MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/22 March) -- Two American servicemen stationed in the Campo Ranao up the Signal Hill, Marawi were guest speakers at a recent International Relations Forum at the Mindanao State University (MSU), overlooking the majestic Lake Lanao. But the cool air might have turned warm for the two guests who were asked all sorts of controversial issues ranging from the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to US President Barrack Obama’s agenda in the Southern Philippines. Many students were curiously asking why were American troops around Marawi, a conservative Islamic City, with barely a handful of foreigners staying because of fears of insecurity.
MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/09 March) -- While women are said to hold half the skies, they also hold more than the sun, rain, its torrents and its thunders. I had just gotten the bad news from sources quoting the Marawi City Hospital, Amai Pakpak, that there were 50 incidents of rido (vendetta) - related incidents since December 2008 (in a record two months alone). What is fearsome is that women have been recent targets of this vendetta phenomenon; it is no longer isolated to men fighting
among themselves with guns. Killing women would make vendetta a more powerful instrument to create fear against the enemy.
(Delivered during the OUR PEACE, YOUR PEACE: MINDANAO YSPEAK, UPPING THE PEACE ANTENNA. A Presentation by Young Moro Professionals of their Roundtable Assembly Outputs held last Nov. 28, Davao City and Dec. 19-21, Zamboanga City on Feb 6, 2009, Asian Institute of Management, Makati City)
MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/10 March) -- Mindanao women are slowly making their mark. Even as mothers who have to balance work, clan needs and an environment with sporadic conflict, these lady achievers have made their dent in Philippine history whether as politicians, pioneers or peace negotiators. These are their stories.
The beauty and brains cannot leave Manila without getting photographed with us, women delegates of a Global Conference here more than a decade ago, where she was guest. I waited for her at the Manila Hotel exit. I readied a camera man to take a shot. Sure enough, others monitoring her movement - mostly women - were tagging along to bid her bye.
MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/15 November) -- "Throughout my life I was a laborer, I was a driver, I was an operator of heavy equipment, I was a bakery owner, I was a fishpond owner, I was a fish broker, I was a banana broker, I was a cigarette smuggler, I was a coconut harvester, I was a rebel, I was a student of an agricultural school at the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation then. I was an activist against Marcos, I was a student of Islamic Theology, I was a preacher, I was the deputy commander of the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front)," controversial Basilan Congressman Wahab Akbar, 47, said in his first and last privilege speech on July 31, calling on military coordination with Basilan residents in the planned strike on Basilan following the killing of 10 military personnel by suspected members of the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front).
I show this malong today along with the jeans I wear to contrast the different realities that I live in.
Mucha, a Sama has her story to tell. She, like her fellow boat people, experienced discrimination from among the Moros. Baicon, a Maranao, gave up a law degree to serve the victims of conflict. Noraida, a Maguindanao , was recognized by a New York-based group, for her work with children of conflict.
They are 4th generation revolutionaries, who use their memories, pain, skill and education, for a larger cause.