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Melvin E. Pedrosa- Cebu City, Philippines (English)

My name is Melvin E. Pedrosa from the Philippines.  I was born at the moment when discontent and insurgency found their way into infiltrating our simple and small village situated in one of the poorest provinces in the country at that time. I was born on the 23rd  of June, 1980 in the town of Isabela, Negros Occidental.  At a very young age I was exposed to blatant injustice and inequality, conflicts, and extreme poverty. Our place was an NPA (New People’s Army) infested area and by the time I started my elementary years, it was then normal for me to hear encounters between the rebel group and the military. Guns and mortars firing were seemingly a “normal” situation for our people. My memories are so vivid of the fact that at night time we needed to go down from our houses and sleep in foxholes purposely made to protect ourselves from gunfire in case of a rebel attack.

I am the 5th of 6 siblings. In college, I had to support my own education since my parents couldn’t send me to school with their scanty income as workers in the sugarcane plantation. I was born a fighter, I believe – or that is a choice I had to make for myself at the very least. I need to be brave and fight my own battles in order to succeed.  My principles and philosophy in life were honed during these years when I joined the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCAP). Having to experience social injustice and inequality at a tender age, I had this tendency to always seek out what is just and fair in life. Thank God, I found myself in SCAP. It made me realize how to act reasonably and purposefully well in life. The SEE-JUDGE-ACT methodology of SCAP has been my guiding light in my discernment processes even now.

At the moment, I am happily married and am blessed with a wonderful family. My son is now eleven years old and in 5th grade already. I am currently based in Cebu City and am employed in a university working full time for the formation and training of the students and the young.  I have been involved and am currently active in some environmental and socio-civic causes and movements. I joined AVP workshops in Bohol last March 2017 and since then AVP has impacted my life and those of the people around me. AVP tools are very realistic and practical. AVP makes life a lot more meaningful. Its tools are practically awesome. One beautiful thing I will never forget in those AVP experiences is the idea that everyone is capable of doing good; that despite the uncertainties around me there are two things that I am certain about: LOVE is real…and PEACE is possible.