An Indomitable Spirit for Peace: The Bantay Bayanihan Story
“We believe that the Filipino people are likewise the most indispensable and important actors in any effort to win the peace.”
– Voltaire Gazmin, Former National Defense Secretary
With the changing of guards back in 2010, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) envisioned a transparent and engaging strategy to help fulfill its mandate as ‘protector of the people and the state.’ Called Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan, it stands as an open invitation for every Filipino to pave the way for a peaceful and developed nation.
The IPSP-Bayanihan was a game-changer on how state forces, particularly the military, reach out and relate to common folks. Deep is the trauma that Martial Law inflicted to communities, especially to historically conflict-ridden areas, where the gravest of abuses were afflicted. And every day, soldiers and civilians deal with the stigma of violence and suspicion the both harbour.
At its heart, IPSP-Bayanihan transcended the state-centric and militaristic approach of the AFP. The rallying cry of “Winning the Peace” conforms with its People-Centered Security paradigm, where human lives are not merely tagged as collateral damage. Human Rights, International Humanitarial Law, and Rule of Law (HR/IHL/RoL) are honoured and observed.
Highlighting the spirit of bayanihan (unity and cooperation), its most urgent call was to harness the energy of different stakeholders to be involved in peace and development efforts. Thus was born the Bantay Bayanihan initiative, a multi-sectoral oversight body created to ensure that the principle of IPSP would go down the grassroots and nurture the people torn by war and strife for too long.
I. Of Beginnings and Winning the Peace
The foundations of Bantay Bayanihan was laid down by reform-minded civil society organizations (CSOs), when they initiated conversation with then Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr. As the winds of change swept through the country, led by the Tuwid na Daan platform that paved the way to the P-Noy presidency, a civil-society led oversight body that is not beholden to any partisan agenda was imagined. Encouraging multi-sectoral engagement, it would ensure that the armed forces uphold the principles of IPSP Bayanihan. It was the perfect complement for the fervour of nationalism and transparency from the 2010 elections.
Mirroring one of its principal merits, the establishment of Bantay Bayanihan was similar to a peace negotiation, where each word was carefully discussed. For instance, finalizing the name Bantay Bayanihan did not come easy. First, the CSOs offered BMAC for Bayanihan Multisectoral Advisory Committee. The military was not amenable to use the word “advisory” as they already have an advisory board. The name was changed to BPF for Bayanihan Partners Forum but the CSOs felt that it was too early to call each other partners. Finally, they agreed to call the partnership Bantay Bayanihan, a civilian-led initiative with AFP and other government stakeholders as dialogue partners.
Some officers were apprehensive at first, especially intelligence officers, but after a series of talks, they were able to reach an agreement and decided to formally launch BB on Nov. 29, 2011.
Formally convened in November 2011, Bantay Bayanihan – known as BB in security sector circles – started with seven founding organizations, namely: the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID); Libertas; International Center for Innovation, Transformation, and Excellence in Governance (INCITEgov); Philippine Center for the International Criminal Court (PCICC); Balay Mindanao Foundation, Inc.; Balay Rehabilitation Center; and with the Working Group on Security Sector Reform (WGSSR) as convener and national secretariat that took charge in creating its basic documents and credo. At present, members of the WGSSR, who are instrumental in the creation and development of BB, has become an independent think-tank called Security Reform Initiative (SRI).
Bantay Bayanihan has become the network recognized by the AFP to perform oversight function for the IPSP-Bayanihan. And the gains of IPSP-Bayanihan have now transcended three Chiefs of Staff – a testimony to the relevance and exigency of a modern armed forces truly motivated to be the protector of not only the state but also its people.
Roles and Functions
Adapting a Whole of Nation Approach, where government agencies are responsive to peace and development efforts, BB also rallied for the support of local government units and the police force. Its areas of concern also cover HR/IHL/RoL, Transparency and Accountability, Participation, as well as Security Sector Reform and Development. One BB partner succinctly described it as “Whole of Nation Approach but localised.”
Thus, the network provided a critical and progressive dialogue space where the general public can be in touch with the government entities. Its extensive and expansive duties include:
• Serving as a venue or direct channel to raise issues regarding the IPSP-Bayanihan, including peace and security concerns of local communities
• Conducting and validating periodic evaluations of IPSP-Bayanihan
• Providing recommendations to the Chief of Staff (national level) and Commanding General (unified command/ division/ brigade level) on IPSP-Bayanihan
• Generating concise policy recommendations on security reforms together with peace and conflict dynamics, to be submitted and presented to respective peace and order councils (local executive) and sanggunian (local legislative), all the way to national-level Cabinet security cluster (executive) and Congress (legislative)
• Promoting Bantay Bayanihan to other potential partner stakeholders
• Institutionalizing the active partnership of government and civil society
Indeed, the challenge of Bantay Bayanihan proved to be daunting, one that has never been done in the illustrious if tainted account of the armed forces. But as history proved in its many incarnations, those who dare go the distance and strike bolder paths are bound to witness tall tales and the impossible come to life.
II. Of Narratives and Victories
At a glance, the composition of Bantay Bayanihan aims to capture the diversity of stakeholders sharing an interest for peace and security issues. Civil society and non-government organizations from an array of issues – including human rights, faith, environment, and labor, just to name a few – make for distinctive and inspiring story.
Pakaradjaan for Peace
Pakaradjaan Basilan, which commemorates the anniversary of the province, becomes more than just an annual feast for the Bantay Bayanihan Basilan cluster. It was during its celebration back in 2012 when the first multi-stakeholder conference about BB was held in the capitol. However, it took quite some time before the concept was accepted and adapted.
“When I saw what Bantay Bayanihan can do, I started asserting. Sayang naman ang ginagawa kung hindi natin siya ipagpapatuloy,” shared lead convener Miriam “Dedet” Suacito, who have long worked in the Basilan peace circles with several NGOs, particularly the Nagdilaab Foundation. The problem was too enormous to be solved by lone warriors, and Ms. Dedet knew that a partnership with different stakeholders is the right approach – exactly what BB was offering.
Fortunately, the baggage of history did not affect the initial run of BB Basilan, as past misunderstandings did not prevent the military from working with old civilian colleagues in this new initiative. As peace and security concerns were also advocacies of partner organizations, they promoted BB in their daily missions. This paved the way for the network to gain more exposure on the ground, allowing the public to know more about the unique collaboration.
And for partners, BB increased their social capital. “Now we can say that we have a group. So even in areas where we don’t have presence, once we introduce ourselves as Bantay Bayanihan, we strike a connection,” said Ms. Dedet. As for the military, they know that maintaining good relations does not excuse them from being transparent and accountable to BB’s role as an oversight body. In fact, they are the ones who now report to the Peace and Order Councils the details of operations, from casualties to how many shells were fired.
Indeed, Bantay Bayanihan enhanced the gains and trust that Ms. Dedet and her allies have achieved in the area. A safe and secure dialogue space was created where parties can speak up without the fear of retaliation or indifference. Moreover, it allowed for joint undertakings that benefit the community, from medical missions to livelihood caravans. It is never about taking sides or simply being critical, but to set each other’s vision towards a common goal.
B. LANAO DEL NORTE
A Call for Kalilintad
When the conveners of Lanao del Norte, led by Musa Sanguila, first gathered with their AFP counterparts to talk about Bantay Bayanihan, a strange thing happened. An outpouring of experiences led the ‘Martial Law babies,’ who are the immediate casualties of war-torn Lanao, to come face-to-face with the contemporaries of their aggressors. Though they have worked with the military before BB, this has never happened. “When you share the same sentiments, everything became easier and spontaneous. We discovered what drives each of us to fight for peace,” Musa recalled. Thus, they decided to call themselves Bantay Kalilintad, which in Maranao means ‘peace.’
This despite the fact that the groups was a ragtag of different, even differing, groups. There were parties from the extreme Left, victims of HR violations, centrist, and Islamists – so the challenge at the very start was how you engage and transform with people who have been so critical of each other that it borders on resentment. One cannot help but be wary of the prospects, and here Musa turns a bit nostalgic in recounting the small triumphs that their BB cluster were able to achieve.
One of their first projects was the Bayanihan Peace Center, a conflict resolution venue of the community for settling rido (family feud) and other conflicts. At first, stakeholders withdraw their support because of financial constraints. But it wasn’t money that the cluster was asking. Time, effort, and available materials from different stakeholders became the communal action that made the building a standing legacy of what bayanihan can accomplish. It was attended by Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista – a gesture of reverence for a small barangay that has long believed to be forgotten by the government.
Another milestone for the Lanao del Norte group was how the trust between civil society and the military returned because of the BB engagement. Back in August 2008, which Musa referred as the most recent war in the province, a whole municipality was cordoned for one week with food supplies slowly being depleted. His group asked for passage to bring in relief goods, but was refused for fear that they are also providing for the insurgents. It put a strain in their relations, until their commitment to uphold IPSP-Bayanihan changed the dynamics.
On a more personal level, the transformation of both military and civilian happened during the Culture of Peace workshop. Officers trembled when sharing their commitment and vision of a peaceful Mindanao while one of the facilitators admitted to a traumatic encounter while detained inside a camp.
“Everyone is wounded. And this shows us how important it is that we talk to each other. We always tell them that we are here not to criticise but to be constructive on how we can push for peace and development. We are here to help,” concluded Musa.
Guiding the Spirit of Bayanihan
Sitting beside each other, Fr. Romeo “Vhil” Villanueva and Rosemain “Dang” Abduraji make for an odd couple, especially a tireless one working for peace. Candidly, they shared how being a convener started as a temporary assignment, given the challenges for peace work that their area presents.
The dominantly Muslim community of Sulu is wary of soldiers, and it took some months for Bantay Bayanihan’s “association” with the AFP to wear off. The network was initially thought to be a front for military work, and some see them as mouthpieces for the government. Still, the resolute duo together with the national secretariat organized forums to bring the initiative closer to public understanding, if not acceptance. Efforts paid off, after explaining the oversight and independent nature of BB, as a certain level of assurance has been reached. At present, BB Sulu has five partner-networks.
Though coordination and peace work were not new to Fr. Vhil and Dang, their affiliation as Bantay Bayanihan gave credibility and respect to their undertaking. “The military share their big plans with us, and we give suggestions. Even our local government pitch in, feeling nila pati sila binabantayan,” chuckled Fr. Vhil.
Such reception more than makes up for the rather casual public response to Bantay Bayanihan. They are harping on the non-combative stance of the collaboration, to prove that the armed forces are veering away from their violent past. And in a consensus decision, they changed their name to Gabay Bayanihan, to show that they are not fault-finders but solution-seekers who can work together with other stakeholders in the search for peace.
The Siege that Changed the Game
Though the Bantay Bayanihan Zamboanga cluster has touch based with the military during events such as Week of Peace, it was only when they were organized as a network that relations became stronger and consistent.
“There was a mutual recognition of what one can do for the other. For instance, the NGOs start to understand the military culture. On the other hand, the military was able to see that NGOs can also contribute. And together, we can show the public that there is another aspect of peace work, one that combines civilian and military work,” explained Dr. Grace Rebollos, one of the cluster’s conveners.
And this sincerity translated into trust, as evidenced when laying the groundwork for community projects as part of disaster response and rehabilitation. The military became a figure of trust and reliability, not just a warm body holding a gun.
But this perspective would be challenged yet again when the Zamboanga Siege erupted. “The Siege tested the military’s non-combative stance. Until today, we have an evacuee situation though the fighting has long been over,” lamented Dr. Rebollos. It brought back the horrors of the past, where military action proved to be a disastrous proposition.
Still, these setbacks would prove to be temporary, as the cluster looks forward to grow its reach. The whole Zamboanga cluster conducted processing and reflection sessions not only within their ranks but also to with the entire Bantay Bayanihan network. Dialogue encounters between Bantay Bayanihan and AFP’s WESMINCOM also preserved the gains and even strengthened the bonds that have been forged. Seeds have been sown, and it’s now a matter of follow-up and pursuing the opportunities for engagement that opens up. Expansion remains at the heart and soul of BB Zamboanga.
Collective Healing through Peace
“Because we are in Mindanao, dialogue is our second nature,” quipped Hadji Balajadja, one of the co-conveners of Bantay Bayanihan Davao. Sitting down after a forum on the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws or CARHRIHL, a rather heated discussion about land mines and lumad issues demonstrated how an open and safe dialogue space is practiced in the network.
Moreover, such exercise embodies who they really are – confronting thorny issues head-on – and that makes BB a natural fit for their group. They believe that engaging parties through difficult parleys opens the door to potential partnerships. However, this kind of courage and determination were forged through a process where paranoia from both sides resulted to mutual alienation.
“We call it the Martial Law hangover, where we have a common paranoia over the security forces. But in order to move forward, we need to get over this trauma. So each stakeholder would wish to contribute to a collective healing by coming together in the spirit of participatory development and processes,” Hadji pointed out.
And this collective healing is not only for civilians but also for the soldiery, who bears the brunt of distrust when IPSP-Bayanihan was introduced. Gail Ilagan, head of Ateneo de Davao’s Center for Psychological Extension and Research Services (COPERS) and a colleague of Hadji, said that what made IPSP different from its anti-insurgency predecessors lies on the soldier finally putting down his gun.
“We wanted to see if the implementation of IPSP can move the soldier away from its abusive image. And yes, Bantay Bayanihan also has an effect on them,” affirmed Ilagan, who then elaborated on the anti-ABUSO (stands for Alak, Babae, Utang, Sugal, Others) mentality that the ground troops have adopted since then. They also carry in their pockets a copy of the rules of engagement, while always remembering to “kamay, kaway, bati, ngiti” during civilian encounters.
Both conveners admit of the difficult mountain ahead, and they see trust-building as key to realizing the full potential of Bantay Bayanihan. It may be the long road, but there is no shortcut to peace. And with BB, the dialogue has shifted from a vantage point of power and strength down to the grassroots, for a military that observes human rights and focused on defense and not the militarization of communities.
F. SAMAR and LEYTE
Bridging Peace and Security
Even before Bantay Bayanihan, the Samar Island Press Club has been more than a watchdog in the regions of Samar and Leyte. They also bridge government offices to communities, helping ensure that basic services reach its beneficiaries in one of the last insurgency frontline in the Visayas. “Even before BB, tinitignan na namin ang state forces. We saw this as an opportunity for more engagement in the peace and conflict dynamics in our area,” said Rommel Rutor, one of its co-conveners.
The timing of BB being introduced to the area was a bit fortuitous, as focused military operations suddenly shifted to the northern part of Samar Island, leading to almost daily encounters. With the implementation of Bantay Bayanihan, concerned stakeholders like the media can check on the impact of these raids. As the youngest cluster, they started with media organizations until they were able to partner with other CSOs and issue-based groups.
For Rutor and his fellow journalists, to be organized for the oversight and evaluation of IPSP-Bayanihan presented another pair of shoes to fill. When asked if he was ever put in a compromising position between being a press member and a BB partner, Rutor said that the network has maintained its “neutral identity.” The more challenging posture was how to not be identified as biased to the armed forces.
Samar and Leyte were divided into two separate chapters, to expand the civil-military engagement especially with the prevailing issue on the declaration of provinces as conflict-manageable and development-ready (CMDR). They would continue to herald and embody the message of Bantay Bayanihan to bring together the civilian and military to win the peace.
How Do We Sustain Peace?
Compared to other conflict-ridden areas, Pampanga stands as one of the model areas for transforming a hotbed of insurgency to a normalized state. With former insurgents now joining the mainstream and enjoying political rights, what is the role that Bantay Bayanihan can fulfill?
For Rommel Combis, one of its conveners, the network can ensure that peace is sustained while striving to create a sustainable life for the community. It also entails that issues about security and peace would be taken seriously. “The first engagement we had with the local government, they learned the importance of the Peace and Order Council,” said Combis. Currently, Bantay Bayanihan seats as independent observer in the Regional Peace and Order Council (PPOC) as answer to the invitation of the Regional DILG.
They use the assessment matrix to identify and discuss issues on peace and security. Consequently, it’s also how they promote Bantay Bayanihan to different stakeholders, so that they can realize how integral security sector reform is even during peacetime. This proves that an initiative like BB is still relevant even after the last fire has been shot. “I dream of saying that BB is very active down to the barangay level so that they can be an active participants, especially in peace and order council,” concluded Combis.
From Plaza to a Safe Dialogue Space
It was not too long ago when the conveners of Bantay Bayanihan Cotabato-Maguindanao, led by Abusama “Bobby” Taguntong from the Good Wednesday Group for Peace, were shouting their grievances in a plaza. They were protesting about ceasefire violations and infringement of human rights, with accusations and reports coming in daily. Now, they can discuss the allegations and other issues face-to-face with the military.
Though upholding the supremacy of the peace process is one of the motivations behind their affiliation with BB, the cluster also confronts other pertinent issues such as narco-politics, illegal logging, and the effects of rido (revenge-driven clan feud). Spoilers of peace, such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, are also concerns for the province tainted by the now infamous Maguindanao Massacre.
Taguntong shared that much ground have been covered when dealing with rido. He claims that much of the reduction in these violent family in-fighting can be attributed to BB. And the use of state security forces, such as the military and Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGUs), as instrumentalities of rido has also ceased.
Though one may be wary of such a bold statement, the legitimacy and credibility that Bantay Bayanihan gave to its members strengthened their role as mediator to conflict situations such as rido. In an area where, statistically, skirmishes often originate from inter-clan hostility, the dialogue and confidence-building with security forces as well as the community may have paved the way to its timely resolution.
Civilian oversight also makes government troops operating in the area accountable to the communities where they operate. “Mataas ang level of awareness. Magsisimula pa lang ang operations, there will be text messages from BB members,” shared Taguntong.
Amidst skepticisms surrounding their impartiality, the cluster continues their expansion work, explaining the public merits of IPSP-Bayanihan as another path towards peace. “Kung sino man ang naghahangand ng kapayapaan, walang iba kundi kaming native inhabitant. We’ve experienced war, and we want to live na walang ungol ng bala at walang nagugugtom na tao,” said Taguntong, looking at the horizon.
III. Of Impact and Influence
In less than three years, from its modest beginnings of seven core organizations, the Bantay Bayanihan network now has a national reach of 15 clusters – National Capital Region, Tarlac, Pampanga, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Samar-Leyte, Misamis Oriental, Cotabato-Maguindanao, Davao, Zamboanga, Zamboanga-Sibugay, Basilan, Sulu, Lanao del Norte, and Lanao del Sur.
In a region where conflict seems to be woven in each nation’s identity, Bantay Bayanihan serves as an innovative model for peace work. It is the first in Southeast Asia to institutionalize civilian oversight over the military’s internal security campaign plan. And the only civil society network focusing on security sector reform or SSR issues in the country.
But it is in the way it rouse communities to action – to own the problem of hostility, instead of merely being the victim – that Bantay Bayanihan proved its merit and relevance. Though much work still needs to be done in terms of expansion and exploration of opportunities, the ground is indeed fertile for the seeds of development to be sowed.
ALL IN may be the mantra that every Bantay Bayanihan partner swears by. It defines the commitment to a shared vision woven through its narrative, giving voice to marginalized groups that have never been provided access and space to directly lay their grievances to authorities. Until now.
In fact, several clusters have “grown” into it, giving local flavour to BB by adopting names that are more attuned with native sentiments. This allows the network to be more amenable to locals, like in Sulu where the term “gabay” garner more support than the threatening “bantay.” When an initiative’s guiding principle is able to assimilate into cultural speak, it hints on how it has already been translated into practice.
The ripple effect of a far-reaching yet receptive network like BB extends to the organizations it has aligned with. It gives equal footing to both renowned and novice groups, adding credibility to their valuable undertaking, no matter the sector or issues they are focused on. As Bantay Bayanihan partners, it complements their respective tasks. For instance the Samar Island Press Club is able to obtain balanced information because of the relationship they were able to build with battalion commanders.
However, nothing can eclipse the direct impact that gambits like Bantay Bayanihan can bring to a certain community. Reeling from the now infamous massacre, feared to spiral down to a rido, the conveners of Maguindanao shared that the incidence of this revenge-driven clan war has been greatly reduced. For Davao cluster, BB enhanced the collective healing of both soldiers and civilians as the former reinvents its image as a bearer of peace, instead of guns. No matter how small the victory, like in Zamboanga where partners have just been introduced to the culture of the armed forces, its sustained execution compounds its gains over time.
It may be a great misgiving to simply refer to Bantay Bayanihan as a public watchdog, a stigma that some clusters had to overcome to earn the trust of their military peers. Stakeholders regard it as an index of public contentment, where the quarterly meetings become a venue to look into how accountability and good governance are applied on the ground. Ultimately, this opens up the exercise of policy-making to a wider set of perspectives, one that is based on the consequences and triumphs encountered by the community.
Bantay Bayanihan is an osmosis of goodwill and camaraderie between the government and its partners. In accomplishing its duties and responsibilities, cooperation proved to be the corollary benefit. This is palpable during activities organized by the network, as conveners cordially greet military officials before they present their update reports on the peace and security situation in the area. Others have established direct contact, easily sending in reports and reinforcements whenever a conflict situation arises.
Such bayanihan when it comes to governance is not confined to the armed forces. BB became a venue for local government units and line agencies to also meet with civilians in a safe space where no judgment would be placed. It is the manifestation of the Whole of Nation Approach, as public and private stakeholders come together to discover and execute solutions to decades-long conflict and security issues.
Confronting the challenges
At its ideal state, Bantay Bayanihan would be an integral part of every community. Here, security concerns are shouldered by each member, as they realize how big an impact it has over their daily lives. Though IPSP-Bayanihan may be limited to the terms of its advocates, its principles of transparency and broad network cooperation could hopefully become part of the military culture. Further, it also stands as a framework that other state forces, even government agencies, can emulate.
In terms of expansion, since the partners are all in voluntary basis, then operational support can be increased. Since the very task of BB is to develop a diverse and holistic network of partners, more dialogues and confidence-building must be encouraged.
Admittedly, some clusters are not as engaged as others, either from the present situation of their area that makes it difficult to cultivate relationships or the disinclination of some ground commanders on Bantay Bayanihan. However, as proven by several conveners, these challenges can be tackled by building relationships and information campaigns.
The universal message of Bantay Bayanihan is about working together towards winning the peace. By sharing the gains and duties of laying the groundwork for conflict resolution and community development, it creates a space for conflict survivors to be empowered in creating their future. At the same time, it brings government closer to its constituents, offering a human perspective of security issues rather than its traditional institutional stance. Ultimately, the message of peace would be just as pervasive as the freedom that we celebrate in every waving flag.
BANTAY BAYANIHAN: A TIMELINE OF PEACE
In what could prove to be a historical meeting, members of the CSOs and OJ3 had a meeting with CSAFP GEN EDUARDO SL OBAN JR AFP regarding the proposal to form a CSO Advisory Council for the IPSP Bayanihan. The CSOs proposal and the AFP counter-proposal were presented to Gen Eduardo Oban for review. Gen. Oban was open to the idea.
In a meeting held at AFPCOC, Bantay Bayanihan co-convenor Dr. Apple Santiago-Oreta presented the concept paper for the formation of Bayanihan Multisectoral Advisory Council (BMAC). Salient points include its operational structure and how it would uphold the primacy of the peace process.
The name of the Bayanihan Multisectoral Advisory Council (BMAC) was changed to Bayanihan Partners Forum (BPF) to avoid the hierarchical connotation of the term “advisory.”
In a meeting held at Garden Orchid Hotel in Zamboanga, the lead convener of BPF, Dr. Jennifer Oreta, presented the BPF to the members of the academe and CSOs in Zamboanga. The members of the CSOs joined in a discussion as regards the formation of a local BPF in Zamboanga. After setting a follow-up meeting, the local CSOs agreed to have their own local launching on November 2011.
In a meeting held at Aguinaldo Room in AFPCOC, the members of the CSOs, the officers from the AFP and the Quad Staff of the PNP further discussed the details regarding the formation of the BPF. Important points discussed include the importance of institutionalizing the BPF before the CSAFP resigns in order to have a continuing-institutional partnership with the office of the CSAFP. Also, partnership with the PNP was emphasized, esp. in the light of the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (JPSCC).
In a meeting held in Ateneo de Naga, the members of the academe from Ateneo de Naga and CSOs in Naga were gathered for an introductory meeting as regards the Bayanihan Partners Forum (BPF). A representative from the PNP also attended the meeting. The topics of the discussion include the existence of the CSOs in the area and the functionality of the Peace and Order Councils (POCs).
Consequently, round table discussions were also held in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and Dumaguete.
FORMAL CONVENING OF BANTAY BAYANIHAN WITH SEVEN FOUNDING MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS
2012 – 2013
As Bantay Bayanihan proves to be an effective oversight body for the implementation of the IPSP-Bayanihan, the network has grown to 15 clusters with a nationwide reach.
Complementing its role as an oversight body, Bantay Bayanihan produced policy reform papers formulated not only with its cluster members but also with other relevant government agencies.