By: Muhammad Musa
COTABATO CITY / September 18, 2018 – Selected officers and members of UNYPAD Cluster-3 Provincial Chapter together with other civil society organizations and municipal disaster risk reduction officers’ volunteers successfully completed the two weeks Mine Risk Education Training conducted by Fondation Suisse de Deminage (FSD) on September 1-16, 2018 held at Paraiso Verde, Koronadal City.
As such they were certified as MRE Volunteers by the FSD.
FSD is working under the Normalization Annex of the Bangsamoro Peace Process and it is an International Non-Government Organization based in Geneva, Switzerland with its program in Mindanao focuses on UXO Survey and Mine Risk Education.
The training was facilitated by Rudy S. Lumapinet, Community Liaison Officer of FSD Mindanao Programme and also serving as member of Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in UNYPAD National chapter.
“The Mine Risk Education (MRE) will be integrated in our monthly work plan to educated the youths in our areas specially the six municipalities covered by our chapter,” Akmad Musa, UNYPAD Provincial Chairman said during the graduation program.
Amin Agkat, an officer of UNYPAD, said that their areas are among the conflict affected communities where residents need to be educated on Mine Risk reduction.
“Alam natin na ang municipalities like General Salipada K. Pendatun, Paglat, Datu Paglas, Buluan, Mangudadatu at Pandag ay na apektuhan din ng mga kaguluhan noon at hanggang sa kasalukuyan,” Agkat said in Filipino.
“Kailangan bigyan natin ng pansin sapagkat baka meron pang hindi pumutok na mina o bomba sa mga lugar na ito. Ayaw natin may ma-disgrasya”, Agkat concluded.
“We are glad that as volunteers from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office of Datu Paglas town we were certified as MRE volunteers,” Maylen U. Egcao said after they received their certificate of training completion.
“We will also integrate this into our working plan specially that our town was recently affected by armed-conflict. We hope we could help,” she added.
Anthony Thomas Fish, Programme Manager of the FSD said that the training was comprehensive and a bit hard just to make sure that the messaging is accurate and effective to save lives. He also congratulated all the graduates.
“We congratulate you all for completing the training,” Fish said before the 16 qualified MRE volunteers.
“We can now say that we are confident that we provided you with necessary knowledge in carrying MRE advocacy in our respective areas,” he said.
Sophia Miranda, MRE Expert from Columbia supervised the two-week straight training to make sure the quality of the training is on track. With Miranda was Craig Dreghorn, Technical Adviser of FSD.
“As partner of peace and prosperity we will implement what we learned in this long training. This is my first time to attend a long training like this. Kaya gusto ko itong maging makabuluhan,” Moctar U. Edzla, Founder and President of Maguindanao Youth for Change Association (MYC), a longtime partner organization of UNYPAD in Datu Paglas municipality in implementing community services.
Among the trainees from the UNYPAD Maguindanao Cluster-3 Provincial Chapter who participated in the training were Alihar Liongan and Norhana Bayangan of UNYPAD- Paglat Chapter, and Almaida Pagalad of UNYPAD-Buluan Women Affairs Committee, respectively.
The mission of FSD is to focus on locating and destroying landmines and unexploded ordnance to prevent accidents. FSD’s overarching aim is to alleviate and diminish the social, economic and environmental impacts of landmines and unexploded ordnance, thus creating favorable conditions for the reconstruction and development of war-torn countries.