Raul Socrates Banzuela

Synergos Senior Fellow & Community Organizer

Raul Socrates C. Banzuela currently works as a community organizer-policy advocate involving resolution of four policy-precedent land cases involving  220,000 hectares of agri, fishery and forestry ancestral lands claimed by 10,000 small scale farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples. His life mission is to meaningfully contribute to the growth and development of a critical mass of empowered and sustainable communities in the Philippines.

He  served for 14 years as Executive Director of Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), a national confederation of family farmers' organizations and a recipient of 2015 ASEAN Rural Leadership Award and 2015 Finalist of International Land Coalition's Global Award. His core principles include active non-violence, dedication to truth and social justice, mutual respect and empowerment. His work objective is to produce quality work and build meaningful social relationships in the pursuit of his life mission.

Soc as he is commonly known, has earned experience in over 41 years of involvement in schools, professional institutions and community structures, in various capacities such as consultant, board of trustees member, executive director, operations manager, project/program manager, supervisor, trainer, researcher, and community organizer and leader.

He catalyzed the founding and formation of Philippine Family Farmers' Agri Fishery Forestry Cooperatives Federation (12014-2018) and managed a project for the Coalition for a Citizen’s Constitution (C4CC) to ensure that the basic sector’s agendas are mainstreamed in the  constitutional reform debate (2005-2009.) He served as consultant to the local government of his home city (Tabaco) and of Haribon Foundation’s Marine protected area program. Soc served as Executive Director (June 1998-March 2002), Board Member (1994-1998, 2002), and Organizer -Founder (1993) of the Philippine Agrarian Reform Foundation for National Development (PARFUND), an NGO grant-making and fundraising facility. He also worked for nine years in a 65-member agrarian reform and rural development NGO network (PhilDHRRA) in various positions as the Program Manager of the Tripartite Partnership for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (TriPARRD-1989-1994), Project Manager of Sustainable Integrated Area Development (1997-1998) , Department Manager (ARRD-1990-1994) and as Deputy Executive Director (1994-98). Soc also served as the secretary-general of the Citizens’ Movement for a Federal Philippines (CMFP) (2002-2006), and Vice-Chair of Project Seahorse for Fisheries Conservation (2003-2006).

He also helped in setting up advocacy coalitions for citizens (KayaMo-2009, BUSINA -2008, Stop Cha-Cha-2006, BnW Movement-2005, C4CC and CMFP-2002), landless farmers (ARNow!-1997), small fishers (AKLAS-1986, NFR-1995, PAMANA-KA-2001, NAPC-fishers assembly-2002), indigenous peoples, (Task Force Bugsuk- 2002), destructive logging victims (Task Force Sierra Madre-2005, and Task Force Mt. Diwata-2005), a national professional association of Community Organizers (PhilCOS, 1995), campaigns for agrarian reform (MAPALAD-Sumilao campaign-1997-01; 2007-09; Banasi and CARPER Campaigns-2008-9) and general social change (Jubilee Pilgrimage Campaign- 2000; Pilgrimage for Truth and Reforms-2006). Soc also conducted project formulation and/or evaluation projects for Haribon Foundation, Asian Farmers Association, DFID, World Bank, and European Union,  among others and conducted a variety of seminars and workshops to help build capacities of POs and NGOs across the country snd in Asia. He sat for the past 11 years  as alternate  Asian CSO Representative to the  Steering Committee of Global Agriculture Food Security Program (GAFSP), a funding facility which has provided 1.2 billion USD grants to more than 30 countries.

Soc supervised community organizers involved in building fishers/people’s organizations in a number of coastal communities in Batangas Bay and Laguna lake areas (1985-89) and was a direct community organizer for seven years (1982-89) in two institutions, namely the Service Bureau for Small Fisherfolks (1985-89); Organizing for Rural Development (1982-85), and a volunteer trainer on Active Non-Violence of AKKAPKA (1985-1986).

He authored/co-authored research reports, various proposals, project and organizational annual reports, brochures, a couple of video documentaries, and media articles. Soc also attended a good number of international and national conferences and training courses covering a variety of topics (federalism, land tenure, food security, fund raising, active non-violence, etc).