Who We Are
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan traces its history to the period of numerous protests and mobilizations after the assassination of Sen. Benigno Aquino during the final years of the Marcos regime (1983-1986). Back then, many religious, seminarians, priests and lay individuals organized such efforts and began to work in closer collaboration toward their hopes for regaining Philippine democracy.
Eventually, this informal group became known as the Namfrel Marines (who helped secure the ballot boxes and vigilantly kept watch over the election procedures in the Snap Elections of 1986). The group further evolved and set up a registered, non-stock, non-profit organization which is now known as SLB.
Born out of the desire to help in reviving and strengthening the spirit of democracy in the country, it continues to be fueled by the hope for genuine progress and development for the Filipino people.
Since its establishment, it has played an active role in developing modules and implementing seminars for voter’s education and responsible citizenship, building the general public’s awareness and concern for national issues and in coordinating and engaging its members, partners and volunteers for the much needed support in times of national crises (e.g. disasters, typhoons, floods, etc.).
In every election since the Philippine democracy was restored in 1986, SLB has played an active role in the formation of a more responsible electorate and a greater sense of citizenship among Filipinos.
It has done so by developing and implementing training modules while synchronizing efforts towards voter’s education and electoral reform. In doing so, it has worked closely with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and other like-minded groups.
In the national elections of 2007, SLB was among those who spearheaded the establishment of VForCE, the movement to mobilize 1 Million volunteers for clean elections. It later functioned as its secretariat.
The group was eventually commended by no less than the Philippine Senate given “the courage and dedication of thousands of election volunteers who served the country as part of the VForCE movement…They undertook these responsibilities, regardless of risks involved, fueled only by their sense of nationalism and dignity and not by any remuneration or other monetary consideration."
Simultaneous to being the Secretariat of VForCE for the May 2007 elections, SLB managed the Gabay Halalan voters’ hotline, a call center that addressed all election related queries and documented incident reports.
Another major program that has also successfully engaged concerned citizens, organized and coordinated multi-sectoral support, and contributed to the widened sense of Filipino nationhood is SLB’s Disaster Response Management Program.
In the past 8 years, SLB has actively led relief operations (fund raising, relief delivery and follow-up support) for the victims and survivors of every major calamity in the country. Beginning with the massive flooding in several parts of Luzon in 1999, followed by the Payatas Dump Garbage Slides of the same year, and then the Mayon eruption of 2000, SLB became known and trusted by the extended Ateneo communities as the primary delivery channel for cash and in-kind donations for the survivors.
Lately, SLB’s disaster response efforts have evolved to include psychosocial interventions for the survivors of calamities (e.g. in the Guinsaugon Landslides in Leyte and Typhoon Reming in Bikol.) This effort to consolidate, organize and build on groups with competencies in this field, now called Sikolohiyang Lingkod Alay sa Bayan (SiLABAN), was again spearheaded by SLB. It is the first of its kind in the Philippines to bring together different groups and experts like the UNDP, Dr. Honey Carandang and the Ateneo de Manila University Psychology Department.
The network strives toward a synchronized effort in the provision of psychosocial support (i.e. post-traumatic stress de-briefing and processing) for the survivors of disasters. This network is currently being strengthened with a view towards preparedness in delivering prompt assistance for survivors of future disasters.