The forumZFD project office of Cotabato City successfully concluded its conference titled Peace Conference-Dialogue with the Youth on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, and the Bangsamoro Organic Law’ including discrimination against minorities at Panorama Summit Hotel, Davao City on November 27-29, 2018. The conference was part of forumZFD’s project on preventing and countering violent extremism focusing on youth.
Youth for years have been one of the strongest sectors working for understanding, justice and social cohesion. Especially in the Bangsamoro, youth play a critical role in maintaining the successes of the peace process achieved by preceding generations. However, assuming this role is hampered by differences in culture, tradition and religions as well as the upcoming challenges following the passing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
From previous experience in working with youth in the Bangsamoro, forumZFD identified two issues as critical for the peace process: a thorough understanding of the challenges and the current status of peace agreements’ implementation in the region of Bangsamoro particularly the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the discrimination against Muslims and Indigenous Peoples on a national scope. The September 22 conference “Peace Forum with Youth Leaders on Understanding the Bangsamoro Organic Law and their Role in the Bangsamoro Government” furthermore exemplified the importance of providing safe spaces for youth to engage with these issues and voice their concerns. Building on these lessons learnt, the conference “Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and the Bangsamoro Organic Law” provided yet another safe space for youth to explore the issues of violent extremism, discrimination, and ways forward under the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
The conference was attended by more than 35 young leaders from Bangsamoro, North Cotabato, Sarangani Province, and other areas. The delegates represented diverse organizations working to attain collective means of peace among different narratives and advocacies and were able to share best practices, challenges and plans to confront social issues in envisioning better communities to live in. Aside from the sharing, different speakers also discussed with them Islamic perspectives on violent extremism, effective advocacy and presented a study on preventing and countering violent extremism (PCVE).
This activity was replicated by youth leaders in the Sulu region a week after the conference.