My Activist Filipina Friends

07.03.2011 - Manila - Tony Henderson

**Thus, I recount in brief notes on my activist Filipina friends; what they volunteer to do in their free time in the Philippines, as I have learned in my frequent visits over the past year or so.**

Carmen Cabling – part of BINHI, a people’s organization, a community-based farmers group. It stands for *Binhi ng Buhay ng Mga Magsasaka sa Bugon* (Seeds of Life of the Farmers of Bugon) and their aim is to improve the sustainability of farming livelihoods by engaging in organic production, respecting biodiversity and protecting Mount Banahaw. In 2009 Carmen was central to the activities leading to creating the biggest Peace Sign of the World March, with 12,000 students in its make-up.

Dom-An Macagne – from Sagada in the Cordilleras, is part of the *”Kababaihan at Kalikasan: Isang Pagdiriwang”* event in Quezon City, on this International Women’s Day, and is herself engaged in activism in regard to problems among mountain communities and hosts a spiritual healing centre – in the cleanest meaning of that term spiritual. She heads the Kasiyana Peace and Healing Initiative, a spiritual healing organization. She also plays the nose flute.

Gemma Suzara – helps organise the Silo-inspired Parks of Study and Reflection, Banahaw, Quezon Province; now up and running. She also initiated a women’s group in Payatas, an area of greater Manilla with many economic and social problems.

Genevieve Balance-Kupang – actively promotes peace projects and awareness among the students of St. Paul College Pasig in her capacity as a teacher. Genevieve was central to organising the “Million Human Signs for Peace” campaign which started on the International Day of Peace, 2009, a highlight of the World March as it passed through the Philippines.

Karina Santillan – took time for self-engagement with studies of Self Liberation in the Way of the Silo School, also taking a Discipline, which is a deeper study in what constitutes the human being, particularly, that one, herself. The aim is greater operational freedom both personally and an openness when helping in society.

Patricia Carrascoso (and sister Pinky) – of Pets for Peace. Early 2010 there was a Pets for Peace Reach-Out activity that centred around dogs and handicapped children. The group provides free rabies vaccines and goes twice a year to squatter areas to help alleviate rabies related problems.

During National Peace Consciousness Month, her organisation included interfaith prayers with Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, Sioux participants. There was also a brief talk on the Mindanao war which is the war going on in the south: *“Actually, we made a statement that that war and the conflicts must end, that every side suffers in a war, that there is a social cost to the war in Mindanao and that the social cost is experienced by reduced national resources for education, health, livelihood, housing, and so on for Filipinos.”*

Mina Tecson – initiated and maintains the humanitarian projects of *Pinagpalang Kamay Association* or PKAI, an NGO formed to aid two communities in need, one a poverty-stricken community in Payatas on the outskirts of Quezon City, and the other a home for abandoned physically and mentally ill children residing at Cottolengo Filipino, Montalban Rizal, quite nearby.

Willa Tecson – long time activist in *Ang Komunidad Para sa Ikauunlad ng Tao* (the Community), with colleague Jo Jo, who engages in Peace workshops in schools and loves Pets for Peace events wherever. There was a series of workshops called *”Edukasyon Tungo Sa Walang Karahasan”* conducted in the municipalities of Gumaca and Lopez, Quezon. From these workshops two educators’ peace organizations were born: *Gumaca Educators Peace Organization* (GEPO) and *Tagapagtaguyod ng Kapayapaan sa Lopez* (TAGKAPLO). It was also during these months that Pets For Peace, a loose group of animal lovers and friends, got busy planning activities in Taguig City.

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