MY, MY, MY MARAWI: Peacebuilding by Moro Professionsals. By Samira Ali Gutoc

US Ambassador Kristie Kenney, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Avelino Razon, Maria Ressa, AIM President Francis Estrada, TAF Country representative Steven Rood, KAS Country representative Klaus Preschle, Diether Ocampo, PLDT Foundation head Anthony Pangilinan, Karen Davila, members of the diplomatic and donor community, Young Moro Professionals, friends,  good morning.

We are humbled and honored by your presence in the heart of the country’s business district away from many of our hometowns islands, away where there IS NOT much business. So for those of you who take this journey with us, Young Movers of Peace, here’s our hand of friendship. But may we ask a favor? Can you raise your hands like this as we UP THE ANTENNA for peace?

Before he passed away, the late MILF founder Hashim Salamat wrote US Pres. George Bush to help resolve the GRP-MILF conflict. The United States Institute of Peace offered to help in the peace talks but was not given the 3rd party role which instead went to Malaysia. The USIP then sought to conduct a series of Young Moro Leaders Forum called Bangsamoro Future, Prospects and Challenges, which we partnered in a seven-part series. Then came peacebuilding assemblies in 2008 after the controversial aborted MOA-AD, which reinforced the sporadic cycle of violence in our Southern homeland.

Since the 1960s infamous Jabidah Massacre which galvanized the formation of the Moro liberation fronts, the Muslim youth movement has been a great catalyst for public consciousness.

We inherit that activism but tempered with the need to work in the mainstream. What is independence for us? Political? Economic? More essentially, we feel real freedom is having free will, freedom of the Moros from hunger, want and all the walls that divide us from the North.

We today seek to create a history of our own that is shared to contribute to the national psyche. We seek to build our communities so ours would be a shared country. We imagine ourselves your SMART Connection that would be a kapamilya helping KIDS in the peace mission.

Make us your bridge to the South. Our human resource in the network is brimming with passion for service towards communities you can dare only visit for a day. When millions of us Muslims have made homeoutside ARMM, why isn’t it that our Christian brothers cannot also make home within the ARMM?

YSPEAK is not about peace talks, YSPEAK is about Y in WAY – finding our way out of the maze. The Y or Youth in all of us, willing to change, willing to embrace, willing to get out of this rut.

Today, we offer a ONE STOP SHOP of advocacies in the form of the YMPN faces who stand before you – whether he be advocating for MORO ART and MUSEUM, EVACUEE SUPPORT, MUSLIM EDUCATION, STUDENT EMPOWERMENT. Why, we are even looking towards a Hollywood making of The Last Moro Standing.

Daghang Salamat, Shukran and welcome.

(My, My, My Marawi is Samira Gutoc-Tomawis' column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Samira describes herself as a "freelance writer, peace advocate, artist-wannabe, co-convenor of the Young Moro Professionals Network. You can reach her at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )