The Road to Mindanao (Province Roadmap)

The Road to Mindanao



The Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus, in its desire to be faithful and constant in answering the Call of the Eternal King (SpEx 91-98), in preparing for General Congregation 36 to renew Jesuit life and mission, and in heeding the calls and challenges of Pope Francis —

  • to promote new evangelization (Evangelii Gaudium, 2013),
  • to care for the earth (Laudato Si, 2015),
  • and, particularly to the Philippine Province during his visit to the Philippines in January 2015, to go to the poor and the peripheries,

and recognizing the priorities of the Universal Society of Jesus, especially those of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP), to give special attention to Myanmar, East Timor, and Cambodia, will direct greater apostolic focus, preference, resources, and energies to Mindanao, particularly to the following specific conditions and communities in Mindanao:

  • the continuing poverty and marginalization of peoples, specifically the most impoverished among the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and Muslim communities;
  • the pervasive military conflicts between Government and rebel groups in many areas, which inflict violence on the IPs, cause massive displacement (i.e.,

 1 This Philippine Province Roadmap is the distillation of the following series of meetings, consultations, and conversations across the Province:

  1. The meetings of the Province Commission on Ministries from 2013 to the present;
  2. The Mindanao Conversations, from the first meeting in Davao in December 2013 to the subsequent meetings and activities led by the Mindanao Conversations Executive Committee, whose members are composed of representatives from all Province Mindanao institutions and Ateneo de Manila University;
  3. The Province Forum in August 2014 in Cagayan de Oro attended by superiors, directors of work, and lay partners is mission;
  4. The Meetings of the Superiors and Directors of Work, and Province Extended Consult in March and August 2015
  5. The consultations and conversations in local Jesuit communities and ministry clusters during the Year of Discernment, from April 2015 to the present

internally-displaced peoples or IDPs), generate threats of extremist involvement, especially among the youth, and create further impoverishment and suffering;

  • the threatened ecological processes (like food production, water supply, climate and disease control) from the degradation of its natural environment and its vulnerability to uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources, both of which are integral to sustaining the cultures and lives of IPs; and
  • the continuing struggle of the entire region of Mindanao for lasting peace and reconciliation based on authentic and inclusive human development, rectifying centuries of historical injustice and promoting the intra- and inter-faith dialogue that is integral to New Evangelization.

[see Annex A: Mindanao Situationer]

The Philippine Province commits itself to more strategic, creative, collaborative, dialogical, and effective apostolic work

  • for peace in Mindanao, and for its sustainable and inclusive development;
  • and, specifically, for communities in the peripheries or margins in Mindanao.


  1. We in the Philippine Province have a long history, tradition, and presence in Mindanao, and this Roadmap sustains this commitment, and responds to the urgent and critical challenges that Mindanao faces in the current situation.
    [see Annex B: Jesuit Presence in Mindanao]
  2. We will harness and maximize our current apostolic presence and impact in Mindanao through our three universities, one diocesan seminary, one mission district (composed of parishes, schools, retreat house and IP ministry), and one environmental science institute.
  3. We will pursue our strategies in collaboration and partnership internally, among our Province ministries, and externally, with the local Church (dioceses, parishes, religious congregations) and other organizations (other faith communities, NGOs, people’s organizations, civil society, business, local and national government, etc.). We recognize long-standing and successful mission works of groups like the Oblates (OMIs and ONDs), Claretians, Marist brothers, PIME fathers, Redemptorists, the many religious sister congregations (e.g., RVM, MA, RGS, MSM, RSM, MMS), seminaries (e.g., REMASE), dioceses and archdioceses, pastoral organizations (e.g., Mindanao Sulu Pastoral Conference or MSPC), Gawad Kalinga, Synergeia and others. Through this mode of partnership we will guard against attitudes that tend to be self-referential, grandiose, and messianic, as if believing we can pursue this Roadmap alone. We will build and nurture friendships centered on common missions.
  4. We will strategize how the “Center” (Manila) and the “peripheries” in Mindanao can work together toward this direction through mutually enriching and transforming relationships. In the same manner, our works in Naga, Cebu, Palawan, and Iloilo will also contribute to our apostolic goals in Mindanao.
  5. We will continue discernment and conversation on the implications of this Roadmap for our ministries and apostolates across the Province, and for the formation of ours. This does not mean immediate disengagement from works not covered by the Roadmap; nor does it imply relocating works to Mindanao. We will continue discerning the need for prioritization and focus, making difficult choices, allocating needed resources and Jesuit manpower, continuous listening and consultation, and renewal of personal vocation and community life. The Roadmap is not perfect and complete, and it will be a living and evolving document that will guide the mission of the Province. The implementation of the Roadmap will be guided by this spirit of openness and communal discernment every step of the way.


1.[STRENGTHEN OUR MINDANAO INSTITUTIONS AND WORKS] – Strengthen our existing institutions in Mindanao, particularly in their works for and with the peripheries in Mindanao (IPs, Muslim communities), and in their works in the intellectual apostolate and leadership formation

1.1. Ateneo de Davao University: education; senior high school for IPs (Tboli); Al Qalam Institute; Islamic Studies program; Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue; creation of Salaam Student Movement (Muslim-Christian student movement oriented to peace and service [to address threat of extremism]), etc.

1.2. Ateneo de Zamboanga University: education; work with IPs (Subanen, Yakan, Sama); creation of Salaam Student Movement; work with IDPs; engagement with city and region for stability, peace, and progress; peace advocacy and interreligious dialogue, etc.

1.3. Bukidnon Mission District: Parishes: Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Cabanglasan), St Therese of the Child Jesus Parish (Miarayon), Our Lady Mary Mediatrix of All Graces Parish (Zamboanguita); Schools: Pangantucan Community High School, Fr Leoni Memorial School (Cabanglasan), St Therese School of Miarayon, St Isidore High School (Zamboanguita), St Isidore School of Agricultural Technology (Zamboanguita); Retreat Ministry: Jesuit Retreat House – Malaybalay; Indigenous People Ministry: Jesuit IP Ministry in Bukidnon

1.4. Environmental Science for Social Change: forest and water resource assessment, management, and training; ancestral domain management and processes; culture-based education; indigenous teacher training; culture and ecology; disaster risk and vulnerability reduction; peace process.

1.5. St John Vianney Theological Seminary: local clergy formation

1.6. Xavier University: education; work with IPs; disaster risk reduction and management; sustainable agriculture and rural development; research and social outreach for the marginalized, etc.

IMMEDIATE STEPS FORWARD: These Province institutions will identify how the Province (both at Province level and at the level of Province institutions and communities) can help them in their works for the peripheries and for the intellectual and formation ministries. A structure composed of the heads of these institutions will be formed to plan and manage the implementation of components of the Roadmap.

2.[EXPLORE NEW COLLABORATIVE INITIATIVES] – Explore, establish, and support new collaborative initiatives

2.1. The Inter-Ateneo Coordinating Mechanisms and Protocols for Internally-Displaced Peoples and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

led by the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB), for Mindanao crisis situations related to the environment and displacement of peoples due to conflicts

2.2. New collaborative initiatives led by the Mindanao Conversations Executive Committee, like the following, which have already been started:

2.2.1. Research center for Mindanao economy (through the Joint Ateneo Institute for Mindanao Economics) and training of young economists for service in Mindanao

2.2.2. Policy advocacy that works for legal and structural reform, particularly in the following priority issues: Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), Mining Act, Freedom of Information, Electoral Reforms

2.2.3. Promotion of economy for wealth creation and equitable distribution through coordinating group of Colleges of Business

and Management of Jesuit universities

2.2.4. Promotion of Islamic micro finance (e.g., expansion of Sharia-compliant microfinance in Bangsamoro)

2.2.5. Promotion and adaptation of the Spiritual Exercises for diverse religious groups (and use of the St Ignatius Spirituality Center in Samal Island)

2.2.6. Formation of IP Leadership Center in Makilala, Cotabato

2.2.7. Promotion of inter- and intra-faith dialogue on various levels through immersion and volunteer programs (e.g., Madaris Volunteer Program)

2.2.8. Promotion of a Mindanao athletic network for leadership and peace (through the Universities and Colleges Athletics Association of Mindanao and its Mindanao Peace Games)

2.2.9. Promotion of a leadership model for Mindanao, and the formation of such leaders

2.2.10. Other proposed Centers, Institutes, Projects

(see Annex C: Possible Projects Proposed by the Mindanao Conversations Executive Committee)

2.3. Support the works of other partners: Mindanao bishops and dioceses; NGOs like Synergeia and Gawad Kalinga for education work with ARMM schools; work of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) with IDPs in Lanao del Norte and Maguindanao; works of other religious congregations

2.4. Expand and hasten the achievement of targets under the JHEC and JBEC collaborations that will strengthen the institutions in Mindanao

2.5. Establish sub-university level, mutually beneficial partnerships between like and complementary departments, offices, and centers in Mindanao and those outside of Mindanao, especially for works that would directly respond to the specific conditions and communities mentioned in the General Direction above.

2.5.1. Faculty and scholars from Luzon and Visayas schools to engage in research, exchange programs, lectures, and visits in Mindanao institutions

2.5.2. Training in Mindanao local government units on leadership and governance, disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), climate change adaptation (CCA), and other concerns for the environment and sustainable development

2.6. Identify short and long term collaborations with the local Church, other congregations, and other friendly institutions in Mindanao for Jesuit institutions in and out of Mindanao

IMMEDIATE STEPS FORWARD: The Commission on Ministries shall establish mechanisms of exchange of information between institutions in Mindanao and those outside to facilitate identification of convergences. All Province-wide networks (e.g., SJSA, Formators Colloquium, Theology) shall articulate how they will align their plans and directions to the Roadmap. The Commission on Ministries and the MC Execom will continue implementing what the latter has started, and study the feasibility of those that have been proposed.

3.[STRATEGIZE SUPPORT FOR MINDANAO] – Strategize how non-Mindanao based Province works can support and get themselves involved in (1) and (2)

Aside from (1) and (2) above, other possible points of engagement are:

3.1. Formators, counselors, spiritual directors, theologians from CEFAM, CIS, Emmaus Center, UGAT, San Jose Seminary, LHS, and others in the Province increasing their work for and with Mindanao based formators, counselors, spiritual directors, campus ministers, and schools of theology (e.g., Saint Alphonsus’ Theological and Missiological Institute or SATMI)

3.2. Advocacy of Mindanao issues (e.g., BBL, mining, killing of IPs) at the national level, and in other regions where the Province is present; legal assistance and peace promotion in conflict areas

3.3. Pairing or twinning of basic education units with parochial schools (e.g., provision of books, teacher-training)

3.4. Pairing or twinning of urban parishes with Mindanao rural parishes 7

IMMEDIATE STEPS FORWARD: All institutions and communities in the Province will be asked to identify areas or points of entry and engagement based on proposals in Strategy 1, 2, and 3 above.

4.[BUILD AWARENESS AND CAPABILITY] – Engage in awareness-raising, immersion, and capability building activities on the Mindanao situation and realities to be participated in by our Jesuit formands, members, lay mission partners, constituencies and networks; to be done in the spirit of journeying together with peoples and communities of Mindanao, and fostering mutually-beneficial engagements

4.1. Continuing information, education and communications on Mindanao

4.2. Mindanao as venue for service learning programs of students in Luzon and Visayas, and Asia Pacific

4.3. Exposure trips in Mindanao (for both Jesuit and lay constituencies) to understand the scope, diversity, and depth of Mindanao people, culture, and situation

4.4. Capability building and development of expertise in Muslim engagement and IP work (e.g., interreligious dialogue, multiculturality)

4.5. Jesuit formands to be exposed more to Mindanao realities during different stages of their formation

4.6. Explore possible Jesuit insertion communities in Mindanao

4.7. More systematic preparation of Jesuits to be missioned in Mindanao

4.8. Researches on Mindanao, like ensuring the integration of right perspectives on Mindanao history and culture (e.g., rectifying historical injustice and prejudice against Muslims and IPs) in textbooks; research on Church and NGO development initiatives in Mindanao

4.9. Foster counter-contribution and assistance of Mindanao institutions, personnel, expertise and resources to non-Mindanao institutions

4.9.1. Expertise on skills and capabilities, for example, in agriculture and rural development, disaster risk reduction and management, or on the peace process, may be shared by Mindanao personnel with institutions in Luzon and Visayas

4.9.2. Knowledge and expertise on history, dynamics, and issues of Mindanao, Muslim communities and indigenous peoples may be shared by Mindanao resource persons with institutions in Luzon and Visayas

4.9.3. Researches, publications, creative products made in Mindanao may be disseminated to non-Mindanao institutions

IMMEDIATE STEPS: Province planning for info-ed-communication (IEC) on Mindanao; Province Formation Commission to strategize formands’ exposure and deployment in Mindanao

5.[STRENGTHEN PROVINCE IMPLEMENTATION MECHANISMS] – Create and strengthen Province support and enabling mechanisms to implement the Roadmap

5.1. The Provincial shall be the main coordinator and champion of the Roadmap

5.2. The Provincial shall appoint a Province Planning Officer who will assist him in the implementation of the Roadmap

5.3. The Commission on Ministries will be the main Province structure that will help the Provincial manage the implementation of the Roadmap. It will work closely with the Mindanao Conversations Executive Committee, particularly in the implementation of Strategy (2)

5.4. Alignment of funds and fund-raising will be undertaken as required by Roadmap components

IMMEDIATE STEPS: Consolidation and finalization of Roadmap by May 2016; Commencement of Roadmap by 15 May 2016, the Feast of Pentecost; Design programs to facilitate reflection on and ownership of the Roadmap across the Province (communities, institutions, ministries) and its partners and constituencies (e.g., Boards of Trustees); Plan details for implementation (targets, indicators, measures)





EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE [for further study]

D.1. Interventions to improve basic education in Muslim Mindanao
D.2. Public-Private Partnerships in IP schools
D.3. Technical and Vocational Senior High School for Out-of- School Youth
D.4. Capability Trainings for Madrasa Teachers
D.5. Capability Trainings for Bangsamoro Student Leaders
D.6. Higher Education Distance Learning for the Bangsamoro
D.7. Establishment of an Islamic University
D.8. School of Living Traditions of Panditas
D.9. Institute for Participatory Governance in the Bangsamoro
D.10. Adopt-a-Community for business incubation, Shariah finance, environmentally-friendly businesses
D.11. Center for Mindanao Migrants
D.12. Center for Normalization in the Bangsamoro
D.13. Music for Peace
D.14. Jesuit Communications in Mindanao
D.15. Center for Sustainable Urbanism in Mindanao
D.16. Special Apostolate for the Sama Dilaut



The following is the first of a two-part situationer on Mindanao.  This first part provides a chronological review that establishes the historical injustice that Mindanao and its peoples have been subjected to and which we need to correct and address.  The second part (ANNEX A2) provides economic, geographical, environmental, anthropological, cultural and other kinds of data that exemplify the need and urgency of focusing our Province mission on Mindanao.

Part I: An Historical Situationer

(Based on Mindanao 101: A Brief History, a presentation made by Bro. Karl Gaspar, C.S.S.R. to the Meeting of Superiors and Directors of Work in January 2016)

1. To understand why and how Mindanao was pushed to the periphery of the Philippine Republic and why peace has remained elusive in Mindanao, we need to go back to what happened in the past. (Sources: Rudy Rodil,  Greg Hontiveros, Samuel Tan, Cesar Majul, James Warren, Thomas McKEnna, Eric Casiño, Essays in  Tambara, and Afrim Publications)

2. For centuries before Spanish colonization, Southern Philippines (that is Mindanao with its surrounding islands including parts of Palawan) was actually the area of greater economic activity and of more developed political organization.

3. For instance, around 900 C.E., Butuan began to rise as a Southeast Asian maritime trading port. Then in the 11th century, Butuan became the center of the proto-Manobo civilization.  Later on, Tausogs from this area would then move to Sulu off the western shores of Mindanao.  Butuan eventually experienced a decline as a trading port in the 14th

4. In the 10th to 14th centuries, the trade routes that had been developing since the 9th Century and that had already connected Arabia to Central Asia to India and China, expanded to include Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. In the Philippines, the trading ports were Butuan, Jolo, Zamboanga and Cotobato in Mindanao; Cebu, Panay, Mindoro, and Masbate in the Visayas, and only Manila in Luzon.

5. Arab and Indian traders from Malaya and Borneo set up settlements in Jolo in the 13th Jolo became a major commercial center where traders from Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia and India engaged in trade.

6. The trade route in Asia was the passageway for the coming of Islam. 13th Century (1280 c/o Majul, Tan, Warren and 1310: Jubair) The Islamization process was intertwined with trade.

7. Some of our indigenous peoples were converted to Islam while some were not. The myth of Mamalu and Tabunaway tells of how two brothers and their descendants came to have different religious beliefs.  Tabunaway embraced Islam and is recognized as the ancestor of the Maguindanaos.  Mamalu remained indigenous (or lumad) and is recognized as the ancestor of the Arumanen Manobo, the Dulangan Manobo, and the Teduray.

8. It took two centuries after the coming of Islam for sultanates to develop. The first was the Sulu sultanate founded in 1450 by Sharif Hashim/Abu Bakr. The second was the Maguindanao sultanate founded in 1511 by Sharif Kabungsuan.

9. Before the Spaniards first came in 1521 therefore, Mindanao already had centers of settlement/trade: Butuan (at the mouth of the Agusan River; cf: G. Hontiveros); the Sulu Sultanate (with the Jolo trade; cf.  Warren);  and the Maguindanao Sultanate (cf: McKenna).  Mindanao was not at all in the periphery of Asian trade, but that would change as colonization gradually established itself more firmly in the following centuries.

10. The Spanish colonial agenda not only brought the Spaniards to the Philippines; it also led to the use of the alternative way to reach the east from Europe through the Cape of Good Hope. This route that approaches the Philippines from the East instead of from the West was an alternative trade route that would eventually favor the port of Manila rather than the other ports further south.

11. The establishment of the Spanish colonial government in Manila also created an alternative center of settlement outside of Mindanao, benefitting from the military and cultural resources coming from Europe and from the opportunity of new markets in Europe. The Spanish colonization then had the general effect of shifting trade and governance from Mindanao to Luzon.

12. The already antagonistic relationship between the Spaniards and the moors engendered a bias among the Christian converts against Muslims. Spain was occupied by Maurus/Mauris from Morocco, North Africa from 711 to 1492 C.E. Thus the name “moro.”

13. Out of these events, two major political streams came to simultaneously exist in the Philippine islands, which may heuristically be called Moro and Filipino respectively (from Rudy Rodil):


  • First beginnings in 1280/1310 when Islam  arrived in Tawi-Tawi; Continued with Islam coming to Maguindanao ca. 1515
  • Politically and economically established in 1450 through the emergence of the Sultanate of Sulu and further in the 1500’s with the rise of the Sultanate of Maguindanao
  • As of 1898, the two sultanates were still alive.


  • First beginnings in 1521 when Magellan planted Christianity in the Visayas
  • Politically and economically established in the decades following 1565 when Legazpi led the occupation of the Philippines. Attempts at occupying Mindanao include settlements in Zamboanga Caraga in 1800 and in Misamis (the Jesuit records indicate many and different dates; dating to as early as late 16th century).
  • The birth of the Filipino nation with its roots from the Propaganda Movement (1880 – 1895) and the Katipunan culminated in the declaration of national independence on June 12 , 1898.

14. These two bodies politic with a third un-unified, unorganized group (i.e. the Lumads) co-inhabited Mindanao:

15. Throughout Spanish rule, the two larger political bodies remained separate and hostile to one another. Those of the third disorganized group (the Lumads) either remained separate because they were inaccessible or entered the ambit of the larger political bodies thus creating the Christian Lumads and the Muslim Lumads.  The Muslim Lumads will eventually develop a praxis of Islam that, in the 21st century, needs to be distinguished from the Arabic praxis of Islam.   Most of Mindanao territory effectively remained outside the control of the Filipino political stream at this time.

16. American rule (beginning 1898), would then forcibly and with a sleight of hand establish control over Mindanao territory. In 1898, Spain ceded all of 27 million hectares of the Philippines to become U.S. property through the Treaty of Paris.  This would include Mindanao which Spain never truly was able to occupy.  In 1899, Brig. Gen. J. Bates contracted a treaty with Sultan Jamalul Kiram II to recognize each other’s sovereignty.

17. The U.S. colonial government then promulgated the Land Registration Act 496 in 1902 which required all land to be registered with a Torrens title. In 1903, the Philippine Commission Act 718 voided the land grants of the Moro Sultanate and of Chiefs of tribes made without government authority.  In the same year, Public Land Act 926 was promulgated allowing for Homestead and Resettlement Areas in Mindanao, the Land of Promise, thereby legalizing the acquisition of land in Mindanao by migrants to the island.

18. The Kiram-Bates Treaty was then abrogated; and American General of the Moro Province, Leonard Wood began the Moro-American War lasting 3 years (1903-06). In the battle of Bud Dajo, a thousand Moros were killed resisting the attacks of 800 US soldiers.  Resistance persisted through the 1920’s and 1930’s.

19. In 1935, the commonwealth government under Manuel L. Quezon imposed the Filipinization policy.

20. Under U.S. rule, what were two distinct political systems began to be fused together by common subjection to a colonial master but at the same time differentiated in privilege that favored the Filipino over the Moro:


  • subjects of American colonialism
  • Territory became “Our Insular Possessions”
  • Labeled non-Christians; also uncivilized, along with “wild tribes”
  • 1903 – Special provinces formed: Moro Province for Moros; Agusan for Lumad to facilitate their Filipinization


  • subjects of American colonialism
  • Territory became “Our Insular Possessions”
  • Labeled as Christians and civilized
  • Regular provinces formed

21. The Moro Province would later lead to the notion of the Bangsamoro (McKenna, Muslim Rulers and Rebels: Everyday Politics and Armed Separatism in the Southern Philippines). However the territory of the Moro Province became the destination of migrants coming mainly from Central Philippines.

22. With the rise of U.S. rule, Mindanao became labeled as the Land of Promise. Landless peasant-settlers were encouraged to come to Mindanao by the American colonial government through the homestead program.  Plantations for rubber, pineapple, coconut, etc. arose throughout the island.

23. The following statistics on the migration to Cotabato illustrates the displacement of the Muslims and the Lumads (Rodil):

24. The homesteading laws clearly favored either the migrants or inbound corporations:

25. The Church was part of the influx of migrants into Mindanao. As more Christians flocked to Mindanao the Catholic Church wanted to have her presence among them. At the end of the Spanish colonial era, there were Christians communities in parts of Zamboanga , Caraga, Misamis, Davao. They were the minority. Not enough diocesan and religious priests available from Luzon to go to Mindanao –Sulu in the 1940-1960s.  With the revolution in China where foreign  missionaries were forced to leave, foreign religious congregations flocked to Mindanao-Sulu.  Also, Bishop Luis del Rosario, S.J. of Zamboanga was responsible for inviting the OMI, PME, Maryknoll Fathers, and Claretian Fathers to Mindanao; and Bishop James Hayes, S.J. of Cagayan de Oro for inviting the Columban Missionaries.  By 1948, the muslims and the lumad combined had become a minority of just about 30%.

26. As more land-hungry peasants-settlers flocked to Mindanao.  LAND became more and more contested.  TENSIONS at local levels arose even as generally, there was peaceful co-existence.  The tension would eventually become widespread.


In the late 1960’s, in a bid to re-claim northeastern Sabah for the Philippines,  President Ferdinand E. Marcos had Tausugs from Sulu trained under the AFP.  The Tausugs would then be sent to Sabah to destabilize it.  For reasons still contested and unconfirmed, a number of these trainees (68?) were killed on March 18, 1968 on Corregidor Island by AFP personnel.  This came to be known as the Jabidah Massacre.  This incident was met with indignation.  In retaliation to this massacre, Datu Udtug Matalam organized the Muslim Independence Movement in May 1968.  Abdul Rahman of Malaysia, in retaliation, trained ninety Moro young men who were initiated by Congressman Luckman.  This group went from Malaysia to Cairo for studies, paving the way for integrating elements of Islamic faith into an armed uprising, namely that of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

28. Two Muslim groups would eventually emerge: the more secular MNLF set up by Nur Misuari ca. 1969 and the MILF which adhered to Islam teachings under Hashim Salamat ca. 1977. Both shared the Bangsamoro dream.  Meanwhile, armed groups opposing the Muslims were formed: the Ilaga (set up by settlers led by the Ilonggos) and the Blackshirts/Barracudas.  Violence erupted in Mindanao creating the problem of bakwits, evacuees. (J. Canuday)

29. Marcos declared an all-out war against the Moro rebels. MNLF made its first appearance to seize Jolo in October 1973. In February 1974, war in Jolo between AFP and MNLF started to spread across Mindanao.

30. Other massacres committed by the Philippine Armed Forces include the Tacub Massacre-1971, Malisbong Massacre-1974, Patikul-1977, and Pata Island Massacre-1981.

31. On December 23, 1976, under the Marcos Regime, the GRP and MNLF signed the Tripoli Agreement brokered by Muammar Qaddafi. Thirteen of twenty-three provinces were supposed to be granted autonomy, but this promise was never fulfilled by President Marcos.

32. After the 1986 People Power Revolution, the 1987 Constitution was ratified. This Constitution provided for setting up an autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao.  This led to the ARMM during the presidency of Corazon Aquino.  Congress passed R.A. 6734 known as the Organic Law on August 1, 1989.  The ARMM was officially inaugurated on November 6, 1990.

33. Under the presidency of Fidel Ramos, “The Final Peace Agreement” was signed with the MNLF on September 2, 1996. The agreement provided for transitional structures for the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD).  There was massive opposition to this agreement, but it pushed through.

34. Unfortunately, not all the Muslim factions were satisfied with autonomy and wanted nothing less than a secession from Philippine sovereignty. The largest and strongest group among these factions was the MILF which rose in arms and war once again erupted in Mindanao.  This posed yet another obstacle to the Ramos administration.

35. In 1997, peace negotiations between the government and the MILF began. When the term of President Ramos ended in 1998, the government continued with low level peace negotiations into the presidency of Joseph Estrada.   On March 21, 2000, however, citing violations by MILF of past peace agreements, President Joseph Estrada declared an all-out war against the MILF.  The all-out war policy continued until the premature end of Estrada’s term.

36. The peace process resumed under the presidency of Gloria Arroyo in 2001. The “Agreement for the General Framework for the Resumption of Peace Talks” was signed by the government and the MILF. In the same year, E.O. 9054 which amended the Organic Act and which allowed for the expansion of the jurisdiction of the autonomous region through plebicite lapsed into law.  By virtue of E.O. 9054, Marawi City and  Basilan (excluding Isabela City) were added to the four original provinces of the autonomous region.

37. The peace process continued through the years with various agreements signed.  One notable agreement which was finalized for signing in 2008 was the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) of the Tripoli Agreement of 2001 which would have created the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (or BJE). The Peace Panel announced that  they were ready to sign the agreement on August 5 in Kuala Lumpur.  North Cotobato Vice-Governor Piñol et al sought the Supreme Court’s TRO which was granted  on August 2.  There were very strong objections from members of Congress against this agreement, even without their having read the document.  Local politicians and the media fanned the longtime bias against Muslims to campaign against the agreement.  And people in Zamboanga and Illigan took  to the streets.  The ILAGA was resurrected. The agreement was not signed and war came to Mindanao once again.

38. Despite the setback in 2008, the peace process continued into the presidency of Noynoy Aquino which began in 2010. The process reached an important milestone in the signing of  the Framework Agreement for Bangsamoro (FAB) on October 15, 2012.  However, the  Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which would have transformed the agreement into law and made possible the implementation of the FAB provisions has, as of April 2016, been stalled in Congress.

3. Bangsamoro Territory after BBL Plebiscite All other contiguous areas
2. Bangsamoro Core Territory as of 2001 Cotabato City where there is a resolution
1. ARMM Basilan Isabela City of the local government
Lanao del Sur Sulu 6 Municipalities of Lanao del Norte unit or at least 10 percent
Maguindanao Tawi-Tawi of the qualified voters in
39 Barangays in 6 Municipalities in North Cotabato the area may ask for their
inclusion in the plebiscite

39. In the meanwhile, Islamic extremist forces from the Middle East such as Al Qaeda and ISIS are suspected to be making inroads into rebel groups in Mindanao, providing more arms and tactics support and hardening ideological/religious positions.



The following is the second of a two-part situationer on Mindanao.  The first part provides a chronological review that establishes the historical injustice that Mindanao and its peoples have been subjected to and which we need to correct and address.  This second part provides economic, geographical, environmental, anthropological, cultural and other kinds of data that exemplify the need and urgency of focusing our Province mission on Mindanao.

PART II: 2016 Mindanao Situationer

1. Mindanao is home to about 24% of the Philippine population

Year 2007 2010 2015 (projected)
Mindanao %age of Mindanao Population 21.5 Mb 24.3% 22Ma 23.8% 24.6c 23.9%
Philippines 88.5 Ma 92.3Ma 102.9a

2. In 2010, there were 4.8M Muslims in Mindanao, comprising about 21.8% of the Mindanao population. This comprised 94% of Muslims in the Philippines.d

3. Mindanao is home to about 27 indigenous cultural minorities.b


This is a rather highly differentiated listing; hence more than 27 are listed.

Erumanen ne Menuvu` Matidsalug Manobo Agusanon Manobo Dulangan Manobo Dabaw Manobo
Ata Manobo Kaulo Dibabawon, Mamanwa K’lata
B’laan Banwaon Mangguwangan Talaandig Diyangan
Higaunon Teduray Mansaka Tagabawa Kamayo
T’boli Lambangian Mandaya Ubu Badjao
Kuwemanen Subanen/Subanon K’lagan kagan Tinenanen
Maguindanao Tausug Yakan Samal Maranao
IIanon or Iranun Sangil, Sangir Note: Islamized IP Groups in italics

4. By any reckoning by various research groups, Mindanao is the region which has the most number of indigenous groups (both Islamized and not): “The survey made by the Summer Institute of Linguistics (which appears in the website – ethnologue/com/country/ PH /languages) lists close to 130 languages (corresponding to ethnolinguistic groups), with 52 residing in Mindanao-Sulu. A document that gathers data from the ECIP, NCCP-PACT, ONCC, OSCC, OMA and DENR has a list of 107 IP groups; of this number 39 are in Mindanao-Sulu. An AFRIM material that got its data from both the NSO and the NCIP Central office indicated 31 IP groups in Mindanao-Sulu.e

5. “…Of a total Philippine population of roughly 92 million in 2010, 14 million belonged to the IPs. Thus they constituted 15.2% of the total population. More than one-half of the 14 million (51.2%) live in Mindanao-Sulu or a total of 7,165,432 people. These are staggering numbers if we look at the total population of small countries in Central America (Nicaragua, El Savador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama); where most of their total population are roughly between 4 to 6 million only. With a total of 7 million in Mindanao and 14 million throughout the country, the IP populations are equivalent to that of countries. Even closer to us, look at Singapore’s population in 2012 – it is only 5,312,500.”e

Percentage of Mindanao Population  (2010)
Mindanao Region 22M
Muslim 4.8M 21.8%
Indigenous (Non-Muslim) 2.3M 10.4%
TOTAL Muslim & Indigenous 7.1M 32.2%

6. Mindanao has 40% of the country’s land area but only contributes 16% of the GDP. In the Seventies, the region used to average 21%.  Currently, both Mindanao and Visayas contributions to the GDP continue to decline while Luzon is increasing.  ARMM has had the lowest GDP share.f

7. One-third of its land area is devoted to agriculture. It supplies 40% of the country’s food requirements and contributes 30% of national food trade.  It is the major producer of rubber, banana, pineapple, and coffee.Mindanao has consistently contributed a third of Philippine agricultural production since 1975 (an average of about 35.7% from 1975 to 2013). f

8. Mindanao has made less significant contributions to the GDP in the Industry, Manufacturing , and Service sectors, averaging 13.9%, 13.8%, and 13.7% respectively. Within Mindanao, Regions X, XI (Davao), and XII  contribute the bulk in these sectors.  ARMM and CARAGA are consistently the lowest contributors from virtually nil to just about 1% for each of the two regions in all three sectors.f

9. In terms of GDP growth, Mindanao experienced the worst of times from 1981-2000 when its average GDP growth was around 1.6%. The region made a comeback from 2001 -2013 with an average GDP growth of about 5.3%, still behind the rest of the Philippines but not too far off.  Even CARAGA has been posting a very high GDP growth rate of 9.4 % over the period 2009-2013.  ARMM however has averaged a mere 2.4% in the recovery years from 2001-2013, less than half the average of the region. f

10. There is no data specific to indigenous populations outside the ARMM because they comprise such a minority in the other regions. It needs to be kept in mind that economic growth in the regions they are in do not necessarily benefit them because of their isolation from mainstream economic activity.

11. Mindanao has 40% of the country’s mineral reserves (etimated at 312B USD out of 840B USD according to DENR-MGB). CARAGA and Davao are the biggest regional contributors in the country with more than 8 pecent each.  It contributed almost 21 % of the country’s total mining output from 2006 to 2008.


of PH Land Area


of PH Population


of PH Food Requirements


of National Food Trade


of GDP

40 %

of Mineral Reserves


of IP’s in the country


of Muslims in the country

12. Mindanao has a mainly agricultural economy. From 1981-2000 its growth in the agricultural sector was lower than both Luzon and the Visayas at an average of 1.4%.  From 2001-2008, growth accelerated to an average of 4.7% .  However, from 2009-2013, the growth decelerated to an average of 0.8%.f

13. Although no scientific data is readily available, it may perhaps be presumed that climate change has had a drastic effect on agricultural production growth in Mindanao. Extreme weather (both severe typhoons and droughts, e.g. Typhoon Sendong in 2011, Typhoon Pablo in 2012, 2016 drought) causing the destruction of plantations and requiring complete start overs pose a serious challenge to the agricultural sector in Mindanao.

14. Mindanao has the highest incidence of poverty among the three island groups Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao at about 41.3% in 2015 more than twice that of Luzon.c

15. It also has the highest subsistence incidence at 21.4%, more than 3 times that of Luzon. c

16. It has 11 of the 20 poorest provinces in the country: c

17. The poverty incidence in the ARMM is still increasing.f

18. Mindanao has half of the ten poorest regions in the country:  ARMM, Region XII, Region IX, Region X, and Region XI.

19. The gross capital formation of Mindanao at 15% and the ARMM at 9% gives little hope for a significant change in the economic condition of the region and sub-region. f

20. The 2008 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) showed that ARMM  has the lowest literacy rate nationwide,  with 71.6%, compared to the national rate of  4%.g

21. The 2013 FLEMMS reports that “Out-of-school children and youth in ARMM comprised 14.4 percent, which is the highest across regions. Six regions have proportion of out-of-school children and youth higher than the national figure at 10.6 percent, namely, SOCCSKSARGEN, Davao, Central Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula, Caraga and MIMAROPA (ranging from 11.2 to 12.3 percent). Meanwhile, the proportion of out-of-school children and youth was lowest in CAR at 7.1 percent.In general [i.e. nationwide], the proportion of persons who are out-of-school was higher among the youth than among children. Excluding CAR, the proportion of out-of-school youth across regions ranged from 14.5 percent to 20.4 percent.”h

22. “For children, the figure ranged from 1.7 percent to 4.9 percent, except ARMM with 10.9 percent. In terms of gender, the proportion of out-of-school children and youth was higher among females than males in all regions (Table 1).h

23. Mindanao has eight major river basins: Agusan, Tagoloan, Cagayan de Oro, Tagum-Libuganon, Davao, Buayan-Malungon, Agus, and the Mindanao River. It has great potential for renewable energy: Biomass from agricultural residue throughout the island; Ocean energy generation in Siargao and Davao; and Wind energy in Surigao to name a few. b

24. The great ecosystems of Mindanao, the watersheds of Agusan and Pulangi with their marshlands, are severely degraded. There is extensive deforestation of mountain ranges typified by Mount Apo and Mount Kitanglad and the watersheds of Lanao and Cotabato. The cultures and the communities in these areas are poorly serviced in terms of basic services and their relationships are exploited not only in terms of economics but also by media and politics. Most branches of government fail in their accountability and are gravely lacking:  From the Ampatuan killings to Mamasapano to the killings of indigenous leaders and community members to the continuation of unproductive grazing lands which should have been returned to natural forests.i

25. The degradation of Mindanao’s natural environment has, in recent decades, gone hand in hand with exploitation of natural resources that is justified under economic development but oftentimes serving only the economic wealth of a few. For example, our country, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), continues to derive little revenue out of mining and logging, as well as water resource exploitation. i

26. Along with this resource exploitation was an alienation of the people from the resources, following a history of Regalian doctrine and an attitude of extraction. Even with the 1987 Constitution, much is unresolved after 25 years, and people’s concerns in relation to land and resources are still unresolved and at the core of many conflicts. i

27. The plantation business for both long-term crops such as oil palm and immediate cash crops like commercial corn, animal feeds, and sugar, has sustained farm workers at subsistence level incomes and decreased food security. i

28. In the process, there has also been extensive chemical utilization such as formaldehyde on cabbages and some of the most toxic chemical pesticides for pineapple, such as Endosulfan. In June 2008, a shipment of Endosulfan bound for delivery to Del Monte Philippines in Bukidnon was discovered to be part of the capsized cargo of the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars, along with 865 passengers and crew. Endosulfan is a highly toxic substance considered for global elimination under the UN Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Most of the commercial corn grown in Mindanao comes from Roundup Ready seeds, genetically engineered to be tolerant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup.  In March 2015, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen to humans, yet our farmers handle the weed killer with bare hands.  Its extensive use and reach in many corn farms have probably polluted our waters and soils to unknown levels. i

29. The World Bank, in its review of global mining in 2000, could not find one mining operation in the wet tropics that was an example of responsible mining. Poverty prevails in mining areas because the focus is on transportation of raw materials and not on added value at site. i

30. Pope Francis’ definition of social and economic exclusion defined how all suffer, given the lack of an integral ecology, oikos, the origins of economics and ecology that have to find a just balance. And in seeking this balance, an integral conversion and a counter culture to consumerism and belief in technological fixes (LS 203, 209) need to happen to obtain the ecological sensitivity. i

31. There is also a critical need for greater dialogue so that people are not simply swayed but go deeper in their faith, commitment and hope. The recovery and rehabilitation process in post-disaster areas must show a new way forward in building back better. i

32. The situation of Indigenous Peoples is complex and we need to know more on how to work with them to sustain their culture, and if they wish to work with us. The killings are wrong and are rooted in complexities for which we do not have the sufficient knowledge to assist effectively.  But we must continue to bear witness to the broader justice. i


The calls of GC 36 are very demanding and very relevant to the Province response to Mindanao, as integration is the broadest and deepest call.  Commitments from existing institutions are seriously sought while more dynamic and interactive communication that can transform and share apostolic coherence and direction is critical for Mindanao where we are dispersed.i

All are called to a deeper faith that sustains a simpler lifestyle. Education for a sustainable world and a science and technology that shares human values play an integral role in changing our attitude from within Mindanao and a deeper local commitment to reconciliation. i


a National Statistics Office (NSO).  Philippines in Figures 2014. 2014.

b National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). Mindanao Strategic Development Framework 2010-2020. Pasig: NEDA Regional Office, 2010.

c Philippine Statistics Authority. Table%204.pdf

d Bueza, Michael. “MAP: Islam in the Philippines.” -map-islam-philippines

Karl Gaspar.  “A Sojourner’s View: The Politics of Statistics Involving the Lumad.”

f Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF). Socio-Economic Trends in Mindanao.2014.

g Philippine Statistics Authority.

h Philippine Statistics Authority.

Pedro Walpole, S.J., Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC)

Other Acknowledgments for their assistance and various contributions: Dr. Chil Soriano (FEF), Dr. Boying  Bautista (JAIME), Dr. Gail Ilagan (COPERS-ADDU), Rudy “Buhay” Rodil (MSU-IIT), Fr. Joel Tabora,SJ (ADDU), Fr. Antonio de Castro, SJ (LST)



PART I: The First Jesuits in Mindanao, Before the Suppression

1. 1596: Very First Expedition. Juan del Campo and Bro. Gaspar  joined the expedition led by Captain Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa to Rio Grande (Pulangi River) to conquer Mindanao and to reduce the Muslims to submission to Spanish rule. Within a year, Gomes returned to Manila to accompany Figueroa’s corpse and Del Campo died while chaplain of the Spanish forces in Mindanao.  Del Campo was only 30 years old.

2. 1597-1614: Second Expedition. Valerio de Ledesma and Fr. Manuel Martinez successfully inaugurated the first church in Mindanao in Butuan on 8 September 1597. They baptized 800 catechumens within a year. [1]

3. 1624-1768: Second Return to Mindanao. The Jesuits were back again in Mindanao in 1624 when the Spanish colonial government divided the island into two mission territories: The western part (Sulu, Zamboanga and Cotabato ) to the Jesuits and the eastern part (Northern Mindanao, Surigao, and Agusan) to the Recollects. The Jesuits started the Dapitan mission in 1631 followed by the Zamboanga mission in 1633.

4. 1600’s: Jesuits as Peace Ambassadors. In 1605, Fr. Melchor Hurtado—himself captured in a slave raid— was sent as a peace envoy by the Spanish colonial government.  The Muslims provisionally accepted.  In 1640,  Pedro Gutierrez, negotiated for the freedom of slaves with Sultan Kudarat, Lord of Rio Grande, and with Rajah Bungsu of Jolo. Fr. Alejandro Lopez continued Hurtado’s work in breaking peace in Rio Grande, Sulu, and Buayan where he was successful in gaining truces from them.

5. 1640’s: Martyrs in Northwestern Mindanao. The Jesuits suffered martyrdom in their work with the Subanons and  Muslims:  Francisco Mendoza between Iligan and Marawi in 1642 and Fr. Francesco Palliola in Ponot in 1648.

6. 1663-1718: 55-Year Absence from Zamboanga. Because of the threat of attacks by the Chinese invader Koxinga, Zamboanga and southern Mindanao was abandoned in 1663. But during this time, the Jesuits continued their dangerous work with the Subanons and Muslims in northwestern Mindanao despite the past experience of martyrdoms.

7. 1718: Return to Zamboanga and into Jolo and Tamontaka. When they returned to Zamboanga in 1718, the Jesuits continued their pursuit of peace with the Muslims.

The Jesuits also defended the natives from the abuses of some opportunistic encomenderos and sent the sons of some native Christians to the Jesuit college in Cebu, Collegio de San Ildefonso.  In 1614, the Jesuits left their only mission area on the island, leaving the Church’s mission on the island to the RECOLLECTS who back in 1609 had started a mission in Tandag, Surigao. 

They were welcomed to Tamontaka and Jolo for a while but had to abandon the mission posts when it became clear that the warm welcome given them was a deception.

8. 1754: Armed Mission in Iligan. Francisco Ducos, a missionary in Iligan, did not shy away from military strategies.  In 1754, he led an attack on Panguil Bay, which the Muslims used as a base for their violent pillaging. Ducos got control of the base, burned various towns, and managed to capture 170 ships. He was made commander of the Spanish fleet of Iligan, and was able to defeat the raiders several times.

9. 1768: The Execution of the Royal Order Suppressing the Society of Jesus in the Philippines. When the royal order of suppression by King Charles III arrived in Manila on 17 May 1768, the Jesuits had to leave Mindanao. The following were already considered parishes under their care: Zamboanga, Dapitan, Bayog, Lubungan, Dipolog, Iligan, Initao, Ilaya, and Misamis. The Recollects and the diocesan clergy of Cebu took over these vacated parishes.

PART II:  Return to Mindanao, After the Restoration

16. 1832-1857: The Repeated Requests for Jesuits to Return to the Philippines after the Restoration.  In 1832, Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon, O.S.A. of Cebu requested King Ferdinand VII of Spain for Jesuits in his diocese; but the Jesuits did not have enough personnel.  In 1857 Bishop Romualdo Jimeno Ballesteros, O.P. of Cebu made another request to Queen Isabella II for Jesuits to minister to the districts of Bislig, Davao, Pollok and the provinces of Zamboanga and Basilan Island.  This time, the Jesuits were ready.

17. 1859: Arrival in Manila. On 13 June 1859, 10 Jesuits (6 priests and 4 brothers) led by Fr. Jose Fernandez Cuevas arrived in Manila. Cuevas immediately made arrangements to take over part of Mindanao. However, the residents of Manila asked them to set up a school (which is Ateneo de Manila University today).  The following year, the Jesuits would attempt to fulfill their mission to Mindanao.

From their headquarters in Zamboanga, the Jesuits looked after the missions of Tamontaka and Jolo. In 1746, Fr. Francisco Zassi, the Rector of Zambaoanga, accompanied by Fr. Sebastian Ignacio de Arcada and Major Tomas de Arrivillaga, brought letters of friendship from King Philip V of Spain to the sultans of Tamontaka and Jolo. The Jesuit ambassadors were given every honor upon their arrival in the sultanates and were allowed to set up missions there: Fr. Juan Angeles and Fr. Josef Wilhelm were sent to establish a permanent mission in Jolo and Fr. Juan Moreno and Fr. Sebastian Ignacio de Arcada were sent to found a mission in Tamontaka. 

Moreno and de Arcada had to leave Tamontaka though as they soon learned that the warm welcome given them was a deception since the Maguindanaos merely wanted to seize the ships sent from Zamboanga. The mission to Jolo met a more tragic end. Sultan Mohammed Ali-Mudin claimed that he wanted to be a Christian and so he went to Manila to be baptized in April 1750. In truth he only wanted to obtain advantages from the government in Manila. This scheme was foiled and he was captured on his way back to Jolo. In retaliation, his brother led the Joloanos to a ferocious war against the Christians, killing many including the Jesuit missionaries to Jolo, Angeles and Wilhelm.

18. 1860: The Reconnaissance Visit to Mindanao. The Queen decreed on 30 July 1860 that the Jesuits “will engage in the spiritual care of the island and will replace the present parish priests [the Recollects]”.  In the same year, Cuevas was finally able to go to Mindanao in 1860 to prepare the way for the Jesuits to return to the island.

19. 1861-2: The Strategic Entry into Northern Mindanao. Cuevas returned from his reconnaissance in 1861 and suggested that Jesuits begin their ministry with the already Christianized areas in northern Mindanao.  Four Jesuits led by Fr. Ignacio Guerrico arrived in the island in January 1862. They started their mission at the mouth of Pulangi, where military advances were taking place for the effective possession of the region. [3]

20. 1865 and Following: The Mission to the Rest of Mindano. Upon the foundation of the Diocese of Jaro in 1865, the districts in the south such as Zamboanga and Basilan, Jolo, Cotabato, and Davao were formally assigned to the Jesuits. Later on, the districts in the north and east, which still belonged to the Diocese of Cebu:  Dapitan, Misamis, Surigao, and Bislig (Caraga) were added. Only Cagayan remained under the Recollects until the 19th century. [4]

It was hoped that the evangelization of Mindanao could start with the gentle and receptive Tirurays who were in constant contact with Maguindanaos.  The work with the Tirurays would hopefully pave the way for the conversion of the dominant Muslim tribe. Following the establishment of the first mission of the restored Society of Jesus in Tamontaka along the Rio Grande, another Jesuit, Fr. Ramon Barua, took over Tetuan parish in November of the same year.

[1] The Challenges of the Mission:  Dispersed Populace, Muslim Attacks, Diseases.  A renewed focus on inculturation, working for peace, and – in the words of the great missionary Fr. Saturnino Urios – “humanizing the people before Christianizing them” marked the Jesuit mission in the 19th century. But, like the Jesuits of the old Society, they faced tremendous challenges. In the first place, there were no real homes and towns work in; the scattered living of the populace being mainly a result of the threat of raids. In the second place, the Jesuits themselves were constantly harassed by hostile Muslims and the different indigenous peoples. Infidels from the mountains would constantly swoop down on the Jesuit missions resulting in the loss of not only property but even the lives of the missionaries. The Jesuits would have to ask help from the government’s military forces for protection. But, in some cases, as what happened in Bukidon, the Jesuits asked for arms to form their own militias. In addition, unsanitary conditions placed them under constant threat of widespread sicknesses, making it doubly difficult for them to set up communitie. 

The Mindanao Jesuits met these challenges with missionary zeal and creativity. As their brethren in other parts of the world had done, the first missionaries in Mindanao realized they had to bring people together in order to form them in the faith. In Caraga, Fr. Pablo Pastells organized nomadic tribes into settlements. This he did by first marking out the central plaza, streets, chapel, municipal hall, and schools. The natives were taught how to build houses with walls, windows, and rooms. He was able to carry this out much more easily because he relied on the traditional datus and tribal leaders to bring people together and convince them to live in permanent communities.  Fr. Saturnino Urios followed a much more simple principle. Aside from exploring the Rio Grande, forging peace between warring tribes, and founding new towns, especially in Agusan, he believed that in order to evangelize one had to exercise much patience, charity, and courage. He went through great pains to show the local people the advantages of stable community life and then he made them respect the principle of authority. Fr. Jaime Plana realized that the Mamanua people would only be willing to embrace the Gospel if their most elementary needs of food and clothing were met, so he found ways to provide these. He was also tireless in gathering them back into the settlements when they went back to their nomadic ways, as was the case many times.

Language and Inaccessibility. There was also the problem of language.  In some areas each tribe had a different language, e.g. in Davao, the Bagobos, the Tagacaolos, and the Mandayas each had a different language. And then there was the problem of isolation or inaccessibility.  Some missions in Mindanao were also isolated, with very limited communication with the outside world. In the Caraga mission for example, three to five months would pass before any ship passed by.

Contrary Culural Beliefs and Practices.  There were also some practices and customs which the faith deemed immoral but were so much part of the way of local way of life. Even in the flourishing communities such as the Agusan mission, it would not be surprising to find Christian communities disappear soon after the missionaries leave due to deeply ingrained, non-Christian beliefs. The Jesuits had to likewise be careful about condemning people publicly or too strongly because of the risk of retaliation, which could cost the missionaries their lives. As parish priest in Zamboanga in 1865, Fr. Francisco Javier Martin Luengo decided against open confrontation with public immorality. Instead he patiently discussed the dangers of practices such as gambling to each family by visiting them at their homes. To combat the bagani code, practiced along the east coast, Fr. Domingo Bove taught sedentary agriculture alongside human life.

21. In the 1860’s, the Jesuit mission in Mindanao entered the regions of Zamboanga, Cotabato, and Davao

22. In the 1870’s, the mission had spread out to four more regions: Surigao, Agusan, Misamis, and Saranggani

23. In the 1880’s, the mission opened up only one more region, that is Bukidnon, but the number of stations in the covered territory increased drastically.

24. By 1895, there were 106 Jesuits in Mindanao,62 priests and 44 brothers, in eight regions of the island, manning ___ mission stations.

25. The Time of the Philippine Revolution. Although the people perceived the Jesuits as different from the friars, it still happened that all the Jesuits were recalled to Manila by 1898.  By the year 1900, however, they were back in Mindanao.  They returned to empty reductions with barely a hint of previous Catholic influence.  Reopening the mission in Mindanao was marked with several new challenges: the lack of funds because there was no more patronato real to draw from, the lack of manpower because there were no more new arrivals of Spanish Jesuits and those around were aging, the threats due to the anti-Spanish, nationalist sentiments, and the perceived protestant threat represented by the establishment of Silliman University in 1901.

Since the aggression towards the Catholic Church was directed towards the friar orders and because the Philippine revolution centered on Manila, the Jesuit mission in Mindanao proceeded with little interruption, at least in the beginning of the revolution. In one instance, when Spanish officials gave up their posts to Filipinos in Surigao after independence was declared in 1898, Fr. Alberto Masóliver was elected chairman of the province junta. In Agusan, the people asked Fr. Francisco Nebot which flag should be raised while waiting for the official one. Nebot suggested the papal flag, and the people agreed.

[1] Pillaging marked their properties; even chapel fixtures were not spared. Upon their return, they also saw that Protestantism had taken root and some of their chape

ls were taken over by the Aglipayans and other religious groups.

26. A 20th Century Roadmap for the Mindanao Mission. To address these challenges, the superior Pio Pi drafted a guide for superiors in Rome and Spain which covered the following: a) the protection of missionaries; b) more Jesuit missionaries, preferably Americans; c) the nomination of a bishop to Mindanao if possible a Jesuit; d) the establishment of a seminary; and e) the founding of schools apart from mission stations.  Fr. Luis Adroer, Provincial of Aragon, emphasized in his response that the Jesuits focus on territories not yet Christianized. This meant  the Jesuits should turn well-established missions to other priests..

27. Jesuit Manpower in Mindanao through the 20th Century From 1900 to 1921, the Spanish Jesuits held the fort waiting for the Americans who started taking over the stations in 1921. The turnover was completed in 1929.  In the first 30 years of the century, the Jesuits were both reactivating and adding new stations.

In the map above, the stations that are identified in italics are new stations, and the rest are reactivated statios.

28. 1930’s: Simultaneous Movements of Additions and Turnovers. In the 1930’s, there was a series of turnovers of sub-regions of the island to other religious priests, while there was a continuation of new stations being set up in the regions still in the area of responsibility of the Jesuits.  The Sacred Heart Missionaries had already taken over the Surigao region in 1908; they also took over the adjacent region of Agusan in 1935.  In 1937, the Davao region was turned over to the P.M.E.’s,  although the Jesuits would later return in 1948 to establish Ateneo de Davao.  After adding three more stations in Misamis Occidental in the early thrities (Clarin-1931, Tangub-1932, Plaridel-1932), the Jesuits turned over Misamis Occidental to the Columban fathers (SSC) in 1938-9.  The Oblates (O.M.I.) took over Cotabato and Sulu in 1939.

29. By 1939, the turnovers allow the Jesuits to concentrate their resources on the remaining areas of Basilan, the whole of the Zamboanga peninsula, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Bukidnon, and Misamis Oriental.

30. Mid-1940’s onwards.  Beginning 1946, the Columbans began to take over the Lanao provinces.  The Claretians (C.M.F.) began work in Zamboanga del Norte in 1950.  The Archdioceses of Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro were taking over the missions and parishes in their areas of responsibility.  Misamis Oriental was turned over to the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and Basilan to the Archdiocese of Zamboanga.  This would leave just two mission areas for the Jesuits: Zamboanga del Sur and Bukidnon while maintaining their presence through the schools in Zamboanga City and Davao City.   Once again the concentration of resources resulted in the rapid increase in mission stations in the remaining mission areas in the next decades.

31. Pursuing the Pio Pi Roadmap. 

Deployment of More Missionaries. Apart from deploying the American Jesuits to Mindanao which was accomplished by 1929, the manpower problem in the Mindanao Mission was addressed by the turnovers to other religious congregations in the thirties and forties and later to the diocesan clergy.  The arrival of the Chinese Delegation Jesuits in the 1950’s also significantly contributed to the continued  rapid increase of mission stations.

Appointment of a Bishop. The development of the diocesan clergy may be said to have been in itself part of the roadmap as it was a natural consequence of the recommendation to establish a diocese with a Jesuit bishop.  The recommendation to nominate a bishop in Mindanao was achieved in 1910 when Zamboanga became a diocese, although the bishop was not a Jesuit..  The following are ecclesiastical units that developed while under the Jesuit mission in Mindanao:

1910       Zamboanga Diocese 1969       Malaybalay Prelature
1933       Cagayan de Oro Diocese 1976    Kidapawan Prelature
1951       Zamboanga Archdiocese 1979       Ipil Prelature
1958       Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese 1982       Malaybalay Diocese

There are now a total of fifteen ecclesiastical units in Mindanao, one of which is under a Jesuit Archbishop: Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.

Mission to Previously Unchristianized Areas. The turnovers to other religious congregations and later to the diocesan clergy also made possible the fulfillment of the instruction from Fr. Adroer, Provincial of Aragon, which called on the Jesuits to move out to previously unchristianized areas.  While turning over well-established missions, the Jesuits were continually moving out to new frontiers.

Founding Schools.  Following on the recommendation of Fr. Pio Pi, schools were established with several of the mission stations.  This continues today in the stations in Bukidnon Mission District.  The Ateneo de Zamboanga was established in 1912, the Ateneo de Cagayan in 1933, and the Ateneo de Davao in 1948.

Founding a Seminary.   The one thing among Fr. Pio Pi’s recommendations that the Jesuits did not accomplish themselves was the establishment of a seminary.  However, the P.M.E. did establish the Regional Major Seminary in Davao in 1964.  The Jesuits would then eventually figure significantly in the establishment of the inter-diocesan St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in 1985.

32. While Fr. Pio Pi’s Roadmap for the Mindanao Mission had the Christianization of Mindanao as a primary goal which was already largely accomplished in the first three quarters of the 20th Century, the Jesuit mission in Mindanao – over the last three decades at least – has been undergoing changes, rethinking, and re-direction. Many factors are responsible for these ongoing changes: The evolving understanding of the Society of Jesus of its mission since GC 32 to GC 35 that is of what it means to work for justice in an authentic living out of our faith; the realization of how the original inhabitants of Mindanao have been the victims of dispossession and minoritisation over the last century and how the Church may have inadvertently benefitted from this; the valuable insights provided by the social science and environmental science research on Mindanao, a lot of which comes from our own universities in the island; and the ever-increasing vulnerability of the island and its peoples to environmental, socio-economic, and political threats as well as the seemingly unresolvable armed conflicts.

Some responses since the 1970’s to the evolving demands of the mission in Mindanao include but are not limited to the following: the brave stand Jesuits took in defense of the people during the Martial Law years in the persons of Bishop Claver, Fr. Godofredo Alingal, Fr. Gus Nazaren, Fr. Cal Poulin, and Fr. Joseph Stoffel; the unprecedented attempts at dialogue such as Fr. Bill Kreutz’s invitation to Mr. Nur Misuari to ADZU, the development of social and cultural research in the persons of Fr. Madigan, Fr. Demetrio, Fr. Mike Bernad, and Fr. Albert Alejo; the work of the Environmental Science for Social Change based in Bendum; the development of IP schools by ADZU, ADDU, XU, and the Apo Pulamguwan Cultural Educational Center; the personal commitment of Frs. Matt Sanchez and Pedro Walpole to live with the lumads; the continuing works of the Bukidnon Mission District; the assignment of scholastics and new priests to Mindanao; and  the various works, outreaches, research done by our universities and their centers and institutes too many to mention here.

33. With a renewed clarity of understanding, that our mission in Mindanao is not to be assessed by the Christianization of the island, but by the extent that the propagation of our faith there has planted and nurtured an authentic reconciliation among its peoples, between its peoples and its environment, and between its peoples and God, the Jesuit mission in Mindanao must continue with greater intensity, with a more profound understanding and analysis of the situation there, and with greater coordination to ensure our corporate efforts may indeed have the impact that we hope, imagine and intend to make.

Road to Mindanao 2017 March to April

R O A D    T O    M I N D A N A O
Released by the Philippine Province Commission on Ministries & Jesuit Communications
March to April 2017

NOTE: This bulletin is meant to keep our Philippine Province Jesuits and partners in mission updated regarding developments in the implementation of the Province Roadmap. Please email any news contributions from your respective apostolates to


Last April 5, 2017 marked the very first graduation rites of the Tboli Sbù Senior High School (TSSHS), which opened on May 19, 2015. Vinci Bueza of Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) gives us some information on this landmark education program for Indigenous Peoples:  “The community elders insisted that Tboli Sbù be in the school’s name to emphasize their identity as Tbolis of Lake Sebu since there are other Tboli communities in the municipality of Tboli.  In cooperation with the Department of Ecuation, the TSSHS began with a pilot test of the Grade 11 curriculum designed for the Tboli students.  Designed as a Technical-Vocational Track, the two course specialisations are Livelihood Management and Eco-Tourism. Livelihood Management students are taught the skills of Tnalak weaving, loom weaving and embroidery, brass casting, woodcarving and sustainable crop production with classes on entrepreneurship and management. Eco-Tourism students are taught environmental conservation vis-a-vis sustainable tourism management and practices.

The school is built on the community’s cooperation, collaboration and participation as they find it an effective way of maintaining their cultural identity and exercising their self-determination.  Aside from technical skills, TSSHS is also committed to inculcating the six core values identified by the community elders: reverence for the Holy, pride for culture, respect for the Elders, love for peace, hospitality and passion for learning.  Central to the whole process of developing this culture-based programme is the engagement of the community culture-bearers known as Indigenous Knowledge, Systems and Practices holders. These culture bearers are tapped to engage with and hand-down their cultural knowledge to the young Tboli students.

The TSSHS is not about the Department of Education, nor is it about ADDU.  It is about the Tboli communities of Lake Sebu asserting their cultural identity. Like their distinctive Tnalak, they are a people with very strong convictions and aspirations to bring their beautiful culture to the world.”


It has been a busy past two months for Province IP ministry, with Fr. Jom Manzano reporting the following:  “April 11-12, 2017 marked a major milestone for the IPs in the municipality of Cabanglasan, Bukidnon. The Local Government Unit of Cabanglasan, in a tripartite collaboration with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the Philippine Province IP Ministry, and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), conducted a two-day orientation seminar on the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). This momentous event was attended by the barangay captains, barangay IP Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs), traditional elders and tribal chieftain of the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) within the territorial jurisdiction of the Municipality of Cabanglasan.  The municipal mayor Hon. Renante Inocando and vice mayor Hon. Lolita Obsioma graced the event with their presence.  The municipal IPMR Datu Geneveve Perino, Province IP Ministry Coordinator Fr. Jomari Manzano SJ, and Apo Governance and Indigenous Leadership Academy (AGILA) Director Ms. Norma Gonoz also attended.

NCIP Commissioner, Mr. Dominador Gomez acted both as resource speaker and facilitator of the discussions, with NCIP Chairperson Atty. Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo also joining the latter part of the event. Relevant inputs on cultural sensitivity, territories and domain delineation, registration of land titles, and FPIC (Free Prior Informed Consent) guidelines were provided by a team of experts sponsored by the NCIP Region X Office.  The attending datu and bae of each gaup were once again reminded of their four bundles of IP rights, duties and obligations as defined under the IPRA Law, namely, Rights to Ancestral Domains and Lands, Rights to Self-Governance and Empowerment, Rights to Social Justice and Human Rights and Rights to Cultural Integrity.

One month prior to this event, there was a Province IP Ministry Caucus that was held in Malaybalay City within the Bukidnon Mission District (BMD).  The BMD Jesuits, the Indigenous Peoples Apostolate (IPA) of the Diocese, and other religious orders were in attendance to discuss their concerns and endeavors in their work with the IPs in the region. The Most Rev. Bishop of Malaybalay Diocese, Bp. Jose Araneta Cabantan and Jesuit Provincial Superior Fr. Antonio Moreno SJ were among the participants. The NCIP Chairperson Quintayo together with Atty. Antonio La Viña served as the two main discussants at the said caucus. Many participants found relief in realizing that they are not alone in their vocation and life mission of helping the IPs sustain their culture and traditions, while educating them to keep up with the changing times.”


In the past several months, the Province Chinese-Filipino Apostolate has participated in orientations on the Province Roadmap, on both occasions facilitated by Commission on Ministries Chair Fr. Robert Rivera SJ.  Last February 17, 2017 the administrators, faculty, and non-teaching staff and personnel of Ateneo de Iloilo gathered for an orientation on the Province Roadmap.  Similarly, on April 12, 2017, amidst busy preparations for Holy Week, the pastoral council and the Jesuits (Fr. Vids Gornez, Fr. Felipe Bacalso, and Fr. Jun Embile) of Sacred Heart Parish, Cebu took time out to listen to inputs on the Province Roadmap.  Both gatherings were opportunities for those attending to understand better the rationale behind this thrust of the Province, and to explore ways by which their respective apostolates can contribute to its implementation.  The schools (Xavier School, Ateneo de Iloilo, Ateneo de Cebu) and parishes (Mary the Queen, Santa Maria, Sacred Heart) of the Chinese-Filipino Apostolate have been very generous in supporting the various works of the Bukidnon Mission District.


Road to Mindanao 2017 February

R O A D    T O    M I N D A N A O
Released by the Philippine Province Commission on Ministries & Jesuit Communications
February 2017

“We must be clear and unequivocal in challenging our communities to live fully the tenets of peace and justice found in each religion .”
– Pope Francis, Papal Address in his visit to Sri Lanka, 2015

NOTE: This bulletin is meant to keep our Philippine Province Jesuits and partners in mission updated regarding developments in the implementation of the Province Roadmap. Please email any news contributions from your respective apostolates to

Fr. Jom Manzano, Parish Priest of Nuestra Sra. Guadalupe in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon, reports that they have had to cease operations in the Agusan border side of the parish territory because of a Magahat security alert in the area since the start of the year. In an open letter to Fr. Provincial Tony Moreno, Fr. Jom describes the situation as follows: “Magahat is the cultural way of seeking justice by most of the tribes in Bukidnon whereby the aggrieved tribe or family assumes the right to take revenge by killing another. It is first and foremost a cry for justice. This is particularly true among the Umajamen tribe in Cabanglasan. The tribal community held suspect for the specific crime becomes immediately an open target of revenge. When a Datu is strong enough to intervene, he could actually prevent further bloodshed to occur. However, the Datu would normally open the negotiation table or Husay only when they have killed at least one person, maybe more.” Three communities are currently involved in the Magahat, and the violence has already claimed one victim—a farmer caught in the crossfire while inadvertently traversing the Magahat line. Fr. Jom is coordinating between the mayor and the various communities to facilitate negotiations, which have been made difficult because one of the communities involved is in the Agusan area. The situation is further complicated by the renewed hostilities between the New People’s Army and the
government. The threat of violence is also affecting efforts to establish literacy/day-care centers for lumad children in the conflict areas. Fr. Jom requests for prayers that peace may prevail soon.

Madaris Volunteer Program. The innovative Madaris Volunteer Program (MVP) run by ADDU continues to provide invaluable support to the Madrasa basic education system of the Muslim community. Mr. Vinci Bueza the ADDU president’s assistant for external affairs, reports: “The MVP, under the leadership of Ms. Karina Jana Nerva, has begun preparing for its third year of implementation. MVP officially is now recruiting its new batch of volunteer teachers for school year 2017 – 2018. In this regard, MVP will participate in various job and recruitment fairs organized in ADDU, Ateneo de Manila University, and Ateneo de Naga University. In its desire to expand to the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, MVP is exploring partnerships with Ateneo de Zamboanga University as well. Along with these linkages, MVP continuously organizes capability enhancement trainings for its partner madaris along with education-related donation drives. MVP underscores the need for complimentary partnerships with other institutions in achieving its mission of peace building through education.”

Al Qalam Institute. Likewise, the Al Qalam Institute (AQI) led by Commission on Ministries member Datu Muss Lidasan continues its work of dialogue and support for various Muslim communities. Again, Vinci Bueza reports on AQI’s latest initiative: “The AQI has led a partnership with the Social Housing Finance Corporation and Ateneo de Zamboanga University in developing a culturally sensitive housing finance plan for Filipino Muslims in Zamboanga. The recipients of the housing project are victims of the 2013 Zamboanga siege. The AQI conducted the social preparation for the communities, and prepared the Shariah-compliant engineering and design of the houses. Since Shariah-compliance does not only involve the Islamic architecture of the houses, the AQI has also designed a riba-free (or interest-free) financing plan that will fund the housing projects. As a symbol for the turnover of the Shariah-compliant financing plan, PHP 10 M worth of checks were awarded to homeowners last February 17, 2017, at Pampang, Zamboanga City.”

The Xavier University Center for Culture and the Arts, together with the XU Sociology-Anthropology Department, sponsored the annual Katatau Mindanao Studies Conference last February 8, 2017. The conference featured various academic presentations on Mindanao, from diverse disciplines such as Literature, Engineering, Sociology, and Anthropology. The highlight of the event was a keynote address by Bro. Karl Gaspar, CSsR of the St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute, Davao City. Bro. Gaspar gave an overview of developments in Mindanao studies, while passionately addressing many students regarding the perils of Martial Law. He recounted his own imprisonment and the many travails undergone by Mindanawons during the Marcos regime. The conference was also an opportunity for Bro. Gaspar to launch his latest book,
100 Years of Gratitude. Bro. Gaspar, who has assisted the Jesuit Philippine Province in its formulation of the Province Roadmap, will be one of several special awardees to be honored by XU in its March commencement ceremonies.

As we approach the first year since the implementation of the Province Roadmap last Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2016, the Province has recently released a set of three annexes to supplement and deepen the points made in the Roadmap document. These three annexes include a “historical situationer” on Mindanao (Annex A1), a more contemporary “Mindanao situationer” (Annex A2), and a brief history of the Jesuits in Mindanao (Annex B). The annexes have been emailed to all
Superiors and Directors of Work, and are downloadable in the Philippine Province website ( Fr. Gaby Gonzalez led the preparations of these annexes, with help from Bro. Karl Gaspar CSsR, Dr. Gail Ilagan of ADDU, Fr. Tony de Castro, Fr. DJ de los Reyes, Bro. Robbie Paraan, Fr. Karel San Juan, and Bro. Madz Tumbali.


Road to Mindanao 2017 January

R O A D    T O    M I N D A N A O
Released by the Philippine Province Commission on Ministries & Jesuit Communications
January 2017

“… reconciliation is alwas a work of justice, a justice
discerned and enacted in local communities and contexts.”
– General Congregation 36, Decree 1, no. 21

NOTE: This bulletin is meant to keep our Philippine Province Jesuits and partners in mission
updated regarding developments in the implementation of the Province Roadmap. Please email any news contributions from your respective apostolates to

ADZU, through its Center for Community Extension Services (CCES), and in partnership with the Zamboanga City Government and the Assisi Development Foundation, Inc. has been working since 2011 on an innovative Indigenous People’s Educational Development Program (IPED) for the city’s marginalized IP communities. The IPED has the following  bjectives: 1) To improve the access of IPs to formal and alternative education; 2) To increase IP’s awareness and appreciation of their Indigenous Knowledge, Systems and Practices (IKSP); 3) To develop management and sustainability systems for IP education. To achieve these goals, the CCES has been working with the Department of Education (DepEd), Suban’on Tribal Council, as well as various local Barangays, and local Education Councils. The core program component includes the provision of basic education opportunities from pre-school to grade three. Teachers who hail from IP communities and have passed the Licensure Exam for Teachers have been tapped for this efforts. Additionally, to improve IKSP capabilities, the CCES also offers a DepEd Alternative Learning Systems (ALS) program, focusing on health, sustainable agriculture, and livelihood. The DepEd ALS program is particularly intensive, lasting two years and meeting for six hours each week. Among the beneficiary areas of the IPED program thus far are the following: Barangays Patalon and Labuan, catering mostly to Subanon communities; Barangay Lamisahan, with students from the Yakan; and, in the aftermath of the Zamboanga City siege, Isla Simariki and Masepla 2 relocation area, for the Sama Bangingi and Bajau children. In the long term ADZU hopes to turn over all these basic and ALS education initiatives to the DepEd.

Despite the holiday rush, December was a busy month for Roadmap related initiatives in ADDU, with events and activities such as the following:
Peace Process: Peace awareness and advocacy has been actively promoted in the university with several significant fora. The University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC) sponsored the forum “From Davao to Oslo and Back: Addressing Socio Economic Reforms for Lasting Peace” last December 13, 2016. The forum gathered representatives from the government, church, academe, and civil society to discuss the peace negotiations between the Philippine government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front. Lead discussants were GRP negotiators Atty. Rene Sarmiento, Atty. Antonio Arellano, and Atty. Angela Librado-Trinidad, while sectoral representatives included Archbishop Fernando Capalla and others. Similarly, the Friends of Peace (FOP) network, working closely with ADDU’s Al Qalam Institute led by Datu Muss Lidasan, met with Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, last December 16, 2016 in Davao City. In this meeting the FOP discussed how they can better assist the government in the Bangsamoro Peace Process. With Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo OMI as lead convenor, the FOB gathers peace advocates to work for a just, inclusive, and sustainable peace in the Bangsamoro area of Mindanao.

Mining and IPs: The legal team from the ADDU’s Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy Center and Ateneo Legal Aid Services composed of Atty. Manuel Quibod, Atty. Arnold Abejaron, and Atty. Romeo Cabarde dialogued with the B’laans of Tampakan in a Legal Caucus held last December 19, 2016 in Marbel, South Cotabato. This was in reference to their legal battle against the Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI). The B’laans have been investigating anomalies in the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process implemented by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the SMI. As a resolution, the legal team and the B’laans will initiate a petition before the NCIP regional office challenging the validity of the ongoing FPIC process. The FPIC is one of the remaining hurdles that the SMI needs to clear before it can start full operations for the mega-ton gold-copper mining project.

Sacred Silence Chapel: Last December 23, 2017, ADDU President Fr. Joel Tabora formally inaugurated and blessed the “Sacred Silence” Chapel of the St. Ignatius Spirituality Center in Samal. It is designed to accommodate liturgies and prayer during silent retreats, and also to allow Muslims to pray there during retreats adapted for them. Also present during the blessing were Fr. Pepe Ritorca, the new parish priest of Barangay Adecor, Fr. Kim Lachica, and Fr. Denny Toledo.

During the recently concluded MSDW held last January 3 to 4, 2017 at Loyola School of Theology, Province Roadmap concerns were prominently featured. Fr. Jom Manzano, Chair of the newly constituted Province Committee for IP Concerns, gave a report on the “IP Agenda” recommended by the Committee for implementation by the Philippine Province. Province Assistant for Planning Fr. Gaby Gonzalez also gave updates on how the Province Roadmap has been implemented and monitored six months since its promulgation last May 2016.

During the last MSDW, JESCOM premiered one of two Province Roadmap related videos it has been working on for the past few months. The first video featured the pioneering SUGPAT Alternative School for Peace Building and the Arts implemented by the Ateneo de Zamboanga, and was well received by the MSDW participants. A second video on the history of the peace problem in Mindanao is in its final editing stages. Both videos will serve as good instruction and promotion materials for the Province Roadmap. For inquiries, please email


Road to Mindanao 2016 December

R O A D    T O    M I N D A N A O
Released by the Philippine Province Commission on Ministries & Jesuit Communications
December 2016

Malipayong Pasko ug Bulahang Bag-ong Tuig!!!

– Commission on Ministries

NOTE: This bulletin is meant to keep our Philippine Province Jesuits and partners in mission updated regarding developments in the implementation of the Province Roadmap. Please email any news  ontributions from your respective apostolates to

Established through a Proclamation by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2001, the Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP) is celebrated every year from the last Thursday of November to the first Wednesday of December. The theme for this year’s MWOP is “Respecting and Protecting Life: A Celebration of the Filipino Spirit.” As in previous years, our Jesuit works in Mindanao have participated in this most meaningful commemoration:

Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU): ADDU hosted the opening ceremony of the MWOP for Davao City last November 24, after a motorcade starting at Magsaysay Park. The opening ceremony was hosted by the Al Qalam Institute, the Ateneo Organization of Socio-Civic Clubs, the University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council, Mindanawon, and the Theology Department. ADDU also hosted the Salaam Peace Village, an intercultural musical and art exhibition highlighting messages of peace.

Ateneo de Zamboanga (ADZU): ADZU likewise promoted the MWOP activities in Zamboanga City through the Ateneo Peace and Culture Institute. The MWOP actually traces its origins to Zamboanga, where it was first organized by the Peace Advocates Zamboanga Foundation, Inc. (PAZ) and SALAAM Foundation in 1997. It later became a Mindanao-wide event after being adopted by the Bishops-Ulama Conference.

Xavier University (XU): XU was home to a number of MWOP activities, including various musical and cultural presentations, exhibits, and lectures. The “Ambit Sugilanon” alternative classes were held to allow students to reflect on topics of culture and peace. On November 24, XU also held a campus-wide “Lakaw sa Kalinaw” with various school units participating, followed by a MWOP mass. St. John Vianney Theological Seminary (SJVTS): the SJVTS faculty and seminarians participated in the city-wide “Walk for Peace” last November 29, a multi-sectoral activity that also served as the culminating event of the Cagayan de Oro MWOP. The march began at Rodelsa Circle and ended at Gaston Park.

Nuestra Senoora de Guadalupe Parish recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of its foundation with a triduum of activities from December 10 to 12. The festivities began on December 10 with the celebration of the sacrament of Confirmation, officiated by Bishop Emeritus Honesto Pacana. Over the next two days there would be other commemorative activities, including novena masses and baptisms, processions, and various cultural presentations, as well as indigenous peoples’ rites presented by the Kahungyaman Center
for Peace and Development. The celebration ended with the high mass and dedication of the newly built parish church. Bishop Jose Cabantan of the Diocese of Malaybalay was main celebrant, with Fr. Provincial Tony Moreno and Ateneo de Manila JR Rector Fr. Ben Nebres concelebrating. The construction of the church was the culmination of the dedicated work of Fr. Jom Manzano these past years. Another highlight of the weekend was a grand reunion of the numerous scholars supported and mentored by Fr. Mat Sanchez in his many years of service in Cabanglasan.

The BMD met as one community at the Jesuit Retreat House, Malaybalay last December 6 to reflect on the Province Roadmap and to see how it impacts the apostolates of the district. Hosted by Fr. Superior Nilo Labra and Fr. Minister Neo Saicon, the meeting was an opportunity for the community to reflect on how the BMD’s parishes and schools can better respond to the challenges of the Roadmap, especially with regard to the ministry to Indigenous Peoples. Fr. Gaby Gonzalez, Province Assistant for Planning, gave inputs on the Province Roadmap to help the community assess their current works. Also present at
the meeting were Fr. Robert Rivera, Chair of the Commission on Ministries, and Fr. Tony Pabayo, newly appointed consultant for the BMD schools. The community had a fruitful discussion and resolved to meet again to follow up on plans made.

The ADNU community, upon the instruction of University President Fr. Jun Viray and through its Office of Mission Identity (OMI), held school-wide sessions last November 24 to 25 on the Province Roadmap for all administrators, faculty, and staff. Organized by OMI Director Ms. Janet Badong-Badilla, the sessions aimed to orient the school community about the Province Roadmap, and to gather suggestions on how ADNU can contribute to the implementation of the Roadmap. Sessions were conducted in both the main university campus and the Pacol campus, for the grade school and high school units. The
Jesuit community joined the sessions in their respective unit assignments. Facilitating the sessions were Fr. Gaby Gonzalez, Fr. Buboy Silerio, and Fr. Robert Rivera. The sessions proved to be very informative for the community, and generated a good deal of enthusiasm for the Province Roadmap among the participants.


Road to Mindanao 2016 November

R O A D    T O    M I N D A N A O
Released by the Philippine Province Commission on Ministries & Jesuit Communications
November 2016

Note: This bulletin is the first of a series of monthly updates to be released by the Province Commission on Ministries and Jesuit Communications for all Jesuits and our partners in mission. The bulletin will feature Province Roadmap related developments and initiatives in our various apostolates. Eventually, it is hoped that this bulletin will serve as an instrument for the exchange of information on cooperation opportunities among our different ministries. This initial bulletin is neither complete nor exhaustive but we hope to include more items in future issues as we follow up the “Roadmap correspondents” for our works and communities. For any Roadmap related news in your respective apostolates, please email

After nearly three years of painstaking efforts, the MCEC has concluded its work. The MCEC was tasked with following up on the action points of the landmark Jesuits in Mindanao Conversations held from December 23-25, 2013 in Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU). Chaired by ADDU President Fr. Joel Tabora, the MCEC has planned and executed numerous initiatives arising from the Conversations. Key areas addressed include the following: 1) Leadership 2) Jesuit Universities as Conveners and Consensus Builders 3) Dialoguing for Peace for Intra and Inter-Faith Initiatives 4) Economic and Development Initiatives for Wealth Creation and Equitable Distribution 5) Spirituality Initiatives for Social  ransformation 6) Social Movements and Advocacies for Social Justice and the Common Good, and 7) Mindanao Cultural Transformation and Regeneration. More details on these initiatives can be found at and will be featured in greater depth in subsequent issues of this bulletin.

The newly formed Province Ad Hoc Committee for IP Ministry convened last October 19, 2016 at the Jesus Lucas Renewal Center of Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila. The Committee, chaired by Province IP Ministry Coordinator Fr. Jom Manzano sought to follow-up the various focus areas identified by the first ever Province IP Summit held last July 11-12, 2016 at the Ateneo de Davao. These focus areas include: 1) Research and Partnership 2) Education 3) Legal Assistance and Advocacy, and 4) Leadership, Communications, and Student Movements. Members of the Committee appointed by Fr. Provincial include Mr. Ben Abadiano (Assisi Foundation), Ms. Norma Gonos (AGILA), Ms. Perpy Tio Mindanawon), Fr. Albert Alejo (LST), Fr. Ari Dy (Xavier School), Fr. Bros Flores (Culion) , Fr. Gaby Gonzalez (Prov Asst for Planning), and Fr. Pedro Walpole (ESSC). The Ad Hoc Committee had a fruitful discussion on the key resolutions adopted during the IP Summit, which will now be channeled towards the crafting of a Province IP Ministry Agenda.

APC recently graduated its 14th batch of the two month Hulas (training) program for 19 youth in Sitio Bendum and adjoining barangays last July. This year’s Hulas focused on carpentry, sewing, and herbal making skills, as well as formative sessions on the culture of peace, leadership, gender roles, and psycho-spiritual growth. Several Hulas programs are lined up for 2017, which will focus on topics such as civil works and carpentry, youth leadership and cultural identity, natural resource management, organic agriculture, and bamboo production and preservation. Other training sessions on teaching skills and disaster risk reduction will be offered for teachers, college graduates, and young professionals. Tapok, a three day summit for Mindanao youth which will allow them to interact, engage, and build community as they respond to cultural and environmental challenges. For inquiries, please contact Gloria Amor Paredes of ESSC: cell number – 0929-640-497; email –

For its Theological Hour last October 26, LST, in cooperation with JJCICSI invited Fr. Amado Picardal CSsR, the Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippine’s Episcopal Commission on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). Fr. Picardal, a renowned activist and one of the Philippines’ foremost experts on BECs, spoke on “Basic Ecclesial Communities: Historical Overview, Present State, and Challenges.” Fr. Picardal’s talk is the latest in a series of conferences organized by LST and JJCICSI in response to the Province Roadmap.

In the aftermath of the deadly September 2 bombing in the Roxas Boulevard night market in Davao City, the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in South East Asia quickly organized a reflection and dialogue session at ADDU. Held last September 7 at ADDU, the forum involved representatives from the ADDU Muslim community, as well as Muslim leaders and scholars from the wider Davao community. The forum affirmed the incompatibility of the Abu Sayyaf’s and other terrorist groups’ violent approach to the basic message of peace inherent in the Islamic faith. For the Al Qalam statement on the bombing and other details please visit

The XU community has been vigorously exploring ways by which the Province Roadmap can be implemented in its mission. There were presentations and discussion in all the University Councils and in the Board of Trustees, and extensive planning sessions in the different XU clusters: September 14-15 for the Basic Education, Administration, Mission and Ministry, and Social Development Clusters; and September 21-22 for the Tertiary Academic and Research Clusters. During these sessions, ways by which XU can strengthen existing efforts while reaching out further to IP and Muslim communities were especially considered.

During the month of October the Loyola Schools’ community of ADMU sponsored various talks and fora to promote awareness of Mindanao concerns and issues, in conjunction with the Province Roadmap. These included talks on youth and peace building efforts of the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement, the Bangsamoro initiative (co-sponsored by JJCICSI), and the Social Action Learning and Advocacy for Atenean Muslims (SALAAM). This was highlighted by the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Week from October 24-29. Congressman Teddy Baguilat (Lone District of Ifugao) was invited at the launch of the celebration, and spoke on the role of IPs in the national agenda and on the Indigenous Peoples’ Educaton (IPED) related bills pending in Congress.