Philippinen: Pura Sumangil

If a person is poor, he is not free because he is not given a choice, except for what he has.

— Pura Sumangil

Pura Sumangil was born in 1941 in Nueva Ecija province. She came to Abra in 1970 to be ordained an Auxiliary by the local Bishop and she never left. In her 35 years in Abra, she has been a teacher, counselor, community organizer and civic leader, all of which come under her work for peace and good governance. In 1986, she cofounded the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government (CCAGG), a NGO working for economic emancipation, monitoring government, empowerment and building citizenship. In 1997, she received the Aurora Aragon Quezon Peace Award.

Pura Sumangil believes that people can always find common ground to settle their differences and that peace and good governance are the solution to the problems of Abra, her adopted province, and the entire country. She also believes that disputes at grassroots level can be resolved by involving the people through feedback and dialogue. After the snap elections in 1986, Pura, then a volunteer at the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) worked with other like-minded citizens to form the CCAGG. Local governments did not welcome the idea of private citizens monitoring their performance and Pura received death threats, but the group persisted in exposing graft and corrupt practices through citizen vigilance. Working with the Tingguian tribe in the late 1980s, Pura became involved in the reconstruction of war-torn communities in the uplands. She was a co-convener of the National Unification Commission, now Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), where she was consulted on the causes of community unrest in Abra and the Cordillera Autonomous Region. She assisted rebel returnees in Abra and the Cordillera, linking them up with government agencies, funding agencies and NGOs for their development projects and for scholarship programs for their children. Pura works with regional, national and international organizations such as United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Transparency International, the National Peace Council, Cordillera Peace Forum, Commission on Audit, National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) and local government units of Abra that advocate peace and good governance. She has presented papers in international conferences in The Hague, Bangkok and New York, and is also a member of Abra’s Council of Elders, which facilitates peace talks between warring politicians.

Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government (CCAGG) Transparency and Accountability Network (Tr-Ac Net) Cordillera Women's Network for Peace and Development