Amid COVID-19, youth organizations, government agencies and civil society organizations in SOCCSKSARGEN took part in the discussion centered on peacebuilding and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 in three separate awareness seminars in July and August, 2020.
Equal Access International-Philippines (EAI-PH) Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Manager Tommy Pangcoga, who is currently based in the region, was invited as one of the resource speakers of these activities organized by active partners of EAI-PH.
On July 23, the Maguindanaon Development Foundation, Inc. (MDFI) under their PeaceConnect project and the Sulong Kapayapaan Project of the Province of Sarangani gathered Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) leaders in the province for a Peacebuilding Advocacy Workshop for Youth Peace Advocates. Participants were taught on the basics of peacebuilding and the conflict transformation for youth leaders.
Two days after, on June 25, MDFI hosted another awareness raising forum entitled, ‘Going Beyond the Lens of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020’ with the Federation of Muslim Students Association (FEMSA) – General Santos City (GenSan) and the Youth for Peace Movement-GenSan. Youth and SK leaders from the city and the Sarangani province who represent the tri-people (Moro, Lumad/IP, Settlers) of Mindanao, took part in the dialogue on the implications of peace and development of the ATA 2020 in Mindanao.
The most recent activity, on August 13, was a back-to-back forum led by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF)-GenSan. The discussion centered on resilience against COVID-19 among Muslim communities and awareness raising on the ATA 2020, particularly on its effects to peace and development in Muslim communities.
Organizing parties ensured that health and precautionary measures were observed during the conduct of these events.
More peace dialogues are expected in the coming days and towards the Peace Consciousness Month in September, both in online and offline platforms.