MY MY MARAWI: Muslim professionals, raise the ante on unity!

[Speech at Southern Mindanao 1st Young Moro Professionals Network (YMPN) Assembly on April 12, 2011, Zabadani, Ponciano, Davao City]

Assalamualaikum fellow Ummah from Southern Mindanao, NCMF Dir. Rahana Ganda, Davao City Consultant Atty. John Mahamud, dear friend Jamel Mamutuk (COA), officers of Davao Muslim Youth Organizations, UNYPAD President, venue host Wadil Mutia, a proactive network-seeking afternoon!

In this very venue, one YMP affirmed that Islam is techie, advanced and connective. Reading was our very first commanded act. Therefore, professionals are important. Let me be categorical, Moro professionals are the missing link and key to the whole Bangsamoro struggle; their dynamism, mobility, language, articulation and peso income is the added value to resolve one of the longest conflict in the world in our backyard here in the South.

From the root meaning of the word itself, Islam is a complete way of life. It is a set of conduct which guides in every aspect of human activities including the moral behaviors, rituals, beliefs, property relations and politics. In the unity concept of Tawheed, all our actions must be guided by a sense of connectivity to that paradigm of forbidding bad and enjoining good.

This human activity of forming ourselves into a network of concerned professionals is a form of ibadah or worshipping. We act on and implement a state or the “ummah” which acts out good things in this world. God did not reveal the Qur’an and the Sunnah only to be read and then abandoned. Instead, a vicegerent or KHALIFAH must act to implement the obligations laid down. Stewardship and servant leadership resonates with our philosophy of leadership by all.

The professionals as the vicegerent therefore should perform their duties for the benefit of the ummah. With the initiative of these professionals, we can brainstorm on ways to work as a group. Like spare parts to a car, professionals can contribute to make the ummah more stable.

YMPN is a revolutionary organization presented as a model of social networking at the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations. Over cups of coffee, Jehanne Mutin (then with CHR), businessman Jamal Amin, Edil Badiri (then Ateneo Law now NCMF Commissioner), I, among others talked of forming a group to REACH OTHERS. In 2000, we launched in a cafe in Glorietta, Makati. With a historic number of chairpersons who were women, namely, Ayesah ABubakar, Baibonn Dilangalen Sangid and Jehanne Mutin, YMPN launched Ramadhan Fairs in Intramuros, fund-raised for disasters and networked internationally.

Everywhere in the Ummah and elsewhere, professionals were found to be engines of building up knowledge and physical infrastructure. More essentially, professionals are the force for democratic debate and governance and surely state-formation, a true Bangsamoro social order, free from dictates of others or Manila. That need not wait in the future. It can be now. Leadership should start now in our homes, in our offices , in our communities, nationally, regionally and internationally. Let there be more Ezzedins, Ambassadors from among us, artist Rameers, filmmaker Tengs (Urian nominee), bureaucrats, doctors and lawyers.

It is in this light if I may ask us to acknowledge the appointment of fellow YMP Assec Jehanne Mutin to the OPAPP, Ezeddin Tago as Acting Ambassador to Saudi, CDA Administrator Pendatun Disimiban, CSC Commissioner Rasul Mitmug and probably write a statement of support for such individuals and see that more qualified Muslims get in the national bureaucracy (as provided in the Final Peace Agreement).

Let there be more of you talented ones and let it shine in this network that values you.

PS – Acknowledging MindaNews for giving 50 copies of OUR MINDANAO magazine for distribution.

[Samira A. Gutoc is former secretary-general of the Philippine Muslim Women Council and
former editor of the Moro Times.]