Multidimensional peacebuilding: local actors in the Philippine context
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This study contributes to the discussion of local actors in a zone of protracted conflict. Much writing in the area of local actors and peacebuilding has focused on conflict contexts in which international actors are also present. The contribution of this study has focussed on uncovering the local peacebuilding resources generated in a multiethnic and protracted conflict context—the case study focussing on the Philippines and the Bangsamoro struggle in Mindanao. Intersecting considerations—including a colonial legacy, tri-peoples’ interactions, environmental issues, and economics—undergird the quest towards naming the peacebuilding assets of local actors or peacemakers. Based on qualitative research and the interviews of thirty-six peacebuilders in the region, this study has traced two levels of peacebuilding work. Attention was given to peacemakers who have focused their peacebuilding work specifically towards addressing the movement of the peace processes pertaining to Mindanao as well as intersecting with those who have aligned their work with efforts towards enhancing peace, or building a culture of peace, in the region with activities such as education, awareness building, dialogues, or reconciliation processes. This study takes a collaborative approach grounded in the direct insights of those participating in peacemaking endeavours. The research gathered contributes to the examination of the Philippines as a resource for multidimensional peacebuilding strategies in conflict impacted communities and the significant contribution of a local community of peacebuilders focussed on collaborative work and intersection with the effected participants in the conflict. Although grounded in a particular context, it expands the research devoted to understanding the efforts of peacemakers in their own context and suggested directions for building the strength and resources of the local context. And importantly, it opens space to peacemaker voices, to those who have struggled for decades to realize peace in the complex and rich social fabric of Mindanao. This consolidation can have implications for national policy building and strengthening of relationships to overcome regional divides.