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Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Rural Poor Women’s Apostolate (RMP)

Iligan City Philippines
February 2011

Grant Description

In February 2011 UAF received a request from previous grantee RMP regarding the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). RMP is a peasant’s rights group that works to organize rural women and advocate for the rights of peasant women. NDFP is the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been carrying out an armed rebellion against the government for over four decades. In response, the government has launched increasingly repressive and violent counter-insurgency campaigns, which have come to be characterized by extra-judicial killings, abductions, and political imprisonments. As RMP notes, women and WHRDs have been especially hard-hit by these human rights violations. In January 2011 the government and the NDFP announced that they would formally resume peace talks that have been on hold since 2005. RMP recognized this as an opportunity to raise awareness of the effects of the ongoing armed conflict on women and the importance of a peaceful resolution. RMP requested funds to create a women’s peace consortium made up of fourteen major women organizations that will advocate for the inclusion of a women’s agenda in the talks and organize a committee to monitor the ceasefire that is expected to come from the negotiations. In addition, RMP planned a “Women for Peace Education Series” to provide alternative ways for women to share their voices and experience, such as through radio programs and art exhibitions.

Impact Report

With UAF funds, RMP implemented several regional initiatives in response to the peace talks between the Philippine Government and the NDFP. RMP established the Kalinaw Watch, a coalition of sixteen women’s organizations, to push for the women’s agenda in the peace talks, monitor the ceasefire and expose the state’s detention of the only woman peace consultant in the region. RMP also raised public awareness through launching fourteen sessions of the “Women for Peace Education Series” which drew thousands of people from various communities, churches and universities, and aired four radio programs discussing the role of women in peace talks. It gathered more than 14,000 signatures in Northern Mindanao Region for the Mindanao People’s Peace Agenda and Women’s Agenda. As a result of the work of Kalinaw Watch and other peace organizations in the region, the peace talks have been scheduled for September 2011 after they nearly collapsed in June 2011. RMP says, “The grant supported the efforts of sixteen women’s organizations of different sectors for the attainment of the elusive peace in our land amidst war and militarization…” and noted that “…all 16 women’s organizations have established additional networks, both locally and internationally, to support the women’s agenda in the peace process and beyond.