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Streamlining the Bantay Bayanihan Assessment

Bantay Bayanihan is a network of more than 150 civil society organizations in 16 conflict-affected provinces in the country. The network advocates for security sector reform and is the officially recognized third party oversight body in the Philippine military’s implementation of its Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan. The IPSP Bayanihan’s timeframe ends in June 2016.
It is therefore incumbent upon Bantay Bayanihan to come up with a terminal assessment of the AFP’s implementation of the plan as well as recommendations for the next AFP Campaign Plan. In order to do so, the network must look back and assess the data it has.
Last July 13 to 14, 2015, the Bantay Bayanihan conducted a 2-day workshop in lieu to the crafting of a Bantay Bayanihan terminal assessment report of the AFP’s implementation of IPSP Bayanihan. As part of the priming session, Miss Tolosa presented the Bantay Bayanihan Institutional documents (BB History, Manifesto, Mission and Vision, and the BB Assessment Tools). Commander Thomas Boehlke pointed out that in order to streamline its assessments, the network must properly define what it is looking for.
On October 15 to 16, a 2-day writeshop was held to further define and nuance the Analysis Objectives identified in the workshop as well as formalize how the assessments are to be reported.
Necessary follow up activities would be the cascading and actual refining of Bantay Bayanihan assessments. This would entail closer coordination between the National Secretariat, TWG, and local Bantay Bayanihan chapters.
The activities were made possible by the funding support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung – Philippines (FES).

“We Support Community Policing” Video


The Bantay Bayanihan Network supports the Community Policing project. In this video, the participants of the project’s Post-Activity Assessment last November 5, 2015 stated their support in the project.





Elements of the Community Policing Project


Community Policing exists in many countries of the world. It is not only important for police to understand the principles of community policing but also for the community to understand their role in community policing. Community policing is a method of policing based on the joint effort of the citizen and the police who work together towards alleviating neighborhood problems. Together they also attempt to satisfy the expressed need of citizens in order to enhance community resident’s quality of life.

The British Council is currently implementing a community policing project in seven conflict-affected provinces in Mindanao. The project will contribute to building a culture of community driven policing and by so doing complement the peace building efforts and the transition process. It will prepare communities for the introduction of community policing by increasing their awareness on the topic and enhancing their meaningful participation as to how this can look like such that it will benefit them.

Although community policing may differ from country to country there are a few basic principles that are the same. These are: Service Delivery, Partnerships, Problem solving, Empowerment and Accountability.


Peace in Mindanao Video Message

This video message was shot during the Bangsamoro Basic Law Forum in Tarlac. Together with the Bantay Bayanihan (BB) National Secretariat, Security Reform Initiative (SRI), BB-Tarlac, the forum resource persons, the participants of the said forum screamed, “Peace in Mindanao, now na! Now na, peace in Mindanao!”


Bantay Bayanihan participates in the Operational Law Course

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), in partnership with the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) and the German Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) organized the third batch training on Operational Law Course: The Legal Dimensions of Military Operations held last July 6 to 10, 2015 at Club Balai Isabel in Batangas.

It aimed at familiarizing the participants with fundamentals of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Human Rights (HR) Law as it applies to International (IAC) and Non-International Armed Conflicts (NIAC). The said activity is also part of the goal to institutionalize democratic control of the security sector. (Source:

The training was participated by Bantay Bayanihan participants from Sulu, Cotabato-Maguindanao, Dumaguete and from the National Secretariat, Security Reform Initiative, together with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officers, and government officials from OPAPP, CHR, NSC.


How Bantay Bayanihan strengthens bond between AFP and the People

It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child. The same principle applies in coming up ways to ensure the country’s security. It calls for “bayanihan,” a value that is already inherent in Filipino culture.

Taking responsibility

Simply put: Everyone must get involved. After all, it’s an issue that affects the whole nation.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) itself knows that military solutions alone will not suffice in helping the country move forward. The military also has to reach out to the people and assure them of their friendship and protection.

With that in mind, the AFP Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan was crafted and developed.

Nearly five years since its implementation, the IPSP Bayanihan has clarified the roles of the different security players which, aside from the AFP, include the Philippine National Police (PNP), the local government unit (LGU), and other stakeholders in peace and internal security.

Major General Leo Cresente Ferrer (retired), a member of the Joint Normalization Committee, briefs members of civil society organizations under the Bantay Bayanihan network during the "Seminar Workshop of Bantay Bayanihan Civil Society Organizations (CSO) on Normalization in Bangsamoro" in Davao City on last June 26, 2014.
Major General Leo Cresente Ferrer (retired), a member of the Joint Normalization Committee, briefs members of civil society organizations under the Bantay Bayanihan network during the “Seminar Workshop of Bantay Bayanihan Civil Society Organizations (CSO) on Normalization in Bangsamoro” in Davao City on last June 26, 2014.

Empowering people

Moreover, IPSP Bayanihan is the only peace and security plan that has opened space for the institutionalization of civil society involvement — the Bantay Bayanihan.

Launched on November 29, 2011, the Bantay Bayanihan is a civil society-led initiative, which created an oversight body over the armed forces. It serves as a dialogue space where issues of peace and security can be openly discussed.

Bantay Bayanihan has likewise conducted periodic evaluations on the implementation of the IPSP Bayanihan and has provided recommendations to the AFP Chief of Staff at the national level and to the Commanding General at the unified command/division/brigade level.

Steady steps

In April 2015, AFP chief of staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. issued the rule of engagement between AFP units and the Bantay Bayanihan network to further institutionalize the active partnership between the civil society groups and the military.

On June 25, 2015, the National IPSP Bayanihan Conference was held so the Bantay Bayanihan could deliver its periodic assessment of the implemetation of the IPSP Bayanihan.

The conference was attended by the AFP Chief of Staff, the AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3, as well as representatives from the general headquarters, Major Services, and Unified Commands.

Representatives from partner institutions such as the PNP, Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Security Council (NSC), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), House of Represenatives, as well as other stakeholders.

Source: “United We Stand: How Bantay Bayanihan strengthens bond between AFP and the People”, 30 June 2015,,

Policies in Action: Locating the Intersection of Peace, Security and Governance

participatory governance forum 062515 e-vite

Bantay Bayanihan, in cooperation with Security Reform Initiative (SRI), the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Bureau of Local Government Supervision (DILG-BLGS), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), is conducting a Participatory Governance Forum entitled “Policies in Action: Locating the Intersection of Peace, Security and Governance” tomorrow, June 25, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the BSA Twin Towers (Tower A), Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.

The forum brings to the fore civil society’s participation and key role at the local and national levels in the areas of peace, security and governance. It likewise serves as a venue for a sharing of technical inputs and actual experiences from the ground on how peace, security, and governance policies are translated into practice.

In addition, the morning session will zoom in on the local government level in relation to the Peace and Order Council, the proposed Peace and Order Public Safety Plan, and the Comprehensive Local Integration Program. Technical inputs from the DILG will be followed by the sharing of lessons and experiences harvested from initiatives from the ground. In the afternoon, Bantay Bayanihan conveners from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will present their assessment of AFP’s implementation of IPSP-Bayanihan as well as their operational and policy recommendations to address local issues on peace and security.

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ADDU CEAC honors Bantay Bayanihan

award of BB davao

On 22 June, the Ateneo de Davao University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council honors Bantay Bayanihan as a “trusted institutional partner in promoting and advocating the common good through social justice intended for the empowerment of the poor, the oppressed, the marginized, and the excluded by way of collaborative, sustainable, and purposive initiatives with utmost respect of human dignity leading to the reconciliation with the Creator, creation and the human society.”

The award was conferred during the opening of the University Festival Recognition Ceremony held at the Xaier Hall of the new Community Center of the First Companions together with the select partners of Ateneo de Davao University (AdDu).

Source: Mr Hadji Balajadia of BB Davao

Nurturing a ‘peace-centered’ village in Sulu

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Adversity is said to beget adversity.

But in conflict-torn Sulu province, hope beckons from a youth-led, peace-building initiative that has transformed an almost deserted village of Parang town into a vibrant community of some 300 families where people regard social harmony as equally important to their need for daily subsistence.

And with the Bangsamoro transition on the horizon, the experience of building and sustaining a so-called “peace-centered community” in Parang’s Barangay (village) Silangkan provides vital lessons on how to organize and maintain law and order in the future autonomous region’s culturally diverse communities.

“The Silangkan experience is a story of community folk taking care of and nurturing the peace,” said Rosemain Abduraji of the nongovernment organization Tumikang Sama-Sama (TSS), or Together We Move Forward.

“While we practically need the police for law enforcement, there is no pillar stronger than the people taking responsibility for keeping the peace in their community,” she said in an interview with the Inquirer during a recent peace seminar in Davao City.

The strong desire of Silangkan folk to keep the peace is borne out of a recent episode.

In 2001, government forces bombed the coastal village while pursuing Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari who had gone on a rampage after falling out of the political graces of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The assault on Silangkan left a deep sense of insecurity among the villagers. After the manhunt for Misuari had long ceased, many villagers chose not to return except to tend to their farms during the day.

Soon, the village became a halfway route for Abu Sayyaf bandits, whether for escaping toward island hideaways or getting into the Sulu mainland.

In 2012, the Jolo-based TSS staff went on a 45-minute drive to Silangkan to enjoy its pristine white-sand beach. There, they had a chance encounter with Abdtazir Tingkasan, a former MNLF commander and among the few residents who remained in the village.

What was supposed to be a weekend getaway turned out to be a deep and engaging conversation about an aging man’s dream for his family.

“The commander told us how much he wanted his children and grandchildren to acquire an education so that they would have a bright future,” TSS staff member Khamar Alama said. “We didn’t expect to have a very emotionally touching exchange with him.”

Alama and TSS colleagues, who are trained in conflict mediation, began planning how they could help fulfill Tingkasan’s dream.

“We started with a community dialogue. We had people express what they wanted to see happen in their community and how they could help achieve these goals,” Abduraji said.

Simple rules

“Mainly, the Silangkan villagers don’t want a repeat of the 2001 experience when they were bombed by the military. They also resolved to address a host of family feuds which had resulted in the displacement of involved parties, hence lessen their opportunities for earning income, thereby perpetuating poverty,” Abduraji recalled.

The Silangkan villagers agreed on a set of seemingly simple rules to keep the peace:
— Monitor people entering their community to guard against the intrusion of bandits.
— No public display of firearms to prevent unintended provocation.
— Organize households into clusters of 10 led by an elder to whom problems were first referred, and if unresolved, were elevated to the higher leadership layers—barangay officials or local police.

“These three basic rules are contained in a community covenant that the households signed,” Alama said.

With peace taking root, the displaced families returned. Soon government service came, like medical and dental missions. The village’s elementary and high schools were repaired.

The community’s peace infrastructure has been maintained. After every congregational prayer, people hold a community dialogue presided by the elders whereby issues and problems are openly discussed and resolved, said Alama.

“This makes the bond among villagers stronger,” he added.

Three years on, with peace in their midst, Silangkan folk are able to look forward to a more hopeful and promising future like developing the village’s ecotourism potentials.

Silangkan also hosts schoolchildren from at least three neighboring villages that have no schools.

“For its role in maintaining access to education, Silangkan is becoming a lighthouse for other areas,” Alama said.

Experiences like that of Silangkan are rich models for lessons on community policing “that hopefully can be mainstreamed and become the norm,” according to Kathline Tolosa of the Security Reform Initiative.

Pieter Cronje, consultant to the Bangsamoro Community Policing Project of the British Council, said that such an approach was fitting for postconflict situations.

“In the 21st century, you cannot conduct policing in a military manner,” Cronje emphasized.

The concept of community policing was developed more fully by the United Kingdom after riots rocked south London in 1981. It sought to address racial discrimination in the conduct of law-enforcement work.

Tolosa said that her group was hopeful the emerging approach to community policing in the future Bangsamoro would be a mix of international and local experiences.

To ensure a high degree of success, the policing approach that must be developed for the Bangsamoro should be “along the grain of local practices and culture,” said Nicholas Thomas, British Council country director for the Philippines.

Alama and Abduraji, who are in their early 30s, hope law and order issues in the province would be resolved by Sulu folk who know more about its solutions than anyone else.

For the long-standing and seemingly intractable problem of community conflicts in Sulu, it bodes well for the entire Bangsamoro that the innocence and fresh perspective of youth, if harnessed, can make a difference.

Read more: Rosauro, Ryan, “Nurturing a ‘peace-centered’ village in Sulu”, 16 June 2015,,

BB undergoes orientation on community policing in Basilan


ISABELA CITY, Basilan, June 15 (PIA) – The Basilan Bantay Bayanihan, a multi-stakeholder group that monitors the implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Program (IPSP) Bayanihan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines underwent an orientation on community policing, recently.

Around thirty participants coming from the different civil society groups, non-government organizations, some government line agencies, the military, police and other security sectors, including women, youth, and religious sectors were gathered for the baseline study on community policing held at the Querexeta Formation Center, this city.

The Security Reform Initiative (SRI) who serves as the national secretariat for Bantay Bayanihan spearheaded the study with the support of the British Council, and funded by the United Kingdom Government’s Golden Thread Community Policing Program.

Maribel A. Dano of SRI said that the project was conceptualized to increase the public’s knowledge on community policing and come up with a community policing strategy. It added that the project uses a “bibingka approach” emphasizing that a top-down approach should not be imposed to communities but rather the communities should be on board at the start of developing the community policing strategy.

She explained that community policing is a method of policing based on the joint effort of the community and the police in working together, identifying and understanding problems, coming up with solutions to alleviate the problems, and implementing the solution.

“Community policing is not only about crime, it is about the quality of life of the community because there are issues (like poverty, access to education, poor health service) that surrounds community policing. It rests on a shared understanding of the community and the culture, concerns, and priorities of the community,” Dano said, stressing that it requires the active participation of the community from the initial stages as well as in implementing the plan of action.

Through dialogue and workshops, the participants shared their collective understanding of community policing. Each agency and organization also shared the programs and activities implemented to address issues related to peace and order.

The orientation-workshop was the first of the three waves that the project will unfurl, said Dano, which is awareness, consultation and feedback.

The SRI has tapped Nagdilaab Foundation Inc. as its local partner for the conduct of the community policing project in Basilan. SRI is also conducting the same to the provinces of North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, and Sulu. (ALT/RVC/PIA9-Basilan)

Source: Carbayas, Rene V., “Bantay Bayanihan undergoes orientation on community policing in Basilan”, 15 June 2015,,

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