Five students of Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) were chosen to take part in MasterPEACE: Be Masters for Peace Project held in Tagaytay City and Cotabato City on April 4-7, 2016.
This training program is a classroom and experience-based workshop aimed at enriching and deepening the youth’s understanding of the Mindanao peace process through lectures and interactive activities.
There were 70 student leaders selectedupon the online application. Organizers are The Rotary International and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). Mr. Al-Nassef Hassan Jumlail (3rd year BS Nursing), Mr. Abmel Indanan Immid (4th year BS Electrical Engineering), Ms. Kristel Grafia Reyes (BS Biology Graduate Batch 2016), Ms. Rayhana Abdurahman Sabtaluh (BS Community Development Graduate of Batch 2015) and Mr. Al-Ghabid Landasan Jamal (Masters in Public Administration former student) to represent WMSU in the training.
MasterPEACE training includes sessions about ‘General Concepts of Peace’ and ‘Conflict Obstacles to Peace and Challenging Them: General Ideas’ on the first day of the camp. Executive Director of the Center for Peace Education of Miriam College Prof. Jasmin Nario-Galace handled these sessions.
On the second day, the participants jogged around Phinma Training Center early morning and proceeded with the discussions after breakfast. Prof. Rudy Rodil of Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) talked about ‘Contextualizing Peace and Conflict: Mindanao and the Moro Struggle’ and OPAPP Undersecretary Jose Lorena together with National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Commissioner Mohammad Al-Amin Julkipli discussed the ‘The Mindanao Peace Process’.
Member of the Joint Normalization Committee Retired Major General Leo Cresente Ferrer tackled the ‘Conflict Transformation in the Bangsamoro: Understanding the GPH-MILF Peace Process and Normalization Process in Bangsamoro’. The Resource Person for the sixth and seventh session was Founder and Chair of Teach Peace Build Peace Movement Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman who lectured on ‘Peace Building: What the Youth Can Do in Resolving Conflicts Peacefully’ and the ‘Peace Advocacy’ of Teach Peace Build Peace Movement. The student leaders also had the chance to witness the beauty of the Taal Lake and toured around Tagaytay Picnic Grove.
The participants went to Cotabato City on April 6 for the second leg of the MasterPEACE boot camp. It was held at St. Joseph Retreat House at Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. Government of the Philippines- Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (GPH-CCCH) Head of Secretariat, Director Carlos T. Sol, Jr. started the training with his discussion about ‘The Government of the Philippines- Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF) Ceasefire Mechanism’.
Pakigdait Incorporated, an Interfaith peace builder organization, gave a discussion on ‘Faith and Spiritual Traditions as Resources for Peace: Interfaith dialogue in Peace-Building’. The participants also had a courtesy call at the 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army at Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao and a briefing with the Balay Rehabilitation regarding the visit to Mamasapano, Maguindanao the next day. This immersion activity allowed the peace campers to have a close encounter and engage with the youth of Tukanalipao, Mamasapano and the effects of the January 2015 conflict in their education and dreams.
Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission Member, Atty. Cecilia Jimenez also gave a lecture on ‘Transitional Justice, Reconciliation and Trauma Healing’. The last speaker was the Chairperson of the Government Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the MILF regarding the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer where she willingly answered questions regarding BBL.
The participants said that the overwhelming inputs they received and the life-changing immersion to Mamasapano gave them a better appreciation of the context, nature, and history of the Mindanao conflict. They learned many things from the various learning sessions and they also gained friends. These young leaders are calling on their fellow youth to be proactive leaders, to teach peace and build peace within their respective communities regardless how big or small it is. Just like anyone else, the Youth can be an essential key in achieving a lasting peace in the Philippines. (Liezel M. Parreño, PAO)