Sunday, September 18, 2011

I am an Outstanding Youth Ambassador for Peace

Ang yabang?? AKO NA!! Hahahaha...

Nung isang araw ko pa dapat ito ibo-blog. Kaya lang walang time ehh. Pero ito na!

I attended the VSO Bahaginan Public Forum on Peace last September 14, 2011. I and kuya Mickey Santiago, co-peace ambassador, represented peacetech in a forum that's quite intimidating to me because it felt so serious and I was like the youngest person in the room. However, as the discussion went on, I felt more and more proud of myself and of all those people in the room because it's PEACE we're talking about. And being a peace ambassador, I've never felt so involved in peace-building until I was in that forum with everybody else, sector representatives, who wanted PEACE in the Philippines.

with Mr. Dominic Hannigan TD, Irish Member of Parliament

Hindi nag-iisa ang peacetech. Hindi lang OPAPP ang gusto ng kapayapaan. Hindi lang AFP at MILF ang dapat na nag-uusap para maisaayos ang ating lipunan at makamit ang katahimikan sa mga conflict-affected areas. KINAKAILANGAN ANG PARTISIPASYON NG LAHAT. During the forum, I realized that IF WE WANT HOLISTIC PEACE THERE MUST BE A HOLISTIC, COLLECTIVE ACTION. Yun ang ikinatuwa ko sa forum. May tao galing sa gobyerno, may AFP, PNP, MILF, mga propesor ng akademya, civic orgs at NGOs, international institutions gaya ng world bank, at nandyan din ang media. Lahat nagpahayag ng kagustuhang makamit ang tunay at inclusive o holistic na kapayapaan.

The Key Speaker for the Forum was Mr. Dominic Hannigan TD , Irish Member of Parliament. He presented before us, how ireland achieved peace in their homeland. Ang masaya nito, ilang beses niyang nabanggit sa kanyang presentation ang PeaceTech. Sa palagay ko, wala naman espesyal sa paraang ginamit ng Ireland para maging mapayapa ang bansa nila. Naisip na rin natin yun dito sa Pilipinas. Engage all sectors, use all means / media, maximize resources, emphasize dialogue, etc. etc. Ang mahirap siguro sa atin, dito sa Pilipinas, kulang sa commitment. Kung may commitment man, NINGAS KUGON. Amp diba? Pero OK lang yan. Ang maganda naman sa atin, di tayo marunong sumuko, hindi tayo nawawalan ng pag-asa.

The Forum was moderated by Prof. Nieves Confesor, Executive Director of Team Energy Center for Bridging Leadership at the Asian Institute of Management. There was three (3) reactors after Mr. Hannigan's talk .

Dr. Francisco Lara, Jr. - Country Director of International Alert

Mr. Camilo Montesa - Former PHL Peace Panel Member and former Asst. Secretary of OPAPP

Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga - Member of MILF Negotiating Panel and Executive Director of the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies

I don't really remember who said what but here are some of the points I was able to take note of (syempre I took note of them kasi I guess it's relevant at nakakarelate ako):

It was recognized that conflicts resulting from misunderstanding and differences of culture and religious beliefs happens at the different levels of the society. So while trying to address these issues at a National Level, we must be able to look at it and attend to it in the community level. Because the communities have different experiences of the conflict, they have different "needs of peace." (may iba't ibang solusyon sa iba't ibang problema. . .hindi masosolusyonan ng isang engrandeng suhestyon ang maliliit at iba't ibang mga experience ng karahasan, kahirapan at diskriminasyon). May nagsabi pa "the national government do not always represent the interest of the LGUs in the negotiating tables."

There are many suggestions and approaches laid out in the forum to counter the seemingly reversed process of peace. One of them is Disarmament, sabi ni Dr. Lara. But as Mr. Hannigan answered it, disarming is possible, however, there is still some doubts in the process. Instead of disarming the "armed" there must be a prevalent "feeling of security." It is not removing the guns but REMOVING THE NEED FOR THE GUNS. When people feel secured, there will be no need of having to arm oneself for fear of possible attacks from "other" armed groups. This is the same as saying "remove the causes of conflict and remove the conflict."

Somebody from the reactors, seemingly have said, "maybe the reason why it was easy for ireland to achieve peace was because of their economic advantage." Mr. Hannigan said, NO. The good and stable economy of Ireland was actually a benefit of PEACE.

Another point raised, was REWRITING HISTORY? They mean, let's change what we teach the children. The history books should contain reality. It should include all our peoples, all that's happened, all the real stories. Kapag kasi pinepresent natin ang kultura at kasaysayan ng pilipinas, bida lagi ang taga-luzon at visayas. Nababanggit naman si Mindanao pero mas madami paring pages ang tungkol sa pananakop ng mga kastila, giyera laban sa amerikano, pananamantala ng hapon at ang tungkol sa EDSA people power. Medyo nagkulang ata ng kwento tungkol sa pakikibaka ng ating mga kapatid na moro.

Siguro ang pinakagusto ko sa mga nasabi was the Idealist approach (quoting Prof. Nieves) of Mr. Montesa. For him, enough of going back, analyzing and studying the past, the roots of it all instead, LOOK AT THE FUTURE. Medyo agree ako, kasi when we look back, naalala natin yung masasakit na nangyari and when we do bumabalik din yung galit, hindi natatapos yung conflict. Kung pwede lang kalimutan yung mga nangyari, at matuto tayo magcompromise, mas madali kasi yun eh Sabi pa ni Mr. Montessa, let us look at the many new points and areas of attention. Dun tayo magsimula. Singit ko na dito yung sinabi ni Prof. Abhoud na to achieve peace , there is a need to REDEFINE OUR RELATIONSHIPS even if it means changing the institutions (maybe he was referring to the common beliefs, customs and traditions of specific groups in the society). This "redefining of relationships" further requires STRONG POLITICAL WILL. The parties should agree to share powers. Key din daw yun for real "self-determination" to take place

Now, syempre bida ang PeaceTech sakin kasi yun ang org ko. During the forum kasi, the civic orgs and NGOs were also recognized. They play the important role of third siders in negotiations, and since these organizations have their own spheres of influence (networks of volunteers, audiences, beneficiaries, etc.) they help a lot in involving the different sectors of the society in our search for peace. The civic orgs and NGOs are the important key players in engaging the society in a holistic approach to peacebuilding. . But more than the role of these orgs, I want to emphasize the role of one sector to which i belong: THE YOUTH.

One MILF panel member asked Mr. Hannigan: "How did you address the issue of mistrust among the parties in conflict?" and Mr. Hannigan said they have these sport activities for the young people where they disregard religious and cultural backgrounds and the young people simply enjoy the company of each other in the same playing ground. Very simple initiative but quite effective. For this question, he used the PeaceTech initiative as an example. Nung nagtanong palang si Sir MNLF Founder about this, sabi ko na PEACETECH ANG SAGOT! hahaha. What's good about peacetech kasi is that we are investing so much in the young people. After all, tayo rin naman ang magpapatuloy ng lahat ng nasimulan at di natapos na problema ng ating mga forefathers . Balang araw, kung ano man ang napag-usapan ng matatanda, tayo na rin ang magtutuloy nun. But GOOD NEWS! with peacetech's approach to peacebuilding, i guess magiging mas madali na yung "balang-araw" na yun.

Para sa mga di nakaka-alam , ang PeaceTech ay isang non-profit org founded by Canadian Mr. Robin Pettyfer. Sa kasalukuyan ito ay funded ng mga international civic orgs (na hindi ko iisa-isahin dahil di ko kabisado). PeaceTech aims to bridge the gap between muslims and non-muslims and eventually establish harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship between them, and thus achieve peace. The peace we're talking about here is the holistic one. Di lang violence o conflict in the form of war ang dapat mawala. Dapat mawala rin ang diskriminasyon. Nabubuhay ang mga tao nang may fair na share of the resources, may trabaho, busog, nakapg-aral etc. Utopian?? I beg to disagree, at some level naeexperience na namin ehh...

What do we do at peacetech? Marami eh, di ko din kabisado. Hahahaha.. Pero basically peacetech educates many young people from Luzon and Mindanao (and soon visayas) about the each other's cultures, encouraging dialogue and interpersonal interaction without necessarily bringing them "physically together." Instead, peacetech maximizes the power of technology by conducting video conferences where young people from mindanao are able to see and talk to the young people from luzon and vice versa. There are different versions of this video conferencing, there's the classroom video conference which involves real students from real classrooms connecting two ends of the country in a venue where they are able to discuss things, share stuff and many more Meron ding mass video conference which involves hundreds or thousands of students na ganun din ang objective. Ang nangyayari during the video conference, pinapakita yung kultura ng luzon, pinapakita yung kultura ng mindanao and there's appreciation of both. At this, peacetech endeavours to "overcome prejudice and discrimination" which is a primary source of mistrust among muslims and non-muslims and thus conflict. May sharing din ng experiences, so yung mga negative ones nakekwento para di na maulit at yung mga positive naman naeemphasize para maka-inspire at mareplicate. .

Inspired din si Mr. Hannigan sa initiative na ito ng peacetech and even thought of replicating it sa kanilang bansa. Proud naman ako kasi Im part of peacetech being their ambassador.

Nabanggit na lang din ang pagiging ambassador ko, PeaceTech also conducts the Peace Through Technology Training Program, na siyang humuhubog sa mga Peace Ambassador tulad ko. Marami kang matutunan during the training pero ang pinkamahalaga dun , yung experience. Naeexpose kasi kami in an environment where muslims and non-muslims co-exists HAPPILY. I repeat HAPPILY. :))

Meron din day workshops catering to different groups like teachers, soldiers, and young pros. Ine-educate din sila about peace syempre!

Last point na naisip ko lang during the forum, maraming suggestions, maraming solusyon eh kung sobrang dami nila why not carry all of them out? The more people wanting to achieve peace, the closer we get to achieving peace. Basta ang end goal naman PEACE diba? Wala lang dapat pulitika. Di natin maiiwasan na ipilit o ipasok ang personal nating mga interes habang isinusulong ang kapayapaan e. However, dapat siguro kapag nagiisip tayo ng mga ganung bagay iconsider natin kung baka naman tayo lang ang makikinabang sa approach naten. Dapat WIN-WIN. Ang akin lang, wag natin ibox ang sarili natin sa papel. Maganda na may mga formal na kasunduan, mga plano, mga proyekto, mga resolusyon and even LAWS. pero iba pa rin yung commitment that we take by the heart. There are many CREATIVE WAYS that we could look into to address the issues of peace. At baka mas madali at practical ang iyon.

To close, I'm proud of PeaceTech for investing in the youth and believing there's hope in us. I say we won't fail you! Siguro sbi ng ibang nagbabasa, nasasabi mo lang yan iho dahil bata ka pa at wala kang totoong alam sa sitwasyon kaya ideal ka magsalita. But then, why can't we be ideal? Siguro kasi may pinoprotektahan tayo. Pride? Hurt feelings? Power? Ewan. Basta kaming kabataan, nagkakaisa kami. Gagawin namin ito sa paraang alam namin at kaya naming gawin. You adults do your part. PARA SA KAPAYAPAAN, ito ang blog ko. Magandang Gabi. :)

[walang edit-edit. kapag may mali pasensya na. lahat ng nakasaad dito ay opinyon ko lang kaya kung may nasaktan po, patawad. at kung may natuwa, salamat! Comment ka sa baba!]

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