COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/26 July) – The Executive Secretary of the Autonmous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) urges young people from outside the region to “know the history of the Bangsamoro, and know more about the Moro and other tribes within Mindanao.
“I think before knowing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), they should know the history of the Bangsamoro,” she encouraged. “And we would encourage the youth from the outside of ARMM to come here to know more about the Muslims, the Moros and the other tribes within the Bangsamoro.”
“Here, most young people know about the history and narratives of the Bangsamoro, however, those who lack knowledge are those who live outside the ARMM,” she said.
“The current generation, especially those outside Mindanao, don’t understand and appreciate the Bangsamoro narrative, its history, struggle and why it exists.”
She said that what they only see is the rebellion and the current autonomy but most young people do not see the root and where this all began.
“There is a need for the state agencies like DepEd (Department of Education) and schools and the media to make the public understand this narrative and history,” she said.
Within the ARMM compound here is the ongoing “Bangsamoro Villages: 100 Days of Culture and History,” a representation of the seven tribes within the ARMM, the core area of the proposed Bangsamoro.
Youth in post-BBL scenario
How is life going to be different for the youth once the BBL will be passed?
“There’s a large group of rebel organization that’s going to be working hand in hand with the government, instead of fighting,” she said. “And that’s going to give a lot of opportunities for the youth to have access to all the programs of the government–including education and scholarships.”
She is quick to note that the BBL, while it is a big step towards peace, will not solve all problems.
It will, however, address the structural infirmities within the ARMM and fill gaps (on education, health, infrastructure, and governance) that the region is experiencing at the moment. There will be no more insurgencies and the ARMM will be a step closer to a community that they aspire for–one where people can walk freely at night, where, in her own words, “you don’t have to take the law into your own hands.”
If there’s peace in ARMM, there will be peace in the entire country, she said.
Alamia also said that the youth in the country should care about the peace process and the BBL because they are Filipinos –and they share this identity with the Bangsamoro. “The youth are our next leaders, that is why, as early as now, they should understand the context and the problem.”
Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, MILF chair, echoed Alamia’s statements when he said that “the BBL isn’t for us, it’s for the generations to come.”
He told reporters Saturday afternoon in the MILF’s Camp Darapanan that he’s encouraging the youth to participate in the peace process. He added that many other educational institutions are not yet very active in the advocacy and the information drive relating to the peace process.
Tired of war
Alamia noted that if you talk to the children “they will, like most civilians, tell you that they’re tired of the insurgencies.” She talked about the Valedictorian of barangay Tukanalipao’s high school who cried in her graduation day speech.
Alamia said the youth in Maguindanao want to continue studying, and to have the same benefits and access to services that most other children in other parts of the country are enjoying. “That’s what they want,” she said.
Asked how the rest of the youth in the country can be active in the peace process, she said that the government–especially the Department of Education–should also be proactive for this to happen. (Jesse Pizarro Boga / MindaNews)