The barangay (county or village) is the Philippines’ basic administrative unit of government. A barangay has a population of 2,000-5,000 inhabitants occupying contiguous territory. Barangays are headed by elected officials who are mandated to, among others, enact ordinances to promote the general welfare; set local taxes, revenues and annual and supplemental budgets; provide basic services of their inhabitants; conciliate and mediate disputes .
In compliance with the Philippine government’s policy of gender mainstreaming, every barangay maintains a Gender and Development Focal Point System (GADFPS) to ensure programmed gender mainstreaming within it. A Violence Against Women’s (VAW) Desk is also found in every barangay to ensure that violence against women cases are addressed in a gender-responsive manner.
On Friday, 16 October 2015, hosted by the Quezon City Gender and Development Resource and Coordination Office (GADRCO), I conducted conversations on Caring Economics for seventeen all-women participants: six (6) gender focal persons, four (4) GADRCO staff members, three (3) barangay or village officials; four (4) came from city hall departments (police, education, health, engineering); two (2) experts in gender and governance served as process observers and assessors.
Dubbed Huntahan at Hugutan (Filipino for “light, oral exchanges (about) matters that have deep, often unstated, underpinnings”), I designed the conversations toward awareness of change, the better to mine the challenges of transformation that are embedded in gender and development. A quote from Riane Eisler understates my assumptions:
The breadth and depth of personal, economic, and global development challenges in the world today
require entirely new paradigms in economics, education, organizational arrangements, and organizational
leadership if they are to be effectively addressed.
For conversation topics, I chose Riane’s cultural transformation theory, domination-partnership continuum, and social wealth economic indicators. To scaffold what I anticipated to be a complex learning process, I provided a transmuted glossary developed by Stefano Mercanti, UNDERSTANDING THE LANGUAGE OF PARTNERSHIP: A GLOSSARY; prepared a 31-slide Powerpoint presentation, and was very mindful of participants’ utterances and actions on which I could peg concepts related to the conversation topics.
Consequently, our conversations touched on body-mind-spirit integration; truism of ‘personal-is-political’; domination-partnership continuum; hierarchy of actualization; domination trance; and, in general, women’s shared experiences of discrimination, harassment, invisibility, multiple burden, poverty, violence and abuse, that served as “text and context” of our conversations.
The time (1:30-5:00 o’clock p.m.) allotted for our conversations was not enough to address our sundry interests so we decided to spend one whole day, on Friday, 13 November 2015 to resume our conversations.
I am edified by our conversations to a point that I offered to facilitate, gratis, Care Economics conversations in barangays that request them; I will also ground Riane Eisler's domination-partnership continuum in Philippine beliefs and practices and use it as lenses to uncover structural patterns of domination in intimate relations; I'm also inclined to do more organizing and advocacy work around intimate partner violence and its intersections with substance abuse.
I have no idea where the Caring Economy Campaign will take me but in retirement (also, re-tire-ment), I will work toward transformation of Philippine barangays into Caring Barangays.