“In this GA, we will chart MedNet’s course in community mediation. Let us use this GA as an opportunity not only to chart the course but also to further clarify our perspectives on community mediation and refresh our commitment to its promotion.” Dr. Brenda Batistiana, one of MedNet’s founders, stated during the 9th General Assembly of Mediators Network for Sustainable Peace, Inc. (MedNet) attended by 34 participants from the Board of Trustees, members and staff, held via Zoom last May 27.
Dr. Brenda Batistiana gave the Keynote Address for the General Assembly. She shared her reflection on MedNet’s achievements for the past years and set the key objectives and activities for the next years, and more importantly, reaffirmed Mednet’s reason for being. She also discussed the four-fold definition of community mediation which includes four perspectives: where, for whom, by whom and one that is community driven.“
“This 9th General Assembly, which has a theme of “Charting the Course in Community Mediation” indicates that our organization is still alive and raring to move forward and expand its reach.” Dr. Batistiana said as she congratulated and thanked MedNet’s leaders, members, and partners who have worked hard together for MedNet to be what it is now.
Meanwhile, during her Welcome Remarks for the Assembly Ms. Marissa Puche, the Vice President for Visayas, said “This year, we are in the path of strengthening our organization.”. Ms. Puche emphasized that member organizations can provide their members with a group of peers with whom they can share ideas and learn new ones. “When we focus our collective efforts to achieve our vision and perform our mission, we will not fail.”, she added.
The business meeting included the President’s Report by Ms. Marides V. Gardiola, Managing Trustee’s Report by Ms. Rachel Aquino, Resource Mobilization Report by Ms. Rosemarie Johnson-Herrera and Financial Report by Ms. Jennifer Garay.
“As MedNet envisions to be a resource center of consensus builders, committed to community empowerment, gender equity, justice, democracy, and ecological balance towards the attainment of a peaceful nation, the OADR shall remain their partner in promoting and advocating the development and expansion of the use of ADR mechanisms in the country.” Atty. Irene Alogoc, Executive Director of the Office of the Alternative Dispute Resolutions (OADR), stated as she expressed her gratitude through a solidarity message during the Assembly and unity towards the endeavor to pave the way for more Filipinos to access justice
For its part, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also expressed how the Assembly proves that Mednet's activities are appropriate and large it contributes to making the peace enjoyed by those more stable and long-lasting communities, especially those affected by the conflict. “Naging bahagi ang partnership projects ng UNDP at MedNet na makatulong sa na maitaas ang mga kakayahan ng mga mamamayan sa komunidad -lalo na ang ayusin ang kanilang mga sigalot sa mapayapang paraan.Dalangin po ng UNDP na patuloy na lumago ang Mednet upang lalong dumami ang may kakayang ayusing ang sigalot sa mapayapang paraan. Padayon MedNet!”, Mr. Noel Pedrola of UNDP stated.
Other partners who gave solidarity messages came from the Diocese of Novaliches, Inang Makababaying Aksyon (IMA) Foundation, and Alliance of People's Organizations Along Manggahan Floodway (APO-AMF).
Approval of MedNet’s Revised Vision and Mission Statement
The Assembly approved the revised vision and mission statements of MedNet, with the following:
Vision: Empowered communities for a just and peaceful resolution of conflicts
Mission: A leading network of EDRMP practitioners working with conflict prone communities
*Note: There is a need to define “conflict prone” and “communities” in the mission statement.
2023 to 2025 MedNet Board of Trustees
The Assembly also voted for the election of the Board of Trustees. The following is the 2023 to 2025 MedNet’s Board of Trustees:
President: Atty. Allan Barcena
Vice President for Special Affairs: Rachel Aquino
Corporate Secretary: Atty. Rodolfo Ferdinand Quicho, Jr.
Treasurer: Rosemarie Johnson-Herrera
Vice President for Luzon: Ramon Sangcap
Alternate VP for Luzon: Claire Corpuz
Vice President for Visayas: Marissa Puche
Alternate VP for Visayas: Ma. Victoria Delgado
Vice President for Mindanao: Floro Astillo
Alternate VP for Mindanao: Luz Canave-Anung
“We hope to continue to mature as an organization, create more stability, create better systems and structures and continue to improve our culture - more clarity, creativeness, collaboration and improve the way we communicate.” Atty. Allan Barcena, the newly elected BOT President, stated in his speech during the Assembly. Atty. Barcena mentioned that they already had discussions on creating better mechanisms to strengthen engagements, not just among and between Officers, but between the members.
“As we look forward to the emerging work we will need to do, we would like to close this GA with much hope, much faith on a bigger being than us and trust in everything He will provide and (that) He will continue to guide us in everything that we do.” Ms. Gemma Regina Cunanan, MedNet’s Executive Director, stated as she closed the Assembly with much gratitude to MedNet’s Board of Trustees and members.###
Ma. Luisa Bautista is a development worker who specializes in advocacy campaigns and communications. She has experience in working on government and non-government settings, focused on the criminal law and child rights sector for almost 7 years. Currently, she is the Communications and Advocacy Officer of Mediators Network for Sustainable Peace.