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We join the Christians around the world in celebrating Christmas. During the four Sundays preceding Christmas, we remember the four values we associate with the Holiday Season. Hope. Love. Joy. Peace. For us at Coffee for Peace, this progressive reflection on these four values serves as the foundation of our journey in faith-based peacebuilding. This expresses our sense of expectation as social entrepreneurs. This is our reason of being why we refer to our company as ‘Coffee for Peace.’

During these weeks of Advent, we visited the leaders of the Bagobo Tagabawa tribal elders. We also engaged with local government officials through dialogues on peace and development. A key municipal mayor expressed her support by issuing a Certification that PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee for Peace are partners of her office to conduct community organizing activities, inclusive development initiatives, and entrepreneurial trainings in strategic villages within her municipality. We’re still waiting for other mayors and for the provincial governor to respond to our request for a dialogue.

We were at the waiting area at the office of Kapiid Ka Banua, Inc., Aplaya, Digos City to meet with the Hon. Datu Rogelio B. Manapol, the Provincial Tribal Chief of Davao del Sur. A year ago, the PBCI-CFP Tribe was welcomed by Datu Manapol, along with the provincial officials of NCIP when we went through the process of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as required by law. The municipal, provincial, and national authorities protecting the Indigenous Peoples’ rights gave their respective affirmations and blessings to our inclusive development partnership with local IP communities.

On 11-15 January 2021, our PBCI-CFP Inclusive Development Team will begin conducting farmers’ organizing and training in a key community.

The government’s intensified anti-insurgency drive and the strict public health safety protocols could totally paralyze our justice-based peacebuilding operations. We prayed for God’s wisdom on how to do our community organizing and inclusive development initiatives in these contexts.

We perceived God’s answer to our prayers through the two persons of peace we have encountered.

Mayor Querina Sarte. We are grateful to God for her support. In her Mayor’s Certification issued to PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. and Coffee for Peace (PBCI-CFP), she said that we are “partner of this municipality, conducting specific trainings and livelihood programs in several barangays” or villages. She also clarified in the said Certification that PBCI-CFP is free “to conduct their programs and projects” in strategic communities in her town.

Mayor Sarte also endorsed PBCI-CFP to the strategically-selected barangay leaders in Bansalan.

Because of this local government support, we would not be a ready target for ‘red tagging’ by the military and the police.

Datu Rogelio B. Manapol. Our meeting with the Hon. Datu (Chief) Rogelio B. Manapol, Provincial Tribal Chief of Davao del Sur, was a blessing from God. We met at his tribal office, Kapiid Ka Banua, Inc., in Barangay Aplaya, Digos City. It was a pleasant, productive, relationship-enhancing time. We’re grateful to the Creator for him.

Datu Manapol issued a Certification stating in part that PBCI and CFP “are permitted to conduct their inclusive development initiatives among the Bagobo Tagabawa communities in the Province of Davao del Sur.”

We gave him a 2020 year-end report of our activities and an advanced information on our 2021 programs within the Ancestral Domain of the Bagobo Tagabawa Tribe

Your love — our partners at Coffee for Peace — have been a big encouragement to us. Your continuing support for this social business has been very energizing. For all these, we are grateful to the Creator and we are thankful for your partnership.

We hope that you experience transcendent peace within you and around you in the year 2021.

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!