Maguindanao youth converge for peace building

June 13, 2019
COTABATO CITY: Around 800 youth representatives from different municipalities of Maguindanao recently gathered at the municipal covered court of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao for a forum dubbed as “The Role of Young Men and Women in Peace Building and in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.” 
The forum spearheaded by the National Action Plan for Women Peace, and Security (NAPWPS) was part of the annual Duyog Ramadan of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). 
It aims to promote unity and reconciliation for those families who were displaced due to armed conflict in Shariff Aguak, Pagatin, Mamasapano, and Salibo (SPMS box). 
OPAPP Assistant Secretary for Peace Security Affairs Dickson Hermoso emphasized the importance of the forum to the youth, especially for those who were displaced because of the armed conflict. 
“We are here today not just for social healing, but for community healing. Everyone here in Datu Saudi and in neighboring municipalities who experienced war, we need to overcome this for us to cross over into the path of peace here in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),” Hermoso said. 
Hermoso also expressed his gratitude to the Duterte administration for bringing peace into the region emphasizing that the former MILF combatants are now part of the government and are working on the same side and sharing a common cause. 
Major General Cirilito Sobejana, Commander of the 6th Infantry Division (6th ID) and Joint Task Force Central (JTFC), in his message delivered by Col. Joel Abregana, said the youth being one of the most vulnerable sectors of the society, must be educated and engaged in peace building. 
“We strengthen our campaign of engaging you to activities like this. To inform, enlighten, and encourage you to exercise your privilege to take part in peace and nation building. With these opportunities, you will be able to identify your strength as young men and women and use this to raise your different advocacies, inspire fellow youth, and impact the future,” Sobejana added. 
Meanwhile, Peace Advocate and Army Reservist Gian Matteo Guidicelli called on the youth representatives to make education which the government provides a primary objective for everyone. He urged them to value it as they aspire to succeed and contribute to the country’s peace and development. 
Guidicelli emphasized that violence is not the solution to anything as he continued to talk about the youth’s role in peace-building. 
Simultaneous activities were also being held at different areas in Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Marawi City. (Report from Philippine Information Agency/RSP)

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