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Wednesday, 05 June 2024 01:13

PEACE IN THE EYES OF THE PEOPLE AT CAMP COMMUNITIES

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June 2024/ COTABATO CITY-BARMM. For a 24-old youth Ale, peace is when people are helping each other towards goodness and when people are upholding unity.

An Ustadz (teacher of Islamic education) named Muntasir, believes that peace is when people can freely practice religion, able to do livelihood, when the children can avail education and when there is an absence of fear.

To a combatant’s wife and a mother of seven, Fatima, peace is the absence of conflict. Peace is when there are development projects coming in the community and when people enjoy freedom to do things.   

Ale (Alleah T. Mama) is from Kinebeka, Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao, a village covered by the MILF Camp Badre.

She came from a separated family and she desires to be reunited with her other siblings. Living with her elder sister, Ale had to pause her studies due to health condition. However, she chose to be an active youth by joining community organizations.

“I join the community group to build my confidence, be able to stand and speak in front of the people. I am here with the hope to be aware of social issues like the gender sensitivity, conflict management and among others, which can be beneficial to me in the future” she said.

Ale looks forward to be a social worker, someday to be able to help the people in need.

Muntasir S. Salih, 28, is from Brgy. Tuayan Mother, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, Maguindanao del Sur (Camp Omar).

He recalled that during the past years, whenever people see or hear the military trucks, they felt the fear. But now, people in the community can look for livelihood, with the improved peace and order in the village.

Muntasir, however reported the minimal conflict in the community, which they pray to be settled soon.

As a local Islamic educator, Muntasir is committed to impart his knowledge to the people and the children.

“The first reason why I teach in the Madrasah (Islamic school) is because when a person has knowledge of Islam it is his obligation to share his knowledge, help people and guide children who wanted to study. Lastly, I teach in desire for the reward from Allah (subahanahu wa taallah)" Muntasir said.

With a Master’s Degree in Arabic, he has a secondary level of regular education. According to him, financial constraint as well as the unstable peace and order hampered his access of formal schooling, a common story of youth in the camp communities.

On the other hand, Fatima A. Ali, 52, from Sifaran Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte (Camp Badre), is a daughter of a fallen warrior who fought the battle in 1979. She was married to a combatant and had seven children.

For seven years, Fatima had to solely look after the kids when her husband took job overseas due to financial responsibility for the family.

However, those challenges did not stop Fatima to take active role in their community. She joined the MILF’s Social Welfare Committee- the women wing of this revolutionary organization.

With her experience in the organization, Fatima was able to form a cooperative of women in their village.

“I pursue the cooperative through the SWC because this will enable us to receive assistance that will benefits us a lot. We will help one another to sustain the project, not only for our family, but for the whole community”, she said.

Fatima encourages the women to participate in community and social activities so that they will learn and won’t be left behind.

Camps transformation and development

The signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014 between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) covers Annex on Normalization that states about the transformation and development of camp communities.

Under the CAB, there are six major camps identified namely Camp Abubakar as Siddique in Maguindanao, Camp Badre in Maguindanao, Camp Bilal in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, Camp Bushra Somiorang in Lanao del Sur, Camp Omar Ibn al-Khattab in Maguindanao and Camp Rajamuda in North Cotabato and Maguindanao.

In 2018, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) has started reaching the camp communities with support from donor partners, national and local stakeholders of peace and development. These interventions are significant in the transition of the camps from conflict to peaceful and progressive communities.

 At present, BDA implements various programs and projects that benefits the communities in the camps. Ale, Muntasir, and Fatima are members of the local social formation groups organized through the PROACTIVE: Programme on Assistance for Camp Transformation through Inclusion, Violence Prevention and Economic Empowerment.

PROACTIVE is being implemented in support to camps transformation and development. It aims to aims to contribute in enhancing local capacities to facilitate transition and transformation of the six (6) acknowledged camps of the MILF into peaceful and productive communities.

The project is funded by European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), implemented in collaboration with the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) and UNDP-Philippines.

Read 54 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 June 2024 01:59
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