Philippinen: Myla Jabilles Leguro

Peace education should be a must among schools and other institutions. It is as serious as math and science. If we do not give it equal importance, then we are not giving peace importance either.”

— Myla Jabilles Leguro

Myla Jabilles Leguro (born 1968) is the Peace and Reconciliation Program Manager of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) where she works on Muslim-Christian dialogue in war-torn Mindanao. She has been involved in peace and reconciliation projects in areas with histories of violent conflicts like Jolo and Basilan. She organized two major peace-building institutions: the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) and the Grassroots Peace Learning Center (GPLC). Through these institutions, Myla helps create peaceful communities in Mindanao.

Myla Jabilles Leguro has spent most of her professional life building peaceful communities in Mindanao through her involvement with Catholic Relief Services (CRS). She joined CRS in 1991 working on enterprise, agriculture, health, food and education in Mindanao. Then she moved to CRS’s Enterprise Development Program where she was instrumental in the creation of two successful Garmeen-type banks. In 1998, she conceived the idea of establishing a peace institute in Mindanao after she studied at the Summer Peacebuilding Institute of a Conflict Transformation Program in Virginia, USA. Myla organized the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) which was formally established in 2001. The MPI promotes grassroots empowerment and brings together communities for training in peace building. Myla believes that her work is not only limited to grassroots empowerment, advocacy and capacity building, but extends to developing personal relationships with the people to whom she extends help. “[This job is] challenging because you take it to heart,” she discloses. Above all, she has kept a sense of balance between her personal issues and her social responsibilities. In another response to the conflict in Mindanao, Myla organized the Grassroots Peace Learning Center (GPLC) in 2003, which takes a multi-track approach to addressing the complexity of the issues on the island. Among the goals of GPLC that Myla is proudest of is the enhancement of women’s participation in peace building. She organizes women within communities who will benefit from the livelihood projects that GPLC initiates. Myla believes that the participation of women in peace building will hasten the development of areas identified as “zones of peace” and that peace education is very important in planting the seeds of peace in Mindanao.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) Grassroots Peace Learning Center (GPLC)