“Peace problem is manmade and therefore it can be solved by man,” said PAG Dufel M. Lagrosas.
With the theme, “How Private Organizations, Business Sectors, and the Youth Can Help in Attaining and Sustaining Peace,” the Mindanao Peace Forum took place on September 28 at Capitol University Multi-Purpose Hall.
Targeting civic organizations, business sectors, and the youth, the forum centered on tackling the country’s current standing in the peace process and its future plans.
Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro East Urban President Rosalinda P. Caragos welcomed the participants and the attending District officers and Club presidents. Followed by special messages from District 3870 Officer for Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention and Past Assistant Governor (PAG) Dufel M. Lagrosas and City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno who both recognized that peacebuilding should be a community effort, and solved through non-violent actions.
“It’s not just government, dili kaya (not enough). No matter how good the programs the government might be, no matter how efficient government could be—di pa gihapon kaya (still not enough). We need the community, especially peace and order,” said Moreno.
AFP Chief of Staff and Presidential Adviser on the Peace, Reconciliation, & Unity (PAPRU) Gen. Carlito Galves Jr. highlighted in his keynote message the milestones and achievements of the current administration in the peace process, especially here in Mindanao. Gen. Galvez also mentioned updates with regards to the reintegration programs the government has offered to former rebels.
Attaining and sustaining peace
Subsequently, Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Immediate Past President Edwin To discussed the role of the business sector in building peace and development through sharing his experience about the 2013 Zamboanga Siege. He imparted the lessons he learned as well as his recommendations if ever man-made crisis would take place again. Moreover, To also noted how economic development could bring peace in Mindanao.
On the other hand, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) X Regional Director Mylah Faye Aurora B. Cariño talked about the poverty statistics’ spatial disparities in Region 10. Cariño identified the areas of poverty including geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) and conflict-affected or conflict-vulnerable areas. Hence, the issuance of Executive Order (EO) 70 which addresses the insurgency, conflicts, and other disturbances in the country that President Duterte signed last December 2018. EO 70 brings all the stakeholders together to address the root causes of the conflict.
Philippine Army 33rd Infantry Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Harold M. Cabunoc also shared his first-hand experience and approaches in peacebuilding. He narrated how he halted aggressive actions in war-conflicted areas in Central Mindanao through conflict-sensitive interventions. And lastly, the Office of the Bangsamoro Youth Affairs Executive Director Dr. Marjanie Macasalong highlighted in his topic the importance of the youth’s role in sustaining peace.
A panel discussion shortly commenced moderated by Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc. Senior Director Ariel Hernandez. Here, questions from the participants were raised and answered by the four speakers.
The Rotary Club Cagayan de Oro East Urban organized the forum, in partnership with the Eisenhower Fellows Association of the Philippines and Rotary Clubs of Zone 1, District 3870.