Experiments

Much has been written about how jargon hurts the poor, and I do completely agree that a lot of the buzzwords and development bureaucratese should be banned. It’s certainly warped the way I use language. I know I’ll never achieve the same clarity and humour I used to have as a nine-year-old scribbling away at her perfumed Pocahontas journal. Most urgently, I find myself grappling with the question of how good research can be **used** by everyone, especially the people who need it most, in the most non-extractive, collaborative, and fun way possible.

In many ways, the last two years was about beginning to concretely wrestle with these issues: certainly in the peace process work, with UrbanisMO, and with Sandata. I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Some recent work:

1. After two years in development hell, we’ve managed to release an animated video based on the 2016 WB-IOM report on marginalisation through land dispossession for the GPH-MILF Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission. Animation by Janina Malinis, script by Mixkaela Villalon and myself, scoring by Jayme Ancla, Jr. Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon did the English voice-over, but I’m hoping to get Tagalog, Maguindanaon, and other Bangsamoro vernacular versions soonest. This was the idea of our old TTL, Matt Stephens, bless his heart, who was grounded enough to fund an experiment to shorten the long lecture on Mindanao history in the hopes of making things more accessible.

2. The full Sandata experiment is far from finished and so it’s premature to write about it, although this student blog about a short talk I did at the University of Cambridge Centre for Governance and Human Rights (CGHR) last February speaks a little about what it’s trying to achieve.

That said, the Sandata-produced hip-hop album Kolateral, is finally out.

It is available for free on the following platforms:

Soundcloud – http://bit.ly/KolateralSOUNDCLOUD
Bandcamp – http://bit.ly/KolateralBANDCAMP

Free Download:
Mediafire – http://bit.ly/KolateralMEDIAFIRE
Google Drive – http://bit.ly/KolateralGDRIVE
Dropbox – http://bit.ly/KolateralDROPBOX2

Streaming:
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1RRTfc96TgKLfhLeb7DJA6
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/ph/album/kolateral/1470682367
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_kHSbKMO3AzIP5pv2WSkgOq3GgIu5L01WE

The lyrics to the entire album, including English translations and partial policy annotations, can be found here https://genius.com/albums/Kolateral/Kolateral

One lyric video for Kolateral has already been produced by a friend of the team. The fact that other people have volunteered to make their own videos and art as a response to the music is a testament to the artistry of BLKD, Calix, Mix, Tao, Ami, Kartellem, 1Kiao, and the other artists who contributed to the project.

We hope that the art is powerful enough to inspire others to produce their own.

Whether or not we can shift from output-level to outcome-level experimentation and collaboration is another question altogether. Or maybe all one can hope for at this point are these random shouts and pokes in the wilderness end up into a broader tapestry, in the hope that someone hears them eventually.

OpenBangsamoro.com

We are pleased to launch OpenBangsamoro.com, an open-source portal for geospatial, statistical, and administrative regional data in support of the transformation of the ARMM to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The portal is a result of the ARMM-Bangsamoro Transition Datathon, an initiative spearheaded by the ARMM Regional Government through its Regional Planning and Development Office (ARMM-RPDO) to consolidate and evaluate available administrative, statistical, and framework geospatial data as well as existing development plans and studies about the region.
As a citizen accompaniment to the 34-volume ARMM Transition Report turned over by the ARG to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority last February 26, 2019, OpenBangsamoro.com contains an initial set of maps, technical data, and policy recommendations, many of which are found in the ARMM Transition Report and its digital mirror at armmtransition.ph.
Initial work on the datasets was authorized by the ARMM Regional Government and was facilitated by a technical team supported by The Asia Foundation and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This is a work-in-progress and more information will be uploaded as they become available.
OpenBangsamoro.com is also accompanied by a technical paper that presents options for the practical use of open geospatial, statistical, and participatory data for decision-making as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) transitions into the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Recommendations cover three key points:
1. Decision-making for regional transformation should be based on usable and open information.
2. To be fully usable for decision-making, development-related data must be spatial, multi-scale, cross-sectoral, culture-and-conflict sensitive, and open and shared.
3. The Bangsamoro transition from 2019 to 2022 is an opportunity to establish systems built on open data as the cornerstone of open governance as the BTA, national government, and citizens need to make simultaneous decisions across multiple plans and platforms at the same time.
Ultimately, establishing a culture of open data for decision-making is a concrete way of delivering on the MILF’s commitment to shift from traditional transactional politics to a truly transformative governance that reflects Bangsamoro aspirations for meaningful self-rule.
We thank the outgoing ARMM Regional Government led by former Regional Governor Mujiv Sabbihi Hataman, former Executive Secretary Atty Laisa Masuhud Alamia, former Rpdo Armm Executive Director and ARMM Transition Team lead Engr. Baintan Adil-Ampatuan, and all the other leaders and technical officers of the ARMM for facilitating the release of datasets for open use. We also thank the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, OPAPP, NEDA, HUDCC, and the provincial governments who participated in datathon activities.
We pray that these maps, datasets, and reports can be useful for the many decisions that the Bangsamoro need to make in the weeks, months, and years to come.
Download briefer here: http://bit.ly/openbangsamoro

UrbanisMO: Ano ang plano mo?

I’ll be co-hosting a conversation around urban issues in the Philippines with fellow miscreants David Garcia, Robert Anthony Siy, Abbey Pangilinan, and Prof. Chester Arcilla in a month’s time. Not gunning for anything too fancy. The goal is to get a healthy crowd of practitioner-peers in the room plotting and scheming. Just enough to get something usefully collaborative a-brewing at a time when a vlog isn’t just a vlog, indigenous peoples are getting displaced in the name of progress, and Swiss Challenges are everywhere.

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Massive hat-tip to the folks at Artkitektura, who are co-sponsoring this as a satellite event for the 2018 leg, and will be programming this as part of the British Embassy Manila’s Great British Festival. There’s not much up there at present, but more information will be posted closer to the date over at urbanismo.ph.

(For those who have not been to the 2017 leg of the Artkitektura Festival of Architecture and the Arts, I have an article up on PhilStar.com on the organic/living architecture movement, its applications to the Philippines, and what Sarri et al are trying to revive back here. I am hoping that these are ideas that will gain more traction in the years to come.)

Kitakits, mga kapatid.

Root Causes and the Independent Small Press

Large-scale disasters and fascist regimes serve one useful purpose: they’re blanket design constraints that force people to work and collaborate in ways that would not normally be possible.

Luckily for us, 2017 had these man-made constraints aplenty.

Luckily for me, that led to meeting the ladies of Gantala Press, an independent women’s literary press run by the likes of Faye Cura, Janine Dimaranan, Bebang Siy and Rae Rival. Thanks to our common friend, filmmaker Jaja Arumpac, that led to helping out with Laoanen, a fundraising and information-sharing drive on the effects of the Marawi Siege on women and children on the ground. With Faye’s and others’ equal parts of madness and tenacity, Laoanen quickly evolved into a number of events and talks, the Me & My Veg Mouth and Good Food Community-led Food for Peace yumfest, plus two books: the Laoanen chapbook of talks and reflections, and Mga Tutul a Palapa, a cookbook featuring the food and stories of longtime friend and colleague Assad Baunto. The latter was mostly Asi, and I helped chop onions and peel garlic in collaboration with Nash Tysmans, food writer, scholar and designer Ige Ramos, with the amazing Emiliana Kampilan doing the cover art. Some of my writing, and surprisingly, a lot of my amateur ink sketches, are included in both.

Continue reading “Root Causes and the Independent Small Press”

Lupa

Writing this quick note to process one of the many strange developments of the week, which included my being roped in last minute to present a study conducted by the World Bank and the International Organization for Migration on marginalization through land dispossession in the Bangsamoro region. Presentations are part of my usual day-to-days but this was unusual—it was a launch at Camp Darapanan, the present headquarters of the largest armed revolutionary group in the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (or MILF, read as M-I-L-F, not the lewd joke familiar to most westerners).

It just so happened that our lead author, Dr. Fermin Adriano, was unable to fly to Cotabato and our rather crazy and generous team leader, Matt, chose to gleefully task me with translating the key technical messages in a vernacular that would be understood by the larger audience, and not just the international actors and VIPs present in the room. And that entailed being the lost young female non-Muslim, non-Mindanawon pseudoacademic on the dais with Mindanao peace process heavy hitters such as Ishak Mastura, Guiamel Alim, Rufa Guiam, peace panel chairs Mohagher Iqbal and Irene Santiago, plus the amerul mujahid himself, Al-haj Murad Ebrahim. Kumbaga sa Tagalog, pinabili lang ng suka, napadpad na sa Darapanan. (Which actually describes a fair chunk of the seven years of this life, to be fair.)

Continue reading “Lupa”

Inahan sa Sugilanon: Mother of the Fairytale

So happy that Louise has finally birthed this beautiful photobook, which has been a work in progress for the better part of the last three years. I’ve got quite a few personal projects waiting in the wings right now, but there are few things more inspiring than being a creative komadrona. 🙂

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Inahan sa Sugilanon: Mother of the Fairytale
Birthing a Green School Community

Images and Essay by Louise Far
Essays by Willa P. Maglalang, Janneke “Nex” Agustin and Nicanor Perlas
Essays edited by Ica Fernandez

Mother of the Fairytale is a 56-paged 8in x 10in book composed of 26 black and white images that tells the story of how a striving green school community in Davao City, Philippines advocates healthy and holistic education. It gives a glimpse of the journey of the school’s first teachers, the daily challenges and triumphs of little children, and the emerging sense of space and community among parents and friends of the school. Also included in the book are relevant essays on the book project itself, the experience of initiating Tuburan, early manifestations of holistic education through the story of Steiner education in the Philippines, and a macro perspective on education and the true need it must address.

http://motherofthefairytale.weebly.com/