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A woman working for peace.

Now is the time--when we are all searching for a just definition of peace--to look toward Atty. Evelyn Dunuan for guidance and inspiration. As a lawyer and a Commissioner for National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for the Cordillera Region and Region 1, Dunuan has long been unwavering in her pursuit of peace and she has been fighting for peace inside and outside the courtrooms for more than three decades.

As an Ifugao woman and lawyer, she has been actively involved in the peace process in the Cordilleras. First, as a lawyer involved in legal cases, she advocated for the peaceful resolution of conflicts involving families and individuals. As a mediator in indigenous conflicts, encouraging communities to resolve disputes between and among communities in a peaceful manner. As one of the lead convenors of peace consultations in the Cordilleras pushing for the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples (IPs) and the right to their ancestral land and domains and in the process helped facilitate the formulation, passage and eventual implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Acts (IPRA) Law. As Commissioner of NCIP, helping indigenous peoples work towards obtaining their ancestral land and domain titles.

Appointed Commissioner to NCIP in 2001, Dunuan's quest for peace began as a student leader and editor politically detained during the Martial law regime in the 1970s. Introduced to the sociopolitical and cultural oppression the regime inflicted on indigenous peoples through development projects which sought only to benefit corporations and deprive IPs of their land and cultural base, Dunuan committed herself to working for justice and peace. After graduating from school with degrees in literature, philosophy and law, she dedicated her life to promoting peace, as a lawyer and public official. As her reputation grew, she became involved in community, regional and national conflict-resolution and peace-making efforts.

Asked how she was able to do it, she said she would only help community people to identify issues and concerns, guide them into knowing what the right course of action is, while at the same time, trying to stay in control. An integral aspect of the conflict-resolution process is the importance, she says, of the observance of indigenous rituals that will seal the agreements two indigenous parties or communities have come to, such as the butchering of a pig, the drinking of rice wine or the chewing of the betel nut together.

She humbly considers her efforts at peacemaking as a mere drop of water in the flood of peacemaking efforts in the region and the country.

In fact, when asked about how women can promote peace, she says, "You don't have to do that in a grand manner.. You can do it at home, start with the family."

She adds, "I think women are the best peacemakers ... we have the heart and temperament for it. We are born peacemakers...."

Atty. Dunuan is truly a woman of these times.
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Title Annotation:peace & culture
Author:Bayaua, Mitch R.
Publication:Igorota
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Words:482
Previous Article:Peace is the silence in the world.
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