Category Archives: News

UNYPAD Holds its 5th National Assembly

By Abubakar S. Balabagan with report from Tu Alid Alfonso PIKIT, North Cotabato (April 23, 2014) – The United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) held its 4-day 5th National Assembly at the Pikit National High School, Pikit North Cotabato hosted by its North Cotabato Provincial Chapter on April 15-18, 2014 participated in by some

UNYPAD Pikit Municipal Chapter Hosts Live Coverage of the CAB Signing

By Abubakar Balabagan PIKIT, North Cotabato (April 4, 2014) — The people from the Municipalities of Aleosan, Pikit, Kabacan, Carmen, all of North Cotabato, and the municipalities of Pagagawan and Pagalungan of Maguindanao   were gathered on March 27, 2014 at the Pikit Plaza to witness the (live coverage of the) signing of the Comprehensive Agreement

Philippine Marines Commences Community Relations Training

By Yusoph S. Lumambas  COTABATO City (March 20, 2014) — the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) in partnership with the Cotabato City Coalition for Change (4C’s) commenced the 10-day Community Relation Training (CRT) Program held at the STI, Cotabato City.  “The purposes of the training are to discuss and learn the culture and traditions of

UNYPAD Organizes Community- and School-based Chapters in Sulu Province

ZAMBOANGA City (March 3, 2014) – The United Youth for Peace and Development Inc. (UNYPAD) successfully organized a group of student leaders from various schools last January 2014 in Jolo, Sulu. Julfhikar Samsaraji, the City Chapter President of Zamboanga said: “They were oriented on what is UNYPAD all about, and its programs and services, which

Dutch church agency visits KFI peacebuilding project in Talayan

DUTCH VISITORS. Ton Groeneweg and Marjan Stoffers of Mensen met em Missie (from L-R) with KFI Administrative Officer Omar Juanday in North Binanga, Talayan town. Photo: Lo Ivan Castillon.

DUTCH VISITORS. Ton Groeneweg and Marjan Stoffers of Mensen met een Missie (from L-R) with KFI Administrative Officer Omar Juanday in North Binanga, Talayan town. Photo: Lo Ivan Castillon.

Two top officials of Mensen met een Missie, the Netherlands-based funding agency of one of KFI’s community-based peacebuilding projects, visited the project site in North Binangga, Municipality of Talayan, Maguindanao on February 18.


Ton Groeneweg and Marjan Stoffers, Head of the agency’s Asia and of Program Department respectively, represented Mensen to assess the project’s third year of implementation and to validate its 2013 annual report.


The project “Enhancing Community Participation in Peacebuilding” has the goal of building peaceful communities by empowering people at the grassroots level to participate in conflict transformation.


The project encompasses four adjacent barangays of Talayan such as Katibpuan, North Binangga, Dimablac and Linamunan. Project officer Norman Abas said their main activities are focused on organizing and mobilization of local peace volunteers, updating on Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) at the grassroots level, monitoring of human rights violations, and formulation of community-based peacebuilding plan.

Security measures for the visitors were given significant consideration beforehand by leg-working and proper protocol with the local authorities and community leaders. Together with the Tiyakap Kalilintad (Care for Peace) volunteers and members, KFI Admin Officer Omar Juanday and barangay local officials, the conduct of focus group discussion (FGD) and one-on-one interviews with the partner-beneficiaries have been successfully facilitated.


During the FGD, the role of organized peace group (Tiyakap) in promoting peacebuilding advocacies have been highlighted with the peace volunteers’ sharing of their personal experiences in mediating in or resolving conflicts. Land grabbing, stealing of domesticated animals and family conflict were just some of the conflicts resolved through their intervention. In a ceremony attended by different local and international stakeholders, the project declared North Binanga and Katibpuan last December 21, 2013 as Darussalam or Zone of Peace.


The community also brought to the attention of the visitors some problems and concerns which they hope the funding agency may support. Nevertheless, Groeneweg told them of Mensen’s limitations in supporting such concerns.


Though this program may not answer all the problems of the community, looking forward it would be a good start and in the long run, support from other agencies both government and non-government will go through with the stable and positive peace and order situation in the locality”, he said.


The activity ended with a sumptuous lunch prepared by the community. Exchange of thanksgiving also ensued afterwards. Both the visitors and hosts were very positive on the outcome and impact of the project to the community without ignoring some lessons learned in the process and with hope that peace may come very soon.



Reported by: Lo Ivan Castillon





Mindanao CSO Leaders hold Peace Summit

By Farida P. Dalandan DAVAO City (February 18, 2014) – The Mindanao Civil Society Organizations Platform for Peace (MCSOPP) led by the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC) and Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations (CBCS) held a Mindanao CSO Leaders Peace Summit at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, Davao City on February 10-12, 2014 Sister Arnold Maria

Alim updates KFI staff on Bangsamoro roadmap

KFI director Guiamel Alim in his updates on the GPH-MILF peace process and the important role to be played by CSOs.

KFI director Guiamel Alim in his updates on the GPH-MILF peace process and the important role to be played by CSOs.

Only two stages have been accomplished so far in the roadmap towards the creation of the Bangsamoro,” KFI executive director Guiamel M. Alim, briefed his staff on his updates on the GPH-MILF peace process during the organization’s staff meeting on February 6, 2014.


Alim was referring to the creation of the Bangsamoro Transitional Commission (BTC) though Executive Order 120 and the recent signing by both panels of the Annex on Normalization and Addendum on Bangsamoro waters in Kuala Lumpur on January 25 this year.

The BTC is tasked with drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) while the Annex on Normalization is the last remaining annex in the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB), the others being the Transitory Arrangements and Modalities, Annex on Wealth-sharing and Revenue generation, and the Annex on Power-sharing.

With the signing of the last annex, Alim told the staff that the official negotiations have ended and that the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) has to be crafted now with the BTC conducting basic consultations to finish drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law.


In the so-called Bangsamoro roadmap, the draft BBL has to be submitted to the Philippine Congress, if possible early this year, with President Aquino III considering it as an urgent bill.


Let us see if the Congress will not trample with the draft BBL,” Alim warned, citing powerful interest groups bent on derailing the passage of the draft BBL as what happened to the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain signed by both parties in 2008 only to be declared later by the Supreme Court as “unconstitutional.”


He added that after the congressional action on the BBL and its possible approval by the President, a plebiscite will be conducted in the core Bangsamoro areas to determine which provinces and cities are joining the Bangsamoro. The Autonomous Government in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will then be dissolved and replaced by Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA); then begins the preparations for the 2016 elections.


Alim also informed the staff in the said meeting that he is part of the planning for the Bangsamoro Development Agenda which entails getting the aims and wishes of the Bangsamoro communities on the kind of development they want once the Bangsamoro government is in place.


As to the internal policing under the Normalization phase, the greatest challenge, he said, is on how to contain the private armies and the proliferation of loose firearms. But he also argued: “Normalization will be good if there is a proper implementation.”


Lastly, he opined that MILF should reach out more to other sectors and stakeholders like the indigenous peoples (IPs), politicians and Christian settlers.


KFI, a founding and member organization of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), is one of the civil society organizations active in information campaign about the GPH-MILF peace process and the Bangsamoro roadmap for peace.





Why you should visit Tsinoy’s Pares and Mami House CDO

I love Filipino food. I love Chinese food. Sometimes I crave for a little bit of both and then want something interesting that I don’t get to try everyday. Did that confuse you? Let me put it this way – don’t we have days when we just want both Chinese and Filipino food – and then maybe something that could remind us of our memorable Asian trips – all in one table?

Good thing Michelle of Tsinoy’s Pares and Mami House CDO recently invited me, my mom and Emma to try out their fare. It was the perfect way to satisfy cravings!


Nestled at Tiano – Mabini Streets, Cagayan de Oro, Tsinoy’s CDO is a 7-month old restaurant that’s fast gaining fans and loyal customers. Of course, judging by their establishment’s name alone, we know that they serve Chinese and Filipino food. However, Tsinoy’s Pares and Mami House Cagayan de Oro offers so much more!

The restaurant’s interiors are pretty nice, by the way. Don’t worry, the eye candy interiors do not translate to expensive prices. In fact, the food prices are VERY AFFORDABLE!


Their money tree is perhaps the most photographed item inside the restaurant.

Yes, they offer FREE WiFi.


Check out the beehive-looking lamps. Pinoy na Pinoy!


I uploaded this photo on Instagram and a lot of people liked the ingenuity of it all. Who knew coconut husks can make for a nice wall decor?


If you’re wondering how this food fusion of sorts came about, Michelle says it’s because of her husband’s liking for pares, lugaw and other simple, cheap but good food. Pares is popular in Manila – it’s a full meal composed of soup, rice and beef stew.

During our visit, we tried the halaan soup (Php 249.00). The clams and vegetables used were fresh. Good as meal starter.


The kinilaw or ceviche (Php 159.00) was delicious. Fresh fish and chili. It was prepared the Kagay-anon way.



The pork siomai (Php 59.00) and the Japanese siomai (also Php 59.00) were tasty. The pieces of Japanese siomai in particular were packed with meat and flavor – recommended!


Since Em hasn’t tried beef rendang before, we ordered a serving. The Tsinoy’s CDO take on the beef rendang, a steal at only Php 179.00, is a MUST-TRY. This one’s a generous serving that can be shared by 2 to 3 people.

If you’ve traveled to either Malaysia or Singapore and have tried beef rendang there, then Tsinoy’s version won’t disappoint. Be ready to order extra rice, though!


Of course, I simply had to try the pares. Had to see if it reminded me of what I used to regularly have in Manila. Yes, Virginia, the Tsinoy’s Pares meal guarantees satisfaction. For those on a budget, you’ll be happy to know that this entire set only costs Php 89.00


I have yet to try them but Michelle says the lechon macau (Php 169.00), lengua estofado (Php 189.00), chicken feet (Php 69.00) and even the plain lugaw (Php 29.00!!!) are good, too. What I’m really interested to try on my next visit are the hakaw (reminds me of Hong Kong food), Hainanese chicken (reminds me of Singapore!), salt and pepper squid and the kare-kare.

Yes, their menu choices are THAT varied!

Tsinoy’s Pares and Mami House CDO also has a function room that can hold about 45 people. I wasn’t able to use their washrooms but I did take a quick peek. Clean and separate stalls for men and women. Thumbs up!

Tsinoy’s is open on all days. Longer hours every Saturday. They have a stocked bar that’s ready to serve you and your friends.

Visit Tsinoy’s Pares and Mami House CDO. Bring your family, co-workers, significant others, friends. Laidback ambiance, good and affordable food, free WiFi and nice interiors that could be conversation starters. Let’s not forget that they do have mami, batchoy and lugaw (for as low as Php 29.00!) – warm comfort food that you can have any time of the day. Parking is available albeit limited.

Tiano – Mabini Streets
Call (08822) 745800 [they offer delivery]


Thank you Michelle and to Tsinoy’s for the warm hospitality!

Accomplishment Report of the CCSPC BS in Social Work Interns assigned in the UNYPAD

COTABATO City (February 15, 2014) – The Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC) Bachelor of Science in Social Work interns to the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) chose the Barangay Limbo, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao as their area for field practice in working with community this second semester of the school year 2013-2014. Before

UNYPAD Chapters Intensify Community Peace Advocacy

By Rudy S. Lumapinet DATU PAGLAS, Maguindanao (February 14, 2014) – The Municipal Chapter of the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), Datu Paglas, Maguindanao Cluster 3 Provincial Chapter, in partnership with the 6th Brigade of 109th Base Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) conducted