Unemployment blamed for rise in violent extremism

MNLF leaders in a huddle during the workshop. MindaNews photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/5 November) – The spread of violent extremism among young people can be traced to unemployment, participants to a two-day visioning exercise here for the future Bangsamoro region that ended on Nov. 4 said.

“People join these groups (Abu Sayyaf and Islamic State) out of frustrations with their lives,” a workshop report said.

“Even graduates who are unemployed would join extremist groups. Many MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) combatants who were not integrated into the AFP and PNP joined the extremists too,” it said.

“Educating the youth will help prevent violent extremism, which is promoted by generals and politicians,” the workshop report said.

Some former MNLF fighters were integrated into the police and military as part of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the government.

One participant called the Marawi siege last year and the Zamboanga standoff in 2013 a “Game of Generals”.

“They are using low-intensity conflict to divide us,” he said.

The Zamboanga standoff involved MNLF fighters loyal to founding chair Nur Misuari, who is facing charges related to the incident.

The visioning exercise was attended by leaders of the Sema faction of the MNLF.

Similar activities had been scheduled for other Bangsamoro stakeholders in other parts of Mindanao. (MindaNews)