IN the Philippines, although the barangay is the smallest political unit of government it nevertheless plays a vital role in the achievement of human development for its residents.
To make this goal a reality, Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) has so far assisted two far-flung barangays located in the eastern part of the city to come up with a human development-related program for their individual community during two separate barangay orientation events dubbed as “Barangay Peace Consultation”, held last April 11 and 20 in their respective barangay hall.
Barangays Sangali and Bunguaio are rural barangays located in the eastern part of the city for the first two out of the 20 barangays that PAZ had lined up to conduct the barangay orientation.
The consultation is a program under the peace and governance operational component of PAZ. The program will also provide financial assistance to the barangays to jumpstart their human development projects.
Sr. Emma I. Delgado, the Executive Secretary of PAZ, pointed out that t achieve human development four stakeholders should work together toward common goals.
“The national government agencies, private sectors, local government units and the civil society organizations should work towards attaining total human development.” she explained.
This peace-making consultation aims to review concepts of peace and governance, to revisit the Barangay Development Plan, to create a venue to present programs and priorities needs of the barangays related to peace, gender and development. These will serve as guide and motivation for the communities as well as the government line agencies and non-government organizations to work in partnership with community groups in the implementation of identified projects.
The day-long consultation was packed with workshops that provide participants with an understanding of the human development process and how they as a barangay officials and community leaders are instrumental in realization for their plans.
As recounted during the consultation, one Sangali barangay council member said that many of the Badjao children in their community do not go to school anymore because the foot bridge that connects their village to the mainland has lain broken for years now.
The consultations in the two barangays also brought out the current situations that they are having in terms of the political, socio-economic, environmental and the cultural-spiritual. It also gave them the chance to dream for their community during the workshop on “My Ideal Community”
In 2012, PAZ together with the Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP) in partnership with the City’s Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) conducted cluster training on peace governance and public diplomacy in selected barangays in the city. The objective of this cluster training is to equip elected barangay officials especially the barangay justice personnel on the proper skills in handling conflicts in their barangay.
The participants from Barangay Sangali agreed that they will prioritize the construction of the foot bridge in the Badjao community so that their children can again go to school. Meanwhile, Bunguiao planned to form a group which will primarily campaign for peace in the community. It will consist of some barangay officials, religious and community leaders and farmers.