Tapping the untapped generations through Peace Education

The activity started last February 11, a Wednesday morning allotted for travel time along with staffs Tatay, Nonoy, Harriet, Asniah, Santaliah, Aleen and Glen. The team departed from the office at exactly 9:00 in the morning with intermittently raining condition.

The only means of transport is through a motorcycle locally known as “habal-habal” in about two (2) hour’s drive from the City to Lantud and second was a trek from Lantud to Poblacion-Kalilangan, although the rain poured; it somehow aided the hikers from the heat of the sun and prevented them from panting because of unsuitable distance and elevated footways. At around 12:30 pm, the team arrived in Kalilangan warmly welcomed by community members and stayed there for a night.

On the second daythe team were divided into two groups, Tatay, Nonoy, Asniah, Harriet, and Mai joined together for the Sustainable Agriculture Training and IP Women’s activity update. The other group composed of three staffs were Aleen, Santaliah and Glen for the Young Leaders Peace-building Workshops in Old Rogongon and Panoroganan.

Old Rogongon and Panoroganan are the outermost villages in Iligan City situated within the boundaries of Kapai, Lanao Del Sur in the east and the Province of Bukidnon in the west. The community are believed to be the recruitment and training ground of the MNLF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) combatants/rebels, considering the direct influence of the group and the failure to go through government services/intervention, the said community was chosen to be part of the humanitarian assistance and peace-building workshops.

The workshop started in the afternoon around 1:30pm, the youth assembled along with the number of children, their parents and tribal leaders.

Facilitated by Glengyl the first activity was about the “Kamustahay” it’s a 5 minute chit-chat with the community, tribal leaders and parents. The participants were divided into three groups which has 7-9 members each, group one (1) was assisted by Aleen, two (2) was Santaliah and group three (3) was Glen. The purpose of the “Kamustahay” was to get the youth’s trust and confidence in-order for them to participate and take part in the activity regardless of cultural barriers which sometimes hindered their activism. Everyone did their part in the activity but one thing struck was the story shared by one of the community members stating that “We are really in grief seeing these children raised without proper education, we have 30 households here and around 50 children and youth leaving in these Sitio but government did nothing to overcome these issue, we are lucky on your training and campaigns which you never tried to exclude our community”.

The second activity was the sharing of stories and experience from the locale which resembles peace and conflict scenes. The facilitator asked the volunteers whom among them wanted to share their experiences and they caught by surprised when no one or none of any youth raised hands and the team begun to reflect on the limited participation of the youth in peace-building and recalled that none of the youth had ever been participating in settling conflict even in settling local Rido but, visible in the area of recruitment among the rebel group. Minutes after the team requested Sultan Amer Macauyag a tribal warrior during his time, to share his experiences and life and he then disclosed his story during 1970s when the conflict aroused brought by misunderstanding and abuses from the Christian to Muslim, led by the massive campaign stating the bad Moros/Muslims, he shared about the Ilagas, the barracudas rebels who did scrambled Mindanao’s peace and order and followed by NDF-MILF-MNLF forces of rebels until recently the MOA AD issues who have made devastations to life and leaving of the tri-people community in Lanao and Iligan City. Sultan Amer Macauyag also stated “that peace will never be visible for the community today if they continue to close their eyes and never listen to the truth and neglecting their history”. After the sharing the facilitator then processed the sharing and stated that “if the presence of ill-attitude and selfishness will reign our community today, then Sultan may be blessed of his word for he have bestowed it. If there will be people which keeps trying to quiver the order of life, our dilemma will never be ended”.

After the sharing, communities were instructed to go into the field and formed a circle. They were given instruction by Aleen to follow the “Yepo Itata” animation, its purpose is to keep the participants active and enjoying the workshop as well. The Yepo Itata animation brought a lot of fun and indeed gives a sense of happiness to both children and the youth.

The participants were given a 5-minutes break to rest and prepare for the next activity which will provide a lecture and workshop on Conflict Transformation given by Ms. Aleen Liwagon.

As the break passed, the facilitator instructed them to group their selves to three an equal grouping with both number of facilitator and of participants. The activity was about Conflict Transformation with animation activity and expounded more on the participant’s perception towards conflicts in the locality by looking on it in an objective manner. Each participant in the group decided where to go and have brought participants to places they wanted to, thinking only of their own ways, after the activity Aleen asked for volunteer to share, One participants named Asmirah shared her part about the activity and said that: “there are really forces which could bring us, a lot of the members are girls and children that is why we are taken away by the males” Aleen introduced and gave example about a “corn”, Aleen stated that “seeing through the corn physically will not represents its totality but by considering the factors why does the corn has dissimilarities this will help in processing a certain issues through looking a problem trough a multiple lenses.

The following activity was facilitated by Santaliah; it was about understanding the culture of peace. Santaliah gave instruction and presented various photos which participants had to picked one and explain his or her understanding through reading and defining the picture tried to express. A lot of participants did realize that local situations on the picture really happened in their communities, some shared with tears in their eyes.

The activity had ended with marking hands with paints and imprinted it in a Manila paper signifying a promise to a peaceful interaction, efforts, and living may reign in their locality.


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