Even the most daunting task of peace building has to be taken up “one day at a time”.
1. “One day at a time”
This is what Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said when I asked her how she copes with the myriad of responsibilities in the government’s efforts to end all armed conflicts in the Philippines.
2. Work with others from different backgrounds
“When two or three are doing something, the possibilities are there”, said Ging. To find a positive common ground and multi-sectoral solutions to the interlinked issues of poverty, gender oppression and armed conflict she brought together stakeholders from the basic sector, church hierarchy, politicians, military officials, communist leaders and Muslim rebels in dialogues and to the negotiation table.
3. Have faith in our God given abilities
She believes that “God doesn’t give you something that you can’t do”.
Equipped with innate feminine wisdom, clear vision, grace, fortitude and experience in working with the poor, Ging expanded her constituency when she moved from civil society to government as the Lead Convener of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process(OPAPP).
When Ging was appointed Secretary of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, she made sure that all the 14 basic sectors ( women, children, youth, farmers, elderly, persons with disabilities, farmers, fishers, labor and migrant workers, informal sector, cooperatives and NGOs) from different political affiliations were properly consulted. She enjoyed the trust and confidence of both government and civil society and while deep into anti-poverty work, she was appointed to head the Joint Enforcement and Monitoring Committee (JEMC) and as a member of the government’s negotiating panel with breakaway groups of the communist party.
Ging’s work at the NAPC and OPAPP brought her to the most depressed urban poor sites, remote and hard to reach villages and conflict-affected communities in the country. She fostered dialogues between and among government, civil society, military and people of different religious and ideological backgrounds to understand where they were coming from, overcome prejudices and find common ground to inculcate the culture of peace.
4. No stereotyping
“I don’t think we should stereotype in peace work”.
She believes that both women and men should be on the peace table. Women play a big role in peace negotiations because they can break the ice and connect with each other by talking about their children and families. Besides, women’s voices should be heard in decisions to wage peace as they had to bear the dire consequences of war and the difficult healing process.
5. We can do something to create a better world for our children
“I want my children to inherit a world that is better than ours”
Ging will always be a mother and the future of her children has always been a major motivation of her quest for a genuine, just and lasting peace in a democratic society.
Meanwhile Ging is thankful for the gift of being able to enjoy work without knowing how it will end ,the grace of being recharged by power naps during her trips , for watching films on TV during restful weekends and for spending time with her husband and children.
Based on an article written by Paulina Lawsin-Nayra for World Pulse.