GENPEACE OPEN LETTER TO NYC

We would like to bring to your attention a case of lack of professionalism and basic courtesy from representatives of your institution whom we have dealt with for the National Youth Peace Conference (NYPC).

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28 April 2008

RICHARD ALVIN NALUPTA
Chairman and CEO
National Youth Commission

Dear Sir:

Kalinaw!

We would like to bring to your attention a case of lack of professionalism and basic courtesy from representatives of your institution whom we have dealt with for the National Youth Peace Conference (NYPC).

The Generation Peace Youth Network (GenPeace), a coming together of organizations and institutions working to engage the youth for a culture of peace, is greatly disappointed with the way its supposed meaningful engagement with the National Youth Commission was handled. Commissioner Mohammad Hanny Camid and his executive assistant, Mr. Jeremy Bayucot proposed a tie-up with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) for a project that would bring together and educate the youth leaders from across the country on the issue of peace.

OPAPP, being a dedicated member of GenPeace, committed to handle the “substantive” part of the activity and engaged GenPeace in designing and facilitating the summit. This engagement was first discussed during a GenPeace Steering Committee meeting in February. GenPeace readily agreed to work with NYC on very obvious grounds –your agency is the primary government institution working for the welfare of the youth, and our framework of peace calls for us to engage the government in undertakings for peace building.

Immediately after committing to handle the workshops, we set a series of meetings to come up with a suitable conference design, ensuring maximum impact for the participants. Initially, GenPeace prepared 15 workshops and mobilized 29 facilitators from different organizations from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. We presented this conference design in a meeting of agencies (DND, DILG, CHED and OMA) involved in NYPC (13 February). Another meeting was held on 20 February where the number of participants was reduced from 800 to 500 because the target venue in Tubod, Lanao del Norte could not accommodate as many participants. Comm. Camid set another meeting with us on 12 March to further discuss the design that we presented and firm up all the commitments of OPAPP, GenPeace and NYC. This did not push through since he was out of town on the day the meeting was set –without us being informed. This meeting never materialized until only recently, on 15 April, when the NYPC was nearing. The number of participants was also reduced further to 250.

The conference design was changed several times, and in every change, the time allotted for workshops was reduced until just one day –from the original four days –was given to us. With much regret over the changes in the program, we were still willing to continue our partnership even if it meant having to meet every now and then to modify the workshops according to the changes being made unilaterally by Comm. Camid. The would-be facilitators whom we have contacted to handle the workshops have already prepared their modules, some even produced a video documentary. It is but fair that should changes be made to the program, GenPeace and OPAPP would be properly informed.

The point of rethinking our partnership with NYC for this project came when Comm. Camid cut the time allotted for substantive workshops into just ONE AFTERNOON and TWO HOURS in the morning of the following day. This information came to us when we have already FINALIZED the program in a meeting with NYC, represented by Mr. Bayucot on 15 April. OPAPP was not even informed about this since Comm. Camid only spoke with Ms. Jaymelyn Nikkie T. Uy, GenPeace’s National Spokesperson only after the 15 April meeting. Director Rolly Asuncion of OPAPP had to write a letter to Comm. Camid reminding him that a final agreement on the program has already been reached.

On 23 April, five days before the actual event, Mr. Bayucot informed OPAPP that out of the target 250 participants, only 81 confirmed to attend. We held an emergency meeting on that very day to make adjustments to our workshops. We had to cut the number of workshops, in effect omitting from the list some of the facilitators who have already made a great deal of effort preparing the modules. It was embarrassing for us to cut them from the roster of facilitators since they are professionals from various peace and human rights organizations all over the country who had to forego many activities just to make way for NYPC.

Plane tickets for the facilitators were purchased on Friday, 25 April. Ms. Cling Reyna of OPAPP sent a text message to Mr. Bayucot on the afternoon of that day to follow up on the facilitators’ transportation from Cagayan de Oro to Tubod that NYC promised to provide. Only then did she learn that the participation of GenPeace and OPAPP as facilitators was already CANCELLED. Mr. Bayucot’s text message said: “replaced you (OPAPP and GenPeace) in the program.” Had Ms. Reyna not contacted Mr. Bayucot that day, we would have flown to the venue only to learn that we no longer have a part in NYPC.

During the inter-agency meetings in February, it was agreed that the Terms of Reference (separate from the MOA between OPAPP and NYC) should outline the respective responsibilities of the partner institutions, GenPeace included. The Memorandum of Agreement between NYC and OPAPP was also not signed for reasons we do not know. The financial commitment of OPAPP was approved by Sec. Jesus Dureza and they were willing to provide financial support despite the absence of a MOA because they recognized that the conference is a good opportunity to involve the Sangguniang Kabataan and student councils in peace work.

What happened gave us a good sampling of severe lack of professionalism. We do not want to believe that this is how a government agency works –we hope we do not come to that extent. Our belief in collaborative work with the government in achieving peace still remains, but we are not sure if it this should be true for the National Youth Commission.

We are very disappointed and frustrated with how this project was handled by NYC.

This is a case we simply cannot ignore. We therefore demand that: 1) Commissioner Camid give us an explanation as to what really happened and why they failed to inform us of the abrupt changes in the program; 2) Comm. Camid offer an apology to GenPeace for all the inconvenience they have caused; and, 3) and for your office to conduct its own investigation and impose the necessary sanctions on Comm. Camid and his staff.

Your action on this matter would hopefully revive our trust in the primary government institution that represents the youth sector. We expect to hear from you on the actions you have undertaken regarding our complaint.

On behalf of the Generation Peace Youth Network,

Jaymelyn Nikkie T. Uy Jesusa I. Rebete
National Spokesperson National Secretariat

Member Organizations/Institutions:

Anak Teatro

Brotherhood of Destiny

Center for Peace Education Miriam College

Initiatives for International Dialogue

Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute

National Anti-Poverty Commission – Youth and Students’ Sector

Padayon Youth

Pax Christi Bacolod

Peacetech, Inc.

Philippine Action Network on Small Arms

Philippine Normal University UNESCO Club

Sulong CARHRIHL Youth Network

United Youth for Peace and Development

Youth for Sustainable Development Assembly

Posted on April 29, 2008, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. mam, bakit po wala ang pascres at pandayan kabataan sa mga network natin o sa convenor?

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