TODAY, January 27, a four-way collaboration will address violent extremism among Moro youth in the Philippines.
The four parties are the Japan through its people, the Philippines, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).
Their collaboration is called “Strengthening National and Local Resilience to Risks of Violent Extremism in the Philippines” which will be launch by the four parties, particularly the NCMF and the UNDP at the Mindanao State University (MSU) International Convention Center in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
Under NCMF Secretary/CEO Saidamen Balt Pangarungan in late 2018 the commission and the UNDP “signed a letter of coordination that led to this initial project addressing a critical issue affecting the Muslim Filipino youth.”
This was relayed to SDN — Science and Digital News by Dr. Dimapuno Alonto Datu Ramos, Jr. director of the Bureau of External Relations (NCMF-BER).
He quoted Pangarungan as saying that “President Rodrigo R. Duterte needs the help and dedication of each and every Filipino, Muslim or non-Muslim, to strengthen our nation. It is our duty to be educated in order to strengthen our resolve, maintain peace, and prevent another Marawi from failing.”
Datu Ramos said addressing issues concerning peace is a priority of Pangarungan to respond to the urgent call of the community and to act on the President’s agenda on curbing extremism in the region.
President Duterte and NCMF Secretary/CEO Pangarungan. (All images via NCMF)
This initiative, he added, also includes the NCMF naming two “ambassadors of peace” who will serve as role models and inspiration for Muslim Filipino youths following the NCMF’s “Build, Build, Build Peace Campaign.”
He said addressing violent extremism is a cornerstone project. The UNDP has funded many other projects in the past which the NCMF implemented.
During the project launch, personalities attending include lawyer Jamaloden A. Basar, officer-in-charge of the MSU System; lawyer Mohammad Al-Amin Julkipli, NCMF Commissioner Samad Pangandaman; Brigade Commander Col. Romeo Brawner; Police Chief Supt. Madid M. Paltao, Ph.D.; lawyer Dimnatang “Jimmy” Pansar, president of the Mayors’ League of the Philippines (Marawi Chapter); and Pangarungan.
An important component of the event is a workshop for 500 youths between 18 and 35 years from Marawi City, and from Lanao del Sur municipalities. The participants are either out-of-school, students from Islamic schools (madaris), and private and public institutions.
“As the smoke of the trauma and devastation (of the Marawi siege) is yet to be cleared from the minds of internally diplaced persons (IDPs), the staging of this event in Marawi City is but an apt part of rehabilitation efforts of the government and foreign entities such as the UNDP and the Japanese government,” said Datu Ramos.
He said the UNDP provided around Php14 million for the project on violent extremism.
Similar activities will be conducted in Zamboanga, Sulu, North and South Luzon, National Capital Region (NCR), ZamBaSulTa (Zamboanga, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi) Region, and Cotabato City to reach as many people as possible.
In another important development, the NCMF has named two personalities as its “ambassadors of peace” which forms “part of the government’s drive to address violent extremism in the country,” he revealed in a separate Facebook update.
They are Queenie Padilla, the hijab-wearing daughter of movie actor and entertainer Robin “Abdul Aziz” Padilla, and actor Angelo Carreon Mamay, he said.
The NCMF’s two ambassadors of peace.
Datu Ramos said the naming of the two youths to represent and spread the NCMF’s campaign for peace was an initiative of the Bureau of Peace and Conflict Resolution (NCMF-BPCR) headed by Acting Director Cosanie Derogongan and the Bureau of Muslim Settlements (NCMF-BMS) under Director Yasmin Naga.
Queenie Padilla, now married to Pakistani Ulama Mir, and Mamay will be presented during the UNDP and NCMF event.
Meanwhile, it’s been nine years since the NCMF through Republic Act 9997 came into existence, abolishing and replacing in the process the now-defunct Office on Muslim Affairs (OMA).
To mark this the commission will celebrate its almost a decade of existence with a number of activities starting in February, such as a sport festival, cheer dance competition, cultural presentation, among others.
Datu Ramos announced this on his Facebook page.
He recalled that then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed R.A. 9997 on February 18, 2010, with the law taking effect on March 6.
He said the actual anniversary is on March 8.
Pangarungan “is excited to celebrate his first anniversary with the NCMF,” said Datu Ramos. (EKU)
This story may require an update.