February 6th, 2016 | by Balaod Mindanaw

The first quarter of BALAOD in 2012 took off with new and renewed partnerships.

The project entitled “PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS THROUGH CAPACITY BUILDING OF COMMUNITY-BASED WOMEN ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RIGHTS”, a capacity-building and awareness program for barangay health workers and rural women on access to information on reproductive health as a basic human right, is presently implemented by BALAOD in renewed partnerships with KAISAHAN, SEALMORE, and the LGUs of Alubijid (Barangays Lourdes, Tugasnon, Calatcat, Talaba and Sampatulog) and El Salvador (Barangays Bolisong, Cogon, Kalabaylabay, Sambulawon and Hinigdaan).  During the first quarter of 2012, BALAOD reoriented its local partners – the Mayor’s office of Alubijid and of El Salvador, Brgy. Bolisong and SEALMORE about the project objectives and program implementation. The LGUs once again expressed their willingness to participate in the implementation of the project.   Alubijid Mayor Alvin Labis even shared his willingness to also include the remaining eleven Alubijid barangays in the project. It was likewise presented to, and discussed with, various women’s rights organizations, namely, WOMENLEAD, WLB and PLRC, which helped BALAOD identify program best practices that would most likely be integrated in the implementation of the project.

This project, which intends to train rural women, barangay officials and Barangay Health Workers (BHWs), is funded by the Spanish Embassy thru the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), both new BALAOD program partners.

Renewed partnership with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) also took a full swing.  The project entitled “ENHANCEMENT OF THE CAPACITY OF COMMUNITY-BASED FARMER PARALEGALS, BARANGAY AGRARIAN REFORM COMMITTEES (BARCS) AND OTHER AGRARIAN REFORM ADVOCATES TOWARDS EFFECTIVE PARTNERSHIP IN THE AGRARIAN REFORM IMPLEMENTATION AND TO FAST-TRACK LAND ACQUISITION AND DISTRIBUTION UNDER CARPER,” which aims  to capacitate community-based farmer paralegals and other agrarian reform advocates, is presently implemented by DAR in the provinces of Bukidnon and North Cotabato in partnership with BALAOD.

On 27-29 February 2012, BALAOD conducted a Paralegal Training and Skills Enhancement  workshop for North and South Bukidnon paralegals at Loisas Pavillion in Malaybalay City. Around 40 farmer paralegals and Barangay Agrarian Reform Council representatives participated in the three-day training. At the conclusion of the training, the participants, together with the DAR personnel, crafted a plan in fast-tracking the distribution of target landholdings (and the issuance of CLOAS) in their respective areas.

The Bukidnon training was followed by the conduct of BALAOD of a similar training in North Cotabato on 20-22 March 2012. Around 40 farmer paralegals from the different Municipalities of North Cotabato participated in the Paralegal Training at the Spotswood Methodist Center, Kidapawan City. DAR officials both from the Municipal, Regional, Provincial and National level were also present in the said training, assisting and sharing their knowledge and skills particularly in the planning level.

Paralegal Clinics were also set after the trainings where BALAOD and DAR would again meet with the farmer paralegals to monitor the status of implementation of the crafted plans, assess its execution, and make adjustments if necessary.

Prior to closing the 1st quarter, BALAOD also organized a training on “EFFECTIVE LOCAL LEGISLATION WORKSHOP FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ MANDATORY REPRESENTATIVES” which was conducted in partnership with the Province of Misamis Oriental and the National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP). Around 35 indigenous people (IP) representatives from different areas of Misamis Oriental participated in the training where they were equipped with knowledge and skills on Local Governance, IPRA and other related laws. Ordinance-making was among those skills learned by the IP representatives.

Aside from the above projects being implemented, BALAOD was also invited to be Resource Persons on some fora including the Human Rights Training in Iligan City which was organized by the JPIC for around fifty (50) Barangay Council members from the different Municipalities of the Lanao provinces.

The Philippine Federation for Environmental Concerns (PFEC) also invited BALAOD Mindanaw as Resource Persons for its training on Environmental Law Enforcement Training where around 40 Mt. Kitanglad Forest Guards were trained.  The said training was a requirement before they are issued deputization orders both from the DENR and the LGU.

As part of another project of FPE (Foundation for Philippine Environment) in partnership with Alternative Law Groups (ALG), Inc., BALAOD also acted as resource person in Environmental Law Enforcement Training in Maragusan , Compostela Valley on 13-16 February 2012.

For its advocacy against mining in Surigao de Sur, BALAOD Mindanaw, with the support and partnership of the FPE, continued its interventions in the Municipality of Cantilan for the protection of the watershed in the area from the mining operation. A project “PROTECTING THE WATERSHED FOREST RESERVES THROUGH LEGAL EMPOWERMENT” is set to conduct series of training and campaign activities intended to raise awareness of the local communities on the importance of biological diversity and the conservation and protection of the communities’ resources.  This eventually will lead to a more comprehensive action towards the complete stoppage of destructive mining activities in said area.