoro For All: Women`s Contribution to the Bangsamoro Basic Law

Photo 1COTABATO CITY – March 7, 2014 at the EM Manor Hotel, 320 women leaders and representatives from grassroots communities and women’s organizations as well as honorary guests celebrated the International Women’s Day by highlighting the strong commitment of women to achieve “a better Bangsamoro for all”. Women delegates coming from the provinces of Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Lanao Del Sur, Lanao Del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Cotabato City, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Davao City, Pagadian City and General Santos City witnessed the formal presentation and turn-over of the women’s recommendation “A Better Bangsamoro for all: Women’s Contribution to the Bangsamoro Basic Law” to members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

The recommendations are the result of 72 consultations jointly conducted by United Youth of the Philippines-Women (UnYPhil-Women), NisaUl Haqq Fi Bangsamoro (Nisa), Teduray Lambangian Women’s Organization Incorporated (TLWOI) and Bangsamoro Women’s Action for Development Initiatives (BWADI). Around 2,750 Moro, Indigenous Peoples (IP’s) and settlers women participated in the consultations conducted outside and within the core areas of the Bangsamoro territorial claim.

Six representatives from the BTC were present during the summit: Ms. Froilyn Mendoza, IP representative of GPH-BTC, Atty. Johaira Wahab, youngest member of BTC from the GPH, Mr. Talib Benito from GPH-BTC, Abdullah Camlian from MILF together with Atty. Raissa Jajurie, women representative of MILF-BTC and Chairman Mohagher Iqbal.

According to Ms. Froilyn Mendoza, the women’s recommendation arrived timely on March 4, 2014 where the Committee on Fiscal Autonomy is discussing issues on gender and development. “Na pa oo namin ang mga lalaking memPhoto 2bro ng BTC na suportahan ang women’s agenda.” (We were able to convince the male member of the BTC to support the women’s agenda). She cited Ms. Fatmawati Salapuddin, GPH-BTC member “Nagpaliwanag na may ibang pangangailangan tayong mga babae na kaylangang tugunan dahil hindi pantay ang platform na ating kinatatayuan”. (Explained that, because of unequal status quo of women and men in the society, women have special needs which have to be addressed.)

Atty. Johaira Wahab mentioned that the value being reflected during the consultations is not only giving information, but also providing an opportunity for reflection. She then added that the peace process will not be successful without the participation of the community.  Atty. Johaira appealed to the participants of the summit to help the BTC maintaining the integrity, transparency and the inclusivity of the peace process. “Importante na mag usap usap tayo at magkaroon ng pagkakataon na mag-usap kung anong tingin natin sa mga bagay bagay”. (It is important that we talk and discuss our opinion on the issues -was referring to the Bangsamoro peace process.)

Photo3“Naisalang na sa komite kanina ang recommendations ng mga kababaihan” (women’s recommendation was already presented in the committee-morning March 7, 2014) and has been discussed by the commission and is being considered for plenary deliberation. “We have come to recognize that considering the women’s agenda is significant to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The sector of women has something very important to give and women participation is vital for Bangsamoro development”, Atty. Raissa Jajurie said.

The BBL envisions a society promoting and advancing just peace, humanity and environmentally responsive agendas and policies. The framework agreement has already guaranteed the equal opportunity of men and women on access to basic social services like food, employment, education, health etc. and to pursue political aspirations and others. “These rights are similarly guaranteed for women and they are already included in the Bangsamoro Basic Law”, assured Talib Benito.

Abdullah Camlian said that “Ina assure ko kayo na ang karapatan ng kababaihan ay isusulong sa Bangsamoro” (I assured that the rights of women will be supported by the Bangsamoro) and quoted a verse from the Hadith saying “Paradise lies at the feet of your mother”, therefore “walang lalaking hindi susuporta sa mga kababaihan” (All man will always support the women).

Chairman Mohagher Iqbal expressed that their presence at the summit is a manifestation of commitment and dedication to the peace process and he assured that the BTC will look at the relevant recommendations and consider them in the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). He referred to the framework agreement where the right of women to participate iPhoto 4n politics is guaranteed including protection from any forms of violence and the allocation of funds for gender and development programs. “The participation of women in the Bangsamoro government in the future is assured”, he added.

Mr. Thomas Phipps of the British Embassy said “women’s participating in the formulation of the comprehensive framework agreement indicates that women are actively taking part in realizing the future. Women have been very helpful in upholding human rights issues, providing education and raising awareness. This experience provides great hope to the people.”

The Women’s Summit: “Celebrating Women’s Commitment for a better Bangsamoro for All”, is the final event of the project on “Entrenching Women’s Participation in the Bangsamoro Basic Law”, which has been led by UnYPhil-Women, NISA, BWADI and TLWOI and co-convened by MWDECC, MWAGG, NOORUS SALAM. Women`s organizations and various agencies provided support and contributed to the crafting and formulation of the recommendation. The project is funded by the British Embassy in the Philippines and coordinated by Conciliation Resources.

By: Hasna Adi

United Youth of the Philippines-Women

UnYPhil-Women Statement on the signing of Normalization Annex

Kulintang: The Sound of Peace
Reverberating the Call for Genuine and Just Peace in Mindanao
January 26, 2014

We have reached another milestone on the peace negotiation between Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Government of the Philippines (GPH). The last annex which is the Normalization was finally signed on January 25, 2014 by MILF and GPH peace panel in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. The Normalization is said to be the process for the Bangsamoro constituency to achieve their desired quality of live and security and to live without fear of any forms of violence or social and political injustice.

UnYPhil-Women congratulate the GPH and MILF peace panel and Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tenku Mohamed, the Malaysian facilitator, in completing the remaining annex of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its continuing commitment to end the decades of conflict in Muslim Mindanao. The FAB, the Normalization Annex, and the three other annexes which had been previously signed – Transitional Arrangements and Modalities that was signed on February 27, 2013; the Wealth Sharing Annex that was signed on July 13, 2013, and; the Power Sharing annex that was signed on December 08, 2013 – comprise the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that will lay down the foundations of just peace in the new political entity.

With the completion of the four steps of the roadmap to peace, we are now proceeding on to the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). UnYPhil-Women perceive this phase of the negotiation as crucial for the women among IP, Moro and Non-Moro to present a unified agenda and participate on public discussions to ensure women’s inclusion in decision-making processes and adoption of women’s perspective on meaningful political participation and freedom from all forms of violence and discrimination.

We, from UnYPhil-Women, are actively calling for support from all sectors and Civil Society Organizations for ensuring the inclusion of women’s issues and agenda on the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). We are also calling the support from our legislators to fast-track the passing of the BBL and stand firm in upholding just peace in Mindanao.

We are urging everyone to actively support the peace process and to continue accompanying the peace panel members and commissioners until the desired peace will be enjoyed by all the people in Mindanao.

United Youth of the Philippines-Women