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BASIC LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT COURSE

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Real Power and Change - By Catherine Tiongson-Intalan, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)

Today, I want to share my thoughts on the discussion of Mr. Rajesh Tendon on the importance of engaging and taking into consideration the new and real power holder of the world --- the business sector that are shadowing international and government institutions in crafting policies, etc. This is not to say that I do not see the importance this kind of work in trying to address concerns in influencing the international policies/ agreements, and financing directions but I cannot help but be afraid of its outcome.
 
In the last twelve years, I have been involved with community and advocacy work with the communities affected by mining especially the indigenous peoples in my country. I think the seeming similarity of our objective with the business sector to push for education or in providing for scholarship or some kind of “development work” in these communities are actually their strategy to get the go signal of these communities for them to continue with their operation. The heart of their involvement in providing scholarships with the children in the indigenous peoples communities or mining affected communities are actually to get the commitment of these people to allow them (companies) to exploit the limited resources and human rights of these people. The promise of economic growth and employment in these communities did not materialize. Worst, this seeming similarity of our purpose with the business sector in pushing for education has resulted to internal conflict within the leaders and communities. The question on balancing our need to get funding for education for our community partners and constituents and at the same time fostering and continuing unity within our partner communities is pressing for me.
 
My question remain - how can we do this without compromising our agenda and our ranks? I hope more conversation would come my way on this.

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