STRENGTHENING THE CIVIL SOCIETY. Xavier University - Governance and Leadership Institute director Dr Dixon Q Yasay (standing) facilitate the workshops of the Sustainable Ridge-River-Reef Advocacy and Management Society. Supplied photo. 

By Trex Olandria

More than 40 leaders representing various civil society organizations (CSOs) around Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon gathered on November 15 to 17 at the Apple Tree Resort Hotel in Opol to build a strong coalition and establish its collective identity marks, systems, and structure, including their strategic goals.  

Like the first and second meetings (the consultation of CSOs at Mallberry Suites from August 17 to 19 and the planning workshop at Forest Park, Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon), the third and final engagement was also facilitated by Xavier University - Governance and Leadership Institute (XU-GLI).  

Providing the space for conversation is The Samdhana Institute (TSI) under the Sustainable and Healthy Integrated Ecosystem though Lobby and Advocacy (SHIELD) Project.

TSI’s project leader Dr Hilly Ann Roa-Quiaoit welcomed the participants, while XU-GLI director Dr Dixon Q Yasay facilitated the workshops.  

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) officer Wilson Mabale shared the mandates, thrust, and priority projects of their office with the participants.  

Xavier Atenean and Cagayan de Oro City’s Sangguniang Panlungsod majority floor leader Mark Ian Q Nacaya discussed CSOs' role in local governance. 

The final engagement was able to generate the coalition’s name, symbol, vision, strategic goals, structure, and system. The proposed name of the coalition, for instance, is now Sustainable Ridge-River-Reef Advocacy and Management Society (STR3AMS). 

They also identified three major strategies to pursue, namely, (1) policy lobbying, (2) research, and (3) information education communication. 

This endeavor to strengthen the so-called “third sector” was made possible through XU-GLI, TSI, and Project SHIELD, under the auspices of the Netherlands-based Global Livelihoods Alliance of Milieudefensie, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature - National Committee of the Netherlands, and Tropenbos International.∎

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