Video documents volunteers' commitment vs conflict-A A +A
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
THE Mindanao People's Caucus (MPC) on Monday launched its Bantay Ceasefire video to show the commitment of their volunteers, in hopes to end the various conflicts in the society, especially in conflict-torn areas of Mindanao.
The video shows the members' actions in their communities as they accompany civilians to evacuation centers, assist and comfort them, and also accompany them home once the gun battles are over.
Rexail Q. Kaalim, a volunteer of Bantay Ceasefire, said the video also seeks to popularize the initiative work of the people and of the volunteers, some of whom are themselves victims of past conflicts and are now doing their best to contribute to the peace effort.
"Kasi when we are in the field as Bantay Ceasefire volunteer, we accompany our sisters and brothers who were victims of the conflict. And we are also trying to do our best to contribute for peace, as we would like people to do so, because every time there is a conflict, the one who will suffer is also us," Kaalim said.
Aside from helping those caught in conflict move out to safer grounds, Bantay Ceasefire members also conduct fact-finding missions, especially on human rights violations.
In line with the video launch was a ceremonial turnover of materials provided by the European Union for Bantay Ceasefire. These include motorcycles, cellular phones, camera, recorder, computers, the vest used by the members to carry out their duty, IDs, pack bags, medical kits, and raincoats.
Kaalim said they are grateful for the support the EU has been giving them as these are valuable materials that made their operations easier.
A total of 250,000 euros has been given by EU as grant to the MPC to cover the support for the Bantay Ceasefire with logistics and its equipment.
European Ambassador to the Philippines Alistair B. Macdonald said there are several networks of civil society organizations bringing together Christian, Muslim and lumad communities to help people in situations of conflict.
By giving these logistical supports, victims of conflict are able to address what besets them and are thus empowered to forge a better understanding and contribute to peace.
"We are continuing to work with the Mindanao People's Caucus and with the number of the other civil society organizations, which are helping in the peace process," Macdonald added.
Macdonald said they have just approved last September another fund worth 1.9 million euros to support the work of other three civil society organization walking in a civilian protection component of the international monitoring team.
Macdonald said the civil society had played an essential role over the years in helping strengthen the drive to peace in Mindanao.
"This is to end the conflicts and this will continue as we will also continue to support them (Bantay Ceasefire and other civil organizations) as I am very pleased to help them in building peace," Macdonald said.
He added that the support the EU has given is very minor, as what is important is the commitment of the volunteers. "It is not just their commitment nor their time but also their courage because they are also going into difficult situation." (Ivy C. Tejano)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 22, 2010.