I am grateful to you for celebrating with us the 15th year of the organization of IAG. I especially thank our partners in Mindanao, in the whole country and abroad who have graciously sent in their messages of congratulations and solidarity.
As an institute devoted to promoting holistic human development, our greatest resource are not only the women and men at IAG but our countless partners who have journeyed and supported us for 15 years.
On September 19, 2005, IAG was formally incorporated as a policy and training institute with the primary mission to promote good governance and autonomy as the platform for sustainable peace and development in Mindanao.
Since then, IAG has made significant contribution to the forging and implementation of two peace processes and two political transitions. We were deeply involved in shaping and reshaping political institutions and the evolving autonomous arrangements as the formula for peace in Mindanao.
In the last 15 years, we had to contend with global and national trends that significantly impacted the way we do our work. The rise of intolerance and extremism, populism and authoritarianism and the pushback on democracy and human rights, among others, made it necessary for IAG to review and redesign its strategies and the measurements to gauge the effectiveness of our interventions.
While our programs, strategies, partnerships and M&E are evolving in step with the many challenges to be hurdled and opportunities seized, we are uncompromising on our core values. These core values underpinned our work since 2005: democracy, rule of law, good governance, human rights and respect for political, social and religious pluralism.
Where institutions and public policies benefit only few groups and individuals, IAG advocated for inclusion and meaningful participation of citizens in the political process. Where institutions and public policies promote intolerance and extremism, we made our voice clear for political and social pluralism. Where particular groups are discriminated because of gender, ethnicity, physical disability, religious and political beliefs, IAG called for dismantling systemic ills that cause societal inequities.
As we celebrate our 15th year, we are faced with a new challenge.The COVID-19 pandemic that caused misery, death and fear around the globe has not only set back our timetables.
The pandemic created an opening for the proliferation of things that we are advocating against---breakdown of checks and balances and the rise of a highly centralized and authoritarian governance; violation of human rights supposedly to promote public health; extremist groups taking advantage of the pandemic to promote extremist ideologies and the inequitable access to health and social services that hits most the poor and marginalized sectors.
At this time of COVID-19, we are called to rise above the pandemic that limits our movement and physical interaction and to make our voices, more than ever, heard loudly and clearly.
Along this line, I would like to announce that on our 15th year, on October 15, 2020, IAG is launching a Multiplatform Training Center. This is designed to provide quality, safe and healthy learning environment using diverse modalities and platforms. Courses and discussions will be conducted in a training room at IAG in Cotabato City with cutting-edge videoconferencing facilities and a layout that conforms with health standards and protocols.
The training facility is designed for the conduct of stand-alone or a hybrid of online and personal meetings. Apart from the training facilities, the training center will offer customized training courses in governance and politics, peacebuilding, security and organizational development among others with our pool of local, national and international experts and resource persons.
This new IAG offering is not just a training facility---it is a testament to IAG’s commitment to excellence, relevance and innovation. I call on our partners, beneficiaries and friends to continue to journey with us whatever the costs and the hurdles we have to overcome. We are bound by the same values that we believe in and we live by. I have no doubt that together we will prevail.
Again, thank you for your greetings and support to IAG.