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  • Writer's pictureERIKA MAE ZAMORA

BARMM youth leaders come together for peace

HUNDREDS of youth leaders from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and other regions convened in a virtual gathering on Friday to emphasize the role of young Filipinos in building a peaceful and inclusive society.

The forum, "Kahidlaw: Kaalaman at Karanasan tungo sa Pagtataguyod ng Kultura ng Kapayapaan," was held over Zoom and Facebook Live and co-organized by Extremely Together Philippines-Panaghiusa and the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology.

In his address, Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan urged young leaders to be "frontliners" in advancing the "vision of a peaceful, progressive society" by leveraging their energy, passion, creativity and idealism.

"With you, I dream of a BARMM united in peace and love and the bayanihan (cooperative community) spirit for progress and development where everyone, especially the children, feel safe and secure in where they live," Pangilinan said.

In another session, multi-awarded public educator and policy adviser Richard Heydarian said, "We have taken those decisive first steps [in setting up BARMM], but we need to sustain these efforts."

"That is why it is important for us to constantly remind the Filipino people that our nation-building project is unfinished, and a big chunk of that 'unfinished-ness' of our nation-building project is ensuring that our Muslim brothers and sisters have a viable, autonomous region in a framework of the Filipino nation-state," Heydarian said.

With the event aiming to underline the experiences and challenges of the BARMM transition in promoting an environment of understanding, acceptance and tolerance, a diverse representation of leaders from BARMM were also invited to share their thoughts.

Kahidlaw also featured a panel that included Atty. Al-Rashid Lucman Balt, the director general of the Ministry of Public Order and Safety under BARMM; Commissioner Nasserudin Dunding from the Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC); Aliah Adam, founder of Singanen o Mindanao and Philippine coordinator of the SCCB Project; and Dr. Anisah Hadji Ali, program consultant of the BYC.

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