Maguindanaon women urged to fight ‘extremism’

BULUAN, Maguindanao (MindaNews/21 March) — Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu on Monday urged Maguindanaon women to help government rid Moro communities of “violent extremism and radicalization”.

Speaking during the celebration of Women’s Month, Mangudadatu said, “ We should not allow extreme minds to persuade among our youth or husbands. Mothers have bigger role to play to guide the family to a better path of life.”

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu leads the release of balloons during the Women’s Month celebration in Buluan, Maguindanao on March 21, 2017. Ferdinandh Cabrera

“As mothers you have the moral obligation to guide your children so they will not be influenced by extremists who are preying on the weaknesses of our fellow Maguindanaons,” he said.

The governor said he has been praying that parents, especially mothers, should use their conviction in preventing their children from being lured into extremism, which he called un-Islamic.

Military and police intelligence reports claimed that the Maute group in Lanao del Sur, the Abu Sayyaf and the Maguindanao-based Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Women leaders said they are supporting the government’s campaign against “violent extremism” and all forms of abuses against women and children.

“We women are facing the biggest challenge in our lives today to protect our sector and our children from recruitment of extremists and human trafficking,” said Shaimah Macadato from Matanog town.

The women who attended the event on March 21 and 22 received free pop smear and breast checkup, and viewed a video presentation on a successful case study of safe employment overseas.

Representatives from the United States Agency for International Development and International Organization for Migration(IOM) also attended.

Tara Dermott, IOM program leader, stressed the importance of education among the young for them not to be swayed by illegal recruiters and sweet promises from those who wish to take advantage of them.

“We often say that knowledge is power and we say this because it’s true. But beyond having knowledge it is important to share it or mingle with other groups so that people can tell the whole truth about their experience. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)