The gripping story of Omar, and the community of Balabao, has finally come to a close as “Saranggola” aired its final episode last January 3, 2020 signifying the end of EAI-PH’s radio drama series for this season.
In an unlikely turn of events, main characters Omar, a budding youth leader, Hadja Patima, Omar’s grandmother who embodies as an empowered woman, Akmad, Omar’s long-lost older brother who joined a rebel group, and Councilor Radiya, a close friend to Omar’s family a young public servant have finally found meaning in their struggles.
Saranggola ran for six months and told the story of Omar’s struggle for peace and hope in 48 jam-packed episodes that revealed different social issues including affecting youth, women, and governance.
Omar, whose tragic past kept him from living his potentials, has finally found greater faith for himself, his fellow youth and the community he is a part of. The last portion of the series was not the end of Omar’s journey as a young leader and peacebuilder but rather a start of the many possibilities of what he will become. The last episodes also featured the dramatic reunion of Omar and Akmad.
The latter who left Omar and Hadja Patima after the massacre of their (Akmad and Omar) parents and siblings, found himself joining a local rebel group called the AL SINAAN for 10 long years. In an unexpected plot, he made a risky move by turning away from the group to save the lives of two medical personnel from the hands of AL SINAAN.
Councilor Radiya, despite her young age and insecurities, remained true to her mission as a public servant. She not only strived to be an empowered young leader but also gave the constituents the right to speak and be heard, to be empowered and to take a stand for the issues that the community is facing. Another defining moment that Radiya took a big part of was the approval of the Bangsamoro Regional Law.
Lastly, Hadja Patima continued to be the mother that not only her family needs, but also in the community. Her hopeful disposition did not falter and did not dismay the audience until the series ended. Her character was an epitome of a mother who never ceased to give advice, whose forgiveness was never a question. She has given hope to every girl and every woman who wished to bring change in the community.
Consequently, 16 Listening and Discussion Action Groups (LDAGs) in Mindanao were formed and gathered weekly during the span of the radio drama’s airing. Eight community reporters led in the formation of listening groups with 15 members each. The LDAG is a type of fixed focus group discussion (FGD). It is composed of people who get together regularly (weekly) to discuss the issues raised in the radio drama’s episode/s recently listened to.
“Ang natutunan ko ay kung gaano ka importante ang kapayapaan sa isang komunidad, pagpapahalaga sa pamilya at paglilingkod sa bayan,” quipped Shaira, LDAG Member from Barangay Sinunuc, Zamboanga City.
Sadam (not his real name), an LDAG Member from Matungao, Lanao del Norte, also shared his takeaways from the radio drama series.
“Nagbigay daan ito sa akin na maging maunawain at maging bukas sa mga taong may mahirap na pinagdaanan, gaya ni Omar. Piliin ring maglingkod at may maibahagi sa bayan, gaya ng pagsali ng mga peace programs at mag-engganyo rin ng iba pang kabataan.”
The LDAGs is one of EAI’s technologies that provides ongoing feedback and assessment while tracking social and behavioral change, and norms diffusion among the listeners of the radio drama, consequently encouraging positive action. The LDAGs are organized in the strategic areas of Mindanao and regularly facilitated and monitored by Community Reporters/LDAG facilitators.
EAI-PH also culminated the OURmindaNOW Talk Show program last December 31, 2019 with an episode that featured the ongoing transition and development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), with guest Vice Chair of Mindanao People’s Peace Movement Amabella Carumba.
The magazine-style radio talk show took on different guests and experts in a total of 24 episodes that discussed Understanding Peace and Conflict in Mindanao, role of the youth and women in peacebuilding, social effects of conflict, empowering the youth through civic engagement and harnessing the power of media for social change, among others.
Complementing the radio talk show are other segments, the Peace News Alert from the community reporters and the LDAG’s Ganap!, which features recorded feedbacks from radio drama listeners regarding the issue/s highlighted in an episode of Saranggola.
The show is hosted by local radio broadcaster, Annaliza Reyes or ‘Ate Anna’.
Both the radio drama and talk show are aired weekly across three radio stations in Mindanao, namely, DXND (Kidapawan), DXOM (Koronadal), DXXX Radio Philippines Network, Inc. (Zamboanga) and DXOC Radyo Asenso (Ozamis).
Interested listeners may still recap all episodes on EAI-PH’s official Facebook page